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PCR #345. (Vol. 7, No. 44) This edition is for the week of October 30--November 5, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Another week of odds and ends. Shall we begin?

BORAT: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan  by Mike Smith
Indie Film Review:
"Blood Descendants" by Mike Smith
Horror-Mania: Three Big Events  by Andy Lalino
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! Part One  by Drew Reiber
Hey Everyone, Let's Put On A Show....Music That Rocks (And Rolls)...Land Shark Ho!...Where In The Hell Was She Staying?...Get Well Soon....Back In The '70s....Coming Soon....Passing On....My Favorite Films, Part 44: "Annie Hall"  by Mike Smith
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In what has to be one of the biggest gambles in Hollywood since Warner Brothers added sound to "The Jazz Singer," MGM has announced that they will resurrect United Artists with Tom Cruise's producing partner, Paula Wagner, running the show. Wagner will make all of the day to day decisions at the studio while Cruise will produce and star in films for the studio. This announcement comes the same week that Sumner Redstone, the owner of Viacom, whose Paramount arm released "Mission: Impossible 3," claimed that Cruise's recent activities cost the film as much as $150 million at the box office this summer. United Artists, which was founded in 1921 by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith and Mary Pickford, was formed so that artists could express themselves outside of the standard studio system. In the 1970s, a production company named First Artists, which was formed by Barbra Streisand, Paul Newman, Sidney Poitier and Steve McQueen, attempted the same thing with moderate success.

This year's nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are: R.E.M., Patti Smith, the Dave Clark Five, Van Halen, Chic, The Stooges, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, The Ronettes and Joe Tex. My vote would go to the DC5, which featured keyboardist and vocalist Mike Smith! What the hell, Van Halen can join them.

On December 5 Universal will release the entire first season of "Saturday Night Live," featuring the original cast of Not Ready For Prime Time Players. Among the skits I'll be looking forward to are the many "Land Shark" bits as well as "Jaws 2," which featured John Belushi as Richard Dreyfuss' character, Matt Hooper.

A woman in New Jersey is suing the Rolling Stones for $53 million dollars due to a recent concert in Atlantic City being canceled when Mick Jagger fell ill. She had to stay overnight in a hotel which cost her $300. Apparently the other $52,999,700.00 is for damages. The show has been rescheduled for November 17.

Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh announced this week on his web site that he has prostate cancer and will have surgery next month. As the cancer was detected early, Lesh expects to make a full recovery.

Though I certainly don't feel like a teenager, I can't help but be amazed that Meat Loaf, Barry Manilow and the Who have all released albums (CDs to you whipper snappers) this week.

Though you wouldn't know it now, prior to seeing JAWS I really wasn't much of a movie goer. In fact, I think I could count the number of films I had seen prior to the big shark movie on both hands and have some fingers left over. One of those films was Brian De Palma's "Sisters," which I saw with my parents at a drive in. This week original producer Edward R. Pressman announced plans for a remake staring French actress Lou Doilion and Chloe Sevigny. The story has been changed some but Pressman reported that DePalma had read the script and was "enthusiastic." Douglas Buck, known for his short horror films, will direct.

Phyllis Kirk
, probably remembered best for her work in the original "House of Wax," has died of a brain aneurysm at the age of 79. She also played Nora Charles on "The Thin Man" television series.
Herbert Leonard, television producer whose shows included "Route 66," "Naked City" and "Circus Boy" (which starred a very young Mickey Dolenz) passed away due to cancer. He was 84.
Arthur Hill, a staple on television for 20 years, died this past Sunday due to complications from Alzheimer's. He was 84. Hill appeared on a host of shows during his career including "The Fugitive," "Judd for the Defense," " The F.B.I." and "The Name of the Game." He also starred as "Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law." His film appearances include "The Andromeda Strain," "Rabbit, Run," "Futurewold," "A Bridge Too Far" and "The Champ." He won a Tony Award for creating the role of George opposite Uta Hagen in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf."
Sandy West, who, with Joan Jett and Micki Steele, co-founded the all girl group The Runaways, died last week from lung cancer. She was 47. A year after the band formed, Steele was replaced by Jackie Fox and lead guitarist Lita Ford joined the group. West, the band's drummer, also co-wrote their biggest hit, "Cherry Bomb."

