Author Archive

“Out Of The Furnace” & “The Best Man Holiday”

If you’re looking for a couple of movies to rent, I have some suggestions.

“OUT OF THE FURNACE”

Christian Bale is one of the best actors in the movie business today.

“Out of The Furnace” is a little seen movie that came out about a week before his Oscar-nominated role in “American Hustle”.

Out of the Furnace

In the movie, Bale plays Russell Baze, a West Virginia steel mill worker that has a beautiful girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) that wants to have a baby, a brother (Casey Affleck) with a gambling problem and is struggling with life after serving in the war, and a dying father.

He works every day and is paying off his little brother’s gambling debts.  After stopping for a few drinks after work one night, he’s involved in an accident that changes his life forever.

Also, his little brother disappears and Russell feels it’s up to him to find out what happened and to make things right.

The movie features incredible performances from Bale, Affeck, Saldana, and Woody Harrelson as a New Jersey sociopathic, inbreed, drug dealer named Harlan DeGroat.

GRADE:  A

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The-Best-Man-Holiday-Poster

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends –  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 18, 2014

It’s Friday and it’s Easter weekend.  I hope it’s a nice one for you and if you’re going to church, enjoy the services.  I hope your Easter egg hunts are dry and fun and your Easter feast is a tasty one.

I’m working Saturday, so Ray and Gretel are celebrating with Ray’s family in northwestern Iowa and my sister, Tammy, is visiting her granddaughters in Tennessee.  So, I’m home alone and I plan on sleeping in Sunday, having pancakes, and watching a couple of my favorite movies again.

Easter Bunny

If you’re thinking of what to buy someone for a great Easter present and bunnies come to mind, make it a chocolate bunny!

Here are my random thoughts this Friday.  Thank you for checking them out.

AIRLINE THREATS ARE NOT FUNNY

Before the 1970s, it was a much different world when it came to flying.  High profile plane hijacking changed the rather lax airport security.

I remember seeing a cartoon during my childhood of a man raising his hand to his friend and yelling “Hi Jack” before being arrested.

After the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11, it’s hard to imagine anyone making a joke of threatening an airline, an airport, or a plane.

However, last Sunday night, it happened when a 14-year-old Dutch girl, “Sarah”, sent a threatening tweet to American Airlines.

AA Threat

Once she realized that this was turning into a big deal with the police involved, she tweeted, “I was joking and it was my friend not me, take her IP address not mine. I’m so scared I’m just a 14-year-old white girl I’m not a terrorist.”  She was arrested the next day!

airport security

I have two things to say about this.  I don’t care how old someone is when they threaten to bomb a plane.  It’s not a joke and they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Secondly, if this tweet is proven to be sent by a “14-year-old white girl who is not “a terrorist”, she’s truly offensive.  Implying that a “white girl” couldn’t possibly be a “terrorist” is racist!

Sadly, the only leeway I’ll give her on that one is immaturity, but even a teenager should know that the tweet would cause fear in some people and that is terrorism!

More Threats 1 More Threats 2 More Threats 3

Incredibly, this has caused a rash of similar copycat tweets to American and other airlines.  Real threats or not, this is just mind-boggling!

HAPPY FLIGHT

On a happier airline note, I sure hope this flight attendant is working my next Southwest Airlines’ flight.

I hope this made you smile.

HE CUT OFF WHAT?

Rapper Andre Johnson, also known as Christ Bearer, is recovering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after severing his penis and jumping off the second floor balcony of his North Hollywood apartment!

Andre Johnson

Those present say that no one was using drugs and that they believe he suffered from mental illness.

TMZ reports that efforts to reattach the appendage were unsuccessful.

If Johnson is mentally ill, I hope that he gets the help he needs.  If he isn’t ill, this was a very painful and horrific plea for attention!

And, as a man, this is just painful to think about!

WHILE WE’RE IN THAT MIND SET…

Now that “How I Met Your Mother” has ended its nine-year run on CBS, Neil Patrick Harris is getting rave reviews for his upcoming Broadway performance in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

NPH Hedwig

If you’re not familiar with the rock musical/love story, Hansel is an East German that falls in love with an American soldier.

Since the couple wants to get married and the laws says that it has to be a man and a woman, Hansel’s mother changes his named to Hedwig (her name) and finds a doctor to perform a sex change.  The operation is botched leaving Hedwig with the so-called “angry inch”.

hedwig-680

Harris’ performance as Hedwig on Broadway runs from April through August.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

MichelangeloCollege  Dog

TATTOOS

Do you have a tattoo?  While still somewhat controversial, getting inked is becoming mainstream.

Even Miss Kansas 2013, Theresa Vail, is tattooed with the Serenity Prayer and a military medical insignia.  She says, “If I were crowned Miss America, bearing my tattoos, do you realize the stereotypes and stigmas it would break?”

Miss Kansas 2013

If you’re in your thirties, there’s a 40% chance that you have a tattoo.  If not, 30% of people in their 20s and almost 30% of people in the 40s are getting inked!

More women than men and Hispanics more than whites or blacks have body art.

Two years ago this week, I join the group of white men in their 40s to get a tattoo.  It was a painful, almost four-hour process and I’m very happy to sport it and show it off.

Tattoo1

As you know, my sweet golden retriever and my best friend , Miss ABBA, went to “puppy heaven” in February 2012.

Two months later, I turned her beautiful face into body art.  Here’s the picture from Halloween 2011 and you can see the final product.

ABBA Inspiration For Tattoo Anthony ABBA Tattoo

John Kautz, from O’Toole Design, in Rock Island, Illinois, did an incredible job.

You can read about the entire experience here:  http://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/miss-abba-ill-cherish-this-piece-of-art-forever/

“LATE, LATE AT NIGHT” WITH RICK SPRINGFIELD

I recently finished Rick Springfield’s memoir about his life, his battle with depression, his sexual addiction, and his music and acting career.

