Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed. Nolan's Pop Culture Review 2001 Banner! Number 73 (Vol 2, No. 33).  This edition is for the week of August 13--19, 2001.
Top Ten Best Movie Sequels
And More Apes Talk:
Did Tim Burton rip off Kevin Smith?
Plus: PCR contributor John Lewis on the "surprise ending".

We'll get to this week's PCR Top 10 challenge in just a minute, but I want to thank fellow columnist Mike Smith for the following important last-minute head's up. Evidently I missed out getting in early on a little fan exposé when I couldn't find a copy of the "Jay and Silent Bob" comic # 3. Friends Poff, Lauré and I had looked for some time and gave up. Well...

I don't have the whole story yet, so I'm not sure if this comes from Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy, Dogma) or from one of his fans, but somebody noticed an extreme resemblance between a panel at the top of one of the # 3 comic's pages to a scene in the surprise ending of Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes". Now, as you know, I'm not into spoilers, so if you've already seen the movie or if you're OK with knowing what the ending is regardless, check out this link Mike Smith (no relation to Kevin) sent me: Burton rips off Kevin Smith? and tell me what you think.

Fellow columnist Terence Nuzum has made it known to me he does not like the Burton take on the Apes and was very disappointed I gave it 3 stars last issue, marked down from 3-and-a-quarter stars in my original review the issue before. I smell a Terence's Tirade coming out of this.

On top of that, occasional PCR contributor John Lewis has written up his entire theory on what the surprise ending to Burton's "Apes" means. With the repeated warning that John must reveal the entire movie and ending before he can dissect it, click here: John's theory of the POTA ending. You have been warned.

My 46th birthday weekend went well. Thanks to all who sent e-cards and email. Your support is always cheerfully welcome. To those depressing few who forgot and should know better: how dare you? F&*K you. OK, moving on...
When Mike Smith (there's that name again) counter-challenged me/us last week to come up with our Top Ten Movie Sequels of All Time I didn't realize how much would come pouring forth as you'll see down below. Now, understand that this list reflects not just what I think is BEST, but it's painfully obvious I'm a sci-fi/horror/adventure/action fan, so it's going to skew in that direction.

