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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2007!
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eighth calendar year!
Number 368  (Vol. 8, No. 15). This edition is for the week of April 9--15, 2007.

Grindhouse Redux

by Chris Woods

My Personal Encounter

by Mike Smith

"Perfect Stranger"

by Andy Lalino

Horror Director Bob Clark Has Been Taken From Us .... Grindhouse Sneak Preview .... Johnny Hart's Passing

by Matt Drinnenberg

Don Imus .... The Masters of Horror .... Congrats, Nol

by Mike Smith

Black and White .... Grindhouse .... Passing On .... Whatever Happened To...? Chapter 15: James Woods

Don Imus Fired Over Remarks
The R.I.P.s Come In Threes: Clark, Hart, and Vonnegut
TBO.com Lists Top Area Blogs (hint hint)
Patty G. Henderson's Book Trailer

The Last Word on Grindhouse
By now I'm sure all movie fans have heard of the disappointing weekend box-office returns re: Grindhouse. Mike Smith gave it 4 stars in his review last week, while a few of us have been chatting it up on the message board last week and this week.

Since there hasn't been a totally negative review presented to date of the daring double-feature, we're left to speculate on what went wrong.

To summarize my message board thoughts, I felt that Robert Rodriguez's feature Planet Terror had the stronger story, characters and raucous zombie action, while Quentin Tarantino saddled his movie, Death Proof, with several two-dimensional women characters whose incessant chatter delayed a pretty impressive car duel with stuntman-stalker Kurt Russell for over an hour.

Of the four fake trailers shown between the two features, I liked Edgar Wright's Don't and Eli Roth's Thanksgiving the best, but not so much Rodriguez's Machete or Rob Zombie's Werewolf Women of The SS. They have their fans, though, and I respect that. (Before the weekend numbers came in there was talk of making Machete a full feature. The basic plot of hiring a Mexican day-laborer to be an assassin or cop or something was unappealing to me. But it definitely had a cheesy '70s machismo feel to it.)

So why did Grindhouse basically flop? Like I said, all we can do is speculate, but a few theories have been advanced.

A three-hour running time is always going to be a hard sell for modern audiences even under the best of circumstances. Confusing promotion may have failed to communicate to audiences that this was a double feature: there were reportedly many walkouts after Planet Terror (meaning they thought the show was over not just that they didn't want any Tarantino -- although there were those, too, haha.) And maybe...just maybe...not everyone was in the mood for '70s-style shlock cinema. Maybe only hard-core fans are willing to plunk down the bucks and sit for three hours to relive the glory of the grindhouse and there were just not enough of them/us.

Well, it was a worthy experiment. Unless European box-office and subsequent DVD sales go off the chart, we may not see its like again.

Post your thoughts on this topic

Radio Host Don Imus Fired Over Remarks
When radio shock-jock Don Imus uttered his now infamously insensitive description of the Rutger's University Women's Basketball team (mostly black) as a bunch of "nappy-headed hos", I'm sure that, at the time, he scarcely thought of it as anything more than a poorly thought-out lame joke. I'm also sure it never crossed his mind he'd lose his job over it. But he did.

Results of this week's Crazed FanPoll:
Did Don Imus deserve to get fired over the "nappy-headed hos" remark??

27% said Yes, that was a cruel and insensitive thing to say, he should not be allowed to work again. (3 votes.)

54% said No, he'd already apologized profusely, that should've been enough. (6 votes.)

18% said Undecided, especially since CBS was slow to react until sponsors pulled out. (2 votes.)

Total number of votes: 11
Thanks for voting!

While frantically engaging in a freakish apology tour, Imus learned he'd been suspended from his program for two weeks. Thinking that was fair, he continued to play nice with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and others to whom no apology would ever be enough. As the tumult roared on, calls for Imus's resignation or dismissal grew. MSNBC then decided to drop the televised simulcast of Imus's show. Despite the increasingly bleak situation, parent company CBS seemed supportive of Imus until....until....sponsors started bailing out. When the money train started pulling away from the gate, Imus was handed his walking papers.

Yes, he should've known better. Invoking the term "ho" (a clipped, inner-city decendant of "whore", accepted by same as vernacular for "my bitch"), would have been totally out of line by itself, but paired with "nappy-headed"....jeez, pure Jim Crow-era racisim any fool could've predicted would get him into trouble. College students, to boot. No matter what one feels about political correctness in the media these days, it's hard to feel too sorry for Don Imus when just a little thinking ahead would've prevented this whole ordeal. His attempted smooth-over asides like "...I'm really not a racist" smack as insincere as comedian Michael Richards' rambling apology over a similar incident this time last year. Or Mel Gibson's. If they're not racist, what part of their brain is taking charge in these inopportune and awkward moments?

