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Now in our eighth calendar year!

PCR #373. (Vol. 8, No. 20) This edition is for the week of May 14--20, 2007.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! Short and sweet this week. Shall we begin?

The Tampa Film Review for May  by Nolan B. Canova and Chris Woods
"Shrek the Third"  by Mike Smith
Joe D. Casey, R.I.P.  by Mark Terry
George Miller, It's Time to Return to the Road....Tampa Comic Con - May 2007....28 Weeks Later....Local Filmmaker JD Casey Passes....July 2007 Shaping Up to be a Great New Wave Concert Month  by Andy Lalino
Wasn't That--?....Passing On....Technical Glitches, Yeah, That's The Ticket....Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 20: Dennis Franz  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2007
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Archives 2000
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Recently Premiere magazine listed what it considered the 20 Best Cameos in Film. Some of my favorites that made the list include:

  • Marshall McLuhan in "Annie Hall" - while in line to see a movie Allen is disturbed by a loud talking man who professes to teach a course which includes the work of McLuhan. Allen tells him, "I happen to have Marshall McLuhan right here" and produces him from behind a lobby display. McLuhan then berates the man for his lack of knowledge, telling him "how you manage to teach a class on ANYTHING is utterly amazing!"
  • Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Devito, Kevin Spacey and Steven Spielberg in "Austin Powers: Goldmember." The A-list stars and director appear in a faux-trailer for the next "Austin Powers" film, entitled "Austin Pussy."
  • Shirley MacLaine in "Defending Your Life." I'm not a big MacLaine fan but I love her brief appearance in this Albert Brooks comedy which instructs the audience on how to get to heaven. While at a way station awaiting their final judgement, Brooks and Meryl Streep visit a pavilion where they get a chance to view their past lives. MacLaine greets them via hologram.
  • Bruce Springsteen in "High Fidelity." The Boss himself visits John Cusack's record shop with a list of songs.
  • Sean Connery in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves." A brief appearance as King Richard at the end of the film netted Connery a king's ransom. The film's producer, James Robinson, lived in Baltimore and was a frequent visitor to one of the theatres I used to manage. One day during a conversation he told me that he had written Connery a check for $500,000 for his appearance. Nice work if you can get it.
  • Tom Cruise in "Young Guns." A classic don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it scene in which Cruise, almost unrecognizable in a mustache, is killed early in the film during a gun fight.

    Some I enjoy that didn't make the list: James Caan as the sailor who starts the brawl at the big dance in "1941", Kurt Vonnegut, as himself, in "Back to School" and Marcel Marceau, as the performer with the only spoken word in "Silent Movie."

    Jerry Falwell
    , dead at 73. All I can think of is the old Sam Kinison routine where God takes issue with Falwell and his ilk, asking them "where in the Bible does it say build a fucking waterslide?"

    This week saw the passing of Yolanda King, the daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. King was 51. Though she will be best remembered for continuing her father's work, Ms. King was also an actress, appearing in such films as "Odessa" and "Ghosts of Mississippi," where she played the daughter of another murdered civil rights leader, Medgar Evers.

    I also failed to note two sad deaths from April, which I had made notes to mention but somehow ignored:

    Roscoe Lee Browne, character actor with a distinctive booming voice, died last month from cancer. He was 81. An Emmy winner for his appearance on "The Cosby Show," Mr. Browne is probably best remembered by PCR readers for the role of Box in "Logan's Run." He also voiced the character of Kingpin in the animated "Spider-Man" series as well as narrated several films, most recently this past spring's "Epic Movie."

    Barry Nelson, noted television actor who holds the honor of being the first James Bond, also died last month at the age of 89. In 1954, Mr. Nelson starred in the Climax Masterpiece Theater production of "Casino Royale."

    Maintaining that it's just a problem with connectibility and not censorship, the Defense Department has blocked our troops from accessing eleven Internet sites including MySpace and YouTube. In a statement the D o D said that they currently were experiencing "technological limits" with their servers in Iraq. However, the servers at various Internet cafe's in Iraq are working fine and, since they are privately owned and not under the jurisdiction of the US, the soldiers should still be able to post their thoughts and blogs without fear of retaliation.


    WHERE YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM FROM: "NYPD Blue," various Brian DePalma films.


  • Starting in 1994, Franz was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Emmy award, all for "NYPD Blue," an amazing eight consecutive years, winning the award in 1994, 96, 97 and 99.
  • 1995 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series - Drama for "NYPD Blue." Oddly, he was nominated the year before in the Supporting Actor category for the same role.

    I first became aware of Dennis Franz when he appeared as a tabloid photographer in Brian De Palma's "Blow Out." But it wasn't until his guest appearance on "Hill Street Blues" as Detective Sal Benedetto that I really started to pay attention. Franz portrayed Benedetto as a no-nonsense kind of guy, one not afraid to bend the rules to get what he wanted. In 1983 Franz starred as the manager of a minor league baseball team in "Bay City Blues," which was also created by "Hill Street" genius Stephen Bochco. The series didn't last very long but I'm proud to say that I still own a "Bay City" jersey that I picked up at a film convention when the show premiered. After the show was canceled Bochco created the character of Detective Norman Buntz for Franz and soon the actor was back on "Hill Street Blues" in a regular capacity. After "Hill Street" left the air, Franz starred in a short lived spin off entitled "Beverly Hills Buntz," that took his character west. In 1994 Bochco again came calling. Another cop role, but one different then any television had seen before. In the opening scenes of "NYPD Blue," Franz' character, Detective Andy Sipowicz, is chastised by a female district attorney for his poor testimony in a court case. In one of the great moments in television history, Sipowicz turns to the woman, grabs his crotch and replies, "Ipso this, you pissy little bitch!" And a great television character was born. In between shifts on "Blue" Franz also had some memorable roles in films like "City of Angels" and "American Buffalo." Since "NYPD Blue" went off the air two years ago, Franz has concentrated on his family, which includes wife Joanie and stepdaughters Krista and Tricia.

    Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!

    "Mike's Rant" is ©2007 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 ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.