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Now in our eleventh calendar year!

PCR #510 (Vol. 11, No. 1). This edition is for the week of December 28, 2009--January 3, 2010.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Happy New Year to you and yours. Shall we begin?

"Nine"  by Mike Smith
Welcome 2010 and 1970 Revisited  by ED Tucker
Sexy Japanese New Year's  by Jason Fetters
2010 Resolutions  by Lisa Scherer
Movie Lines From 2009 .... Joe's Hoping There's A Cash Prize Also .... Definitely Dead .... All Is Forgiven...for Now .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith


I fell so far behind last week that I didn't have time to include my favorite movie lines from 2009. That being said, here are some that may or may not go down in history:

"Out of the chair." Spock (Zachary Quinto) to Kirk (Christopher Pine), who keeps sitting in the Captain's chair on board the USS Enterprise in "Star Trek."

"Who'd have thought we'd have a black son before we met a Democrat?" Sean Touhy (Tim McGraw) in "The Blind Side."

"I'm not supposed to be within two hundred feet of a school... or a Chuck E. Cheese." Alan (Zack Galifianakis) to his new friends in "The Hangover."

"Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left." Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) explaining the proper way to get through airport security in "Up In the Air."

"You probably heard we ain't in the prisoner-takin' business; we in the killin' Nazi business. And cousin, Business is a-boomin'." Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) addressing his men in "Inglorious Basterds."

"Hey, I know a joke! A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, "I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead." Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead." Dug the dog, telling a joke, in "UP."

"That was my favorite arm." Russell the bird after Carol accidentally tears off his arm in "Where the Wild Things Are."


Adding one more plaudit to his resume' in 2009, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" became the first music video to be preserved in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The registry, which now contains over 500 films, was delegated by Congress to select films that have enduring importance to the culture of the United States. Other films joining "Thriller" this year include "The Muppet Movie," "Jezebel," "The Incredible Shrinking Man," "Once Upon A Time In the West" and "Dog Day Afternoon."


Kim Peek, the real life savant who inspired the title character in "Rain Man" died this week from a heart attack. He was 58. Writer Barry Morrow first met Peek at a convention in the early 1980s and the writer was taken with Peek's knack for retaining everything he heard. He turned his conversations with Peek into an Oscar winning screenplay. So moved by the award, Morrow gave his Oscar statue to Peek. In his later years, Peek was classified as a "mega-savant" and was deemed a genius in close to 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates. Yet, in spite of this great talent, he had very few motor skills and need help with the simplest tasks, including dressing himself. Recently,
NASA scientists had been studying Peek, hoping the science used to study the effects of space travel on the brain could help explain his mental capabilities.


In 1992 my son, Phillip, and I visited the Disney/MGM theme park. There we took in a great 3D movie that featured the Muppets. However, I was very upset that one of the "stars" of the film was Elmo, the little red freak from "Sesame Street." He wasn't a Muppet...he was some little tag along who gained popularity by pimping his sister, Zoe, on said "Street." After the film we went to the gift shop and for some reason began having a catch with an Elmo doll across the length of the shop. Of course, one of Elmo's unholy followers asked us to leave. Since then we have been bent on mocking anything Elmo, including a very funny, but risque, routine a few years ago in the aisle of Walmart with an Elmo Halloween costume. In my recent journey to New York City, I came across Elmo working the streets of Times Square, probably much like his sister worked Sesame Street. Down on his luck, I took pity and gave him three dollars. We also posed for this picture. Like Peter Griffin and the Chicken, Dean and Jerry, Ali and Frazier, we have decided to bury the hatchet and go off into the world as friends. Who knows how long this will last? Who indeed?

His breath reaking from cheap scotch, Elmo and I reconcile in front of the Hershey's Store in Times Square. I later discovered he had stolen the bag of kisses I had bought for my wife.


Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

JAWS - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Music composed by John Williams

I thought I'd kick off this year's series with two albums that have two things in common: my 15th birthday. When my father asked me what I wanted I told him I wasn't sure. I had, however, seen a few television commercials for a new film opening that week called "Dog Day Afternoon." He agreed to take me the next weekend but ended up having to work that Sunday afternoon. However, true to his word, he dropped me off at the theatre. Unfortunately, as I had just turned 15 and the film I hoped to see was rated "R" I very dejectedly turned away from the box office. It was then that the cashier called after me, "Have you seen "Jaws" yet?" The day was September 23, 1975. And the rest, as they say, is history.

"Jaws" was the first soundtrack I ever bought, purchased with the money from my first pay check, earned at the pizza place at Tampa Bay Center. In listening to it, I learned the valuable connection that music and film have. How music can set the tone of the scene, from forboding (the famous dum-dum-dum-dum that signaled the shark) to exhilerating (the cut "One Barrel Chase").
Of course, the more I became interested in films the more I discovered the importance of music on film. Music helps deliver the emotion of a scene, be it fear, sadness or elation. And no one has done it better in Hollywood then John Williams. Though he had previously won an Oscar for his adaptation of the music for "Fiddler on the Roof," it was "Jaws" that earned him his second award, and the first for his own music. Ironically, the night his name was announced he was the in the pit conducting the Academy Award orchestra. However, he quickly made it to the stage to accept his award. He has won 5 Oscars and amassed an amazing 45 nominations for his work, often competing against himself in the same year. As the owner of no less then 25 Williams composed soundtrack albums, I'm sure you will see him here again before the year ends.

Two birthday presents linked by fate...and a date.

Ironically, the first album we'll look at this year was also part of my collection thanks to my 15th birthday. Though I did get to go to the movies that weekend, my dad never got me a present. That little detail was taken care of a month later when he came home from work bearing the "Born to Run" album. Seems he had noticed Mr. Springsteen on both the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines that week, read a bit of one of them in line and decided that, as a cool teenager (ha ha) I should have the "Born to Run" album. Of course, a secondary reason may be that he was sick and tired of listening to the music from "Jaws" pour under my bedroom door. Almost 35 years later, "Born to Run" still ranks as one of my favorite albums of all time.

The album contains some of Springsteens' best early work, including "Thunder Road,' "Jungleland," "Backstreets" and "10th Avenue Freeze Out." Of course, the best known song is the title track, a song Springsteen once described writing because he wanted to write "the greatest rock and roll song ever." If he didn't he's certainly in the top three! Of course, it helps that Springsteen is backed up by most of the incredible E Street Band. The album is just credited as "Bruce Springsteen," rather then "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," mainly because not all of the members played on all of the tracts. Max Weinberg plays on 6 of the 7 tracks that feature drums. However, the one he doesn't play on features one of the most recognized drum riffs in history. That's right...the opening to "Born to Run" (as well as the rest of the song) was played by Ernest "Boom" Carter, who also grew up in New Jersey. Carter was a multi talented musician, but drums were his favorite. During the racial riots of 1968, police were summoned to his house on a report of gunshots fired. When they arrived they didn't find a criminal, just Carter practicing on his drums. From that day on he gained the nickname "Boom." In 1974 original E Street band member David Sancious suggested Carter to Springsteen when the Boss was looking for a drummer to tour with to promote his album "The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle." It was on this tour, in May of that year, that Springsteen and the band openend for Bonnie Raitt at the Harvard Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In the audience was rock and roll critic Jon Landau, who would later write of the show he saw that night "I have seen the future of rock and roll and it's name is Bruce Springsteen." Unfortunately, lawsuits between management made it impossible for Springsteen to continue touring, and Sancious and Carter left to form the jazz-fusion band Tone. Landau put his money where his mouth is, acting as producer (along with Springsteen and Mike Appel) on "Born to Run." Too bad the people at Columbia Records weren't as impressed with Landau's input. The first pressing of the album (which I own) lists his name as JOHN Landau. Only later, in previous pressings, did they correctly spell his first name JON.

Another reason these two albums should appear together: the day I first saw "Jaws," September 23, 1975, was Bruce Springsteen's 26th Birthday!

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

"Mike's Rant" is ©2010 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 ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.