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"Freedomland"  by Mike Smith
About Valentine's Day  by Dylan Jones
Florida Filmmakers Helping Each Other  by Mark Terry
Peter Benchley....Rondo Award Voting  by Matt Drinnenberg
Cheney's Got a Gun....Thank You....You Can't Buy This Kind of Publicity....My Favorite Films--Chapter 7  by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 308  (Vol. 7, No. 7). This edition is for the week of February 13--19, 2006.

The Shootist
  • Peter Benchley Dies
  • Tampa Film Review for February
    • Nuptuals
    • Graveyard Shift AM off the air
    • Indy Films at MegaCon

    Hey, heard any good jokes lately? Jay Leno, David Letterman, et.al., couldn't hope for a better foil than Vice-President Dick Cheney who accidentally shot a fellow hunter full of bird-shot while hunting for quail last weekend in Texas.

    Where do you start? "Worst aim at a VP since Bill Clinton (reference to Dan Quayle, obviously)", "New way to take care of the elderly, just pick 'em off one by one", "Hey, a least it got everyone's mind off Iraq". The list goes on.

    The "elderly" comment stems for the age of his victim, a 78-year-old lawyer named Harry Whittington. Yes, a lawyer. Leno, "Hey, force of habit, after he was shot, he handed himself his own business card." Not that Cheney's any spring chicken. "When the ambulance came, they put Cheney on the gurney, force of habit."

    In The News...
  • Cheney Shooting
  • The Denmark Cartoon
  • Bush and the spying program
  • New Message Board Policies
  • Are you going to MegaCon?
    Independent Filmmaking...
  • Tampa Film Review February feedback
  • What's happening with the Tampa Bay Film Scene
    At The Movies...
  • Movies to Look Forward to in 2006
  • While Mr. Whittington fortunately survived Cheney's bad aim, I'm not sure he's laughing too heartily right now, as the buck shot got a little too close to his ticker causing a minor heart attack and a return to the intensive care unit just after he was judged to be out of any critical danger. Whittington had initially been placed in intensive care after the accident Saturday evening. He had been moved to a "step-down unit" Monday after doctors decided to leave several birdshot pellets lodged in his skin rather than try to remove them.

    Interestingly, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department gave Cheney and Whittington warning citations for breaking Texas hunting law by failing to buy a $7 stamp allowing them to shoot upland game birds. A department spokesman said warnings are being issued in most cases because the stamp requirement only went into effect five months ago and many hunters weren't aware of it.

    Another very interesting thing is President Bush was told about Cheney's involvement in the accident shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday - about an hour after it occurred - but the White House did not disclose the accident until Sunday afternoon, and then only in response to press questions. Reasons for the temporary cover-up of the embarrassing incident were up to the point of this writing, strictly speculative.

    "JAWS" author, Peter Benchley, Dies
    The author of the landmark novel JAWS from which the seminal motion-picture thriller was made and also the author of THE DEEP, Peter Benchley, has died at the age of 65. I'm not even going to attempt a proper eulogy here as this is clearly JAWS super-fan Mike Smith's territory, and will be covered thoroughly later in the week in The Rant. I will say Benchley's contributions to literature and movies were obviously quite significant, and he will be missed.

    Tampa Film Review for February
    Although the producers of the Tampa Film Review, Peter and Paul Guzzo, don't normally take up an entire evening with a single feature (the last time a single movie was featured was last June's zero-budget schlock-fest Light of Blood), the February offering, The Cross was, to say the very least, time well spent. Even magical.

    Opting for several shorts for better pacing and a better over-view of local film talent is usually a safer way to go for the Tampa Film Review and seems to encourage a better turn-out. However, for a film like The Cross, the Guzzos absolutely made a wise decision. The modest crowd was in for a treat.

