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Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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"Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo"
 by Mike Smith

Midnight Movies: From Margin to the Mainstream
 by Andy Lalino

Crypto-Animals....The Black Wolf Of Clearwater
 by John Lewis

The Big 5.0....Cheater, Cheater, B. S. Eater
 by Matt Drinnenberg

Happy Birthday....Why Do They Call Them Funnies?...Makes Sense....Passing On....Say What?...Jaws: The Story, Part 29
 by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
Number 281  (Vol. 6, No. 32). This edition is for the week of August 8--14, 2005.

Discovery Touchdown
NolanAid 2005
Neil McCurry
Sheri Lawrence
ED Tucker
Byron Rocher
Matt Drinnenberg
Michael A. Smith
BoutTime Studios
Icon Film Studios
Jason Liquori
North Florida Toys

Thanks, guys!

  • Peter Jennings Dies of Cancer
  • Coffeehouse Film Series Reminder
  • Guest Editorial: The Bullrun   BY HUGO MORLEY
  • Sondra J. Overholser Dies of Cancer
  • "Vendetta" to film in Florida in 2006
  • Happy Birthday To Me
  • The triumphant and safe return of the Space Shuttle Discovery early Tuesday morning was a great relief for many around the country after having watched the crew endure several spacewalks to repair the craft and several missed attempts at a landing in Florida (due to weather). The re-route to Edwards Air Force Base in California for a landing was agreed upon because of the clear skies avaliable and provided a picture-perfect landing. This expensive maneuver, avoided until the end, looked like the only way to bring the crew home safely. The Shuttle must now be carried back to Cape Canaveral on the back of a jumbo jet, which adds anywhere from 1 to 5 million dollars to cost of the mission, depending on whom you ask.

    As we reported last week, after two maintenance spacewalks, astronaut Steve Robinson had to carry out a special third spacewalk to remove loose gap-filler material from Discovery's tile base, which was successful. A fourth spacewalk was proposed to remove a torn cover near Discovery's pilot's window, but was abandoned as unnecessary as the damage was not significant.

    This was the most-watched and most-scrutinized Shuttle mission in history, both from the ground perspective as well as from space. And with good reason. No one wanted a replay of 2003's disaster with the Columbia mission which came down in pieces over several states, mostly Texas. A 1-pound piece of insulation foam broke off the solid fuel tank and pierced Columbia's wing at take-off. This caused super-hot gasses to enter the wing and virtually melt it off the orbiter during re-entry. Some foam broke off during Discovery's take-off, but did not hit the orbiter.

    Discovery was equipped with dozens of TV cameras and monitoring equipment, including laser scanners. This gave the crew a diagnostic advantage.

    Despite the fact that this was labeled a "test" flight, and I'm certainly glad the crew made it home safely, I must admit, we're spending an awful lot of time just trying to get the Shuttle to work right and get the crew home without disaster (even mission commander Eileen Collins appeared irritated at the news of more foam breaking off). I know NASA is planning on rolling out the next generation of Shuttle craft around 2010. But as big a space fan as I am, even I have to wonder if we shouldn't decomission the whole fleet right now and build anew.

    Two weeks ago, PCR writer Vinnie Blesi wrote a provocative letter asking pretty much the same question: is the current Shuttle program too dangerous and/or obsolete to continue? Please leave your thoughts on the Message Board.

    Peter Jennings Dies of Cancer at 67
    I must admit I was never a big watcher of ABC News. No particularly good reason. When I was a kid, ABC had the worst reception in my area and we tended to avoid it, but that came and went in fits and starts. However, after keeping the TV channel on "13" (formerly CBS, now FOX locally) as background noise for, oh, 30 years or so, the last few years I've tried to "branch out" my news-watching to other networks. OK, FOX's notoriously right-wing bias helped a little. It was during these years I learned what I'd been missing on these other networks.

    Peter Jennings, the suave, Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades and was the face of ABC News, died Sunday. He was 67. Even though I was not a big watcher and only a moderate fan, I was moved by the news of his passing. Only Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather shared his lofty status as part of the News triumvirate that shaped our world-view for so many years. (Walter Cronkite, who's still alive, is a god to me, and is the greatest of all.....Huntley/Brinkley extremely influential....but I digress...)

    Peter, whose father was also a newsman, was fondly remembered by his colleagues as every bit the obssesive newsman who only cared about the story.

    In February of this year, ABC broadcast a UFO special hosted by Jennings. I covered it in the then current PCR and it is the only article I've ever written that featured Peter Jennings prominently. (I thought Jennings was fine, but the special itself was so-so.)

    I remember Peter making headlines back in April with his announcement he had lung cancer and that he had been a smoker until 20 years ago (but had re-started briefly around 9/11). He sounded awful. But it was a very brave move to announce it publicly, even thought it was in keeping with his role as an information provider. It was the last topic he ever broadcast.

    Peter Jennings was a rare breed of old-school journalism whose like is dying off quickly. He will be missed.

    I'm sure Mike Smith will have some things to add about Peter Jennings in this week's Mike's Rant.

