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LA FLORIDIANA
Current Events From The World of "La Floridiana"
áby Will Moriaty

THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"Lord of War"
áby Mike Smith

COUCH POTATO CONFESSIONS
Couch Potato Fall TV Preview
áby Vinnie Blesi

ODDSERVATIONS
U2 is Once Again Amongst the Dregs....So the Box Office is Dead, Huh?
áby Andy Lalino

CREATURE'S CORNER
Hurricane Katrina....Mother Nature...."The Brothers Grimm"
 by John Lewis

MATT'S RAIL
When Real Life and the Web Collide....Masters of Horror Poll....Birthday Home Boy....Bushwhaking....Laura Bush "Disgusted" at Criticism of "W"
áby Matt Drinnenberg

MIKE'S RANT
Don't Forget To Donate....Not A Long Time Enough....Time For Sports....Andrew, Don't Read This....It's A Conspiracy....Movie Notes....A Great One Gone....Jaws: The Story, Part 33
áby Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2005!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our sixth calendar year!
Number 286  (Vol. 6, No. 37). This edition is for the week of September 12--18, 2005.

  • Ophelia
  • Bush takes Responsibility for Stalled Rescue Efforts
  • Katrina Death Count
  • Roberts on Roe v Wade Hot Seat
  • Congressman Uses Nat'l Guard to Access House
    Also...
  • Nolan Interview on Radio
  • TV Fall Schedule Underway
    Plus
  • "Mike's Rant" JAWS retrospective gets a partner
  • Romeo Coffeehouse Film Reviews for September
  • Ophelia
    One of the slowest-moving and screwiest hurricanes on record, Ophelia, looks like it finally hit (or skirted) the Carolina coastline late this afternoon as I write this (Wednesday afternoon) soaking many coastal communities. Ophelia has been upgraded and downgraded several times already but was a minimal category one storm by the time it made landfall. After hitting or skirting the outer banks of lower New England it will head back out to the open Atlantic. Taking its time doing so, I'm sure.

    President Bush Accepts Responsibility
    Following one of the slowest-moving and screwiest disaster responses on record, President Bush finally publicly said he "accepts responsibility" for the government's inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina rescue efforts. Weeks' worth of complaints and racial innuendo, followed by the resignation of short-term FEMA director Michael Brown ("You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie" haunts me still) broke the levee of political spin until Bush could not distance himself from it any longer. This public admission is the only thing Bush has done that I admire.

    Even he brought up the natural question, and it is ironic: you'd think after 9/11 our disaster preparedess would be at an all-time high. What was not said, and this is, of course, strictly my opinion, is we are not prepared because the administration is obsessed with affairs in Iraq and not affairs at home. There...that's all I'm going to say about that. For now.

    Katrina Death Count
    Last issue we reported the mayor of New Orleans predicted finding an estimated 10,000 dead once flood waters receded. We are pleased to report that, at least so far, it looks like that estimate was way high. So far, the dead (total) at this writing is 659, including 34 abandoned nursing home patients (the owners of the home have been criminally charged).

    John Roberts on Roe v Wade Hot Seat
    Supreme Court nominee John Roberts continued to be grilled by the Senate earlier in the week about what is likely the most divisive political topic in recent American history (Iraq notwithstanding), the right for a woman to have an abortion, established in 1973 by Roe v Wade. He remained steadfast in countering accusatory questioning, returning the view of Stare Decisis, an interesting legal phrase, Latin for "respecting established precedent" or "settled as precedent" as his answer on directions such decisions might take. Currently, questioning seems to have broken off Roe and probed into other areas like the controversial "eminent domain" decision. While Democrats are bristling at his open-ended answers and vague generalizations, I think Roberts is a good candidate. Natually, I would've loved to see a Libertarian get the seat, but that wasn't likely to happen under Bush---I'm just hoping Roberts may be moderate enough in his conservartive views (umm, did that make sense?) that the legacy of Sandra Day O'Connor's "swing vote" status has found an unlikely new home.

    Congressman Used National Guard Troops to Check His Own House
    Amid the chaos and confusion that engulfed New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina struck, a local congressman used National Guard troops to check on his property and rescue his personal belongings -- even while New Orleans residents were trying to get rescued from rooftops. On Friday, Sept. 2--five days after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast--Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., who represents New Orleans and is a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was allowed through the military blockades set up around the city to reach the Superdome, where thousands of evacuees had been taken. He insisted it was proper and he "was checking my district, not just my house" and the Guards accompanied him for safety. However, according to the Guards who accompanied him, he was in his house for nearly an hour (while they waited on the porch) and came out with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator, which the enlisted men loaded up into the truck. The water was up to the third step on Jefferson's house. Jefferson is already under an FBI investigation related to finaces of a hi-tech firm. When asked if he moved anything from his house relevant to the investigation, he said he did not. Right.

