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PCR #329. (Vol. 7, No. 28) This edition is for the week of July 10--16, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! We lost some great ones this week. Shall we begin?

Sanford Summit 3  by Nolan B. Canova
On "Superman Returns"  by ED Tucker
On "Superman Returns"  by Greg Van Cott
"You, Me and Dupree"  by Mike Smith
Tampa Film Review Reminder  by Paul Guzzo
Shine On You Crazy Diamond....Tribute to Syd....Still Sucking....But He'll Have Company....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 28: "Jesus Christ Superstar"  by Mike Smith
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I'm going to say it right here at the top: I own two Pink Floyd albums ("Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall"). I can probably name a handful of songs by the band. However, when I read of the impact original member Syd Barrett had on so many others (the Kinks, David Bowie, etc), I knew I had to honor his memory. Rather then just pull up some facts and present them, I've asked my friend Michael Gencarelli, who has a great passion for the music of Pink Floyd, to share his thoughts:

Syd Barrett: A Tribute
By Michael Gencarelli

Syd Barrett was one of founding members of Pink Floyd, He had incredible talent and a bright future but after just two years after his chronicle began, he suffered a massive breakdown and spent the rest of his life secluded from the world. When Syd was with Pink Floyd, he helped create the albums “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” & “Saucerful of Secrets”. Some of the hits from those albums were “Astronomy Domine", "Lucifer Sam" "Flaming", "Interstellar Overdrive", "Chapter 24"and “Jugband Blues" to name a few. When he left Pink Floyd, he entered into his solo career which received minor success. The influences of drug abuse and the pressures of fame were too much for Syd to handle and it caused him to leave everything behind and live a quite life in Cambridge, England. Although Syd wasn’t with Pink Floyd very long, some of his songs are considered the backbone to the band’s long career. Pink Floyd’s 1975 album “Wish You Were Here” had an overlaying theme that was based on Syd and his journey through his own personal problems. During the recording of that album was the only reunion Syd has with the band. Syd attended the recording session unannounced and watched the band record ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’ which is a song about him, by chance. The band did not even recognize him since he had gain a lot of weight and shaved off all his hair including eyebrows. Roger Waters makes a reference to that day at the recording studio in the 1982 film, “Pink Floyd The Wall” where the character 'Pink’, shaves off his eyebrows in response to the pressures of life and fame. Syd Barrett will be remembered forever and his legacy will live through his music and in the words of all of his fans all around the world, Shine On! Syd Barrett aka Roger Keith Barrett, Born Jan. 6 1946 and Died on Jul.7 2006.

This week a memorial service was held for convicted FELON Ken Lay. Since the minister of his usual church wouldn't preside, Lay's pals asked prominent African-American pastor, the Reverend Bill Lawson, to handle the duties. Lawson compared Lay to Martin Luther King, Jr, John F. Kennedy and "our Lord, Jesus Christ." Hmmmm, let's see. On one side of the equation you have three men who died for what they believed in: civil rights, the future of this country and, of course, because He was the son of God. On the other side you've got some arrogant prick whose actions destroyed thousands of lives. Hell, Lay was ON VACATION when he had what I hope was a very painful heart attack. Lawson also added that with Lay's passing, his grandchildren will never have to ask, "Why is Papa in jail?" However, they will still be encouraged to ask, "Why is Papa in hell?"

Speaking of people that will one day end up in hell, Rush Limbaugh will not have to face charges for the prescription drugs he had in his possession that were prescribed to another person. According to Limbaugh's lawyer, the Viagra pills were not issued to Limbaugh for "privacy purposes" and to apparently spare him the embarrassment of having people know he takes Viagra. Wow! The man is an admitted drug abuser and he's worried people will think less of him because he can't get it up? My guess is, if anyone should be embarrassed, it would be the Dominican hooker.

