March 23, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” “Champions,” “65,” and the 95th Oscars

Mike Schulz celebrates Dave Levora and Darren Pitra with his sixteen Oscar predictions coming through, except for the Best Actor and Actress awards (didn’t see Brendan Fraser and Michelle Yeoh coming). Still, he originally predicted fifteen, so he’s going great guns in the prognostication racket. They also talked about Woody Harrelson’s latest, Champions, which, despite having Bobby Farrelly directing, allays any fears of the subject matter (Harrelson coaching a team of players with intellectual disabilities for his community service) descending to the level of “FRANKS AND BEEEEEANS!” No, it’s a charming outing, Champions, aside from the well-worn “triumph of the underdog” premise. Things get rather awkward when it comes to discussing Bettendorf natives Brian Woods and Scott Beck’s 65, whose title confused at least one skeptic as to whether or not time travel is involved, and left Schulz concluding the proceedings to be ultimately meaningless and arbitrary, lowering the sense of stakes further than an intelligent audience might otherwise expect. (“Not a fun review to write at all,” Schulz concedes.) And Shazam! Fury of the Gods, likewise, which opened last week (when the boys were off-duty), is not as enjoyable, in this case compared to the first time around: “Everything’s going to be twice as big, twice as loud, [and] not as much fun; and that’s exactly what it was. . . a big, thunderous waste of time.” Aside from that, Schulz awaits the fourth John Wick installment, as one would a fast-food meal, and the Brit-com The Lost King, which admittedly sounds fascinating (concerning the discovery of Richard III’s burial site in a parking lot). PS James R Hoffa remains at large, The Irishman notwithstanding; and the likelihood of his carcass being pulled out of some municipal fixture seems at this point to be less than zero. . .

Shazam! Fury of the Gods

Champions and 65

Notes on the 2023 Academy Awards Telecast

March 10, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Creed III” and “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre”

Mike Schulz talks with Dave Levora and Darren Pitra about the preview for Scream VI, featuring Jenny Ortega, Courtney Cox, Skeet Ulrich (incredibly enough, considering Scream I) and a change of scenery from Woodsborough, California (not many hiding places left for potential victims) for New York City (multi-story buildings, subways). “It [plays] to your memory, but in fun ways,” says Schulz. “I did not see that coming. . .  Consistently clever.” Having not yet reviewed Scream VI for the Reader, Schulz reports warm and fuzzy feelings about the ninth film in the Rocky franchise, Creed III (“They finally do something smart in [this Rocky iteration] in that they make the opponent incredibly empathetic, and it feels like a fair fight: I don’t want either of you dudes [Michael B Jordan/Creed or Jonathan Majors/Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson] to win this fight”). Like Scream VI, Creed III finds a way to provide fan service while respecting the audience’s intelligence. Schulz wishes he could summon as much enthusiasm for Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, but it’s a “meh” experience, “just like a mid-Nineties entertainment”; Jason Statham’s starting to show his age, too. There’s much enthusiasm all around for 65: Bettendorf alums Scott Beck and Bryan Woods will be present March 11 for its appearance here. Incidentally, Schulz blames Sesame Street for instilling a lifelong fear of quicksand, which seems to be making a comeback as a silver-screen menace (and features in 65). As for the Oscars on Sunday, March 13, Schulz is hoping for fifteen of his predictions to come true — he’s got the bills, yo. . .

“Creed III” and “Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre”

Predicting the 2023 Academy Award Winners

Of Politipaths, Medical Dictates, and Forgotten Heroes — Todd McGreevy & AD in the Morning on WQUD Discuss the March Edition of River Cities’ Reader

River Cities’ Reader publisher Todd McGreevy talks with Aaron Dail re the highlights of Issue N° 1007.

Link: Can Illinois Democrats Run Progressive Messages and Also Win Local Elections?

Rich Miller’s column about Illinois getting involved with school-board elections inspires talk of “politiopath” behavior. Would Governor JB Pritzker be comfortable with HIS kids being taught about LGBTQ issues in elementary school?

