Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed. Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2001 Banner! Number 51 (Vol 2, No. 11).  This edition is for the week of March 12--18, 2001.
Nolan's Pop Culture Review: one year anniversary: this week or next? And why? Read on...

Believe it or not folks, I was not always the web-design genius and pop culture critic I am today. (Muffled gasps roll in from the audience. Women faint. Children are ushered into the lobby. My peers, behind the curtains, laugh at my unbridled arrogance) In the primordial days of my computer education, around a year ago tonight--or about 10 "normal" education years--I put together the first issue of Nolan's Newsstand, strictly as a lark, to see if it'd even work. Still new to computers and not having had any website experience at all, I chose the most convenient tool available to me, a pretty darn flexible webpage-editing tool supplied with AOL, Easy Designer.

First page, first mistake.  After having finished this first foray into a web presense, I clicked "save" in the ED toolbar. The URL address that was instantly created was defaulted to "index.html", which was fine by me at the time. It was only later--into the second issue--that I regretted not knowing earlier that "index" was really meant to hold a "table of contents" page, not necessarily the substance pages.

To this day, the URL of the current PCR index page ends with "page2.html". For a number of reasons, most notably the hitcounter and that most people have this address bookmarked already, I've resisted the temptation to move just to secure a more normal URL. Incidentally, I DID eventually wind up moving issue number one. Now, whenever someone new, trying to remember or find my location, types in my AOL Hometown address followed by simply "nolansnewsstand" or "nolansnewsstand/index.html", they'll be taken to a new "Welcoming Page".  From there, newcomers can navigate easily to the "Current Issue" Index, which they should immediately bookmark in the tradition of my loyal readers. Ahem. Coff coff.

In May of last year, I experienced one of the worst weeks in my life, that of having my roof replaced. I sleep days and work nights, but I was told the job would not last more than a couple of days. It took a week. I was not able to take any vacation days as they were all used up. The whole nightmare was written up in Nolan's Newsstand #11. I bring this up, because it was the only week I could not put out an issue. I was sick with exhaustion and I had to incorporate a "two-in-one" issue in the aforementioned issue 11. Therefore, all issue counts should be off by one week. 52 weeks have actually expired in calendar time since I started Nolan's Newsstand, aka Nolan's Pop Culture Review, but because I skipped a week, the issue count is only 51.

In one of those nutty ways that math plays with your head, the one-year anniversary, March 19, 2001, is next week, not this week. (There was a cover-dating change early on to account for some of it, but I've bored you enough already.) Okay, enough of that.

Palm Beach Post says Al Gore should have been elected President!
In the election-story-that-will-not-die, the Palm Beach Post newspaper begs to differ from the Miami Herald as to the direction the election should have taken. The Post conducted another recount of the controversial "butterfly ballots" that allegedly confused so many Palm Beach County residents and were thrown out. They say if every dimpled, quarter, half, and pregnant-sized chads were counted and double-punches go to Gore, Gore would have picked up 6600 votes!! Yes, that's six-THOUSAND, or enough to win Florida ten times over.

announcements
My neighborhood now has a name. We're somebody!  This was just on the local TV news as I'm writing/editing this issue and I had to tell you. Apparently, someone with the city was designing the new neighborhood signs that say "Welcome to Culbreath Isles" and "Welcome to Bayshore Beautiful", etc., and discovered that my area of South Tampa was never given an official neighborhood name! (OK, I'm sure my name didn't come up during the meeting, but I bet they were thinking of me!  Hmmmm..."Nolan's Pop Culture Park".....I LIKE IT!)
   The roughly 3 square miles south of Gandy Blvd., between Westshore, MacDill, and Interbay that I thought was always called "Gandy Park subdivision" (or just Gandy Park) now has an official neighborhood "Welcome" designation. After a meeting attended by only 26 people(!) (what I hate most about these meetings is I always hear about them after the fact), the names were narrowed down to three: Gandy Palms, Gandy By the Bay, and Sun Bay South. After due deliberation, the neighborhood is now officially called....... drumroll....... suspense.......Sun Bay South. I hate it. It sounds like we're a bank. I'd've voted for "Gandy Palms", if anything. (Note to old-time South Tampa fan publishers: the Gandy Civic Asscociation's spokesman featured on the news was David Gutcher. I think he's related to the Gutcher's QuickPrint family.) Gandy By The Bay is even an OK name.
    The thing is, my homeowners' property paperwork stuff says this is Gandy Park, which I could live with and have up till now. Strangely, during this news report, the name "Gandy Park" never surfaced once!
   Welcome to Sun Bay South. Please use the drive-thru! Uck. From Sun Bay South, this is Nolan B. Canova.

Recent celebrity deaths, just heard on the news:  Robert Ludlum, author. Sold his books by the bucket at the newsstand. Morton Downey, Jr., talk-show host and "the mouth that roared" at 67 of, predictably, lung cancer. And the drummer for Paul Revere and the Raiders whose name is--gulp--Michael Smith!! I don't have ages or causes yet for him or Ludlum. Maybe our columnist--Michael Smith--will by next issue.

