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"United 93"  by Mike Smith
Clash of the Titans  by Mark Terry
Neil Young's Chrome Dreams  by Terence Nuzum
Fantastic Voyage....There's No Need To Fear....When You're Hot You're Hot....Uh, Guys, It's Only A Movie....My Favorite Films -- Part 17: "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"  by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 318  (Vol. 7, No. 17). This edition is for the week of April 24--30, 2006.

Communication Repair?
Tony Snow replaces Scott McClellan as White House Press Secretary.
  • Review of Tampa-based Film: "99"

    Florida Collectibles Show Reminder
    Clyde Butcher Update
    The Passing of Herbert D. Carrington, Sr.
  • In my more lucid moments, when I'm not frothing at the mouth over the current Administration's foibles and missteps, I reluctantly have to concur with my more Conservative constituents that a huge problem dogging The White House over the past several years is, among other things, a piss-poor communication process.

    Earlier today as I write this (Wed., April 26) former speech-writer for Bush Sr. and former FOX News pundit Tony Snow was announced as the replacement for the departing Scott McClellan as White House Press Secretary. This move continues a current trend in major Administration shake-ups (Andrew Card, Tom DeLay, and now Scott McClellan).

    What I usually hear from the Conservatives around me is that what we hear from the news media about, say, the war in Iraq, is only a partial picture, and a biased one at that, of what is really going on. Any real accomplishments are minimized so that the more (deemed) newsworthy videos of violent bloodshed can be broadcast, and therefore, as the argument goes, skewing perceptions. The response from The White House is usually the same broken-record three or four lines from Bush (or his press liason) on staying the course. Hardly a satisfying rebuttal to powerful criticisms and failing confidence. The current crisis regarding illegal immigration has deepened his quagmire.

    To me, press conferences with President Bush go around in circles and seem to advance nothing except a growing concern that he's in over his head and doesn't know what to do about it. I'm sure there's a solid plan of some sort (geez, I hope so anyway), but it's not being communicated effectively to the people.

    "My job is to make decisions and his job is to help explain those decisions to the press corps and the American people," Bush said, with Snow and McClellan at his side in the White House briefing room.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming former secretary McClellan for all the communication breakdowns that have happened over the past several years, Bush is his own worst enemy at that. But I am looking forward to seeing what Tony Snow -- a Bush critic on his news show appearances -- can bring to the situation.

    Produced by: The Guzzo Brothers and Jereme Badger
    Starring: Matt Camero, Jereme Badger, Robert Elfstrom, Lynn Moore, Bobby Campo, Tara Barrs, Carl Hunter, Francy Delvoe, Ross Francis, Gus Perez
    Director of Photography: Bobby Carnevale
    Assistant Director: Ben Waller

    The Guzzo Brothers' latest magnum opus, "99", had been in production long enough to achieve a bit of a cult-like status in Tampa, similar to Joe Davison's "Unearthed" (reviewed here a few weeks back). Something you hear about for ages, it seems like, until finally it springs full bore and the tension is settled for better or for worse.

    Last September, I attended a critics sneak preview of a rough cut of "99", but was unable to attend the official Tampa premiere two weekends ago due to conflicting schedules. I got enthusiastic verbal reports from many sources, however, and was confident whatever was changed since last Fall was beneficial to the movie. Paul Guzzo was gracious enough to deliver a copy of the final version of "99" to me on a DVD, which I was able to watch this week.

    The cast and crew of the film may seem familiar to long-time readers of PCR and followers of TOO Productions/1Day Films, the Guzzo Bros' production companies. That's probably because some familiar faces from A Joyce Story and The Dance, among others, appear here.

    There are two different stories happening, with each barely connected to the other. Our main lead, Paris (Matt Camero) is a college student who has accepted a bet to have sex with 100 girls in four years. If he wins, he gets $5,000. If he loses, he owes his betting partner/adversary/tormenter $5,000. When Paris thinks he's won, his adversary's dubious recount yields a figure of 99. Paris only has a few hours to find another girl and win the bet. At the same time this is going on, another graduating student, nicknamed "Cockboy" (the always delighful Jereme Badger), learns he's inherited a bar in Mexico from his family and all he has to do to complete the transfer of ownership is pass a urine test....which he'll fail since he's a major stoner. He and his friends then conspire to steal back his urine sample and replace it with a clean one before anyone's the wiser.

    The pivot point of the boys' universes appears to be the backyard of one of the frathouses which seem to host one, long ongoing party. There is plenty of beer and lots and lots of drugs. A minor subplot deals with the local dope dealer Larry (Francy Delvoe) having a crisis of faith on the last day of school.

    The philosophies represented deal with selfishness and greed, petty indulgences versus loftier goals, plans for the future, and finally, where do we go from here now that the party's over. Pretty familiar territory for the type of "slice-of-life" films I usually avoid, but the Guzzos manage to pull off (like with A Joyce Story and to a weirder extent, Life is a Circus).