Late, Late At Night

It was a fun book.  I’ll share the link again if you didn’t read my blog about the book.

http://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/the-ups-downs-of-rick-springfields-rock-star-lifestyle/

However, one thing that I forgot to mention in the blog was his one year affair with “The Exorcist” star Linda Blair.

Linda and Rick

At the time, he was 25 at the time and she was only 15! I guess things were different in the 1970s and in Hollywood!

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” hit #2 in 1982 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It was the second biggest hit of Rick’s career behind the number one, Grammy-winning smash, “Jessie’s Girl” the year before.

“OUT OF THE FURNACE”

Christian Bale is one of the best actors in the movie business today.

“Out of The Furnace” is a little seen movie that came out about a week before his Oscar-nominated role in “American Hustle”.

Out of the Furnace

In the movie, Bale plays Russell Baze, a West Virginia steel mill worker that has a beautiful girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) that wants to have a baby, a brother (Casey Affleck) with a gambling problem and is struggling with life after serving in the war, and a dying father.

He works every day and is paying off his little brother’s gambling debts.  After stopping for a few drinks after work one night, he’s involved in an accident that changes his life forever.

Also, his little brother disappears and Russell feels it’s up to him to find out what happened and to make things right.

The movie features incredible performances from Bale, Affeck, Saldana, and Woody Harrelson as a New Jersey sociopathic, inbreed, drug dealer named Harlan DeGroat.

GRADE:  A

DAVID DUCHOVNY IS COMING TO NBC

Once Showtime’s “Californication” wraps up its seventh and final season in late June, David Duchovny will star in the new NBC series, “Aquarius”.

david_duchovny_02

The 13-epidsode drama take place in the late-1960s.  Duchovny stars as a Los Angeles police sergeant “who starts tracking a small-time criminal and budding cult leader seeking out vulnerable women to join his ’cause.’ The name of that man is Charles Manson.”

Young Charles Manson

NBC goes on to say that “the twists and turns of a complicated undercover operation will lead Duchovny’s character and his young partner to the brink of Manson’s crimes that will eventually lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders in subsequent seasons.”

Here’s my two cents.  I love David Duchovny and I’ve always been intrigued with serial killers.  I’ll be watching.

NBC, if “Crisis” and “Hannibal” are not renewed, please write Gillian Anderson into the script and let her work with Duchovny’s character!

Gillian David The X-Files

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

The first concert that Ray and I went to together was Keith Urban and Taylor Swift in Moline in June 2009.  Both were amazing performers and this was before I quickly tired of the teen sensation.

Keith Urban Moline 2009

Since his first hit on the Billboard Country chart in 1999, “It’s A Love Thing”, reached #18 (his first four releases from 1990 and 1991 didn’t chart), Urban has been a force to reckon with on country radio.

Of his 33 Top 40 hits, an incredible 31 have hit the Top Ten, the aforementioned “Love Thing” and “Blue Sky” by Emily West, which he was just featured on and so, really that one doesn’t count!

keith_urban

28 of his hits have made the Top 5 and 15 have topped the Country charts.

The ones that spent multiple weeks on top are:  “Somebody Like You” (6 weeks, 2002), “You’ll Think Of Me” (2 weeks, 2004), “Days Go By” (4 weeks, 2004), “Making Memories Of Us” (5 weeks, 2005), “Better Life” (6 weeks, 2005), “Sweet Thing” (2 weeks, 2009), “You Gonna Fly” (2 weeks, 2012), and “We Were Us” (with Miranda Lambert, 3 weeks, 2013).

Keith’s current hit, “Cop Car”,  recently reached #4 on the Billboard Country chart.

HAPPY EASTER!

Have a great weekend!  Here’s a flashback to Easter 2001 and Miss ABBA and the Easter bunny.

ABBAEaster2001

That’s it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.

Let me know what you think.  I always appreciate feedback — good or bad.  Well, obviously, I like the positive comments more!

Anthony

 

Movies — “12 Years A Slave”, “Kill Your Darlings”, “About Time” & “Gravity”

For the most part, the weather is getting nicer.  I know we’ll start spending more time outdoors, but there will always be time to rent movies.

I’ve watched a few lately and if you haven’t seen them, I’ll let you know if you should.

“ABOUT TIME”

When I saw the trailer for this British romantic comedy in theaters last year, I knew I would be waiting to see it on DVD.

About Time

The time travel movie is about a young man, Tim Lake, (Domhnall Gleeson) that can go back in time and change his life for the better.  He does this to get to know Mary (Rachel McAdams) better.

The $12 million movie was a box office hit bringing in $87 million.

It was directed by Richard Curtis who also directed “Love Actually”.

While a cute movie, “About Time” is no “Love Actually”.

GRADE:  B

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS”

This drama set in the 1940s covers the college life of some of the men that would go on to define the “beat generation”.

Kill-Your-Darlings

It stars Daniel Radcliffe as poet Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs, and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac.

When Ginsberg heads off to Columbia University in New York City, he meets the very charming and beautiful blond-haired Lucien Carr, played to perfection by Dane DeHaan.

Carr is anti-establishment, a player, and unstable.  He gets people, young (Ginsberg) and mature (David Kammerer played by “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall), to do his college homework and papers for him.

Without giving too much away, since the movie is called “Kill Your Darlings”, it’s a pretty safe bet that one of the characters dies and the defense in court is shocking.  But, you have to remember that it’s the 1940s.

It was a good movie and Radcliffe’s sex scene in the movie proves that he no longer “Harry Potter”!

 GRADE:  B

“GRAVITY”

This seven-time Academy Award winner grossed more than $715 million at the box office.

From a technical standpoint, it was beautiful and Sandra Bullock turns in a great Oscar-nominated performance.