* * * GUEST COLUMN! * * *
Deadguy!Deadguy's Dementia    by Mike Scott
First-time contributor Mike Scott--whose screen name and web identity is "Deadguy"--contributes his first article to The Pop Culture Review. What follows is his take on the MTV "reality" show named FEAR. I confess, until he wrote this and I talked to him on the phone, I had just barely heard of this show. I think you'll find this as interesting as I did.---Nolan
The MTV "reality" show called "Fear". The most recent episode was located at an abandoned Hotel called Buck Hill Inn. The Inn apparently had quite a "spooky" past. It's past was recorded as including a few suicides, the murder of a woman on her wedding day by the priest that was to perform the wedding ceremony, and several other similar tragedies.

Here is an excerpt as it appears on MTV's "Fear" website: Welcome to the Buck Hill Inn, a place possessed by evil with a long history of violence, murders, suicides and multiple reports of ghost sightings and strange noises. The hotel has been abandoned for over 10 years. One day the hotel owner committed his wife to an insane asylum, locked the front doors and never returned. The inn is built on land formerly owned by Quakers. The hotel's beautiful gardens were designed by one of the landscape architects who designed New York City's Central Park.

The show is real, the "actors" are real, some of the background stories are "real". MTV crews do NOT interfere with the dares (you'll see why I say that if you go to the site mentioned below) BUT.. when they run out of true stories, they make-up extra ones to make folks more scared.

Here's the real beef on Buck Hill, as found at www.radiosilence.f2s.com : "Buck Hill used to be the largest and finest of the Pocono resorts. Sporting a roller skating rink, a movie theatre, 18 hole golf courses, stables, and the infamous lawn bowling area (which is where, to this day, the lawn bowling championships of the world are held). Yet all good things must come to an end. After a money struggle, the orginal owner had sold the Inn to a hotel chain in a hope to keep it alive, but as a hotel chain it had too many other resorts to keep a watch on. During the winter of 1990, the pipes froze and burst, warping the floors and walls and causing a terribly costly amount of damage. The chain lost interest in the inn and shut it and let it be. In 1991 the inn was re-alivened for a sheriff's sale and then afterwards the doors were shut. Since that time, the inn has been sold for under 1 million dollars to BHF landlords, of Atlantic City NJ, who originally planned to renovate the inn and have it reopened for the summer of 2000. In 1996, they began work by starting a little construction on the roof of the west wing. Perhaps driven away from the estimated 28 million dollar renovation costs, the doors were shut and there has been no construction since."

This is a FAR cry from the "insane wife" story... but then again.. it's far less spooky, too. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with the story fabrication. The show's about FEAR, not about honest backgrounds; they wanna' scare folks, and if the real thing won't scare 'em, the fake stuff might. They also have a tendency to take legends of the area that they're in and act like they all happened at the location they're filming in.

Once again, www.radiosilence.f2s.com has info all about the new episode that just aired.. It was apparently filmed in the year 2000. The site even includes 8 pages of the script, including dares that were never used, but also including dares that WERE used, only used slightly differently in the final cut. It's very interesting to read. It includes behind-the-scenes stuff that's pretty cool to find-out about. Basically, there's direction like "ok.. put in a dim-bulb HERE to make the light level kinda' spooky to play on their fears". Also, there's mention of the Arts Department touching up an area with old photos and stuff.

The narration is slightly different from what aired as if the show was deciding which dares to use and which dares to lose. It was also filmed at the hotel in 2000, and the very first episode of "fear" hadn't been released yet. At least ONE of the dares were used on a different episode instead. It was the one where a cast member is dared to stand on a cinder-block and put his head in a noose "exactly where so-and-so hung himself 100 years ago.." I wish they'd posted all of the script pages, but apparently they were worried that someone was going to swipe the images..

It should also be noted that I don't know how long all of the information and images have been on this site, but I do know I found it 3 days before the Buck Hill episode aired. Immediately after the show was over, I went back and relooked at the site... Very impressive.. just enough mistakes, or changes in script, to make it seem more accurate. there are also photos that have to do with how MTV changed the location a bit. Quite a few before and after photos.

SO... this is consistent with the lake camp episode of the previous week.. It was filmed in a camp on a lake NEAR the one it claimed to be.. It had historic deaths that supposedly occurred there that didn't even happen in the same city. Although.. I gotta' say.. it WAS filmed on the coolest-named road that actually DOES exist: "Shades of Death Road" (which is a street sign that I'd pay $100 for). Alas, I've found out the sign has actually had it's pole extensively greased due to constant thefts by folks like me!

In any event...since the backgrounds are faked... It would seem that the contestants have nothing to fear but FEAR itself... (groan..)

MTV's FEAR Schedule for March:
Tuesday 13th, @ 6:00pm EST
Thursday 15th, @ 2:30pm EST
Thursday 15th @ 9:00pm EST
Saturday 17th @ 5:00pm EST
Sunday 18th @ 1:00pm EST
Sunday 18th @ 8:00pm EST<-- New episode

Deadguy's Dementia is ©2001 by Michael Scott
Mike Scott's email is deadguy@email.msn.com


The Wedding Planner      Movie review by Brandon Herring
* * ½  out of * * * *
Starring: Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Matthew McConaughey, Bridgette Wilson,
Justin Chambers, Judy Greer, Alex Rocco.
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Rated PG-13: sexual humor, language.

