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

The History of Miami International Airport--Part Three
 by William Moriaty
Also see This issue's La Fla supplemental piece

"Brokeback Mountain"
 by Mike Smith

Wow, 2005 Really Did Exist!...Finally Getting Their Due....A Thought For 2006
 by Vinnie Blesi

Walking The Fine Line
 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott

The Top 20 Albums of 2005
by Terence Nuzum

One New Life
by Mark Terry

The Beginning and the End: Ups and Downs From The Year 2005 .... Gaming .... Politics
by Joshua Montgomery

The Top 10 Things That Pissed Me Off In 2005
by Nick King

Bush: The Spy....Happy New Year
by Matt Drinnenberg

The Year That Was....Thank You....Passing On....Coach Dungy....Good Stuff....On Deck....Say What?
by Mike Smith

Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
Number 301  (Vol. 6, No. 52). This edition is for the week of December 26--31, 2005.

Wrapping Up 2005

  • The Year That Was: 2005 in Review
  • Mike Smith's Top 10/Bottom 5 Movies of the Year
  • Drew Reiber's Top 10 Movies of The Year
  • Nolan Canova's Top 10 News Stories of the Year
    • The Graveyard of Fallen PCR columns
    • Top PCR Issues
  • Thank You For Your Christmas Cards...
    I want to thank all my friends and readers of PCR for the many nice Christmas Cards I received this year! I, of course, was experiencing my once-every-two-years bout of lameness regarding sending out any paper cards myself, and, in fact, didn't send out any e-cards either. For that I apologize, my only excuses being I wasn't really in the Christmas spirit after this shitty year, and the end-of-the-year workload did not leave any time for making and sending out cards anyway. For some of you whose only correspondence is through Christmas Cards, I'll be in touch via email just as soon as I can.

    Below is the conclusion of my two-part "The Year That Was" piece, noting happenings from July through December, 2005, told in more or less narrative fashion as I've done for several years. The only last-second addition/correction I'd like to add right here is in reference to Hurricane Epsilon being the "last named storm of the season". As PCR was being put to bed, Tropical Storm Zeta formed in the open Atlantic, tying the all-time record for late-in-the-year storm development (as of this writing it is not a hurricane, nor is it expected to be). It sort of reminds me of last year's tsunami making headlines in mid-December of last year, just when everybody thought no more headlines would be forthcoming in the year. Both events demonstrate that it ain't over till it's over!

    I want to thank all the writers who really came through these last two weeks to make sure the 2005 year-end issues of PCR are among the very best ever!