Gravity

While enjoyable, outside of the technical achievement, I didn’t find that it had too much substance.  I know I’m probably alone in that assessment.

GRADE:  C

“12 YEARS A SLAVE”

I finally got around to seeing the Best Picture of 2013 and it was definitely worth it.

12 Years A Slave

While the movie covered the darkest period in American human rights history, it was riveting and you couldn’t take your eyes off it.  It was painful knowing that a portion of America thought it was okay to enslave, beat, rape, and treat others with no dignity.  Sadly, some still think that way!

The all-star cast was incredible.  While heartbreaking to watch her as Patsey, Lupita Nyong’o deserved her Oscar.

In another year that didn’t include Jared Leto as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club”, Michael Fassbender would have walked away with a gold statuette, too, as sadistic plantation and slave owner Edwin Epps.

GRADE:  A+

All of these movies are available now at Redbox and other movie outlets.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 11, 2014

The weekend is upon us!  While I have a couple of work-related events to take part in this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday, I plan on taking full advantage of my down time.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

GIVE YOUR LOVED ONES AN EXTRA HUG

We all get overwhelmed and sometimes we forget to do simple things like show others how much we care.

alexhribelshackles

You just never know what will happen that day.

Who would have thought this innocent-looking 16-year-old boy is now suspected of stabbing 21 students and a security guard earlier this week in a Pennsylvania school?

To my friends, I appreciate you.  To my loved one, I’m thankful you’re in my life!

RE-WRITING THE BIBLE

Failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wants you to know he is not homophobic.

Huckabee

That’s what he told a crowd earlier this week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring fundraiser.

Huckabee says, “I’m not against anybody. I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic. I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives…but… when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand.”

I admit that Huckabee knows more about the Bible than I do, but I really don’t think that God put his signature on the first one, much less rewriting it, signing it, and sending it down now!

HIT THE ROAD, JACK

After thirty years of marriage, it’s over for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila.

Putin

Unless she’s like him, I wonder why it took thirty years?  Who knows (or cares)?  Maybe his hateful, ignorant attitude is something relatively new.

They have two daughters.

COUNTRY MUSIC SHINES ON CBS

Last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards show on CBS brought in some big numbers with 14.2 million people watching.

While I had no desire to watch it, I did flip over from “Crisis” on NBC during a couple of commercial breaks and I have three observations to make.

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Show

In her performance with husband Tim McGraw, Faith Hill looked amazing.  I didn’t really care for the song they performed and I really wish that she’d release an incredible album that country radio would have to embrace.

Meanwhile, show co-host Luke Bryan (left, below) looked incredibly hot.  Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.  As for Blake Shelton, not so much.

Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton

I didn’t watch the opening monologue and I know that the point is to poke fun at pop culture.

I thought Blake’s comment about marriage equality was funny, “A year ago, same-sex marriage just meant once you got married, you had the same sex over and over and over again.”  From what I’ve read, his wife, Miranda Lambert, in the audience, mouthed, “Thank you” to him!  It might have been a cold night in Las Vegas in their suite that night!

But, I didn’t care for one of his other “jokes” that I’m sure others thought was funny.

When the hosts were talking about the upcoming live performances on the show, Shelton added, “And if you don’t like live music, you have to go down the block and see Britney Spears”.

Britney Las Vegas

Stop!  I’m laughing out loud.  Not really.

I know it was a joke and they have writers, so I’m saying this in fun.  Blake, when you get own residency in Vegas and can ask for $800 a ticket and $2,500 for a VIP/Meet & Greet ticket, give me a call!

HERE’S THE KICKER TO BLAKE’S JOKE

Rascal Flatts, performing their new single, “Rewind”, on the ACMs now admit to lip-syncing (badly)!

Rascal Flatts

The band says, “After having performed several shows earlier in the week, Gary lost his voice.  So instead of canceling our commitment to do the show, we made a last-minute decision to lip-synch. We’ve never done it before, and we’re obviously not very good at it. We look forward to singing live again in the very near future!”

“WTH” FASHION STATEMENT

And, my last ACM Awards comment is about Miranda Lambert.  She is a beautiful woman and she looks amazing in the right and left pictures from Sunday night.

Miranda Lambert

However, in the middle picture, from the braided hair to the demin shirt and the belt, the whole ensemble had me censoring myself and just saying, “WTH”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Freaking StupidDog Social MediaPeas and Hominy

WAY TO GO, NOTRE DAME

In life, there are good and bad Democrats and Republicans.  There are good and bad straight people and LGBT people.  There are good and bad <insert group here>.

The University of Notre Dame, a Catholic college, in South Bend, Indiana, is making strides to be on the right side of history.

Matt Dooley

Watch this amazing video the University released after tennis play Matt Dooley came out as gay.  It’s incredible and touching.

REMEMBERING RYAN WHITE

It was 24 years ago this week that 18-year-old Ryan White died of complications of AIDS.

Ryan White

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.  We have come so far in the fight against AIDS and today, with proper medication, it’s no longer a death sentence and people can now live a full and long life.

That wasn’t the case back in the 1980s.  Ryan, a hemophiliac, was infected with HIV from contaminated blood in December 1984 and was given only six months to live.  He surprised doctors and the world by living for another five years.

While he posed no threat to other students, he was expelled from middle school because of his diagnosis.  Many parents and teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, fought against him returning to school and the family left Kokomo after bullets were fired into their house.

elton_John_ryan_white MIchael Jackson Ryan White

In life, Ryan became good friends with Elton John and Michael Jackson, along with John Cougar Mellencamp, and former President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Before he died, Ryan became a national spokesperson for bringing AIDS discrimination to the forefront in America.  Sadly, he died a month before graduating from high school.

Ryan, your memory is still alive.  And, to all of the Ryan Whites in the world today, live life to the fullest.

