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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2008!
   Assistant Editor:  Terence Nuzum.                                                          HOME      ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our ninth calendar year!
Number 423  (Vol. 9, No. 18). This edition is for the week of April 28--May 4, 2008.

"Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay"
Comic Book Confidential: JLA 74
FANGRRL Goes to the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image
Clemons ... Rays ... Bucs ... and more
Wedding Day .... 18 Years .... .... e
Married Life .... Movie Notes .... Goodbye! .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1976 Should Have Gone To... a
Strange Politics
Bush Press Conference
Retracting My Retraction

Here at the outset of the summer movie season, I am aware that many of you out there get annoyed when I choose to talk politics instead of promoting the latest hot flick (like Iron Man which I will be seeing this weekend) and I'm sorry you feel that way. I write what I feel any given week, and many times it is about the latest hot flick.

Jason Liquori, May 4. 37 yrs.
Steve Beasley, May 5. 51 yrs.
Chris Woods, May 11. 35 yrs.
Terence Nuzum, May 19. 29 yrs.
I do feel politics is part of pop culture (if in a qualified sense), and its discussion is important in times like these. In an election year with a Recession, an ongoing War, and gas prices off the map, I feel compelled to use this space to express my feelings.

This should not be interpreted as "soapboxing" because it is not my desire to proselytize, but to initiate discussion and feedback. If that makes you uncomfortable, there is no requirement to participate. But do know that the other PCR writers are more than capable of taking up any pop culture "slack" with their terrific columns and I hope you find something of interest there.

For the record, Mike Smith and I will likely have something to more formally say about Iron Man next week, although I'll likely hint something in Readers' Comments well before that.

Now then, on with the show...

Bush Press Conference
Is it just me or did George Dubya seem extremely confused and disoriented during his mid-morning press conference Tuesday, April 29th?

He gave a stuttering, rambling opening statement then, with some obvious trepidation, took questions from reporters. With each "answer" he only seemed to care about delivering very few simple thoughts and kept returning to their scripted versions, no matter what.

The number one question was about rising gas prices and related oil barrel prices. He shot back that he wanted to drill in Anwar, but Congress wouldn't let him (or words to that effect). When asked about alternative fuels, he got hung up on "ethanol", repeating the word over and over when he got stuck (apparently, phrases like "solar panels" and "hydrogen fuel cells" couldn't be rehearsed enough to feel comfortable with). I was a little taken aback because I thought the one-to-one replacement of gas with ethanol has already been discredited, citing its limited application due to skyrocketing food production prices.

"Congress and I are looking at everything on the table."

Of course the Recession was brought up and, rather predictably, he couldn't bring himself to utter the dreaded word, choosing to dodge it with, "doesn't matter what you call it," and "Congress can argue over the terminology," continuing with the legitimate observation that "the people mainly want to know if Congress can feel their pain" (or words to that effect). Well, true enough. But when Dubya, looking down at the podium obviously uncomfortable with the subject, resorts to this dodge tactic, it makes you wonder what he really knows and is afraid to tell us.

"Congress and I are looking at everything on the table."

The strangest reaction by far was to a reporter who dared to bring up Hillary and Obama on a topic to compare to Dubya (I want to say the topic was the gas-tax holiday, but I can't swear to that at the moment). Seemingly infuriated, Bush shot back with, "I resent your trying to drag me into the '08 elections"(!!). The question wasn't related to the Oh-Eight elections, but in a super-defensive flash, Dubya caved to pressure and scolded the reporter (I imagine he's so apprehensive of anticipated "gotcha" moments at press conferences, when he thinks he sees one, calls it out. Which would be funny, if it weren't so pathetically inaccurate). We never did get an answer.

I watched about 25 minutes or so of this and lost the stomach to continue. If there was much more to the press conference, I can't comment on it. I figure the Iraq War came up, but it's not hard to imagine where that went. But from what I did watch, it's obvious all he cared for these reporter to know was he wants to drill in Anwar, he won't admit we're in a Recession (despite body language indicating the opposite), he's hip to ethanol, and "Congress and I are looking at everything on the table" (regarding the economy, oil, etc. Nice, but it doesn't answer much).

Post your thoughts on this topic

Retracting My Retraction: Reverend Wright Continuing to Haunt Obama Campaign
Several weeks ago I wrote in these pages that the Reverend Jeremiah Wright would be the downfall of Barack Obama. When after about a week his pastor's firey racist rant failed to do so -- in fact, just the opposite -- I retracted my statement in the next issue of PCR. Now, weirdly, my original prediction has gained more traction because, well, the good Reverend just can't keep his trap shut. Worse, he's starting to spar with Obama publicly.

Should've seen this coming, really. Obama's instant distancing tactics must've proven a little hurtful to Wright. Obama's referring to him as "my former pastor" was so obviously political damage control that I can't help but wonder if it was somebody in Obama's camp who encouraged Wright to retire immediately to legitimize the term "former" to indicate "retired", rather than "rejected".

