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PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2002!

CURRENT STUFF
La Floridiana
Movie Review
Murder/Woo Woo
Matt's Rail
The Enlightenment
Mike's Rant
(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)
CONTRIBUTOR'S
Homepages

Michael A. Smith's
The Omnipresent M. Smith homepage and Email                    

Matt Drinnenberg's
The Masters of Horror

Terence Nuzum's
Viddywell Productions

William Moriaty's
T.R.E.E., Inc.

Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
   Number 105 (Vol. 3, No. 13). This edition is for the week of March 25--31, 2002.
The 74th annual
Academy Awards
Winners, losers, and the historical race thing.
Plus, how we did at predicting!

Just as I was afraid of, due to time constraints imposed on me by my other activities last week, I was unable to upload my final predictions for Oscar night in time for the final edition of PCR. Fortunately, my cohorts in crime, Mike Smith and Matt Drinnenberg, came thru and, while they DID send in their picks (see last week's issue), I want to say I had favorites also, and you'll just have to trust me on that this year, please don't think of this as a "cheat". I'm saying all that because I have some comments on the final tally myself. This was among the hardest years ever to pick a "best of" anything...so many good movies.

First let me get this out of the way; Whoopi Goldberg--YUCK. Whoopi Goldberg's "peacock" costume--YUCK. Whoopi Goldberg as host--YUCK. Christ almighty, was there NO ONE decent they could get this year? Did Billy Crystal or Steve Martin bail out at the last second or something? Whew. OK...with that out of the way...

BEST PICTURE: A BEAUTIFUL MIND
I don't begrudge Ron Howard this trophy or his wonderful movie that was also nominated in several other categories. I was HOPING "Lord of the Rings" would upset the applecart and show well-made fanasty movies can win "best picture" Oscars. Considering Peter Jackson basically filmed three incredible films simultaneously seems to have been lost on the Academy, or else they were too overwhelmed to consider it, or...well the Academy has never felt good about awarding fantasy. Anyway more on "Rings" in a bit....
In a poignant moment, co-producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer introduced the real-life John Nash and his wife from the audience to thank them for "sharing their story" of schizophrenia, admittedly a risky venture that paid off in spades for all involved.
Nolan's would-have-been pick--"Lord of the Rings"
Matt's pick--"Moulin Rouge"
Mike's pick--"A Beautiful Mind". Mike takes this one.

BEST DIRECTOR: RON HOWARD for "A Beautiful Mind"
Again here, for the sheer force of will it took to complete "Rings" I thought would sway the Academy. I also HOPED SOMEBODY would pay closer attention to "Memento", and not just for its blinding originality, but for the chore it must have been to direct that. However, even I knew this smaller picture was unlikely to gain an Oscar except perhaps for "Original Screenplay" (which it did not).
Be that as it may, I was realistic enough to realize "Opie" was likely to take Best Director just from the buzz alone. It's not undeserved, people, please understand that, but like Mike said last issue, "I only hope that when [Ron Howard] wins he asks, "Is this the one for 'Cocoon' or 'Apollo 13?'". Exactly.
Nolan's would-have-been pick--Ron Howard for "A Beautiful Mind"
Matt's pick--Ron Howard for "A Beautiful Mind"
Mike's pick--Ron Howard for "A Beautiful Mind" We all got this.

BEST ACTOR: DENZEL WASHINGTON for "Training Day"
OK, get me started now! I was barely even cognizant of this movie's existence. Didn't see it, have no idea how Denzel Washington was in it. However, despite glowing reviews by my pop culture brethren, and I may be the only one to think this, but against his competition, Denzel's win seems to me to have just the tiniest bit of a PC contrived bullshit ring to it. More when we get to Best Actress. Plus, this kept "Mind" from a pretty much clean sweep of the top spots. But, whatever, congratulations to Denzel.
Nolan's would-have-been pick--Russell Crowe for "A Beautiful Mind"
Matt's pick--Denzel Washington for "Training Day"  Congrats to Matthew on this one.
Mike's pick--Russell Crowe for "A Beautiful Mind"