Here’s Elton John performing “Skyline Pigeon” at Ryan’s funeral.

DID YOU KNOW?

On a lighter note, now that it’s warming up, ice cream sounds like a great treat to enjoy outdoors.

In the July 2013 issue, “Better Homes and Gardens” reported that the average American eats 24 pounds of ice cream a year!

rocky road ice cream

While I love many flavors of ice cream, if I had to choose only one, it’d be Rocky Road.  And, if I could add one ingredient, it’d be coconut.

Now, there are many ranking of favorite flavors.  My favorite, Rocky Road, barely makes the Top 15.

Most rankings have Strawberry at #4, Butter Pecan at #3, and Chocolate comes in second place.

What’s shocking to me is that Vanilla is the favorite by a three-to-one margin!  Maybe because of its versatility?

PICK HIT

Pharrell Williams is hot right now.

As a solo artist, he’s at #1 with his song, “Happy”, and last year, he was featured in two of the biggest songs of the year, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “Blurred Line” with Robin Thicke.

I don’t really care for “Happy”, but I love him accompanying other artists.  I first became aware of him when appeared on Madonna’s album “Hard Candy” and on her 2008′s #1 dance smash, “Give It 2 Me”.

Pharrell is featured on one of my favorite songs from Kylie Minogue’s latest album, “Kiss Me Once”.

kylie_pharrell

“I Was Gonna Cancel” is the album’s second single and the follow-up to the #1 Billboard Dance hit, “Into The Blue”.

Radio programmers, add this to your playlist now!

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The-Best-Man-Holiday-Poster

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends –  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Earlier I talked about Luke Bryan, so I’ll feature him in my segment of some of my favorite country songs.

In just seven short years, the 37-year-old Georgia native and married father of two boys has racked up an incredible 15 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 11 of  have reached the Top Three with seven making it to the #1 spot!

His latest, “Play It Again”, is at #3 this week and it could top the chart, too.  However, he’d have to knock himself out of the top spot since he’s featured on Florida Georgia Line ‘s “This Is How We Roll”, at #1.

luke-bryan-nbc-today-show-650-430

I really like many of his hits like “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “Rain Is A Good Thing”, but his first hit, “All My Friends Say”, which reached #5 in 2007, is my still my favorite.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with any of them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

The Ups & Downs of Rick Springfield’s “Rock Star” Lifestyle

“Jessie if a friend/Yeah, I know he’s been a good friend of mine/but lately something’s changed/it ain’t hard to define/Jessie’s got himself a girl/and I want to make her mine.”

Jessie's Girl

We know the song by heart.  And, after reading Rick Springfield’s memoir, “Late, Late At Night”, one of the main things I came away with is that he wants you to know that while “Jessie’s Girl” changed his life, he had many other big hits after that signature song from 1982.

Late, Late At Night

His 336-page memoir was released in 2010 and made it all the way up to #13 on The New York Times best seller list and I just got around to reading it.  But, not everyone loved the book.

Here’s the headline from the review in “Entertainment Weekly”.

EW Rick

While that may be a little harsh, to the uninitiated or the prudish, there might be a little truth to it.

I won’t give away all of the juicy details from the book because it’s definitely worth reading.  However, you’ll want to go into it with an open mind.

If you’re a Rick Springfield fan, you know he’s Australian.  While I’ve always wanted to visit “Down Under”, after seeing “The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” and reading this book, I would definitely only visit the larger cities and not the outback!

Just hearing Rick talk about all of the poisonous creatures and plants in nature and the sharks, no thanks.

Australia

Rick and his family traveled and moved around a lot in his childhood and not just in Australia.  They also moved to England and then back to their home country.

As a child, Rick was awkward with girls and obsessed over losing his virginity.  He also lacked self-confidence and that was a factor that led to his life long struggles with his “Darkness” — depression.

It also led to a suicide attempt when he was 17.  His love for music and pursing it helped bring him past that failed attempt.

 

Rick-Springfield

Rick joined several band before making it big in the early 1980s.  One of those bands was called Zoot and, early on, pink was their signature color!

Zoot 1

After leaving the band around 1970, it wasn’t too long before he scored his first solo hit, “Speak To The Sky”.  It reached #14 in the U.S. in 1972 after already reaching the Top Ten in Australia and Canada the year before.  But, long-term success wasn’t meant to be this time around.  It would take Rick another ten years for “Jessie’s Girl” to propel him to super stardom.

This was rough on Springfield, who had joined a cover band to make ends meet.  He also pursued his acting career and got many small roles, but his biggest television success came in 1981 on ABC’s “General Hospital” as Dr. Noah Drake.

noahdrake

From his tour of Vietnam in a band as a teenager in the late-1960s through the 1970s and early-1980s, Rick lived up to the “rock star” image of backstage hook-ups and he hides nothing in the book about his numerous sexual conquests — some days he scored with multiple partners.

In early 1981, the album that would propel him to the stratosphere, “Working Class Dog”,  was released and featured his adorable bull terrier, Lethal Ronnie, on the cover.

Working Class Dog

It would sell more than a million copies and earn Rick his first #1 hit and Grammy Award (Best Rock Male Performance) with “Jessie’s Girl”.

“I’ve Done Everything For You” also hit the Top Ten (#8) and “Love Is Alright Tonight” peaked at #20.  It’s still one of my favorite Rick songs.

While making that album, he met a receptionist, Barbara Porter, at the recording studio and she would become his wife in October 1984.

Rick Springfield Barbara Porter

This year, the couple, who are the parents of two sons, Liam and Joshua Springthorpe (Rick’s real last name), will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Rick Family

Before this turns into a greatest hits compilation of my favorite Rick Springfield videos, I want to talk more about the book.

