July. Action-packed month as America celebrates its 232nd birthday, and I play around with the new PCR Photo Viewer. It's not appropriate for every situation, but it works well enough for quick and dirty displays, like one or two shots at Hooters of our meeting with Akron, Ohio's Claude DeBord, who wanted us to contribute to his Halloween party! (Quite a shindig, but we respectfully declined.) The Tampa Film Review announces the first of two location moves for this year. Terence Nuzum posts his only official movie review for PCR, Mother of Tears, the only time PCR's official critic Mike Smith had some accompaniment. I have a few things to say about Hellboy II, and Andy Lalino begins a strange exit from the Crazed Fanboy universe, with a column about a trip to the mountaintop. His subsequent Oddservations column, a glee-filled promotion of his newest flick-in-production, comes under fire for editorial content. Unable to resolve the conflict, Andy closes Oddservations with a few grindhouse reviews and heads out the door. The Dark Knight explodes on the movie scene and becomes talk show and message board fodder for weeks to come. The late Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker establishes a new paradigm and seems a shoe-in for an Oscar. I make some casual observations about the changing look of Batman over the decades. In response to still-echoing loose ends, I consider re-stating PCR's Mission Statement in an attempt to keep the peace. ED Tucker'sRetrorama and Lisa Ciurro'sFANGRRL celebrate one year of top-notch nostalgia commentary, regular commentary and book/movie reviews at PCR. As a result of the tumbling economy, I lose any remaining paid ad banners this month, curiously just as new writers are coming on board, older ones on hiatus return, and PCR has never seemed stronger. Corey Castellano'sFilm Biz 101 comments on the notorious Writer's Strike and makes a case for labor unions in film. In one of the most shocking of the many UFO/paranormal headlines to rattle my cage this year, former Apollo astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell discusses insider knowledge of space alien visitation. In August, Ye Olde Editor turns 53, declines to update the original Mission Statement, but definitely spins out the update on PCR's Editorial Guidelines. I figure it's all pretty obvious, but some folks like to see it in writing, I suppose. We welcome Bobby Tyler & Jake Tipton, two teenagers from Robinson High, onboard to experiment with a new music review column, Music Emporium. Maintaining an openness to our younger audience has always been a concern of mine. As Tropical Storms and Hurricanes pummel the Atlantic and head toward our shores, newspaper comic strip "For Better or For Worse" ends its decades-long story, only to "start over" soon after. Another Bigfoot hoax in the making as two yahoos claim to find a carcass at roadside. (Along with the "alien-in-the-window" video, the Stephenville, TX sightings, Edgar Mitchell's aforementioned alien revelation, and the strange pics of the "robot drone" UFO from Cali, this has been a banner year for the paranormal!) The Demcratic National Convention cranks up as Matt Drinnenberg'sRail keeps a watchful eye on the country's politics, something he's excelled at over the years! (Besides keeping an eye on Famous Monsters news, natch!) September begins sadly as Mike Smith attends to the passing of his father, Floyd. We get a visit from Mike in Tampa, wish it could've been under happier circumstances. This Week's Movie Review and Mike's Rant are both dedicated to memories of Mike and his father and are compelling reading. Florida's still in hurricane prepareness state, so Lisa FANGRRL Ciurro helps the cause with a Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Fortunately, we didn't need it this year, but glad it was there anyway! Chris Woods decides to take the plunge with his own PCR column, Growing Up Fanboy, a monthly feature, starting off with memories of Star Wars. Through the pages of La Floridiana, Will Moriaty catches us up on where he's at in one of the worst years of his life. Andy Lalino announces his final Oddservations with an intention to move to Schlockarama: Grindhouse, but alas, it wasn't to be. Schlock takes off without him. The White House announces a multi-billion dollar bailout for the nation's banks amidst the clamor of controversy. Clay Aiken and Lindsay Lohan admit they're gay for anyone who, like, wondered about that. Legendary screen actor Paul Newman leaves us for the great beyond at 83. AOL Hometown, the webspace so many of us AOL members used to begin our website "careers", announces it's going dark at the end of October. October, usually the most darkly festive of holidays for us here at PCR, starts with another sad passing, that of Dottie Carlson, pioneer political activist in Florida, and wife