BEST ACTRESS: HALLE BERRY for "Monster's Ball"
OK, I do like Halle Berry, but I didn't see "Monster's Ball" (did see "Monsters Inc.", tho--har har). I figured Nicole Kidman had a good chance here as did Sissy Spacek. But I was weak and late on a decision in this category, so will say I probably would have sided with Sissy Spacek. Like Matt said, I can definitely live with Halle Berry's win.
Now then...am I the only one to figure the Academy wanted to see a two-black-person "best" thing come out of this year's awards--just so they could say it happened ONE time and silence their critics--and tip the votes towards the Washington/Berry wins regardless of who actually was voted on first? Just a thought, folks.
Nolan's would-have-been pick--Sissy Spacek
Matt's pick--Sissy Spacek
Mike's pick--Halle Berry for "Monster's Ball"  Touché, Michael.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: JIM BROADBENT for "Iris"
Huh? What? Who saw this coming? Count me out. I figured Ian McKellan was a shoe-in as "Gandalf the Grey" in "Rings". So what do I know?
Nolan's would-have-been pick--Ian McKellan for "Lord of the Rings"
Matt's pick--Jon Voight for "Ali"
Mike's pick--Ian McKellan for "Lord of the Rings"  Total wipe-out.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: JENNIFER CONNELLY for "A Beautiful Mind"
Sure, I can see that. I believe it was the first award of the evening, as well. It also reminds me of how close "Mind" came to a total sweep.
Nolan's would-have-been pick--Jennifer Connelly
Matt's pick--Jennifer Connelly
Mike's pick--Jennifer Connelly  Total PCR sweep!

OTHER CATEGORIES
Adapted Screenplay: Akiva Goldsman, "A Beautiful Mind."
Mike: "A Beautiful Mind" Matt: "In The Bedroom"
Animated Feature: "Shrek." Mike: "Shrek" Matt: "Shrek" Nolan: "Shrek"
Animated Short: "For the Birds." Mike: "For the Birds" Nolan: "For the Birds" (I saw this before "Monsters, Inc."--terrific!) Matt: "For The Birds"
Art Direction: "Moulin Rouge." Mike: "Lord of the Rings" Matt: "Lord of the Rings"
Cinematography: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." Mike: "Lord of the Rings" Nolan: "Lord of the Rings" Matt: "Moulin Rouge"
Costume: "Moulin Rouge." Mike: "Lord of the Rings" Matt: "Moulin Rouge"
Documentary Feature: "Murder on a Sunday Morning."
Documentary Short Subject: "Thoth."
Film Editing: "Black Hawk Down." Mike: "Memento" Matt: "Moulin Rouge"
Foreign Language Film: "No Man's Land," Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mike: "Ame'lie" Matt: "Ame'lie"
Live Action Short: "The Accountant."
Makeup: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" Mike: "Planet of the..er...Lord of the Rings" Matt: "Planet of the..er...Lord of the Rings" Nolan: "Planet of the..er...Lord of the Rings" (The stuttering is an ongoing PCR dark joke about how Rick Baker got shafted out of even being nominated for his ground-breaking work in Tim Burton's otherwise lackluster "The Planet of the Apes". Me thinks the Academy didn't want Baker to count on being too "automatically" a winner any year he does ape make-ups. How petty---he has earned 6 Oscars. That being said, I must say that "Rings" triumph here is hardly undeserved! The make-up work is staggering.---Nolan)
Original Score: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." Mike: Howard Shore/"Lord of the Rings" Matt: Howard Shore/"Lord of the Rings"
Original Screenplay: Julian Fellowes, "Gosford Park." Mike: "Memonto" Matt: "Memento"
Original Song: "If I Didn't Have You," by Randy Newman, from "Monsters, Inc." Mike: Paul McCartney/"Vanilla Sky" Matt: Paul McCartney/"Vanilla Sky"
Sound: "Black Hawk Down." Mike: "Black Hawk Down" Matt: "Black Hawk Down"
Sound Editing: "Pearl Harbor." Mike: "Pearl Harbor" Matt: "Pearl Harbor"
Visual Effects: "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." Mike: "Lord of the Rings" Nolan: "Lord of the Rings" Matt: "Lord of the Rings"

ANALYSIS:
If I counted correctly, then in all categories where there was a vote by one of us: Mike scored 13 out of 21, Matt scored 11 out of 21, I scored a dismal 7 out of 11 and that was only due to post-facto doctoring! If I mis-counted any votes, please advise and I'll do a recount! (As a Floridian, one gets used to hearing about "recounts".)

AND IN CONCLUSION...
Remaining highlights of the awards ceremony: the many silent moments and respects given to the victims of 9/11. But that was to be expected.
What I did NOT expect was the truly moving acceptance speech given by a tearful Halle Berry--so overcome she was almost unable to deliver her speech--in which she thanks other influential black woman (including a woman she portrayed in the movies, Dorothy Dandridge, who, as Mike pointed out in last week's Rant, ironically was the first black woman nominated for an Oscar), and commented something to the effect "...opened a door which can never be closed."
Very moving, but I've heard a similar statement before. It's what Martin Luther King, Jr. told Nichelle Nichols about her role as "Uhura" on Star Trek some 35 years ago. But, no matter...
Great pomp and circumstance was made of this being the first year the Best Actor and Best Actress award went to two African-Americans as was discussed previously.
Like Matt Drinnenberg, I, too, became aware of the more "PC" use of language, like, "the Oscar goes to..." instead of "..and the winner is...," and instead of "Best Director", it's something like, "...best achievement in directing". Whatever...
Woody Allen came on and gave a neat speech about New York. Fitting, if a little contrived...but then the Wood-man doesn't come out very often and it was good to see him again (he's 66 years old now...amazing.)
And continuing with their "black theme", the Academy did a tribute to Sidney Poitier on being the first African-American EVER to win an Academy Award (for "Lillies of the Field"(?) I think) until Denzel Washington, this year.

