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PCR #315. (Vol. 7, No. 14) This edition is for the week of April 3--9, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Well, things have calmed down some so I thought I'd make it a long one. Shall we begin?

"Ice Age: The Meltdown"  by Mike Smith
WRESTLEMANIA 22, Reviewed  by Mark Terry
Border Security is a War on Terror  by Joshua Montgomery
Matters of Faith  by Nick King
Lizard Talk....Moon Knight....Tampa Indie Film Fest IV  by John Lewis
Hate To Say I Told You So....07-27-07....The Turtle Triumphs....5,256,000 MINUTES....That '70s Show....Kill Me Now....Passing On....My Favorite Films -- Part 14: Two this week. "Jaws: The Revenge" (for laughs), and "Glory" (for real)  by Mike Smith
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Back in issue #304, I commented on how appalled I was at the trailer for an upcoming film about the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11, then called "Flight 93." I even sent a worried email to my representative at Universal (the studio releasing the film) and shared my thoughts. I was assured that the trailer was doing well. This week, the full length trailer of the film, now entitled "United 93," caused such an uproar in New York City that the theatre removed it from the screen. Though the filmmaker's intentions may be noble and well intended, I'm afraid that ANYTHING that looks like it is trying to make a buck off of that tragic day is going to face some serious resistance. I'm still not sure how this uproar will effect Oliver Stone's upcoming film, which stars Nic Cage as one of the Port Authority policemen rescued from the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Yes, the long awaited dream is now a reality as 20th Century Fox announced that a full length "Simpsons" movie will be released next summer. For those of you who didn't catch the funny trailer that aired last week, it is also running with "Ice Age: The Meltdown" at a theatre near you.

Please join me in congratulating my University of Maryland Terrapins, who won the 2006 NCAA Women's Basketball Championship this week. I told you all to fear the turtle!

5,256,000 MINUTES
Well, I'm taking some liberties here, but according to the Broadway musical, "Rent," that is roughly 10 years time. On April 24th, the original Broadway cast, including Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel and Anthony Rapp, of the multiple award winning musical will reunite for a benefit performance to raise money for Friends in Deed, the Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation and the New York Theatre Workshop. Larson wrote and directed the show, tragically passing away shortly after it opened on Broadway.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, of the top ten grossing musical tours of the past year, seven of them gained their popularity before 1978. U2 tops the list, followed by The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett and Rod Stewart. Numbers 9 and 10 were relative newcomers the Dave Matthews Band and Celine Dion. Also in the top 30: Bruce Springsteen, Barry Manilow, Aerosmith and Tom Petty.

According to a web site quote, Steven Spielberg has said that he wouldn't be surprised if in the future his sophomore effort, "Jaws," will be remade. Spielberg stated that, ever since "Jurassic Park," studios have noted that the technology exists to make almost anything real. Spielberg's reply was brought about by a reporter who questioned if there was any truth to the rumor that Tom Hanks and Tom Cruise were being considered to join Russell Crowe in the purported film.

This week we lost two very big pioneers in their fields:
Dan Curtis, who first scared me every day after school with the gothic soap opera, "Dark Shadows," died this week from a brain tumor at the age of 79. Prolific in both television and film, Curtis also produced and directed two of the greatest miniseries ever made, "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance." His feature films included two movies based on his hit show, "House of Dark Shadows" and "Night of Dark Shadows." He also directed "Burnt Offerings." Among his television credits: "Dracula," "The Night Strangler" and "Trilogy of Terror." Surprisingly, he was only nominated for four Emmy Awards throughout his career, winning one as the co-producer of "War and Remembrance".
Gene Pitney, whose distinctive voice and vocal range made him, along with his contemporary Roy Orbison, one of the greatest vocalists in rock and roll history, died this week in Wales while on tour. He was 65. No cause of death had been announced as of this writing. Known for such hits as "Town Without Pity," "Only Love Can Break a Heart," "It Hurts To Be In Love" and (The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance, Pitney would use his incredible range to fill each song with emotion. A talented songwriter, he composed hits for other artists like "Rubber Ball," "Hello Mary Lou" and "He's a Rebel.

I don't know if it was because I couldn't read the calendar or that I just couldn't resist the thought of making, "Jaws the Revenge" the butt of an April Fool's joke, but to get back on track I'm featuring two films this week. One, of course, is the aforementioned "Jaws the Piece of Crap," followed by another film that got hosed out of the Oscar race, 1989s Civil War epic, "Glory".

Starring: Lorraine Gary, Michael Caine, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles and Judith Barsi
Directed by: Joseph Sargent

FIRST SEEN: Glen Burnie 7 Theatre, Glen Burnie, Maryland
FAVORITE LINE: Like I would actually admit to having a favorite line from this stinkburger!
FAVORITE SCENE: The Universal logo before the film starts. After that, it's all downhill.

  • Winner of the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Special Effects. Nominated for six others, including Worst Picture, Director (Sargent), Actress (Gray), Actor (Bruce the Shark), Supporting Actor (Caine) and Screenplay. Surprisingly, there was an even worse film out that year, as the majority of the awards went to the Bill Cosby Coke commercial that was "Leonard Part 6."