    PCR Publisher Nolan Canova to be Interviewed on Graveyard Shift AM Radio
    Yours truly has been invited to be a guest this Sunday, September 18th, on WTAN's "Graveyard Shift AM", 1340 AM on your radio dial, from 10:00pm--midnight. The small station, located in Clearwater, has been around only a few years, but Graveyard Shift just started this past summer. The program focuses on weird things (UFOs are a frequent topic), particularly about Florida, and I am honored they think me weird enough to interview! Haha. I am in very illustrious company with past guests being authors such as Charlie Carlson and Nick Redfern. The plan is to talk fan stuff for the first hour, then take calls the second hour---unless none come in, then we'll continue to talk fan stuff...which is fine by me! If you cannot get 1340 AM where you are, not to worry, all programs are available for download from emisuniverse.com! UPDATE: 9-18-05. Note from the show's host, Emi: "Let your fans know that the show comes in a LOT clearer if they listen on the internet rather than on the radio. It's a very weak signal that late at night." Consider it posted, Emi! --Nolan

    TV Fall Schedule Underway
    Thank god for Couch Potato that's all I've got to say. Weeks ago, I promised to do write-up on what I thought of a few Fall TV programs just from the scuttlebutt I'd gathered up to that point. Then, one thing or another happened, including an inconvenient and expensive hospital stay, and the article got delayed. Well, this week's Couch Potato Confessions does a better job than I could've done anyway. Also, check out this week's La Floridiana for Will Moriaty's preferred TV line-up.

    The Night Stalker
    The Night Stalker is one of a few Fall TV Shows I'd at least like to sample before I savage it. Umm....which one of you people is supposed to be Carl Kolchak again?
    For forty years, broadcast channels didn't move. Starting in the '90s, there was a realignment seemingly every few weeks making it difficult to remember what channel different programs were on now. I had cable television for almost 20 years and loved it. I knew where every station was, even with the occasional reordering of channels. However, I have gradually watched less and less TV (no time), and since I relinquished cable completely a couple years ago, I have to rehearse where the freaking channels are. I watch so little TV anymore, that can be quite a challenge. I could've sworn WB was on broadcast Channel 32.

    How lame is this: I actually set my alarm clock for 9:00pm last night so I could at least sample "Supernatural", the newest program on the WB network. A few snooze buttons later, it's already 36 minutes into the show. I leap out of bed and half-asleep realize I don't know what %&*!$ channel WB is on, but it isn't 32!! (When I had cable, it was Channel 6). I ended up watching the end of some violent movie. My memory jogs later and I remember WB is on Channel 38---after the show is over. I had completely forgotten we even had a Channel 38. OK, so now I know.
    UPDATE: 9-15-05. Couch Potato called me at home to tell me I wasn't hallucinating, WB use to be on Channel 32 in the Tampa market until about a year or two ago. I don't feel quite so bad now. PLUS, "Supernatural" repeated Thursday of this week (thanks for the head's up, Vinnie!). Tuning in to Channel 38, I caught most of it, albeit half-asleep. Concerns two brothers dealing with strange events as they search for their missing father. My first impression is it's a very dark Hardy Boys mixed with The X-Files, add elements of Nowhere Man and some production values of The Ring and you've got the basic texture. Was I dreaming or did Steve Railsback appear as a farmer towards the end?

    Be sure and check out this week's Couch Potato and La Floridiana for two excellent overviews of new Fall TV shows. Hey...at least I know where ABC is when "The Night Stalker" debuts later this month! (Umm...or do I?) Not that it'll matter much. As you can see by the above picture, it has virtually nothing in common with the late, great Darren McGavin/Simon Oakland classic of the mid-'70s.

    "Mike's Rant" Gets a Temporary Partner
    For this week only, legendary columnist Mike Smith will get a little help with his JAWS retrospective that has been a feature of The Rant for most of this year. Special feature writer ED Tucker felt compelled enough about the JAWS-inspired rip-offs Mike has been documenting to contribute a dilly of a piece on the movie "Great White", arguably the most notorious of the aforementioned homages, to include in this issue. Not only that, but due to its length and special nature, after this run of PCR, ED's piece on "Great White" will be moved permanently into Schlockarama. Schlockarama has been slow to update this year due to my other workloads, and I take responsibility for that, but it remains a popular well-hit section that I am commited to supporting, so it will get updated! Anyway, please see Mike's Rant and ED's piece on "Great White" in this issue!.