We lost three very distinct performers this week:
June Allyson, best remembered for her film roles in the 1940s and 50s, died at the age of 88. As one of the most popular MGM stars, Allyson appeared in musical favorites like "Best Foot Forward" and "Good News." In the 1950s she teamed up with leading men like Van Johnson, Dick Powell (who she later married) and James Stewart, playing Stewart's wife in "The Stratton Story", " The Glenn Miller Story" and "Strategic Air Command." She later had her own series on television and appeared in everything from "Love Boat" to "The Incredible Hulk."
Bernard Hughes, whose voice and appearance often cast him in authoritative roles, also died this week, less then a week before his 81st birthday. A Tony and Emmy award winner, Hughes' most memorable roles cast him as either a priest ("All in the Family," "Sister Act 2"), doctor ("Young Doctors," " Cold Turkey," "Doc Hollywood) or a judge ("Oh, God," "Kill Me If You Can"), even playing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in "First Monday in October." His other film roles include "Midnight Cowboy," "The Hospital," "The Lost Boys" and "Da," where he reprised the role that won him the Tony award. His Emmy win came for a performance on "Lou Grant."
Red Buttons, a Catskills comedian who became an Oscar winning film star, died at the age 87. Born in New York City in 1919, he got his break as a resort performer at the age of 16, originally teaming up with Robert Alda (Alan's dad). After a stint in the service during World War II, Buttons made his film debut in 1944's "Winged Victory." In 1957 he won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for his supporting performance in "Sayonara." Other notable roles include "Hatari!," "The Longest Day," "Harlow," "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" and, of course, the lonely Mr. Martin in 1972's "The Poseidon Adventure." He also appeared frequently on television. His last appearance in a 2005 episode of "ER," earned him an Emmy nomination.

Starring: Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman and Josh Mostel
Directed by: Norman Jewison

FIRST SEEN: Tyrone Theatre, St. Petersburg, Florida
FAVORITE LINE: "What's the buzz? Tell me what's happening."
FAVORITE SCENE: Judas returns and sings the title song.

  • Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song Score/Adaptation (Andre' Previn, Herbert W. Spencer and Andrew Lloyd Webber).
  • BAFTA Award for Best Sound Track
  • BAFTA nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design
  • Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture (Comedy/Musical), Best Actor (Comedy/Musical) for both Ted Neeley and Carl Anderson, Best Actress (Musical/Comedy) - Yvonne Elliman and Most Promising Newcomer - Male - for both Neeley and Anderson.

    When my parents separated in 1973, I spent the summer with my grandfather in Florida. While there I asked if I could go see "Jesus Christ Superstar." After talking to my dad, I was allowed to see it. Not being much of a movie goer at the time, this is the first time I can remember seeing a movie by myself. Based on the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the film received early bad press when several black leaders questioned a black actor in the role of Judas Iscariot, only dropping the subject when Carl Anderson earned much deserved praise for his performance. Texan Ted Neeley had invited director Jewison to see him perform on stage in "Tommy," but ended up missing the performance due to an injury. Neeley tracked Jewison down and showed up at his hotel dressed as Jesus. The bus featured at the beginning and end of the film actually belonged to Neeley's band and he met his wife, dancer Leeyan Granger, during the making of the film.

    As I mentioned last week, this film had a very profound effect on me. If you are familiar with the film, it begins with a bus driving into the desert. When it stops, a group of "actors" disembark, set up sets and perform. After the crucifixion, they all get on the bus and drive off, leaving Jesus on the cross. For whatever reason, I found this ending very upsetting and told my grandfather as much that evening. Now flash forward 20 years. Neeley and Anderson, along with Irene Cara and Dennis DeYoung, are now touring the country with the stage show. When they play Baltimore, I am invited to the dress rehearsal and get to meet the cast afterwards. Neeley is still in costume and he still remarkably resembles many images of Jesus. When I meet him I say, "I'm glad to see they got you down." I then tell him the story I just told here. When I finish he looks into my eyes and asks, "How is your grandfather?" I was floored. I would have expected him to say, "that's a funny story" or maybe just chuckle a little, but he hit me with that. I replied, "he passed away some time ago." Neeley took a step towards me and gave me a hug. My friend, Marty, who was standing behind Neeley, later told me that he thought I was going to start crying from the look on my face. A few years later, the show returned to Baltimore and I again went backstage. I had since gained about 50 pounds and grown a beard so when Neeley came out I was positive he wouldn't recognize me. When I saw him I asked, "do you remember me?" "Of course I do," he replied. "You're the little boy who worried because they left me behind." Again I was stunned. I told him I couldn't believe he remembered. He told me that story is one of his favorites and he tells it to everyone! Pretty cool.

    Next week I'll look at what many critics consider one of the greatest films ever, Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather."

    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.