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Now in our eighth calendar year!

PCR #394 (Vol. 8, No. 41) This edition is for the week of October 8--14, 2007.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! A very sad week winds down. Shall we begin?

"Eastern Promises"  by Mike Smith
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando 2007  by Andy Lalino
Halloween Brew: A Potpourri of Halloween Recommendations, Pt. 1--Books and Music  by Terence Nuzum
Book Review: The Birthday Party by Panos Karnezis  by Lisa Ciurro
Forgotten Horrors: Blood of Dracula's Castle  by ED Tucker
Mom .... Movie Notes .... Don't Tell Terence .... .... .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 30: John Rhys - Davies  by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2007
Archives 2006
Archives 2005
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
Archives 2002
Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Those of you not familiar with the people behind this web site really have no idea how much of a family we are. Many of us have known each other for more than 30 years and have played huge parts in each other's lives in that time. In each year end issue I give thanks to the people that mean the most to me. And each year I thank Matt Drinnenberg, refering to him as my brother. I say that because growing up in Tampa wasn't always the sunny, bright story I often paint in this column. Thankfully the good outweighs the bad, but the bad was there. However, when the bad times came, I knew that I always had one person on my side: Matt's mom, Marjorie. With my parents divorced and my mother in Chicago, she was "mom" to me almost from the first day I met her. When things were tough at home she always made sure I had a place at the dinner table and, if necessary, a bed to sleep in. I'm thankful to all of the moms that took our group in: Barbara Castellano, Mary Gregory, Jan Gilbert...it couldn't have been easy having a bunch of wild teenage boys tearing through the house. Extra credit to Mrs. C for putting up with band practice! I wrote last week's Rant with a heavy heart because I had been told earlier in the week of mom's medical condition and that, sadly, the end was only being postponed until her family could be with her. Thank you to the friends that were able to attend her services, as well as to the ones that expressed their sympathies to me but were unable to attend.

Coming home after the funeral I shared something with Matt that I had never told him before. I don't know why I hadn't but to me it summed mom up perfectly. When Matt and I joined the Army in 1979 his father drove us to the recruitment office for our departure to South Carolina. As we left Matt's house his mom handed me a small piece of paper. On it she had written me a note, telling me how proud she was of me and the direction my life had taken. She was sure I would make something positive of my life. She ended by telling me that, no matter what happened, "there will always be a place for you at 4220" (their address) As I drove away from 4220 one final time Wednesday evening, I thought of those words and smiled. And I told Matt this story and he smiled.

Goodbye, mom. I love you.

I guess we can blame Kevin Smith for this. In "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," he cast Will Ferrell as "Marshall Willenholly," a clever combination of the two children from the Saturday morning show "Land of the Lost." Well, this week Universal announced that Ferrell will star in the big screen update of the old Sid and Marty Kroft program.

Eric Bana, best known to fanboys as the Hulk (or, I guess, David Banner, since the Hulk was CGI) has signed on to play the villain, Nero, in the new "Star Trek" film.

This month's issue of "Blender" magazine has a list of the 40 worst lyricists of all time. As a part time songwriter, I was shocked at some of the inclusions, especially number one. The top 10:

1. Sting. Sting? Wow, though his voice sometimes grates on me I always found his lyrics to be well conceived. Apparently the voters found fault in his referencing Vladimir Nabokov in "Don't Stand So Close To Me" as his downfall.

2. Neil Peart (RUSH) No argument here, I hate RUSH. Again, mostly because of Geddy Lee's high pitched whine.

3. Scott Strapp (Creed)

4. Noel Gallagher (Oasis)

5. Dan Fogelberg. What? I love this guy! Apparently the voters found "Run for the Roses" to be a little treachaly.

6. Tom Marshall (Phish)

7. Paul Stanley (KISS) What's wrong with wanting to rock and roll all night and party every day?

8. Diane Warren Ok, you may not have heard of her but she's huge with ballads. Lot's of stuff for Chicago and big songs from movies like "Con Air" and "Armageddon"

9. Donovan. The still call him "Mellow Yellow"

10. Jim Morrison. JIM MORRISON? The Lizard King. Who the hell submitted votes for this, the state school for the musically stupid?

Other notable selections:

15. Bernie Taupin. Again, WHAT? Without Bernie you'd have no Elton (well, I guess you'd still have the "Lion King" songs, but to me "Hakuna Mutata" is no "Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road." Voters took umbrage that Taupin also wrote the Starship hit "We Built This City."

23. Robert Plant. Yeah, "Stairway to Heaven" really sucks.

38. Paul McCartney. Here only because of "Ebony and Ivory."

39. Billy Corgan. Sorry, T. They cited "Tales of a Scorched Earth" as a song that blows ass.


WHERE YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM FROM: "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

AWARDS: 1981 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Special for "Shogun."

A few weeks ago I made mention of the fact that I have often been told I resembled Luciano Pavorotti. Another famous face that has been put to mine is John Rhys-Davies. I can't tell you how many times I've had to recite "Indy, why does the floor move so?" to the excitement of movie geeks everywhere.

English born, Rhys-Davies began his career appearing on British television in the mid 1960s. He wasn't introduced to American audiences until the 1980 mini series "Shogun" was aired. He next made his presence known as Indiana Jones' Egyptian friend Sallah in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Other roles followed, mostly casting him as some kind of Arab/Middle Eastern type ("Sahara," "King Solomon's Mines"). An exception to this was his role as nightclub owner Andre Cassell in Blake Edwards' "Victor/Victoria." Continued work on both television and on film followed and he ended the 80s by reprising his role of Sallah in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." In the 90s he found a new career as a voice actor in many animated series. He also starred in two live action series: "The Untouchables" and the underated "Sliders." In 2001 he starred as Gimli in "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." He reprised the role (and provided the voice of Tree Beard) in "LOTR: The Two Towers" and then played Gimli again in the final film, "The Return of the King." Though he is not listed in the current credits, it is hard to imagine "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" without Sallah. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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.