    The acting from the major players is quite strong as I would expect from the Guzzo stable. The only piccadillo that kept me from buying Matt Camero ("Paris") as a college student is with his large hairy arms and legs, high temples, and permanent 5 o'clock shadow, he looks like he's about 35 years old! (I don't know his real age.) Still....this kind of role, Paris the womanizer, is one Matt seems born to play and I don't know anyone else with his screen presence who could pull it off. The tragedy of the Paris character, and the "moral" of the story, is the slow realization that the commitment to the bet might have cost him long-term happiness, the love of one woman, Jackie (Lynn Moore, who totally inhabits the role) who no longer wants him after she learns of his many affairs (and later, the bet itself).

    Alternately, Cockboy (Badger) is within sight of stealing back his urine sample from his uncle's heavily guarded bar (the mobster uncle, "Old man Joe", played with devilish aplomb by Robert Elfstrom), when things go terribly wrong, and he and his friends, and Paris meet on, what you might call, common ground. Precise choreography between cast members was critical and this is arguably the most hysterical scene in the movie.

    The supporting cast of friends, sycophants and cronies of both Paris and Cockboy all have great scenes. However, except for the "Jackie" character, the majority of the girls seem to be reciting their parts rather unconvincingly, at least to my ears. This was surprising.


  • The number 99 is referred to in different ways throughout the film, besides the idea of the bet.
  • The photography on this production is first-rate, with gorgeous shots of Tampa Bay sunsets and beach scenes. City backgrounds elsewhere are recognizable throughout. A Sony Hi-Def video camera was used to record the action, but the result is very agreeably film-like.
  • An early scene, a nightmare experienced by Paris, features a clever spoof of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.
  • As complicated as the screenplay sounds, I had no problem tracking the discreet stories. The editor had his hands full with this one and pulled it off admirably.
  • An absolutely inspired bit of stage business has to do with a case of mistaken identifty: several of the college girls spurned by Paris plot their revenge. Unfortunately, the one conscripted to do the "kidnapping" has never met him and mistakenly picks up the drug dealer, Larry, instead. The poor man is bound and subsequently tortured by the lone dorm girl (wearing a Medusa headpiece) who shows him sick porno videos to "teach him a lesson". Only when the other girls arrive is the goof realized. (This is the strongest "all-girl" scene.)
  • Young Ben Waller (teenage director of Above) appears in a cameo. Ben also served as assistant director on "99".
  • Perenial zero-budget indie hero Gus Perez turns in an admirable silent performance as Old Man Joe's bodyguard.
  • "99" screenplay writer Paul Guzzo appears as a security guard at the bar.
  • The producers decided to run credits well before the movie is over. It is important to watch this film till the very end -- there are some major surprises and a plot twist that happens after the end credits roll!

    The Guzzos were brave to put together two stories-in-one, showed off the Tampa Bay area in a terrific light, and took chances with some daring transitional cuts (uncomfortably long fade-to-black pauses), the frat-boy glorification of womanizing and the open use of marijuana. Make no mistake, this is a guys' film!

    Still, the pile of film festival awards for "99" accumulating on their mantle shows that their target audience is appreciative.

    Highly recommended.


    Don't forget about the Florida Collectibles and Vintage Memoribilia Show this Sunday April 30, 2006 in St. Petersburg!

    Florida Show to Highlight Sunshine State Memorabilia & Florida Highwaymen Artists

    Sunday, April 30, 2006, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

    Don't miss the bi-annual Florida Collectibles & Vintage Memorabilia Show, being held on Sunday, April 30th, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, at the Coliseum in downtown St. Petersburg. This unique event is Florida's largest antiques and collectibles show focusing exclusively on vintage Floridiana, with over 80 exhibitor booths in the 15,000 square foot Coliseum, all featuring old Florida souvenirs and memorabilia, with everything from old roadside attraction kitsch to the hand-tinted Florida landscapes of Barnhill and Harris. Visitors will enjoy a nostalgic trip back in time as they browse the finest selection of vintage, collectible Floridiana, including old Florida books, ephemera and postcards; flamingo and alligator souvenirs; tinted photographs from Barnhill and Harris, and other old Florida art; vintage Florida license plates and roadside signs; kitschy roadside attraction souvenirs; fruit crate and cigar box labels; rattan and other tropical furnishings and decor; much more...all for sale. The show is sponsored in part by WEDU, Florida's most-watched public television station.

    Many of the original Florida Highwaymen artists will also be participating in the show, including James Gibson, Robert Lewis Jr., Mary Ann Carroll, Roy McLendon Sr., Curtis Arnett, Issac Knight, Willie Reagan, Lemuel Newton and Sylvester Wells. Al Black's painting will be shown by his wife, Theda Black. Don't miss the painting demonstration offered by Mr. Lewis during the show, plus a screening of the documentary film "The Highwaymen," which explores through interviews with several of the artists the history of these self-taught African-American painters, many of whom traveled Florida's highways selling their beautiful paintings of Florida landscapes. An audience question and answer period will follow the film. There will also be talks during the day on collecting paintings by the Highwaymen, and the public is invited to bring their vintage Florida art to the show for a free verbal appraisal.

