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PCR #485 (Vol. 10, No. 28). This edition is for the week of July 6--12, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Short and simple this week. Shall we begin?

"Bruno"  by Mike Smith
Movies and The Mob: part 1  by Terence Nuzum
The Stuff of Legend: 2009 Film Florida Legends Awards  by ED Tucker
R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett, 1947--2009  by Lisa Scherer Ciurro
A Date With Disney .... Toy Story Ride & Frenzy .... Mgm Staples .... .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
The Jackson Distraction .... Btw Palin Resigned .... Win Win 4 Palin .... The Best Offense Is No Defense? .... Cap & Trade Warning One .... Another Stimulus .... In God We Trust Missing? ....  by Brandon Jones
Air Mcnair .... Movie Notes .... Another Voice Of My Youth Moving On .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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As I noted at the end of last week's Rant, former NFL Quarterback Steve McNair was shot and killed as I was finishing up. In the week that has passed, the facts of the incident have emerged. The married McNair was shot and killed by his 20-year old girlfriend, who then turned the gun on herself. McNair was a top player in the NFL for years and led his team, the Tennessee Titans, to within one foot of winning the Super Bowl. Sadly, in spite of his career, most people will think of this incident first when his name is mentioned.

While Sigourney Weaver has said she doesn't plan to take part in either the scheduled "Alien" prequel or "Ghostbusters 3," a wild rumor is circulating that Rick Moranis may return as CPA Louis Tully. Moranis, who hasn't been seen on screen since 1997's straight to video "Honey We Shrunk Ourselves," has been providing character voices for animated projects.

Oscar winning documentarian Michael Moore has finally put a title on his new film: "Capitalism: A Love Story." When asked why the romantic title, Moore said in a press release to the PCR that it was time for him to make a ‘relationship movie.’ "It will be the perfect date movie," said Moore. "It's got it all -- lust, passion, romance, and 14,000 jobs being eliminated every day. It's a forbidden love, one that dare not speak its name. Heck, let’s just say it: It’s Capitalism.”

The number one song in America for the week ending July 4, 1970 was "Mama Told Me Not To Come" by Three Dog Night. That news was delivered to radio listeners all over the country by a disc jockey named Casey Kasem. This past week Kasem shocked the "American Top 40" staff by announcing it was his last show. Though he had turned over microphone for the full length version of the show in 2004 to Ryan Seacrest (does this man EVER sleep) Kasem had continued to do an abridged version. Kasem had also taken some time off in the late 80s/early 90s, when he was replaced by Shaddoe Stevens. Kasem will also be remembered for his contributions to Saturday morning cartoons. He has been the voice of Shaggy in the various incarnations of "Scooby Doo" since 1969. He has also voiced Robin in every DC cartoon since 1973's "Superfriends." Younger readers may remember him as Cliffjumper in "Transformers." Someday soon there will be a two part trivia question dealing with the first and last number one songs he announced on the countdown. I already told you what was the first. The last: "Second Chance" by Shinedown.


Defending Your Life
Starring: Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep
Directed by: Albert Brooks

FIRST SEEN: Twin Bays 4 Theatre, Tampa, Florida
FAVORITE SCENE: A visit to the Past Lives Pavillion brings an introduction from Shirley Maclaine.
FAVORITE LINE: "On stage like you," a reply to the question "How did you die?" from a very bad comedian.



For many years, Albert Brooks was a comedian who lived and worked under the radar. I first became aware of his work through the short films he would make for "Saturday Night Live" during the first seasons. His first feature, "Real Life," was a hilarious film which foreshadowed such television shows as "Jon and Kate Plus 8" and the like. He followed "Real Life" with "Modern Romance" and "Lost in America," funny films that didnt draw the mainstream audience. Brooks' jumped into the forefront of Amercian comedy when he appeared on screen in James L. Brooks' "Broadcast News." The role, specially written with him in mind, featured Brooks as a very intellegent, yet very sweaty, network news correspondent. That role put him in the public's eye which allowed him to convince a studio to give him the money to film "Defending Your Life."

That Brooks was able to score Streep is amazing, considering the track record of his previous films. However she is just right as the woman whose life is and was more exciting then Brooks' Daniel. The film concerns people that have died and their stop on their way to heaven. According to the films' premise, everyone who passes stops off in Judgement City, where they review their lives in front of a tribunal and try to convince them that they belong in heaven. Those that succeed head north. Those who don't are sent back, forced to repeat life again. But not to fret. Judgement City serves the best food EVER, with the added bonus of not gaining weight. So while you're there, help yourselves and eat up!

The film is smartly written and is probably Brooks' most complete film to date. The premise is funny and the casting perfect, especially Rip Torn as Bob Diamond, Brooks' "attorney." As mentioned in the "favorite scene" segment, one of the highlights of the film is the casts visit to the past lives pavillion. There you can see all of the people you were in your past incarnations. At the time the film was made, actress Shirley Maclaine was very much in the public eye with her thoughts on reincarnation and her previous lives, so it's with a great bit of tongue in cheek humor that she appears as the videotaped narrator of the pavillion. All in all, the film is a fun little package all wrapped up in 112 minutes!

Next week we'll take a look at one of the funniest films of the 80s, John Cleese' "A Fish Called Wanda."

Well, that's all for now. Until next week, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for cigars! See ya!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 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 ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.