You Can’t Spend All Summer Outdoors

Summer is a time when most people spend more time outdoors on the lake or river, lounging in the pools, or vacationing.

Pool Summer 2010

Whatever you do, it’s great to escape the cold, snowy months of winter.

11911Snow2

In the evenings, television networks are giving us fresh new shows so we don’t have to watch re-runs and pine for the return of our favorite shows.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Now that my favorites, “The Walking Dead”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Bates Motel”, “American Horror Story”, “Madam Secretary”, “American Crime” are on hiatus, and “The Following” and “Stalker” heading off to the television graveyard, here are the shows that excite me this summer.

I just have to include the trailers for the series finales of “The Following” and “Stalker”, both of which air Monday, May 18th!

R.I.P.

Now, my summer shows……

“Wayward Pines” kicked off on Fox, Thursday, May 14th, to rave reviews.

“Aquarius” with David Duchovny debuts on NBC on Thursday, May 28th.

Duchovny will play a detective who ends up on the hunt for a young serial killer, Charles Manson.

The third season of one of my favorite shows, “Hannibal”, returns on NBC Thursday, June 4th.

Ironically, that means Duchovny will be back-to-back on NBC Thursday night with his “The X-Files” television partner, Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurie.

Gillian David The X-Files

Those ready for the six new episodes of “The X-Files” will have to wait until January 24, 2016!

On USA, I’m going to check out “Mr. Robot”.  It premiers Wednesday, June 24th.

I kept seeing the promotions for it during “Dig”, a ten-episode thriller that has already concluded.  However, if you have On Demand, I highly recommending binge watching it.

And, on Tuesday, June 30th, I plan on checking out “Zoo” on CBS.

There isn’t much in this trailer.  It’s a drama about a global pandemic that causes animals to launch violent, coordinated attacks against humans stars James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, and Billy Burke.

And, the six-episode accompanying series to “The Walking Dead”, “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts some time late this summer on AMC.

Okay, while I don’t want to rush summer, here is the ONLY show that has piqued my curiosity for the fall.

“Scream Queens” comes to Fox in September.

What shows are you excited about?

Anthony

Here I Come Vegas — Britney, Are You Ready? I Am!

As a television news personality, there are four months out of the year that we can’t take off because of the all important “sweeps ratings period”.  May is one of those months.

However, the May sweeps ends today and my 2015 vacation season officially kicks off this afternoon.  After a quick flight to Chicago, I’ll be boarding another plane to Las Vegas.

If both flights are on time (and I can get decent seats this close to show time), I’ll be one of the thousands screaming and singing along to Britney Spears at the last concert on this leg of her Vegas residency show, “Piece of Me”!

Britney Piece of Me

I saw Britney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2011 on her “Femme Fatale Tour” and she (and Nicki Minaj) were amazing.  I can’t get enough of Britney!

Britney July 2011

So, as I psyche myself up for the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Vegas eating plenty of food, checking all of the sites and hotel displays, and having a few tasty drinks, I’ve been singing along to all of my favorite Britney songs.

Allow me to be your jukebox today as I count down my favorite Britney Spears songs and I’ll share my five favorite Britney songs that were never released as singles (but should have been).

Let me say this was very tough since Britney has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide since her 1999 debut, “Baby One More Time” and is one of the best-selling artists of all time!

#20

“PERFUME” (2013)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #76

19

“ME AGAINST THE MUSIC” FEATURING MADONNA (2003) 

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #35

18

“GIMME MORE” (2007)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

#17

“RADAR” (2009)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #88

16

“CIRCUS” (2008)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

15

“I’M A SLAVE 4 U” (2001)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #27

14

“STRONGER” (2000)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #11

13

“PIECE OF ME” (2007)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #18

12

“…BABY ONE MORE TIME” (1998)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

11

“SCREAM & SHOUT” WITH WILL.I.AM (2012)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

10

“3” (2009)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

9

“HOLD IT AGAINST ME” (2011)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

8

“(YOU DRIVE ME) CRAZY” (1999)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #10

7

“OOPS!… I DID IT AGAIN” (2000)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #9

6

“SOMETIMES” (1999)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #21

5

“WOMANIZER” (2008)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

#4 MOVIE

“I WANNA GO” (2008)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #7

#3 CD

“TOXIC” (2004)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #9

#2 CD

“TILL THE WORLD ENDS” (2011)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

1

“EVERYTIME” (2004)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #15

Britney Whip

And, here are the five songs that I think Britney should have cracked the whip to get released as singles in the United States!