of "Weird Florida" author Charlie Carlson. Classic comedienne Edie Adams also leaves this plane of reality. I take in Oliver Stone's W and give my two cents on his portrayal of the President. Actress Tina Fey (30 Rock) hones her impressionist chops on Sarah Palin (both re-popluarizing herself and Saturday Night Live in the process), as John Miller and Terence Nuzum announce the end of their nearly year-long online comic, DRAGOON. The Tampa Bay Rays (formerly the Devil Rays) make an impressive show in the World Series, as several Halloween-themed events stir in Tampa. This marks the debut of artist John Miller as a writer/columnist when he reviews The Halloween Horror Picture Show. The Presidential Election is around the corner as is poised to make history on several levels no matter who wins. November reveals Barack Obama as the country's elected President, the first back man in American history to win, 40 years after the "I Have A Dream " speech by Martin Luther King. The Tampa Giant Comic Con holds its last event in Tampa, announcing a move to Pinellas. I recount my memories of the Kennedy Asassination (the original "Nightmare on Elm Street"!) 45 years after the fact. John Miller recalls Channel 44's birthday, which is 44 this year. December begins like the last two months, sadly, with more death news: pioneer fanboy, collector, agent, and Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine editor Forrest J Ackerman, is dead at 92. He celebrated his birthday merely a week before. Still reeling from that announcement came another that Bettie Page, famed pin-up girl from the '50s, also left us at 85, following a bout with pneumonia. Naturally, a few of us aren't the same. Eartha Kitt's passing at 81 rekindled memories of her stint on TV's Batman. Matt's Rail and FANGRRL contain some notable retropsectives on Forry and Bettie. I decide to let everyone have it over my experiences with the Tampa film scene in "Mission Accomplished?", a two-parter inspired partially by the closing of the Tampa Film Review, announced at this month's meeting. Speaking of the TFR, Paul Guzzo offers his wackiest Filmlook column to date, speculating on the fate of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Terence Nuzum makes a liar out of me by squeezing in his second Audio Philes of the year, for "Christmas on Mars". Most PCR writers have a go at a year-end issue, the most notable and highly recommended is Mike's Rant, both last issue and this issue, where Mike Smith covers more ground in some areas than I did, especially in a more exhaustive list of celebrity deaths. The Story of the Year? Without a doubt, the worst economic Recession this country has seen since the Great Depression, with dozens of banks closing, 100-year-old stores folding or going bankrupt, and the credit market frozen. Eclipsing everything else in the news, even the historic Presidential election, it serves as a grim reminder that Barack Obama is facing a lot in 2009.
AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED! See you on the other side in 2009!
Special thanks to Mike Smith (still hasn't missed an issue from the start!!), Matt Drinnenberg, William Moriaty, ED Tucker, Lisa Ciurro, Paul Guzzo, Chris Munger, John Miller, Chris Woods, Bobby Tyler & Jake Tipton, and all relevant Message Board posters (you know who you are). I couldn't have come this far without you and that's a fact. Thank you all, keep up the GREAT work in 2009, the best is yet to come!
And a VERY special thanks to Terence Nuzum, co-moderator, assistant editor, and close friend. Working in behind-the-scenes ways most readers barely glimpse (but the writers are largely hip to), Terence's invaluable input and hands-on assistance helped build and steer this website and retain its integrity to the point where he's virtually as much in charge as I am, and totally in charge when I'm away. And I'm OK with that. What can I say, Ter? You're the best, and I look forward to a productive 2009.
Hello. Whew. I made it. Got through the Christmas holidays having to work right through them (no days off) and engaging in as much sleep-deprivation as I dare at my age to attend what few social functions I could so I feel like I'm still part of the universe. This is life on poverty row, folks. Still, I had a good time, friends came through for me, and a few local PCR staffers were able to meet up for A Very Special Nina O's PCR Christmas (photos below).
'60s TV's Batman was at one time the hottest television show imaginable, but dated quickly due to its campiness, ironically the very thing that made it a hit. It featured two episodes a week (unheard of at the time for prime time) with an overt "cliffhanger" between shows (only Lost in Space dared this as well). Not that other shows didn't leave off somewhere. But I'm talking the "TUNE IN TOMORROW/NEXT WEEK!!" sort of thing.
