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Now in our eleventh calendar year!

PCR #516 (Vol. 11, No. 7). This edition is for the week of February 8--14, 2010.
Mike's RantMike's Bust
Hello gang! Short one this week. Shall we begin?

"The Wolfman"  by Mike Smith
Tales for Another Day: Night of the Badfinger  by ED Tucker
Comic Book Craze Part 2: From DC to Dark Horse  by Chris Woods
50 Ways To Leave Your Lover  by Lisa Scherer
Japanese Directors: Then and Now  by Jason Fetters
Valentine's Day Massacre!  by John Miller
Congrats! .... Movie Notes .... And One From Music .... Welcome To Kansas City .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith


Here's a tip of the baseball cap to ESPN Commentator John Miller, who has been chosen reipient of the Ford C. Frick award, which is presented annually for major contributions to baseball broadcasting. Way to go, Jon!


Christopher Nolan, who successfully resurrected the "Batman" franchise for Warner Brothers has been named a consultant on the next "Supeman" film. Though Nolan probably won't direct the film, the studio needs to get something before the cameras quickly as they lose the rights to the project in 2013, when the rights revert to the heirs of co-creator Jerry Siegel.

Best known for musicals like "Chicago" and "Nine," director Rob Marshall has been chosen to helm the "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." He has already asked Penelope Cruz to join the crew.

Brad Pitt and Ryan Reynolds are in talks to star in the film version of television's long running "Gunsmoke."

Universal has greenlit a third "Riddick" film, which will once again star Vin Diesel

Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin are currently filming the Coen Brothers remake of "True Grit.


Due to "scheduling conflicts," Peter Gabriel will not be attending Genesis' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins are scheduled to attend.


Had the great honor of meeting two favorites this weekend: Henry Winkler, who is in town as part of the "World of Wheels" car show and Ed Begley, Jr. who is giving lectures on living a "greener" lifestyle. Both men were very cordial and giving with their fans. I was very impressed with Winkler, who drew quite a crowd. While many celebrities sit behind a table and sign photos without narry a glance (one year while in Tampa I attended a baseball card show where Mickey Mantle was a guest. As he signed my ball I said "Thank you, Mr. Mantle." He barely glanced up), Winkler stood at the top of the stage and greeted each fan individually, chatting for a few minutes before signing. A class act.

"I'm Easy" by Keith Carradine

Night Shift - Music from the Original Motion Picture

The 1975 film "Nashville" is still heralded as a classic. True to director Robert Altman's vision of character development, he requested that each of the actors in the film who had musical roles write their own songs. Gary Busey was cast as musician Tom Frank and even composed a song, entitled "Since You're Gone." Busey ended up leaving the film but his song is still heard in the film. Altman replaced him with Keith Carradine, giving him the same instruction: write a song for your character. That song, "I'm Easy," went on to win the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song. Capitalizing on the success of the song, Asylum Records quickly signed Carradine to a recording contract and got him into the studio. A solid musician already, Carradine turned out a pretty decent album. Most of the songs are ballads, talking about a lost love or a lost time. All of them are well performed but none of them has the hook of the title tune. Still, not a bad album for someone that really got into the music business as a condition for a job.
If you notice, the front of the album is autographed. I had the great privilege of meeting Mr. Carradine one night in New York City after a performance of "The Will Rogers Follies." He signed the album and a photo of him from the film and some of his fellow cast members chuckled at the sight of him with long hair. As we were talking the actress Martha Plimpton approached us and gave Carradine a kiss on the cheek. I heard a passerby exclaim, "Oh my God, Keith Carradine is dating Martha Plimpton!" I shook my head and gave him a smile, which he returned. Martha Plimpton is his daughter. In what I can only consider ironic, when I moved to Kansas I was talking with a group of my employees about little things when someone brought up prison. We all joked that we didn't know anyone in prison but one of the girls said "My dad is in prison." "Oh yeah," I said jokingly, "for what?" "Killing my mother." She wasn't kidding. In fact, they made a tv movie about the case called "Murder Ordained." Guess who played the sheriff that solved the crime? Keith Carradine. As for Gary Busey, he spent 1975 filming "A Star Is Born" (he was once the drummer in Kris Kristofferson's band) and appearing on "Gunsmoke," where he holds the honor of being the last person killed on the show.

The movie "Nightshift" is famous for a couple of reasons. Number one, it was director Ron Howard's first "studio" film...his previous experience being the Roger Corman produced "Grand Theft Auto" and some television programs. It is also the film that introduced Michael Keaton to the comedy world. It also introduced a song that, four years later, would win a Grammy Award as song of the year. The song is "That's What Friends Are For" and it's performed in the film by Rod Stewart. For whatever reason the song didn't catch on radio and drifted off into obscurity. At least until it was re-recorded by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Elton John and Stevie Wonder. Released as a single to help raise money for AIDS research, the song earned over $3 million. Not a bad ending for a song written for a movie about prostitutes! Incidentally, it wasn't the first time a movie song went unappreciated only to find itself back on top. In 1987, Whitney Houston, whose aunt is Dionne Warwick, earned a Record of the Year Grammy nomination for a little song that appeared in the 1977 Muhammad Ali bio pic "The Greatest." The song was called "The Greatest Love of Al

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.