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LA FLORIDIANA
A Case of Microwave Mayhem or Misinformation in Northwest Florida?
 by William Moriaty

THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"The Sea Inside"
 by Mike Smith

ODDSERVATIONS
"Filthy" and other Indie Filmmakers at MegaCon - Booth #721....Back, and Better Than Ever....Dr. Paul Bearer - 10 Year Oddservance
 by Andy Lalino

SPLASH PAGE
Miracle Turns 25....Oscar Predictions and Comments....Fear and Loathing No More....Speaking of Drugs....On To MegaCon
 by Brandon Jones

CREATURE'S CORNER
Constantine....Comics: Tom Strong
 by John Lewis

MATT'S RAIL
The 100,000 Club....Masters of Horror Back on Track....Rondo Winners Announced....Oscar Picks
 by Matt Drinnenberg

MIKE'S RANT
Attention Must Be Paid....Also Moving On....Last Hint....Next Week....Jaws: The Story, Part 7
 by Mike Smith

LETTERS
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
    Number 257  (Vol. 6, No. 8). This edition is for the week of February 21--27, 2005.

Benchmarks and passings

  • Hunter S. Thompson, dead at 67
    Also....
  • Crazed fanboy homepage reaches 100,000 hits
  • "Independent Art" Magazine to debut this summer
  • Martin Short stage show reviewed by Hugo Morley
  • Mike Smith's Oscar Picks!
  • The weekend had already been tinged with the news of the passing of Sandra Dee, Gidget, the love of Bobby Darin's heart, at 62.

    I was online sometime later when I got an Instant Message from the otherwise elusive Drew Reiber informing me that Hunter S. Thompson, 67, had commited suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

    I don't think there is any writer alive who ever even fantasized about calling himself a "gonzo journalist", myself included, who can honestly say he was unaffected by Thompson's work. The man was a groundbreaker and a limit-tester. A wildman who lived life on the edge, drank, smoked, did drugs and lived the proverbial nine lives to write about it.

    I myself was first initiated to Thompson's work through (best as I can remember) a local music 'zine/tabloid that regularly ran his columns. I was absolutely hooked. I later learned (I think anyway) the columns were reprints from earlier pieces.

    He was a hard-living writer who inserted himself into his accounts of America's underbelly and popularized a first-person form of journalism in books such as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" (which later became a movie starring Johnny Depp). Besides the 1972 classic about Thompson's visit to Las Vegas, he also wrote "Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72." The central character in those wild, sprawling satires was "Dr. Thompson," a snarling, drug- and alcohol-crazed observer and participant.

    Thompson is credited alongside Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese with helping pioneer New Journalism - or, as he dubbed it, "gonzo journalism". He wrote a series of articles for Rolling Stone magazine where he attacked Richard Nixon particularly hard referring to him in the lowest criminal terms. But, he also thought presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey was a "hopelessly dishonest old hack".

    It is widely known the sexist, outlaw opportunistic "Duke" character in the comic strip "Doonesbury" was based on Thompson (a notoriety, I understand, Thompson disliked).

    He fretted for the what he saw as the erosion of the American Dream and increasingly distrusted those in authority (boy, do those hit home). He was a life-long member of the NRA and a major gun collector. He loved weapons.

    Recently plagued by worsening health, pain from hip surgery and a broken leg, some speculated that the sudden infirmity that beset him mixed with (reportedly) extreme depression at the re-election of George W. Bush may have been what did him in. I doubt it (although he was clearly not a supporter).

    After I heard the news of his suicide, I recoiled in shock momentarily before shaking myself and thinking...."of course---it's not that big a surprise." I think Thompson reached a wall, and those closest to him probably felt, like I did, he would rather die at a time of his choosing, by his own hand (and a prize gun), than whither away a frail old man.

    Hunter S. Thompson, gonzo journalist extraordinaire, will be sorely missed.

