PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #205  (Vol. 5, No. 9)  This edition is for the week of February 23--29, 2004.

LA FLORIDIANA
Florida Indies Film Review: "Not Another Student Film" 2003, A Full Sail Production.
 by Will Moriaty
THIS WEEK'S MOVIE REVIEW
"The Passion of the Christ"
 by Mike Smith
"The Passion of the Christ"  by Nolan B. Canova
ODDSERVATIONS
Indie Filmmaker Spotlight: Katherine Leis
 by Andy Lalino
THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
30 Bands That Made The '80s NOT Suck, PART 3
 by Terence Nuzum
THE DROW
Neon Genesis Evangelion
 by Dylan Jones
NICHOLAS REX
Political Correctness in the Modern World
 by Nick King
SPLASH PAGE
Baseball Is Dead To Me....Cutting Kurt Cobain A Break .... FCC Squeezes Out The Sponge .... Slushpile....Things I Didn't Know But Probably I Should Have
 by Brandon Jones
MIKE'S RANT
Oscar Time....B.I.T.....Are You Kidding Me?...Movie News....Meet The Beatles, Part 6
 by Mike Smith
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Baseball is Dead to Me!

I’ll pay you $67 million dollars to take the best player in baseball. (pause) Uh, okay, I’ll take your strikeout leading second baseman to make this look. Woohoo!!! Isn’t the A-Rod trade great? I’ve actually heard some people spinning the trade as “good for baseball.” Now the John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, openly claims that the financial system in baseball isn’t working and that a salary cap is needed. Criticisms of the Yankees persists, but they are playing by the rules – and isn’t that the problem.

The luxury tax payment from the Yankees to the rest of the league would be the 12th highest salary in the league and the Yankee in-field would rank 17th. Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter make more that half of the entire teams in the league. So, unless the Pirates and Devil Rays get to play 3-on-9, what hope is there?

If you don’t have the cash, you don’t get the wins.

I know what your thinking: what about the recent success of the Royals, Twins, A’s and Marlins?

Let’s first point out that I’ll concede that if you make the playoffs and having good pitching – anything can happen (hence the Marlins). Reality is reality – these teams success dictates their failure. The players abandon ship to cash in with the teams that can afford to pay them. Ask Miguel Tejada and Giambi why they left the A’s?

Sound bad? Let’s add the fact that the integrity of the game is under question. Sure, the president has better things to do that worry about Barry Bond’s steroid use, but the issue is “America’s game.” If these players’ abilities and records are tainted by performance enhancing drugs – where does that leave the state of baseball?

Pete Rose did admit to gambling, of course, that was to sell his book, which he is signing in Vegas casinos. The luster of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa’s magical 1998 run is gone (and under question – roids). There’s no consistency with players as they jump to the teams with the open checkbook. Owners cry fowl, yet continue the insanity and support the most biased commissioner of any major sport. What has happened to baseball? It died.

Bunting, fielding and a lifetime with one team has fallen into oblivion with the sandlot stickball games, 12-foot jumpshot, practicing free throws, hockey goons and a drug free Olympics.

Rest in Peace baseball. Maybe A-Rod will buy the Devil Rays with the interest he’ll earn after a couple of months.

Cutting Kurt Cobain a Break

The '80s music culminated with the pinnacle of hard rock (mostly "glam rock") and the movement of alternative bands breaking into the mainstream. Of course, with success comes failure and The Cure, Pixies and others fell into the same trap as their “metal” counterparts such as Motley Crue, Poison and others – drugs and alcohol.

The Cure couldn’t keep members straight and changed musicians on nearly every album. Moreover, when I saw The Cure, Robert Smith showed up to lead a disinterested band in a mediocre live performance. Bands like Depeche Mode, Sonic Youth and The Cult went through the motions, but were merely glorified music videos. In fact, The Pixies were so horrible that the strung out bassist nearly fell off the stage and the show had an irritating, yet amusing, “pause” to re-group.

Then it happened.

“Nevermind” was an eye-opening reminder of what “alternative” was supposed to be – loud, anti-system, teenage angst and pure, unorthodox rock ‘n roll. The grunge that followed (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains) was even better than Nirvana. Our drunken, drug-addicted musicians were slapped in the face and everyone knew it – that’s one major reason why “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was sooooo big.

The music fans were not angry at music of the '80s, but we welcomed the change. A change that hadn’t happened since Guns N’ Roses and the Sex Pistols before that – Cobain was the torchbearer of change.

Let me note that he could not have known the significant change he was having on the industry, in fact, he too was strung out on heroin. No more perfect hair, Toni Basil or Flock of Seagulls. Fairwell keyboards, dust off the guitar. Burn your spandex and put on a flannel shirt. Back away from the Aquanet and forget about acid-washing those jeans.