#5 MOVIE

“TIK TIK BOOM” FEATURING T.I. (2013)

FROM THE ALBUM “BRITNEY JEAN”

red-number-4

“NOW THAT I FOUND YOU” (2013)

FROM THE ALBUM “BRITNEY JEAN” 

green 3

“BIG FAT BASS” FEATURING WILL.I.AM (2011)

FROM THE ALBUM “FEMME FATALE” 

#2 MOVIE

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (2002)

FROM THE ALBUM “BRITNEY” 

#1

“(DROP DEAD) BEAUTIFUL” FEATURING SABI (2011)

FROM THE ALBUM “FEMME FATALE” 

So, there’s my countdown of my favorite Britney songs and my five favorite Britney songs that only fans know because they weren’t radio releases.

If I’m lucky, tonight I’ll hear “It’s Britney, bitch” live from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino!

Anthony

Random Weekend Thoughts — May 9, 2015

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and to all of the moms out there, I hope you have a great one.

Gretel will be with her mother this weekend, so Ray and I are going to do our own thing and dodge the showers and thunderstorms.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great one.  Here are some random thoughts just because…

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, DESSIE!

My sister and I celebrated Mother’s Day with our mother, Dessie, in 1990.  It would be our last.  I can’t believe it’s been 25 years already.

Dessie 1990

While I miss my mother and being able to talk and share time with her, it’s nice to know she’s looking over me.

EATING HEALTHIER

Three years ago, Ray was gearing up for his 30th high school reunion and I was getting ready for my October birthday concert with Madonna in Las Vegas.

So, we ate healthy all summer, worked out, and walked constantly.  We ended up losing about 25 pounds or so each.

That gave us a chance to indulge and eat all that we wanted in Vegas that October.

RayCameraFridayVegas 161

Unfortunately, we didn’t eat very healthy in 2013 and 2014 and gained all the weight back.

So, we’re at it again and it’s already paying off.  Later this month, we can enjoy the Vegas buffets with little, if any, guilt.

LAS VEGAS, HERE WE COME!

Our annual pilgrimage to Vegas is getting closer.

Along with some gambling, plenty of fun food, champagne, people watching, and everything else you do in Vegas, I want to visit more of the hotels and check out the decor and fun displays.

Las-vegas-hotel-paris

Bellagio is always festive and there are fun things to take pictures of.

As for shows, I really want to see Britney Spears again.

Britney Las Vegas

I also want to see Mariah Carey, who made her Caesars Palace residency debut to rave reviews Wednesday night.  Mariah, choose me for front row seats May 23rd or 24th!  :)

FIORINA & CARSON, YOUR 15 MINUTES ARE ALMOST UP

The 2016 presidential election is still 18 months away (yes, one-and-half years) and there are already six Republicans and two Democrats running for the job.

Of the six Republicans, two have never been elected to public office and both need to sit down and let the adults talk!

Real Clear Politics (RCP) is tracking fourteen potential Republicans for office and Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer at Hewlett-Packard, is in last place.

And, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is in the RCP rankings in eighth place.

In the RCP poll, the top vote-getter on the Republican side is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who hasn’t announced his candidacy.

Of the other four Republicans that are running for president, Marco Rubio is in second place, Rand Paul fourth, Ted Cruz fifth, and Mike Huckabee is sixth.

president-hillary

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads her only competitor Bernie Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont, in the RCP poll averages 62% to 5%.

A GAY OR EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN FOR PRESIDENT?

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News surveyed a thousand Americans in April about their thoughts on a gay candidate and an evangelical Christian candidate running for the country’s top office.

61% would be enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay or lesbian presidential candidate compared to 52% for the evangelical Christian running for president.