It all started 2 weeks ago when E! Online published their critic's list of the Top 10 Worst Movie Sequels of All Time. I featured that list in PCR issue #71 and issued a challenge to all my readers to send me a list of their choices. I published my list, as did fellow columnists Mike Smith and Terence Nuzum, in PCR issue #72. (Matt Drinnenberg's is published this issue, below, in "Rail".) In that same issue, Mr. Smith counter-challenged us to list our "Top 10 BEST Sequels of All Time".
Self-qualifier, part two: Once again, I'm limiting myself to only those movies I have physically seen and/or paid to get into. I could list several great sequels based purely on hearsay, but I won't do that. Because I didn't actually see them, (I'm not a huge sequel enthusiast), there may seem glaring omissions as a result: typical examples---like "Godfather II" for example, "The Two Jakes", or even perhaps "More American Grafitti"---I've never watched start to finish, so they aren't on my list. ---Nolan
And now, my list of the Top Ten Best Movie Sequels of All Time!
Starting from Number 10...drumroll please.
10. Dawn of the Dead (1978). "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) remains one of the all-time classics of underground-yet-above-ground horror cinema. When "Dawn" came out ten yers later it was a major fan event. Featured breakthrough special effects zombie make-up and mechanical effects and set the tone for like-minded zombie movies for years to come. Still a hoot, I think.
9. Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971). Sequel to "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" (1970) which was itself the sequel to "Planet of the Apes" (1968). Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), Zira (Kim Hunter), Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo) find and rebuild the Icarus, Taylor's crashed spaceship from the first movie. In orbit, they watch the earth explode in "Beneath" and the resultant black hole (or something) brings them into the "future" of 1971 (well, actually it's their "past"--but it's more futuristic than where they were). How they handle their culture shock is very amusing and at times touching. It comes to light that they used to dissect humans "back home" and they get into trouble when the government feels they're a threat (what a shock). Features a small part by Ricardo Mantalban as Armando, the circus owner who takes in Zira's baby, named Milo, after their fellow ape-o-naut who didn't survive. My favorite of the "Apes" sequels.
8. Magnum Force (1973). Sequel to "Dirty Harry". "Dirty" Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood's near career-defining role) and reluctant partner Hal Holbrook against cops-on-the-take. Watch for a young David Soul in a small police officer role. Features the line "this is a 44 magnum, the largest handgun in the world....and it can blow your head clean off". Also: "A man's gotta know his limitations." (I think that other great one, "so ya gotta ask yerself--PUNK--do I feel lucky?" was from a later sequel, wasn't it?)
7. Rocky IV (1985). Written and directed by "Rocky" star Sylvester Stallone. Friend and fellow champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) is killed in the ring by newly-christened Russian contender Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Rocky travels to Russia for a grudge match and the odds are against him (the Soviets use very expensive, hi-tech training equipment on the machine-like Drago and don't mind cheating using anabolic steroids, either). It's east-meets-west as even the Soviets cheer on Rocky's spirit. Outside of the first "Rocky", this is my favorite of the series.
6. Hannibal (2001). Anthony Hopkins returns as Hannibal the Cannibal, the psycho-psychiatrist. A worthy successor to "Silence of the Lambs", one of the greatest horror/crime-thrillers of all time. The scene towards the end that features Hannibal's dining habits and Ray Liotta's brain must be seen to be believed.
   Altho Jodie Foster did not return as Clarice Starling, Julianne Moore is very capable in the role.
5. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986). Directed by "Spock", Leonard Nimoy, and written by him and Harve Bennett. Believe it or not, to me, this is the best Star Trek movie ever made (followed closely by "The Wrath of Khan", another fan-favorite). A space probe is causing great destruction upon the earth searching for a particular signal source that no longer answers them. A recently re-incarnated (literally) Spock discovers the probe is looking for songs sung by hump-back whales--only there aren't any whales in the 23rd century. They must go back in time to find some and bring them back to the future to answer the probe before the earth is destroyed.