OTHER AWARDS
Gordon E. Sawyer Award: Edmund M. Di Giulio.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Arthur Hiller.
Honorary Awards: Sidney Poitier (as described above) and Robert Redford.


Announcements
   Check out another entry in our new SCHLOCKARAMA section: "Alien Contamination" reviewed by William Moriaty! (Also see the Matt's Rail this issue to read Matt's objections over the use of the name "Schlockarama"! And my response!)
   Thanks to everyone for all the kudos I received over the Legion Studios interview and the "Lost Interview of Dr. Paul Bearer" both posted in last week's PCR! Look for ED Tuckers "Monster Memories" later in the week on the Crazed Fanboy homepage!

In Memorium
As I am updating this page, Wednesday night, 3-27-02, I heard the sad news from the TV in the other room: two of America's most beloved entertainers have passed on to their final reward.
   DUDLEY MOORE, today, at 66. Long-suffering from Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) a degenerative Parkinson's-like disease, Moore made his big splash with American moviegoers in 1979 opposite Bo Derek in "10" and especially so as the drunk in 1981's "Arthur" which co-starred Liza Minelli. He died of pneumonia at his home in Plainfield, NJ.
   MILTON BERLE, "Uncle Miltie" to a generation of TV viewers, today, at 93. When he started his "Texaco Theater" TV program in 1948, only 800,000 TV sets were in use in America. In a year, that number doubled and its continued growth over the next several years is usually credited to the growing audience for Milton Berle's Tuesday night show, which, at the time it was broadcast, captured 83% of the network's audience.
   For more on these two fine entertainers, as well as some more Oscar insights, please see this week's Mike's Rant.
UPDATE:--3-28-02. BILLY WILDER. My God they do die in threes. Word just came in that legenday film director Billy Wilder died today (Thur) at the age of 95. Director of such films as "Some Like It Hot," "The Seven-Year Itch", and "Sunset Bouleveard," Wilder was not afraid to tackle controversial issues or taboo subjects. Mike Smith will likely go into more depth than I can go into here on the life and work of Billy Wilder in next week's "Rant".
UPDATE:--3-28-02. Florida's EUGENE FIGG, the award-winning architect who designed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, passed away March 20 at 65 years of age. Due to an oversight on my part, Will Moriaty's "Im memorium" on this man did not get posted until late Thursday afternoon, for which I deeply apologize. Please see this week's La Floridiana.


La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
Believe it or not, at one time, a time not relatively all that long ago, the Interbay peninsula of what would become part of the City of Tampa, was so populated with the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake, that a section of town came to be known as "Rattlesnake, Florida." The area roughly bounded by Fair Oaks Avenue to the north, Everett Street to the south, Manhattan Avenue to the east, and Old Tampa Bay to the west, was almost entirely comprised of pine and palmetto thickets, a perfect habitat for this once common poisonous native Florida snake....
ALSO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF EUGENE FIGG. (Updated 3-28-02)
............................................................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Review:
"E.T."
On June 11, 1982, I was still stationed in Germany. Because of this, I was not able to participate in the original phenomena that was "E.T." Made for a modest $10.5 million, this was Steven Spielbergs' follow up to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and, according to the director, his most "personal" film....
Review by Michael A. Smith............Click here for more.

Murder on the Woo Woo Express This week's issue
Murder on the Woo Woo Express by Patty G. Henderson
"All aboard!" The ghostly conductor's voice screams as his image ripples and wavers between the real and a transparent mist. You hold up your ticket, eagerly awaiting the next stop and you suddenly feel the slight lurch of the train as Murder on the Woo Woo Express takes off......... I'd like to welcome a new reviewer onboard the Express. L. Martinez makes a splash with her first review of Denise Deitz's FIFTY CENTS FOR YOUR SOUL. Martinez puts this book on her "recommended" list. Ms. Martinez will be splitting review duties with me. ............Click here for more.

