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PCR #327. (Vol. 7, No. 26) This edition is for the week of June 26--July 2, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Another action filled week for yours truly. Shall we begin?

"Superman Returns"  by Mike Smith
"Superman Returns"  by Nolan B. Canova
"The Times", They Are A'Changin'  by Lisa Zubek
Coming Soon....Letters....What's 2 Foot Tall and 35 Years Old?...It's Official....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 26: "Pulp Fiction"  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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I spent this past Monday afternoon with two people you may be familiar with - Dante' Hicks and Randall Graves. Those of you NOT familiar with the films of Kevin Smith are probably saying, "Who?" Actually, I spent some time with actors Brian O'Halloran and Jeff Anderson, the stars of the upcoming "Clerks II," and came away with a pretty cool interview, which will run in the PCR closer to the film's late July release date.

Thanks and a big hello to old pal Rick Sousa. Glad you enjoyed the "Click" review. I'll definitely check out that story.

Why Ziggy, of course! This week marks the 35th anniversary of the single panel cartoon originally conceived by Tom Wilson and now drawn by his son, also named Tom. My favorite Ziggy memory occurred in 1979 during basic training when Scott Gilbert sent me what appeared to be a genuine "Ziggy" cartoon in which the little guy had hung himself! I've got it in a box here somewhere and I still laugh now thinking about it.

Director Gore Verbinski has confirmed that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards WILL appear in the third, and currently filming, "Pirates of the Caribbean" film, presumably as Captain Jack Sparrow's father. Hope he doesn't have to climb any trees!

Marine Sergeant Raymond J. Plouhar
, who was seen recruiting would be Marines in "Fahrenheit 9/11," was killed this week in Iraq. Sgt Plouhar had been assigned the Flint, Michigan recruiting duty after he had donated a kidney to his brother and was filmed searching the local mall for possible enlistees.

As mentioned in last week's rant, prolific television producer Aaron Spelling passed away last Friday from complications of a stroke he had suffered earlier in the week. He was 83 years old. After beginning his television career as a writer, he quickly moved into the producer's chair by the time he was 33. He produced more then 200 television series and films in his 50-year career, far too many to list individually. However, here are just a few of the ones I watched faithfully: Daniel Boone, Honey West, The Mod Squad, The Rookies, S.W.A.T., Starsky and Hutch, Family, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Dynasty, T.J. Hooker, Hotel and Beverly Hills 90210. He also produced one of my favorite television films ever, "The Boy In the Plastic Bubble," starring John Travolta. Among his feature films: "Baby Blue Marine," "Mr. Mom" and "'Night Mother." He was married to actress Carolyn Jones, best known as Morticia Addams on "The Addams Family" for 10 years. He later remarried and is survived by his second wife, Candy, and their two children, Tori and Randy.

Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames and Bruce Willis
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

FIRST SEEN: Valley Center Cinema, Owings Mills, Maryland
FAVORITE LINE: "You feel that sting, big boy? That's pride fuckin' with you."
FAVORITE SCENE: Vincent and Jules discuss foot massages.

  • Academy Award for Best Screenplay written directly for the screen (Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avery)
  • Academy Award nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Travolta), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jackson), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Uma Thurman), Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Picture.
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jackson) and Best Screenplay - Original
  • BAFTA nominations for Best Actor (Travolta), Best Actress (Thurman), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Film and for the David Lean Award for Direction (Tarantino) Won the Golden Palm at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
  • Director's Guild nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures (Tarantino)
  • Golden Globe award for Best Screenplay - Motion Picture (Tarantino)
  • Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Actor (Drama) - Travolta, Best Supporting Actor (Jackson), Best Supporting Actress (Thurman).
  • Independent Spirit Awards for Best Director, Feature, Male Lead (Jackson) and Screenplay (Tarantino and Avery) Also nominated for Best Supporting Male (Eric Stoltz)
  • Also won many regional film critics awards for Best Director and/or Picture including critic groups from Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Boston and the National Society of Film Critics.

    In 1994, one of my projectionists, Matt Singleton, introduced me to the work of Quentin Tarantino. He talked me into accompanying him to a midnight showing of "Reservoir Dogs" and also lent me a copy of "True Romance." Needless to say, I was hooked. In June of that year, while attending a movie themed function in New York City, I participated in a silent auction where the winner would receive an advance screening of "Pulp Fiction" for themselves and their friends. I ended up winning the screening and, after a few phone calls, was allowed to have the screening in Baltimore instead of New York. My friend, Ben, arranged for the screening to be held in a 350 seat theatre outside Baltimore. Not having 350 friends, I invited everyone I knew and told them to invite everyone they knew. The place was packed and the reception the film got was phenomenal.

    A lot has been written about Quentin Tarantino. He has basically lived every fan boy's dream by rising from local video store clerk to Oscar winning film maker. His sense of pop culture is unrivaled in my opinion. He has taken some of his favorite stars of his past (Travolta, David Carradine, Robert Forster, Michael Parks) and practically given them new careers through the parts he has written for them. And he introduced, along with Kevin Smith, a new type of cinema, driven more by the written word then the on screen action. He has also dabbled in acting, appearing in his own films as well as co-writing and starring in the vampire film, "From Dusk to Dawn." I actually saw him perform on Broadway alongside Marisa Tomei in "Wait Until Dark" and I can say first hand that, as an actor, he's one hell of a film maker! In the 12 years since "Pulp Fiction," he has only done two other films ("Jackie Brown" and "Kill Bill"), making him almost as reclusive as Terrance Malick. He is currently working on one half of a project entitled "Grind House" with fellow film geek turned director Robert Rodriguez, which is scheduled for release next year. He has also shown an interest in making a "Man From U.N.C.L.E" film and actively sought out the latest James Bond adventure. He is also currently working on a "Reservoir Dogs" video game to be released later this year. It is rumored that he has also considered a movie featuring the Vega brothers, Vincent and Vic, to be played by John Travolta and Michael Madsen. As long as he's not acting, I can't wait to see what he does next.

    Next week I'll look at another film that featured Eric Stoltz, at least until he was fired, "Back to the Future".

    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.