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PCR #436 (Vol. 9, No. 31) This edition is for the week of July 28--August 3, 2008.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Another Sunday edition. Shall we begin?

"Mamma Mia"  by Mike Smith
Happy Birthday To Retrorama!  by ED Tucker
VHS Grindhouse: How to Make a Monster (1958)  by Andy Lalino
Strike: The Case For Unions by Corey Castellano
FANGRRL Returns With Two Top Ten Lists & A Plea For A Piece of ED's Birthday Cake by Lisa Ciurro
Favre Saga Continues .... Philly Wins Championship .... Catfighting In Carolina: Update .... Griffey Traded To Chw, Bay Escapes Tampa Bay .... Belichick Loves Cameras .... Team Usa Showing Off In China .... Indianapolis Colts Vs. Washington Redskins ....  by Chris Munger
It Is To Rock .... .... ....  by Matt Drinnenberg
Cheesus Christ .... Shark! .... Another Bond First .... Dunbar, Not .... You Never Give Me Your Money .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1956 Should Have Gone To...  by Mike Smith
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Recently a strange food phenomena has been occuring - ordinary snacks taking on the characteristics of famous people and places. A grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary on it. A cornflake shaped like the state of Illinois. Now a woman here in Missouri has declared the finding of a Cheeto that resembles Jesus on the Cross. Pretty impressive. You know, the other day I found a Dorito that looked just like: a) a pyramid, b) a shark fin, c) the main building at THE PIER in St Pete, d) all of the above.

You may have heard of the recent Great White Shark sightings off of Martha's Vineyard, which is newsworthy since that is where 'JAWS' was filmed. Based on reports from 60-year-old Michael Lopenzo, officials in Edgartown closed the town's beaches after Lopenzo claimed he saw not one but two great whites while working on a boat. Police checked his story and found that the boat, and its owner, was non-existent. In other news, a Mr. R. Quint has offered to catch the sharks should they return.

As previously noted, the next James Bond film, "Quantam of Solace," will be the first direct Bond sequel, picking up moments after the end of "Casino Royale." No, "Moonraker" doesn't count, just because Richard Kiel (Jaws) showed up from "The Spy Who Loves Me." Now, for the first time, the song from the film, "Another Way to Die," will be performed by a duet - Jack White and Alicia Keys. Rumors had Amy Winehouse composing and performing the next Bond song but her current health problems kept her out of the running according to producer Mark Ronson.

Smith household favorite Kevin Costner (OK, the female half of the household) has rejected an offer to star in a sequel to "Dances With Wolves." Though the film is still scheduled to go forward, Costner told Moviefone, "I'm not in it. But I've heard that ... I don't think I'm involved. I'm not planning to be involved in any way." Now if they want to do a sequel to "The Postman" I'm there! (OK, I made that last line up)

Congratulations to the lucky fan/collector/idiot (choose the one that most fits in your opinion) who kicked out $1.1 million to purchase the drum featured on the Beatles' "Sgt Pepper" cover. Other big sellers: the guitar Pete Townsend used to write "Behind Blue Eyes" ($27,000), a pair of Jimi Hendrix' pants ($40,000) and a pair of John Lennon's tinted prescription sunglasses ($78,000).



March 27, 1957. With Jerry Lewis as host, the awards for the film year 1956 are about to be handed out. Talk of the night is whether or not the late James Dean can beat out heavily favored Yul Brynner for Best Actor. Let the games begin.

The nominees for Best Picture were: "Around the World in 80 Days," "Friendly Persuasion," "Giant," "The King and I" and "The Ten Commandments." Once again, Hollywood does it's best recognizing epics and musicals, with the gentle Civil War era drama "Friendly Persuasion" filling out the final spot. Other films of the year worthy of a top nod: "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," "The Searchers," "High Society" and "Lust for Life."
"Giant" was the big film of the year, netting 10 nominations. But the talk around town during the voting was how producer Mike Todd, by getting almost every famous actor to cameo in "Around the World in 80 Days," (among the dozens of famous faces to appear: Frank Sinatra, Cesar Romero, Ronald Coleman, Peter Lorre, George Raft, Red Skelton and Buster Keaton), could influence the actor's branch in their votes. Todd's gamble paid off as the film took home the top prize.