    The poster read "This Time It's Personal, " and that's how I took it. I actually saw this film at midnight when a fellow theatre manager screened it after work. From the ludicrous idea that a shark could follow a person thousands of miles to the blasphemous use of footage from the original film (it's funny how Ellen Brody can flashback and remember moments she wasn't even part of) to the shark roaring and flying(?!?!) at the end, this is probably the film I would most hate to ever see again. Sadly, I only recently learned that Barsi, who plays Michael Brody's daughter, was killed along with her mother by her father, who had a history of mental problems. I did catch it towards the end on cable once, and was surprised to see Mario Van Peebles' character, Jake, show up at the end of the film. My surprise was caused by the fact that I had seen him eaten by the flying shark when I saw the film in the theatre. Apparently the filmmakers decided to let him live on forever on cable and home video. Also, in the theatre the shark was impaled and died. I understand that in some versions, now the shark explodes. Why, God, why? However, there are some people that do seem to enjoy this film.

    I give you the aptly named viewer named Jaws 19:

    Jaws: The Revenge

    FIRST SEEN: My house, circa 2001
    FAVORITE LINE: Does the shark roaring count as a line?
    FAVORITE SCENE: Nothing beats a shark that explodes for no reason.

    Ah, Jaws: The Revenge, where to begin? Cinema doesn't get much worse than this folks. I remember seeing JTR for the first time and not fully believing what I saw. Did that shark just roar? Yes, it did.

    JTR is the Plan 9 from Outer Space of the '80s. From its ridiculous premise (the shark wants revenge for having its siblings/parents killed in the previous films) to some notable goofs (sharks don't roar), fans of bad movies can't help but enjoy this schlockfest. It's just so incredibly bad that it's good in a very strange way. How can you not love a shark that inexplicably explodes? Playing the infamous "explosion scene" frame by frame reveals what appears to be a Play-Doh shark with a few splinters of wood sticking out of it being blown up. Cinema doesn't get much more laughable than this. Michael Caine must've been desperate if he took a role in this. He never looks like he's in this movie for anything more than a paycheck and a free trip to the Bahamas. But that's where the charm of this movie lies: in the sub-par acting, in the Razzie-winning special effects, in the wondrously bad script. At no point in this movie is it actually good, but at no point is it not in some way laughable. And isn't that what the movies are about in the first place -- entertaining us?

    Now, enjoying a movie like this is an acquired taste. Many people will watch this movie and think, "That was terrible and not enjoyable in any way whatsoever." If you enjoy bad movies or making fun of bad movies, however, this film is the Holy Grail of bad big-budget flicks. At the very least, it should be seen just to admire how much the Jaws franchise declined over its four films.

    This movie is either a 0/10 or a 10/10 depending on how you're looking at it. Either way, I can wholeheartedly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a great unintentional comedy with cheesy writing and a roaring fish.

    OK, this time it's serious:

    Starring: Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Cary Elwes
    Directed by: Edward Zwick

    FIRST SEEN: Glen Burnie 7 Theatre, Glen Burnie, Maryland
    FAVORITE LINE: "If this man should fall, who will lift up the flag and carry on?"
    FAVORITE SCENE: The final attack on Fort Wagner

  • Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Washington), Best Cinematography (Freddie Francis), and Best Sound. Nominations for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration and Film Editing.
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor (Washington) and nominations for Best Picture, Director, Original Score (James Horner) and Screenplay (Kevin Jarre).
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Picture, Director and Supporting Actor (Washington)
  • Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for Film or Television (Jack Horner)

    The story of the Fighting 54, the first black division to do battle in the Civil War, "Glory" is one of those rare films where everything clicks. Led by a cast that features then hardly known actors like Bob Gunton, Jay O. Sanders and Andre Braugher, "Glory" boasts great performances all across the board. To me, this is where Matthew Broderick graduated from being Ferris Buehler to being an actor. As the almost-in-over-his-head Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, Broderick shows a maturity that seemed missing from his earlier work. As the grave digger turned sergeant major, Morgan Freeman gives another in what would be a long string of acclaimed performances. To me the acting star here is Denzel Washington, whose bitter hatred for authority constantly interferes with his desire to fight. The scene where Washington is flogged for attempting to desert is heart wrenching. As he locks eyes with Broderick, he shows almost no emotion as the leather straps hit his back. Suddenly, a solitary tear escapes, slowly making it's way down Washington's face. He did the same thing when his character meets the Honorable Elijah Mohammed in "Malcom X," and it just blows me away how one man can bring up so much emotion. The Oscar winning photography is breathtaking, especially the final scenes during the attack on Fort Wagner. The lobby banner for "Glory" was basically the entire regiment on the beach. A beautiful image which I now own! Besides the attack on Fort Wagner, my other favorite scene occurs right after my favorite line is asked. After a moment of thought, Andre Braugher's character steps up and quietly declares, "I will."

    Since I didn't put "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" on the list, there won't be any rabbit movies to look at for Easter weekend. But I'll stick to the rodent family when I look at Bill Murray and an aggressive gopher in "Caddyshack."

    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.