    The Cross by Gino Cabanas: The story of Ray, a personal injury attorney, facing a moral and spiritual crisis. Ray finds himself feeling cursed, trapped, and miserable as a parade of “injured” clients constantly pressure him for their money, most of which is not deserved. He feels he is only an instrument of their greed. The time constraints of his job prevent him from spending time with his family and friends. Ray misses a chance to see his brother Paul before he dies of cancer. As his clients become more frantic and demanding, Ray begins to unravel, questioning the morality of his profession. He is haunted by the ghost of his deceased brother Paul, who guides him toward his salvation. While I definitely credit director Gino Cabanas for the amazing cinematic narrative, it is definitely writer/star Steve Stavrakis who is in the driver's seat conveying an incredibly sensitive portrait of Ray in this 2002 release. Stavrakis, a real-life personal injury attorney, basically tells a very personal story here. What the above synopsis leaves out is that The Cross revolves heavily around the Greek Orthodox celebration of Epiphany when dozens of teenage boys jump into a freezing cold lake and dive after a cross thrown in by the bishop. As legend has it, whoever recovers the cross will lead a blessed life. Through a series of flashbacks inserted with brilliant pacing, we learn the ambitious boy becomes the grown-up lawyer who may be one of the rare ones to actually have scruples as his conscience plays havoc with the steady stream of not-so-sympathetic clients who are out for the easy buck they need him to facilitate. Guilt festers as they take up so much of his time, he is too exhausted to go on a final fishing trip with his brother Paul (director Cabanas) before he dies of cancer at a young age. Paul returns, however, in a series of ghostly/visionary encounters to guide Ray through his crisis of faith.

    All actors are well-cast, with Kim Schwartz, himself a real-life entertainment attorney, commanding several keen and funny spots as a sleazy private investigator. The music by Thomas Morse is lush, emotional and suits the material superbly.

    I had an opportunity to speak with 44-year-old Steve Stavrakis after the show. This is where I learned The Cross was his first movie as well as the director's! Stavarakis and Cabana filmed the whole feature in Tarpon Springs, Florida, which never looked so good thanks to the photography of Massimo Zeri, A.S.C.. I casually observed that A.S.C. guys don't come cheap. Steve replied that The Cross was filmed on 35mm and the budget was somewhere between 500K and 800K(!). Obviously, having LA connections and a pretty big bankroll are an advantage, but how many films have you seen costing many times more with no evidence of where the money went? Here it is ALL on the screen.

    I missed The Cross when it played the TamBay Film Festival, but I made up for lost time here. It has my highest recommendation. Visit the website at www.thecrossmovie.com

    NUPTUALS. Congratulations to former BLADE bassist and current wrasslin' web guru Scott van Sickle on his upcoming marriage to Lexie Fyfe this Saturday, February 18th! I sincerely wish these two love-boids a long and happy co-partnership!

    RADIO NEWS. To All Interested Media and/or Partners in the Paranormal:
    Effective as of the end of February, The Graveyard Shift Radio Show will be off the air for an undisclosed period of time due to personal matters. Emi and Amy Diaz, both Hosts of the show, have been On The Air over at the WTAN Tan Talk Studios in Clearwater, FL since June 2005. Since then, they have brought such notable and popular names such as: Brad Steiger, Best-Selling Author of "Real Ghosts, Restless Spirits and Haunted Places" and more recently, "Conspiracies and Secret Societies", Charlie Carlson, "Master of The Weird" and Statewide Best-Selling Author of Weird Florida, Susan Thompson who runs New Smyrna Beach Ghost Tours, Nicholas Redfern, Bestselling Author of "Three Men Seeking Monsters" and, more recently, "Body Snatchers in the Desert", Nolan Canova of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" on the Web, Jeff Belanger, Creator of Ghostvillage.com and Author of "World's Most Haunted Places", just to name a few.

    Emi has stated that he wishes to continue the show after more support can be obtained. Anyone wishing to donate to future shows can visit the show's official site and donate via Paypal. Emi also intends to find a way to broadcast on the net to keep the show going. More information will be available as soon as the method is devised.

