Nolan's Pop Culture Review #41 Number 41 (Vol 2, No.1). This edition is for the week of January 1--7, 2001.
Welcome to the newly remodeled Pop Culture Review!

2001. The future is here! Now, that wasn't so bad, was it? As I recapped around the time of my birthday last year, the future isn't what it used to be. No flying cars, no robot maids, just now entering the era of wall-size TVs.

I've taken some time (way too much) to give my labor of love--namely this newsletter--a facelift in honor of the new year.  I hope you like its more streamlined look. While it's not as garishly colorful as last year's model, it certainly will be easier to read and hopefully be more printer-friendly. I began experimenting with a "frameset" webpage style so that links could be accessed more handily. You'll notice to the left of this column is a narrower column with all relevant links. The intention was to make that an independently scrollable frame with permanently written links. This way I wouldn't have to re-write the links every time I start a new issue. Well, there were severe problems uploading that shenanigan to Hometown. I didn't want to delay this week's issue any longer, so I went with this present design instead. Thought I'd figure out the problem later. The good news is, I did get pretty close to the look I was going for, anyway. Two days later, I succeeded in diagnosing the upload problem, but you know what? Now I like this page too much the way it is!  Isn't that the way? More importantly, I figured out a problem with a frame nav bar in this context. It's only useful if there are more of my pages and less of the others. Not everyone wants to have their homepages displayed in frames. And I don't blame them. After all that work, I had to decide that it was inappropriate for this site after all. I think it may be better for the Archives, eh? And speaking of the Archives...

For the time being, all of last year's back issues will be available via the original "Archives" page (the new page is being redesigned as I've described).  The Archives will be hanging out with me a little longer until I can figure out a storage solution. It may not be real soon, but it's inevitable. Over time, I will continue to make small revisions and improvements to this site as I learn more about web design.

I will still be publishing "Mike's Rant" and Matt's Rail", and, on occasion, "Terence's Tirade" as well as letters from readers.  These were always popular features and I have no intention of dropping them. Oh, I may drop, but the columns will go on!

"Cast Away" likely to garner Tom Hanks his next Oscar nomination.   movie review by Nolan B. Canova

In an other wise lackluster movie season, once again, Tom Hanks proves to be the (usually) reliable litmus test of the worthy movie dollar.  Altho I don't think the movie itself is nearly in a category with, say, "Saving Private Ryan" or "Apollo 13", compared to the rest of what's out there, it's a stand-out.

Tom Hanks stars as Chuck Noland, a driven, time-conscious employee/boss/ motivational speaker with Federal Express. On his way to the airport for his last out-of-town plane trip of the year--around Christmas Eve--he gives his girlfriend, played by Helen Hunt, her Christmas presents, among them an engagement ring. She gives him a railroad-style pocket-watch with her picture in it. They kiss. On his way to the plane, he turns and says, "I'll be right back." It will be the last she ever hears from him. Or will it?

A nerve-shattering plane-wreck-at-sea-during-a-blinding storm scene and the movie is officially underway. Tom Hanks admirably rises to the challenge of carrying a 2-hour picture nearly solo. We watch as he tries to figure out how to stay alive. We watch as he makes clever use of some FedEx packages that washed up on shore. We watch at his hope rises and falls. We watch as he copes with a near-miss rescue, injuries, and mind-numbing lonliness. After surviving on virtually nothing but coconuts for weeks, one funny scene has him mumbling about coconuts being "nature's laxative" and that's "something Gilligan never told us". I was glad there was at least a nod toward the most obvious show everyone remembers upon hearing the word "castaway".

I don't think it would be giving too much away to say that after he spends years alone on this uncharted island--and his physical change is remarkable--he bravely sets out on an extremely dangerous do-or-die mission to be rescued.  It's there that the movie's extremely touching third act gets going. Namely having to face his fiance and whatever present situation she's in after he's been assumed dead for around 5 years.

RECOMMENDED.

All contents this page are © 2001 by Nolan B. Canova

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