    The Year That Was
    Part 2, July through December, 2005
    July. Still licking my wounds after the failure to launch NolanCon, good friend and filmmaker Chris Woods sends me a tribute he did on me posted on his ICON website; I'm very grateful--it is the pick-me-up I need to move forward. Hurricanes continue to roll out of the Atlantic, with distressingly high category numbers churning out on a regular basis. We try and concentrate on the duties at hand, among which is dissecting fan reactions to Land of The Dead, Fantastic Four, War of the Worlds, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, all opening about this time. Will Moriaty meets up with Charlie Carlson and Harry Wise at the first "Sanford Summit". The news of James "Scotty" Doohan's passing saddens all of fandom. The first post-traumatic NolanCon plans are underway for a birthday party August 13th. ED Tucker suggests "NolanAid" to help offset expenses incurred during the building of the convention and just to show support. This proves successful as many friends and fans contribute to the August event via this program. Mike "Deadguy" Scott and I attend the Bodies: The Exhibition event at MOSI and are very taken with the display. In Part 1 of this saga, I mentioned my increasing leg pain and pronounced limp that had developed over the summer; standing in line for 2 hours for "The Bodies" exhibit irritates the condition (but the worst is yet to come). Sometime around here I see The Devil's Rejects and announce it the movie of the year. I know others will disagree with me on that point, but the impact of the film was enormous. August, my birth month would turn out to be not only bittersweet, but life-changing, and just plain weird. Even more hurricanes pound the planet as it looks like it might be a record year for the storms. The Space Shuttle Discovery returns to space as The Dukes of Hazzard fly their '69 Charger over the obstacle courses in Georgia. Veteran network newsman Peter Jennings dies of cancer. So does Tampa filmmaker and friend to many, Sondra Overholser. Finally, the big day arrives, and many of us meet at the Best Western Hotel on Westshore Blvd to celebrate my 50th birthday bash on what would've been the opening day of NolanCon. Neil McCurry and Ron Canova are primarily responsible for the large number of Marguaritas I put away and the night becomes a blur (I do remember Ricky Sousa collapsing into tables). We had a good turn-out that included most of the local PCR staff past and present (Will, Terence & Tina, Drew, Deadguy & Eric), movie friends (Gus & Ivan, Chris & Barbara), plus a surprise visit from Christian Dumais, ex-Legionaire on vacation from Poland, who took the trouble to drop by along with pals Joe Davison and Scott Pero. I'm sorry we didn't have more time together. Afterwards as I attend to the matter of wrapping up the last vestiges of NolanCon and putting it behind me forever, Enigma Films' Rick Danford invites me to be the exclusive journalist of his upcoming Halloween Horror Picture Show with unfettered access to the scream queens and any visiting celebrities. Still dealing with sensitivity over the summer's events, I give a cautious "yes" but I'm generally positive. I never hear back from Rick about it again. Later, Rick again contacts me and asks me to be a film judge for the HHPS. This time, I unabashedly accept ("I'd be honored") and say I'll do it. I never hear anything about it again. Finally, Rick asks if I'd be interested in writing up a feature for Sirens of Cinema magazine's year-end issue, reviewing the HHPS. I ask for a few details, but generally accept the offer figuring we'll fine-tune it down the road. I never hear back from Rick about it again. The last week of August was the worst. A week to the day after the MOSI exhibit, the pain in my right leg is so severe I am almost unable to make it to work, but try anyway, figuring I'll finally make an appointment the next week with a doctor to see what's wrong. As the night wore on, the pain got worse until by 4:00am I couldn't walk at all. I left work via taxi and called a good friend who took me to the emergency room at Memorial Hospital in Tampa. There I am diagnosed with cellulitis of the right leg, a deep, severe skin infection. I am told I'll have to be admitted for nearly a week or risk losing my leg. I reluctantly commit and conscript good friend and webmistress Lauré Piper to take over PCR for a week until I can get back. She does an admirable job. Coincidentally, as I am contemplating my own situation, Hurricane Katrina is approaching New Orleans. This is the only major news event/national disaster I have ever watched entirely from a hospital bed from beginning to end. Seeing the poor people whose lives have been wiped out by one of the worst natural catastrophes known to the U.S. puts my situation in perspective and I am humbled. Even now, I am still healing from the condition that put me in the hospital and New Orleans is still healing from Katrina. As September unfolds, I am back to work on the PCR. Bob "Gilligan" Denver passes away at 70 which saddens fandom. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist dies at 80 which shakes up the already shaken Court even more. The governments of the United States and of Louisianna are taking lumps for what is seen as an incredibly botched rescue effort regarding Hurricane Katrina. This will go on for months. I go on the radio, specifically WTAN "Tan Talk" to talk about pop culture and Crazed Fanboy and I have a great time. Back at PCR, long-absent Terence Nuzum and Dylan Jones return to our pages with terrific columns. Don Adams (Maxwell Smart) and Nipsey Russell pass away. In October the Supreme Court seats are still in flux as preparations for Halloween begin around the country. Debates continue to rage around New Orleans, as comedian Louie Nye passes on at 92. The Romeo Coffeehouse in Tampa closes down forcing the Guzzo Bros to find another location for the monthly film review. The final chapters of Dinosoldier and Flash Fantastic are uploaded just as Vinnie Blesi (the Couch Potato) makes the papers in an interview by Rick Gershman featuring Vinnie's work at TampaBayMuse.com! I interview Ralph Butler for Nolan Radio, in what would turn out to be the second of only two new episodes of NR created this year. I manage to get in another quote in the St. Pete Times (re: the Coffeehouse) and a visit to the Halloween Horror Picture Show reunited Vinnie Blesi, Lonnie Dohlen and myself as we watch some movies I was supposed to judge (snark snark). I did meet some charming scream queens, most notably Debbie Rochon, Amy Lynn Best, Brinke Stevens, and Denise Duff. Rosa Parks an icon of the civil rights movements dies. Evolution vs Creationism is once again headline news as schools jocky for politically correct text books. Hurricane Wilma batters south Florida and the storm count continues. ED Tucker reviews ScreamFest '05. By November we'd run out of proper names for hurricanes and start using the Greek alphabet. Incredibly, even that is tested as we all learn to count to "Epsilon", a storm that runs into early December. As the calendar moves more deeply into religious holidays, more pressure groups try and affect everything from teaching Intelligent Design in schools to which religions warrant days off the school year. Andy Lalino reviews the Chiller convention and announces the launch of The Horror Channel, which doesn't turn out to be on TV, it's on the web. And had to launch twice. Or three times, I forget. In any event, it looks to be the last "Oddservations" column from Andy as he disapppears into the ether once again. I upload the first new World of Nolan episode in a year, this one spotlights 2004's Creature Feature attempted return with a new host. Pat Robertson declares Dover, Penn. bound for hell for eliminating Intelligent Design from biology textbooks. The same week I get my first senior citizen discount at a local pizza joint, the Crazed Fanboy Message Board is hacked into and defaced, forcing a complete re-installation once again. This is the third time the board's gone down and the second time it's had to be completely re-installed. Hey, at least people are paying attention. Due to database damage, it takes me two weeks to get the board up and running. Unfortunately, the old database, though saved, is unable to communicate; we start over. As the last hurricane finally peters out in December, Harry Potter shakes up the box office. Comedian Richard Pryor passes away, Brandon Jones' "Splash Page" returns after a long absence, and a new Paranormal section is added to Crazed Fanboy. Mark Terry joins PCR and we search for the meaning of Christmas; also why Peter Jackson's King Kong, though visually arresting, lags behind in "blockbuster" status, at least so far. The Chronicles of Narnia delight fans with a faithful interpretation of C.S. Lewis's book. Ex-Buccaneer coach Tony Dungy experiences a painful loss when his 18-year-old son James commits suicide; the confusion that follows in heartbreaking, the outpouring of support is incredible. As a last gift to my readers, I take an MP3 of a 20-year-old Blade recording and share "Our Rocky Horror Song" with fandom assembled. ED Tucker remembers an obscure 1959 Mexican production of "Santa Claus" I remember seeing at the local bijou in the '60s. The Crazed Fanboy offices close for Christmas, then re-open to prepare for the New Year!