There is a similarity in “Late, Late At Night” and Belinda Carlisle’s “Lips Unsealed” that I read and blogged about earlier this year.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

In that book, Belinda wrote extensively about her drug use and it got to the point where it seemed that she was glorifying the abuse.  However, it sounded that way because she was being brutally honest about using drugs and the repeated setbacks she encountered en route to becoming clean.

While Rick admits in the book to using drugs and abusing alcohol, it was his addiction to sex and infidelity that prompts the reader (and I’m speaking of me right now) to think, “are you really even trying to be faithful?”

Reading the book, I wondered why Barbara put up with his cheating for all of those years.  While I thought that, I never really passed enough judgement to call Rick a “pig” or Barbara “weak” because I’m not in their shoes.

In our past relationships, many of us have been with an unfaithful partner.  Or, we may have been the unfaithful one.

Rick Springfield

While reading the book and thinking of their relationship and the unfaithful incidents, Rick addresses that point-blank on page 277 when he states, “I’d also like to address those perfect souls who are reading this and saying to themselves, ‘Why is this masochistic woman putting up with this asshole?’  I’m happy that your life is so unruptured  that you can make such a distant judgement call , so I’ll address the humans in the audience.”

That personifies who Rick is and says a lot about the tone of the book.

He’s honest, crazy, and funny.  His style of writing made me smile and shake my head many times throughout the book even as he talked about heavy topics like infidelity, depression, love, and whatever else crossed his mind.

I’m glad that he and Barbara are still together and there for each other through everything life has dealt them and I’m glad Rick is still making music and touring.

I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert last year in the Quad Cities and it was an incredible show.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My sister and two cousins saw him in concert back in his musical heyday in the 1980s, but I bet they weren’t this close to him! :)

In his career, Rick charted 17 Top 40 songs (all but “Speak To The Sky” were from 1981-1986).

Of those hits, five reached the Top Ten:  the aforementioned “Jessie’s Girl (1981) and “I’ve Done Everything For You” (1981), “Don’t Talk To Strangers” (1982), “Affair of The Heart” (1983), and “Love Somebody” (1984).

That song, “Love Somebody” is from his 1985 motion picture debut, “Hard To Hold”.  From just reading the book, it sounds like he’d like to forget it!  I bought the DVD after I saw him in concert, but I still haven’t watched it.  Maybe I’ll do it this weekend!

Living In Oz 1983 Rick Springfield

As I stated in my blog last year after my first Rick Springfield concert, the “Living In Oz” album cover is still my favorite Rick Springfield picture over the past three decades and trust me, I had many to choose from!

And, since Rick was so honest in the book about drugs, alcohol, depression, infidelity, sex, his penis, and cute guys hitting on him (I’m sure there were ugly ones, too, but I can see why he wouldn’t pontificate too much on that), I admit that I had a super crush on him and after reading the book, I wish that I had been one of those guys back in the 1980s. :)

Rick Springfield 6

We all have our faults and Rick laid his out in “Late, Late At Night”.  There is no doubt, whatsoever, how much he loves his wife, Barbara, his two sons, his mother and his late father.

And, it warmed my heart when Rick talked about how much he loves dogs.  From Elvis, his first dog in Australia, to the many that have come and gone afterwards, you have to love a man who thinks the world of his dogs.  “Ronnie” was featured on the covers of his platinum albums, “Working Class Dog” and “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet”.

Rick+Springfield+-+Success+Hasn't+Spoiled+Me+Yet+-+LP+RECORD-527412

And, here’s Gomer, who has joined Ronnie in “puppy heaven”.

Rick Gomer

Rick, thank you for sharing your private thoughts about your life in “Late, Late At Night” and most of all, thank you for music over the past 40 years.

While it only reached #21, here’s my favorite Rick Springfield song, “What Kind of Fool Am I?”

And, here’s Rick live from the Quad Cities in 2013 with his signature song, “Jessie’s Girl”.

Rock on, Rick!

His new novel, “Magnificent Vibration” comes out in early May.

If you’re a Rick Springfield fan, here’s my blog from last May after his concert in the Quad Cities:

http://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/05/25/i-got-to-celebrate-youth-with-rick-springfield/

Anthony

“Frozen” Still Hot This Spring

“Frozen”, Disney’s latest animated blockbuster, is now the biggest animated film in history.  It’s crossed the one-billion dollar mark at $1.07 billion!

Frozen

When it was released a couple of weeks ago to the home market, it sold more than 3.2 million blue-rays and DVDs and in February, it became the biggest digital release ever!

I finally got around to seeing it.  Gretel, our 12-year-old daughter, has seen it several times already and loves it.  She says it’s one of her favorite Disney movies.

I guess my expectations were too just high with its box office success and the Oscar win for Best Animated Feature.  While I enjoyed the movie, it was no “Beauty and The Beast” and Belle will always be my favorite.

Beauty-And-The-Beast

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

The “Frozen” soundtrack is just as popular as the movie.  It’s the only album that has sold more than a million copies in 2014.  Since its November release, the soundtrack has sold 1.8 million copies and has spent eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Frozen Soundtrack

“Let It Go”, the first release from the album, picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song.  That song by Adele Dazeem has been downloaded around 1.8 million times!

What?  Damn you, John Travolta!  You’re right, it’s not Adele Dazeem, it’s “Wicked” star Idina Menzel!

John and Idina

“Frozen” is now ready to melt dance clubs across the country.  The song’s remix just debuted on the Billboard Dance Chart.  While Dave Aude’s remix is great, this is my favorite version by Papercha$er.

This will be Menzel’s fourth dance chart hit.  Her biggest hits on that chart were the #5 smash, “Defying Gravity”, from “Wicked” in 2007 and “Gorgeous” from her 2008 album, “I Stand”, peaked at #3.

Anthony

Taken from:  http://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/random-friday-thoughts-april-4-2014/ 

Random Friday Thoughts — April 4, 2014

FINALLY, IT’S FRIDAY!

