PCR's past banners
Now in our seventh calendar year!

PCR #350. (Vol. 7, No. 49) This edition is for the week of December 4--10, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Some odds and ends for the week. Shall we begin?

The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part One  by Will Moriaty
"Blood Diamond"  by Mike Smith
The Josh Sullivan Art Show  by Nolan B. Canova
On a Personal Note: The Return of Doug Deal  by Nolan B. Canova
Movie Theater Memories  by Andy Lalino
A Rocking Good Time....Theater Memories....It's Awards Time....Yeah I Say That All The Time.... My Favorite Films, Part 49: "Love Actually"  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
Email PCR

In my life time I've seen many concerts. A random list includes David Bowie, the Cars, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones, ZZ Top, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Elton John, Tina Turner, Rick Springfield (7 times) and, yes, Barry Manilow. But it wasn't until this past Saturday that I got the opportunity to see Bob Seger. And I was not disappointed. Returning to the stage after a ten year break, Seger sounded like he'd never been gone. He mixed old classics with new selections from his new album in a show that went on for almost two and a half hours, including two encores. He even had some fun with his age, singing "Now sweet 16 has turned 61" during "Rock and Roll Never Forgets." A great evening that I won't forget as well.

Just a quick mention to say how much I enjoyed Andy Lalino's piece on movie theatre memories this week. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that found the theatre experience almost as enjoyable as the film I was seeing. Great job.

The first major film awards have been awarded by the National Board of Review. The big surprise was that the best film winner was "Letter's From Iwo Jima," Clint Eastwood's follow up to "Flags of Our Fathers." The film doesn't open nationally until next year (I have a screener which I haven't watched yet), but will be released in New York and Los Angeles before the end of the year to be eligible for this years Academy Awards. And the winners are:

Best Director: MARTIN SCORSESE, The Departed
Best Actor: FOREST WHITAKER, The Last King of Scotland
Best Actress: HELEN MIRREN, The Queen
Best Supporting Actor: DJIMON HOUNSOU, Blood Diamond
Best Supporting Actress: CATHERINE O'HARA, For Your Consideration
Best Foreign Film: VOLVER
Best Animated Feature: CARS
Best Ensemble Cast: THE DEPARTED
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: RYAN GOSLING, Half Nelson
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: (2)
Best Directorial Debut: JASON REITMAN, Thank You for Smoking
Best Original Screenplay: ZACH HELM, Stranger Than Fiction
Best Adapted Screenplay: RON NYSWANER, The Painted Veil

This week, the cable channel TVLand released it's list of the top 100 Television Catch Phrases. What I found upsetting was that many of them weren't what I would consider a catch phrase. I mean, I can't remember the time I was in a conversation and said, "That's one small step for man, one giant step for mankind." Maybe it's me. Some phrases that I can remember using or hearing include "That's the ticket" (99), "I love it when a plan comes together" (96), "Mom always liked you best" (90), "Hey now!" (87), "I know NOTHING" (75), "Holy _____, Batman" (53), "Danger, Will Robinson" (48) and even Fonzie's simple "Aaaayyy" (11). Here are the top ten. How many times have you used #5?

10. "I'm not a crook."
9. "Yabba, dabba doo."
8. "Whatchoo talkin' about, Willis?"
7. "Where's the beef?"
6. "D'oh!"
5. "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
4. "Baby, you're the greatest."
3. "You're fired."
2. "That's one small step for man, one giant step for mankind."
1. "Here's Johnny!"

Starring: Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson and Bill Nighy
Directed by: Richard Curtis

FIRST SEEN: Cinemark 20, Merriam, Kansas
FAVORITE LINE: "Hiya, kids. Here is an important message from your Uncle Bill. Don't buy drugs. Become a pop star and they give you them for free."
FAVORITE SCENE: The prime minister goes door to door to find the woman he loves.

  • BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor (Nighy). BAFTA Nominations for Best Film, Best Supporting Actress (Thompson)
  • Golden Globe nominations for Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy and Best Screenplay.

