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PCR #304. (Vol. 7, No. 3) This edition is for the week of January 16--22, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! The award season is in full swing and, in honor of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin sends the civil rights movement back 50 years. Shall we begin?

"Match Point"  by Mike Smith
Kong vs Kong vs Kong  by Mark Terry
Hell is War, War is Heaven...  Dylan Jones
I'm a Rondo Nominee!!!..MOH Updates....Birthday Wishes....Peter Jackson's King Kong  by Matt Drinnenberg
But First....What 'Choo Talkin' 'Bout, Ray?...Award Time....Did You Hear That Pin Drop?....Please Grow Up!...One More....Passing On....See Ya!...My Favorite Films--Chapter 3  by Mike Smith
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Ever since AOL crashed on me during a marathon writing session I have taken to preparing the rant off line and then sending it on to Nolan after it is completed. In doing this I sometimes miss notes I've made. One of the ones I missed last week concerned some special birthday wishes for some special people. A very belated happy birthday to my two band mates, Matt and Scott. I'm digging out the video of us this weekend to remember what it was like when all our ages added together was closer to 50 then 100! Also happy birthday to young Mr. Castellano! Hope your dad got you a drum kit!

Speaking during a tribute to the late civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin told the predominantly black audience that God sent Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, among others, to the gulf coast because He is angry with America and the black community. "Surely He is upset at black America....we're not taking care of ourselves," Nagin told the crowd. Hey, Kanye West. Looks like someone a little more powerful then George W. Bush doesn't like black people either Nagin also stated that New Orleans was a chocolate city and that it will be rebuilt as such. "This city will be a majority African-=American city. That's the way God wants it to be." OK, I'm confused. God is pissed at black America but He wants New Orleans to be a major black city.

Congratulations to the major winners of the Golden Globes this past Monday. With wins in four categories, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Song, "Brokeback Mountain" gained momentum as Oscar nominations are being voted on. Also making a strong showing was "Walk the Line," which gained awards for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and for lead actor and actress Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. The Director's Guild released their list of nominees for this year. They are:

GEORGE CLOONEY for "Good Night, and Good Luck"
PAUL HAGGIS for "Crash"
ANG LEE for "Brokeback Mountain"

Speaking of "Munich," the other night I saw the film again and was shocked by a trailer for an upcoming film entitled, "Flight 93." Yes, the film is about the passengers on board the plane that crashed in the fields of Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. Not too much response from the audience when the trailer began. A large radar screen with blips and beeps, accompanied by transmissions. Pretty standard stuff. However, when "9/11/01" hit the screen, you would have thought everyone in the theatre had been punched in the stomach. The general idea I got was that, 1. it was too soon for a 9/11 film and, 2, what kind of people would try to make money off of such a tragedy? With Oliver Stone and Nicolas Cage currently filming the story of two Port Authority Policemen who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center, I wonder if it is too soon for these wounds to be opened.

This is for all the idiots who have nothing better to do then poke fun at "Brokeback Mountain." Maybe it's just here in Kansas where, a few days before my four star review ran in the paper a letter to the editor blamed pretty much every problem in the world, from floods and famine to the heartbreak of psoriasis, on the acceptance of alternate lifestyles. What I find incredulous is that these morons always preface their comments with, "Hell no I haven't seen it." Yes, they are cowboys. Yes, they fall in love. Get over it!

OK, last movie thought. Am I the only one that nearly fell off the couch when Brandon Routh, soon to be seen as the Man of Steel in "Superman Returns," walked on stage at the Golden Globes and donned a pair of glasses? The resemblance he bore to Christopher Reeve was uncanny. I hope he brings Reeve's heart and passion to the part as well.