    Coffeehouse Film Series Reminder
    TOO Productions presents the next Coffeehouse Film Review on Thursday, August 11 from 8 – 10 p.m. at Studio 1515, located at 1515 Seventh Avenue in Ybor City. Coffeehouse Film Reviews showcases independent films made by local filmmakers. Coffeehouse Film Reviews is held every second Thursday of the month and is free.

    This month's films include:
    Health Care: Past, Present, Future – A documentary written and Produced by Javier Prado and directed and produced by Burke McBirnie. A examination of the powerful forces driving the creation, evolution and future directions of the current US healthcare system in a free-market economy and comparison with alternative systems throughout the world.
    Batman: Dead End: The clock tower strikes midnight in a rainy, cold and dreary Gotham City… The Joker has just escaped from Arkham Asylum once again. The bat signal has been illuminated and Batman is on the case. He tracks his arch nemesis to a dead end alley somewhere in the industrial district of Gotham City… Joker is no match for the Bat, but what else lurks in the dark shadows of the alley, very well might be...
    Black Gulch: Bank robbers roll into the wrong small town and encounter supernatural opposition. It was supposed to be a simple job, but the bank is empty, the town is deserted except for a small boy, and the bank robbers soon find themselves trapped in a desperate struggle to survive.
    Fatal Kiss: When successful Los Angeles businessman Richard Clarke sees a TV infomercial on vampirism, he figures out how to get back at his soon-to-be ex-wife. However when he gets bitten by a female vampire, he encounters more problems than he expected. Co- starring "Kato" Kaelin.
    Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day: Snow is falling and group of much-wilier- than-usual zombies have come out to play! Disguised as pizza deliverymen and the Publisher's Clearing House prize patrol they are storming the city, preying mercilessly on gullible housewives and unwary frat boys! Fortunately for all mankind, our saviors appear in the form of a gang of socially inept movie geeks and their new alpha male, the delightfully named ... (Call me Eli.) Armed with a slapdash but surprising effective array of weaponry, our heroes march boldly into the streets to fulfill their destiny! Huzzah! I'd repopulate the Earth with them any day!

    TOO Productions feels that there are very few, if any, regular outlets in the local area for local independent filmmakers to showcase their films. Hopefully, this monthly event will provide that outlet for everyone, from experienced local independent filmmakers to local college and high school filmmakers experimenting with film production for the first time. TOO Productions promises your film will be shown!
       Studio 1515 is owned and operated by Walter and Sarah Romeo, who opened the coffeehouse in order to provide local artists a place to gather and share their art. Coffeehouse Film Reviews is another way to provide a showcase to local artists.
       TOO Productions is looking for film submissions for future events. For more information on the event or for information on how to submit a film, email tooprod@hotmail.com or paulguzzo@hotmail.com. All genres of films are accepted – feature length, shorts, documentaries, comedy, horror, love, art, drama, foreign language, experimental etc. No pornography!

    Guest Editorial
    And now my favorite Mad Dog AND Englishmen, Hugo Morley, returns with this review of a special sporting event. All British spelling is left intact. ---Nolan

    Big Boys' Toys: The Bullrun       by Hugo Morley

    In 1981, having just turned a teenager and vacationing in Thorpeness, a quiet British seaside town I was taken to see Burt Reynolds' film "The Cannonball Run". I was in awe of the characters on screen and the fun they were having. I never thought for a moment that I could aspire to be Reynolds' "JJ McClure" or even Roger Moore's, er, "Roger Moore". However, Dom Deluise I could have done. I would be a great "Captain Chaos" if only someone would take me. Anyway, "The Cannonball Run" is pure fantasy. Isn't it? Well apparently, not entirely.

    Every year there is a rally called The Bullrun. This is very definitely a rally, NOT a race - my lawyer insists that I make this fact very, very clear. So whereas The Cannonball Run is a fictional race, The Bullrun is a real-life charity rally. It just happens that The Bullrun is raced (or should I say rallied) by people driving the fastest and most expensive cars in the world.

    This year the Bullrun took place during the last week of July. It started on Hollywood Boulevard and finished three thousand miles later on Hollywood Boulevard. These wealthy car owners don't buy cars to merely get from A to B they are only driving from A to A. - by way of Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Aspen, Salt Lake City and San Francisco. Inflating gas prices are clearly not an issue and nor apparently is the $15,000 entry fee. This year over a hundred people came from all over the world to prove how much they like raising money for charity.

    A few celebrities were amongst the throng. Nick Moran from "Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels" wasn't the only driver flying the Union Jack (more of that later). Darth Vader unmasked as Hayden Christenson was a competitor as was Dennis Rodman driving a black and gold Lamborghini.

    For people unwilling or unable to use their own car in the race, sorry, rally there is a company that specialises in renting vehicles for the event. They start at $2,500 for a Mini Cooper (add a couple of hundred more for the convertible) and go up as far as $18,740 for a Bentley GT Coupe. These prices include delivery, collection and in most cases insurance, though I would guess not through Geico.

    Paris Hilton, this year's ultimate boy toy, (for people who don't rate conversation too highly) waved the starting flag and watched millions of dollars worth of vehicles begin their seven day trip.

