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PCR #351. (Vol. 7, No. 50) This edition is for the week of December 11--17, 2006.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Golden Globe nominations are out. And I get to put my useless knowledge to work. Shall we begin?

The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region, Part Two  by Will Moriaty
"Eragon"  by Mike Smith
"Charlotte's Web"  by Mike Smith
First Screening: "Dark Dimensions"  by Nolan B. Canova
The Tampa Film Review for December  by Nolan B. Canova
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! Part 3  by Drew Reiber
DVD Grindhouse: Horror Classics - 50 Movie Pack DVD Collection (Part 1)....Peter Boyle is Gone  by Andy Lalino
The Globes....Texas Boud....Passing On....Next Year....My Favorite Films, Part 50: "1941"  by Mike Smith
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Over the past decade or so the Golden Globes have gone from being a laughable ceremony to a genuine harbinger of the Academy Awards. This year the Hollywood Foreign Press were not without it's surprises. Clint Eastwood was nominated twice in the directing category for his bookend films "Flags of our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima." However, neither film was nominated for Best Picture. The films I expected to be nominated, and were: "Babel," "The Departed" and "The Queen." Two that snuck in: "Bobby" and "Little Children." That was the dramatic category. I was pleased that "Borat" got a comedy/musical best picture nod, though I expect "Dreamgirls" to walk off with the award. Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated twice in the dramatic actor category for "The Departed" and "Blood Diamonds." I should point out that "Letters from Iwo Jima" was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category (it is presented in Japanese) as was Mel Gibson's "Apocalypto." Best Animated Feature Film nominees are "Cars," "Happy Feet" and "Monster House."

Happy to announce that on Saturday, February 10, 2007, I will be participating for a spot on VH1's "World Series of Pop Culture." Our team is called THE THREE Ms (Movies, Music and Mayhem) and consists of myself, my friend JR Deeter and my son, Phillip. We will be flexing our brains in Austin, Texas, with the chance to head to New York City for the big game at the end of March. Feel free to send me all of the trivia questions you want and I'll do my best to answer them.

A few major passings this week, including:
Peter Boyle, best known for his multi Emmy nominated work on "Everybody Loves Raymond," passed away this week at the age of 71. Cause of death was given as heart disease. It was while training to become a Christian Brother's Monk that Boyle began teaching drama. He decided to pursue acting full time and, after a few small parts, got the title role as a racist factory worker in "Joe." Still very devout in his beliefs, Boyle was shocked that audiences would applaud during some of the more violent parts of the film. It was this worry that caused him to turn down the role of Popeye Doyle in "The French Connection." Boyle followed "Joe" with roles in "The Candidate" and "The Friends of Eddie Coyle." He then was cast in the role that brought a new side of the actor to fans, the monster in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein." His comic timing is highlighted in two great scenes. In one, he puts on a musical revue with Gene Wilder, singing and dancing to "Puttin' On the Ritz." Later in the film, he encounters a blind man (played by an uncredited Gene Hackman, who won on Oscar for playing Popeye Doyle) and shares soup and a cigar with him. It was while filming "Young Frankenstein" that he met his future wife, who was a reporter for Rolling Stone magazine. Other film roles include "Taxi Driver," "FIST," "Hardcore," "Outland" and, in a role that shocked fans who only knew him from his "Raymond" role, Billy Bob Thornton's racist father in "Monster's Ball." He had a recurring role as Andy Sipowitz' AA sponsor on "NYPD Blue" and won an Emmy for an appearance on "The Xfiles." He received a total of ten Emmy nominations, including seven in a row for "Raymond." Ironically, he was the only major cast member to not win an Emmy for the show.
Betty Comden, creator of some of the greatest musicals in history, passed away last week at the age of 91. Miss Comden, who worked for almost 60 years with her long time collaborator, Adolph Green, wrote such films as "Good News" and "Singin' In the Rain." She also helped create such great Broadway musicals as "On the Town" and received seven Tony awards through her career as well as five additional nominations.
Martin Nodell, an advertising executive who created two iconic characters, died last weekend in a nursing home in Muskego, Wisconsin. He was 91. In 1940, he was waiting for a train in New York City and trying to come up with a new comic book hero. He spotted a train operator waving a lantern displaying a green light. Voila! Green Lantern was born. In the 1960s he left comics and went back into advertising. He was part of the design team that created the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Woo-hoo!
Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and one of the greatest innovators of professional football, died Wednesday night after a recurrence of cancer. He was 74. When the NFL refused to let him buy a franchise he gathered some friends and formed the American Football League. Upset by the success of the upstart league, the NFL agreed to merge with the AFL and Hunt's Chiefs played the Green Bay Packers in the first Championship game. It wasn't until 1969 when Hunt, inspired by one of his children's toys, coined the phrase "Super Bowl." Mr. Hunt was beloved here in Kansas City. I've heard countless stories of Mr. Hunt stopping by tailgate parties in the parking lot before a game or even spotting someone on the street wearing a Chiefs jacket and thanking that person for supporting the team. Mr. Hunt tried for 37 years to get a Thanksgiving day game in Kansas City, which finally happened this year. Sadly, Mr. Hunt went into the hospital the night before the game but did watch the Chiefs beat the Broncos.

