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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2007!
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eighth calendar year!
Number 381  (Vol. 8, No. 28). This edition is for the week of July 9--15, 2007.

by Mike Smith

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

by Mike Smith

Proud Pop .... What??? (Top 10 Horror Films) ....Get In Line Now .... Break A Leg .... Doesn't She Watch The News? ... Speaking of Weird Couples .... Whatever Happened To -- ? Chapter 24: Roy Scheider

Summer's Peak?
On Readers' Comments Launch
It Came From The PO Box
Summer Peak

Readers Comments
Before I get started on this issue's ruminations, let me say "thank you" to all who helped launch the new Readers' Comments section of the Crazed Fanboy homepage last week. It worked out very successfully and I intend to keep it going.

In case anyone's wondering, in order to keep management hassles to a minimum, while each weekly issue's comments will be archived on that page permanently, the section will not continue to be interactive. I'm sure you can appreciate what could happen if eventually several hundred pages are archived with interactive pages. There isn't time enough in the world to monitor something of that magnitude. Instead, I encourage new readers who, through Google or whatever, find an older article of interest, to write a Letter to the Editor or post to the Message Board.

One thing I personally noted on last week's comment section that may have slipped by unnoticed is the day the homepage hitcounter finally reached 200,000 hits! It occured on 7-7-07 (cool!). Now, a reminder for the millionth time: the hitcounter is basically a decoration for this page and only counts the hits to this page, NOT the entire website! This seems to constantly lead to confusion and I've toyed with the idea of abandoning it entirely. The website is hit hard by search engines every month and the hits (when I stopped counting the stats on my former webhost) were in the millions and had been for years. When someone finds an older article of interest, while they may bookmark it, frequently they do not hunt down the Crazed Fanboy homepage afterward. For some reason, I always find that surprising, because I always like to view any site's homepage. But I'm a geek like that. Anyway, I gave myself an "attaboy" over this little milestone. Cheers.

It Came From The PO Box
This week's edition of the PO Box is dedicated to the book Inside Section One, a definitive look at TV's La Femme Nikita, written by Chris Heyn with an introduction by Peta Wilson. Chris is an old friend who became assistant to the executive consultants on the series. Peta Wilson is the actress who played Nikita. Check it out.

Summer's Peak
I think it's prudent to assume the summer movie season is peaking with the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reviewed in PCR this issue). While I'm still looking forward to Underdog, The Simpsons Movie and Rob Zombie's Halloween (please don't yell at me), obviously the release of the boy wizard's fifth movie outing coupled with the release of the seventh and final Potter book within the same week pretty much clinches it as the pivotal event of this summer. It's all downhill from here.

Speaking of would-be contenders for the movie-event-of-the-summer awards, I finally got to see Michael Bay's Transformers earlier this week. This has been one of the most divisive films for fans to come out of Hollywood in years. To say the choice of Michael Bay as director was controversial would be, if anything, an understatement. Now, PCR's own Mike Smith gave his excellent 3½ star review last week and I don't want to cover old ground, so to catch up quickly on cast, credits and plot synopsis, please read his review before going on. The following are my feelings in brief.

I recognize it had a very successful opening weekend, but not a record-breaking one I don't think (especially if by "weekend" you include the 6 days counting from the 4th of July, but whatever). I went in really wanting to like it, to make it worth the wait and the hassle of mediating Message Boards wars over this.

Out of 2½ hours running time, there is an accumulated 15 - 20 minutes or so, collected from various parts of the movie, that are about the coolest things I've ever seen, as faithful to the source material as practical, exciting, and even downright moving. The photography of the action scenes including the army, the robots, the bunkers, etc., is stunning. The CGI effects of the robots could be considered groundbreaking. The fact that some of the robot/cars did not match their TV characters' incarnations I found easy to ignore.

The rest of the film is a total letdown. The script is a mess. The emphasis on Shia LaBeouf (la BOOF? la BUFF?) and his teen angst/dating problems made me want to wretch. His slutty girlfriend and him were a bad match (and not in the way intended I don't suspect). There is WAY too much comedy (sympathizers call this Michael Bay's "sense of humor".....wrreeeeeetch) including a scene at LaBeouf's parents' house with the robots hiding in the backyard that I thought would never end, and a repeated joke having to do with urinating. There are characters introduced that have interesting scenes and are never heard from again (including Kevin Smith as a computer nerd/expert).

Jon Voigt is the sole exception. He OWNS the role of the Secretary of Defense, very into it and believeable, seen throughout the movie and is, what I'd call, the lynchpin performance. John Turturro plays an operative from the top-secret "Sector 7" that, again, shows up and vanishes on cue, basically to hassle LaBeouf. Kind of a waste of a great actor. The English woman who decodes the alien's computer hacking is really good and almost takes center stage many times. There's a guy who arrives very late in the film, another intense covert agent, who's also very good and, with Voigt, basically fine-tunes the next-to-final act for the few scenes he's in.