    Crazed Fanboy Homepage Reaches the 100,000 Hits Mark
    With surprisingly little fanfare, considering the pomp-and-circumstance all the other zero-number turnovers garnered, last Monday, February 21st at 2:30am I logged onto Crazed Fanboy and saw that in the day and a half or so I had been away, the hitcounter had inched perilously close to the magic 6-figure mark at 99,983. Shocked that Ricky Sousa was asleep at the wheel (he usually stalks the hitcounter so he can be the one who turns it over to the next "big" number), I took matters into my own hands. I figured, HEY, I DESERVE THIS! If I'm here now, and it's this close, maybe it's fate! So, I clicked the "refresh" button the few times it took to get my baby to 100,000. And I'm not a bit sorry, in fact, it's poetic justice since I was never awake to see any of the other turnovers (well, maybe two of them). Congratulations to all of us who saw this through from the beginning. Final note: as I need to remind everyone once in a while, the hits to the homepage are different than the hits to the website. The decorative counter's code only counts this page. But the search engine activity in the archives is incredible, and my web host over the years has reliably counted millions....yes, that's millions...of hits to the archives (but not every visitor to the archives takes time to visit the homepage, where the counter is).

    When I started the web counter on AOL Hometown 5 years ago, I only had the homepage, really, plus a lettercol. I never dreamed it would get this big. What I should do, and what is long overdue, is create a counter that counts visits to the WHOLE website---certainly an advantage to selling advertising. I just didn't want anyone thinking I was making up numbers. But one day you may log on to Crazed Fanboy and see the hitcounter in the millions -- rest assured it's the sum total of the entire website's visits from its inception!

    "Independent Art" Magazine to Debut This Summer
    Another development I'm very proud of right now. I have been brought on board to be editor-in-chief of a brand-new magazine aimed at the independent artist, called, appropriately enough, "Independent Art". This is a regular paper magazine, targeted for newsstand distribution. The staff is being assembled (some names you'll recognize), the premiere issue is being designed and material is being collected! Andy Lalino and I are building the website right now.

    What's exciting is this is aimed not only at showcasing independent artists nationwide (not just Florida), but through a very aggressive classifieds section, will be helping artists network with each other and agents/managers/aquisition people, and sell their goods directly to their target audience. Classified ads will be in full color. More information will be available from the website when it's finished (hopefully by next week).

    To anyone going to MegaCon in Orlando this weekend: stop by booth #721 where Andy Lalino and a host of other indie Florida filmmakers are and pick up an I.A. flyer. On the flyer will be a space for you to write your ad copy along with any payment information, so you can be a part of the premere issue!

    And remember. The initials for Independent Art Magazine spell I AM. (Tip of the hat to Joe Davison for pointing that out.--N)


    Guest Editorial
    Martin Short Of Material       by Hugo Morley

    This weekend Martin Short brought his one man show to the Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The diminutive Canadian, best known for The Three Amigos and Father Of The Bride movies as well as a short stint on "Saturday Night Live" showcased his arsenal of talent: singing, dancing, impressions, stories, jokes & characters, but strangely, he left us lacking.

    He calls the show - "If I'd saved, I wouldn't be here" - beyond the joke, it seems to be a very accurate title. With his Broadway pedigree it is not surprising that he opens the evening with a few Broadway standards before launching into a few clichéd local references and tired topical jokes; Brad & Jennifer, Michael Jackson and gay clergy. Movie clips from over a decade ago cover his costume changes and remind us of when he was a tour de force instead of being forced to tour. Ed Grimley, Short's SNL geek, received a huge reception but having changed into this character we find that he really has nothing to do. He talks to a few members of the audience but doesn't have anything to say to them. If he doesn't want to engage a writer, Short should at least go to one of Barry Humphries' Dame Edna shows to learn (or steal) audience interaction.

    The highlight of the evening was the appearance by Jiminy Glick, Short's obese, high-pitched, donut-stuffing movie critic and chat show host. This is the man who on television asked Mel Brooks, "What is your beef with the Nazis?". Wearing a huge fat suit and glasses that make Larry King's look tiny, there is sadly no time to apply Rick Baker's sensational facial makeup. So we are now faced with Glick in his massive glory but with a tiny, disproportionate head. This is lamely excused by claiming a mix up between moisturiser and assbegone cream. In the most surreal part of the evening Jiminy Glick brought on Rick Nielson & Robin Zander from the band "Cheap Trick". During an all too short interview he asked them who in the world bought their music? When a small cheer went up from the audience Glick responded, "I see, drunks" before asking Zander if he preferred his long blonde hair now or eighteen years ago when it was fashionable.

