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PCR #506 (Vol. 10, No. 49). This edition is for the week of November 30--December 6, 2009.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Thanksgiving part II this weekend. Since we were at my moms last week our son and others are joining us this weekend. Shall we begin?

"The Fantastic Mr. Fox" áby Mike Smith
Eulogy for A Wizard áby William Moriaty
Time Warp Toy Box ĺ09 ľ Part 1 áby ED Tucker
A 10-Year Look Back at the Godzilla 2000 Premiere áby Jason Fetters
Sneaker Head Sunday @ Club Skye áby John Miller
Questions About The Ufl .... Bucs Coach Fires Another Coach .... Tiger Woods Shocker! .... .... Charlie Weis Fired! .... Bobby Bowden Forced Out .... Allen Iverson Signs With The 76ers .... Nolan And Ladders áby Chris Munger
Hypocrite .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2 áby Mike Smith
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According to Websters, the definition of this fine word is:

1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

This was the first word that popped into my head this week after Tiger Woods came clean (kind of) about his daliances and released a statement to the press. Sure, he's sorry. And thanks for the nice words. Oh, and by the way, the media did this to me! Bull shit! How can you blame the media when you've lived your life emerged in it since you were 2. Do you think you're dad took you on the Mike Douglas show hoping nobody would watch you with your little putter? Do you think your dad proclaimed to anyone who would listen that one day you would be as important to the world as Gandhi or Nelson Mandela hoping nobody would listen? Dude, it didn't take a scientist to figure out what happened. You leave the house at 2:30 in the morning wreck your car and your wife just happens to be swinging a golf club nearby, breaking out not one by TWO of the back windows of your Escalade in order to pull you to safefy. Tiger called his wife "valiant" in getting him out of the car. He should have called her Kara or Linda Lee (since this is a fanboy publication I thought I'd throw in a few "Supergirl" references). Because rather then opening the front door of the car Tiger infers that the missus dragged him over two rows of seats (presumably through the broken glass from smashing out the windows) and out the back to safety.

I could care less about Tiger Woods....while I admire his skills on the golf course I find him to be very offputting as a person. But he's made his bed...or, if stories are to be believed, many of them. It's not anyones fault but his own that he has to lie in it.

Eric Woolfson, co-founder of the Alan Parson's Project, passed away this week at the age of 64 after a short battle with cancer. The band had several hits in the 80s, including "Eye in the Sky" and "Don't Answer Me."

Dennis Cole, handsome television actor who gave up appearing in shows with violent themes after the murder of his son, died this week at his Florida home. Cause of death was listed as liver failure. Cole first found fame in the 1966 series "Felony Squad" and was a constant television guest star for decades. A 1978 appearance on "Charlie's Angels" introduced him to Jaclyn Smith. The couple later married, but divorced in 1981. That same year he embarked on a long stint on "The Young and the Restless." In 1991 his son, Joe (who was Henry Rollins' roommate) was shot to death during a robbery attempt. The killing affected Cole so much that he refused to work on any projects that featured violence. He spent the last years of his career touring in musicals, among them "Blood Brothers" and "Victor/Victoria" and selling real estate.


La Bamba / Almost Famous (2000)
Starring: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales / Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson
Directed by: Luis Valdez / Cameron Crowe


: MPAA Theatre, Washington D.C.
FAVORITE SCENE: The endless takes required to record "Come On, Let's Go."
FAVORITE LINE: The sky belongs to the stars.


1988 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Picture (Drama)

February 3, 1959. Immortalized by Don McLean in his song "American Pie" as "the day the music died." In that song, McLean only mentions one of the artists that died that night: Buddy Holly. Holly was the best known, and most successful of the talent that died in a corn field outside Clear Lake, Iowa. The others: Jiles Perry "J.P." Richardson, a Texas disc jockey who had a hit record under the name The Big Bopper called "Chantilly Lace." The other was just 17. His name was Ritchie Valens.

Written and directed by Luis Valdez, "La Bamba" is, in my opinion, one of the best biographical films ever made. Most films of the genre', including the closely related "The Buddy Holly Story," seem to have two things going against them: either they gloss over some things that the family feel best left unsaid or they are so far off the mark on some facts that they can't get those closest to the story to cooperate. As much as I love "The Buddy Holly Story" and Gary Busey's performance, I can't overlook the fact that many liberties were taken with the story, so much so that Hollys' Cricket bandmates, Jerry Allison and Joe B. Maudlin, would not allowed their names to be used in the film. With "La Bamba" Valdez had the input and complete cooperation of Valens' mother, Connie, and his step-brother, Bob.

To me the film is a success because it captured not only Valens' talent, but what he had to overcome to achieve it. Racial prejudice permeated the country in the 1950s, and Valens had to overcome it at school, in his social life, even in his career, by agreeing to alter his last name, Valenzuela, to Valens. The images portrayed, especially Ritchie's fear of flying due to having witnessed a mid-air plane collision while at school in which several of his classmates were killed by the falling wreckage, is something that could have been tossed out quickly for the audience in a lesser film. Thankfully director Valdez had the trust of Ritchie's family that he would do the story truthfully and, in doing so, would do Ritchie justice.

The cast is outstanding, beginning with a star-making performance by Lou Diamond Phillips. Though different in body type then the real Ritchie, who was a burly guy (if the film had been made 10 years earlier Valdez' brother, Daniel, would have made a perfect Ritchie) Phillips otherwise brings Valens to life. There is very little footage available of the real Valens. He did make an appearance in one of the many "rock and roll" films of the era, one called "Go, Johnny, Go," featuring disc jockey Alan Freed and popular singers of the era. The film was released in 1959, highlighting many of the performers current hits. While the poster features Valens and hints at him performing "Donna," he actually does a novelty hit entitled "Ooh, My Head." Here is a brief segment of that film. If you are familiar with Daniel Valdez, you'll understand my casting of him as Ritchie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaTOMsrVg5s

I had the great fortune to spend some time with not only Luis and Daniel Valdez but with Bob Morales, Ritchie's brother, during the promotion of "La Bamba." Valdez told me that his only goal was to get Ritchie's story told and, more importantly, his contribution to rock and roll recognized. He was upset that Valens was always just a footnote, almost an afterthought when Buddy Holly was mentioned. He was also upset that Valens was portrayed poorly (if I can remember his exact words, it was as a "maracca shaking, flamenco shirt wearing monkey"). Needless to say, after the release of "La Bamba," no one ever thought of Ritchie that way again.


Sorry for the delay here gang. A full house and a family illness kind of kept me away from the keyboard. So rather then just throw something up for a day, look for "Almost Famous" and "Kentucky Fried Movie" next week.

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