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LA FLORIDIANA
Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960s to the 1980s: Part Five
 by William Moriaty

THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"Soul Plane"
 by Mike Smith

THE GREAT BENZINI
Introducing Myself....On Gaming....Magic: The Gathering....Marvel Origins....What's Ahead
 by Ben Gregory

ODDSERVATIONS
Review: Van Helsing....Shrek 2 Shreks the Box Office....Mudonna Cancels Israeli Tour Dates
 by Andy Lalino

SPLASH PAGE
The Fall of Troy
 by Brandon Jones

COUCH POTATO
The Return of Vampirella....Couch Potato Quick Takes....Shows I'd Like To See
 by Vinnie Blesi

MIKE'S RANT
This Week's Issue....Congrats....Consumer Tip....Top 10 Challenge....Meet The Beatles, Part 18
 by Mike Smith

LETTERS
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2003!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fifth calendar year!
    Number 218  (Vol. 5, No. 22). This edition is for the week of May 24--30, 2004.

Summer's Here
•  Commentary on Shrek/2
•  American Idol Season Finale
•  More Terrorist Alerts
Plus...
•  A new PCR contributor!
•  And....more Dr. Paul Bearer memories in the Lettercol!

SHREK 2.
Yesterday (as I write this) I finally did something everyone else did 3 years ago: I saw Shrek for the first time. Then, a few hours later I went with Brandon Jones to see Shrek 2. Why did it take me so long to see the first one? I don't know, never had the proper window, I guess. I remember how wildly enthusiastic everyone was about the first Shrek, but who knows what my personal situation was like at the time. Just never got around to it.

So, with Brandon and I set to see the sequel on Tuesday, and not wanting to see the sequel without having seen the original, I took $9.99 and rode my bike up to Target Monday and bought the tape. Tuesday morning I plugged it into the computer (where'dja think I'd watch it?), and sat transfixed for the next 2 hours.

Wow. I can see what everyone was so crazy about. The state-of-the-art of 3D computer animation always seems to take me by surprise. But the characters, script, voice-talent, and MUSIC was just superb. (I underestimated the reliance on the rock soundtrack.)

Shrek 2 pretty much takes up where the first one leaves off. After Shrek and the princess Fiona settle back into the swamp after their honeymoon, a notice is sent from her parents, the King and Queen of Far, Far Away (L.A. basically), requesting they come visit them at their castle so they can meet the groom. Unfortuntely, the prince they are expecting to meet is a far cry from the Ogre Shrek. They are also unaware their daughter hasn't been cured of her ogre-ish propensities yet.

Assuming everyone has already read Mike Smith's 4-star review of Shrek 2 in PCR #217, all I want to do is add a few personal things. All the main actors involved, Cameron Diaz, John Cleese, Julie Andrews, Eddie Murphy, and Mike Myers sounded like they were having a ball. For some reason, I thought Mike Myers (the voice of Shrek) was far more involved in the creative end of this production, like co-writer, co-producer or something. His name was always so closely tied to the project, I was surprised to not find any credit beyond voice talent. No matter. The non-stop onslaught of fairy-tale/Hollywood insider gags are enough to entertain you and keep you from even the smallest distractions.

On a technical note, the CGI animation is breathtaking on every single level. There is little effort to separate the cartoon-y from the photorealistic. Skin textures and subtle facial expressions are captured amazingly even on extreme close-ups. And, like the first movie, the music soundtrack plays a big role especially at the very satisfying conclusion. Very highly recommended, a 4-star flick, just like the first one.

I have to admit I as wrong years ago about 3D animation never taking a place beside the greats of 2D. It just takes the right combination of technical skill and talent. I guess you could say that about anything, really.

American Idol: Season Finale
Hey boys and girls, in case you hadn't heard this before, if you think you got an ounce of singing talent and want to be A STAR, you don't have to wade through managers and agents and auditions (well, the traditional ones) and wait and build your career in show business anymore....all you gotta do is be on this billion-dollar freak show and be judged by a 3-member panel of nobody important (save for the dancer whose career was pretty much over anyway), plus be voted on by the TV audience care of the worst and most unreliable electronic voting set-up this side of the 2000 presidential elections, and, HEY.....you can be the next American Idol!!!!!!!!!

The big finale of this season was Wednesday, May 26, 2004. As a public service, I'll go ahead and officially announce the winner was Fantasia Barrino, 19. The runner-up was Diana DeGarmo, 16. In case you were only half paying attention like I was previously, Fantasia was the black girl, Diana was the white girl. Simon Cowell opined of Fantasia: "the greatest contestant we ever had". Insert backflips, moving on...

More Terrorist Attacks?
I'm keeping this brief since everyone's already irritated at me for waxing so political this year, but I just want to relay my feelings at how disappointed I am that not only did Saddam Hussein's capture not end terrorism as we know it, but seemingly escalated it. Just yesterday, more reports that a terrorist attack, dwarfing the 9/11 incident, is expected this summer. Gee, who saw that coming?


Announcements
We welcome to these pages an original member of the gang some of whom helped launch this very 'zine: Mr. Ben Gregory, magician and fanboy from way back and an original member of The Andromeda Society, the sci-fi/comics/movie fan organization that, well, gave me something to live for in a particularly depressing era of my life over 25 years ago . After the transitional '80s, so many of us went our own ways and I'm always so happy when one turns up again, especially in a PCR-oriented way! Ben will start by discussing gaming, a subject I thought would've been the province of the youths I hired months ago half his age, but who for whatever reason got side-tracked into politics. Get's weird like that around here sometimes. Anyway, check out "The Great Benzini" for a new look at gaming.

Long-time readers may recall how many times this homepage has changed faces, from subtle to radical and all points in-between, over the past 4-plus years. As I learn more about the web and web design, for myself and for others, small things come and go, the cumulative effect can be pretty dramatic if you haven't visited here in a while.

If you hadn't scrolled all the way to pagebottom yet, I have bid farewell to the Bravenet Hitcounter that's been with me from the beginning, as of last week's issue. The new hitcounter is a simple PHP script (one of several new scripting languages I'm studying), hosted right here on my servers, that will tie in nicely with the increasingly interactive role Crazed Fanboy has with its readership. Also: no ad banner! Ha ha. That always makes the site more professional-looking, less homepage-y, and more attractive to potential advertisers who will hopefully rent space here to place their...er...ad banners!

Happy Birthday wishes to my Uncle Bert Canova who turns 85 years young Sunday, May 30, 2004! A big party is planned in his honor and my brother and I will likely be attending.

Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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"Mike's Rant" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2004 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2004 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones    "Couch Potato Confessions" is © 2004 by Vinnie Blesi    "The Great Benzini" is ©2004 by Ben Gregory      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova    
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