Link: All Eyes on the International Health Regulations Proposed Amendments

Kathleen McCarthy’s look at International Health Regulations (IHR), which go beyond sharing guidelines with other nations about potential health crises to proposing a binding dictate from the World Health Organization (WHO) for everyone to tow a single line. James Rogulski provides his Top Ten list of IHR amendments that need to be opposed.

Link: Buried Stories: Napoleon Bonaparte Buford (1807-1883)

Bruce Walters’s study of one of Chippiannock Cemetery’s most colorful — and, alas, neglected — occupant, Napoleon Bonaparte Buford. Buford came out of retirement in 1861, at the age of 54, to take command as Colonel of the 27th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and thereafter saw action at the Battle of Belmont. In Spring 1862, Buford commanded the Flotilla Brigade of the Army of the Mississippi during the Battle of Island Number Ten, which cost the Confederate Army its position on the River for the first time. After surviving the Battle of Vicksburg in 1863, Buford, now Brigadier General, settled into his position as commander of the District of East Arkansas, an area of the Confederate state controlled by the North. It is here where he did his most notable work, bringing to heel smugglers, guerrillas, and plantation-lessees; organizing a freedmen’s department of five-thousand men; and established an orphan asylum and an industrial school for liberated slaves. Buford won admiration for his willingness to prosecute dishonesty among his own subordinates.

Link: Mark Rouw and the Champion Trees of Iowa

Scott Carlson’s cover concerns Mark Rouw, who’s measured the tallest trees across Iowa, with photos. Blinding.

Link: The Everything Bagel, with Locks: Predicting the 2023 Academy Award Winners

Mike Schulz hopes to see fifteen of his predictions borne out at this year’s Oscars. It’s all in others’ hands now. . .

March 2, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Cocaine Bear” and “Jesus Revolution”

Mike Schulz talks with Dave and Darren about Cocaine Bear (“really delightful”. . . “it’s really hard to intentionally make a cult movie”. . . “the people were very entertaining, which I did not see coming”. . . “Judd Hirsch and Hal Linden do not show up in it”), featuring twelve-year-old kids eating cocaine (“Well done, Elizabeth Banks, the director!”), heaping amounts of gore, Ray Liotta in one of his final film appearances, and, most importantly, a coke-enraged bear; and Jesus Revolution, the two-hour story of the Jesus Freak uprising in late-Sixties southern California (“solid”. . . “really sincere, as you would expect; funnier than you would expect, which is nice”. . .). Also, for what it’s worth, Jeff Loveness, the screenwriter for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, expressed depression over the negative criticial reviews his film received, but a visit to his local Cineplex, and the rapturous noise he beheld, alleviated him of his condition. Message for critics: Your judgments have consequences, be it in the form of depressed screenwriters or coked-up carnivoran mammals; so be mindful of the feelings of your fellow domesticated primates, and try to avoid incursions by stimulant-riddled caniforms. . .

”Cocaine Bear” and “Jesus Revolution”

February 23, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” “Marlowe,” and (forthcoming) “Cocaine Bear”


Mike talks with Dave and Darren about how Mike was underwhelmed by Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, even by the low bar the franchise sets: Though Michelle Pfeiffer was better used this time around, and Jonathan Majors kills as Kang the Conqueror, Paul Rudd as a presence remains as light as a soufflé, overshadowed even by Corey Stoll as Modok; and, as for Marlowe, the less said, the better. (Even less than was discussed the last time.) Meanwhile, everyone is excited about Cocaine Bear, a concept so rich that even drug-free viewers might want to roll around in baby powder beforehand — and (get this) it features stars Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Margo Martindale; practically the whole cast of The Americans, reunited (and it feels so good). . .

“Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Marlowe”

February 16, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” “Consecration,” “Your Place or Mine,” and “You People”

Mike talks with Dave and Darren about how disappointing Magic Mike’s Last Dance was (“a Muppet movie, but with gyrating torsos”); Consecration (“a horror film in a convent. . . the devil has to show up at some point”); and the Netflix rom-coms Your Place or Mine (“crushing exposition” and Ashton Kutcher and Reese Witherspoon, who seem to have made the same film on their own at least once) and You People (a funny first hour of an hour-and-fifty-minute film, with Eddie Murphy and Jonah Hill doing a variation on that old “Will these polar opposites ever get along?” theme). Mike also previews Marlowe, which “looks ago,” though the “story drags” — not so promising, given we’re talking about Raymond Chandler material. . .

“Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” “Consecration,” “Your Place or Mine,” and “You People”

Kari Lake Speaking at the Tanglewood Pavilion in Bettendorf, Iowa February 10, 2023

Kari Lake is Tired of Iowa Nice

Iowa Roots, Election Integrity, Border Invasion, Lying Media and the Power of First in the Nation Caucus Highlight Recent Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate’s Event in Bettendorf, Iowa February 10, 2023

by Todd McGreevy – Publisher, River Cities’ Reader 

Listen to the audio recording above for Kari Lake’s entire speech and remarks, unedited.

To a standing room only crowd of over two-hundred fans, Iowa GOP officials, local and national news media Kari Lake kicked off her national speaking tour at the Tanglewood Pavilion in Bettendorf, Iowa. Lake was the guest speaker for the monthly Scott County Women’s GOP event.

After decades as a television news anchor in Phoenix, Arizona Lake ran for governor against the then sitting Secretary of State Katie Hobbs in 2022. Lake is contesting her purported loss to Hobbs by 17,000 votes with a lawsuit alleging election fraud, specifically regarding 300,000 ballots without a chain of custody, and election day shenanigans by intentionally printing a 19” image on a ballot that needed a 20” image to be properly tabulated by the election machines. This mishap caused thousands of ballots to be declined by the machinery and created wait times to vote of three to four hours at the polls. Her case in currently under review by an appellate court and details about the first judge’s ruling declining Lake’s complaint is available at this link here:

Lake referenced her strong ties to, and influences from Iowa and recognized her family in the crowd. Lake was born in Rock Island, and grew up in North Scott County with seven sisters and a brother. Her father was the North Scott High School football coach, where she graduated in 1986.

“Iowa leads the whole charge when it comes to presidential politics. You guys see everyone come through here every four years. I know you take that responsibility seriously. You need to start calling out these candidates say ‘where do you stand on election integrity’ Because if we keep having elections stolen it does not matter how good the candidate is, or how good the policies are,” Lake said.

Explaining how when she first decided to run for governor in Arizone she was advised not to address controversial topics such as vaccines, COVID, masks or stolen elections. Lake explained she disregarded that advice because, “I’m not controlled by the uni-party, I’m not controlled by the political elite,” and that these were the very issues important to the voters.

Pointing to the row of television news cameras elevated at the back of the hall, Lake said of the media: “If you would talk about election integrity your viewership would go up.” Kari Lake says she has tried Iowa-nice plenty, and is about to go Iowa-witch on the media.

She explained she is focused 100% on her Arizona election court case and not running for any new office. “We’re taking our case all the way to the Supreme Court,” she said citing her father’s advice to “stay in the fight.” “I believe we will find some judges who have the courage to do the right thing.”

A crowd member yelled “Trump VP!” and Lake said, “I love the man, and I will do everything I can to help get him elected.”