    More showtunes followed and an approval-seeking mention of his marriage of twenty-six years and three children. A beautiful blonde woman brings Short a glass of champagne and is introduced as the future Mrs. Short. "I like my drinks like my women - comped by the theatre".

    The show is wrapped up by a very touching tribute to Johnny Carson and a very amusing story of his first appearance on the Tonight Show with an aged & chain-smoking Bette Davis.

    Charming, funny and talented as Martin Short is, his show is just not good enough, needs a lot of work and maybe a writer if he is serious about taking it to Broadway later this year.



    This coming Sunday the 77th Academy Awards presentation will take place. While in past years there was one film that seemed to have a clear shot at the prize, tonight is shaping up to be a race to the wire. Here are my choices for this year's awards:

    BEST ACTOR: This is by far the hardest category to choose from. Normally there is at least one nominee that doesn't seem right. This year the competition was so tough that several performances that seemed like nominee shoo ins were left off the short list. To me it's a two man race. In "Million Dollar Baby," Clint Eastwood gives his greatest on screen performance in an almost 50 year career. Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda"), Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Aviator") and Johnny Depp ("Finding Neverland)") will have more chances to win this prize. This year the Oscar is going home with Jamie Foxx for his complete and total transformation into Ray Charles in "Ray."

    BEST ACTRESS: Five years ago this category seemed to be a two woman race between "American Beauty's" Annette Bening and eventual winner Hilary Swank from "Boy's Don't Cry." Well, as Yogi Berra might say, it's deja vu all over again. Bening had early support for her performance in "Being Julia" but, once again, Swank is turning heads in her second role of a lifetime in "Million Dollar Baby." Imelda Staunton ("Vera Drake") makes it a three person race, while previous nominee Kate Winslet ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind") and newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace") will have to settle for just being nominated. Come Sunday Swank will become the 11th woman to win a second Best Actress award.

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Another tough call here. Both Jamie Foxx ("Collateral") and Clive Owen ("Closer") did great work but they were really star performances, not supporting. Alan Alda ("The Aviator") adds another accolade to his long and distinguished career. Thomas Haden Church also will have to settle for the acclaim the nomination has brought him. I can honestly say that I have been a fan of Morgan Freeman since he was on the old PBS kid's series "The Electric Company." With three nominations already to his credit, lucky number four will bring Freeman his first and much deserved award for his work in "Million Dollar Baby."

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: The nominees this year range from an incredible career comeback performance by Virginia Madsen in "Sideways" to Natalie Portman coming of age as an actress in "Closer." Laura Linney gives her usual fine performance in "Kinsey" while Sophie Okonedo was a perfect compliment to Don Cheadle in "Hotel Rwanda." Playing Katherine Hepburn, a four time Oscar winner, had to be a huge challenge for Cate Blanchett in "The Aviator." That she played her so well is a testament to her talent. I'm flipping a coin on this one, with Madsen heads and Blanchett tails. Hopefully the saying "tails never fails" is correct. My choice is Blanchett.

    BEST DIRECTOR: Poor Martin Scorsese. Arguably our greatest living film maker, he has always been the bridesmaid and never the bride in this category. Whether losing to actors turned directors like Robert Redford and Kevin Costner or feeling the backlash of an overzealous Oscar campaign, he has always gone home empty handed. Speaking of empty handed, that is how Taylor Hackford ("Ray"), Alexander Payne ("Sideways") and Mike Leigh ("Vera Drake") will end their evening. Tonight it's between Scorsese for "The Aviator" and Clint Eastwood for "Million Dollar Baby." Eastwood recently won the Director's Guild Award, which is usually a good omen come Oscar time. Only six times in history has the DGA winner not gone on to win the Oscar. Eastwood already has a directing Oscar for "Unforgiven" and I know the sentiment is on Scorsese's side. As much as I would like to see Scorsese take home the gold, I'm going with Eastwood, who has quietly become a filmmaking force to be reckoned with.

    BEST PICTURE: If you asked me in December, I would have thought that "The Aviator" had this award locked up. Both "Ray" and "Finding Neverland" are fine films, but they really aren't the best picture this year. When I did my top 10 film list my choice for #1 was "Sideways." But once again, "Million Dollar Baby" has slowly crept it's way up the list, making this category a three film race. And while I wouldn't be upset if any of the three won, I'm going to stick to my guns and name "Sideways" the best picture of the year.

