PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #206  (Vol. 5, No. 10)  This edition is for the week of March 1--7, 2004.

"Starsky and Hutch"
 by Mike Smith
Academy Awards Oddsverations....Indecency Hearings
 by Andy Lalino
Gay Marriage Amendment
 by Mike Scott
The Ghosts of Columbine
 by Joshua Montgomery
Collectible Card Games and You
 by Dylan Jones
P.C. Aftermath: The Response
 by Nick King
Ybor's Ups And Downs
 by Clayton Smith
The Passion in Brooksville....I Wanted the Scarecrow....FCC and the Sponge, Follow-Up....WMD At The Academy Awards?....Things I Didn't Know But Probably Should Have
 by Brandon Jones
And The Winner Is....In Other News....How Could She See Over The Wheel?....March 5th....Meet The Beatles, Part 7
 by Mike Smith
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The Passion in Brooksville

Down the street from my office in Brooksville is a small theater with about ten screens. The cinema is always empty and I’m waiting for the “For Lease” to go up any day. Well, until last Wednesday. If I didn’t know about the opening of “The Passion of the Christ”, I’d have thought it was a Bingo Wednesday. The parking lot was full and overflowing into the adjacent lot.

“Spider-Man”, “LOTR”, “Star Wars” never did that. Wow!

While I’m struggling to refute Nolan’s comments that it is a glorified snuff film, my real problem was that it was such a WEAK film. Mel Gibson considered omitting subtitles, which is why there is so little dialogue, but there is soooo little plot. The blood and gore become almost ridiculous at a couple of points and the violence overshadows the feeble attempts to portray the teachings of Jesus.

Just a pet peeve, but the title is not ‘The Passion” or even “The Passion of Christ” but “The Passion of THE Christ.” There is enormous meaning in the use of the word “THE’ in the title. We are so busy and need to shorten everything, so I’ll use “TPOTC.”

Sorry, I digress.

The characters are not well introduced, in fact, if we took a survey I bet very few would properly identify the prophet with Mary throughout the film. Even though, this prophet is key to the authorship of the very text that our filmmaker is “quoting.”

I didn’t really care for the film, but I did enjoy the experience – in the same way that I identified and enjoyed the violent opening twenty minutes of “Saving Private Ryan.” My personal beliefs would have been more enriched if I had seen this film when I was sixteen. People that are placing the film on a pedestal are so misguided and pathetic. It furthers the argument that we, as a society, are cattle and need principles and ideas spoon fed to us.

A note of fall from all of this: what now? Will the money hungry Hollywood community fast tract religious themed films to cash in while the irons are hot? Since most execs in tinsel town are Jewish, would that make them hypocrites? Will that family of the Wichita woman that passed away after seeing “TPOTC” sue Mel Gibson? Will Mel Gibson’s career suffer from this film?

My predictions: Yes. Yes. Most Likely. Doubtful.

I wanted the Scarecrow

Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai”) is Ra’s Al Ghul (I know he’s Japanese, not Arabic – still a great choice) and Morgan Freeman runs Wayne Enterprises (Lucious Fox) – add in Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes and Cillian Murphy (“28 Days Later”) as the master of fear, Scarecrow.

Michael Caine’s participation lends some confidence that David Goyer’s script will be saturated with the poor character development of its predecessors. Goyer is a hot commodity with “Blade: Trinity” also blazing through production, but I’m sceptical.

Most of the leaks this early in production on unreliable at best. Caine has signed on to do three consecutive movies and alludes to the origin story: “We start when Batman is a baby, so I’m more like a father.” He describes Christopher Nolan’s Batman as much more natural, realistic and vulnerable.

The comment that I read in Wizard (issue #149) is that Batman is strong and powerful: “…because he does push-ups.”

Maybe there’s hope.

The appeal of Batman has always been that he’s a REAL guy. I know the almighty WB will demand the obligatory love interest storyline for Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne (hence Katie Holmes), but now we have the confirmation of two villains. I preferred the isolated story arcs that reveal the villain’s motivations and allow for the struggles of Batman to carry the story.

My fear is that Bruce Wayne will be forgotten as the film bounces between the villainous plots leaving the audience empty.

Lastly, the debate on the title continues with “Batman: The Intimidation Game”, “Batman Begins.” Well, Batman has returned, lasted forever – they’re running out of cliches.