Very sad to hear of the passing of Shelly Winters. Probably best remembered by today's generation for appearing on the television show, "Rosanne," she went from a Hollywood glamour girl to one of the most respected character actresses in film history. After appearing in early roles similar to her roommate, Marilyn Monroe, Winters began to stretch her chops by taking roles that were much darker. Films like "A Place In the Sun," "Lolita" and "Alfie" allowed her to make smaller roles stand out. She won two Academy Awards as Best Supporting Actress for "A Patch Of Blue" and "The Diary Of Anne Frank." She was nominated twice more, including for her role as Belle Rosen in "The Poseidon Adventure." I may have mentioned this story before, but it's one of my favorites. When director Penny Marshall was casting the film "Awakenings," Shelly Winters expressed an interest in playing the part of Robert DeNiro's mother. Marshall asked her to audition for the part and set an appointment. Winters, who hadn't been asked to read for a role in decades, arrived at the meeting with a shopping bag in hand. Sitting at the desk she reached into the bag and slowly removed an Oscar statuette and placed it on the desk. She then reached back and pulled another Oscar out and set it next to the first. She looked at Marshall and said, "Some people in this town think I can act," put the awards back in the bag and walked out. She didn't get the part, but what a way to state your case. Miss Winters was 85.

Walter Haut, who as a lieutenant in the Army caused an uproar still felt today, passed away this week at the age of 93. It was while stationed at Roswell, New Mexico that Haut issued a news release about a flying saucer landing at the local base.

Normally I wouldn't rejoice when bad things happen to others. However, today I'm going to make an exception. When I lived in Baltimore I slowly developed a dislike for Baltimore Sun columnist Michael Olesker. I thought his writing sucked and his television commentaries sucked even more. I lost all respect for the man when he backed up a claim by the local weatherman who had been arrested for soliciting a prostitute. Mr. Stormcloud told police that he was researching a news story on prostitution and Olesker backed him up in print. I should add that it's been 20 years since this happened and, to date, no story has ever appeared. When I left for Kansas my friends gave me a great send off party, complete with a top 10 list of reasons Kansas was better than Baltimore. How funny that #1 was, "No Michael Olesker." Last week the Sun fired Olesker when it was discovered that over the years he had been "borrowing" (his words) the writings of others and putting his name on it. Olesker claims that when he did research for stories he wrote down "notes" and then, when submitting his work, would forget what "notes" he had gotten and from where. Hey Mike, copy this down: YOU'RE FIRED!

Starring: Faye Dunaway, Peter Finch, William Holden, Beatrice Straight
Directed by: Sidney Lumet

FIRST SEEN: Britton Plaza Cinema, Tampa, Florida
FAVORITE LINE: "Fuck you too, honey!"
FAVORITE SCENE: Newsman Howard Beale (Finch) rails at everything in the world, encouraging viewers who feel the same as he to scream "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
AWARDS: Won Academy Awards for Best Actor (Finch), Actress (Dunaway), Supporting Actress (Straight) and Best Original Screenplay by Paddy Chayefsky. Nominated for six other Oscars, including Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor (Ned Beatty). Finch was the first performer to win an Academy Award posthumously. Finch also won the Golden Globe and BAFTA award for Best Actor.

I would have loved to have seen explained the fact that the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films nominated "Network" as one of the "Best Science Fiction" films of the year.

Locally, Dunaway was voted Best Actress by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle.

"Network" is one of those film rarities in that it is perfect. A great cast (indeed, "Network" was only the second film in history to have three Oscar winning performances), a great director (why Sidney Lumet hasn't won an Oscar is unfathomable, though he did receive an honorary award last year) and a brilliant script by one of the greatest screenwriters ever, Paddy Chayefsky. It was almost laughable to see the television programming Chayefsky envisioned: Psychics. Reality Programming. Talking heads pontificating about anything that would get a rise out of the viewing public. Huge corporations running the airwaves, only out for the almighty dollar. Pretty preposterous, wouldn't you say?

The film is full of great performances. Ned Beatty admonishing Finch across a long table in a dimly lit boardroom. Beatrice Straight's quiet outrage when she discovers her husband has had an affair. Robert Duval yelling "it's a hit! A BIG FAT TITTIED HIT!" about his newest show. And, of course, William Holden's words to Dunaway when he discovers their affair is over (see above). "Rocky" won the Oscar for Best Picture that year and, in my opinion, deservedly so. It certainly was my favorite film of 1976. But I will say here that had "Network" won I wouldn't have argued too loudly. Like I said. Perfect.

Next week I'll be answering that timeless question, "Who you gonna call," and discuss "Ghostbusters."

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.