    OTHER CATEGORIES:
    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: "Sideways"
    ANIMATED FILM: "The Incredibles"
    DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: "Super Size Me"
    FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "The Sea Inside"
    ORIGINAL SCORE: "The Passion of the Christ"
    ORIGINAL SONG: "Learn to be Lonely" from "The Phantom of the Opera"
    ART DIRECTION: "The Aviator"
    CINEMATOGRAPHY: "The Aviator"
    COSTUME DESIGN: "The Aviator"
    FILM EDITING: "The Aviator"
    MAKE UP: "The Passion of the Christ"
    VISUAL EFFECTS: "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"


    Phillip Smith's Oscar Picks
    ACTOR: JAMIE FOXX
    ACTRESS: ANNETTE BENING
    SUP ACTOR: MORGAN FREEMAN
    SUP ACTRESS: NATALIE PORTMAN
    DIRECTOR: CLINT EASTWOOD
    PICTURE: SIDEWAYS
    ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: MOTORCYCLE DIARIES
    ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
    ANIMATED FILM: SHREK 2
    DOCUMENTARY: SUPER SIZE ME
    FOREIGN FILM: THE SEA INSIDE
    MUSICAL SCORE: HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN
    ORIGINAL SONG: ACCIDENTALLY IN LOVE "SHREK 2"
    ART DIRECTION: THE AVIATOR
    CINEMATOGRAPHY: HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS
    COSTUME DESIGN: THE AVIATOR
    FILM EDITING: COLLATERAL
    MAKE: PASSION OF THE CHRIST
    VISUAL EFFECTS: SPIDER-MAN 2
    Matt Drinnenberg's Oscar Picks (Also appears in Matt's Rail, this issue)
    Yes, folks. It's that time of year again where we all weigh in on just who we believe will walk away with the statuette of no genitalia (apologies to Dustin). And I am just amazed that Mike and I have so many similar choices, yet again.

    Seems every year when we do this, we have more than a few we agree on. But this year is downright Twilight Zone-ish. I think we only differ on about 4 or 5 picks.

    Of course, being a competition, I could have easily dragged by feet and waited for Mike's Oscar offering. But no! I made my Oscar picks about 2 or 3 weeks ago at the Academy Awards site. And yes, it's timestamped, so I can prove that our similarities in life are wearing off on Oscar. Which, since I hold Mike in such great esteem, is pretty cool.

    As our picks are so similar, and our reasons for it almost as identical, there's really no need for me to add too much, as Mike pretty much said it for me. But.......

    BEST ACTOR: Clint Eastwood in MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Just a sensational job by Eastwood. Can't knock everyone else, but really just see him taking this.

    SUPPORTING ACTOR: Morgan Freeman in MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Like Mr.Smith, I've enjoyed this guy since Electric Company. I have to laugh that Mike knows that bit of trivia, but I guess I'm not too suprised.

    BEST ACTRESS: Annette Bening in BEING JULIA - Having been ROBBED of this statue previously, and once again turning in just a brilliant performance, she'll probubly be hosed again. Because I'm almost certain Hillary Swank is going to take this. Still, I have to give the nod to Bening.

    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Virginia Madsen in SIDEWAYS - Looks like I take heads, Mike, as I just don't see Virginia losing. I'll agree it's a coin toss, but my flip side was Natalie Portman.

    BEST DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood for MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Clint Eastwood has gone from Actor to Star to Director to Star Director to Oscar Winner and now, with this, to encompassing legend. Eastwood in a laugher. No one else is even close.

    BEST PICTURE: MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Yeah, I pretty much think this could sweep 90% of what it's nominated for.

    Writing (Original Screenplay) ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
    Writing (Adapted Screenplay) SIDEWAYS
    Animated Feature Film THE INCREDIBLES
    Documentary Feature BORN INTO BROTHEL
    Foreign Language Film THE CHORUS
    Music (Score) THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
    Music (Song) "Learn To Be Lonely" from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
    Art Direction THE AVIATOR
    Cinematography THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
    Costume Design LEMONY SNICKETíS A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS
    Film Editing THE AVIATOR
    Makeup THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
    Visual Effects SPIDER-MAN 2


    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 ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2005 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2005 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2005 by Michael A. Smith    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino    "Splash Page" is ©2005 by Brandon Jones    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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