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PCR #306. (Vol. 7, No. 5) This edition is for the week of January 30--February 5, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Another short one this week. The Oscar nominations have conservatives in a tizzy. Surprised they noticed through all of that applause Tuesday night. And we mourn the passing of a great woman. Shall we begin?

La Floridiana Lite: Will to Appear at Florida Collectibles and Vintage Memorabilia Show....Fall Debut Shows Redux  by WIll Moriaty
The Academy Award Nominations  by Mike Smith
MegaCon 2006: Looking Ahead, Part 1....Profanity in "Deadwood"....Remembering the Challenger  by Brandon Jones
Oscar Snub  by Mark Terry
Wal-Mart Mess....Rondo Reminder....Bush: The Liar....Masters of Horror Update  by Matt Drinnenberg
Reunited....But Then He Lost Me....Oscar Time....My Favorite Films--Chapter 5  by Mike Smith
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Last week, when I noted the passing of Tony Franciosa, I mentioned that he was very active in the Civil Rights movement, often marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This week I am saddened to observe the death of Dr. King's widow, Coretta Scott King. Mrs. King died this week at the age of 78 from complications brought on by a stroke she suffered in August of last year. Where Jackie Kennedy tried to uphold her husband's image, she quickly lost some good will after marrying Aristotle Onassis. Mrs. King never remarried and continued the fight her husband started, working not only for civil rights for Americans, but around the world as well. President Bush paid tribute to Mrs. King at the beginning of his State of the Union speech, assuring "a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago."

I agree with Nolan on the President's speech. "Stay the Course." What the hell does that mean? Are we to continue fighting a senseless war? Are we to continue neglecting those who need assistance? And, hey, thanks for remembering that big Hurricane that hit New Orleans. And what's with the partisan seating? I'm pretty sure that our elected officials don't normally sit with the Democrats on one side of the room and the Republicans on the other. I mean, it wasn't the ninth grade prom, was it? And since when did the State of the Union address become a cheer fest? It used to be that the President would give his speech and, when he struck a particularly rousing moment, would pause for applause. This year the Republican members of Congress clapped at every thing "W" said. I imagine if he had declared, "Today I wiped my own ass," the place would have sounded like Yankee Stadium when Lou Gehrig said goodbye.

With this week's Oscar nominations recognizing "Brokeback Mountain," "Syriana," "Transamerica," Capote" and others, conservatives are accusing the film industry of demoralizing America. Where were they in 1983 when "Tootsie," "Victor/Victoria" and "The World According to Garp" pulled major nominations. These films dealt with cross dressing, homosexuality and even sex change (Oscar nominated John Lithgow in "Garp.") Yet not a peep back then. Hopefully after the awards are given out on March 5th those worry worts can turn their attention to less important matters, like getting this country back to what it was before. Even back to what it was in 1983.

Starring: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot and Stephen Tobolowsky
Directed by: Harold Ramis

FIRST SEEN: Yorkridge Cinema, Towson, Maryland
FAVORITE LINE: "I'm A God. Not THE God....I don't think."
FAVORITE SCENE: When Phil finally wakes up on February 3rd, lesson learned.

  • BAFTA and London Film Critics Circle awards for Best Original Screenplay.

    If you are reading this let me wish you a happy Groundhog Day! Yes, you probably didn't even notice that February 2nd has come (and possibly gone, depending on when you're reading this). So what better way to celebrate the season by remembering one of the best comedies of the 1990s.

    The idea of having to relive the same day over and over again may appeal to some. I know I've wondered the idea myself. Wouldn't it be great to be able to do whatever we wanted, no matter the consequences, knowing that when the sun rose again it would be the same day, a clean slate to start all over? What would you do with such a gift? Not only is the film well done, to me it signals the first of the many great performances Bill Murray has given. This isn't the smart assed Peter Venkman from "Ghostbusters," or the maniacal television program director from "Scrooged." This is Murray's first complete character and he hits a home run.

    But don't take my word for it. Joining me this week is screenwriter and friend Dana Goudreault :

    Groundhog Day (1993)

    Directed by: Harold Ramis

    Written by: Danny Rubin & Harold Ramis

    Favorite Line: "What if there is no tomorrow? There wasn't one today! Hello? Hell-lo??"

    Favorite Scene: The revealing Diner scene with a worn-out Phil confiding in Rita.

    Why do I like this movie? I don't. I L.O.V.E this movie. The reasons are plentiful, from the fantasical concept of having a poor guy relive his worst day over and over again, to the side-splitting sarcastic wit of Bill Murray as the unfortunate weatherman caught up in his own unpredictable "storm", and finally, to my favorite part, the straight through the heart "romantic" angle, where Phil discovers the woman of his dreams and sets forth to win her over. Easy you say? Not quite, as poor Phil finds out over and over again. After suffering through countless days of increasingly painful efforts, doing more and more and more, only to have it backfire on him, he eventually comes to find that the key to winning her over was so easy, he missed it...every single day. And so his misery continued on.

    What was the key? That's revealed in my favorite scene, but you have to look a bit hard to see it yourself.

    Phil confides in Rita everything that he has been going through. He is visibly worn to the bone. She, of course, doesn't believe him and this is where he sets off to prove it to her. He does this by telling her intimate details about all the people in the diner...people they have just met for the first time just minutes before.

    The beauty of it to me, is that because he knows all this about each person, you realize he has actually sat down and listened to these people talk about themselves. He listened! To see this coming from the guy who at the beginning of the movie, answers a question from an old high scholl alumni like this..."What are you doing for lunch?" "Something else".

    Because he did the simple most courteous thing you can do for another individual...listening...he found himself face to face with his dream girl and he won her heart by telling her everything she wanted to hear. He told her all about herself and why it was he needed her so desperately to believe him. He didn't want to get back to the life he had. He wanted life to go on so that he could have HER. Nothing else mattered to him and...in that one glorious scene, you know that he has found his way, that he was going to get his girl. And the magic was all in "listening". It's a wonderful message and it's never been delivered better in any other movie. That's why I L.O.V.E "Groundhog Day".

    Next week I'll revisit the Beatles as I comment on their first (and best) film, "A Hard Day's Night."

    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.