I don’t use the phrase “T.G.I.F” very often, but I’m really thankful to God that today is Friday and I have a weekend with nothing planned.

Several things are on the docket work wise and public relations-wise the next two weekends, so I’m going to chill out this weekend with Ray and my sister, Tammy.

I hope you have a great weekend and make the best of it.  Here are my random thoughts for this week!

GUILTY!

Last Friday, I shared the story of Jessica Dutro, an Oregon woman on trial for murder, murder by abuse, second-degree assault, and four other charges in the death of her 4-year-old son, Zachary, because she thought he was gay!

Her boyfriend had already pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for his part in the child’s death.

dutro-boggess-canady

Wednesday evening, the jury deliberated a little more than hour before finding her guilty on all seven charges!

“The Oregonian” reports that Dutro showed “no reaction” when the verdict was read.

Her sentencing date is set for April 18th.

LATEST ON MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370

Weeks after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpar International Airport in Malaysia to Beijing, China, we still don’t know what happened and the families of those on-board are still being fed misinformation.

Malaysia-Bejing Flight Map

It’s now a criminal investigation and Khalid Abu Bakar, the inspector general of the Royal Malaysian Police Force, says “As we have said earlier, only the passengers has been cleared. The rest? No.”

This means the pilot and co-pilot are still being investigated.

Last Words MA 370

While it may not be a big deal to some people, it seems the authorities in Malaysia are again showing their incompetence under the scrutiny of the world.

Officials are now reporting that the last words from the cockpit were “Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero” rather than “All right, good night”, which they reported two weeks ago.

For the sake of the families, I hope they find answers and get closure soon.

“12 YEARS A SLAVE”

One of the things I plan on this weekend is finally getting to see the Oscar-winning movie, “12 Years A Slave”, now that it’s out on DVD.

12 Years A Slave

Also, I plan on seeing the Oscar-nominated Martin Scorsese film, “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Yes, that’s all I need — a movie that glorifies the use of the f-word, as if it isn’t one of my favorite crutch words.

If you recall, from my January 17, 2014 “Random Friday Thoughts”, the f-bomb is used 506 times in this movie, which is second only to documentary called “F*ck”, which is about the f-word.  It’s used 857 times in that one!

SUNNY FORECAST FOR WILLARD SCOTT

Former “Today” show weatherman Willard Scott got married earlier this week on April Fool’s Day.

Willard Scott

The 80-year-old married his girlfriend of almost eleven years, Paris Keena, in Fort Myers, Florida.

The couple met back in the late-1970s and remained friends.  Scott was married to Mary Dwyer from 1959 until her death in 2002.

Congratulations Willard and Paris.  I forecast sunny and happy days for you!

BEST WISHES TO SARA & LINDA, TOO

Congratulations and well wishes also go out to “The Talk” co-host Sara Gilbert and record producer Linda Perry.

Sara and Linda

The couple was married this past Sunday in an ocean side Malibu wedding and are now away on their honeymoon.

Sara and Linda have been dating since 2011.

For the reception party, Linda surprised Sara, who loves ’80s female rockers, with a concert featuring Terri Nunn of Berlin (“The Metro” and “Take My Breath Away”), Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons (“Destination Unknown”), Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow (“I Want Candy”), and Martha Davis of the Motels (“Only The Lonely”)!

How incredible would that be!!!!!

You’re probably more familiar with Sara, who starred on “Roseanne”.  But, Linda has produced for Christina Aguilera (“Beautiful”), Pink!, and Britney Spears.

She was also the lead singer of 4 Non Blondes, a one-hit wonder, that reached #14 in 1993 with the smash, “What’s Up?”

While it was a modest hit in the U.S., it reached #1 in Austria, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, and several more European countries.

“FROZEN”

“Frozen”, Disney’s latest animated blockbuster, is now the biggest animated film in history.  It’s crossed the one-billion dollar mark at $1.07 billion!

Frozen

When it was released a couple of weeks ago to the home market, it sold more than 3.2 million blue-rays and DVDs and in February, it became the biggest digital release ever!

I finally got around to seeing it.  Gretel, our 12-year-old daughter, has seen it several times already and loves it.  She says it’s one of her favorite Disney movies.

I guess my expectations were too just high with its box office success and the Oscar win for Best Animated Feature.  While I enjoyed the movie, it was no “Beauty and The Beast” and Belle will always be my favorite.

Beauty-And-The-Beast

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

The “Frozen” soundtrack is just as popular as the movie.  It’s the only album that has sold more than a million copies in 2014.  Since its November release, the soundtrack has sold 1.8 million copies and has spent eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Frozen Soundtrack

“Let It Go”, the first release from the album, picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song.  That song by Adele Dazeem has been downloaded around 1.8 million times!

What?  Damn you, John Travolta!  You’re right, it’s not Adele Dazeem, it’s “Wicked” star Idina Menzel!  :)

John and Idina

“Frozen” is now ready to melt dance clubs across the country.  The song’s remix just debuted on the Billboard Dance Chart.  While Dave Aude’s remix is great, this is my favorite version by Papercha$er.

This will be Menzel’s fourth dance chart hit.  Her biggest hits on that chart were the #5 smash, “Defying Gravity”, from “Wicked” in 2007 and “Gorgeous” from her 2008 album, “I Stand”, peaked at #3.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Jimmy Carter

Train WreckMoscato Strawberry Lemonade

READY FOR THE BACKYARD POOL

That Moscato Strawberry Lemonade has me thinking of hot summer days in our backyard pool.

While the chill has settled in again across the Quad Cities after Monday’s 69° high, I can’t wait to lounge and soak up the sun dreaming of my 50th birthday vacation celebration this October.  It’s only six months away!  Only?

One of these days soon, I’ll write a blog and announce where it is.  Now, I just have to pay for it!