I still haven't decided on next year's weekly/year long serial will be. Right now I'm leaning towards picking a random film year and debating the Academy Awards given out and the nominations that were omitted. I'm always open to suggestions so send them along. Hmmmmmmmm, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Tangerine Dream and T-Rex all formed in 1967. Think I can squeeze 52 chapters out of Marc Bolan and "Bang a Gong?"

Starring: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, Tim Matheson, Nancy Allen and Warren Oates
Directed by: Steven Spielberg

FIRST SEEN: Embassy Twin, Kansas City, Missouri
FAVORITE LINE: "Let me hear your guns - yang, yang, yang, yang!"
FAVORITE SCENE: The opening of the film, which features a hilarious take off of the opening scene from JAWS.
AWARDS: Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Sound and Visual Effects.

Following the incredible success of "Jaws" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," fans waited with baited breath for Steven Spielberg's next film, the epic comedy, "1941." Unfortunately, the film was unfairly compared to those two movie milestones and, despite decent business, was deemed a failure. But the film is far from it.

The story of a rumored Japanese submarine invasion off the coast of California immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, "1941" was written by newcomers Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, who Spielberg took under his wing while filming "CE3K" in Alabama. The film intrigued Spielberg because it gave him new challenges. He had never done a comedy. He had never done a musical. And he had never done anything as wide spanning, story wise, as this. If there is one negative to the film, it is that it contains too many plot lines to keep an audiences attention for two hours.

The films cast is made up of a who's who of the late 1970s. Aykroyd and Belushi were hot stars of "Saturday Night Live." Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton had worked with Spielberg on "Jaws." Matheson, Nancy Allen, Treat Williams, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Michael McKean and David Lander were gaining popularity in film and on television. Add to the mix such revered stars as Christopher Lee and Toshiro Mifune and another 20 speaking parts and you can see how things got complicated quick. Still, along with the cast, there are many great things to recommend. The film is beautifully shot, with Spielberg and director of photography William A. Fraker capturing the beauty of Los Angeles at night. In fact, the shot of the city at night that opens the film is almost identical to the one that opens "E.T." The musical score by John Williams is one of his best. And the visual effects, which include a ferris wheel rolling off a pier into the ocean and the actual demolition of a house that drops off a cliff are jaw dropping. And, for those of you with sharp eyes, watch for James Caan as the sailor that begins the big brawl at the dance contest.

Of course, Spielberg was destroyed and never made another film. NOT. His next film brought him back to prominence with both his fans and the studios: "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

Next week I'll bring in the season properly with a look at Ralphie Parker and Family in "A Christmas Story"

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.