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Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2009!
   Assistant Editor / Co-Moderator:  Terence Nuzum.                 HOME           ARCHIVES
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our tenth calendar year!
Number 466  (Vol. 10, No. 9). This edition is for the week of February 23--March 1, 2009.

"Slumdog Millionaire"
The Giant Spider Invasion 2 Disc Director’s Cut Edition
Count Yorga Passes .... Rondo Rocks .... Congrats Mike .... o
Oscar Thoughts .... Movie Notes .... Movie Related Note .... Passing On .... The Other Awards .... And The Winner Is .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... s

The 81st Annual Academy Awards
List of Awards; Mike's & Matt's Picks
Readers' Comments

UPDATE! This year's Academy Awards is also the subject of the latest Nolan Radio, the first new episode produced in two years! My guest, Michael Smith, and I talk about the event. Windows Media Player is required. The special Nolan Radio player appears in a pop-up window, so you may have to temporarily disable any pop-up blockers. Nolan Radio should be playable even on dial-up connections.

I said it last issue and I repeat it here: how many of you actually saw the nominated films in 2008 at the theater? How many on DVD?

That said, of course I have to comment on The Dark Knight's near shut-out, after earning a bazillion dollars but winning only two awards. Such a precedent was set with E.T vs Ghandi around 1982, I think, where the money-maker of the year was snubbed in favor of the feel-good film(s) of the year. Not that Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button aren't great films (so I hear), just serves as a reminder that in Hollywood, your film is either designed to make buckets of money or earn buckets of awards (Titanic and Lord of the Rings being two notable exceptions).

The least surprising, but most heart-felt award was indeed the Best Supporting Actor nod to Heath Ledger for his devastating portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight, the first award of its kind given posthumously. The Dark Knight also won for Sound Editing.

The only "upset" was a mild one, that of Best Actor, which went to Sean Penn (Milk) versus Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler). The two were seemingly neck-and-neck for weeks before the Awards, with the critics inching closer to Mickey Rourke in the days just prior. In the end the speculation might be that the critics were pulling for a "comeback-kid" nod for Rourke (who was basically playing himself in the film), but that Sean Penn's portrayal of a gay politician was much more of an acting stretch.

I have to say as one who grew up with Hollywood luminaries like Bob Hope and Johnny Carson hosting the Awards Show, I found it weird to hear that X-Men's Wolverine, Hugh Jackman, was the host! However, from what little I saw of the opening (on a TV at the local bar & grill), Jackman truly astonished me with his opening song & dance routine. I wasn't all that savvy to Jackman's Broadway/musical history before this, but I am now. Well done.

Of the top 24 awards, Iron Man, the monster hit that opened last summer to rave reviews and brought Robert Downey, Jr, back into the limelight --NADA! Nominated for lots of things, but in the end, nothing to take home. Shame.

On a similar note, I guess in light of the Academy's well-known attitude toward summer fare popcorn movies, it's no surprise that The Incredible Hulk and the Indiana Jones flick were completely forgotten -- the latter, just as well.

Anyhow, that's just a few of my thoughts for the road. I'm sure Mike Smith will have more to say in this week's Rant (and hopefully, Nolan Radio). And speaking of Mike...

Long-time PCR readers will remember we do a little contest every year, where Mike Smith (The Rant) and Matt Drinnenberg (The Rail) compete with their own predictions. Usually, Mike is the runaway winner, but this year, Matt got awfully close! The final tally is shown below in detail, but just to save you the long scroll, Mike got 13 out of 24 correct, and Matt got 11 out of 24. Damn near a tie, haha! Congratulations to both of these knowledgeable gentlemen.