There were three actresses who played Catwoman across from Adam West's Batman in the '60s: the incomparable Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether (movie version only), and Eartha Kitt. Of the three, Eartha Kitt was my least favorite. A talented singer and performer in clubs, yes, and the one Catwoman who really went to town with the whole "purrrr-fect end to a purrrr-fect crime" schtick (her tongue-roll on that was creepy, I thought), but she was no Julie Newmar. To be fair, she put her heart into it and, over time, she grew on me.
She continued a successful singing career, putting out many albums after Batman folded. She died recently at the age of 81 from colon cancer.
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Comfortably secluded in our corner booth, Terence Nuzum, left, catches something on the overhead plasma TV, while Chris Woods, center, and John Miller converse with the others.
Here I swing the camera around the backs of Cathy Wynkoop (left) and John Miller (right, yellow shirt) to catch, L-to-R, Joel Wynkoop, Lisa Ciurro, and Paul Guzzo.
So I can get Will Moriaty in the picture, a closer-up view of, L-to-R, Joel Wynkoop, Lisa Ciurro (obscured by Paul Guzzo), Paul Guzzo, and William Moriaty.
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William Moriaty, left, and yours truly watch a news report on the overhead TV.
Our server, Laurie, was kind enough to take our only group shot, L-to-R: Terence Nuzum, Chris Woods, John Miller, Cathy Wynkoop, Joel Wynkoop, Lisa Ciurro (partially obscured), Paul Guzzo, William Moriaty, and Nolan Canova.
Arriving late, former PCR columnist and message board poster, Drew Reiber, left, joins the festivities as Terence Nuzum looks on.
Long-time readers will remember that most of our PCR wing-dings were held at the Hooters sports bar in South Tampa for many years. This year, however, a good friend's mother opened a restaurant that she converted from an old gay bar and strip club (haha, no kidding) into quite a decent bar & grill, not far from me. Called Nina O's (after the owner/proprietor), located on S. Dale Mabry, we found this to be a nice departure from the screaming loudness of Hooters, despite the similarity in sports-bar motifs. Sporting 12 wide-screen plasma TVs, individual booth speakers, good food at reasonable prices, and a comfortable homey surrounding, this became our new hang-out.
Our Christmas PCR gathering was Sunday, December 21st. We relived our favorite times of the year (H.G.Lewis, conventions, the underground Britton Cinema showings), touched on a few low-points (current soap operas, the Oddservations disaster, message board fiascos, etc.), and discussed plans for 2009. Of course, the management and direction of this website, and the fate of the Tampa Film Review were high on priorities.
I was hoping a few of the teen titans would show but no luck, possibly because they interpreted the plans as more tentative. Despite their lack of visibility over the past few months (save for the message board), they swear to become more regular columnists in 2009. Noted!
My one regret is the cell phone number of our Britton Cinema benefactor, John Petrey, could not be located in time to forward at least a last-minute invitation. I thought at least three of us had it, but none of us did. Drag. Hopefully next time, John.
About an hour into our dinner, Drew Reiber arrived, visiting from California. That, of course, took us into current movie talk and the future of Hollywood.
It was a great time, and helped ensure a Merrier Christmas for all involved!
Sports Talk by Chris Munger is our biggest success for a new column, is our only regular sports-related feature, and Chris Munger plans to stay aboard! Yay, us! Begun in April of this year, Chris missed a few issues this past Fall due to computer accessibility problems, but has been amazingly regular otherwise. His knowledge of sports never ceases to amaze me. Congratulations, Chris! Highly Honorable Mention:Growing Up Fanboy, Chris Woods' monthly feature.
ED Tucker wins both the Mike Smith Award for most consistent performance (hasn't missed an issue since he started Retrorama in August '07), and the William Moriaty Award for most consistent standard of excellence. Congratulations, Mr. Tucker!
Despite numerous personal setbacks this year, not the least of which was a brief but intense battle with cancer, FANGRRL columnist Lisa Ciurro is a survivor and an amazingly talented woman. Her engaging biographies, her concise book reviews, and her witty and endearing personal style combine to make FANGRRL one of the top columns ever to appear regularly on Nolan's Pop Culture Review and I'm honored to present her also with the William Moriaty Award for consistent excellence.