Starring: Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts and Christopher Wlaken
Directed by: Woody Allen

FIRST SEEN: Britton Cinema, Tampa, Florida
FAVORITE LINE: "You're what Grammy Hall would call a real Jew."
FAVORITE SCENE: Alvy dresses down the annoying guy in the movie line.

  • Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Keaton) and Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (Allen and Marshall Brickman). Academy Award nomination for Best Actor (Allen)
  • BAFTA Awards for Best Picture, Director, Actress (Keaton), Screenplay and Film Editing. BAFTA nomination for Best Actor (Allen).
  • Director's Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement.
  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress (Musical/Comedy) - Diane Keaton. Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy), Director, Actor (Allen) and Screenplay.
  • Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Film, Director and Actress (Keaton).
  • Writer's Guild of America Award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.

    In 1978, comedian Woody Allen joined the great Orson Welles as the only person ever nominated for an Academy Award for writing, directing and acting in the same film. Since then Warren Beatty has achieved the same distinction. George Clooney also received the same nominations in the same year but for two different films. Allen was being recognized for possibly his best film ever, "Annie Hall."

    The story of comedian Alvy Singer (Allen) who meets a girl (Keaton) during a game of tennis and falls in love, "Annie Hall" is a testament to the claim that Allen is, next to Billy Wilder, the greatest writer in the history of film comedy. Full of colorful characters, the film is one of the first to highlight Allen's beloved New York City. And that love is never more brought out then when Alvy has to travel to California, commenting that the only advantage to the west coast is that you can turn right at a red light. A triumph of small, intimate scenes, the film marked the early film appearances of Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall and Christopher Walken. Along the way, Allen gets in shots about conservatives, anti-Semitism and people that talk too much in movie lines.

    The Academy Award ceremony was held on April 3, 1978 and "Annie Hall" was up against the biggest film of all time, "Star Wars." However, Allen was no where to be seen. It seemed that every Monday night Allen and his jazz group performed at Michael's in New York and that is where Allen was that evening. It wasn't until 2002 that Allen would make his only appearance at the ceremony, and only then to introduce a series of clips from films about New York City to recognize the tragedy of 9/11. There was intense competition in each of the five categories the film was nominated in. Many figured that Richard Burton would FINALLY win the Best Actor award, but the surprise winner that night was another Richard...Dreyfuss for "The Goodbye Girl." But that would be the only award the film wouldn't win. Up against newcomer's Steven Spielberg and George Lucas as well as veteran's Fred Zinnemann and Herbert Ross, Allen took home the directing Oscar, which was accepted by King Vidor. The Best Actress category was particularly strong that year, with past winners (Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft), a future winner (Shirley MacLaine) and Marsha Mason (who was my choice that year) competing against Keaton. Though Keaton won the award for her work in "Annie Hall," I've always believed she was helped by her dramatic turn in the same year's "Looking For Mr. Goodbar." To be honest, I've also believed that it was the one-two punch of "The Goodbye Girl" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" that put the Oscar in Dreyfuss' hand.

    Since "Annie Hall", Allen has received 18 more Oscar nominations: 13 for writing, including another win for his screenplay for "Hannah and Her Sisters."

    One last note. Please don't write me and tell me that I spelled Christopher Walken's name wrong at the beginning of this piece. I know I did. That is how it is spelled in the end credits. Not that it mattered. The next year Walken would win an Oscar himself for his work in "The Deer Hunter."

    Next week I get to honor my all time favorite actor on his birthday when I highlight Roy Scheider and "All That Jazz."

    Well, that's it. 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.