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PCR #333. (Vol. 7, No. 32) This edition is for the week of August 7--13, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! I apologize ahead of time for a short rant this week. Too many things on my plate, but I'm juggling as fast as I can. Shall we begin?

"World Trade Center"  by Mike Smith
Happy Birthday Nolan....This Time Last Year....Future Goals  by Mark Terry
Odds are, I'm Back!...Catching Up with Oddservations....VHS Grindhouse....Mel Gibson...."Talladega Nights"  by Andy Lalino
Amity Island Excursion  by Matt Drinnenberg
You Say It's Your Birthday....Welcome Back....Will It Never End....Off To I-O-Way....My Favorite Films, Part 32: "Major League"  by Mike Smith
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I meant to wish my brother, Barry, a happy 38th birthday in last week's issue. Please allow me to do it now! Also, happy 51 to the Chief, who creeps closer to 100 this Sunday. (Coff, coff....wheeeze...thankee there young man! *squeak squeak goes the rocking chair* --N)

Great to see Andy Lalino back with the PCR. Andy posted a very nice comment about my piece on "The Deep" last week on the CF Message Board which I STILL haven't replied to. Thanks for the kind words, sir. Welcome back!

Also glad to see my partner in crime, Matthew, back in the fold. He and I have spent the past few months crafting what I hope will be a very positive project. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

It's been almost five years since this country was rocked by the terrorist attacks on September 11. I mention this because when I went to work this morning I listened to the news of an even larger scale tragedy that had been foiled, thanks mostly to the MI5 and MI6 groups in England. I've been told many times that my views on things are sometimes naive. I think I have an inner belief in the good in all people and that is what keeps me going. I cannot fathom a group of people that appear to exist just to hate. What do they achieve by their actions? Do they think that blowing up airplanes full of people that they've never met will prove anything? In my mind that is the equivalent of me going outside, finding an anthill and stepping on it. Boy, I sure showed those ants, didn't I? No. I showed them nothing because right down the street is another ant hill. And another. And another.

This weekend I will be visiting the town of Dyersville, Iowa, where the movie "Field of Dreams" was filmed. A promotion by the DVD rental company Netflix will feature the film being shown on the big screen in centerfield of the ball diamond made famous in the film. This is the Midwest version of the JAWS showing Matt attended last weekend. Star Kevin Costner has apparently started a band and the group will perform before the showing. Can't wait. And yes, that was sarcasm.

Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen and Dennis Haysbert
Directed by: David S. Ward

FIRST SEEN: Golden Ring Mall, Baltimore, Maryland
FAVORITE LINE: "Are you saying Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?"
FAVORITE SCENE: Rick Vaughn is tossed out of the game after hitting a batter. His line, "why don't you blow me, ump," is a close second as my favorite.
AWARDS: None, but it is, in my opinion, one of the best sports movies ever made.

In 1989 the real life Cleveland Indians were pretty much dead in the water. Perennially in the cellar in their division, even when things were supposed to go well for them...they didn't. At least they didn't lose their first 22 games like my Orioles did the year before. Picking up on the mood in Cleveland, writer/director Ward penned a story about a team of has beens and never will bees. Ward, who won an Oscar in 1974 for his original screenplay for "The Sting," cast his film with actors who looked like the characters they played. Berenger brought a world weariness to veteran catcher Jake Taylor, while smooth and slick Wesley Snipes glided in the role of Willie Mays Hayes. Probably the best bit of casting was Sheen as fireballing pitcher Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn. Sheen, who had been offered a scholarship to pitch for the University of Kansas, could not only play the game but was a big fan as well. Haysbert, as Cuban player Pedro Cerrano, obviously made an impression as a ball player because he later played another slugger in the Tom Selleck film, "Mr. Baseball."

Filmed at Milwaukee's County Stadium the film also made use of the Brewer's beloved broadcaster, Bob Uecker. Already well known for his Miller Beer commercials ("must be in the FRONT row") and the television series, "Mr. Belvedere," Uecker earned a whole new legion of fans with his work here and in the two "Major League" sequels. He was inducted into the Broadcaster Wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Next week I take a look at a film I saw the same day my house in Tampa burnt down -- the prophetically-titled "Blazing Saddles."

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.