(Winners in red)
Mike & Matt's Picks
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Reader"
"Slumdog Millionaire"
Mike -- "Slumdog Millionaire"
Matt -- "Slumdog Millionaire"
Danny Boyle "Slumdog Millionaire"
Stephen Daldry "The Reader"
David Fincher "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Ron Howard "Frost/Nixon"
Gus Van Sant "Milk"
Mike -- Danny Boyle "Slumdog Millionaire"
Matt -- Danny Boyle "Slumdog Millionaire"
Richard Jenkins "The Visitor"
Frank Langella "Frost/Nixon"
Sean Penn "Milk"
Brad Pitt "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Mickey Rourke "The Wrestler"
Mike -- Mickey Rourke "The Wrestler"
Matt -- Mickey Rourke "The Wrestler"
Anne Hathaway "Rachel Getting Married"
Angelina Jolie "Changeling"
Melissa Leo "Frozen River"
Meryl Streep "Doubt"
Kate Winslet "The Reader"
Mike -- Kate Winslet "The Reader"
Matt -- Meryl Streep "Doubt"
Josh Brolin "Milk"
Robert Downey Jr. "Tropic Thunder"
Philip Seymour Hoffman "Doubt"
Heath Ledger "The Dark Knight"
Michael Shannon "Revolutionary Road"
Mike -- Heath Ledger "The Dark Knight"
Matt -- Heath Ledger "The Dark Knight"
Amy Adams "Doubt"
Penelope Cruz "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Viola Davis "Doubt"
Taraji P. Henson "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'"
Marisa Tomei "The Wrestler"
Mike -- Penelope Cruz "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"
Matt -- Marisa Tomei "The Wrestler"
"Kung Fu Panda"
Mike -- "Kung Fu Panda"
Matt -- "WALL-E"
"The Baader Meinhof Complex" Germany
"The Class" France
"Departures" Japan
"Revanche" Austria
"Waltz With Bashir" Israel
Mike -- "Waltz With Bashir"
Matt -- "Departures"
"Milk" Dustin Lance Black
"Frozen River" Courtney Hunt
"Happy Go Lucky" Mike Leigh
"In Bruges" Martin McDonagh
"Wall-E" Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter
Mike -- "Milk"
Matt -- "Milk"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Eric Roth, Robin Swicord
"Doubt" John Patrick Shanley
"Frost/ Nixon" Peter Morgan
"The Reader" David Hare
"Slumdog Millionaire" Simon Beaufoy
Mike -- "Slumdog Millionaire"
Matt -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)"
"Encounters at the End of the World"
"The Garden"
"Man on Wire"
"Trouble the Water"
Mike -- "Man on Wire"
Matt -- "Trouble the Water"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Slumdog Millionaire"
Mike -- "Slumdog Millionaire"
Matt -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Down to Earth," WALL-E
"Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire
"O Saya," Slumdog Millionaire
Mike -- "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire
Matt -- "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall
"The Dark Knight" Lee Smith
"Frost/Nixon" Mike Hill, Dan Hanley
"Milk" Elliot Graham
"Slumdog Millionaire" Chris Dickens
Mike -- "The Dark Knight"
Matt -- "The Dark Knight"
"The Conscience of Nhem En"
"The Final Inch"
"Smile Pinki"
"The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306"
Mike -- "The Witness: From the Balcony of Room 306"
Matt -- "Smile Pinki"
"Changeling" Tom Stern
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Claudio Miranda
"The Dark Knight" Wally Pfister
"The Reader" Chris Menges, Roger Deakins
"Slumdog Millionaire" Anthony Dod Mantle
Mike -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Matt -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Australia" Catherine Martin
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Jacqueline West
"The Duchess" Michael O'Connor
"Milk" Danny Glicker
"Revolutionary Road" Albert Wolsky
Mike -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Matt -- "The Duchess"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten
"The Dark Knight" Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick
"Slumdog Millionaire" Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
"WALL-E" Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt
"Wanted" Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt
Mike -- "WALL-E"
Matt -- "WALL-E"
"The Dark Knight" Richard King
"Iron Man" Frank Eulner, Christopher Boyes
"Slumdog Millionaire" Tom Sayers
"WALL-E" Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood
"Wanted" Wylie Stateman
Mike -- "WALL-E"
Matt -- "Iron Man"
"Auf der Strecke (On the Line)"
"Manon on the Asphalt"
"New Boy"
"The Pig"
"Spielzeugland (Toyland)"
Mike -- "Spielzeugland (Toyland)"
Matt -- "Spielzeugland (Toyland)"
"La Maison de Petits Cubes"
"Lavatory - Lovestory"
"This Way Up"
Mike -- "Presto"
Matt -- "Presto"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Greg Cannom
"The Dark Knight" John Caglione, Jr., Conor O'Sullivan
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" Mike Elizalde, Thom Flout
Mike -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Matt -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Changeling" James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
"The Dark Knight" Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando
"The Duchess" Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway
"Revolutionary Road" Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt
Mike -- "The Dark Knight"
Matt -- "The Dark Knight"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
"The Dark Knight" Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin
"Iron Man" John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan
Mike -- "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
Matt -- "Iron Man"

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.
Nolan [02-03-2009 11:48] 
R.I.P. Paul Harvey. One of the greatest voices on TV or radio is dead at the age of 90. He is known for his dramatic delivery, "pregnant pauses" and ending his news commentary monologue with the words, "Good Day".
Bragging Paul Guzzo [02-03-2009 05:47] 
Dunno who remember's my brother's Dali piece that he showed at the four-year TFR anniversary... he produced it for Tampa Digital ... anyway, it won the gold medal at the ADDY's on Friday's - Tampa's advertisement awards - which is BEYOND a big deal to win. It's an enormous deal for Pete.
Film Festin\' Guzzo [01-03-2009 20:11] 
GAsparilla has been awesome so far ... When Sugar goes to the theatre, GO SEE IT! An awesome baseball movie that has nothing to do about baseball. When you see it, you will understand. Also saw the documentary on the boxer Hasseim the Dream - WOW.... it's all about his childhood as a child soldier in Africa. Just disturbing. Hasseim and the lead from Sugar have both been hanging around the fest and have been cool as all hell to everyone.

Nothing But The Truth showed on opening night - good film and the director was there ... actually, so was director of Sugar, who is best known for her film Half Nelson.

What a weekend ... if you live in Tampa and have not gone to the fest yet, get out next week ...
Tim Fasano [01-03-2009 15:40]  
Sorry to be a week old on this comment. After speaking this morning Nolan, I wanted to clarify things on the Paterson Bigfoot Film.

The Paterson film has never been debunked as a hoax. No one has ever demonstrated how it was done. Neither the original “costume,” nor a matching one has ever been presented by honest skeptics, nor by imposters claiming to have worn the costume.

Large amounts of money have been spent trying to duplicate the costume by Hollywood. They have failed. The best Spielberg could produce was, ironically, a very armatures looking skinny looking person with a rug on. The BBC spent even more, and failed miserably.

I weigh almost 300 lbs and the thing in the Paterson film makes me look skinny. At the time of the shooting, the average NFL lineman was about 240 lbs. The Paterson creature is about 500 lbs.

You still believe in coincidence?
Jean Claude Puff Chrissy [01-03-2009 01:59] 
I can understand Van Damme's hesitation to be in Stallone's movie, as it's a step backwards for the guy. He accomplished something pretty major with JCVD; not only did the movie put a period on the last 20 years of his movie career, it also revealed that the man is capable of acting.

He's in a precarious position right now, and if he makes the wrong move, Van Damme will be stuck with another 20 years of making crapppy movies. I say if he has doubts about being in Stallone's film - and I admit that it would be cool - then he has earned the right with JCVD to explore other options. I wish him the best of luck.
Michael [28-02-2009 19:57] 
I think Van Damme is waiting for his own "Mickey Rourke" like comback after getting good reviews last year parodying himself in "JCVD."

The "Cruising" piece is completed for those of you interested in a little Hollywood history.

T - you didn't like "Superman 3?" Richard Pryor was so well c.......sorry, I can't even type that with a straight face. I will say I liked the part where he fought the bad Superman in the junk yard....something about a bright red "S" on a field of blue makes me smile.
Terence [28-02-2009 18:16] 
yeah it will be a diferent direction allright. Gondry has said he isnt so fond of superhero movies and the one he likes best is Superman 3. it went from worst to worse.
J.MILLER [28-02-2009 14:14] 
Few thoughts from this weeks rant..

It's good to hear that the Governator will make an appearance in the Expendables...I heard Stallone called up Van Damme personally and practicly beg'd him to be apart of the film...But I guess Van Damme has more important things to do...

Also nice to know is that Stephen Chow is officially out of The Green Hornet...Based on this new directors past work it will be a entirely different movie...

Nolan [28-02-2009 07:19] 
A belated "Happy Birthday!" to Misters Moriaty and Tyler! Sorry I fell asleep at the wheel as usual and neglected to mention it sooner. Anyway, hope all went well.
Downloading Puff Chrissy [27-02-2009 04:53] 
I'm glad the NolanRadio feature is also available as a NolanCastova.
MAD MATT [26-02-2009 16:35] 
ED [26-02-2009 13:35] 
Ter - The Loves of Count Iorga was the original title of the film when it was envisioned as a soft core sex movie. After Robert Quarry was cast as the vampire the producers decided to make it a straight horror film and it was released theatrically in the US as Count Yorga, Vampire. Several years ago an uncut version of the film (not trimmed for a PG rating) turned up on cable with the original title. The restored footage was a few extra seconds of violence, no sex.
Terence [26-02-2009 08:57] 
The Loves of Count Yorga is hands down one of the scariest vampire films. It's interesting in that its shot like a slasher film and Yorga attacks like Jason instead of Dracula. the second film? not so good.
ED [26-02-2009 07:55] 
Matt - that stinks about Rober Quarry, he was a very underappreciated actor. My father took me to see Return of Count Yorga in the theaters back in 1971, right before I went into the hospital to have my tonsils removed. I know he meant well and the film was PG but it scared the hell out of my five year old butt! I still haul out the Yorga DVDs and watch them at least once a year.
MAD MATT [25-02-2009 18:39] 
yea...what he said...
Paul Guzzo [25-02-2009 10:14] 
Also, I haven't seen many of those movies, but I did see The Wrestler and I have a hard time believing it didn't win best screenplay. It does what many thought was impossible - it made you care abour prowrestling and took the circus atmosphere away and turned the wrestlers into people.

It also did what I always think is brave - it didn't use action cliches to draw you in. The first 45 minutes is Rocky-like ... a slow paced movie with little dialogue that brings you into the daily life of the star. I love films like that.

But again, it didn't have a gay guy, a mentally handicapped person or a beautiful person looking ugly, which is apparently all the so called "experts" care about.
Paul Guzzo [25-02-2009 10:05] 
Johnny Drama said it best in Entourage - you play gay, retarded or ugly and you win a statue.
J.MILLER [25-02-2009 09:29] 
Nole - The only one of those films I saw in the theater was Benjamin Button...I thought it was really good but I couldn't shake the feeling that it was just a mash up of Forrest Gump and Interview With The Vampire...Come to find out it was written by the guy who wrote the dreadful Forrest Gump...

Also...Are you suggesting that because a movie makes a ton of loot at the box office that it deserves to be recognized by the Academy?..Dark Knight was great and all but without Heath Ledgers brilliant performance as The Joker it would have just been another ho hum summer popcorn flick...
ED [25-02-2009 08:52] 
Nolan - I have not seen any of the best picture nominees, either in the theater or on DVD. The only one I even have a desire to see is Benjamin Button but I am fine with waiting for that to turn up on cable. This isn't unusual for me though. I thought that Ledger did a fantastic job in Dark Knight but his award seems like a set up. I really think he should have been up for Best Actor for that, not Supporting Actor. He made the film.
[31-12-1969 16:00] 
End of Comments    

"Mike's Rant" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2009 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2009 by Michael A. Smith    "Retrorama" is ©2009 by ED Tucker    "FANGRRL" is ©2009 by Lisa Scherer Ciurro    "Sports Talk" is ©2009 by Chris Munger      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova    
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