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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2007!
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our eighth calendar year!
Number 382  (Vol. 8, No. 29). This edition is for the week of July 16--22, 2007.

Carrying On
The Tampa Film Review for July
by Nolan B. Canova, Chris Woods, and Chris Passainault
  • Our Reviews!
  • Rockin Sports Bar
  • Hooters Pics
    by Mike Smith

    "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry"

    by Andy Lalino

    Moz Mania: Morrissey in Concert .... Crowded House is Back!

    by Mike Smith

    Asshole .... Anyone Seen Raymond Burr?... Baseball .... Whatever Happened To--? Chapter 25: Joe Pantoliano

    Thankfully, things seem to be settling down around the Crazed Fanboy compound after a harrowing two weeks of very stressful management headaches. Thanks to all our supporters for hangin' in there.

    Belated: Notable passings
    I was clearly negligent last week in not mentioning two passings of note, that of Lady Bird Johnson and that of character actor Charles Lane.

    Lady Bird
    Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the late US President Lyndon Baines Johnson, died of natural causes at the age of 94 at her home in Austin, Texas, July 11th.

    At first seemingly pale in comparison to the previous first lady, Jackie Kennedy, Lady Bird soon made her mark with a less cosmopolitan, Southern style, and a keen discipline and intelligence associated with the Texas president. Mainly associated with beautification projects, she stood steadily by Lyndon Johnson during the darkest days of the Vietnam War, the experience over which the President never fully recovered. (He chose not to run a second term and died in 1973.)

    Suffering a stroke in 2002, she continued to make public appreances, despite difficulties in speaking. In May, she attended an event at the LBJ Library featuring Robert Dallek, a biographer of her husband. Obviously a strong woman who would not be kept down merely by declining health! She was an inspiration as a first lady, and in later life, an inspiration to seniors.

    Charles Lane
    Back in the day, I could pick out character actors in different TV shows like old friends from a photo album. I think my earliest memory of character actor Charles Lane is from TV's Dennis the Menace (Jay North) as the curmudgeonly corner drug store operator or something like that (he played a similar role in Petticoat Junction). He was among the first to sketch out the grouchy-but-with-a-heart-of-gold character that became typical of older actors over the decades. With his tall, gaunt presence, booming voice, and topped off with horn-rimmed glasses and a high forehead, he was castable in almost anything.

    Besides Menace, his TV credits include I Love Lucy, Dark Shadows, Bewitched, L.A. Law, St. Elsewhere, Little House on the Prairie, The Odd Couple, his movie credits include It's A Wonderful Life, The Road To Singapore, 42nd Street, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I was shocked to learn his last role was in 2006(!) as the narrator a short film version of The Night before Christmas.

    He passed away quietly at home in California, July 10th, at age 102. He was one of the last survivors of the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. His wife of 70 years passed away in 2002. He smoked until he was at least 85. When he accepted an award from cable television's TV Land channel in honor of his 100th birthday, he made a point of saying he was still available for work!

    The Tampa Film Review for July.....and pics from Hooters
    You might be wondering why I put pictures from our last Hooters gathering on the same page as The Tampa Film Review for July?

    Like so many times before, it's because it so often feels like an extension of the TFR!

    Because this was a very special internationally-enhanced meeting, I was tempted to put the pics right here on the homepage which I've done before (or duplicate them here), but it feels so natural on the TFR page this time. Check 'em out! Well, of course, after you read the reviews first!

    New Columnist(s) on the Horizon!
    Quite a few of you noticed our ranks looking a little thin the past few weeks and wrote me your concerns. I remind everyone that the writer population here has always swung wildly to and fro over the years, many times it's just me and Mike Smith for weeks at a time! I'm glad, though, that those days seem to be occluded by memories of a more robust PCR (the recent spell has been a bit exaggerated if you look in the Archives). For that I'm grateful.

    However...it is worth noting we've been publishing for over 7 years and several long-time contributors have experienced recent life changes that necessitated ceasing their heretofore frequent involvement with PCR until further notice. Others have taken a more "infrequent/irregular" approach to publishing, still others who decided this wasn't for them after all. Currently there is no one other than Mike Smith and myself guaranteeing weekly columns (Andy Lalino comes the closest).

