Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed.
Archives of
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
PCR Archives 2005
PCR Archives 2004
PCR Archives 2003
PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
Email PCR

A Case of Microwave Mayhem or Misinformation in Northwest Florida? Part 2 of 2
 by William Moriaty

"Be Cool"
 by Mike Smith

MegaCon '05: Brief Encounters, Missed Lunches, and Loads of Fun!
 by Andy Lalino

MegaCon and Beyond....Oscars Still Doesn't Have a Sense of Humor...."Gay" a Naughty Word in the NFL?....The Crazed Fanboy is Pronounced as Cool
 by Brandon Jones

Movies: Million Dollar Baby vs The Aviator vs Hell's Angels....Comics: The Utimate Iron Man....The Seventh Shrine
 by John Lewis

The Oscars....Mega Conned Again....Latest Kong DVD News
 by Matt Drinnenberg

I Didn't catch The Name....Captured....Oscar Notes....Yo Adrian, You're Dead....Am I Blue?....Movie Notes....Jaws: The Story, Part 8
 by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
    Number 258  (Vol. 6, No. 9). This edition is for the week of February 28--March 6, 2005.

Another big issue!
MegaCon '05 and The 77th Academy Awards

MEGACONNED '05 by ED Tucker  Click here
Our Oscar votes Click here
ABC's Peter Jennings UFO special Click here

This is another HUGE issue of PCR and, like the one of two weeks ago, updates had to be split up over several days due to the volume. The Academy Awards recap and my review of the ABC Peter Jennings special "UFOs: Seeing Is Believing" took until the Friday of this week to complete---only so many hours in a day. That said, let us begin...

This was my third year attending MegaCon. Despite the usual mix of emotions going in, generally speaking, it all ended on an extremely positive and upbeat note for me personally largely due to a very special series of first meetings and reunions that made this, in some ways, the most special MegaCon yet. The TV/movie celebrity roster was slightly weaker than previous years', but the comics celebrity area was slightly stronger.

Leaving Tampa
I already knew William Moriaty, Lexie Fife, and Clayton Smith, part of our noble party last year, would not be in attendance this year. But I knew old friend Lisa Zubek ("Lisa's Lambast" and Nolan Radio) would be in attendance with her now-grown children Autumn and Gage who I hadn't seen since their infanthoods. The prospect of seeing them all now was very exciting for me. Also, ED Tucker and Byron Rocher, who helped co-found our self-proclaimed Fanboy Summit Meetings and who we'd met at MegaCon twice before, would be joining us as well. Close friend Scott van Sickle would once again provide transportation and excellent company for myself and young Joshua "Black Dog" Montgomery. The three of us departed Tampa for Orlando roughly 8:20am. Pretty much on time.

We made only one stop at a convenience store near Polk City for drinks before resuming our journey. Of course, Joshua's rather colorful entrances and non-stop goth-speak left the locals a bit flustered, but I successfully contained the situation before the emergency exorcisms were initiated.

Like I mentioned previously, this was our third trip to the Orange County Convention Center where MegaCon is located, and for the third time, we were directed to a different parking lot. This time we were actually in front of the building, not across the street in a sandy lot or down half a mile where a bus had to take us in. The walk in wasn't that bad. Still long...but tolerable. I wasn't even at the sidewalk yet when I spotted my first special contact: Greg Rivera, noted Florida filmmaker, who was on his way in to meet Andy Lalino and Company at booth 721. We all walked in together. After a couple false turns due to the maze of hallways (the Convention Center is one of the largest buildings I have ever been in), we found our way to MegaCon. We walked right past Hall C, where it was last year (I recognized it!), and on to Hall D2. Josh and I picked up our wrist bands and program books and headed on in.