What's become apparent in the meantime is that despite Obama's original position that he could "no more disown" his former pastor than he could "disown the entire black community," well, it looks like the disowning thing has very much returned to the front burner.

Wright has subtly begun to pick fights with Obama in the public arena and that isn't good for the presidential hopeful. It's as if Wright, now suddenly acutely aware he's been made the bad guy, and to what degree, is in a "f*ck you" state of mind where he'll tell it like it is whether you or me or Obama likes it or not. His ongoing "clarifications", which are supposed to take the sting out of whatever screwy tirade he made previous to his latest TV appearance, seem to get him into even more trouble than before. (Besides the original inflammatory "God Damn America" speech, his main thing currently is referring to the US as a terrorist nation, thereby somehow implying we deserved 9/11.)

Add onto this the high profile purchase of a $30 million mansion for the good Reverend (I think his church secured the funds for this), and we're right back to wondering what kind of spiritual counselor Barack Obama had sworn his allegiance to all those years.

Weeks ago, I said the original sermon had rendered Obama's campaign "irrecoverable". I retracted that statement the following week. I'd like to retract the retraction now with the qualification that while his campaign isn't exactly dead, Hillary Clinton's numbers have started to climb once again.

Post your thoughts on this topic

Readers' Comments

The Readers' Comments section for this issue of PCR is now closed. To continue to interact, please use the Message Board or write a Letter to the Editor! The comments below are listed starting with the most recent. Thank you.

Crazed FanComments -- We Welcome Reader Feedback on any article(s) on this page.
matthew [05-05-2008 16:55] 
paul, that's friggin' outstanding. big time congrats!!!!
Lisa C [05-05-2008 11:44] 
I started an Iron Man thread and put SPOILER ALERT in the title. I'm curious to hear what others thought of it.
Lisa C [05-05-2008 11:25] 
Paul -- That's wonderful. Congratulations to you and Pete!
Nolan [05-05-2008 10:42] 
Well, OK.....but let's put it on the message board rather than here for now.
Paul Guzzo [05-05-2008 08:28] 
BTW ... can we discuss Iron Man yet without being afraid of spoilers?
Nolan [05-05-2008 08:19] 
Paul, a hearty congratulations to both you and Pete for this award! You have every right to be proud.
Paul Guzzo [05-05-2008 08:00] 
Pete and I are VERY honored to announce that we have won the Ybor City State Museum Society's 2008 Legacy Award for contributions to Ybor City's historic preservation through our last two films. They are going to honor us with a luncheon in June ... WTF?!?! I am completely blown away.
matthew [04-05-2008 15:43] 
lisa, your column this week is freakin' excellent.

or as they say up in maine....: wicked good!
Paul Guzzo [04-05-2008 13:41] 
haha ... funny "chemistry story" about Pete and me ... when we filmed Joyc Story, being our first film it was hard to fill all the roles with real actors, so Pete and I actually acted, err. tried to act. One of the first comments we heard from someone (who didn't know Pete and I were brothers or made the film) said that Pete and I, who were playing two thug friends, didn't seem like two people who had ever hung out together ... HAHA ... we have NEVER acted since.
Lisa C [04-05-2008 11:47] 
Thank you all for the positive feedback. I'm honored...and now conceited. Nolan, I demand a raise! And a corner office! :)

Steve -- Thanks, man. I'm gonna re-read your words the next time I have writer's block. You should definitely check out the Charlie Wall doc. I learned a lot.

Paul -- I thought that you and Pete had great chemistry together on stage. It was like you've known each other for years.
Steve Beasley [04-05-2008 11:18] 
I mean "P-A-U-L". Sorry about the misspelling, apparently I've gotta start proofreading, too!
Steve Beasley [04-05-2008 11:14] 
WOW! Good job on the YFMI, Lisa! Very in depth reporting. You write with the maturity and experience of an veteran reporter.

Pauk, I can't wait to see Charlie Wall myself. I've always had interest in local mafia and have always thought a movie depicting such was a great idea!
Nolan [04-05-2008 09:15] 
Lisa: the Ybor Film Fest review was absolutely worth the wait. Well done! And thanks.

To Paul: Hahaha! I'll never live that down, will I? Anyway, next time we meet, please try and remember to bring the Charlie Wall disc with you, sir. Thanks.
Paul Guzzo [04-05-2008 07:58] 
I meant "main" ... I really gotta start proofing.
Paul Guzzo [04-05-2008 07:54] 
Hmm... Lisa, you know that now I have to flood your email box with letters from people who liked the animations ... Here is the first:
"Dear Paul, I found the chemistry between the two man characters to be great."
Wait ...wrong movie. Damn it!
Chris M [04-05-2008 07:04]  
thank you lisa and lifetime is not bad if that's your cup of tea.
Zeus [03-05-2008 20:26] 
Good article on the film festival, Luisa!
Lisa C [03-05-2008 20:01] 
To Chris: C'mon, Lifetime's not so bad...sitcoms all morning, sitcoms all evening...what's wrong with that? :)
Nice logo and pic. You're official now!
Lisa C [03-05-2008 19:53] 
To Matt: Congrats!! The length of time is one accomplishment; to still be so happy is another. I'm envious.
Lisa C [03-05-2008 18:14] 
Finally posted my column about the Ybor Film Fest. Sorry it's so late, but I've had medical junk to deal with recently. (I'm ok, so no need to worry. Just givin' an explanation on my delinquency.)