It is my understanding that the casting of LaBeouf stems from his being some kinda hotshot stud-muffin from earlier Disney series who pre-teen girls go gaga over and who was seen as an attracter for that audience. An audience that wasn't even alive when Transformers was first on television. (An audience too young to know Qatar is in the Middle East, necessitating not one but TWO supers that said "Qatar -- The Middle East".)

The initial feeling I had coming away from Transformers was that the movie had been in the wrong hands. Upon later reflection, it seems obvious that it is a marketing tool, mainly to facilitate product placement for new cars and trucks (particularly the new Chevy Camaro), and to please teenagers. Speaking of product placement, it is with some irony I recall the original Transformers were Hasbro toys (still are) with a TV tie-in.

This had the potential to be a neo-classic. Mike Smith gives the official PCR ratings for movies around here and I'm very happy with that. But if you want to know what I think? 2½ stars.

Note: Before the movie I saw a dandy little trailer that looked almost Transformers-like, with lots of fires, explosions, destroyed buildings, etc., but no title! At the close it merely said "January 2008 from Bad Robot Productions" (A JJ Abrams company). I've now learned it went out to theaters as "Untitled Trailer" and is something of an internet sensation called "Cloverfield". Whether that's just a working title or not I don't know. But it looks cool and is an interesting approach to building buzz.

Readers' Comments
The Readers Comments section is closed for this issue of PCR and is no longer interactive. To comment on any archived issue of this website, please write a Letter to the Editor or please post to the the Message Board! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
Guest [16-07-2007 10:28] 
Domestic Total as of Jul. 15, 2007: $222,990,000....WOW!
Nolan [15-07-2007 18:40] 
Hahaha. Wow, that's interesting. Lonnie, thanks.
Lonnie Dohlen [15-07-2007 16:27]  
Transformers-2 & Half Hours.I believe they're making Shia LaBeouf into a star.But I'll agree with you.Not all of the Script was that great.In fact I was bored to the end.I had seen Shia Labeouf's other film,Disturbia,@ the dollar Cinema.it was way better than Transformers.
Droogiedurango79 [15-07-2007 09:57] 
gee Puffy you are a sick puppy.
Nolan [15-07-2007 09:48] 
OK, everybody, we've strayed WAAAAaaaayyy off course here into dark and murky message board territory!! We're dealing with the (hopefully) last phases of a problem on there, I realize now it was a mistake to let it trickle onto this comment section. Let's try and get back under control. Please keep comments on the news of the day.
Puff Chrissy [15-07-2007 09:43] 
There should be a weekly column about Terence's hair, about how soft and pretty it is, how your fingers tickle when they run through his hair, how his hair smells of smoked turkey when you press your nose against it.

I've written too much...
MAD MATT [14-07-2007 22:41] 
droogiedurango79 [14-07-2007 22:17] 
i think nolan saved them actually. see the comments below yours.
The_Truth [14-07-2007 19:30] 
Hey Nolan, can you post the other comments, or at least summarize them? I didn't get a chance to see them, he already took them down before I saw his blog.

tampafilmfan [14-07-2007 16:55] 
Let me see if I understand. In order to protest people paying for an internet site and writing about entertainment , thereby becoming "critics," Mark Terry uses a blog available for free at an internet site to write about those writers, thereby becoming a "critic" himself. Um, okay.

Apparently, the teacher at Clearwater High School didn't teach him that the plural of "pizza" is "pizzas" -- without the apostrophe.
Nolan [14-07-2007 15:16] 
Haha! You saw that, too! Yeah he did. But not before I made a copy of everything.
Half Mental [14-07-2007 10:51] 
I see he has removed the comments by everyone but his girlfriend.
Puff Chrissy [14-07-2007 09:56]  
Does Mark know that "atypical" means "not typical", or is that above his vocabulary range? His poor grammar and spelling made the reading all the more enjoyable.

Terence, he did say you were "loveable", so I guess that counts for something. As far as your hair loss goes (I honestly never knew you've been struggling with the disorder), welcome to the club.
droogiedurango79 [14-07-2007 09:56] 
great hair? very nice? balding? thinning? why is the comment section about my hair hahahaha this is f@#cking ridiculous.
Nolan [14-07-2007 05:48] 
Mike, thanks as always for The Rant. It should be posted by the time you see this.
Yes, our little bro' Terence is showing signs of thinning hair which is really only noticable under bright lights and/or camera flashes (the recent photos from the 100 Tears premiere being one example).
Scott van Sickle still has a thick mane at 44 years old, but it's no longer shoulder-length, of course!
I loved the piece on Phillip in this week's Rant. Tell him Uncle Nole is very proud.
Michael [14-07-2007 05:16] 
Wow! At least Mark doesn't have a problem with me, which is odd since a friend of mine made his name in the film world with a short called "Killing Michael Bay."