Just seven years ago, only 43% said they would support a gay or lesbian person running for president.

Way to go, America!

In 2008, around 50% surveyed said they’d support an evangelical Christian, which is pretty close to what it is now.

2014-2015 TELEVISION SEASON WINDING DOWN

I’m still waiting to hear if one of my favorite shows, “Bates Motel”, will be renewed.  I believe that it will.

Bates-Motel-Title

Meanwhile, I’m bummed that “Stalker” was cancelled because I love the actors and the creepy story lines.

On Friday, Fox announced it was cancelling another one of the shows that I’ve watched for the past three years.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

As much as I loved the first season of “The Following” and enjoyed the second season, I correctly predicted that after season three, it needed and would be axed!

Sadly, I’ll miss seeing Kevin Bacon and Shawn Ashmore each week!

Shawn Ashmore

For a more revealing look at Ashmore, one that you never saw on “The Following”, keep reading and check the bottom of the blog — just because. :)

MORE “AMERICAN CRIME”

Late this week, it was announced that another show I enjoy, “American Crime”, was renewed for a second season.

I hope my friend and former college buddy, W. Earl Brown, now a much in-demand actor, will be back for season two.

W. Earl (just Earl then) and I were in the Radio-Television program together at Murray State University in the early-1980s and I also acted in his one-act play that he had to direct for a class.  I hope he got an “A”!

However, I don’t know what story line the second season will follow.  Maybe it’ll be like “American Horror Story” and cast the same actors in different roles?  I’d love to see Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton (with a haircut) back, too.

“How To Get Away With Murder”, “Madam Secretary”, and “Empire” will be back for a second season, too.

“HANNIBAL” RETURN IS JUST WEEKS AWAY

*WARNING:  GRAPHIC IMAGES*

My favorite summer show that you’re likely not watching,”Hannibal” returns June 4th on NBC for its third season.

This summer, I’ll also check out the new David Duchovny thriller, “Aquarius” on NBC (premiers May 28th) and “Wayward Pines” on Fox (debuts May 14th).

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

She won rave reviews, her first Oscar, and a Golden Globes award for “Still Alice”.  She also won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for another Golden Globes award for “Maps To The Stars”.

In this satirical drama (although Moore was nominated in the “comedy” category for the Golden Globes) from acclaimed director David Cronenberg, Moore plays an aging actress, who’s trying to win the dream role of playing her late mother (a famous actress) in a movie remake.

Needless to say, Moore’s Havana Segrand is messed up and out of touch with real life.  I’m not saying all in Hollywood are. :)

But, she’s calm and collected compared to Agatha Weiss, played with perfection by Mia Wasikowska (who also played Moore’s daughter in 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right”).  She has many issues, as does most everyone in this movie.

“Maps To The Stars” is a very strange, but riveting movie.

GRADE:  B

“TALKING IS HARD” — WALK THE MOON

It almost goes without saying, but I will anyway, that Madonna’s new album, “Rebel Heart” and Reba’s “Love Somebody” are amazing.  I’ve blogged about them recently and added the links for you just believe this album recommendation!

Another album I highly, highly recommend is “Talking Is Hard” by the Cincinnati, Ohio, rock band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their debut single, “Shut Up and Dance”, is so infectious and it’s already one of the ten most played songs in America and it’s been number one on Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart for several weeks.

Other standouts on this incredible debut are “Sidekick”, “Avalanche”, “Portugal”, “Work That Body”, “We Are The Kids”, and “Aquaman”.

It’s a throwback to ’80s music from a band of youngsters that weren’t likely even around in the 1980s.

GRADE:  A

MADONNA & REBA ALBUM REVIEWS

If you missed my review of Madonna and Reba’s new albums, you can read them here with just a simple click!

MADONNA — “REBEL HEART”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/still-a-rebel-heart-and-an-unapologetic-bitch-32-years-later/

REBA — “LOVE SOMEBODY”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/rebas-return-to-country-music/

USHER, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

I like Usher’s music and he’s had many amazing hits (“Without You”, “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”, and “OMG”).