    WHEW! And that's what happened!

    Michael Smith's Top 10/Bottom 5 Movies of The Year

    I have to say that around Halloween, 2005 was shaping up to be one of the worst years for well-made films in a long time. Thankfully, as is often the case, the last two months brought some choice goodies. In fact, seven of the films on this list appeared after November 1st. Here are 10 films that I consider the best of 2005. As in past years, with the exception of the first title, they're in no particular order. Happy New Year!

    MUNICH: Director Steven Spielberg examines the aftermath of the killings of 11 Israeli athletes by Black September at the 1972 Olympics. By humanizing the terrorists and asking if an eye for an eye is just, even when innocent people may die as well, the film doesn't choose sides. And, by the end, neither can you.

    BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: Constantly referred to for months as the "gay cowboy movie," Brokeback Mountain is, subject matter aside, a powerful romance full of the joy and heartbreak that comes with love found and then lost. Heath Ledger delivers a powerful performance as a man who must hide his feelings from those around him, while Jake Gyllenhall adds his work here to his earlier performance in "Jarhead" in announcing his arrival as an "A" list actor.

    A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE: Like Heath Ledger, Viggo Mortensen jumps off the screen as a quiet family man whose sudden turn to violence brings questions from those who know him. Ed Harris gives another of his patented supporting performances as a gangster who sees more in Viggo then meets the eye.

    KING OF THE CORNER: Wearing at least three hats (star, co-writer and director) Peter Riegert and a cast to die for bring to life one of the best films about family ever made. If I had a vote, "King" would walk away with the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Shame on the powers that be in Hollywood for not ponying up to release this film and kudos to Riegert for believing in this project enough to take it around the country himself.

    WALK THE LINE: Before he was the man in black he was just John Cash. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon bring to life Cash and his future wife, June Carter, in the best musical biography since Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones got hitched in "Coal Miner's Daughter."

    GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK: The early days of television brought this country "Howdy Doody," "Steve Allen" and "Bowling for Dollars." It also brought us Edward R. Murrow, THE greatest television journalist ever. David Strathairn gives a sure to be Oscar-nominated performance as Murrow and director George Clooney (himself a possible nominee) has the good sense to let commie-chasing Wisconsin Senator Joseph McCarthy speak for himself.

    SIN CITY: Robert Rodriguez' name appears no less then seven times in the credits for this film and his work as director, editor, composer, cinematographer, camera operator, sound re-recording mixer and visual effects supervisor (and, for all I know, for catering lunch every day) make him possibly the most hands on filmmaker since Stanley Kubrick and the Coen Brothers. A faithful translation of Frank Miller's graphic novels, Rodriguez can also add to his resume' the fact that he put Mickey Rourke back on the map. Welcome back, big guy!

    KING KONG: Tina Turner once asked, "What's Love Got to Do With It?" When you're Peter Jackson and it's a chance to remake the film that inspired you to make movies in the first place, the answer is "Everything." Wisely keeping the film in its original 1930's era and adding the same touch he gave to The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson has created a three hour epic that seems to go by in half the time. Welcome back, BIG GUY!

    RENT: I had the opportunity to see the musical "Rent" on Broadway and instead opted to see Quentin Tarantino in Wait Until Dark instead. In spite of the fact that Marisa Tomei almost fell off the stage into my lap, I still think I made the wrong choice. Director Chris Columbus wisely takes the show off the stage and into the heart of the city it helps celebrate. Having most of the original cast return helps show what made the stage show such a success. Like Grease for my generation, "RENT" is the musical most identified with the youth of today. Viva, La vie Boheme!

    BATMAN BEGINS: No exaggerated cod pieces. No nipples. No Jack Nicholson in a purple suit. In going back to the beginning, director Christopher Nolan shows us why Bruce Wayne built that cave under his house and why he doesn't like bats. Christian Bale puts Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney behind him as the definitive caped crusader!

    And five on the bottom:

    THE LEGEND OF ZORRO: Some legends should never be messed with.

    A SOUND OF THUNDER: If a film opens and no one goes to see it, does it make a sound?

    DUECE BIGALOW, EUROPEAN GIGOLO: I used to think Rob Schneider was funny. I was wrong.

    HOUSE OF WAX: Very believable story about a house made entirely out of wax. IN FLORIDA! The second best Paris Hilton film I saw this year.

    XXX: STATE OF THE UNION: Three strikes and you're out!

    Drew Reiber's Top 10 Films of the Year

    Good Night, and Good Luck – In this film about the public battle between Edward Murrow and Senator Joe McCarthy, George Clooney (director, co-writer, producer and co-star) clearly and successfully restates Murrow’s points about the responsibility of government and media during troubled times. Clooney boiled the history, story and points of conflict down to their core essences with a black & white minimalist approach that establishes an argument both in and beyond the movie’s content. Even more importantly, it focuses on the recklessness of McCarthy’s campaign of fear, sticking to the legal and ethical barriers that had kept America separate from the fascists it had only so recently fought during WW2. Furthermore, as a contemporary entry in cinema, Good Night poses those same critical questions in regards to our current crisis in television journalism and even filmmaking. If only more feature dramas gracing American screens carried the weight and intelligence of this film, Hollywood might finally have a cinematic flavor to brag about.

    Grizzly Man – Through highlights of video footage collected by deceased bear activist Timothy Treadwell, legendary filmmaker and documentarian Werner Herzog builds a heartbreaking story of Treadwell’s life and death studying the creatures that fascinated him. Far from a simple organization of the man’s work, Herzog’s identification with Treadwell drives him to better understand what happened through a series of interviews, clips and personal observations. The result is a re-construction of Treadwell’s sad, desperate, and fruitless quest to find the peace and love in nature that he was denied in the civilized world. Through both his and Herzog’s vision, the audience is constantly bounced to and from both perspectives until ultimately forced to see the madness and self-destructive path that robbed Treadwell and his companion of their lives. This is definitely a film to finish in one sitting with friends and comes with my highest recommendation.

    Sin City – I still can’t believe it. Mainstream Hollywood produced and released a black & white anthology that was not based in reality and it was both financially and critically successful. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller not only convinced audiences to see a film driven by artistic merit, but they proved that a straight adaptation of comic book material is viable and worth the trouble. This project has raised the bar for all comic movies produced in the decades to come, though how effectively remains to be seen. The new 2 disc special edition separates and restores each story segment to the directors’ intent, improving a few of them dramatically. Thankfully, further Sin City adaptations are in the works, but I would still kill to see Rodriguez and Miller do The Dark Knight Returns.