Re: Iron Man -- I was gonna be so cool and go to a sneak preview Monday night and then brag about it but then the person who invited me accidentally left my name off the list so I was denied access at the door like a criminal. (Karma's punishment for my intended bragging, I suppose.) I haven't seen it yet!! but I hope to soon.

Re: Nolan posting political stuff -- Nolan, besides the obvious fact that you can post whatever you want to on your own site, I have to tell you that lately I've been getting my news from you and The Daily Show. So keep up the good work.

To Paul: Gee, you seem to know an awful lot about LSD. Hmmmm... :)
ED [03-05-2008 11:15] 
Sorry, I didn't really consider that a spoiler since it had absolutely nothing to do with the plot of the movie but if you think it was then thanks for taking it off.
Nolan [03-05-2008 08:59] 
No prob, thanks for writing.
Amadeas [03-05-2008 08:44] 
Thank you for removing the spoiler, Nolan. I was going to see Iron Man yesterday, but my friend didn't want to go. After seeing all of the positive feedback, it just may be as great as I suspected. It'll be a few days before I get to see it.
Nolan [03-05-2008 07:26] 
ED, thanks for commenting. Of course, I agree. Note: No biggie, but I made one small edit to your original post because I considered it to be a spoiler. (Not all of us have seen the movie yet!)

Please, everybody, wait until after the weekend before getting into too much minutae regarding specifics. Some fans like to be surprised.

But yes, absolutely it's great and highly recommended.
ED [03-05-2008 05:46] 
I agree that Iron Man was great. If it did not exceed Spiderman as the best film adaption of a Marvel comic book character it came very close. Robert Downey, Jr. did an excellent job and I was plesently surprised by what a good villian Jeff Bridges made. The story sticks pretty close to the original comics for the origin other than updating the historical context by about 30 years. Marvel obviously expects to franchise this because there are numerous set ups including War Machine. This was a great start to the summer movie season.
matthew [02-05-2008 17:23] 
wow nolan. that's pretty high praise.

sounds like a true must see.
Nolan [02-05-2008 13:58] 
I just returned from Iron Man, and all I can say is WOW! It absolutely deserves all the hype and publicity it's gotten. It's INTENSE and even kinda adult. Robert Downey, Jr., was born to play Tony Stark. And Jeff Bridges...well....let's just say this is his biggest comeback role yet. The special effects are incredible, the 2-hours-plus fly by.

Do yourself a favor and SIT THROUGH ALL THE END CREDITS for a special surprise afterward. (I was only one of a few who did. Even my party left ahead of time.)

This may well exceed Spider-Man as the best comics-to-movie adaptation ever made. I'm already planning to see Iron Man again Sunday evening to be sure, but I'll probably feel the same.
Paul Guzzo [02-05-2008 10:10] 
Anyone else noticed that inflation and time has raised the price of everything on the planet BUT Juicy Fruit?!?! It's still just 25 cents.
Michael [01-05-2008 20:27] 
Hello from NYC everyone. Due to my honeymoon I missed the screenings for both "Iron Man" and "Speed Racer," so please bear with me. I promise to get to them as soon as I return.
Paul Guzzo [30-04-2008 11:37] 
Oops ... I meant FOUR weeks ago.
Paul Guzzo [30-04-2008 11:35] 
Nice side story ... just two weeks ago Mountain Girl from Merry Prankster fame visited him ... it was the first time any of the Merry Prankster visited him and they apparently discussed the Acid Tests and the Grateful Dead for quite a while. She then presented him with a Acid Test Graduation Diploma. It seems fitting that he finally met someone from the group of people who (I believed) used his creation to change America. The Pranksters (I believe) were the catalysts of the 1960s. You can read about their meeting at - http://www.skypilotclub.com/.
Nolan [30-04-2008 11:30] 
For those who don't know, Albert Hofmann first synthesized Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).

Said Hofmann: "I believe that if people would learn to use LSD's vision-inducing capability more wisely, under suitable conditions, in medical practice and in conjunction with meditation, then in the future this problem child could become a wonderchild."

Hear, hear! And he lived to be 102! Says something, doesn't it?
Paul Guzzo [30-04-2008 11:21] 
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/30/world/euro pe/30hofmann.html?_r=1&oref=slogin - Albert Hoffman passed away this week.
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2008 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2008 by Michael A. Smith    "FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro    "Retrorama" is ©2008 by ED Tucker    "Filmlook" is ©2008 by Paul Guzzo    "CANOVA: The Online Comic Series" is ©2008 by John Miller    "Sports Talk" is ©2008 by Chris Munger      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova    
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