    Few details of what exactly happened over the next week are available. The Bullrun organisers in no way advocate speeding, however this did not stop many Bullrunners getting ticketed. Dennis Rodman got two speeding tickets in one day in Colorado. He has also been accused of stealing a cowboy hat from a gas station. Hat-stealing is another hobby in no way endorsed by the Bullrun committee. Rodman has since claimed that the hat incident was a misunderstanding and has since offered to pay double for it. As for the tickets, he intends to fight those in court.

    Although categorically NOT a race, the Bullrun does have a winner. This year it was an Englishman, Tampa-based property mogul Marek Harrison driving the quintessential British sportscar, an Aston Martin DB9.

    It has been over forty years since Desmond Llewellyn as Q presented the original James Bond, Sean Connery, with his first Aston Martin in "Goldfinger". To this day, the class and style represented by Aston Martin remain unparralleled. From the early Bond days of the DB5 through Timothy Dalton's V8 Vantage up to the V12 Vanquish driven by Pierce Brosnan in "Die Another Day", there is no doubting that Aston Martin is James Bond's car. It is also Marek Harrison's car and available to any other car afficionado with over $150,000 to spare.

    Florida and Aston Martin already have an interesting history. Eccentric Corral Gable's collector Anthony Pugliese bought the original Bond DB5 in 1986 at auction for $275,000. He housed it in a hangar at Boca Raton airport and it was from there in 1997 that the car was stolen. To this day it remains unrecovered.

    I wasn't to be Dom Deluise to Harrison's Burt Reynolds; that honour was awarded to a friend of Marek's from England named Richard Pott. I bet he doesn't even have a cape! He does, however, have a part share in a trophy which is the sole prize awarded to the winner of The Bullrun. That and bragging rights. Rumours that the 2006 Bullrun is to be raced around the huge smile on Harrison's face are, at this time, unconfirmed.

    In four months' time after five years of monthly payments I will finally own my 2001 Kia Rio. Maybe next year I'll take it to California and race -- sorry, rally -- that Korean baby.

    From Rick Danford: It is with a heavy heart that I inform you Central Florida filmmaker Sondra J. Overholser has passed away. I was just informed that she passed yesterday, Friday August 5th 2005, after recently being informed she had terminal cancer. (Sondra was 65 years old.---N) This is a sad day for the Florida Independent Film Community as Sondra was one of our brightest stars.
       I had the pleasure of meeting Sondra when I was with Renegade Films. We had her a part of our Saints & Sinners Film Festival series and her films were always very well received. She was a delight to speak to and a creative mind that will sorely be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her entire family and to everyone who was able to meet and enjoy her company as I am sure she affected everyone she met with her passing.
       I am dedicating the 2005 Halloween Horror Picture Show to her memory and would like to work with anyone who is interested in pitching in to put some kind of a memorial together for her. I would like to show a small reel of hers at the Fest and am looking for anyone willing to lend a helping hand to see she is immortalized on screen one last time.

    Rick Danford
    Readers: You can POST A  MEMORY OF SONDRA  here. ---Nolan

    Trinity FL-based filmmaker, Sheri Lawrence, wanted to share this announcement with the readers of Crazed Fanboy the movie production she's currently involved with:

    Singer Jennifer Paige - remember "Crush"? - has snagged a role in the suspense thriller "Vendetta", set to lens in Florida in 2006. Merrin Dungey (TV's "Alias", "Summerland"), Lee Horsley (TV's "Matt Houston"), Louise Robey (who went by just her last name when she starred on TV's "Friday the 13th: The Series"), and Ryan Starr (TV's "American Idol", "The Surreal Life") will also star.

    Vendetta Synopsis:
    It's July 11, 2000 and the residents of the small seaside community of Crystal Bay, New Jersey, including Katrina Mendoza and her sister Irene, are preparing to celebrate their town's 100th birthday on Friday the 13th. Preparations for the festivities come to a screeching halt when a young man and a young woman are brutally murdered. An ambitious TV news personality (Sheri Lawrence, "Filthy") tenuously links the horrific crime to the thirteen-year-old unsolved murder of Katrina and Irene's mother, Sylvia. As a result of the innuendo, the sisters find themselves and their personal live involuntarily thrust into the media spotlight. During the next 36 hours, Katrina and Irene discover that they might be the focus of the killer(s)'s crazed intentions. Could the same person who killed their mother over a decade earlier be back to finish them off? As the bodies pile up around them, the sisters rally to put the pieces of the perplexing puzzle together before they end up in the morgue themselves.

    Happy Birthday to me! P.S. Please note this is NOT to be confused with "V for Vendetta".

    A belated Happy Birthday to "Mad Matt" Cerrato who turned 47 August 4th.

    And, of course, yours truly turns....drumroll, please....the BIG 5-0 Saturday, August 13th! Hope y'all can make it to Tampa.

    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 ©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    "Asian Film Update" is ©2005 by Peter Card    "Chiller Cinema" is ©2005 by Drew Reiber    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino      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

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