However, “I Don’t Mind”, his new one featuring Juicy J, just irks me when I’m flipping through the radio and I hear it.

I’m happy that he doesn’t mind that his woman is a pole dancer and she’s making money because she’s coming home to him, but this song just feels dirty.

Don’t get me wrong.  Pole dancing doesn’t bother me because Madonna has a song on “Rebel Heart” called “Holy Water”, with the line “bitch get off my pole” and it’s fun and frisky.

JASON DERULO BOUNCES BACK

I saw Jason Derulo in concert in 2010 when he opened for Lady Gaga.

jason-derulo-album-cover

His self-titled debut album that year was amazing with many huge radio hits.

However, he lost me in 2014 with the insanely irritating, “Wiggle”!

What happened to songs like the incredible “Whatcha Say”, “In My Head”, “Ridin’ Solo” and “Talk Dirty”?

Well, Derulo answers that and is back in fine fashion with his mega-hit, “Want To Want Me”, from his upcoming June 2nd album, “Everything Is 4″.

MADONNA’S “REBEL HEART TOUR”

Earlier I mentioned that I saw Madonna on my birthday in Las Vegas in 2012.

I’m very excited that I’ll get to see my fourth consecutive Madonna concert tour this birthday week in October in Minneapolis and I actually have great seats this time — if the Ticketmaster floor plan is correct!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Madonna’s latest single from “Rebel Heart”, “Ghosttown” is moving closer and closer to #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

When it tops the chart, it’ll be her 45th #1 hit on that chart.  That’s more #1s on any Billboard chart than any other artist in music history — even George Strait on the Billboard Country singles chart!

WEEKEND PLANS

Since the weather is holding out Saturday morning, Ray, my sister, Tammy, and I will hit some yard sales to see if we can find some treasures or things we just can’t live without and we just didn’t know it.

After that, we’re going to treat ourselves to a “cheat” day on the healthy eating.  We’ve been craving the KFC buffet.  Crazy, I know.

And, Ray and I will catch up on some movie watching.  “Selma” is new to DVD and I want to see that, along with “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon.

SHAWN ASHMORE — FOR ALL THE MOMS

I teased you about this earlier and truly, it’s just for the moms. :)

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

After this, you’ll have to watch the last four episodes of “The Following”!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Anthony

Reba’s Return To Country Music

When a singer is forty years into a musical career that has produced more top ten hits than any other woman on the country chart and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 singles by a woman, it’s hard for songs to sound original.

But, on her 27th studio album, “Love Somebody”, Reba McEntire sounds original and familiar at the same time.

Reba Love Somebody

In its first week, “Love Somebody”, Reba’s first new album since late 2010’s “All The Women I Am”, debut at the top of the Country Album chart and at #3 on the Billboard 200 (a ranking of all musical genres) selling 62,000 copies.

This is her 12th number one country album and her ninth Top Ten album on the Billboard 200.

The first single, “Going Out Like That”, is now up to #25 on the Billboard Country Singles chart.

“Love Somebody” comes in two versions:  a standard 12-song album and a deluxe Target exclusive that features two additional songs.

Hopefully when you bought the album or you buy it, you give yourself time to listen to it without interruptions.

When I listened to it for the first time, I was driving and got only two or three songs into the album before real life forced me to start listening to it again later.

That was a disservice to Reba’s efforts on the album and for my listening pleasure.  Because of that, at first listen, I thought the album felt disjointed.  That is far from the truth.

Upon devoting proper time to my idol’s heartfelt gift to her fans, I realized how much the album is classic Reba and how much I’ve missed hearing new music from her.

While the first single, “Going Out Like That”, which kicks off the album, was released four months ago and is slowly gaining traction at country radio, there’s no talk publicly of the second single.

As you explore the album for possibilities, the clear cut winner would be, “Enough”, the second cut on the album, which is a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

This song tells the story of a married woman hoping her man finds enough about her to stay while “the other woman” is hoping for the same thing.

Earlier when I said the album sounds original and “familiar” at the same time, “Enough” will have you flashing back to Reba’s Grammy Award-winning, #1 smash duet, “Does He Love You”, with Linda Davis, from 1994.