Other Movie comments:

“Indiana Jones 4” got bumped to 2006 and “Elektra” got director Rob Bowman (“The X-Files” film, “Reign of Fire”) to go with Jennifer Garner to cement a 2005 date.

The FCC squeezes out the Sponge – follow up

A day or so after I sent my final copy for last week, Clear Channel dropped the Howard Stern show. While Infinity Broadcasting owns Stern’s pioneering and shocking show, it’s widely syndicated on Clear Channel stations.

Clear Channel implemented a new “zero tolerance” policy for indecent content. Stern is screaming persecution and censorship, which shows how misguided he’s become. Hey Howie, the government didn’t shut you down, you got fired! Blame the antics of Bubba and hefty, intimidating fine.

The free speech argument doesn’t allow you free reign to be vulgar and offensive on public airwaves. Well, not when there’s money at stake.

WMD at the Academy Awards?

Yep, Sean Penn ruined an otherwise tolerable award ceremony by inserting ignorant political conjecture where it is not needed. No one cares about his snide remarks toward the WMD debate. Does anyone care about the military or political opinions of an actor?

On this note, if you haven’t read the David Kay report – go look it up. I’m still trying to clarify the definition of a WMD, which is obviously not any missile that not yet loaded with a biochemical or nuclear agent.

So, please remember to acquire all of the lab equipment needed, the appropriate hazardous materials and a the large projectile – just don’t put them all together before you are ready for use. Sounds like the instructions on the Betty Crocker box.

Speaking of WMD, I didn’t know they were also in Haiti. Well, isn’t that the definitive reason to flex our military muscle? No. Okay, I’m confused. The Vietnam War was a bad idea. Our behavior in Iraq is a misuse of power, but we should intervene in Haiti, from one quote: “…without the UN.”

I’m glad that there’s not a double standard in politics. We should learn from our actions right?

Why wouldn’t we support Aristide as he has eliminated that drug trafficking that impedes our country after we mistakenly removed a dictator from power who has slaughtered thousands of his own people? We should side ourselves with the stable government leaders and NOT the repressed civilians that are suffering – I knew I could sort this out.

Now, what to do with Zimbabwe?

Things I Didn’t Know, but Probably Should Have

William Hung Mania continues? Laugh all you want. He performed live on “American Idol” with choreographed dancers. Entertaining – yes. Sad and pathetic – Absolutely. Can I look away – no, what’s wrong with me?

From the Darkness, Atlantic wants “pearly whites.” Justin Hawkins, lead singer of the 80’s style band The Darkness, has been asked by their label, Atlantic records, to “whiten his teeth.” Just shows why music continues to decline, since the artist’s appearance is more important than their talent. Trust me, if you see Justin, whiter teeth are NOT going to make a difference – this guy is no Clay Aiken. (source: The online Sun, 97x)

Biscuits or Cake? The raging Strawberry Festival debate. I read that the preferences are as clearly divided as the Mason-Dixon line. Someone tried to convince me that biscuits are a desert? I’m not eating at her house (this was instigated by an article in the Tampa Tribune, of course, I live in Strawberry country – ask our editor.)

I need a bigger TV. Thank you Robert Rodriguez. “Spy Kids 3-D” loses the effect on my puny little box. My wife said: “This would be awesome on a big screen.” I have the Best Buy ad posted throughout my house. Maybe she’ll get the hint.

Uber fanboy article. Possibly the only reason to crack the “Entertainment Weekly” is to the uber-fanboy column. Huh? You don’t know. Check out the last page, Stephen King’s column is not some stuffy criticisms of other literary works. If fact, I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at his tone. Especially this week when he discussed the MPAA, “Dawn of the Dead” and what makes his mouth drop.

Last but not least, Dr. Seuss would have been 100. March 2 marks what would have been his 100th birthday and I rejoice in his memory. From Mulberry Street to Sneeches to Green Eggs to the Lorax, I’ve been an avid fan of Theodore Seuss Geisel my whole life. One of my first college research papers was on the literary doctor. They should make it a holiday. Hell, we have Grandparents Day and Independence Day in Guam on our calendars, why not arguably the most influential writer of all time? Because he wrote kids’ books – exactly.

"Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.