After 2000's visual feast "The Cell", Jennifer Lopez takes a complete 360 and makes a wonderfully flawed romantic comedy, that even with the predictability and clichéd dialogue still captured me in my seat and kept me entertained throughout. Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey have such great formula as an onscreen couple, that it is impossible not to like them, if not the movie.

Maria "Mary" Fiore (Jennifer Lopez) is a young wedding planner who has been single for a while, and is married to her work. After getting her high-heel shoe stuck in a sewage drain in the street, she is rescued from a menacing trash dumpster on its way to smoosh her. Her rescuer is non-other than Dr. Steven James Edison (Matthew McConaughey), a pediatrician whom takes care of the bump on her head. Instantly, she falls in love with him, and soon to find out...he is the groom of the next wedding she has planned, the same wedding that will make her go up in her business. Now she must try and figure out how to get through it, and how to fall out of love, with the one person that might truly be "the one".

A light, fluffy romantic comedy, "The Wedding Planner" is not a bad film at all. Through the opening credits and through the end credits, I was entertained and had fun with the film. It does, however, have a few flaws. They come from the predicability and the clichéd dialogue (how many times do we have to sit through the "How much I love you, but I'll never get you" speech?). In the end, however, you get that warm, fuzzy feeling inside, and leave with a smile on your face, and your heart warmed up.

Adam Shankman is a choreographer of several movies including 2000's "Mission to Mars", 1999's "Inspector Gadget" and "She's All That". This is his first major motion picture as a director and he does do a good job at making a movie. Nothing special goes into a romantic comedy, so nothing special is expected and that is what Adam Shankman gives it. The cleverly-written dialogue by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis is funny and fun to listen to.

For the acting, Jennifer Lopez, to me, is the only person really cast well for the title role. After hitting it big in 1997's "Selena", Jennifer Lopez shows she can do any film, comedy, thriller, drama. She is great in the title role, and very funny as well. Matthew McConaughey is somewhat miscast in the role as Steve, her love interest. He acts a bit like he doesn't want be in the movie. In too many scenes, he is too plain and drained. Bridgette Wilson as the groom of the wedding is a beautiful and talented actress, and she gives a good performance as well.

"The Wedding Planner" is a nice, subtle romantic comedy that would make a great date movie. It's one of those movies you could watch a couple times, then leave it on the shelf, then watch it again. It's not even close to being a bad movie, but then again its not even close to being an excellent movie, either.
Reviewed by Brandon Herring 3-2-01, ©2001.

Letters to the Editor

Mike's Rant   by Michael A. Smith.
Hello gang! Not a lot to share this week unless you'd be interested in a cold! Shall we begin?

LAST ISSUE
Wow! I can't believe that Twin Bays theatre has also closed! (re: "Letters", last issue---N) Boy, the memories I have of that place. It was the one of the first discount theatres in the country. It was also a very successful, first-run theatre. I know we ran "Smokey and the Bandit" for twenty-seven weeks! We ran "Rocky" for so long that the print fell apart. And by the way, Mark, the film you referred to is the George Kennedy/Richard Crenna classic, "Death Ship." (re: Mark Drinnenberg's inquiry, also from last issue---N) Thank goodness Steak 'N' Shake survives! Though we weren't allowed to go off campus for lunch, those of us who worked on the school newspaper would often have to leave to "sell advertising," ensuring a quick stop for burgers for the staff!

I THOUGHT BAD MEANT GOOD
Universal has dropped the Rob Zombie film "House of 1000 Corpses" from their summer schedule following a screening in which a studio publicist referred to the film as an "uber-celebration of depravity," (So, what's the problem?---N) which violates the contract that called for Zombie, the film's writer and director, to deliver a film that could be rated R. (Oh.---N) Zombie said he took the fact that the studio bosses were "freaked out" by the movie as a compliment. (Shoot, I would too. Of course, now his movie can't be released, either.---N)

WALKING THE WALK
If you have read my columns recently, you know my opinion on film ratings and responsibilities. This past Sunday, I attended the first script reading of an independent film I will be appearing in. (HELLO? You're gonna be in a movie? Congratulations. I trust details of this WILL be forthcoming?---N) An out-and-out thriller, the film does have it's share of language and violence issues. After the reading, I was surprised when one of my fellow actors asked if "we were prepared for the consequences" of making this film. I understood him to mean did any of us have a problem with working on something that might be viewed by younger people. Following some discussion, I was happy to find that the majority of our group felt the way I did...............that it is not our job to "protect." Would I be upset if a 10-year-old saw this movie...........yes. But not at the child...........at the parent who allowed him to.

Well, gang, that's it for this week. Next week I'll include my Oscar picks!

And we are all looking forward to seeing them, Mike!  I think I speak for all your fans and loyal readers of Nolan's PCR when I say "Get Well Soon!"---Nolan.


"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith.
"Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2001 by Mike Scott
The movie review of "The Wedding Planner" is ©2001 by Brandon Herring
All contents this page are ©2001 Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001