Until then and until we can swim outside, here’s a flashback to the summer of 2010 with Miss ABBA and Gretel that still melts my heart!

Pool Summer 2010

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

This Sunday, country music legend Merle Haggard will celebrate his 77th birthday.

Merle Haggard

Along with Buck Owens, Haggard helped define the “Bakersfield Sound”.

Since his first hit in 1963 to his last Top 40 appearance on the Billboard Country chart in 2005 in a duet with Gretchen Wilson, Haggard charted 84 songs!

Of those, an astounding 74 of them reached the Top Ten!  And, 38 made it all the way to the top of the charts!

My favorite Merle song reached #1 in 1974 and was the lead single from his Christmas album, “A Christmas Present” in November 1973 and his next studio album in February 1974, “If We Make It Through December”.

That song also hit #28 on the Billboard Hot 100, which was his only crossover.

My other favorite was his 1968 hit “Mama Tried”, which topped the country charts for four weeks.

Merle Haggard  -- Young

Happy Birthday Merle!

THAT’S IT

Have a fantastic weekend!  I hope I wasn’t too controversial in my thoughts this week.  I’ll have more to share next week.

Anthony

Good News About AIDS Deaths & “The Normal Heart”

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.

STOP AIDS

In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

Anthony

Re-posted from March 21, 2014:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/random-friday-thoughts-march-21-2014/

Random Friday Thoughts — March 28, 2014

I guess if you work weekends, you may not be all that fond of Saturdays and Sundays.

However, since I work a traditional work schedule, I really love my weekends and this one should be a great once since I have no plans and the weather is going to dry and warmer.

So, enjoy your weekend and my random thoughts this Friday.

SPRING PLANTING

With the nice weather expected, I hope to get outdoors and clean out the garden, the herb garden, and the two flower beds.  Ray and I talked about planting and I suggested that we have two herb gardens this year for plenty of fun, tasty herbs to cook with this summer and fall.

Planter

I’m making progress on my indoor planting that I did three weeks ago.  It appears that the Ice White Cherry Tomatoes have popped up!  No luck yet on the Jerusalem Cherry plants that I desperately want.

Now I just have to keep them alive and healthy until I can plant them outdoors.

WINTER’S LAST HOORAY?

While it’s going to be a warm one this weekend with highs in the 50s Saturday and in the 60s Sunday and Monday in the Quad Cities, we had measurable snow this past Monday night.

Snow 032514

That brought us up to 65.1″ of snow for the winter, which is more than twice what we typically see in a winter.

We’re still 4.6″ shy of the snowiest winter on record.  Too bad since I’ve moved on from winter and I want spring now!

ONE JURY I’D LIKE TO BE ON!

Jessica Dutro of Tigard, Oregon, just outside of Portland, is on trial for murder, murder by abuse, second-degree assault, and four other charges in the death of her 4-year-old son, Zachary, because she thought he was gay!

Her boyfriend, Brian Canady, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for his part in the child’s death.

dutro-boggess-canady

Zachary’s 7-year-old sister told investigators that “Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him and punching him.  He didn’t listen to them so they kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and doing it.”

In Facebook messages that the judge is allowing in the trail, the little boy’s mother tells her boyfriend, Brian, using a homophobic slur that he’s going to be gay and “he walks and talks like it.  Ugh.”

Little Zachary did not get medical treatment until two days after the beating and was unresponsive when he was finally taken to the hospital on August 14, 2012.  He was taken off life support two days later.

The child died from the trauma to his abdomen, tears in his bowels, and the infection caused by the leakage into his body.

The other two children in the home, the aforementioned 7-year-old girl and a 3-year-old brother also showed multiple signs of abuse.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370

I know that plane crashes are always a possibility with the high number of flights around the world daily.

However, it’s now been about three weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 lost contact and disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpar International Airport in Malaysia en route to Beijing, China.

Malaysia-Bejing Flight Map

While it’s still unknown what happened to the Boeing 777, it’s likely that the 239 people on board are dead.

Malaysian Airlines is telling the families of those on board that “beyond reasonable doubt” there are no survivors and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told the world that the flight “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.

Malaysia Prime Minister

Unless there was an act of terrorism, in my heart, I feel that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and there are no survivors.

However, I don’t trust the Malaysian government and I believe the press conference they held earlier this week concluding the plane crashed is just damage control because officials there have botched this investigation and its interactions with the media since the beginning.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

19 Down Beliefs

ANOTHER 2014 CONCERT PLANNED

In late May, we’re going to see Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and in June, we have tickets to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis in Clinton, Iowa, on the “Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Cher Cyndi Lauper

While there may be one more concert, we just bought tickets to see the “Dressed To Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in early June.

The concert kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona, last Saturday night and it’s getting great reviews and Cher looks amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi Lauper on “The Farewell Tour” more than ten years ago.  This will be Ray’s first time.

I know it’ll be fun even though Cher doesn’t do my favorite song, “Red”, from her new album.

NCAA BASKETBALL BRACKETS

After winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball “March Madness” last year at the station and for one of the local newspapers, I was doing rather well going in to the “Sweet Sixteen”.

2014 Brackets

Sadly, last night, one of my “Final Four” teams, Baylor, lost miserably to Wisconsin.

If my other three “Final Four” teams continue to win, I’ll have a chance!

IOWA STATE CYCLONES

I have the Iowa State Cyclones winning one more game before falling to Virginia.

ISU is Ray’s alma mater, but that is not the reason I love watching them play.

Fred

That’s Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

He played for Iowa State in the 1990s and then went on to an NBA career from 1995-2005 playing for Indiana, Chicago, and Minnesota.  He’s been the head coach at Iowa State now since 2010.

DIVERGENT

“Divergent” opened with $54.6 million in the U.S. last weekend.

The movie looks interesting and I’ll likely see it when it comes out on DVD.  It stars Shailene Woodley and 29-year-old Englishman Theo James.