   Far and away the best thing about Star Trek IV is it's the only Trek film--particularly among those featuring the "classic" cast--to feature a true team effort. EVERY member of the classic crew has a pivotal job. Not just Kirk, Spock and Bones. Catherine Hicks plays oceanic biologist Gillian Taylor--the whales' caretaker and sort of their liason to the world. After I've watched this flick countless times, I must tell you, hers is the weakest performance, but it doesn't denigrate this nearly flawless entry.
   Cautionary without being preachy, action-packed without being violent. .
4. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935). Even with "Frankenstein" and "The Invisible Man" under his belt (chuckle), "The Bride" remains director James Whale's magnum opus. Ernest Thesiger plays Dr. Pretorius who wants Henry Frankenstein's (Colin Clive) help in growing life from seeds. The effects, the performances, and the sets are all larger-than-life. The creature's (Boris Karloff) encounter with the blind man in the forest never fails to elicit sympathy. Elsa Lanchester is positively "electrifying" as The Bride. Universal's regular "hysterical old lady", Una O'Connor, still cracks me up. The images from these films have become American icons.
   Regarded by many horror fans as superior to the original.
3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). Watched this movie every night for weeks when it came out on video. For quite a while, this, Star Trek IV, and (gulp) Speed, were watched compulsively by yours truly. But, I digress. Written and directed by James Cameron, Arnold Schwarenegger returns as the Terminator (T-800), but this time, instead of trying to murder 10-year-old John Connor (Eddie Furlong), he's protecting him from the more advanced future-bot, the silvery, shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick). Linda Hamilton is buffed majorly as born-again survivalist Sarah Connor, John's mother, who escapes the asylum she was committed to after her original encounter with Ah-nold. Joe Morton turns in a sensitive and affecting performance as the inadvertant designer of world destruction, Miles Dyson.
   Arguably superior to the original, I would balance that against how much more money they had to spend on this. It is incredibly action-packed. This film led the way in computer FX --or "CGI"--especially for those landmark "morphing" scenes. Broke ground for later films like "Jurassic Park" (1993).
2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980). For the longest time referred to as Star Wars 2, now officially titled "Star Wars: Episode V--The Empire Strikes Back". Director Irvin Kershner turned out not only a great sequel--but to many fans it is actually superior to the first Star Wars (now titled "Episode IV: A New Hope"). My God it does have a lot going on. Non-stop action right from the get-go. Battle scenes with a fan smorgasboard of stop/go-motion FX from Tauntauns to snowspeeders to ATAT Walkers. Luke continues his training on Dagobah and we learn "there is another". Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrission. Bespin. Cloud City. Poor Han Solo frozen in Carbonite. And of course...of course...the light-sabre battle at the end where Luke learns of his true relationship to Darth Vader.
And the Number One best movie sequel of all time according to yours truly? ...insert cymbal crash here!
1. Aliens (1986) Written and directed by James Cameron, who I think it safe to say after reading my list, is the KING of the movie sequels! Sigourney Weaver returns as Ellen Ripley, awakened from a 57-year cryogenic sleep (following her harrowing ordeal aboard the Nostromo in "Alien") by The Company, represented by Carter Burke (Paul Reiser, star of TV's "Mad About You"). Seems they just didn't want to learn their lesson and have colonized the Alien's planet. Now the marines have been called in for a "bug hunt".
    At the time, it was a defining career moment for relative newcomer Bill Paxton as Private Hudson ("Oh shit man, we're fucked man, we're screwed, we're dead, man we're all dead...!") and a particularly fetching performance by Jenette Goldstein as the borderline dyke-ish, but sexy, Smart Gunner, Vasquez. Hudson: "Hey, Vaquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?" Vasquez: "No, have you?"). Other standouts include Cameron regular Michael Biehn as Corporal Hicks, Carrie Henn as the child, "Newt", and Lance Henrickson as android Bishop.
    Thought of by many fans to actually be superior to Ridley Scott's original film, "Alien" (1979). I'm not sure I would go that far, but it is in that rarified air of sequels that are at least as good as--and sometimes better than--the original.