    It has not escaped me that Message Boards (including our own) and sites such as MySpace and its ilk provide a more immediate satisfaction for writers seeking to upload daily items or participate more interactively in internet expression. I found it surprising that reader feedback (targeted, not general) turned out to be enormously important to sustain motivation around here. (It's always nice to get, of course, but I never counted on it all that much. I write 'cuz I feel like it. There are former writers who quit after, like, two issues, convinced no one was reading their columns when they weren't deluged with mail. To me, ignoring the long-term benefits of search engine hits is just plain unwise.) This is a big reason our Readers Comments section was born, for example. But that's just for starters.

    Three things: One, there are two brand new columnists on the way I think you'll enjoy! Their frequency hasn't been hammered out yet, but they will likely be semi-regular/irregular (even that's very encouraging.) Two, there are some technical changes I'll be implementing in Crazed Fanboy over the next few months to meet the challenges of a more interactive reader/writer fandom. And Three, encouraging "immediate feedback" can have an effect of the frequency of Letters to the Editor, so please don't freak out if you don't see that section very often (Letters is still the way to respond to older columns, of course). Readers Comments is only active a week at a time, then archived. After that, it's Letters or the Message Board. I don't see that changing. But there'll be other ways to interact and it'll be cool. Stay tuned.

    Readers' Comments

    The Readers Comment section is closed for this issue. To continue to interact, you can always make posts on our Message Board or send a Letter to the Editor. Thank you.
    Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
    Nolan [23-07-2007 23:39] 
    Oh wow, I hadn't heard that. Thanks for the head's up. (I'll comment more in next week's PCR.)
    Mark Terry [23-07-2007 13:59] 
    László Kovács RIP...he passed yesterday.
    Nolan [22-07-2007 19:07] 
    Same here, Ron.
    RON CANOVA [22-07-2007 18:38] 
    Nolan [22-07-2007 10:22] 
    To tampafilmfan and capassinault: Good points, all, thanks. Bloggers write to express themselves, and commercial sites are there to attract potential clients. Of course, there are frequently overlapping goals and results, but everyone wants to be seen and read.
    Perhaps the point we're trying to make is everyone wants to feel they're making a difference. Technically, there are many ways to track hits (capassinault's example of web logs, for example), but reader feedback is more personal.
    It can take a long time to feel the love, haha. Persistence is key.
    capassinault [22-07-2007 08:55]  
    People may read sites, but few respond. You cannot measure readership by feedback. You will have a lot of people reading your site, but very few will have the time or the inclination to write. You have to look at everything from the web logs down to feedback to get the big picture.
    The Tampa Film Fan Blog has a LOT of readers. Have you ever played around with search engines with common terms such as "Tampa" and "film"? What comes up. This is a good indication that there are lots of readers. My sites get thousands of readers every week.
    tampafilmfan [22-07-2007 08:04] 
    To me, site traffic/actual readership and feedback/comments are two vastly different animals. If I judged my blogs' readership based strictly on the sparse and occasional comments posted there, I'd hang myself. I think most people read sites like these without commenting.

    Nolan -- as always, your hard work here is evident and appreciated.
    Nolan [21-07-2007 14:44] 
    Paul, thanks for posting and, of course, I look forward to the return of Filmlook someday. I was merely expressing the ups and downs of my experiences here over the past 7 years in a general sense. LOTS of writers didn't really appreciate the commitment until they were actually here and doing it. (Not meaning you were one of them, don't get me wrong.) But I thank them all for trying.
    Paul Guzzo [21-07-2007 13:59] 
    I am 100% one of those writers who flaked after a few columns ... and I feel awful about it ... I feel I am disrespecting the site ... BUT, my newspaper's 85th anniversary and now the documentary have killed me ... I swear I'll write again when I have time to breathe.
    Nolan [21-07-2007 05:53] 
    Puff and 'biter, thanks so much for writing and for your support. You both understand completely where I'm coming from. To Puff's comment I'll add that email still comes in from columns published years ago (in particular ED Tucker and Will Moriaty pieces). Other times I hear after the fact that some writers have gotten email but didn't think it important enough to forward to me for Letters. Backbiter, I sincerely appreciate you sticking by me all these years. Puff, too, of course. I admit I, too, read lots of things all over the 'net, but rarely write or rate (I vote in AOL polls-- I'm a sucker for them, haha). I think of this fact when the writers complain about lack of feedback.
    Puff Chrissy [21-07-2007 03:57] 
    I remember how frustrating it was with Legion, particularly in the weeks when the traffic was really high, that we'd never hear from anyone. It took me a long time to understand that it takes an awful lot for people to drop an email or post a comment (I think of all the articles and pieces I read every week online that I really enjoy, but of course, I never leave a comment or rate), and that if you're doing this for the feedback, you might want to reconsider your priorities. Also, writers need to take in the fact that while you might get feedback for an article, it might not be for weeks, maybe even months after it's been published.
    backbiter [21-07-2007 00:16] 
    There are former writers who quit after, like, two issues, convinced no one was reading their columns when they weren't deluged with mail.