Reba has always had her finger on the pulse of people (mostly women) going through breakups and dealing with heartbreak, people hoping to find love, and for people finding that love.

“She Got Drunk Last Night” and “I’ll Go On” both satisfy the breakup and moving on theme.  “I’ll Go On” reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Reba songs that was never released as a single, “He Wants To Get Married” from 1992’s “It’s Your Call”.

In 1991, following a very dark time for Reba, she released a very personal album, “For My Broken Heart”.  The title track and first single and the last song on the album, “If I Had Only Known” are alive in this album’s “Just Like Them Horses”.

The beautiful song is stunning.  It’s about one person facing the reality that their time on Earth is over and they convince a survivor that they’re ready to go and that have to say goodbye.  They do it with grace, dignity, and respect.

When Reba got the song, she thought of her father, Clark, who wasn’t doing well.  When he passed away last October, Reba sang it at his funeral.

Reba 2011

Finding love against all odds is a strong point for Reba and through my 25 years of being a fan, she’s given me hope when I didn’t think there was any.

On this album, “That’s When I Knew” would give any man or woman faith that love is right around the corner and it’s my favorite song on “Love Somebody”.

Reba excels at upbeat anthems, too, and there are many on “Love Somebody”.

“Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet” and “Until They Don’t Love You” are great, and then there’s the simplistic beauty of the mid-tempo, “Promise Me Love”.

When there’s a new Reba album, I admit that I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a song that doesn’t truly rip your heart out and bring you to tears.

On her recent efforts, “Moving Oleta” (from “Room To Breathe”) and “Roses” (from “So Good Together”) come to mind.

On “Love Somebody”, that song is “Love Land”.  After I got over the mindset that the mother didn’t want her daughter to have a child outside of marriage, the message song brought me to tears — first, of sadness and then, happiness.

Reba Love Somebody

“Love Somebody” is a solid album and it makes you realize how much Reba has brought to country music over the past forty years.  It also makes it clear how much she could offer country music radio if it looked beyond ageism.

This is Reba’s best album since 2004’s “Room To Breathe”.

GRADE:  B+

My favorite tracks:  “That’s When I Knew”, “Just Like Them Horses”, “Promise Me Love”, “Until They Don’t Love You”, “Going Out Like That”, and  “Enough”.

Here’s a Reba bonus.

Last summer, before it was announced that Reba was working on “Love Somebody”, she released “Pray For Peace”, featuring her good friend, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, and her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson.

It’s featured on the new album.

Movies For A Rainy Day

Unseasonably cool weather has taken over the Midwest the last few days and with rain Friday night and for much of Saturday, here are a few movies suggestions if you’re in the mood to rent movies and just listen to the falling rain.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

“The Imitation Game” was a fantastic lesson of one of the true heroes of World War 2 that few know.

It’s tragic how pathetic British laws were back in the 1950s persecuting people for just being themselves. Benedict Cumberbatch was very touching as a tormented genius that helped to bring the Germans down.

While definitely an Oscar worthy performance from Cumberbatch because I couldn’t take my eyes off him, I still think that Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” deserved the Best Actor Oscar and I’ve seen 4-of-the-5 performances.

GRADE: A

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

Speaking of the Oscars and Eddie Redmayne, I’ve seen four of the five Best Actor nominees from last year.

Without seeing Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper” and as much as I love Cumberbatch, Eddie deserved his Oscars hands down playing ALS-stricken theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

Eddie was so believable as Hawking as he met the love of his life that would become his wife and then find out that the debilitating disease would, in just years, take his life.

The most heartbreaking scene in the movie for me was a dinner scene with Hawking, his wife, and close friends, but I won’t spoil it for you by describing it.

Redmayne succeeds and Hawking was a winner in real life.

GRADE:  A-

“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”

When this musical drama came out in theaters late last year, I didn’t have any desire to movie house prices to see it.  I guess America didn’t either.  The $7 million dollar movie earned only $14.6 million at the box office.