La Floridiana by William Moriaty LOCAL TELEVISION FROM THE 70's AND 80's IN TAMPA      by William Moriaty
In the last two installments,we reviewed local television news starting with WTVT "Big 13" and then on to WFLA/WXFL (Ch 8) and WTSP/WLCY (Ch.10) in issues #71 and #72, respectively.
This week:  Local TV fright shows
My favorite of all locally produced television endeavors was the weekend "fright" or "creep" show. Using anyone from the local news anchor to the station's mail room clerk to host, these fabulous features ran from the 50's until the 70's, with a few making it into the 80's and even into the 90's. They offered the viewer horror and science-fiction classics and bombs-- regardless of the quality of the feature offered, one could almost be assured that the host or hostess would get you through yet "another horrible old movie".
 Shock Theater
WTVT, Channel 13, Fridays at 11:30 P.M.: Immediately after the 11:00 newscast of "Pulse" (see La Floridiana #2), "Shock Theater" was the harbinger of the weekend. Hosted in the 60's by "Shock Armstrong", "Shock Theater" mainly featured schlocky low-budget science-fiction movies such as "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster", "Monster A-Go-Go", and "Creature from the Haunted Sea". By the early 1970's, "Shock Armstrong" had disappeared. In his place, and only at the beginning of commercial breaks, was a model head of Frankenstein's monster with a digital clock nearby that gave the current local time. Most notable during the broadcast of "Shock Theater" were the frequent ads for Valencia Gardens Restaurant in Tampa. In these ads, "Big 13" sportscaster Andy Hardy (see La Floridiana #2) and restaurant owner Manuel Berro would toast each others company with a spirited "Salute and Happy Days Number _ _ _." Strangely enough, the "Numbers" were never in chronological order-- it was later rumored (or established, I forget which) that the toasts were actually Berro's way of disseminating numbers racket information-- only in Tam-pah! By 1973 "Shock Theater" was cancelled by "Big 13".
WFLA, Channel 8, Saturday afternoons: "Terminus" featured the finest of all of the local fright show offerings, with such classics as "Forbidden Planet", "Invisible Invaders", "Carnival of Souls", "This Island Earth", and "Invaders from Mars". Running throughout the 60's until 1972, "Terminus" featured an unseen announcer who opened and closed each movie presentation. Where "Shock Theater" had Valencia Gardens Restaurant as its primary sponsor, "Terminus" had the National Auto Supermarket. Narrated by former Tampa City Councilman Vince Malloy, the National Auto Supermarket, formerly located on East Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, featured night shots of the sales lot with flags waving in a breeze and gleaming "OK" used cars reflecting the many strung up lightbulbs surrounding the sales complex. A simple percussion would rhythmically queue an end to the ad with Mr. Malloy slowly saying "...at the.. National..... Auto...... Super... market."
 Creature Feature
WTOG, Channel 44, Saturday afternoons (and Saturday evenings Fall 1973 only): Telecast by formerly independent station WTOG on Saturday afternoons in the early 1970's, with the introduction of former North Carolina fright night host "Dr. Paul Bearer" (as portrayed by Mr. Dick Bennick), "Creature Feature" was temporarily moved to Saturday nights at 11 P.M. in the fall of 1973. The Saturday afternoon slot was returned by the winter of 1974, and remained at that time until Bennick's death in 1995.
   "Dr. Paul Bearer" was truly a local celebrity. (And later, a national one. ---N) He toured the Bay area in his own Hearse (now residing at Busch Gardens in Tampa), made an appearance on the syndicated version of "Hee Haw", had photo shots with nationally syndicated fright hostess "Elvira Mistress of the Dark", and had one of the longest runs of almost any fright show host in history (22 years in the Bay area market alone). Movies on "Creature Feature" ran the gamut from classics such as "Creature from the Black Lagoon" to the tacky and inane such as "Plan 9 From Outer Space". Japanese science-fiction, however, seemed to be its staple.
    The most entertaining thing about "Creature Feature" was Dr. Paul Bearer's stage props and wit. He lived in the cheesy-looking "Tenement Castle" with his spider-friend "Spenjamin Bock". The show was introduced by a voice saying "...and nooow, your ghost, DOCK-tore Paul Bear-rer..." Above his chair was a frame picture saying "Tomb Sweet Tomb", and a strange coat of arms. Bennick's first wife played a recurring role as a visiting witch, and at the end of each broadcast he'd say "I'll be lurking for yooooooooooou!"  (To more approximate the vocal tone---for those who never knew him---Bennick himself said that his "Dr. Paul Bearer" voice was a "reverse-falsetto". Deep, back-of-the-throat thing, kind of like Wolfman Jack's, but even more dour and off-key. Bennick would make his long vowel sounds as delightfully dissonant as he could.---N)   When "Dr. Paul Bearer" wasn't eating "Lice Krispies" for breakfast, brushing his teeth with "Scream" toothpaste, or singing about "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park", he was using his actual glass eye (required due to injuries sustained in a North Carolina auto wreck prior to joining WTOG) to exclaim,"WTOG, as far as the eye can seeeeeeeeeeeeee!", or hosting the annual "Invisible Bikini" contest. Typical local ads for "Creature Feature" throughout the 70's were for Bromley's Jewelers, in the 70's and 80's, Florida No-Fault Insurance, and in the 80's, Tom Stimus Auto Sales (more about some of those ads in next week's installment).
   While "antiquing" in my adopted home town of Plant City with my wife and our good friend Susan Hughes on August 4th, I had the good fortune and honor to run into Mr. Russell McClellan of Springhead, Florida. Mr McClellan has possibly the largest collection of "Dr. Paul Bearer" memorabilia of anyone on earth (Mr. Bennick resided not far away in Winter Haven, Florida and commuted weekly to the WTOG studios in St. Petersburg). I had a great time reminiscing with him about that wonderful old fright show. Hopefully PCR publisher Nolan Canova can help Mr. McClellan convert some "Creature Feature" reels into VCR form. (I spoke with Russell by phone---I'm on it! ---N)
   Very sadly, with the passing of Dick Bennick, and hence "Dr. Paul Bearer" at age 66 in 1995, the era of the locally-produced-and-hosted fright show also came to an end in the Bay area.