Although Film Biz 101 and Music Emporium were not quite as regular as I would've hoped them to be (particularly the latter), I'm still in touch with the writers and they still pledge to pick up where they left off.
Corey Castellano (Film Biz 101) is a working Hollywood professional and he was always there for us when time permitted. He was absent during the latter part of this year due to on-location work. But he is still a PCR staff member in good standing as far as I'm concerned.
Bobby Tyler and Jake Tipton of Music Emporium I held to a slightly different standard because they're so young. Highly experimental on my part, Music Emporium was an attempt to seed some youthful perspective on our aged shores by way of high school students and the results were successful if not particularly prolific (two columns to date). I am confident, however, that one, both, or someone else in their group (there are several contenders) will take the youth section and run with it in 2009.
Which brings us to the tragic case of Andy Lalino and Oddservations, the rarest animal, a long-time column to officially close. To try and summarize my relationship with Andy Lalino in 100 words or less is an excercise in futility because I could practically write a book about it. Words like tempestuous, argumentative, and on-again/off-again come to mind. I could cite many examples where our relationship went sour over the years (maybe in that book I want to write), but instead, I'll forward that a word like "ground-breaking" is also appropriate. The Creature Feature Database was basically invented by Andy Lalino and the webpage for it retains his creative architecture to this day. His column, Oddservations, a regular PCR feature for about six years, holds the record for the most single-minded devotion to its nearest and dearest subject matter, pre-1989 shock cinema. To this end, Andy was unparalleled. Andy was also responsible for securing some ground-level advertising support, and helped organize both the PCR/UNIQUE VIDEO Halloween Bash '07 as well as the Herschell Gordon Lewis/David Friedman encounter from earlier this year.
End Game POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 24, 2008
Before I get into "The Year That Was, Part 2", I'd like to make a few comments.
First off, this is the last issue of the year and it may run a little longer due to the way the calendar played out. This is issue #52 for 2008. Issue #1 for 2009 will go up next Wednesday or next Thursday.
Secondly, sincere thanks to all who wrote me and/or sent me Christmas cards. It means a lot. It's nice to know I have a few well-wishers left after the year I've had. I myself suck at sending out cards and gave up in frustration years ago, so please don't think you didn't receive one from me because I hate you or something. But...like I said, it's very special to receive them, so thank you.
Thirdly, except for PCR staff members, over the next few days I'm not taking many phone calls. Emails or paper cards or this website's Readers' Comments section are quite sufficient to convey your Holiday Greetings and, again, I thank you. If you call and I don't answer the telephone, it means I'm either not here, swamped with work, or trying to sleep. It doesn't mean I hate you. Pretty much like usual, except I'm working both jobs right through the Christmas holidays. Yes, it sucks, but that's life at the moment.
So, I'm going to be updating the homepage in bits and pieces this week. Thank you for your attention.
Like any year, I experienced some ups and downs with this website and in life.
As you all may or may not know, I write not only the homepage content, but the source code for the entire website (save for the Message Board). It was a year of tremendous growth for me as I learned more about the scripting languages that make the site more interactive with the readers and the writers. To this end, Schlockarama: Grindhouse is my biggest success. The degree of automation I achieved with that will be applied to the rest of Crazed Fanboy as quickly as time permits, hopefully before the end of the year. It's exciting to see something work after so much time and effort was put into it.
The Chatroom, arguably my biggest failure, is being discontinued in its current form. I never had the time to promote and exploit it properly, and I intend to write a more updated version of it anyhow for different purposes.
The Message Board has come so close to termination so many times it's ridiculous. At one time a busy thoroughfare of TV/movie fan talk and indie film networking, it still sprouts a few quality threads here and there (for which I'm grateful, thank you), but it has also evolved into such a catch-all for spammers and malcontents that its ongoing maintenance severely tests my resolve to continue its operation. It has its fans and adherents, however, who continually talk me out of deep-sixing it altogether, so on it goes for the time being. At the very least, some forums might get axed after year's end, others will be "re-purposed".
Anyway....I don't want to seem too "Grinchy" in this most festive of holidays. Whence next I update this section, we'll look at a few things that went right. And a few things that went...well, haywire!