All photos will open in a new browser window. Exit that window to return here.
The "Florida Frights" indie film booth! L-to-R, Debbie Rochon, Jason Liquori, Chris Woods, Simon Lynx, Greg Rivera, Andy Lalino.
PCR's Joshua Montgomery, left, meets Battlestar Galactica star Richard Hatch ("Apollo"), right.
I finally get to meet man mountain, The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno! Lou's the one on the left.
From Star Trek: Voyager: "Admiral Paris", Richard Herd. He looks asleep, he's not, he's thinking of an answer to a trivia question.
Two Creature Feature database powerhouses meet at last!  Lonnie Dohlen, left, meets ED Tucker for the first time.
Legendary comic book writer and editor Roy Thomas, center, confers with his booth mates.
I met "Captain Marvel", Jackson Bostwick, who regaled several interesting stories of the early '70s Filmation series. He's also written a book on same.
Some of the many faces of punk artist and wildman, Josh Sullivan. These represent several attempts at getting a decent shot.
Here I'm being flanked by Sullivan's discovery, 14-year-old punk artist Matt Rhodes on the right, and his younger brother Mike on left.
Back at the "Florida Frights" indie film booth. L-to-R, Chris Polidori, Simon Lynx, Debbie Rochon, Chris Woods, and Jason Liquori.
All photos will open in a new browser window. Exit that window to return here.
On my way to lunch I ran into PCR's Drew Reiber, right, and his friend Peter Card, left.
But just before leaving the building, ED Tucker and I have our traditional MegaCon portrait taken.
In the parking lot of the now-abandoned Darryl's Restaurant, Autumn (at wheel), and Lisa Zubek, Gage Zubek and PCR's Brandon Jones hang out Route 66-style!
UNO's Pizza subbed for Darryl's. I gave up my seat, foreground, to get this so-so shot of the whole shebang. L-to-R, Josh Montgomery, Autumn and Lisa (obscured), Byron Rocher, Brandon Jones, Ed Tucker, Lonnie Dohlen, Scott van Sickle, Gage Zubek.
A family portrait that was too long in coming. L-to-R, Lisa, Gage, and Autumn.
Old habits die hard. Despite Darryl's being closed, the temptation to stage one last group portrait in front proved more than we could resist. L-to-R, Scott van Sickle, Josh Montgomery, Byron Rocher, Brandon Jones, Lisa Zubek, ED Tucker, Nolan Canova, Lonnie Dohlen.
Alternate shot. Josh Montgomery leaves his spot and becomes photographer so Autumn and Gage can get into the picture. Brandon Jones' electric orange T-shirt helps illuminate the shot.
Fulfilling a long-standing fantasy, Lisa Zubek smooched midget actor Felix Silla (Cousin Itt, Twiki the Robot). Mr. Silla didn't resist.
Passing by the Students of The Unusual booth, it's always good to see Florida filmmaker Katharine Leis, but it was my first meeting with Terry Cronin, right. Super people.
Last stop: legendary comics artist George Perez, left, talks with fans as equally legendary comics writer Marv Wolfman, right, autographs a comic.
In the House
Despite Josh almost immediately running into an old flame he particularly did not wish to see, I must say the entire MegaCon affair was extremely positive for the both of us. We walked around touching base on wherever we thought we knew someone would be, usually we were lucky. Since last year I missed seeing my other Josh, 23-year-old punk artist Josh Sullivan (Josh Comics, Nolan Radio), we looked for him first this time. We spent forever tracking down his table in "artist's alley" before we finally discovered he wasn't there--he was running very late--but I saw a lot of other talent while I was there. I said "Hi" to Michael Goodman of the Cider View Project, whom I usually see at the Doubletree Inn Comic Cons. Finally, we wound up at Booth 721, the "Florida Frights" table with the veritable who's who of indie horror/action film from the area: Andy Lalino ("Filthy"), Chris Woods & Simon Lynx ("Bleed", "Chameleon"), Greg Rivera ("The Uninvited"), and Jason Liquori who brought along the lovely and talented Debbie Rochon, who played "Mistress Misty" on Jason's anthology of werewolf horror, "The Lunar Pack". Except for "The Lunar Pack" (currently signed exclusively to Brain Damage Films), everything the filmmakers had was out for sale.

This booth seemed to be where we would eveuntually find all our people. Lonnie Dohlen, Brandon Jones, and ED Tucker all crossed paths here at one time or another and eventually, we all found each other there.

