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PCR #322. (Vol. 7, No. 21) This edition is for the week of May 22--28, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Some news and notes this week, as well as the answer to the often asked question: "Where in the hell is Matt?". Shall we begin??

"X-Men: The Last Stand"  by Mike Smith
Skype, Andre the Butcher, and Thoughts on Straight-to-Video  by Mark Terry
Someone Owes Me Five Bucks (I Told You He'd Do It) .... Isn't Edgartwon on Martha's Vineyard? ... Congratulations ....Bar-Roid Bonds.... Who You Gonna Call?... Guess He'll Have To Feed Himself .... Passing On .... My Favorite Films -- Part 21: "Gone With The Wind"  by Mike Smith
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Matt's CD CoverI'm sure many of you have wondered about the absence of my railing partner, Matthew. Well, wonder no more. Matt has been working on his first CD, which will be released on June 6th. The first song, "My Very Soul," has been released to adult contemporary stations in the top radio markets (including Tampa's own WMTX - feel free to call in your requests). Matt will also be appearing live at the Wharf, a club in Edgartown, Massachusetts, next Friday night. Long time friends know that this project has been 25 years in the making and I'm proud as hell to be the one to announce it!

Indeed it is. Yes, one year after the hugely successful "JAWSFest," some 50 plus JAWS fans are returning to the island, hoping to rekindle the many great friendships made there. While there are no "official" events planned (the local chamber of commerce plans to hold those events every five years), day trips to filming locations and burial plots (Pippit the dog and the great John Belushi are both buried there) and a night time, pool side screening of our favorite film are on the agenda.

Happy belated birthday to our very own Terence Nuzum. I meant to add my congratulations last week but, as usual, totally blanked on it when I wrote the Rant. Speaking of writing, when can we expect you back? Also congrats to Maddie Sousa on her high school graduation. I'm sure there is some kind of cryptic reason why the daughter of a Plant High School graduate ended up at Robinson! I think that swings the PCR universe towards the Knights. Damn it!

This past week, Barry Bonds hit home run number 714. Who gives a shit? 71 years ago today (it's May 25 as I write this), Babe Ruth did the same thing. Actually, Ruth hit numbers 712, 713 and 714 in a final display of hitting prowess. The final home run was the first ball to ever completely leave Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, with the ball traveling over 400 feet before it landed on the sidewalk and rolled across the street. Not bad for a 41 year old fat man!

Dr. Jack Kevorkian's lawyer says his client is very ill and probably will not last another year if he is kept in prison. Kervokian, behind bars for aiding terminally ill people commit suicide, has several health problems. Of course, the good news is that, if he decides he wants to end it all, he doesn't have to look very far for a helping hand.

Paul McCartney has decided that he won't need Heather Mills around when he turns 64 next month, announcing plans to divorce his bride of four years. Not sure if Mills will try to contest any prenuptial agreement that may exist, though if she does I'd have to think she wouldn't have a leg to stand on!

Lloyd Bentsen
, former Texas senator and Treasury secretary, died this past Tuesday at the age of 85. A presidential candidate in 1976 (he dropped out of the race due to little support), Bentsen was Michael Dukakis' vice presidential running mate in 1988. Bentsen is probably best remembered for his comments to fellow vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle, who compared his own lack of political experience with that of John F. Kennedy. "Senator," Bentsen informed Quayle, "I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."
Dan Q. Kennis, a film producer whose films included "Dracula vs. Frankenstein" and "Naughty Stewardesses," died this week at the age of 86. Kennis often appeared on screen in his films, most notably as Kenny the Tennis Pro in "Blazing Stewardesses."
Lawrence Shurtliff, who joined the Grateful Dead in 1967 as a truck driver and worked for them until the death of Jerry Garcia, also died Tuesday. He was 61. Known as Ramrod, Shurtliff was later named president of the Grateful Dead board of directors when the band incorporated in the 1970s. When he wasn't grooving, he rode along with author Ken Kesey in the bus!
George Lutz, who, with his family, got a real good deal on a house in Amityville, New York, died in Las Vegas. Cause of death was given as heart disease. His troubles with the house were the basis for the novel and films "The Amityville Horror."
Boo Boo, an exotic chicken that gained national attention after if was saved from drowning, has died. Three months ago, Boo Boo was found floating in a pond on his family's farm in Arkansas and was saved when his rescuer gave him mouth-to-beak resuscitation. No cause of death was given, though dinner that night featured a dish referred to as "Boo Boo noodle soup."

Starring: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland, Leslie Howard and Hattie McDaniel
Directed by: Victor Fleming

FIRST SEEN: My bedroom on television, Tampa, Florida
FAVORITE LINE: "That's what's wrong with you. You should be kissed and often. And by someone who knows how!"
FAVORITE SCENE: The burning of Atlanta

  • Academy Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography (Color), Best Film Editing, Best Actress (Leigh), Best Supporting Actress (McDaniel), Best Director, Best Writing and Best Picture.
  • Also received a Technical Achievement Award for "pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment" (Don Musgrave) and an Honorary Award "for outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood" (William Cameron Menzies). Oscar nominations for Best Actor (Gable), Supporting Actress (de Havilland), Special Effects, Original Score (Max Steiner) and Best Sound Recording.