    The Devil’s Rejects – Striking the 70’s Peckinpah/horror flavor with far more accuracy than Rodriguez, Bob Kurtzman and Tarantino did with From Dusk Till Dawn, this is one of those few studio features that could get under my skin. If Zombie can continue to improve and mature as he did between his first two features, we may finally have our true heir apparent to the early days of Tobe Hooper and Wes Craven. The 2 disc DVD of the unrated director’s cut also comes with a feature length documentary. Read my original review here.

    Land of the Dead – Along with Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead and Joe Dante’s Homecoming, George Romero’s fourth entry into his famous series stuck out as one of the best socio-political zombie features in recent years. Check out my review here.

    Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I thought this was the first of the series that felt like a complete film. The drama and action (by Batman’s Peter MacDonald) worked throughout, with notable improvements in both special effects and lead performances. I also appreciated the lack of a John Williams’ sweeping score, as the score by Patrick Doyle was far more specific for each sequence. Overall, the direction and script were equally strong and I left the theater anxious to see the next one. Unfortunately, neither director Mike Newell nor screenwriter Steven Kloves will be back for Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix.

    Sky High – A fun throwback to both the John Hughes 80’s teen drama/comedy and the brief superhero craze brought on by '70s live-action superheroes. It’s a bit on the predictable side, but has a lot of heart. Filled with tons of small parts and cameos by favorites Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Bruce Campbell, Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Linda Carter, Kevin Heffernan, Cloris Leachman, Tom Kenny and Jill Talley. I just wish Disney had the sense to use a soundtrack with the original music and not horrifyingly terrible cover versions for the PC-sensitive.

    Shopgirl – A comparatively realistic take on the desperate outlook for relationships in this day and age, it drops most of the glamour that plagues films of this nature (at least until towards the end) and replaces it with emotion. Claire Danes (who could stand to eat a cheeseburger) and Jason Schwartzman turn in some terrific performances, and though it takes a while to set in, so does Steve Martin. The first good work from Martin in what is nearly 15 years, his reflections hold an honesty that betrays what was probably personal experience. If only he could deliver films like this on a more consistent basis, I probably wouldn’t be prone to violence whenever I see ads for his latest movie. Oh well, here comes the Pink Panther remake.

    Syriana – Another frighteningly topical film regarding the cause-and-effect of international politics and poor judgement on part of major governments (*wink*), this is the latest feature from producers George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh’s production company Section Eight (Good Night, And Good Luck.). Writer/director Stephen Gaghan, who also wrote Traffic, did a decent job but allowed last minute deus ex machina to drive the narrative to a screeching halt. The acting is pretty great throughout with a standout role by George Clooney, but Matt Damon’s character was trite and seemed to be in the wrong movie. Still better than most political thrillers, it just needed some a little more reworking to be great.

    Eros – An omnibus from an eclectic collection of filmmakers, Eros suffers most from having pieces that share little in common. Wong Kar-wai’s “The Hand” is the most romantic and saddening story you’ll probably ever see about a handjob, but still felt like it would have been better served as a separate feature. Steven Soderbergh’s “Equilibrium” was fantastic, but probably too non-narrative for the crowd this film seemed to be aiming for. Michelangelo Antonioni’s short, “The Dangerous Thread of Things”, was so dependant on the viewer having had a previous and deepened exposure to the auteur’s work that even the introduction and music with the director’s name wasn’t enough to prepare anyone. Though “Thread” seems to be universally reviled, this reviewer was absolutely captivated by it with a few reservations. However, I bet you’ll be hard pressed to find another master filmmaker in their 80s, rendered crippled and speechless by a stroke who can design a piece as beautiful as this. Overall, this entire film is better left for the hardcore film enthusiasts.