Best Director found the following gentlemen up for the award: Michael Anderson (Around the World in Eighty Days), William Wyler (Friendly Persuasion), George Stevens (Giant), Walter Lang (The King and I) and King Vidor (War and Peace). Talented men with a history of great films. Wyler in fact would end his career with a record (12) Best Director nominations and three wins. The winner was Stevens, ironically the only Oscar "Giant" would win that night. This was Stevens' second Oscar, having won previously for "A Place In the Sun."

The Best Actor category was full of masterful performances: Both James Dean and Rock Hudson (Giant), Yul Brynner (The King and I), Kirk Douglas (Lust for Life) and Laurence Olivier (Richard III). Of the nominees, Dean got most of the attention since this was his second posthumous acting nomination. Douglas' portrayal of the tortured painter Vincent Van Gogh was a highlight of his career. Brynner was basically re-creating his Broadway performance, as was Olivier, who excelled in portraying Shaeksperean characters. This leaves Rock Hudson. A fan of movies since he was a boy, Roy Scheer worked as a movie theatre usher and auditioned for high school plays. Though he showed talent, he had problems remembering his lines, which caused him not to be cast. After serving in World War II, young Roy went to Hollywood where he would spend his days standing outside studio gates handing out his photo. An agent spotted him and changed his name to Rock Hudson. His career almost ended as fast as it began. It took 38 takes for him to deliver his one line in "Fighter Squadron." "Giant" was Hudson's pinnacle role and, sadly, his only Oscar nomination. The winner that night was Brynner, whose musical king overcame the oil drillers of "Giant."

Best Actress nominees that year included: Ingrid Bergman (Anastasia), Carroll Baker (Baby Doll), Nancy Kelly (The Bad Seed), Deborah Kerr (The King and I) and Katherine Hepburn (The Rainmaker). Of the nominees Baker was the most talked about as her film, "Baby Doll," was either praised or condemed by those who saw it for it's subject matter. Second in gossip was Bergman, who had left her husband and had just given birth out of wedlock to director Roberto Rosselini's twins, Isotta and Isabella. Apparently Hollywood decided to forgive and forget as they gave Bergman her second Oscar for Best Actress.

The list of nominees for Best Supporting Actor was made up of a group of men that would continue in this role for the majority of their careers: Mickey Rooney (The Bold and the Brave), Don Murray (Bus Stop), Anthony Perkins (Friendly Persuasion), Anthony Quinn (Lust for Life) and Robert Stack (Written on the Wind). With the exception of Perkins, who rose to "above the title" status in the 1960s, the other four actors continued to work for years in supporting roles, giving fine performances in excellent films. Even Quinn, who starred in a few films, maintained a long career in supporting roles, winning two Oscars as Best Supporting Actor. In 1952 he won the award for "Viva Zapata!" And, even though his on screen time clocked in at 12 minutes, he won his second award this evening.

On the Best Supporting Actress side, the nominees were: Mildred Dunnock (Baby Doll), Eileen Heckart and Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed),Mercedes McCambridge (Giant) and Dorothy Malone (Written on the Wind). The youngest nominee here was 11 year old McCormack, who terrified moviegoers as the title character in "The Bad Seed." But her star didn't burn out. Fifty years later she's still working and will be featured as Pat Nixon in Ron Howard's upcoming "Frost/Nixon" film. The other four actresses were and are no stranger to Oscar. This was Dunnock's second nomination in her long career. Heckart would go on to win in this category for "Bonnie and Clyde." McCambridge had already won in this category in 1949 for "All the Kings Men" and would gain fame years later when it's discovered that she is the voice of the demon Pazuzu in "The Exorcist." The winner tonight: Dorothy Malone.

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. I'm off to Vegas next weekend for some much needed R & R so look for an earlier than usual Rant from yours truly. See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 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 ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.