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PCR #493 (Vol. 10, No. 36). This edition is for the week of August 31--September 6, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Summer is over, as is the baseball season (for me anyway). Shall we begin?

"Halloween II"  by Mike Smith
Thyme and Again with Florida's Mister Magic!  by William Moriaty
Loose in Las Vegas: 2009  by ED Tucker
Cover Songs  by Bobby Tyler
A Brief History of Jpop  by Jason Fetters
Who Is The Enemy? .... Let Me Challenge You .... .... .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
End Of The Season .... Spidermouse? .... Chick-fil-mmmmmmmmmmmm .... Fingerprint File .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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As most of you know, I have spent the past two years recapturing the glory days of my youth by playing baseball on my son, Phillips', team. At age 48 I'm the oldest player in the 18 and over league (they do have a league for 35 and over but damn it I can still hit a fast ball). The important thing is I get to spend time on the field with my son, which is a dream come true for any dad. This week, again for the second year in a row, we played for the league championship. We came up short but played hard. Key injuries to two of our pitchers left us "unarmed" in a best of five series. Not sure how big these things are going to be (I hate when I take up half of the Rant with photos) but here are a few shots from the championship series. A tip of the hat, and photo credit, to Matthew Bristow:

Phillip Smith doing what he does best...lining a hit to the opposite field!

Using speed he obviously inherited from his mother, Phillip steals second

Even the old guy got into the act - 5-11 with 4 RBIs in the championship series


In what comic book legend Stan Lee called "a dream come true," the Walt Disney Company paid a whopping $4 billion to purchase Marvel Entertainment, giving the House the Mouse built access to 5,000 plus new characters.

I have to admit here and now that I have been, and I'm sure always will be, a Chick-fil-A junkie. Of course I was spoiled growing up in Florida, where they are on every street corner. When I lived in Maryland they were also plentiful. However, when I moved to Kansas in 1996 there was none to be found. In 1998 I discovered one about 65 miles away from where I lived in Topeka. It was not unusual for me to decide to "head to the mall" to do some shopping, even though the mall was an hour drive each way. I was so bereft of that tasty sandwich that, when I went to Knoxville, Tennessee for a week of theatre meetings I had lunch and dinner at Chic-fil-A every day I was there. Now, thankfully, they have made it to the Kansas City area and a Tuesday night movie screening is usually proceeded by a tasty sandwich. This Monday (Labor Day) anyone that wanders into their local restaurant wearing any sports-related apparel (hat, jersey, t-shirt) will receive a free sandwich. If you need me Monday you'll know where to find me...I'll be the fat guy wearing the Oriole cap!

It's been 40 years since Brian Jones, original guitarist for the Rolling Stones, was found floating in his swimming pool. At the time, the coroner's report stated that Jones, who like so many music icons of his time died at age 27, drowned while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Now British police have announced that they will review the case, influenced by the publication of two books that maintain Jones was killed by a builder who had been hired to help renovate Jones' home. In one of the books, author Scott Jones (no relation) interviewed Janet Lawson, the person who discovered Jones' body floating face down in the pool.


Starring: Kevin Kline, Scott Glenn and Danny Glover
Directed by: Lawrence Kasdan

FIRST SEEN: (in GLORIOUS 70 mm) Reisterstown 5 Star Theatre, Baltimore, Maryland

FAVORITE SCENE: Finding out his nephew has been kidnapped, an injured Scott Glenn gathers his strength and begins arming himself for battle. He offers Danny Glover one of his pistols, asking "You want one of these?" To which Glover replies

FAVORITE LINE: "This oughta do", brandishing (2) Henry rifles and strapped with several bandoliers of ammunition.


1986 Academy Award nominations for Best Original Score (Bruce Broughton) and Best Sound

Once a staple of Hollywood, the Western slowly began to fade away toward the end of the 1970s, with John Wayne passing away and Clint Eastwood only jangling his spurs rarely. In fact, in the 16 years between 1976s "The Outlaw Josey Wales" and 1992s "Unforgiven," Eastwood made exactly ONE Western, "Pale Rider." And no, even though he donned a cowboy hat for "Bronco Billy" that was more of a Wild West tribute than a true squinty-eyed Clint-stravaganza.

A true ensemble piece, "Silverado" tells the story of four cowboys. Emmit (Glenn) and Jake (Kevin Costner) are heading towards the town of Silverado to meet up with their sister and her family. Emmit has just been released from prison after serving 5 years for killing one of the town's more prominent members. Paden (Kline) had been left for dead in the desert, having ridden with the wrong bunch of men. Mal (Glover) is on his way home to his parents' ranch. Along the ways the paths of the four men continue to cross until they must team up to protect the town they've come to adopt as their own.

Like his "The Big Chill" before it, director Kasdan is almost Altman-esque in having many characters carry a story. Of course, it helps when you have a top-notch cast. This was Kline's second appearance in a Kasdan film (he would go on to star in the directors' "I Love You To Death," "Grand Canyon" and "French Kiss"). Glover and Glenn were new to the Kasdan crew while Costner was cast as payback for having been completely edited out of "The Big Chill" (his character's suicide is the impetus for the film and he is glanced, briefly, as the body being readied in the casket at the beginning of the film). Despite some smaller earlier roles, this was the role that made Costner a star and he clearly has a good time with it. The rest of the actors are equally well cast, with Brian Dennehy, John Cleese and Linda Hunt gaining special recognition in the supporting roles. The script, by Kasdan and his son, Mark, is full of humorous moments that don't take away from the drama at the forefront of the film. Like the well-paced western it is, the film slowly builds to the final showdown between good and evil, one that is not to be missed.

"We'll be back!" Jake yells at the end of the film, but sadly Kasdan has yet to return to the town of Silverado. I think his best chance was in the mid-90s when he joined up with Costner again to make "Wyatt Earp," which was really pretty much a shot-by-shot take off of "Tombstone." The only good reason to see "Wyatt Earp" is Dennis Quaid's almost emaciated performance as Doc Holliday. Kasdan has been pretty quiet the past decade, having directed just (2) films ("Mumford" and "Dreamcatcher") in that time. Perhaps it will soon be time for a return to the streets of "Silverado."

Next week we'll keep on the Kasdan trail as we take a look at a film he co-wrote...still the best of the "Star Wars" adventures, "The Empire Strikes Back."

Well, that's all for now. Have a great week and a safe holiday. 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.