As I write this Wednesday evening, I've just learned of the passing of actor Chris Penn, who has been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw him more then 20 years ago in "Footloose." Penn was found in his condo this evening and no cause of death has been given. Penn came from a show business family. His late father, Leo, was a respected director for television. His mother, Eileen Ryan, is an actress. Her mother, Irene Ryan, was best known as Granny on "The Beverly Hillbillies." One brother, Sean, is an Oscar winning actor while his other brother, Michael, is a musician. Among my favorite Penn roles: Travis in "Best of the Best" and Nice Guy Eddie in "Reservoir Dogs." His other films include "True Romance," "Wild Life,"
"All the Right Moves," "Rumblefish" and "At Close Range," where he played the brother of real life brother Sean.
Also sad to learn of the passing of actor Tony Franciosa, who suffered a stroke and died last week at the age of 77. Best known for his television work in "The Name of the Game" and "Matt Helm," Franciosa also found fame on Broadway, earning a Tony Award nomination for his portrayal as the brother of a heroin addict in "A Hatful of Rain."
He later earned an Oscar nomination for the film version. He was also very active during the 1960s civil rights movement, taking part in many marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
DIE AND YOU FORFEIT THE GAME
A lot has been written recently about the poor officiating taking place in professional sports. Two weeks ago a referee overturned a clear interception during the Steelers/Colts game. What made the call even more horrendous was the fact that the official had the benefit of using instant replay and still got it wrong. The call was so blatantly wrong that the NFL made a point of publicly apologizing for the mistake. But the referee in a recent college basketball game gets this years "dunce" award. During the game Houston coach Tom Penders collapsed and dropped to his knees on the sideline, drawing a technical foul from the official, who thought he was protesting a foul call. Even though he was carried off the court on a stretcher and administered oxygen the official refused to reverse the call. The opposing team was granted two free throws, which they made, eventually winning the game 82-79.
YEAH, I MIGHT GET HURT...THAT'S THE TICKET
San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds has decided he will not play for the United States in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Bonds stated that he did not want to risk injuring himself prior to the season starting. I guess that means he won't be going to spring training either. I'm sure the fact that all participants have to take a mandatory drug test didn't even enter into Bond's decision.
MATT IS NOW HYPERVENTILATING
March 28th will bring the release of "Planet of the Apes: The Ultimate DVD Collection." This 14 disc set will include all five of the original films as well as the recent Tim Burton version. Also included is the "Beyond the Planet of the Apes" special, the entire 1974 TV series and the 1975 animated series "Return to the Planet of the Apes." The entire collection will come in an ape-head package featuring the face of Caesar (Roddy McDowall) from "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes." Suggested price is $180.00 so start saving those pennies now.
GET WELL SOON
Please say a prayer for singer/songwriter/5th Beatle Billy Preston, who is recovering from an infection of the sac surrounding his heart. Along with his work with the Fab Four (he plays the organ solo on "Get Back), Preston had major hits with "Nothing from Nothing," "Outa-Space" and "Will It Go Around In Circles."
Look for my choices for the Academy Award nominations. I'll have them in to Nolan Monday evening. Though I've done very well in my predictions
MY FAVORITE FILMS - CHAPTER 4
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Sigourney Weaver
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
FIRST SEEN: Harford Mall, Bel Air, Maryland
FAVORITE LINE: "I looked at the trap, Ray"
FAVORITE SCENE: When the boys first encounter a ghost and the cigarette hangs off of Aykroyd's bottom lip. Just a funny shot to me.
Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song and Best Visual Effects.
Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture (Musical/Comedy), Bill Murray for
Best Actor (Musical/Comedy) and Best Original Song.
Named Best Fantasy Film by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
A huge hit in the summer of 1984, "Ghostbusters" was originally conceived by Dan Aykroyd as a film for him and his long time partner, John Belushi. After Belushi's death, the studio suggested Bill Murray. Murray agreed to do the film in exchange for Columbia financing "The Razor's Edge," which featured Murray in his first dramatic role. Of course, he received terrible reviews but has obviously proven critics wrong with recent films, including an Oscar nomination for "Lost in Translation." The script, by Aykroyd and Ramis, is full of great one liners, many delivered by Murray at his wise cracking best. The film inspired a sequel as well as a long running animated series, featuring the beloved Slimer. Incidentally, director Reitman was fined by the Directors Guild for his directing credit appearing at the end of the film instead of at the beginning.
Next week will feature the first "guest" of the year as Dana Goudreault joins me in tackling another Murray film, "Groundhog Day."
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.