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What’s In A Name? Conclusion: A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida’s Towns and Counties U to Z ......Musings on the New "Dukes of Hazzard" and "Miami Vice" Movies
 by William Moriaty

"The Spongebob Squarepants Movie"
 by Mike Smith

Battle of the Herky-Jerkies! "That's Incredibles" vs. "The Polar Bear Express"....Live Aid Debuts on DVD
 by Andy Lalino

The Wide World of Sports is Really Screwed Up....As Hollywood Turns Will The Fanboys Cry....Animated Films Update....
 by Brandon Jones

Monday Nite Football....Famous Monsters #238
 by Matt Drinnenberg

Hypocrites....Live Aid Is Here....Love Those Burgers....Passing On....10 of 500....Meet The Beatles, Part 43
 by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2004!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fifth calendar year!
    Number 243  (Vol. 5, No. 47). This edition is for the week of November 15--21, 2004.

One Animated Summer

•  Ray
•  Strange Agents News
•  Another Comics Legend Passes On
•  The November Romeo Coffeehouse Film Series

It wasn't until our own Mike Smith sent in his third review in a row featuring a 3-D animated movie release that I began to ponder more deeply something I posted in just a few lines on the message board a while back: why is computer animation so hot right now? Why are all the movies featuring it almost routinely excellent, and lastly, have we seen the end of traditional 2-D animation at the neighborhood bijou?

2-D enjoyed a fantastic era, spanning the earliest parts of the 20th century to...when....? The last wide-release cartoons featuring primarily traditional 2-D cell-animation were (that I recall) The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, The Prince of Egypt, Atlantis and a fairly new one, Spirit: The Legend of Cimarron. Even though I'm calling them "traditional", they were all helped immensely by computer animation. The last one done totally without computer help I can't even remember...what; The Fox and The Hound? (The Secret of Nimh and The Rescuers Down Under had some computer-assisted scenes or were "auto-colored".)

As I was writing this, Brandon Jones reminded me of Lilo & Stitch (pretty good), Treasure Planet (bomb), and Brother Bear (bombed, but won an Academy Award after Disney fired their 2-D animation department).

Leaving the environs of the Disney group for a moment, I confess I have a soft spot in my heart for discovered treasures like The Iron Giant. But I'm afraid I'm not even sure of the status of animé, for a while it was all the rage at art theaters (like Akira and its ilk). I'm sure it's still heavily represented on television.

I think everything changed with, basically, Pixar's Toy Story 1 & 2. Fast-forward to Shrek and Shrek 2 and everything in-between (Monsters, Inc. and Ice Age come to mind) and you have the new face of computer animation replacing the traditional cell-animated ones to the point of extinction, right?

While Shark Tale was a rare computer animation that didn't quite sit well with viewers, The Incredibles (4-star) and The Polar Express (mixed--the computer actors creep some reviewers out; others predict this is the next "It's a Wonderful Life") are setting a new standard for picture and sound quality to say nothing of better scripts. It almost seems like there's no going back.

I am not counting pictures like Beavis and Butthead Do America or Care Bears or Rugrats or any lot that started on TV because the infrastructure for that already existed---although the argument could be made that with their TV origins notwithstanding, they were all commercial successes anyway. (The rumored Simpsons movie will likely do gangbuster box-office, too.) Spongebob Squarepants (reviewed here this week) has made a very decent splash at the box-office, especially considering its more obscure origins on cable-only television.

Speaking of TV, that medium has done a great job supporting 2-D such as the aforementioned The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, and over on the cable channels, Dextor's Laboratory, South Park, the aforementioned Spongebob Squarepants and tons of others. (I still miss Johnny Bravo and Ren & Stimpy---is The Critic still alive? I was never that crazy about Futurama but it had its moments. And yes, Mr. Spielberg, I loved Family Dog.)

So I guess the moral of the story is 2-D has a long life left on the tube because it's, well, smaller. Somewhere, the decision was made traditional cartoons are no longer big enough to work on the big screen. Or are they? What do you think?

Finally saw "Ray" this week, the biopic on Ray Charles, and I agree with Mike Smith, it deserves 4 stars. Absolutely amazing picture. Be warned, however, that it's much darker than you might think and after 2 and a half hours, emotionally draining.

The always strange Strange Agents have inaugurated their message board this week. Pay 'em a visit at http://www.strangeagents.com/forum. And speaking of Strange Agents...

Tampa Fl. Sci-Fi Experimental/Performance Art group Strange Agents announces the release of their first DVD, "A Strange Agent Xmas". This DVD features videos for: "Bessel Function", "Jingle Hell", "What Child is Dis?", "Mr. Grinch" (the legendary live performance from the State Theatre), and brand new song and video, "Grid's Gone Out" (Burning Bush mix). DVD includes bonus photo slidehow. For more information, or to order, go to www.strangeagents.com/sastore.htm. StrangeAgents.com....IF YOU DARE!

Reminded by this week's Mike's Rant, I regret not mentioning earlier the sad passing of Harry Lampert, creator of the The Flash (the original version, with the helmet) at the age of 88. For more, please see Mike's Rant.

November's Coffeehouse Film Series        by Chris Woods
It's that time again. Time for the monthly Coffeehouse Film Review. Simon Lynx and myself ventured off to Ybor City, along with our friend Mike, to see the November installment of CFR. When we got there, we spotted filmmaker Rick Danford who was just getting there as well. All of us then walked over to Walter Romeo's Studio 1515 where we saw the Guzzo Brothers (Pete and Paul) setting up for the show. We also ran into actor and friend Jereme Badger. (Jereme is the star of our new short film "Sever", plug, plug, which we shot this weekend.)

Chris Woods, left, ouside the Romeo Coffeehouse with Rick Danford
Now on to the films. You'll have to bear with me, I missed some of the films and filmmakers names. The first one up was one of the ones I didn't catch, but it was an interesting one that was all done with still pictures and some animation. It was about a man being tormented by some sort of bug. The film was all right, but the sound coming from the bug was really hot. I'm not sure if it was suppose to be like that or the audio levels on the film peaked too high.

After that they showed a trailer from a film from Chris McDaniel entitled, "Rebirth of an Amateur Tennis Superstar". It seemed like it could movie made by Wes Anderson would direct and star Own and Luke Wilson. But this film's jokes fell flat and they seem to try too hard to be funny.

Then on to "Dogs Dreaming" by ? (sorry, can't remember the name) I'll just say we got up during this one. It was about a man who has a psychological war with neighbor. It dragged in the beginning and continued to drag. It also seemed like all the sound effects that were added were louder than the regular audio, and I don't think they might to do that. After we walked outside, Rick Danford did as well. I guess this wasn't a popular film. But who am I to judge.

That's pretty much it, the night ended earlier. We wished Nolan could've made it to the event, maybe we'll see him at the one in December. (My suddenly unpredictable transportation situation should be rectified by then. And let me take this opportunity to thank you, Chris, for helping me with the reviews regarding the last two Coffeehouse events. ---Nolan)

Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2004 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova    
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