This transitional period doesn’t carry the passion that Jimi Hendrix had on music, but Nirvana’s impact was soooo enormous, it’s immeasurable. The airwaves opened up for rap music and real estate agents had a couple of musician’s estates to sell.

The biggest survivor’s of this period – U2 and REM are still amongst my favorite bands. I know the purity of their early success is long gone, but their recent albums still carry a sincerity and depth that drives good music.

The FCC squeezes out the Sponge

Tampa shock-jock finally had to pay the piper following an enormous fine brought against the radio program’s station, 97.9 FM. Bubba the Love Sponge’s antics and language finally caught up to him. The $755,000 in fines ended the popular program (number one ages 18 to 34 from 6-10 am.) which had been syndicated in Orlando and Jacksonville.

Back off any of the free speech arguments. Bubba was a poor man’s Howard Stern with a show filled with vile and inane conversation. The language was so offensive, you couldn’t tolerate the show awaiting the next segment of songs.

I remember hitting the wrong button and having to discuss some of the language with the kids that were in the car at the time. Thank God it wasn’t an “orgasm” segment. Hopefully, the Clear Channel Suits will find a subdued replacement, so I can tune in and enjoy that music that I listen to from 10 a.m. on.

Bubba always hid behind free speech for his outlandish behavior, casting off others that disagreed with him. The airwaves are better without you. It’s pathetic that there’s probably a dozen stations lining up to sign him up – hopefully it’s not near Tampa.

Slushpile

Old or new, we dig through the mounds of comics – good or bad. I try to follow-up on the recommendations of others and share highs and lows of Comicdom.

Startling Stories: Banner: this was noted as the best mini-series of 2001 by Wizard, a mainstream comic magazine and price guide. The series is included with the Hulk: The Return of the Monster Hardback available at any Barnes and Noble or Borders. The original issues have not risen in price significantly ($3-4 a piece).

Imagine enduring the curse of your own science experiments whereby, you lose your temper and transform into a murderous beast that you cannot control. The ultimate Mr. Hyde, except for one thing – Bruce Banner wants to die.

Writer Brian Azzarello hit the mainstream after his awesome 100 Bullets to bring a tormented Banner to life. Suicide doesn’t work and the devastation of multiple cities is devastating Bruce’s psyche. Add the government’s attempts to control the Hulk and fellow gamma-irradiated scientist Doc Samson – Azzarello’s tale is short but intense.

The artwork of Richard Corben is odd, but depicts the horror of the Hulk attacks with great detail. How can you not love body parts flung around as the Hulk tears the cities apart limb from limb?

A great ending will appeal to the non-Hulk fan, which still includes myself, because the “Hulk smash” story is not more intellectual, complex and focuses on the battered emotions of Bruce Banner.

Things I Didn’t Know, but Probably Should Have

Jim Rome is a hypocritical, egomaniacal a-hole. Jim Rome is the Sports version of Rush Limbaugh, a syndicated radio talk show host, whose opinions is one-sided and over the top. Recently, his banishment of a listener for anti-Semitic remarks became even more intolerable as Rome makes excuses for friend Jay Mohr. Mohr made insensitive comments stereotyping Asians while ridiculing American Idol loser William Hung. Dismissing the comments made by Mohr just continue to prove Rome’s ignorance unless it’s being fed to him by his fleet of producers. Keep listening clones ‘cause you’re just drones.

William Hung, the lovable loser who sang “She Bangs” keeps on extending that 15 minutes of fame. Likewise, there’s always someone there to exploit anyone or anything to pull in some bank. After crooning for The Ellen Show (did I say croon?), Hung sang for the University of California at Berkeley paving the way for a $25,000 recording/music video contract. Twenty-five grand? Come on. I’d rather chuckle with Hung that pretend that the Clay and Kelly are talented.

Pat Riley a Dallas Cowboy? Yep, per an interview on the Dan Sileo show in Orlando, Pat discussed that, despite not playing college football, he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. He actually had a meeting with Tom Landry and Hank Stramm about playing cornerback. Pat wanted the chance to play quarterback. So I guess Roger Staubach and Don Meredith should get some credit for Pat’s Hall of Fame coaching career.

Movie Hell: “Welcome to Mooseport”, “Eurotrip”. “Catch That Kid”, “50 First Dates”, “You Got Served”, “Against the Ropes” – ever wonder why we all hate Hollywood? They consider the first quarter of the year the dumping ground for their corporate write-offs. How do you feel about “Jersey Girl” now?



"Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.