Next Week in "La Floridiana": we'll take a look at locally-produced TV ads of the 70's and 80's such as Tom Stimus Auto Sales, Allied Discount Tires, Bay City Plywood, and Copher Brothers Used Auto Parts.
Addendum #3 to Florida Folk Heroes (many thanks to Nolan Canova for his assistance on this): Tom Petty, Leslie West, Paul "Pee Wee Herman" Ruebens, Burt Reynolds, Gloria Estafan and the Miami Sound Machine, Mike Pinera and the Blues Image, Second Noah (TV show), Surfside Six (TV show), Criterion Studios Miami, Savatage (a.k.a. the Trans Siberian Orchestra), Stranger, Jim Stafford, Bobby Goldsboro, Pat Boone, Lucy O'Brian, and FHP Trooper Harry Mofield.
P.S. For any of those of you PCR readers who may be from Miami, whatever happened to Late Show host "Big Wilson"?

America's Sweethearts           Movie review by Ashley Lewis

Critic's rating: Recommended
 Julia Roberts, Billy Crystal, Catherine Zeta-Jones, John Cusack, Hank Azaria, Stanley Tucci, Christopher Walken, cameo by Larry King.
Written by: Billy Crystal & Peter Tolan
Director: Joe Roth
Rated:  PG-13 for language--crude and sexual humor

When I go to the movie theater I never go in with much expectation. That way I am never disappointed. That's what I did when I saw Jurassic Park 3 and I actually thought it was decent (or better than the second one at least).

I first heard about "America's Sweethearts" back in February in People Magazine. Before I go any further I must say I am a big Catherine Zeta-Jones fan, I think she is a wonderful actress and incredibly talented. So, needless to say, I was eager to see this movie. When reviews came in for the movie they were definitly mixed. Some think it was the comedy of the summer. Others, like some of my own friends, thought it was dry and had no plot. But that comes with any movie, in my opinion.

Here's what the movie is about: A hugely famous acting couple Gwen and Eddie (Catherine Zeta-Jones and John Cusack) are married and have done a number of movies together and all were very successful. The media and audiences loved them. They were the biggest stars. Then Gwen decides she has had enough of Eddie and begins to have an affair with a Spanish actor (Hank Azaria). When Eddie finds out about it he loses it and starts to stalk Gwen and her new beau. Eventually Gwen leaves Eddie and gets a restraining order. Well, Gwen goes on to make a few other movies all of which crash and burn. Kiki (Julia Roberts), Gwen's sister and personal assistant, is always Gwen's right arm and is becoming annoyed by her sister's whining and over the top actress's behavior. Meanwhile, Eddie has gone and joined a self-help center in the middle of nowhere and is trying to get over Gwen. In the meantime, Gwen is living with her Spanish guy. A movie exec tries to put together Gwen and Eddie's last movie so that he can make some more money off their name, and calls in the director of the movie, Hal (Christopher Walkin), who is crazy and eccentric.

I think Catherine did a good job playing somewhat of a villain, and she did a really good job playing a psychotic bitch. She was the character you hated-but-loved. Julia Roberts was more of a supporting role and I'm glad. I am so sick of seeing her play the same role over and over again. In this movie, she was normal old Julia Roberts who gets the guy, maybe that's what I didn't like. John Cusack, Billy Crystal, Seth Green, and Christopher Walken were all wonderful as usual. Billy was extremely funny.

This movie has an all-star cast and pokes fun at the movie business, which is good because they take themselves way too seriously. Anyone who has had anything to do with the movie biz would love this movie and if not, you'll still like it, or at least I hope. I personally really liked the movie and would recommend it to anyone. I was satisfied with going to see it.