    Wow, that' surprising. I read every word every week on the site. I just don't comment a whole helluva lot. Doesn't mean I don't care. Just usually short on time. I would say the columns are read more than the writers think they are. You do an amazing job. Keep up the astounding work. You usually know when I have something to say. I also read TV guide and Penthouse. Doesn't mean I respond to all of their articles either. LOL! Love Ya Big Lug!
    Nolan [20-07-2007 16:03] 
    Odds, I'm sure Steve will be flattered to know he looks like Ted V Mikels, since Ted is about 150 lbs lighter!
    My digital camera was a gift from ED Tucker and I'm fine with its perty pitchers -- what did you find wanting?
    Glad you liked the TFR reviews. Generally speaking, we found ourselves in agreement on all films this month, an unusual occurrence.
    Randy [20-07-2007 12:15] 
    As of July 18th
    Domestic: $238,202,379 61.9%
    + Foreign: $146,657,283 38.1%
    = Worldwide: $384,859,662

    Also passing 300 into the #4 spot for wroldwide box office in 2007. Not bad at all

    PS Die Hard 4 is sitting at #14 for worldwide box office in 2007. Even Blades of Glory is well in front of it....hahaha drew you know your sh*t.

    Odds [20-07-2007 06:45] 
    Nice job on the TFR reviews, guys. Here are a few thoughts:
    - "The Bench and the Lamp Post" reviews were hilarious, esp. Nole's "final comment". I liked Chris Woods' alternate ending suggestions.
    - I would ask if Chris Woods would retract his mentions of both 'MadTV' and 'SNL' (unless of course he's referring to the '70s cast and/or the Miller/Sandler/Spade/Lovitz ensemble, not the current incarnation of the show).
    Odds [20-07-2007 06:29] 
    Enjoyed the editorial page this week - it was worth waiting Friday morning for. Nice homage to actor Charles Lane. Like Puff, I also enjoyed the Hooters pics, though I think it's time to invest in a new digital camera. I'd like to meet Steve Beasley someday (in one shot he resembled Ted V. Mikels!). Derrek Carriveau (sp.) looked different from what I recall the picture of him being on the Legion Studios site. Lookin' forward to the new columns.

    Hope you didn't pull a BranJo and see 'Simpsons' yet. Don't do it, man. Call me first.
    Nolan [20-07-2007 05:10] 
    Yikes! Haha. Sorry if I tripped over some inappropriate verbiage there, I didn't mean to get Derrek into any trouble. Uh-oh...think I hear the Siberian deputies at my door already!
    Puff Chrissy [20-07-2007 04:23] 
    I like the pictures from Hooters. I especially like Derrek "vacationing" in Florida. I had no idea that's what he was calling it. Speaking of which, Derrek, the police are still asking questions about the "incident" (apparently it wasn't a "Polish tradition" after all) and you should stay over there a little longer.
    Nolan [20-07-2007 03:10] 
    In his review for the TFR July article, I think Chris Woods is right when he said we got "punk'd" by the producers of "The Bench and The Lamp Post". They tricked us into watching it and staying quiet for 5 minutes for no obvious payoff.
    End of Comments    

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