    Nolan's Personal List of Top 10 News Stories of the Year:

    Not meant to compete with CNN's or FOX's or Time Magazine's list, this is what impressed me most in 2005:

    Most Important:

  • Record Hurricanes/Katrina. This is a no-brainer as we set an all-time record number of name storms and hurricanes. Hurricane Katrina becomes the costliest of all time and devastates New Orleans and parts of Mississippi.
  • Death of Pope John Paul II. His successor, Pope Benedict, certainly has his work cut out for him following in the footsteps of the highly-influential pontiff, but the seque is smooth and Benedict starts reforms himself.
  • The War in Iraq continued to consume the administration's efforts as Bush kept up his defense against ever-growing public dissension, and his poll numbers dropped to the floor. The first inklings of troop withdrawl get mumbled by Rumsfeld toward year's end.
  • Supreme Court Shake-ups. Sandra Day O' Connor retires, then William Rehnquist dies. John Roberts is nominated and passes quickly, Harriet Miers faces a rockier road and is kicked out before the paperwork gets cold. Samuel Alito's examination picks up in January. Roe v Wade, as usual, is the center of attention.
    My Personal Favorites:
  • The Runaway Bride. Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, fled her hometown in Georgia just days before she was to be married. Called a case of "cold feet" she and her family subsequently blamed her cross-country escapade on mental problems (duh), and she was ordered to partially repay the money spent looking for her. As far as I know, the marriage is still suspended. The pictures of her mowing lawns for community service hours are priceless. I wonder what it's like to live with this kind of humiliation. Can't wait for the TV movie.
  • Tom Cruise's Nutbag Antics. First he jumps up and down on Oprah's couch proclaiming his wild love for Katie Holmes, then goes on NBC's Today show and reads Matt Lauer the riot act on the bogusness of psychiatry. I did like Tom in War of the Worlds, but I'm starting to wonder who's actually from another planet---or, ironically, who's in need of a head-shrinker. I can easily picture him at Arkham Asylum between The Joker and The Riddler mumbling about the effects of Bat-Gas or something.
  • Michael Jackson's Trial. Had to happen, this time it would seem with the accuser's mother being an established schiester herself it would be a slam-dunk, but the defense had some close calls. Although the verdict is "not guilty", some members of the jury still believe Jackson's a pedophile. Jackson abandons his Neverland Ranch and moves to the Middle East.
  • Evolution vs Creationism. This has always been a personal favorite subject for debate, but never in my life have I seen such attention paid to it as I have the past few years, and this year in particular. Schools and their textbooks go on trial as pressure groups, religious groups, and science groups all meet to do battle over our origins. "Creationism" is dropped in favor of "Intelligent Design" I suppose because it sounds marginally more scientific. The good news is many schools do stick with evolution (without the previously required "just a theory" disclaimer), but there will always be pockets of resistance that will stick with the theory of magic.
    Honorable mentions:
  • The Natalie Holloway disappearance. Definitely one of the most tragic and weird kidnappings in recent memory as high school student Natalie Holloway, while vacationing in Aruba, is apparently kidnapped and vanishes without a trace. All her alleged captors are arrested, questioned, then released, leaving the family in despair with no idea if she's alive or dead. Later, rumors surface of Natalie's possible conscription into sex slavery. Bizarre and unsubstantiated, but if true, at least she's alive.
  • The Gas Price Scandal (what I'm calling it) where the fat-cats at the top of the oil food chain, once paraded before Congress, mysteriously found ways of dropping prices below $2.00 a gallon from an all-time high of well over $3.00. Short-lived as it was...as soon as the heat was off, prices crept up again.
  • Martha Stewart's Release From Prison. Did the crime, did the time. Her success now could be greater than before IF she "keeps her nose clean". Her rival production of The Apprentice didn't fly, but hey, you can't do everything well.

