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Now in our eighth calendar year!

PCR #402 (Vol. 8, No. 49) This edition is for the week of December 3--9, 2007.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello, gang! I apologize for the lateness this week but a beloved pet's pending surgery had me preoccupied. Thankfully he's home again so say it with me...shall we begin?

"The Golden Compass" by Mike Smith
Time Warp Toy Box: Week 1 by ED Tucker
Dr. Lisa's Devilishly Delicious December Design* by Lisa Ciurro
Dot.TK Free, My Butt....Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow....And The Winner Is....Top Ten Christmas Movies? by Matt Drinnenberg
Fra-gee-lay! It Must Be Italian. .... And So It Starts .... Evel .... Hall Of Fame Time .... Will Arnold Be Back? .... .... .... .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 35: Fred Ward by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2007
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Funny Matt should mention Rudolph since our house this time of year is a basic shrine to the red nosed one. This year our lawn has joined the fun, with a large snowglobe containing Rudolph, Hermey, Yukon and the Bumble!

I know we did favorite Christmas specials a few years ago so I think it's a great idea we do holiday themed movies. Ho Ho Ho.

This week the National Board of Review released their film awards for 2007. They are:

Best Director: TIM BURTON, Sweeney Todd
Best Actor: GEORGE CLOONEY, Michael Clayton
Best Actress: JULIE CHRISTIE, Away From Her
Best Supporting Actor: CASEY AFFLECK, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Best Supporting Actress: AMY RYAN, Gone Baby Gone
Best Documentary: BODY OF WAR
Best Animated Feature: RATATOUILLE
Best Ensemble Cast: NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Breakthrough Performance by an Actor: EMILE HIRSCH, Into The Wild
Breakthrough Performance by an Actress: ELLEN PAGE, Juno
Best Directorial Debut: BEN AFFLECK, Gone Baby Gone
Best Original Screenplay (tie): DIABLO CODY, Juno and NANCY OLIVER, Lars and the Real Girl
Best Adapted Screenplay: JOEL COEN and ETHAN COEN, No Country For Old Men
Career Achievement MICHAEL DOUGLAS
William K. Everson Film History Award ROBERT OSBORNE
Career Achievement in Cinematography ROGER DEAKINS
The BVLGARI Award for NBR Freedom of Expression THE GREAT DEBATERS and PERSEPOLIS

No need to explain who Michael Douglas is. For those unfamiliar with the name Roger Deakins, he is a five time Oscar nominated cinematographer who has worked extensively with the Coen brothers as well as Ed Zwick, M. Night Shayamalan, Ron Howard and others. This year he is represented with "No Country For Old Men," "In the Valley of Elah" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Bob Ford."

I was quite shocked to learn of the passing of Evel Knievel. Just last week he was photographed with Kanye West and appeared to be in good health.

If you were a kid in the early 1970s you hoped that Saturday afternoon "Wide World of Sports" would feature the motorcycle riding daredevil performing one of his spectacular jumps. As a youngster I had my very own SST Rocket Cycle, similar to the one that failed to clear the Snake River Canyon in 1974. While the most famous footage of Knievel seemed to be his famous crash while trying to clear the fountains at Caesar's Palace in 1968, he had some great successess as well, including clearing 13 cars before a crowd of 60,000 at the Houston Astrodome in 1971, clearing 50 stacked cars at the Los Angeles Coliseum in February 1973 and jumping 14 Greyhound buses at King's Island amusement park in October 1975. His son, Robbie, continues the family legacy and is an accomplished motorcycle daredevil in his own right.

Congratulations to one of my favorite Orioles, Brady Anderson, who is one of 11 first time candidates for induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Sadly, he won't make it. Curious to see if Mark McGwire, who at one point seemed a lock, gets more then the 25% of votes he got last year.

Rumor has "Batman Begins" star Christian Bale signing on to play the adult John Connor in a new "Terminator" film. I am assuming the story takes place after the events of "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."


WHERE YOU MIGHT KNOW HIM FROM: "The Right Stuff," "Tremors"

AWARDS: 1994 Special Golden Globe Award as part of the ensemble cast of Robert Altman's film, "Short Cuts."

It was after he moved to Europe in the early 1970s that Fred Ward gave acting a shot. While there he dubbed Italian films and also had small on screen roles in two films directed by Roberto Rossellini. Returning to the states, he got his first big break appearing opposite Clint Eastwood in "Escape from Alcatraz." Some television work followed and in 1983 he had a career trifecta with roles in "Silkwood," "Uncommon Valor" and "The Right Stuff." It was his role as astronaut Gus Grissom that made Ward a star. Like most people who saw the film, I only knew that Gus Grissom was an astronaut that had died during preperations for an Apollo mission. "The Right Stuff" dug into the lives of all seven of the original Mercury astronauts and sadly portrayed Grissom as a man who always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In 1985 he was cast in the title role in "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins." Based on a popular series of novels, the Remo Williams character was hoped to be one to build a franchise on. Sadly, the poor performance of the first film ensured there would be no others, which is really a shame because the first one was well done. As the 1990s began, Ward began playing very similar characters, either cops, soldiers or other authority figures. Appearances in comedies with former "Saturday Night Live" actors David Spade and Chris Kattan introduced him to a new audience. Most recently he has appeared in such television shows as "ER" and "Grey's Anatomy." He can next be seen opposite Lea Thompson in the thriller "Exit Speed."

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.