    Several other show highlights are planned. Charlie Carlson, author of Weird Florida...Your Travel Guide to Florida's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets, will lecture and offer book signings. Mr. Carlson (aka Florida's Master of the Weird) will provide his unique insight into the Sunshine State's history, its myths, and all things weird about kitschy Florida. Dr. Gary Mormino, author of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams, will give a talk on "Florida: From Old South to New South to Sunbelt." The University Press of Florida will also be exhibiting at the show, with many wonderful titles available for purchase. Also participating will be Florida fiction writer Tim Dorsey (author of Stingway Shuffle, The Big Bamboo, and others) who will give a talk offering his humorous insights on Florida fiction and fact. Mr. Dorsey's books will be available for purchase and author signing.

    There will also be a lecture by Wayne Ayers, who will discuss his book "Tampa Bay's Gulf Beaches: The Fabulous 1950's and 1960's" and give a slide presentation showing nostalgic beach images from a bygone era. William Moriaty, author of William Moriaty's FLORIDA, will offer book signings. This fascinating book provides a view of the Sunshine State through the eyes of Mr. Moriaty, a native son influenced by baby-boomer pop culture. Also included in the impressive line-up of vintage Floridiana exhibitors are some of the leading experts and authors in the field of Floridiana, including Larry Roberts, author of Florida's Golden Age of Souvenirs: 1890-1930 . Mr. Roberts will be available for questions on collecting vintage Floridiana, and book signings.

    Several local historical societies will be exhibiting, including the Gulf Beaches Historical Society and Museum, the Indian Rocks Historical Society, the Clearwater Historical Society and the Largo Area Historical Society. Finally, there will be continuous screenings of 1950's Florida tourism film ads, including Weeki Wachee mermaids, water skiers at Cypress Gardens, alligator wrestling at Ross Allen's Alligator Farm, and much more. There will be live entertainment in the afteroon with jazz and blues by Bill T. & Friends, as well as a cash bar.

    The Coliseum is located at 535 Fourth Avenue North, St. Petersburg, Florida. Admission to the show is $6.00, children under 2 years $3.00. Free parking. All lectures, entertainment and films are included in the price of admission. For further show information, call 727-363-4852 or visit http://www.hulahula.biz/pages/2/index.htm

    Clyde Butcher's Works to be Featured at this Year's Flower and Garden Festival at Walt Disney's EPCOT
    The work of internationally known, award-winning photographer Clyde Butcher, will be on display at the 2006 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, April 21-June 11, 2006. Disney to the Mangroves exhibit will contain 40 images - 20 of which were taken during a 1998 photo shoot at the The Nature Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve near Kissimmee. Clyde and Bob Bendick will be having a lecture series May 5-7 at Epcot. For more information click on link below. The 12,000 acre Preserve was established in 1992 through the cooperative actions of the Walt Disney Company and The Nature Conservancy. In 1998 The Nature Conservancy invited Clyde to photograph the landscape of this incredible home to hundreds of wildlife species and one of the last remaining undeveloped lakes in central Florida. - Click to view

    Tampa Suffers a True Loss: Florida Folk Hero Herbert D. Carrington Sr.
    For close to three decades I have had the privilege of being a guest of my aunt, Barbara Graf, at the Tampa Yacht and Country Club. In addition to myself, Barbara was gracious enough to also invite friends of mine such as Judy Anderson, Denis Lebrun and my wife Karen Cashon to have dinners at one of Tampa's most prestigious of addresses.

    From my very first visit there in 1970 until my very last visit, prior to my aunt's death in 1992, I never forgot the dignified gentleman who greeted us at the door. That dignified gentleman was one Herbert D. Carrington Sr., known simply to us as "Herbert".

    Herbert was as sharp and clear in his 70's, 80's and even 90's as a any stone cold sober, mature, wise and focused thirty-year old. Herbert knew all of us but name and always asked my aunt how her two sons were getting along. Sons that in a sense he helped to raise. Herbert was everyone's father, guardian and best friend. He embodied the best that a person can be and was one of the last Tampa representatives of a truly genteel, demure and cultured Old South.

    God blessed Herbert with a long and wondrous life. Herbert lived to see 107 years on this planet, passing away on Monday April 24, 2006 from cancer. He even helped build the original Gandy bridge in 1921! Conversely, God also blessed every person who was fortunate enough to ever know this reserved and remarkable man.

    You will be missed Herbert, but I have no doubt that the door you have entered has led you to a Kingdom of eternal joy, and the host that you will be a treasured guest of will no doubt welcome you with the love, caring and respect that you have shown countless others throughout your long, productive life here on earth.

    For more information on Herbert D. Carrington Sr., link to the Tampa Tribune at http://www.tbo.com/news/metro/MGBEUEI4HME.html.

  • 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     "La Floridiana" is ©2006 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Citizen X" is ©2006 by Vinnie Blesi    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry    "The Audio Philes" is ©2006 by Terence Nuzum      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova    
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