    The Graveyard of Fallen PCR Columns
    Asian Film UpdateI had met Drew Reiber's friend Peter Card at MegaCon and we started a casual email correspondence. I pitched to Peter the notion of consolidating his vast Asian Film knowledge into a column. The result was Asian Film Update, a really good column for insiders. Unfortunately, almost as soon as Peter started the column, his prioities changed to German filmmakers. Asian Film Update ended after only 6 installments. Peter pledged to return with a new column, but so far hasn't. We wish Peter the very best on all his future endeavors. Chiller CinemaAround the time Peter Card started "Asian Film Update", Drew Reiber began "Chiller Cinema" (originally titled "Horror Update"). In retrospect, Drew's over-the-top enthusiasm for the approaching Land of the Dead premiere (plus extensive message board defenses of same) put him in the mood for a regular horror column. However, after the summer his priorities shifted to subjects of more global appeal and Chiller Cinema was retired after only 4 installments (including the one titled "Horror Update").
    The OgreClayton "The Ogre" Smith was one of four South Tampa youths I recruited early in 2004 to help flesh out the younger ranks of PCR. The others were Nick "Rex" King, Joshua "Black Dog" Montgomery, and Dylan "The Drow" Jones. All made very impressive debuts as they talked about life as twenty-somethings in fandom. Clayton's material touched mainly on dating and nightlife. He contributed 5 columns in 2004, but after only 2 in 2005, he apparently found greener pastures elsewhere. We wish Clayton the very best in his future endeavors. Nicholas RexWOOPS! In an earlier edtion of this week's PCR, I had proclaimed "Nicholas Rex" dead, then his year-ender showed up! I wasn't too sure about this one anyway as I saw Nick "Nicholas Rex" King just a few weeks ago and he still seemed gung-ho about writing, but I hadn't heard anything since. I still think it's a gray area, so I've tipped his tombstone over for the time being, 'cuz he IS such a cool guy. Of the "punk four-'04" gang, Nick's columns came off as the most quietly cerebral and articulate. He contributed 5 columns in 2004 and (now) 4 in 2005. Like "Ogre", life changes have made his continued participation in PCR problematical (heart's in the right place, tho).
    The Digital DivideVery few writers have had the impact on Nolan's Pop Culture Review than Terence Nuzum has had over the long haul. Like William Moriaty, Terence raised the bar and set sky-high standards on whatever he did. The Digital Divide was intended by me to be a general purpose music review column, but Terence made it his own in short order, and despite a few guest writers along the way, the column is identified with Terence exclusively. Dozens/hundreds of top-drawer CD and concert reviews later, Ter simply burned out on the format and is no longer interested in reviewing CDs. Instead, his attention has turned to music history and his new column, The Audio Philes . OddservationsYou nay have noticed the question mark on the tombstone--that's because Andy Lalino's intentions have not been made very clear of late. At one time one of PCRs most prolific writers, Andy has become rather reclusive lately and his landmark column, "Oddservations", a bastion of crazed fandom of the '70s/'80s, has been harder to come by this year. Andy's obssesively one-note "nothing-past-1987-is-worth-a-damn" approach to pop culture was irritating to some, but so over-the-top you couldn't help but be entertained by his column! I miss it myself. Andy has become involved with a new film company, new film projects, and the very enigmatic Horror Channel, all of which is, presumably, what's got him tied up.
    Well, I did put a question mark on Vinnie Blesi's "Couch Potato Confessions" 2004 stone after all; I had faith he'd return once...er...undesirable elements were taken care of...to bring us more stinging info-satire (I just coined that). And Dylan Jones' "The Drow" made an extremely impressive return late in 2005 as this young man really found his groove--far more cerebral and spiritual than last year. So....their tombstones from last year are officially tipped over, 'cuz THEY'RE BACK!
    Tipped Tombstones!

    My Favorite PCR Issues of 2005

    Looking back over the Archives, I was impressed at the generally high consistency we had over the year regarding good writer turn-out, provocative headlines, interesting articles and a decent Lettercol. It made picking only 10 top (or "favorite" actually) issues very difficult. The only real bummer is how many times I linked to something on the message board that no longer exists. The board was meant to bolster the articles and the interactivity with the readers, and it did, but of course I never imagined we would lose it again. Some messages are salvagable and will be re-posted (after a fashion) and re-linked in time. But for now, many back issues contain dead links to the old board.

    I considered nominating issues that reported the progress of NolanCon in its early stages, but decided it might be too depressing and couldn't really put my heart into it anyway. The one sort of exception is my birthday bash issue which would've coincided with the convention if it had happened.

