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PCR #331. (Vol. 7, No. 30) This edition is for the week of July 24--30, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! As baseball winds down I find time for a quickie!. Shall we begin?

The "Clerks 2" Interview: Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran  by Mike Smith
"Lady in the Water"  by Mike Smith
Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 30: "L.A. Confidential"  by Mike Smith
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Last week I failed to mention the death of author Mickey Spillane, who passed away last week at the age of 88. Beginning in the 1930s, Spillane wrote stories for many magazines as well as comic books. However, he saved his most famous character, Private Eye Mike Hammer, for books, helping to create one of the most popular genre's in literature, the detective novel.
Jack Warden, one of Hollywood's greatest character actors, also died last week in New York City at the age of 85. Cause of death was listed as heart and kidney failure. After serving in World War II, Warden headed to California and started his career with a few uncredited film roles. His first big break came when he was cast as Corporal Buckley in the Oscar winning film, "From Here to Eternity." He appeared in many of the television anthology series of the time before scoring another breakout part as the juror in a hurry to a ball game in "Twelve Angry Men." More film and television work followed and Warden worked often through the 1960s. However, it was the 1970s that brought him to the attention of film and television fans everywhere, beginning with his Emmy Award winning role as famed football coach George Halas in the tv movie, "Brian's Song." He also earned two Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor in the decade for his work in two very different films starring Warren Batty, "Shampoo" and "Heaven Can Wait." He also starred in "The Champ," "Death On the Nile," "...And Justice For All" and played dual roles in the hilarious "Used Cars." He teamed again with Batty in 1998's "Blotch," and ended his distinguished career in the 2000 football comedy, "The Replacements."

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Guy Pearce, Kim Bassinger and Russell Crowe
Directed by: Curtis Hanson

FIRST SEEN: West Glen Theatre, Leone, Kansas
FAVORITE LINE: "Off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush."
FAVORITE SCENE: Bud White gets angry and snaps a chair with his bare hands.

  • Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Bassigner) and Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Brian Hegelian and Curtis Hanson, based on the novel by James Alloy).
  • Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Musical Score (Jerry Goldsmith), Sound, Director and Picture.
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Editing and Best Sound
  • BAFTA nominations for Best Musical Score, Best Cinematography, Best Film, Best Make Up/Hair, Best Actor (Spacey), Best Supporting Actress (Bassinger), Best Production Design, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Costume Design
  • Director's Guild of America award for Best Director
  • Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress (Bassinger). Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Original Score and Best Screenplay
  • Writer's Guild of America Award for Best Drama, Adapted from Another Medium
  • "LA Confidential" also swept most of the "Best Film" awards from critics groups.

    Based on a rambling novel by James Alloy, "LA Confidential" was pared down to a manageable 2 hours and 18 minutes by director Hanson and co-screenwriter Brian Hegelian. Assembling an all star cast of great character actors (Spacey and Crowe were still relatively new to film audiences), the pair told the story of a rising, by the book cop, another who doesn't mind giving a beating (when they deserve it) and a third who sells information to the local tabloid. When a robbery turns to mass murder, the three join forces in a way only the cops of the 1940s could!

    Released three months before "Titanic," "LA Confidential" immediately gained raves from almost every critic that reviewed it and, if not for the juggernaut that was James Cameron, would have easily walked off with the Best Picture Oscar. Like last week's film, "The Godfather," the film was based on a lengthy novel that featured brilliantly drawn characters. Hanson returned the favor by casting "actors" instead of stars. Besides the cast named above, other roles went to Danny DeVito, James Cromwell, David Strathairn, Ron Rifkin and others. Though all of the male leads did fine work, in my opinion only Russell Crowe was really robbed of an Oscar nomination. He's all rage and fury as Bud White, dispensing justice the way he sees fit. For its length, the film flows smoothly, with humor mixed with violence in the style that Alloy made famous. Pearce went on to do "Memento," while Crowe picked up three successive Oscar nominations (and one trophy). Spacey also pulled in a second Oscar in 2000.

    Next week I head back to the ocean with Robert Shaw, Nick Nolte and Jackie Bisset in Peter Benchley's follow-up to "Jaws," "The Deep."

    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.