However, I definitely wanted to see it on DVD and what a pleasurable movie it is.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who earned rave reviews in the 2013 period piece, “Belle”, was excellent as pop star Noni Jean, who just won a Billboard Music Award and is getting ready to release her debut album.

But, an incident on a hotel balcony railroads her path to success.

“Beyond The Lights” has great music, a good storyline, a hot love interest played by hunky Nate Parker, and an incredible performance by Minnie Driver as an obsessive stage mom.

If you’re like me, it’ll be hard to watch some of the movie and not see Rihanna (and Chris Brown).

GRADE:  B

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

She won rave reviews, her first Oscar, and a Golden Globes award for “Still Alice”.  She also won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for another Golden Globes award for “Maps To The Stars”.

In this satirical drama (although Moore was nominated in the “comedy” category for the Golden Globes) from acclaimed director David Cronenberg, Moore plays an aging actress, who’s trying to win the dream role of playing her late mother (a famous actress) in a movie remake.

Needless to say, Moore’s Havana Segrand is messed up and out of touch with real life.  I’m not saying all in Hollywood are. :)

But, she’s calm and collected compared to Agatha Weiss, played with perfection by Mia Wasikowska (who also played Moore’s daughter in 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right”).  She has many issues, as does most everyone in this movie.

“Maps To The Stars” is a very strange, but riveting movie.

GRADE:  B

“A MOST VIOLENT YEAR”

New Year’s Eve may not be the best time to release a movie if you want people to see it.

This drama takes place in early 1981 New York City during a very violent period when several oil trucks were being hijacked.

Oscar Isaac, who was amazing in the much better “Inside Llewyn Davis” that I wrote about earlier this year, is the owner of Standard Oil, an up and coming oil company.  Several of his trucks are taken and one of his drivers is almost beaten to death.

The movie follows his quest to find out who’s behind the violence.  At the same time, he’s being investigated for price-fixing, tax evasion, and other charges by the city’s assistant district attorney.

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globes winner Jessica Chastain, played his powerful, domineering, and heartless wife, Anna, the daughter of a mob boss.  She’s incredible and needed to be in the movie more.

GRADE:  B-

“INTO THE WOODS”

My 13-year-old daughter has seen this Disney musical, from the man who brought us the Oscar-winning 2002 musical, “Chicago”, several times and she loves it.

I, on the other hand, did not care for it.

It was too long and tried to serve too many children’s stories without much cohesiveness.

When Meryl Streep was on-screen as “The Witch”, the movie soared.

But, I don’t know everything.  The $50 million production has now grossed more than $204 million worldwide.

GRADE:  C

“NIGHTCRAWLER”

I was excited to see “Nightcrawler” with Jake Gyllenhaal, but I had to suspend belief while watching it since I’m in the news business.

A casual viewer would rate the movie higher.

However, I know it’s IMPOSSIBLE to just walk into the news studio of the #2 market in the country saying you have video and seeing the news director working with the editor on how to put a story together.

The movie paints the news business as very unscrupulous (and some stations and networks are, hi Fox News!).

Gyllenhaal is so creepy in the movie, it could have been called “NightCreeper” or “CreepyCrawler”.

GRADE: C- (to a non-news person: C+)

“RABBIT HOLE”

Here’s a fantastic flashback if you can find it.  It only took me more than four years to finally see it.

This little seen 2010 movie directed by the incredible John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Shortbus”) stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and a younger Miles Teller (“Whiplash”).

The drama follows the lives of husband and wife, Howie and Becca (Eckhart and Kidman) after their 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a car when he ran out into the street chasing their dog.

Kidman earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her sad and incredible performance.

Not a happy movie, but very powerful.

GRADE:  B+

Enjoy your weekend!

Anthony

A Special Day for Three Lovely Ladies

If today is your birthday or anniversary, I hope you have a happy one and that the next years are incredible.

Rainbow Cake

It’s March 28th.  Today is the 87th day of the year and there are 278 days left in 2015.

It’s going to be a great day for celebrations today in the Quad Cities, but on this day back in 1920, there was a major Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in the Great Lakes and the Deep South;  in 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania partially melted down; and in 2005, an earthquake rocked Indonesia with a magnitude of 8.7.  This was the fourth strongest quake since 1965.