Theo James

There’s more to say about the movie, but it escapes me!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY #1

Mother Monster is celebrating her 28th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga!

Lady Gaga

Since 2008, Gaga has charted with 13 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

While my favorite Lady Gaga songs are still “Bad Romance”, “The Edge of Glory”, “Marry The Night” and “Dance in The Dark”, there are many songs on her new album, “ARTPOP”, that are incredible.

Her new single, “G.U.Y.”, is definitely one of them!

Classic Gaga!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”/HAPPY BIRTHDAY #2

While Lady Gaga is celebrating today, she’s not alone.

Reba

My idol, Reba McEntire, turns 59 today!

Reba Anthony 2005

Reba, I hope you’re having an amazing birthday.   While I don’t know if Reba is looking for songs for a new album, I hope so.

Nevertheless, for her birthday, let’s flash back to February 1995 when Reba took “Till You Love Me” to number 2 on the Billboard Country charts.

Reba has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, accumulated 25 #1 hits, which has her tied with Dolly Parton for the most numbers ones by a female country artist.

Reba easily has the most Top Ten hits by a country female artist with 59.

MY PARENTS’ ANNIVERSARY

March 28th seems to be a popular day.  It was on this date back in 1964 that my parents, Hollie Gene and Dessie, got married.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

They were married almost 23 years when Hollie died (Dessie died three years later).

However, that little bundle of joy in the picture turns 50 in October.  Yes, that’s me.

THAT’S IT

Happy Friday and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Have a great weekend.

Anthony

 

Beat The Cold & Snow With These Three Movies

I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of spring.

While it looked nice, it was a chilly one in the Quad Cities after Friday’s high of 62°!  That was the first 60-plus temperature this year and the warmest day in more than four months!

Saturday LeClaire

Now, we have a little snow (an inch or two) on the way today and tonight.  The good news is that it won’t last long and much warmer weather is expected by the weekend!  Yes, I’m already thinking of the weekend and it’s just Monday!

So, if you want to cuddle up on the couch tonight and Tuesday and if you’re not watching “The Following”, I have a few suggestions to definitely check out if you want to rent movies!  I love my Redbox!

“INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED”

This Mexican comedy-drama directed and written by star Eugenio Derbez stunned the American box office when it opened last fall and I can see why.

Instructions Not Included

The $5 million dollar movie is now up to $90.2 million in box office revenues.

Of that amount, $39.3 million was made in the U.S.  “Instructions” is now the highest grossing Spanish-language movie of all time and it’s the 4th highest grossing foreign film domestically.

In Mexico, by the second week in release, it had become the highest grossing Mexican film of all time.

Derbez stars as Valentin’, a bum that likes to sleep around.  One day, a former fling shows up at his door while he’s entertaining a couple of women.  She hands him a baby and gets money to go back down to pay the taxi.  She doesn’t return.

instructions_not_included

Valentin’ begins tracking down the American mother and realizes that she may be in Los Angeles.  He and the little girl, Maggie, head off in search of the baby’s mother, Julie.

He gets a job as a stunt man after saving the baby’s life in front of a director.  Over the years, Valentin’ and Maggie grow close.

Valentin Maggie

And, that’s where the drama comes in.

This movie is a definite must-see.  You won’t even notice that you have to read subtitles!

GRADE:  A

“NEBRASKA”

This black & white movie was nominated for six Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Director for Alexander Payne, Best Actor for Bruce Dern and Best Supporting Actress for June Squibb.

Nebraska

Dern stars as Woody Grant, an elderly Billings, Montana, man who thinks he’s won a million dollars in a sweepstakes.  Since he’s suffers from memory loss, he heads off walking several times to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect his money.

You can see the stress that this brings to his wife, Kate (Squibb) and his son, David, played by former “Saturday Night Live” comedian, Will Forte, in a dramatic role that he aces.

David gives in and decides to drive to Nebraska with his father.  On the way, there will be a family get together in Woody’s small Nebraska hometown the weekend before they arrive in Lincoln.  Once Woody tells people he’s won a million dollars, family and friends all come forward to demand their share of the winnings.

June Squibb

The movie was very hard to watch at times because it was so awkward, but real.  I felt like I was a voyeur in the Grant family’s life.

While Dern and Forte were amazing, June Squibb made the movie.  The fact that she didn’t have a filter and said what she was thinking, her performance definitely deserved an Oscar nomination — if not for the cemetery scene alone and it was funny!

GRADE:  A-

“OLDBOY”

Director Spike Lee’s remake of the 2003 South Korean cult film, Oldboy, was a box office bomb, but it was very entertaining and intriguing.

OLDBOY

Josh Brolin stars as Joe, an alcoholic advertisement executive.  He drinks during the work day just to get through it and he’s good at what he does.

However, one night, after he botches a pretty much sealed high-profile deal over dinner, he gets wasted and wakes up being held captive in a “room” after following an Asian woman with an umbrella through an alley.

In his captivity, he finds out the he’s being framed for the rape and murder of his ex-wife.  His infant child, Mia, survived the attack.

Josh Brolin

Joe is held prisoner for 20 years and then he’s drugged and released in a box in the middle of a field with cash and a cell phone.  While in captivity, he was forced to watch a video of his grown daughter, Mia, talking about how she’d feel to meet her father again.

That’s where it gets violent and very creepy.

The movie also features incredible performances from Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, who’s one of the best new actresses out there, and Sharlto Copley (“District 9″ and “Elysium”).

While I enjoyed this movie, when it hits theaters, it was one of the weakest openings for Thanksgiving of all time.  It only grossed $850,000 in the first five days.

“Summer of Sam” is still my favorite Spike Lee movie, but this is solid, too.

GRADE: B

As you know, I love watching movies and I’m sure I’ll have a few more short reviews to share with you soon.

Anthony

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