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PCR #344. (Vol. 7, No. 43) This edition is for the week of October 23--29, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! My apologies for the delay this week. Shall we begin?

The Tampa Premiere of "The End is Blossoming"  by Nolan B. Canova
"The Prestige"  by Mike Smith
Hitting Home....El Rush-bo....But What Are You Going To Do For Me?...What? No A-Ha?...Maybe Next Year....Passing On....Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Beat Me, When I'm 64?...My Favorite Films, Part 43: "Halloween"  by Mike Smith
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It is with great sadness that I report the death of Army corporal David Unger from Leavenworth, Kansas. David's father, Matt, coached in many of the same summer baseball leagues that my son and I participated in. Sadly, David and the four other soldiers who died with him, were on their way to begin their out processing from Iraq. He was buried today (Friday) with full military honors at Fort Leavenworth. He leaves behind a wife and son. He was 21.

Good old Rush Limbaugh. It's bad enough the man has been fired for racist comments and dumped by his wife for his drug addiction problems. Not to mention that he's too ashamed to admit he can't get it up and apparently has to leave the country to get laid. Now he tops it all off by insulting Marty McFly! What a prick. I live in Missouri and have seen Michael J. Fox' commercial supporting stem cell research. And yes, he is shaking pretty badly. But so does Muhammad Ali. I've never heard Limbaugh call out the champ! Maybe he's saving the racist stuff for him..

Maybe it's because I'm 46 years old, but I can still remember a time when political commercials stressed the candidates strengths, as in "This is what I'm going to do." These days they're all about how bad the other guy is. It's not, "Vote for me because I have a plan," but rather, "Don't vote for him, he's a crook." Sad stuff. Since we just spoke about Michael J. Fox and his pro stem cell research spot, I should also mention the "response" spot from the other side. It includes local Missouri faces like Kurt Warner, Jeff Suppan, Mike Sweeney and Jim Caviezel. The part that baffles me is that Caviezel opens the spot and speaks in Aramaic. Just like he did when he played Jesus. Great. Now when we vote we'll have to ask ourselves "How Would Jesus Vote?"

Next week VH1 will count down the top 100 songs of the 1980s. Let me save you some tv time by giving you the top five:

5. "When Doves Cry" by Prince. GREAT SONG, though I know Nolan will disagree.
4. "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson. Quincy Jones tells the story that the woman in question really accused Jackson of being the father of ONE of her twins.
3. "Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran. Good song but not the best from Simon and company.
2. "Pour Some Sugar On Me" by Def Leppard. Same as #3.
1. "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi. A great song from an under appreciated band that has been around for more then two decades.

Should VH1 decide to tackle the 1990s, I'm sure at least one song from Nirvana will make the list. And let's segue' into the fact that, for the first time since they've tracked this amazing fact, the late Kurt Kobain has replaced Elvis Presley at the top of Forbes magazines' list of dead celebrities who earned the most money. On behalf of Courtney Love, I thank all of you.

Though he may never top Forbes, Tommy Johnson was a hell of a musician. I would think that his work has been heard by more people in the world then almost anyone else's. And he was a tuba player! Johnson, who passed away on October 16 due to cancer and kidney failure, played possibly the most famous tuba solo ever during the opening of "Jaws." His career as a soundtrack musician spanned five decades, beginning with "Al Capone" in 1958. He also performed on "The Godfather," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," the Indiana Jones and "Star Trek" films and "Titanic." Johnson often talked about how he was late for the "Jaws" recording session, having gotten caught in traffic. He said that he had no sooner put the tuba to his lips when he glanced at the sheet music and saw that the very first musical cue was his. DA-DUM. Tommy Johnson was 71.

Latest on the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills front is that the former Beatle was abusive. The guy who wrote "Silly Love Songs"???? If this broad thinks she's getting $500 million dollars from Macca she's crazy. If I were her, I'd hop down to my lawyer and settle amicably.

Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance
Directed by: John Carpenter

FIRST SEEN: Britton Cinema, Tampa, Florida
FAVORITE LINE: "I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply EVIL!"
FAVORITE SCENE: The opening scene through the eyes of Michael Myers.

Intense. That's the first word that came to mind after I saw "Halloween." The true father of the string of slasher films that are still filling theatres almost 30 years later, "Halloween" took a simple story and turned it into one of the most popular horror films of all time.

If you haven't seen the film, you can probably wonder how anyone would think a film that featured a killer in a William Shatner mask and "Space 1999" jumpsuit was scary. But it wasn't the costumes that scared people. It was the atmosphere. Everyone has heard the classic "babysitter home alone with homicidal maniac on loose" story. Here director Carpenter has taken that story and added emotion to it. When Laurie is hiding in the closet from what she can only think of as the "boogeyman," audiences could relate to what she was experiencing.

This week I'm proud to introduce a new contributor to this ongoing saga of films, Shaun Adair:

John Carpenter's
by Shaun Adair

Halloween never grows old. The style used in the film is absolutely perfect. Seeing Michael peeking into windows in one shot, then gone the next shot, remains chilling no matter how many times I see it. Can you imagine sitting in class, looking out the window, and seeing some weirdo with a pale white mask across the street looking at you? Then later, seeing that guy behind a bush on the way home, and then in your neighbor's backyard looking up towards your bedroom window? Showing Michael from far away, letting the mask glow in the sunlight or in the streetlight adds a ghost-like quality. Truly haunting. And the locations in South Pasadena are truly remarkable.

So rare in present day horror films do we care much for the characters. There's something about Laurie that to me makes her the best victim/heroine in horror. Maybe it's because she's not your typical blonde, big breasted, ignorant, sexy bimbo but an average looking, smart, virginal girl who I'm sure many more could relate to than to the latter.

Donald Pleasance is my favorite part of Halloween. This guy just rules, and is sadly missed in all the sequels that will and have been made since his death. His performance is subtle, serious, scared, and fascinated it seems. The stares he gives in his moments with no dialogue show the work of a true acting legend.

Halloween remains one of the biggest independent films ever made, up until the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Blair Witch knocked it down a couple notches. It's amazing to me that at first the film was trashed. Quite possibly one would enjoy this movie better knowing that the story continues in the numerous sequels. Audiences today (most of them) like conclusions where the bad guy loses, and not just disappears. Knowing I have Halloween 2 to turn to softens the blow, and helps me realize that the ending is truly creepy and effective. What also works well is that this movie manages to shock you without much blood and gore that would become a trademark of later sequels and the Friday the 13th franchise. Halloween remains my second favorite movie of all time.

Two things I should mention:
1. I was the ONLY one in our group that found Jamie Lee Curtis attractive after we saw the film. Anyone else that says different is a liar!
2. In 1999, I assisted in the closing down of the Antioch Theatre in Kansas City, where the film opened originally. It was from the success of that opening that made the film a word of mouth hit.

Next week I look at Woody Allen's Oscar-winning classic, "Annie Hall".

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.