The Enlightenment This week's issue
The Enlightenment by Terence Nuzum
PART TEN of TEN on the HISTORY OF THE BLUES. The Field Recordings Blues roots, by the mid 1930s & 40s were dying out as bluesmen sought to record more commercial numbers. The field hollers, spirituals, and chaingang chants were left to die with their era as bluesmen discovered the electric guitar and big bands were in full swing. Also African-Americans were trying to forget their slave past....
PLUS: the 1960s Blues revival!..... ............Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
SCHLOCK AND ROLL: Hopefully I'm errant in the way that I simply MUST take exception with our editor for the title of the newest department in Pop Culture Review, SCHLOCKARAMA.....Nolan's response.....
OSCARS: As for the Mike/Matt competition....it was VERY close, but alas, Mike remains supreme commander by 2 picks. Due to the fact that Mike and I agreed on quite a few this year, I will list only the ones each of us got correct over the other. ............Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
SMILING THROUGH TEARS on the passings of Dudley Moore and Milton Berle........THE OSCARS on Mike's slam-dunk prediction accuracy---and the Academy's insider politics........SPORTING NEWS........SCHLOCK, THE BRITTON, AND A HATS REUNION .............................................Click here for more.


Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.
My, my, my. What a sad sight it is when I look upon the site I write for and I don't see a single fellow PCR writer who would've rallied for David Lynch for Best Director of the year. Opie!!!!!! Cocoon!!!! Please, that reeked. Okay, so I agree Howard is a decent director, and I myself would have nominated and given it to Terry Zwigoff for "Ghost World", but the list was the list. Ron Howard, my friends, has not to my knowledge earned any damn Oscar as far as I'm concerned.

Lynch has been making great films since day one, and "Elephant Man" and "Blue Velvet" are ten times more worthy of an Oscar, than "Cocoon" or "Apollo 13". So please don't talk to me about who finally deserves an Oscar because you are doing a great film and a great director a dishonor.

Finally, the Oscars suck and have no validation therefore who cares and why am I talking about it. Oh, and Nolan, my oh-so-respected editor, "Memento" was not really that original, they have been doing films out of sequential order since Kubrick's "The Killing". While it was enjoyable, it was no "Ghost World". Besides, those black and white scenes that looked like High-8 video were just too damn tacky.

May all mindless souls who view that in Hollywood you must be popular and kiss Spielberg's ass or do a movie about mentally-challenged people to pull on the voter's heart strings to win Oscars beg for forgivness from all the dead artists who did it for the right reasons.

P.S: WHO CAN'T WAIT TO SEE JASON X?

TO HELL WITH YOU ALL
TERENCE NUZUM

So, what is it you're trying to say? LOL! No, seriously, since you didn't watch the awards you didn't see that they did indeed feature David Lynch in a positive light, including many close-ups as he sat in the audience. And "Ghost World" was brought up for some reason, but I don't remember what (they showed brief film clips). I was remiss in not pointing this out earlier.
While I was far more disturbed at how the race thing was being played out, there is a valid point to be made about politics inside the Academy.
Mike Smith has a little to say about this in this week's "Rant."


I want to thank both publisher Nolan and writer Terence for the incredible ten-part series on the History of the Blues.  (Re: The Enlightenment's concluding chapter on the blues, this issue.--N) Terence did painstaking research and proved what an eloquent and gifted writer he truly is. To say I'm intimidated by his abilities is an understatement.

I wish he could have been treated to something that I was in the spring of 1994. My sister and my wife and I visited some dear friends over in Lake Helen, Florida. Our friends were photographer Anna Tomczak and her husband, and current mayor Mark Shuttleworth. although Shuttleworth was a graduate from the Stetson Law School, his chosen vocation was preserving and reconstructing turn of the century Florda Victorian houses.

Anywho, Mark and Ann had an opening at their art gallery and featured a bluesman named Tony Lee. Lord have Mercy could that man play the blues. Tony was born and raised on a south Georgia turpentine farm. He shared with me after his stellar performance the hard scrabble life he led and lamented how in his estimation, the blues was dying to practically dead. In addition to the many artists covered in Terence's series, Tony also had great respect for the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, whom he considered one of the last popular artists to play in a bluesy, soulful manner.

So no Terence, your efforts were not in vain. I even encouraged a young man I know to review your column regularly as he is a descendant of Bessie Smith and needs to know what a wonderful heritage he is an heir to.

Thanks again for a great series. I'm only sorrowful that it has come to an end, but Terence deserves a rest and our kudos for this superb effort (P.S. He ought to either write a book on this or forward it to some special collections library).

William Moriaty


Write to: Letters to the Editor   Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan


"Mike's Rant" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2002 by Matt Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    "The Enlightenment" is ©2002 by Terence Nuzum    "Murder on the Woo Woo Express" is ©2002 by Patty G. Henderson    This week's movie review of "E.T." is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    Add'l thanks to Terence Nuzum and Will Moriaty for their extra inpout in "Letters"    All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2002; all rights reserved.