    Romeo Coffeehouse Film Reviews for September
    My regular partner for these excursions, Gustavo Perez, had to work late Thursday, so Chris Woods was my willing and able driver/companion to the Coffeehouse. Tonight was a tribute to the late Sondra Overholser, plus, the Guzzo Bros were going to show some clips of their newest flick, "99". Near the end, we discovered a new talent has moved to the area. More on that in a bit.

    First of all, let me say I was very disappointed at the turnout. I know Sondra had more of a following than this! A few folks I recognized didn't stay for the whole show, and those who did cleared out in a hurry. Please don't think that's a reflection on the night's program, I think it has to do with some bad mojo that's hit Ybor City recently. But I digress...

    Chris took off with all the copies of Sondra's films, so this is all from memory. In no particular order:
    "Eddie, My Love". Many of Overholser's themes seem to revolve around death, so the similarities can be confusing. This little ditty, however, I reviewed previously from a Saints & Sinners Film Festival: a broken-hearted young woman relentlessly complains to her mother (Overholser) of depression and despair over her missing loved-one, "Eddie". We are led to believe for the duration of the film that this was a boyfriend, husband or significant other. In a happy ending, the returning Eddie leaps into her arms, surprising us as to who...or what...she'd been referring to the whole time. Seeing the film a second time reaffirmed my conviction that this was one of Sondra's best and most accessible short films. On a second look, some scenes seemed unnecessary, but no doubt she thought it best to build suspense through repetitive dialogue.
    "Prey on the Dead". A girl who wants to be a rock star, and accepted a Grammy due to a deceased songwriter's uncredited contribution is haunted by the ghost of said songwriter (Overholser) until she pays the ultimate penance. Good moral to the story, well-acted, decent script. The dialogue between the young girl and Overholser was haunting and believable.
    "Paper Doll". A a woman uses voodoo to force a more positive relationship with an unresponsive suitor. It seems to work until her dog gets hold of the voodoo doll! Well-acted. Sick ending, but it works.
    "The Sick Sense". This one was hard for me to remember. I do remember a threesome roomate situation was driving the one girl "crazy" (Emily Page, I think) until she took measures to make the other two disappear, but I forget how, sorry (I need to get a hold of those copies, Chris!). Decent performances, very atmospheric, the script could've been a little tighter (repetitive dialogue seems to have been Sondra's weak spot).

    All of Sondra's films were shown from VHS copies(!), which believe it or not, looked pretty damned good on the big screen! (Only "Paper Doll" had detrimental glitches.) These were from the collection of Tracy Fitzgerald, a friend of Sondra's, a noted area cinematographer, and collaborator of several of Sondra's early films. Chris Conklin, previously noted (in Oddservations and the message board) as the director of Sheri Lawrence's Contact From Beyond, appears in the credits as a grip in an early Overholser film.

    The Guzzo Bros--
    "99". Paul showed a series of clips from TOO Productions latest, "99", starring, among others, Matt Camero, Robert Elfstrom, Tampa's Robert DeNiro (snark snark) Jereme Badger, and Florida Folk Hero and B-movie staple, Gustavo Perez. From what I gather, it's a crime drama mixed with a high-stakes wager regarding numbers of sexual exploits. Like all Guzzo productions, I expect this will be well-shot, written and acted. It was shot on the new Hi-Def video format (as was their previous hit, The Dance). It's still in the post-production phase and I'm supposed to view a final rough cut in about a week.

    Melissa Webb--
    "The Unconscious Disease". This was the surprise hit of the night as a new filmmaker announced her presence, Melissa Webb. New to the area from England, Melissa says this is her first film. An amazing debut, I'd say! A young woman believes she's being stalked by a violent psychopath. She's haunted by very violent images. Her true "problem" just might be that she herself is a mental patient! Or is it? Excellent cinematography, pacing and atmosphere. Tightly edited. A real find, this one, I hope Melissa sticks around!


    Announcements
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY WISHES go out to Mike Smith who turns 45 years old Friday, September 16th. Many Happy Returns, oh legendary one!

    The death of director Robert Wise at 91 came in just as this headline section of PCR was being finalized. Please see this week's Mike's Rant for an overview of this man's amazing career.

    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    "Creature's Corner" is ©2005 by John Lewis    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2005 by Vinnie Blesi    "Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova    
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