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PCR #335. (Vol. 7, No. 34) This edition is for the week of August 21--27, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! A quick one this week, but I make up for it with a great guest contribution. Shall we begin?

The Doubletree Inn Con; C.P. Indie Film Fest for August  by Nolan B. Canova
La Floridiana Tidbits  by Will Moriaty
"Idlewild"  by Mike Smith
Tampa Comic Con....Cracked Magazine Makes News....VHS Grindhouse: "Legend of the Werewolf"  by Andy Lalino
Ducks on a Pond....It's Only Money...Movie News....My Favorite Films, Part 34: "Tombstone"  by Mike Smith
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OK, maybe that's not really the name of Samuel L. Jackson's next film, but who knows? As I pointed out last week, Hollywood always panics when a movie doesn't do the box office expected. Even though it made $15 million and was the #1 film in the country last week, "Snakes on a Plane" is being criticized for not making more money, with many "experts" pointing at all of the Internet attention the film earned. What they don't mention is that part of that attention caused the filmmakers to reshoot many scenes, making them much more violent and earning the film an "R" rating. Of course, the rating means that the majority of the people that would have LOVED to have seen the movie (i.e. boys between the ages of 13-16) were kept out unless they went with a parent. I'm sure the movie will make much money overseas and then become one of those DVDs that you must own, though you'll never watch it. Hmmmm, "Ducks on a Pond." I can hear Sam now, "I want those mother fucking ducks out of that mother fucking pond!" Oh, yeah!

I must admit that I'm pretty shocked at the way Paramount dropped Tom Cruise and his production company this week, citing his "bizarre" behavior. OK, so the guy jumps on couches and is pretty uninformed on certain medical conditions (Tom, if you're reading this, I love you man, but you're not a doctor. Hell, you haven't even played one on TV). In 20 years, starting with "Top Gun" in 1986, Cruise's films released by Paramount have grossed almost #1.3 BILLION in the US and the same amount again worldwide. And the worldwide figure doesn't include "Vanilla Sky" and "Mission: Impossible 3." TWO AND A HALF BILLION DOLLARS! And they kick him to the curb. Meanwhile, the folks at Disney say they still plan to release Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto" on December 8th, with plans to release it outside the US on the 15th. Wow! How ironic that "Apocalypto" could open in Israel on the first day of Hanukah.

Speaking of opening days, make plans now to hit the local googleplex on June 15, 2007 for "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer."

Following the success of "The Hills Have Eyes," Rogue Pictures' next remake of a Wes Craven film will be the film that put Craven on the horror map, "Last House on the Left." Craven has also entered discussions to allow remakes of "Shocker" and "People Under the Stairs."

Starring: Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliot, Dana Delaney and Powers Boothe
Directed by: George P. Cosmatos

FIRST SEEN: Laurel Lakes 12 Theatre, Laurel, Maryland
FAVORITE LINE: "I want your blood. And I want your soul. And I want them both right now?"
FAVORITE SCENE: The gunfight at the OK Corral
AWARDS: None :(

A great cast and a great story often lead to a great film, and "Tombstone" is no exception. The story of how the Earp boys (Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil) and Doc Holiday became legends, "Tombstone" boasts some of the best performances ever given by Russell and Kilmer. With a great supporting cast that included Boothe, Bill Paxton, Michael Biehn, Stephen Lang, Thomas Haden Church and Billy Bob Thornton, the film joined Lawrence Kasdan's "Silverado" and Clint Eastwood's Oscar winning "Unforgiven" as one of the greatest westerns of the mid 80s to early 90s. As Wyatt, Russell finds himself slowly drawn back into a life he thought he had left. Kilmer's Doc Holiday, pale and anemic from his battle with tuberculosis, is a man who knows he has very few friends, causing him to do all he can for the ones he has. And kudos to everyone in the cast for their mustaches, which director Cosmatos is quick to point out in his commentary are real. In 1994, Kasdan and Kevin Costner reteamed to make "Wyatt Earp," which is really only worth watching for Dennis Quaid's performance as Holiday. But don't take my word for it. Take Bill's:


I first saw Tombstone on New Year’s Eve in the year 1993. I was thirteen years old and saw it with my uncle. I liked it so much that a few days later I went to see it again with some friends of mine. Being underage, this time we snuck in. All these years later, and what I remember most about this film is a palpable sense of how romantic the Old West seems on the big screen: the good guys in the film are usually well dressed and look sharp, the women wear great flowery and frumpy dresses, the bad guys are mean and drunk and cackle at the good guys, and the gunfights are explosive and frequent. This isn’t a Western in the vein of Unforgiven, where each man killed requires an introspective moment. This is a Western where bad guys get shot, and the good guys are dishing out justice. In short, Tombstone is not a heavy movie: it is a fun movie.

I like the look of Tombstone. The city in which it takes place looks appropriately dusty, ramshackle, and busy. The costumes look authentic, and the actors don’t look silly in cowboy hats. The acting is good, with Kurt Russell giving a fine performance as Wyatt Earp. The scenes in the film where he loses it and starts shooting everything in sight, shouting, “I’m bringing hell with me!!” get me every time: they’re over the top, and Earp is given a sort of superhuman quality where he can’t miss or be killed, but it’s so earnestly acted that it always wins me over. Russell’s Earp has had all he can stand and he can’t stand no more, and for the audience it’s quite cathartic. Much has been said about Val Kilmer’s portrayal of Doc Holliday, and the praise is warranted. His character is probably the most fun in the film, and provides much of the comic relief.

The film is operatic in nature, so most of the villains are a bit stock in feel, but still quite interesting. Powers Boothe is devilish and brutish as the main bad guy, Curly Bill. He seems to laugh at all that is pure and holy. In fact, all of the bad guys do, which is part of the fun of the movie. These bad guys are uncomplicated, (except perhaps for Johnny Ringo, who is portrayed as a relatively educated man who kills for his own reasons) and so it’s okay for the audience to cheer when they get killed. There are scenes of Wyatt Earp riding on horseback, mowing them down seemingly by the dozen, but it’s all in good fun because they really deserve it. That’s the feel of the film.

It is this uncomplicated, romantic, fun view of the west as presented in this film that I enjoy so much. Tombstone was the first Western I’d ever seen, and it was perfect for that because it is kind of adolescent in its approach to violence. However, it gave me an interest in a genre that I might otherwise ignored if presented with a film like Shane at a young age. Shane is a great film, but would I have seen it as such at thirteen? Probably not. Tombstone helped me fall in love with Westerns, so that today I consider movies like Unforgiven and Once Upon A Time In The West as some of the finest films ever made. While not as great as those films, Tombstone, with its gritty, realistic sets, over the top gunfights, and good verses bad plotline, is fun in a way those films aren’t. For that reason, it will always be one of my favorites. Besides, who can forget these great lines:

“You gonna do something or just stand there and bleed?”

“You die first, get it? Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I make your head into a canoe, you understand me?”

“Evidently Mr. Ringo’s an educated man. Now I really hate him.”

“ This looks like a bad dream”

Them’s fightin’ words!

In a few week's, Brian DePalma's "The Black Dahlia" hits theatres. What better way to welcome it then with a look back at DePalma's classic horror film, "Carrie." Ah, Nancy Allen naked. P.J. Soles naked. Edie McClurg na.......yikes!

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.