    10. As is traditional in my list, I count backwards from ten to one, and start out 10 & 9 with my usual cop-out of general-purpose topics as an issue selection. It drives people nuts, but it's how I see the magazine in perspective. That said: Any issue with a good writer turn-out, good photos, and decent Lettercol is a favorite. Which was most of 'em! We had a pretty consistent year.
    9. Any PCR issue that featured a Romeo Coffeehouse Review story with pictures.
    8. #300 2005 Year-Ender, part 1 because of the terrific, nearly unprecedented writer turn-out and great articles.
    7. #301 2005 Year-Ender, part 2 because of the terrific, nearly unprecedented writer turn-out and even greater articles.
    6. #291 Halloween, part 1. Halloween Horror Picture Show '05 coverage with pictures. Hurricane Wilma. Last Coffeehouse meeting reviewed. Terence does Alice Cooper.
    5. #292 Halloween, part 2. ED Tucker on ScreamFest '05. Terence does Frank Zappa. Nolan on Evolution vs Creationism, which spurred more letters than any other single topic this year. A message board thread was started about it just before it crashed. All that and a really great writer turn-out made this one an instant classic.
    4. #254 ED Tucker and Marina Sirtis do battle at the F/X Show. The posted nudie pic of Sirtis caused immediate chaos and was removed after 24 hours. A minor distraction from an otherwise really great write-up.
    3. #284 Lauré Piper takes over the PCR while I'm in the hospital. The "Message From Nolan" link in that issue is currently dead as it linked to the now-defunct version of the board. Whatever I wrote to the fans is lost for a while, but the general intent was to inform everyone of my post-hospitalization recovery progress.
    2. #258 MegaCon/MegaConned/Academy Awards. ED and I write up our traditional pilgramage to Orlando. Also in this issue, Mike & Phillip Smith, and Matt Drinnenberg rate their Oscar picks after the winners are announced. I also review the ABC TV UFO special hosted by Peter Jennings.
    1. #282 The Weekend That Was (My 50th birthday bash). The last event my old digital camera---the one responsible for 95% of all the photos on this website---would ever record as it went belly-up that night. The event itself was bittersweet in some respects, of course, but it was a memorable and positive experience. A very highly eclectic mixture of revelers that will likely not gather under the same roof again! We still talk about that to this day.

    Thank You
    I want to publicly thank the good folks who help me put this 'zine together, 'cuz I sure don't do it alone. The list is rather different from the last two years' worth and I didn't want to repeat myself with lengthy bios, but the following folks deserve a mention:

    Mike Smith, who's been with me from the beginning, who's never missed an issue, and for being there no matter how hard it got and how late in the week.
    Lauré Piper, new to this list and may be the only time she's ever mentioned as an MVP, but she was really there when I needed her. Took over PCR for the one week in 6 years I absolutely couldn't.
    Will Moriaty and Terence Nuzum. Both are among the best friends I have ever had, and have always supported me and helped me maintain a high standard for this 'zine whether they were actively writing columns or not. The articles they contributed in 2005 were of the highest caliber.
    ED Tucker, Brandon Jones, and Jason Liquori. No matter what the outcome, these gentlemen helped launch NolanCon. We all learned a lot. Ed has also contributed some of our finest special articles. Of special note is his interview with Ray Dennis Steckler. "Jason's Jungle" by Mr. Liquori turned out to be the only regularly-updated video on The World of Nolan for which I am grateful beyond words. Brandon's late in the year return with "Splash Page" was extremely welcome.
    Christopher Woods. Made the only NolanCon TV commercial known to man (which I will upload to the site one day, I swear), was my ride to the Coffeehouse on several occasions and helped fill in with movie reviews from same when I couldn't. His film fandom and support for the local scene is second to none. His two-part tribute to Crazed Fanboy on his ICON website was incredibly moving and helped get me through the dark times.
    Vinnie Blesi (The Couch Potato). Besides the stinging satire of his column, he is a huge uncredited help behind-the-scenes, watches my back and supports the site through his long-running sponsor link.

    I also want to thank:
    Matt Drinnenberg, Drew Reiber
    (great interview with George A. Romero! Keep up the message board shenanigans), Lisa Clardy (for the F-Bod sponsor link--thanks!), Mark Terry (you've made quite a splash---keep up the good work!), Dylan Jones (the reverend, that is), Clayton Smith, Nicholas King, Joshua Montgomery, Peter Card and Andy Lalino.

    Y'all have a great party!! See you on the other side in 2006!! ---Nolan B. Canova

  • 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    "The Audio Philes" is ©2005 by Terence Nuzum    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2005 by Mike Scott    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2005 by Mark Terry    "The Black Dog Bites Back" is ©2005 by Joshua Montgomery    "Nicholas Rex" is ©2005 by Nick King      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