Josh and I went to the celebrities area. There, I got the only decent shot of him all day, standing with Richard Hatch, "Apollo" of Battlestar Galactica (classic version). Josh is a huge fan and I regretted not getting a picture of him and "Boomer" together last year, so I made sure to make up for it this time after he got an autograph from Hatch. Then it was my turn as I was determined to get an autograph and picture from man-mountain Lou Ferrigno, TV's Incredible Hulk. It was difficult communicating very effectively with Mr. Ferrigno due to his acute hearing loss, but I was able to glean that this was his first MegaCon and he seemed to be having a good time. There were several books for sale (one behind-the-scenes on the Hulk not available elsewhere). Josh bought a book on body-building that Ferrigno signed for him. In the booth next to Lou was genre actor Richard Herd (Star Trek: Voyager, T.J. Hooker). A big favorite, I told him how his character on Voyager, Admiral Paris (Tom's estranged father), added immeasurably to the pivotal episode where Barkley of Star Fleet Command finds a way to communicate with Voyager which had been lost for several years. The look on Tom Paris's face hearing his father's voice for the first time was one of the top highlights of the whole series. Unfortunately, I have to say it was kind of depressing seeing Gil Gerard, TV's "Buck Rogers", sitting close to this area. I swear to god, Gil must've put on another 80 pounds since the last time we saw him in '03, and he was approaching morbid obesity then! Combined with his gray/white hair and glasses, to me, he's totally unrecognizable. Fortunately, the same cannot be said of his "Buck Rogers" co-star Erin Gray, who is still a knock-out like she's always been. Midget actor Felix Silla (Cousin Itt, Twiki the robot) was drawing quite a crowd, but we would catch up with him later.

Josh left to do some independent shopping and Lonnie Dohlen had found his way to the filmmakers' booth. I was talking with someone there when ED Tucker came up and met Lonnie for the first time. This was a rather special occasion as Lonnie, along with ED and Andy, is responsible for some of the most important updates on the Crazed Fanboy Creature Feature fan archive and database. William Moriaty's presence would've made it complete, but alas, he was committed to another event. I believe it was about this time that PCR's "Splash Page" writer, Brandon Jones also found his way to booth 721! Introductions were made here, too, as it looked perilously close to everybody finally knowing everybody. Only Lisa Zubek was still missing, but that scene was still to come...

Lonnie and I made a couple more trips around the tables before lunch. This is when we finally found (ta da!!) Josh Sullivan in artist's alley. Josh explained why he was so late (but I don't remember it) before embarking on a bouncing-off-the-wall series of improvisational comedic bits including (what I'll call) quick costume changes! The kid's nuts.

Lonnie wanted to make one more pass by Lou Ferrigno's table so he could meet him, so we did. Coming back through the aisles, we stopped and met Jackson Bostwick, TV's Captain Marvel from the early '70s Saturday Morning kids' show. I found his tales of Filmation Studio's hijinks and back-story on Captain Marvel interesting enough that I went ahead and bought an autograph from him. I should think his tell-all book would be quite a read, too, maybe some other time.

After that, we made our way to the front doors where we hoped we'd be united with everybody at our pre-determined meeting time of 1:00pm. ED Tucker met us there and led us outside, where everyone else was already assembled. This is when the whole tone of the convention changed for me.

Standing there is the throngs, waving frantically, was Lisa Zubek and her now-grown children 22-year-old Autumn and 15-year-old Gage. Throwing ourselves at each other in a violent mish-mash of hugging and kissing is the best way I can decribe Lisa's and my reunion. Seeing the kids for (basically) the first time reminded me of not only my advancing age, but also of the many regrets of roads not taken. Gage and Autumn are beautiful. Like their mom. I very nearly lost it. It's now days later as I write this and I'm still thinking about how I nearly lost it.

Attempting to compose myself (then and now, ha ha), we started out for lunch when we ran into Drew Reiber, former PCR writer and occasional Message Board wrangler (he of the pre-crash George Romero pages), just arriving to the Con with his friend Peter Card. I was very grateful to see him again, but unfortunately, I could only afford a couple minutes with him as everyone else was antsy to leave for lunch.

The trip down I-Drive looking for Darryl's Restuarant, our traditional eating spot, yielded the first major disappointment: IT WAS CLOSED FOR BUSINESS. The determination was made to go next door to UNO's Pizza, where we sat at a very long table and proceeded to catch up on Fanboy business. Well, actually, this time I was catching up on personal business with Lisa, Scott, Joshua, Autumn and Gage on my end of the table, while Brandon, Byron, Lonnie, and ED held the more traditional Summit on the other end. In any event, I think everybody had a great time, I'm happy to say. The food was good as was the cameraderie. I agree with ED that our "Summit Lunches" virtually equal (and perhaps exceed) the Convention itself in terms of importance and enrichment.

Our post-lunch watering hole from last year, The Big Bamboo, had blown down in a hurricane and the owners decided not to rebuild. So, after lunch, ED and Byron left for Mouse Surplus elsewhere in Orlando, Scott van Sickle left to meet Lexie Fife (the "missus") in Ocala, the rest of us returned to the Con.

