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Now in our eighth calendar year!
PCR #357  (Vol. 8, No. 4) This edition is for the week of January 22--28, 2007.

"Smokin' Aces"  by Mike Smith
Oscar Nominations: Reaction  by Mike Smith
The Tampa Film Review: A Retrospective  by Paul Guzzo
Ordinary World....How About that Jackie Earle Haley?!?  by Andy Lalino
Sniff Sniff....Love That JEH!...They Can't All Be Winners....Da Bears....American Idol....Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 4: John Cazale  by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Ordinary World
I was born in the late '60s, grew up in the 1970's and became a teen in the early/mid 1980's. Though I don't recall much from the 1960's, I was witness to the rich pop culture of the '70s and '80s, with fads/trends warring with each other (disco vs. rock, New Wave vs. heavy metal) for dominance. I'm also proud to say that because of local TV (back then) with shows like Creature Feature, I was exposed to all the great entertainment and TV shows of the '30s-'60s ("The Little Rascals", "I Dream of Jeannie", etc.). There were peace signs, skinny ties, owl haircuts, Mohawks, goth-rockers, hippie chicks, drive-ins, slasher films, Wookies, killer sharks, Tourist Traps, Beastmasters, midnight movies, Aurora models, Famous Monsters magazine, Devo hats, Captain Egos, Captain Avengers, the burgeoning fandom convention industry and countless other phenomenons during those crucially important decades.

One would like to believe that after all those great fandom/pop culture milestones established during those decades, future generations would have grabbed the torch and embraced those tenets of cult fandom, but such is obviously not the case. While I think that young people today have a decent appreciation for pop culture of those precious times, I don't see enough being done nowadays in harnessing that spirit and moving it forward in their own way. We now live in a period of time, to borrow that great Duran Duran tune, that is an "Ordinary World" - a place so plain, colorless, lacking and dull as to make a Saltine red with envy.

Rules. Regulations.
Sequels. Remakes. Re-Imaginings.
Democrats. Republicans. TV talking heads.
Prime-Time soap operas for feckless femmes. One head talking to another in front of a lovely backdrop.
Komputerized Kiddie Sinema.
Agonizingly dull "music" that's so bad not even MTV will play videos anymore.
Reality shows. Cooking shows. Home makeover shows.
A really bad sci-fi channel that would rather show wrestling and Ted Danson as "Gulliver" than show substantial, relevant genre offerings.
No horror channels whatsoever. But we do have a soap opera channel and a military channel.
Rosie. Dope-rah Winfrey. Ugly Betties. Britney Spears.

I'd ask yourself: are you really content living in an age where the #1 movie of the week is a thing called 'Stomp the Yard'? American I-dull is the preferred choice of discovering new musical 'talent' (or lack thereof)? The complete absence of colorful, unforgettable TV pitch men that we enjoyed so much in the late '70s/early '80s (Tom Stimus, The Unclaimed Freight guy, etc.)? The fact there are no more bonafide Midnight Movies? There are so many more examples it could drive one into delirium. I can't stress the importance of taking an objective look at the time we're all living in and steer it back toward a cult movie-friendly environment we all enjoyed in bygone eras. It's either that, or before you can turn your head there's another Hillary Duff movie being spewed onto theater screens at the local Megaplex.

I shouldn't have to pick up the TV Guide each week just to find out all the local stations refuse to broadcast great horror or sci-fi films (old or new); seems like all we get are endless reruns of 'Seinfeld' and 'Friends'. In 1980, you could be assured that at least once a week, Channel 44 would do "Godzilla Week" to the delight of horror fans across the Tampa Bay area. Now, you're lucky if you can get the same network, now a bloated syndicated channel, to even play a mess like "Critters 4". We used to have special nights when Channel 44 used to broadcast movies in 3-D, such as "Revenge of the Creature", often hosted by the legendary Dr. Paul Bearer. You'd pick up 3-D glasses at a local 711, and then stay glued to your TV set as the feature came on. When was the last time you experienced that kind of thrill in front of the boob tube? Been a long, long while.

So, here we are, dwelling in our Ordinary World wallowing in the sullen dullness of everyday life when even being a horror fan's not a kick in the pants anymore. We wake up in a home modeled after the latest trendy makeover show, then get in our dull-looking steel steeds (no more muscle cars, of course) and off to a humdrum job where people talk about Jessica Simpson and Keith Urban. If the day wasn't boring enough, we have to come home to "King of Queens" reruns, and then off to boring sleep again, only to relive another deadly dull day in 2007. I suppose the outrageous coolness of cult films simply doesn't belong in such a generic age as this. It's not deserved.

Ordinary World - indeed.

Don't look at me; I lived the '70s.

How About that Jackie Earle Haley?!?
We '70s kids were shocked out of our seats to find that one of our heroes was nominated for the movie industry's highest award last Monday! Bad boy Jackie Earle Haley is up for "Best Supporting Actor" for his role in "Little Children" at this year's Academy Awards. Some may scratch your heads asking "who's JEH?". For you I say go away - far, far away. REAL cult movie fans remember Haley from such cult classics as "Damnation Alley", "The Bad News Bears", "Losin' It" (co-starring with Tom Cruise, who was great back then, Shelley Long, and John Stockwell), and "Breaking Away".

Needless to say it was GREAT to be stunned like this, as I believed Haley was no longer in the industry. I wish him the best and I hope he gets to take home the bald guy!

The news of the year!!!

"Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova.