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Now in our tenth calendar year!
PCR #486 (Vol. 10, No. 29). This edition is for the week of July 13--19, 2009.

"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"  by Mike Smith
Movies and The Mob: part 2  by Terence Nuzum
Movies That Scared Me for Life  by ED Tucker
Summer Memories: Old Forge, NY  by Chris Woods
Birthdays: A Sponge .... A Witch .... A Nap .... And A Gameboy .... .... .... ....  by Brandon Jones
16.5% Unemployment ?!?! .... Fuzzy Math .... Quid Pro Quo? .... Fall Of Vader? .... Rattner Who? .... .... .... Giant Leap Turns 40!  by Brandon Jones
“the Robbery” .... Back To Sports, Mcnair’s Death .... Obama At The All-star Game .... Rays Win All-star Game (again) .... .... .... ....  by Chris Munger
Elvis The Dog .... Happy Birthday .... They Did Something Right .... Reel/real News .... Movie Notes .... Passing On .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2...  by Mike Smith
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Splash Page by Brandon Jones

Birthdays: A Sponge
He lives in a pineapple under the sea, yep, Spongebob Squarepants celebrates his 10th year on television. The show is carried in 170 countries. Spongebob's appeal is his naive optimism in a surreal little universe where the positive message of Spongebob overcomes the negative stereotypes and vices around him.

The show is universally adored in our household and I'll extend that to include my wife's father who is in his 70's. While the five Jones kids cannot reach a consensus, their favorite Spongebob moment is the Campfire Song Song, a silly one minute-long repetitive rant which has you always trying to keep up.

My favorite episode features Squidward's rival, Squlliam Fancyson mocking the restaurant employee and Squidward ends up forming a band to perform at the bubble bowl. The disorganized band struggles to march, twirl batons -- basically everything. Of course Squidward gives up, convinced of failure and embarrassment.

Enter Spongebob who leads the band into a 1980's rock song which brings the house down and we laugh along with the 80's cliches. The song is "Sweet Victory" and there are cut aways to the classic 80's fans swaying with cigarette lighters. See the clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnhRmoKD68w

Spongebob takes a different approach than The Simpsons as these animation giants delve into our demons and mistakes. Greed and empathy are often themes and the targets of disdain with the episodic lesson.

I hope it lasts another 10 years.

A Witch

Fans camped out or atleast lined up in 1999 to see the return of Star Wars in the Jar Jar poisoned "Phantom Menace" incarnation. A few auditoriums over you'd find sci-fi fans still clammering over "The Matrix."

Mostly interesting was the phenomenon "The Blair Witch Project" which grossed approximately $250 million worldwide. The film, like it not, was one of the most influential of the century inspiring young, broke filmmakers all over America.

Entertaining or not, the unique marketing strategy and fake documentary was the buzz and the turnout was amazing.

A Nap

Then there's Shawn Fanning, the uber tech geek, who ten years ago introduced us all to the first incarnation of Napster. While lawsuits, bankruptcy court and buyouts have changed Napster to the pay-to-share site today, Fanning deserves credit for an amazing vision that changed the landscape of music.

Even if you don't use, or have ever used Napster, the references in "The Italian Job", South Park, or parodied by Disney (see "Proud Family.") ring crystal clear.

Fanning's pop culture contribution 10 years later is still being felt.

and a Gameboy

What was bigger than Napster? Well, how about the Gameboy?

If we travel back to 1989, we should take a moment to recognize the 20 year anniversary of the amazing inspirational Nintendo handheld device. The Gameboy took the handheld concept of the Game Watch and added the appeal of the NES games.

I think I wore out buttons playing Castlevania and Tetris. Oh, the blessed addiction that was Gameboy Tetris.

It's great to look back and this is a weird time to find so many anniversaries. Some bonds that form are never broken. I still love the Gameboy and often pry it away from one of the kids to dabble in Final Fantasy. Likewise, I still prefer Napster when buying songs, even though I download them to my iPOD.

As far as "Blair Witch", well, I can't say I ever watched it again. All hype, no substance, but it was quite the event, one I'm glad I got to witness.

"Splash Page" is ©2009 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.