This is when I caught up with Katharine Leis and Terry Cronin ("Students of the Unusual" comics). They gave me a royal welcome and Terry gave me some comics in reward for the crazed fan support. Hey, happy to help! And always good to see filmmaker Katharine Leis (Run, There's a Caterpillar in my Bok Choy). Elsewhere, Lisa was settling her extreme desire to meet midget actor Felix Silla, where she kissed him on the cheek for several rounds of camera shots from Brandon and myself. I dare say that had to be a highlight of Felix's long day with fanboys!

Finally, and thanks to Brandon's guidance, I finally got to share airspace with comics titans Roy Thomas, George Perez and Marv Wolfman. Roy Thomas made a tremendous impression on me in my develping comics years, especially with his work on The Incredible Hulk, among many others. George Perez redefined the detailed comics panel, and Marv Wolfman raised the bar on storyline development. It was an honor just to be in the same room with them.

Exhausted and grateful, our group parted ways and headed home. I vaguely remember Brandon and Josh talking politics in the car, but I was drifting in and out of sleep. Dreaming. Not so much about the Con. But about those roads not taken. It's days later and I'm still thinking about it. Amazing what a little MegaCon will do to ya, huh?

MegaConned '05 by ED Tucker
By ED Tucker

The Three Independent Film Amigos, L-to-R, Simon Lynx, Chris Woods, and Andy Lalino.
Megacon 2005 proved to be a year of changes, but most of them were not for the better. Admission prices were raised $2 to $17 (advanced, $20 door) this year and the number of dealers appeared about the same. The celebrity guests seemed to have not been very well thought out and this was really the worst selection I have ever seen for a show of this size in Florida. Bootleg DVDs were still prevalent but did not seem much worse than last year. The comic selection had changed considerably over last year but was divided into two very distinct camps. Getting to meet new friends and visit with old ones is always a blast and was the high point as always but I really don’t need a convention to do that.

This year’s pilgrimage to Orlando started out on an excellent note even before the show. On a side excursion to visit a friend, I discovered that “Rock & Roll Heaven” (1814 N. Orange Avenue in Orlando – check it out!), one of the coolest record stores in Florida, is still in business and better than ever. The store’s well stocked inventory of CDs, LPs, and music-related ephemera is surrounded by the owner’s awesome collection of pop culture memorabilia including movie posters, vintage toys, and Aurora monster model kits! It was a trip to nostalgia land for me and coming away with a brand new import CD of Badfinger’s final album for Apple Records, ASS (which has never been released on CD in the US) was a great bonus. I wish this momentum had carried over into Megacon.

There was a very wide division between the comic book selections this year. While I was extremely pleased to see the return of hardcore golden age issues (I actually feasted my eyes on real live copies of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman, and All Star Comics #35, the only time Superman and Batman actively participated as members of the Justice Society of America) but the prices were far out of my league. Unfortunately the selection of silver age titles is continuing to languish as “bronze” or “modern” age comics fill the void. I purchased a few current titles but since I buy these comics the first time around, I have no interest in them on the secondary market. This was truly a lean comic year for me at Megacon since I only purchased three silver age issues of Justice League of America. Thankfully, FX was unusually bountiful in the comic book department this year so I still feel like I have had my fix until next year.

Gil Gerard wonders why the tables at Megacon get smaller every year.
Unlike the comic books, I knew the celebrity guests this year were a meager lot going in so my expectations were already set low. There were many repeat offenders including the Buck Rogers crew (note to Megacon – enough already!), Lou “The Incredible Hulk” Ferrigno, and George “Hey everybody I’m the voice of Space Ghost” Lowe. One notable new addition was Richard “Apollo” Hatch from Battlestar Galactica but unfortunately he is this year’s recipient of the “Gil Gerard Award for Most Haggard Looking Celebrity at a Convention”. Apparently Mr. Hatch has made the wise decision of pursuing a writing career these days rather than appearing in front of the cameras. Speaking of Gil Gerard, he must be planning to cast his hat in the ring for the lead in a new Orson Wells biopic because he can certainly no longer fit in the cockpit of a fighter ship.