February 9, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “80 for Brady,” “Knock at the Cabin,” and “The Amazing Maurice”

Mike talks with Dave and Darren about the perfectly charming 80 for Brady, which has won so many hearts at the box office that you’d figure it would prefigure a flood of elderly-themed films from here on out — only for one to realize, once the ambrosia has worn off, that such waves are a generational thing, ie a self-contained one-off phenomenon for a given era (remember Cocoon?); Knock at the Cabin, the latest M Night Shyamalan joint with the characteristic plot twist built into the story’s center (Apocalypse a-brewin’, somebody’s gotta something: “Either they’re not telling the truth or they are. . . I was engaged the whole time”); and The Amazing Maurice (“a talking cat and a whole bunch of talking rats kind of like swindle towns out of all their money. . . but it’s British, and it’s really witty, and it’s Emilia Clarke, who’s really funny as the human narrator, and Hugh Laurie. . .” “it’s goofy, but it’s better than I expected”).

“80 for Brady,” “Knock at the Cabin,” and “The Amazing Maurice”

A First of Firsts and Other Firsts — Todd McGreevy & AD in the Morning on WQUD Discuss the February Edition of River Cities’ Reader

River Cities’ Reader publisher Todd McGreevy talks with Aaron Dail and Enrique Sandoval re the highlights of Issue N° 1006, including Art at the Airport: Fun Reasons to Visit the Quad Cities Aiport While Not Enduring Security Theatre, featuring the works of James Eli Bowden, Matt Moyer, and Corrine Smith, on display now through 02/28.

Link: The Sixth Annual Fake News Awards by James Corbett of The Corbett Report: JC offers his nominations for the Dino Awards — “Dino” as in “dinosaur media” — and the stories from the past year that have since been revealed to be examples of deceptive reporting. Included is a 45-minute video JC provides on it that’s entertaining, elevating, and excruciating in its implications (The “E” Trifecta!).

Link: Who Knew about These Firsts? by Todd McGreevy, featuring a new cartoon of “Uncle Scam” by Ed Newmann, which is so good that it adorns the cover of the Reader‘s print edition. McGreevy has thrown down the gauntlet to readers for them to point out something — anything — by the US federal government that isn’t a scam. He also points out a number of “firsts” of history to which the Quad Cities provided a setting. One such would be. . .

Link: John Atanasoff, the father of the modern computer: Augustana College’s Wallenberg Hall will hold a screening of Birth of the Computer: The John Atanasoff Story on 02/23, 6PM. In the tech world, Atanasoff, who went to Iowa State College in Ames (now Iowa State University), is a hero because of the testimony he gave during a lawsuit about how he came up with the concepts behind the first computer, which resulted in the computer becoming public domain, and IBM was thus prevented from owning the patent. In his testimony, Atanasoff talked about driving two hours from Ames to Rock Island in 1936 to get a drink — Iowa was then a dry state; Illinois wasn’t; and he had his a-HA! moment in a local tavern, where he wrote out on the back of a bar napkin the concept of the computer.

Link: The World Comes to DC to Demand Biden Drop the Case Against Julian Assange by Kevin Gosztola, concerning the organized international opposition to the United States government’s extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, thirteen years after his data-dump (which, incidentally, he carefully vetted before dropping it). Pressure is being brought to bear on the Biden administration to drop its efforts against Assange; will it be enough to free JA from his Ecuadorean-embassy “fortress”?


February 2, 2023 Movie Mike on Planet 93.9 with Dave and Darren — “Women Talking,” “Living,” “To Leslie,” and “Infinity Pool”

Mike talks with Dave and Darren about Oscar nominations Women Talking (“not as hard a sit as I expected, [as] the subject matter is horrifying. . . horrible, horrible story”), Living (Bill Nye — the British actor, not the Science Guy — gets a cancer diagnosis; has a few months to live; is a buttoned-up bureaucrat in post-War London who’s never lived before; “and I wish it were more interesting than it is”); To Leslie (Oscar controversy notwithstanding, Andrea Riseborough “is tremendous, absolutely deserves that nomination”); and the outlier, the unnominated Infinity Pool (directed by Brandon Cronenberg, David’s son: “So gross”; “People go to a luxury resort and they meet evil”; clones killing clones killing clones, presumably).

“Women Talking,” “Living,” “To Leslie,” and “Infinity Pool”