    It's funny how a film can grow on you. When I first saw "Love Actually," I gave it a three star review. I was still working part time as a theatre projectionist at the time, and over the weeks I found myself drawn to the projection port, taking in the film over and over again and picking up on things I missed when I first saw it.

    "Love Actually" tells the story of the romantic ups and downs of various people, all of which have a partial relationship to the other. The newly elected prime minister has a thing for his assistant. His sister suspects her husband is cheating on her. Her friend has just lost his wife and is getting back out in the world. His stepson is in love with a girl from school. Another friend has just broken up with his girlfriend. And of course there's Billy Mack, a one time rock and roll legend reduced to redoing "Love is all around" as "Christmas is all around" in an attempt to have a comeback hit. These main characters, and those around them, come together to form the greatest romantic comedy since "Annie Hall." The script, by director Curtis (who also wrote "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and "Notting Hill") manages to give each character a realism rarely found in films. The film is full of great lines, funny but honest and believable. The cast is superb, with Bill Nighy and Emma Thompson standing out. How neither was nominated for an Oscar is one of the great un justices in Hollywood history. At least the British Academy got it right. The scene where Thompson first suspects her husband is cheating on her is heartbreaking, as she goes from joy to sadness to devastation in a span of seconds. Add Alan Rickman, Laura Linney, Rowan Atkinson, Kiera Knightley and Billy Bob Thornton as the Clintonesque President of the United States to the players already named and you've got an assembled cast to rival that of "JFK." But don't take my word for it. Joining me this week is another man well in touch with his manhood (we are often the butt of our friends jokes because we love this film), Dana Gouldreault:

    Love Actually...
    by Dana Gouldreault

    Love Actually is a rare film that grabbed me right from the very first scene and never let go. Hugh Grant's narrative over the backdrop of people arriving at Hethro airport, well...it just said so much in such a very short amount of time. For a place where most people only recall with dread, the airport scene quickly showed us that love is indeed everywhere and ultimately where you'd least expect to find it.

    As each group of "love interests" were introduced to us, I found each and every character immediately interesting and I was anxious to see their individual stories. How they were all going to intertwine, I had no idea and didn't really concern myself about that, I just went along for the nicely paced ride and enjoyed every bit of it, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying but complete;y entertained no matter the situation. Richard Curtis has made his masterpiece.

    I've gotta imagine that the title for this film, as great as it is, might have been called "Love: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"

    So many personifications of love are dealt with and Curtis hits a homerun with every one of them. From the goofy Brit in search of American sex, to the tortured love of sister and brother and my favorite couple of the film, the ex-heroin addict singer and his fat, ugly manager, who turns out to be the love of his life.

    The humor in this film hits home as hard as the drama in it does and that is something not found too often in movies that proclaim to be romatic comedies.

    The foul language and the assorted sex scenes are noted in so many reviews...negative reviews of this film, and I can't help but feel sorry for the tight-assed prudes that can sit there and miss the entire point of the movie. And that is that LOVE is a feeling that is at times awkward, mysterious, hurtful, thrilling, depressing and one that none of us can do without. Simulated sex in the nude? Sure, at first glance it made me a bit uncomfortable, but...when you watch the scene(s) unfold, you realize the beauty of it, in that the two people involved are more uncomfortable than we are and only wish that they were elsewhere, talking to each other with their clothes on. Indeed, when they finally do meet outside her parents home, a simple little kiss from her sends this guy into orbit, much more so than he ever showed while being with her BUCK NAKED. Love is EVERYTHING and this movie shows it in every imaginable incarnation. And it is at times hysterical when doing so. Watching Hugh Grant's character, the Prime Minister no less, go door to door in search of his foul-mouthed former secretary, it's an absolute joy to watch.

    I could go on and on about the others in this film and why LOVE ACTUALLY is a must see film...

    "But for now, let me say - Without hope or agenda - Just because it's Christmas - And at Christmas you tell the truth - To me, it's perfect."

    As the film takes place around the Christmas season, I highly recommend it for a home video viewing.

    Speaking of a great cast, next week I take a look at Steven Spielberg's EPIC comedy, "1941"

    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.