Letters to the editor
Matt's Rail             by Matt Drinnenberg
(Delayed from last issue, this came in a smidgeon too late last week to ensure maximum exposure. One thing I always want to make sure of is that Matt exposes himself to the max. ---Nolan)

I'd like to inform everyone that Mike has accepted my fantasy football challenge, and we will be picking our squads shortly. We're still working on specifics (scoring system, bet pay off, etc..), but we'll keep you apprised weekly of our competition. This should be a lot of fun. Without further ado, let's jump right into the fray with my TOP 10 WORST MOVIE SEQUELS OF ALL TIME:

10.  Rocky V: To say this was disappointing to me is an understatement. Certainly, Mike understands, as his views and mine are pretty much a mirror reflection. Sad they had to use such an inspiring series just to make a buck.
9. Three Men and a Little Lady: This was just awful.  Not even one good moment you could reflect back on...well, except for when it was over. A mishmash of ridiculousness. Don't even see it on cable!
8. Trail of the Pink Panther: The only reason I saw this was because I'm a HUGE Peter Sellers fan (that's present tense), and I figured, in some small way, I should pay him homage. Now I realize I was caught in the scheme of the rip-off movie mogul, who only took advantage of my sentiment of a legend. Thus, I suggest viewing "Return of the Pink Panther" and "The Pink Panther Strikes Back", both excellent in laughs and overall entertainment value!!! And a true reflection of the great Peter Sellers.
7. Airplane 2: How this didn't make everyone's list I'll never know. Maybe it's just me, but this was such a gigantic drop from the original, they should have paid me to see it. Rehashed gags, but one funny scene with William Shatner. Otherwise, this could have been............
6. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Again, hugely disappointed with this confused, COMPLETELY unrealistic, uneven prequel. Kate Capshaw was annoying from the start, but not as much as "Short Round". Why Spielberg likes putting screaming kids in his movies I'll never know. I almost wish "Goonies" was a sequel just so it could make this list.
5. Star Wars: Episode One--The Phantom Menace: We could go on for DAYS with what I hate about this chronic piece of crap. Only because of Liam Neesan, is this not ranked higher. How completely *&!$#@ STUPID to kill him off. Especially since he carried the movie, even without a storyline, which, again, Lucas admits he's not interested in. I wonder if he owns a percentage of Toys R Us. Hmmmm. And I haven't even mentioned Jar Jar Binks!!!!!!!
4. Jewel of the Nile: Sequel to "Romancing the Stone". Flat and boring, [Michael] Douglas and [Kathleen] Turner had zero chemistry in another confused attempt to make a buck. This is amazing considering they were so perfect together in "Stone". I must have watched that classic 50 times. You should, too.
3. Batman and Robin: Like Nolan, I assumed while watching this the first time, that the nail was in the coffin of this series. I've mentioned before how I hate this movie. Clooney is uninspiring and memorable only because he stunk so badly. The story was amateurish at best, and that Clooney is even being considered to return is, in my view, evidence of chronic cocaine abuse.
2. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: Another movie that while watching it, I assumed spelled the end of the series. This movie proves one think quite succinctly....that Shatner should NEVER get behind a camera again. You have to wonder what kind of friend Nimoy is to allow this travesty to proceed, especially given the fact that "his" effort was so enjoyable. This was so bad, it made me negative the first time I viewed #VI, which I didn't enjoy until I saw it again on cable years later.
1. Jaws: the Revenge: I can happily say I've never seen this from beginning to end. I have seen the scenes Mike has alluded to, and believe I've seen the whole movie, just not at one sitting. The movie is actually more stupid than the premise for the movie, which is pretty stupid! The best scenes are the flashbacks of the original classic, which deserves to have its name ripped from every DVD/VHS copy of this piece of garbage. How they could trash a classic that borders on iconic is not understandable. I guess you could say, in a word,  P.U.