    The Graveyard Shift will be making a public appearance at this year's huge Comic Book Convention, MEGACON in the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Joining them will be Charlie Carlson and Susan Thompson. Fans of the show will be able to purchase collections of old shows and even get a signed book from Emi himself! Wow!

    Any further information may be obtained by emailing Emi or replying to this email.

    Thank you for all you have done to help keep the show afloat. This does NOT mean we're quitting. It does NOT mean we're giving up. We're just having some "shore leave" until we can find a bigger boat. There are some big ol' sharks out there...and they have a mighty toothy grin, that they do."

    -- Emi Diaz

    A number of cutting-edge award-winning independent films have been selected for presentation at this year's Megacon.
    Megacon's Indy Film Expo showcases cutting-edge short independent films in the genres of action, animation, comedy, superheroes, science fiction, suspense, and horror. Certainly the comics-related films are drawing the most attention like the super hit Zoom Suit film whose comic adaptation is premiering at Megacon. Other comics-related films include Rats based on a Sin City story, Challenge of the South Park Super Friends, and Tomorrow's Memoir which won the honor of best comics-related film at Comicon this year. A surprise sneak peek at a major comic/media property is also in the works.

    The following films have been chosen by 3 Boys Productions, the founders of the Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival and coordinators of the Indy Film Expo, for their Friday night program at Megacon on February 24th at 7 pm in Auditorium 222 of the Orange County Convention Center. Donations will be accepted for ACTOR.

    Broken directed by Alex Ferrari http://www.fortuityfilms.com
    Challenge of the South Park Super Friends directed by John Taddeo http://www.superverse.com
    Closing Time directed by Chris Brandt http://bainst.com/
    Dudley & the Toy Keeper's Chest directed by Patrick Algermissen http://poemfilms.com
    Miss Perfect directed by Gary Dejidas http://i-katharine.com
    Pee Shy directed by Deb Hagan http://www.peeshymovie.com
    Rats: A Sin City Yarn directed by David Brocca http://www.pitchfilms.com
    Tomorrow's Memoir directed by Jim Cliffe http://www.tomorrowsmemoir.com
    Zoom Suit directed by John Taddeo http://www.superverse.com

    Also to be shown are the preview trailers for these cutting-edge films:
    Call of Cthulhu directed by Andrew Leman http://www.cthulhulives.org
    Hoodoo for Voodoo directed by Steven Shea http://www.hoodooforvoodoo.com
    Film State 51 International

    All proceeds to benefit charity. As part of Megacon's "Indy Film Expo" program, a panel discussion on filmmaking will be hosted by "Students of the Unusual" publisher Terry Cronin on Saturday February 25th at 12:00 pm in auditorium 221. This will feature guest filmmakers and actors including confirmed guests include Patrick Algermissen, Michael S. Broder, Jim Cliffe, Andy Lalino, Katharine Leis, Pat Martin, Brian Pulido (LADY DEATH), Jorge Rodriguez, Steven Shea, John Taddeo (ZOOM SUIT), and Todd Thompson. Other surprise celebrity guests are expected. Cronin relates that "this is a unique opportunity to meet and discuss independent filmmaking with the filmmakers themselves."

    For more info on MEGACON go to http://www.megaconvention.com
    For more info on Students of the Unusual go to http://www.studentsoftheunusual.com
    For more info on ACTOR go to http://www.actorcomicfund.org

    Contact info:
    Terry Cronin!, program chairman,
    3 Boys Productions/Megacon's "Indy Film Expo" Feb 24th, 2006
    1399 S Harbor City Blvd Melbourne, Florida, USA 32901
    Melbourne Independent Filmmakers Festival
    Student Body President Students of the Unusual

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2006 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2006 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2006 by Vinnie Blesi    "Creature's Corner" is ©2006 by John Lewis    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry    "The Drow" is ©2006 by Dylan Jones      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova    
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