    Possibly the most anticipated film of all time, "Gone With The Wind" is the very definition of the word epic. I first saw the film when it was aired on television in the 1970s. A decade later, a theatre I worked at did a special showing in the 70 mm process and I was blown out of the theatre by the images, among them the crane shot of the wounded soldiers, with the confederate flag flying high. This week I am joined by not one but two special guests who felt the urge to share their feelings. Please welcome Bill and Yvette:

    FROM BILL...

    When I think about Gone With The Wind, it isn’t long before I start to think about my mother.

    Now, for most people, thoughts of their mother can convey a mixture of emotions. Hell, mothers can be a drag-particularly once you reach your teens, start staying out late, become reluctant to do any chores, neglect your housework--yes, their constant efforts to get you to “be responsible” can wear thin. That’s one side. When you’re younger, however, mothers can be fun. They’re there for you, not holding you back. They show you things and take you places. Even when you’re older, and your relationship with your mother isn’t as close as it may have once been, certain sights or sounds bring you back to your youth when you had a bond. For some people it might be a day at the beach, or a favorite old song. For me, it’s Gone With The Wind.

    When I was a kid, there was no doubt that Gone With The Wind was my mother’s favorite film. She watched it often on slow, lazy afternoons: sometimes alone, sometimes with one of my aunts, sometimes with my father, and sometimes with me playing idly in front of the television. My first memories of the film are like that: me as a toddler, maybe around four or five, playing in front of the television as Scarlett complains about all of the “war talk” or butts heads with poor Rhett Butler. At the time, I had no clue about the drama unfolding on the television screen behind me. All I knew from repeated exposure was that Gone With The Wind was old. And long. Long, long, long. To me as a kid, it never seemed to end, and that early impression of the film stuck with me for years. Long? Old? I think I’ll pass. So for years I did, and I never did sit and watch the whole thing with my mother.

    Years later, in college, I became something of a self-proclaimed film connoisseur, and one day I found myself in a conversation about great movies. Pretty soon, Gone With The Wind came up, and I was the lone person in the room who hadn’t really sat and watched it. I resolved to do so, but sometimes four spare hours are hard to come by. It wasn’t until a year or so later, when I was watching television with my girlfriend at the time that I saw that Gone With The Wind was about to start. She had never really seen it, and I figured I might as well give it a shot, so watch we did.

    As I watched, I found myself watching certain scenes that had struck me as a kid: the wide, panoramic shot of hundreds of wounded Confederate soldiers; Scarlett and Rhett being attacked by thugs as Atlanta burns around them; Scarlett shooting a menacing Union soldier in the face. The same scenes: only now it was like watching them through new eyes. Now they were parts of a whole: what I had previously seen in bits and pieces as an indifferent child I was now seeing as a complete tapestry of human emotion. What I had thought was LONG as a kid I now recognized as EPIC as an adult.

    What amazed me was how approachable and contemporary the film felt. It did not feel stilted or starchy the way many old films do: the dialogue sparkled, the verbal sparring between Scarlett and Rhett felt natural and spirited. Rhett’s pursuit of Scarlett throughout the film is at times funny, obsessive, and sad, and it dovetails with Scarlett’s pursuit of Ashley. In the end, none seem to get what they want: it can’t really be said to have a happy ending. A very contemporary feel.

    However, the film is not bleak, even though it’s set during the Civil War. The characters in the film are brought low over and over; either through the terrible trauma of war, or the harsh way they sometimes treat one another. Despite it all, they persevere. Scarlett in particular: the famous scene where she declares, “As God as my witness…I’ll never go hungry again!” sets a defiant tone that she follows for the rest of the film. She only really begins to crumble when she’s in reach of what she has wanted for the whole film: to be in Ashley’s arms. In the end, she realizes that it was the idea of Ashley that was so attractive to her: he was an ideal, but in reality, he is a bit of a dud. After all this time she realizes that it is Rhett that she loves.

    Of course, most people know what Rhett has to say about that: he utters what may be the best line in the history of cinema, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” The audience has been waiting four hours to hear that man say that, and it is a great moment. Once again, Scarlett, though devastated, sets a defiant tone, declaring, “Tomorrow is another day!” So perhaps they do wind up together, but the film doesn’t tie it up in a neat bow. It’s more complicated than that, and it’s one of the reasons I like this film.

    Needless to say, I’ve seen it several times since that time on the couch with my now ex-girlfriend (she had actually fallen asleep an hour or so in). Each time my admiration grows, for the performances, the wonderful cinematography and colors, the visual resurrection of the old South, the stirring score, and the great dialogue. I think that I have, on the whole, a better eye for films than my mother (one of her other favorite films was the 1970s King Kong remake), but I’ll always feel indebted to her for introducing me to this truly wonderful film.


    Why do I love Gone With The Wind? Hummmm Well, the characters are played very well and I love the scenery. But the reason I love GWTW is, it shows how strong, independent, hard working, resourceful, and intelligent a woman can be when she is put in certain situations. My first impression of Scarlet was a rich, sheltered young woman but throughout the movie you see her grow up and become a very strong woman. She almost looses everything but always finds a way to overcome the obstacles that come into her life.

    Rhett Butler, hummmmmmm. Sexy! You can't help but to love him. He doesn't form to all the "codes of a gentleman" and can have just about any woman but he waits for the one woman he knows will be his. He goes after what he wants and always come out on top.

    The movie is one of my favorite movies of all times. The love story, the trials of life Scarlet goes through, the characters, the scenes, the story line, and the never knowing what Scarlet will do make this film one of the best!

    Next week I cover the winner of the Best Picture Oscar for 1976 -- ROCKY!

    "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.