Well, that's it. I look forward to next week when we do top 10 BEST sequels
Till then, take care, and God bless,

Mike "Deadguy" Scott Re: "La Floridiana" on Dr. Paul Bearer from this issue

I saw Dr. Paul Bearer one year at my Elementary School's Carnival when I was 7 years old. I even went so far as to climb into the back of his hearse and sat next to him as he was being slowly driven around the property. I was apparently trying to get to meet him, and get his autograph.
   According to my mother, he had a complete fit when I did that and it looked as though he was going to shove me out, but decided to yell at me instead. Apparently, he raised his hand while yelling at me, and as a reaction, I hit him on the knee and kicked him 2--3 times in the shin with the back of my little feet before jumping out. He left the carnival immediately after my little stunt.
   I never watched the show again, even though up until that moment, it had been my favorite, according to my mom. All I can remember of the incident is an isolated visual memory of being in the back of the hearse, and Dr. Paul Bearer looking at me all pissed off while yelling. I also remember thinking he was a jerk. My mom used to tell the story to folks as being "the time Mike beat up the Creature Feature guy for not giving him an autograph." It all went downhill from there.
   Of course, as an adult, I can see now that if he'd let me get away with that, his hearse would have been swarmed with kids, but there are ways of dealing with that. If he didn't hate kids before that incident, I'm sure he did afterwards.  :) Just thought I'd relate that.

My movie lists are still at home, and I've been too busy to finish them. I finished the "worst" sequels, but only have two or three "best". I'm sorry, but there's not much I can do about it at the moment. Perhaps I can send it from my parent's house this weekend. Better late than never? Anyways, talk to you later, gotta' run!
Sorry to hear your childhood encounter with Dr. Paul Bearer was so negative--in fact, the only negative story I've ever heard relating to him. Fortunately, he seemed to recover OK from his injuries as he went on to do many, many more parades and convention appearances, altho he probably cut out doing any more grade school gigs, LOL! I dunno...---Nolan

Mike's Rant!

Hello gang! Some news and notes, and my favorite sequels. Shall we begin?

I must say that I, too, was a fan of Dr. Paul Bearer. I moved to the Tampa area in June 1975, so I always remember the show as a Saturday afternoon staple. I think the first time I saw "Night of the Living Dead" I was over at Scott Gilbert's house watching the good doctor. Truly a part of my developing years!

Imagine the shock Kevin Smith fans all over the world felt when they saw part of an issue of "Jay and Silent Bob" comics on the big screen. Imagine the greater shock when they realized they were watching Tim Burton's "re-imagining" of "Planet of the Apes". I hope you have clicked on the link Nolan provided to judge for yourself. When questioned about the amazing "coincidence," Burton told the New York Post, "I do not read comic books. And I especially wouldn't read anything created by Kevin Smith." (OUCH! ---N) Incidentally, Burton rejected the "Superman Lives" script that Smith wrote when Burton and Nicolas Cage were attached to the film. (His loss...---N)

The Tuesday, August 14th issue of USA Today carries a story about the delay in releasing "The Matrix: Reloaded". Not wanting to blow our horn, but PCR reported this item in LAST WEEK'S ISSUE. (YAAAAY! In your face, USA Today! Thanks again to my crack staff of top-drawer writers for keeping this online rag cutting-edge. Or is that keeping my ragged-out online writers from cutting crack with the edge in the top drawer? Whatever...---N)

Happy to announce that I began rehearsals Sunday for the stage production of "Glenngary Glen Ross," which will be presented at the Alantz Theatre in Kansas City in late September. Tickets are available at the box office! (Knock 'em dead! ---N)

Director John Frankenheimer has signed to direct a prequel to the 1973 horror classic, "The Exorcist". The film, tentatively entitled "Exorcist: Dominion," will follow the story of Father Merrin's first encounter with the devil during his missionary work in Africa. (My head spun completely around when I heard this! ---N)

My 10 Favorite Sequels list, like Nolan's, contain only films that I saw. Also, like my pick of "A View to a Kill" last week as one of the worst, I would gladly put "From Russia With Love" or "Goldfinger" on the list of the best. I guess I'll have to wait until we do a best of/worse of Bond list! Enjoy.