Cousin Itt & Mr. ED
The highlight of this year’s guest list for me was Felix Silla, who was unfairly lumped in with the Buck Rogers repeats because of his role in the series as the robot “Twiki”. While probably best known as “Cousin Itt” on the Addams Family television series, his career has spanned forty years in Hollywood as an actor and stunt man and his diminutive size has caused him no end of work. Mr. Silla is a true convention pro. While most celebrities bring a half dozen pictures from their most popular projects, Silla had at least 20 stills from things that surprised even me. I actually got a little creeped out when I realized from one of his photos that he played one of the troll/goblins in the scariest movie ever made for television, "Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark". I finally settled on a photo of him as “Cling”, part of the Rescue Racer duo of Cling and Clang (with “Clang” being Angelo Rossitto), from Sid & Marty Krofft’s Saturday morning staple, HR Pufnstuf.

One new area I ventured into this year was the comic book guests. I am fairly content just to read comic books without getting too far into the fandom of their creators and artists, but when I saw Roy Thomas’s name on the attendee list, I knew this was about to change. For those unfamiliar, Roy Thomas is considered the ultimate golden age fan. In addition to his work as a writer and editor for both DC and Marvel Comics, he has done more than any other individual (with the possible exception of Julius Schwartz) to keep the legends and characters of the golden age alive in modern comics.
Roy Thomas extols the virtues of golden age comics.
Being a DC fan, I have always appreciated his work in the '80s as the driving force behind such titles as All Star Squadron, Infinity, Inc. and the majority of that decade’s run of Secret Origins. Not content to just remind us of what has gone before, Mr. Thomas seems to have undertaken a personal crusade to integrate all this information into modern comic continuity and anyone with more than a passing interest in comic books can tell you what a lofty goal that is! It was an honor to have him sign my copy of his (highly recommended) book “The All Star Companion”.

Unlike their celebrity counterparts, the comic book guests were not charging for their autographs. Brandon Jones and I discussed this in detail at lunch and apparently this is the norm at these conventions. After years of battling celebrity price gouging and sliding signature scales, I found this very refreshing. Unfortunately some people take advantage of this opportunity and try to have every comic book they own signed! While I was in line for Roy Thomas, a woman came up with a shopping cart loaded with zip locks bags filled with comics. At first I thought she was just having a much better year of buying comic books than I was until she pulled out the bag marked “Roy Thomas”. The bag contained at least 20 comic books that had all been marked with post it notes where she wanted them signed! I then noticed that all the other bags in her cart had the names of other guests on them.
Richard Hatch plugs books these days instead of Cylons.
Now this woman may have just been a huge fan of some of these people but it is more likely that these items were headed for the resale market faster than The Flash on espresso! Fortunately, she was several places behind me in line but I feel sorry for those people who had to wait through her turn just to get their one book signed.

It appeared that the lackluster cloud of this year’s convention was threatening to spill over into the traditional “Fanboy Luncheon”. After finally organizing everyone at the convention center, we loaded up our respective vehicles and headed for Darryl’s restaurant on International Drive. Imagine our surprise about ten minutes later when we were the only cars in the parking lot and a small sign on the door informed us they were no longer in business! Fortunately a nearby UNO Chicago Grill served as a viable alternative and while the food was very passable, the prices (possibly inspired by its location in this tourist-heavy area) were a few dollars higher than I would have expected.

The Bald Avenger and Hungry The Barbarian patrol the halls of Megacon for evil villains.
The “Fanboy Luncheon” has easily become the highlight of the Megacon trip for me and it shown even brighter this year in contrast to the dull convention. This was my first time getting to meet Brandon Jones, Lisa Zubek, and fellow “Bearerhead”, Lonnie Dohlen. We were joined by returning members Nolan, Josh Montgomery, Byron Rocher, and Scott Van Sickle. Along with Lisa’s two offspring, it was a crowded table! Byron, Brandon, Lonnie, and I staked out one end of the table and spent most of the meal discussing comic books, eBay, Walt Disney, and, of course, Dr. Paul Bearer! This was the kind of true fanboy interaction that you cannot put a price tag on and I walked away in awe of the quality of people I am fortunate enough to associate with. The only sad note (aside from Darryl’s being closed and the Big Bamboo blowing away during a hurricane last year) was the first time absence of Will Moriaty who was busy with other projects. We missed you Will!

This was an off year by my standards for the Megacon convention and definitely the weakest of the four I have attended. Hopefully, this was a fluke and next year will find it back up to speed. Otherwise, we may have to move the annual “Fanboy Luncheon” to Tampa and save the majority of its participants the drive!