Can Imus bounce back? Yes, I think he can if he chooses to, but he'll have to lay low for a while. Alternately? I mean, really, didn't he peak years ago anyway? It might be prudent to consider retirement.

Post your thoughts on this topic

R.I.P. in Threes: Clark, Hart, and Vonnegut
I'd just barely recovered from the news that a traffic accident had taken one of our best directors, Bob Clark (Porky's, A Christmas Story), from us when I learned that legendary cartoonist Johnny Hart (B.C., The Wizard of Id) had passed away. Just last night (as I write this), I heard that seminal author/playwright Kurt Vonnegut had died.

I talked about Bob Clark in last week's issue of PCR as did Mike Smith. For more commentary on Bob Clark (and an attendant political rant on illegal immigration) see this week's Oddservations.

Johnny Hart was literally sitting at his drawing board when he died last week of a stroke at the age of 76. Creator or co-creator of such familiar newspaper comics as The Wizard of Id and B.C., Hart made scenes from past eras funny and yet relevant. I confess I've always been partial to B.C., the cavemen/dinosaurs co-existing, the modern references, the "mail" exchanges via stones thrown into the ocean---it's just surreal. If I had any one criticism, it's that Hart's devout Christian faith seeped into the funny pages a little too bluntly for my taste, bordering on preaching. He also has the honor of being the only cartoonist who's ever stumped me on what his punchlines meant, on at least two occasions, I simply didn't get it! In any event, Johnny Hart was a rare talent and will be sorely missed. At the time of this writing, I am not sure how many B.C./Wizard of ID strips are left for publication or what, if any, replacements are planned.

Kurt Vonnegut, who died just recently at the age of 84, completely turned my world upside down with the novel Slaughterhouse 5 and its subsequent motion picture incarnation, one of my all-time favorites. Vonnegut was one of the great counter-culture voices of the 60's and '70s generation. When I heard the radio announcement about his death, they played a recording of an address he gave at a college only a month ago. In it he says something to the effect of, "If I can give you one piece of advice, it's this: never use a semicolon. They are the transvestites of punctuation." Or words to that effect anyway, haha. Hysterical. Another legend who'll be sorely missed.

I Am Humbled and Honored. If I May...
Crazed Fanboy has been listed on TBO.com as being one of the area's top blogs! TBO (Tampa Bay Online) is tied in intimately with Channel 8 News and the Tampa Tribune. I had no idea we were on there until it was pointed out to me by Bay area punk artist/musician Josh Sullivan. If you go to http://tbo.com/weblogs/index.shtml, look to the right and find "ON THE PULSE". Under that, it says "A Sampling of Top Area Blogs". Scroll down and we are there (as of this writing) in amazing company joining the ranks of such luminaries as Sticks of Fire, Tampa Film Fan, and Creative Metro.

I know what y'all might be thinking and I was thinking the same thing. I have never promoted Crazed Fanboy as a blog, but as an internet magazine (e-zine, whatever), although it is frequently referred to as a blog nonetheless. Nothing wrong with that, and if it functions better this way who am I to fight it?? Thanks to TBO.com and whoever voted me on there for this honor.

Book Trailer: So Dead My Love by Patty G. Henderson
Patty G. Henderson's name might be familiar to long-time readers as the PCR columnist behind the mystery novel reviews on Murder on the Woo Woo Express and later, editor-in-chief for two years on Flash Fantastic. Patty and I go waaaay back to '70s Tampa fandom and is practically like family to me (especially so as the aunt to PCR hellion Terence Nuzum).

Recently, Patty explained to me that movie-style trailers for books are becoming quite the rage on YouTube, and asked if I'd help her put together something for the re-release of one of her first novels, So Dead, My Love (a vampire love story, you might say). Of course, I jumped at the chance. It stars some familiar faces from past Terence Nuzum projects along with some outstanding still photography.

The resulting trailer is 2:26min I hope you enjoy it as much as I did helping to create it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hW_MpdpoZJg

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 ©2007 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2007 by Matt Drinnenberg    "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2007 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2007 by Andy Lalino      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2007 by Nolan B. Canova    
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