Is Terence balding? He had great hair last I saw him. Not Scott VanSickle great, but very nice.
Michael [14-07-2007 05:09] 
The Rant has been delivered! Sorry for the delays - these kids run me ragged!
Nolan [14-07-2007 04:43] 
Even funnier, droogie, is he meant poor "physical fitness", not "psychical fitness" which means we suck at being psychics.
droogiedurango79 [14-07-2007 04:14] 
"All these guys are not your GQ types or peaks of psychical fitness."

Thats gotta be my favorite part of Mark Terry's rant haha. classic.
Nolan [14-07-2007 03:34] 
To Everyone: Mark Terry's final "Middle Toe" column, his long-awaited, angry kiss-off to Crazed Fanboy, is available. I believe his original intention was to post it to our Message Board. He's been banned from that but regained access recently with fancy IP-masking software. I'm assuming for some reason it failed when he went to post this.
In any event, it is now on his MySpace blog. Brace yourselves and read it here.
Nolan [14-07-2007 03:21] 
Odds, "Mike's Rant" has been coming in on Saturday mornings about half the time now, due to schedule conflicts with the baseball team he supervises. The season is nearing an end, though, and Mike says The Rant should be arriving in a more timely fashion afterwards.
BTW, "101 Reasons to Hate 1987-2007" is a dandy idea, very Lalino-esque. Save it for next week, then.
Odds [13-07-2007 20:05]  
No Mike's Rant this week? I feel bad about not handing an Oddservations. I was going to explore some new territory: "101 Reasons to Hate 1987-2007".
Nolan [12-07-2007 23:41] 
James, whew, glad it worked! No problem, welcome back.
jamesfromricepower [12-07-2007 15:47] 
back online now, thanks Nolan. I did just move back to the LA area, so I'm guessing thats why. thanks a bunch.
Nolan [12-07-2007 14:26] 
James, I investigated the problem -- but your previously-recorded IP addresses are NOT on the ban list!! There is no reason you should be banned from seeing the board. I just now removed about 5 addresses from the list that were kind of close. Please try again.
Have you recently changed ISPs or gotten a new computer? Plus, IP-spoofing software for spammers is a major problem as they spoof legitimate addresses which then get blocked.
If you still can't see the board, please note it here and I'll try another remedy. Again, sorry for the hassle.
Nolan [12-07-2007 10:38] 
James, no there is no reason why you should be banned. I'll investigate. I apologize for the hassle.
Paul Guzzo [12-07-2007 09:12] 
Hmm... Nolan gave Transformers the same rating as Fangora gave 100 Tears!!
jamesfromricepower [12-07-2007 08:42] 
any reason why I am banned from looking at the boards? I don't remember wigging out on anybody in my three or four posts. what up?
Nolan [12-07-2007 05:01] 
Regarding the post by TampaBayMuse: I manually activated the StandUpForKids link due to its being a very worthy cause. (Active linking is normally blocked on the comment section.) I actually intended to post something about this organization before now and neglected to. My apologies.
Nolan [12-07-2007 04:38] 
Well, sure I can unban you, but that shouldn't be necessary with the fancy IP-masking software you've been using to get around the ban up to now, right? According to your last posts, I can't stop you, so I'm not going to try. If you can see the board at all, you should be able to copy whatever you want and post back. Is there another problem I'm not aware of?
Mr. X [11-07-2007 23:25] 
Is there anyway to unban me go back in the archives from last year?
tampbaymuse [11-07-2007 20:30] 
Help homeless teens in tampa bay, www.standupforkidscd.com benefit concert Aug. 25th, Springs Theatre, Historic Sulphur Springs Tampa
Nolan [11-07-2007 19:45] 
Knock yourself out.
Mr. Terry [11-07-2007 16:09] 
165 Million in the US as of the 10th. 262 worldwide. #1 opening Tuesday of all time and #5 this year box office. Don't think my article isn't coming. I havent forgot just been busy.

I am sure Pizza Boy sold a lot of Pizza's the last weekend and Drew must be sick to his stomach out here already. How much more proof do they need?
Nolan [11-07-2007 11:57] 
Have at it.
End of Comment Section    

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    "La Floridiana" is ©2007 by William Moriaty    "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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