The 77th Academy Awards

So, how did we do this year? I think any major surprises were left back at the gate during the nomination process. Considering the stand-out favorites since then, not too many surprises were to be had among the final winners, so stalwart voters Mike and Matt were pretty neck and neck this year. Mike's son Phillip did pretty well for his first time out. About myself, all I can say is, like last year, I didn't see nearly enough films to honestly weigh in an objective opinion. I will say the buzz around Million Dollar Baby was intense enough that if I had voted that would've been the most predictable. That, and The Incredibles for best animated picture. Until I saw it, I didn't think anything could beat Shrek 2 for animation, so that's really something. And in an otherwise colorful year for special effects, it was hard to top Spider-Man 2 as the odds-on favorite as it was nearly nominated for Best Picture as well! That The Passion of the Christ didn't win for Best Make-up was a bit of a shock (altho Corey says scar make-ups are the easiest to do, so maybe the volume wasn't as much a factor), and I never really took Fahrenheit 9/11 seriously as a contender for Best Picture after Michael Moore moved it out of Best Documentary. That's all I have to say, really, so...here we go. (Winners are in red.)

Best ActorOur votes
Jamie Foxx, Ray
Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
Johnny Depp, Finding Neverland
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Mike Smith: Jamie Foxx
Phillip Smith: Jamie Foxx
Matt Drinnenberg: Clint Eastwood
Best Actress
Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Annette Bening, Being Julia
Catalina Sandino Moreno, Maria Full of Grace
Imelda Staunton, Vera Drake
Kate Winslet, Eternal Sunshine
Mike: Hilary Swank
Phillip: Annette Bening
Matt: Annette Bening
Best Supporting Actor
Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Thomas Haden Church, Sideways
Alan Alda, The Aviator
Jamie Foxx, Collateral
Clive Owen, Closer
Mike: Morgan Freeman
Phillip: Morgan Freeman
Matt: Morgan Freeman
Best Supporting Actress
Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Laura Linney, Kinsey
Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
Natalie Portman, Closer
Mike: Cate Blanchett
Phillip: Natalie Portman
Matt: Virginia Madsen
Best Director
Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Taylor Hackford, Ray
Mike Leigh, Vera Drake
Alexander Payne, Sideways
Martin Scorsese, The Aviator
Mike: Clint Eastwood
Phillip: Clint Eastwood
Matt: Clint Eastwood
Best Picture
Million Dollar Baby
The Aviator
Finding Neverland
Mike: Sideways
Phillip: Sideways
Matt: Million Dollar Baby
More Winners
Best Original Song: "Al Otro Lado del Rio" from The Motorcycle Diaries (Mike: "Learn to be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera; Phillip: "Accidentally In Love" from Shrek 2; Matt: "Learn to be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera)
Best Foreign Language Film: The Sea Inside [Spain] (Mike: "The Sea Inside", Phillip: "The Sea Inside", Matt: "The Chorus")
Best Original Screenplay: Charlie Kaufman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Mike: "Eternal Sunshine", Phillip: "Eternal Sunshine", Matt: "Eternal Sunshine")
Best Cinematography: The Aviator (Mike: The Aviator, Phillip: "House of Flying Daggers", Matt: "The Passion of The Christ")
Best Art Direction: The Aviator (Mike: "The Aviator", Phillip: "The Aviator", Matt: "The Aviator")
Best Animated Feature: The Incredibles (Mike: The Incredibles, Phillip: "Shrek 2", Matt: "The Incredibles")
Best Make-Up: Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (Mike: "The Passion of the Christ", Phillip: "The Passion of the Christ", Matt: "The Passion Of The Christ")
Best Costume: The Aviator (Mike: "The Aviator", Phillip: "The Aviator", Matt: "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events")
Best Documentary Feature: Born Into Brothels (Mike: "Super Size Me", Phillip: "Super Size Me", Matt: "Born Into Brothel")
Best Film Editing: The Aviator (Mike: The Aviator, Phillip: "Collateral", Matt: "The Aviator")
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Sideways (Mike: "Sideways", Phillip: "Motorcycle Diaries", Matt: "Sideways")
Best Visual Effect: Spider-Man 2 (Mike: "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", Phillip: "Spider-Man 2", Matt: "Spider-Man 2")
Best Original Score: Jan A.P. Kaczmarek, Finding Neverland (Mike: "The Passion of the Christ", Phillip: "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", Matt: "The Passion of The Christ")