10. LETHAL WEAPON 2- - The best of the series in my thinking. The audience is allowed to watch as the relationship between Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) grows from respect to deep affection. With Joe Pesci as comic relief and Patsy Kensit as Mel's new love. Best use of "Knocking on Heaven's Door" since Dylan wrote the thing for "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid."
9. RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER- -the funniest of the Panther films to me, Peter Sellers proves once and for all that he is a modern comic genius. Herbert Lom (and his twitching eye) is great as Chief Inspector Dreyfuss, who is always thwarted in his attempts to rid his life of Clouseau.
8. SUPERMAN 2 - -partially shot simultaneously with the original "Superman: The Movie," the film pits the Man of Steel against three escaped villians from Krypton who gain the same super powers under our yellow sun. My favorite part is when Clark Kent, who has given up his super powers to be with the women he loves, experiences pain for the first time while trying to defend her.
7. BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN - -a great story plus a great cast almost always equal a great film. Karloff at his best in showing the mixed emotions the monster feels, including the all to heartbreaking rejection by the woman he loves.
6. STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN - -it was a toss up between this and "TREK IV," but I give "Wrath of Khan" the edge because it returns to the true story telling that made the original series so good. Ricardo Montalban returns as Khan, a character banished to space by Kirk in the "Space Seed" episode. From the battle scenes to Kirstie Alley. From William Shatner's Kirk eulogizing Spock to his hug with his long lost son (Merrit Butrick), the movie grabs you and doesn't let go.
5. ALIENS - -though already well known from "Terminator," this is the film that put James Cameron on the map. Sigourney Weaver became the first actress to be Oscar nominated for an action role in her reprise of Ripley. If you can, try to catch the directors' cut, which includes 52 minutes of previously unseen footage. One key segment shows that Ripley had a daughter who died while she was lost in space. This scene helps to explain Ripley's "motherly" protectiveness of Newt.
4. ROCKY III - - Now living the life of luxury, Rocky Balboa forgoes his planned retirement when he accepts a challenge to fight Clubber Lang, played ferociously by Mr. T. With Mickey, his trainer, reluctant to train him (he feels Rocky can't beat the monstrous Lang), Rocky pretty much takes his opponent lightly. After being dropped in the 2nd round, Rocky returns to the dressing room just in time to witness Mickey's death. His spirit is broken. Enter Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), who offers to help train Rocky in exchange for a favor. Rocky gains back the "eye of the tiger" and whips Clubber Lang to regain his title. A definite audience pleaser.
3. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK - - No Ewoks or cute aliens. Just Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie, the droids and Lando Calrissian! The chase through the asteroid belt is incredible and the final battle between Luke and Darth Vader is the high point of the film. Add the wisdom of Jedi master Yoda and you have the film that is STILL the best in the series.
2. JAWS 2 - - So sue me. I like it.
And the number one sequel is:
1. THE GODFATHER PART II- - Taking the early story of Don Vito Corleone from Mario Puzo's novel and intertwining it with the later exploits of Michael Corleone, this film is the rarest of the rare................a sequel that is better then the original film. Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, John Cazale and Robert DeNiro in his Academy Award winning role. Not a bad performance in the film!

A belated happy birthday to my friend and mentor, Nolan. I don't tell him enough how much his friendship has meant to me these past 25 years. We've weathered many things and have come out the best for them. Hope the next 25 years are just as wonderful. They say you are lucky if you have one lifelong friend. I've been doubly blessed with you and Matt. Happy Birthday, buddy! (Thanks, Mike!  I feel the same about you guys. ---Nolan)

Well, that's it for this week!

"Mike's Rant" is ©2001 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2001 by Matt Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2001 by Will Moriaty    The movie review of "America's Sweethearts" is ©2001 by Ashley Lewis    Thanks to John Lewis for his theory on "Apes"    Thanks to "Deadguy" for his add'l input in "Letters"    All contents this page are ©2001 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova, ©2001