Other categories not voted on from our panel:
Best Short Film (Live Action): Wasp
Best Short Film (Animated): Ryan
Best Sound Mixing: Ray
Best Sound Editing: The Incredibles
Best Documentary Short Subject: Mighty Times: The Children's March

THE SCORE. Whew! OK, let's recap. Since no one voted in the last five categories, they are summarily dismissed for this exercise. In the remaining categories our respondents voted in all of them together, so grading is slightly easier than in some previous years' where categories were occasionally omitted by some voters. That said, here's how we came out, best as I can figure:
MIKE: 13
MATT: 10


Interesting trivia: There are only three categories experiencing a total wipe-out where none of our respondents scored a single hit: Best Original Song, Best Original Score, And Best Make-Up. The first two are musical categories which is interesting in that our panel has deep musical roots (or maybe that says something about the Academy!). The third category is more ironic than anything (Hi, Corey!). Thanks to Mike Smith, Phillip Smith, and Matt Drinnenberg for participating.

The ABC Special: "UFOs: Seeing Is Believing" hosted by Peter Jennings

If I had a nickel for very time a television broadcast claimed to blow the lid off the UFO secrecy....well, I'd have more dollars than stars in the sky. Long-time readers know of my fascination with the field of Ufology, although I'm frequently misquoted. In my younger days, I used to be a true believer in every sense of the word, but since then I've read a lot, studied much of the scientific literature, subscribed to magazines both pro and con---promoting believing everything or encouraging skeptical thought---and I've since re-tuned my observations into more of a study of the pop culture side-effects of the phenomenon more than taking a definite position on whether they're here or not here. And a phenomenon it is, no doubt about it. I love the grainy pictures. I love the surreal scenes of people recounting their abductions (previously the domain of whacked-out hillbillies). And I love the TV Specials. My seeming fence-sitting on the actual existence and visitation of ETs drives my Ufologist buddies insane. There is no evidence that even a single other form of intelligent life outside of ours exists in the universe, so why does well over half the population insist there is, and furthermore, that they're already here? I'll tell you why. In the words of a character from the movie Contact, if there is no other life in the universe besides ours, "It would be an awful waste of space." And you know what? I agree.

So, I, like many people, take a position that life MUST exist somewhere. The question is...did it ever come HERE? Last Thursday, February 24th, ABC broadcast a heavily advertised and promoted special (internet ads and everything) called "UFOs: Seeing Is Believing". Hosted by news anchor Peter Jennings it seemed calculated to "authenticate" the program into an almost news-documentary style approach, raising its credibility.

The good news is Jennings did bring a positive spin to the show. Believers versus Skeptics were fairly balanced. If you are new to the subject, this might've been most enlightening. And Jennings seemed sympathetic to the witnesses. The bad news is, for all the hoopla and build-up, it was a very by-the-numbers experience for a seasoned vet of this kind of thing. I've seen this type of thing many, many times before, usually on The Discovery Channel, or The Learning Channel where the coverage on anything like this is top-notch.

Not that the ABC Special sucked, no, not at all, it was very competently produced, with cool animations (altho some were lifted from the previously mentioned cable channels I think), credible witnesses and notable skeptics. It just didn't blow me away with any new revelations. The older specials like Whitley Streiber's "Confirmation" tread here before. If the main thrust of this is that witnesses and grainy photo/video footage alone make a case, well, only die-hard Ufologists buy into that (I know---I worked with one at public access for many years. It's inconceivable to him that all of them could be mistaken).

The government cover-up was touched on (Project Blue Book, Roswell, etc.), but again, it's all been said before and we're no closer to proving anything.

So, we're back to the eye witnesses. One skeptic on the show said that's the one thing you can never count on, and I agree. People see things: the Virgin Mary appears on bank buildings and cheese sandwiches, Jesus appears on bathroom doors and billboards, Satan routinely appears in photos of big fires with lots of smoke (very appropriate), and people talk to the dead all the time. We see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. The problem is, the vision doesn't ever hang around long enough to be examined by an authority. That's the problem with visions and UFOs, they're never around when you need them.

Thanks to Peter Jennings and ABC TV for an occasionally stimulating, but ultimately unsatisfying "exposé".

Whew! That's all, folks! See you next week! --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
Amazon.com Platinum Visa Card
In Association with Amazon.com
"Mike's Rant" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2005 by Brandon Jones      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
Crazed Fanboy dotcom is owned and operated by Nolan B. Canova

Back to Top