But, let’s get back to birthdays and celebrations.

60 years ago today, my idol, Reba McEntire, was born in Kiowa, Oklahoma.

Reba Love Somebody

While she has been very busy over the past years, she hasn’t had a new album out since November 2010.

That changes soon!  Her new album, “Love Somebody”, comes out on April 14th, and it features her new single, “Going Out Like That”, which is getting some country music airplay.

“Rolling Stone” says this of the new song, “The country music icon is known as much for her empowering songs as her breakup numbers, and her latest single combines both.”

lady-gaga-born-this-way-ball-2-435x580

Also celebrating her birthday today, number 29, is recently engaged Lady Gaga!

And, back in 1964, 51 years ago today, my parents married.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Later that year, she’d give birth to a baby boy six weeks premature.  Yes, it’s yours truly.

Happy birthday Reba and Lady Gaga, and Mom, happy anniversary.

Champagne

Here’s some cake and a mimosa in your honor.

Anthony

“Motion” By Calvin Harris Gets Better With Each Listen

When I make haste decisions and I’m wrong, I fess up!  At the end of 2014, I ranked Calvin Harris’ new CD, “Motion”, as my 14th favorite album of the year.

However, I did the 31-year-old Scottish singer and record producer a huge disservice and I felt I had to let you know that the album, on recent listens, should have placed much higher in my 2014 year-end countdown.

So, I’m writing this blog today about the album, so more people become aware of how fantastic it is.

Calvin_Harris_2012

Calvin Harris is still becoming a household name in the United States.

However, in the dance club world, he’s a hit-making God. “Forbes” magazine reports that he’s the highest-paid DJ of 2013 and 2014 and he’ll likely make 2015 a three-peat.

I bought my first Calvin Harris CD, “18 Months”, in the fall of 2012, and it quickly became one of my favorite CDs.  It ended up being my third favorite album of 2012.

CalvinHarris18Months

Here in  America, people know the inescapable worldwide smash, “We Found Love” featuring Rihanna that spent ten weeks at  number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the album also featured “Feels So Close”, which Harris sang lead vocals on.  It reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Along, with the aforementioned Rihanna song and “Feels So Close”, “Let’s Go” featuring Ne-Yo ,”I Need Your Love” with Ellie Goulding, and “Sweet Nothing” with Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine, also became huge radio hits in America and each of those songs reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In all, ten of the album’s fifteen songs charted on the official U.K. singles chart with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

That put Calvin ahead of Michael Jackson in U.K. music history with the most Top Ten singles from one studio album.

MOTION CALVIN HARRIS

After ten international hits from “18 Months”, Calvin followed it up two years later with “Motion” on Halloween 2014.

It’s a superb album and sadly, with me getting caught up in the holidays, vacations, and real life, I failed to give it a fair shake in my countdown of my favorite albums of 2014.

The album is already on its sixth hit in the U.K. with the first three, “Under Control” (with Alesso and Hurts), “Summer” (with Calvin on vocals), and “Blame” (John Newman on vocals), all topping the chart.

Here in the U.S., “Summer” reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Blame” reached #19.

“Outside” featuring Ellie Goulding is currently one of the ten most played songs on American Top 40 radio now.

“Pray To God” featuring the Haim, an American rock group made up of three sisters, is currently one of the hottest songs in U.S. dance clubs and I hope Top 40 radio welcomes the song after “Outside” starts its move down the chart.

Two more favorites of mine are “Open Wide” featuring Big Sean (WARNING: the lyrics are adult in nature – NFSW) and “Dollar Signs” featuring Tinashe.

Calvin Harris

Outside of the hits, “Faith” and “Love Now” are perfect pop songs and “Slow Acid” is instrumental bliss, just as “Awooga” was on “18 Months”.

Harris keeps the beats pulsing on “It Was You”, “Overdrive”, and “Burnin”

And, there’s also an incredible ballad, “Ecstasy” featuring Hurts, who also sings on the first release, “Under Control”.

And, just as Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding did on “18 Hours”, Harris provides star power on “Motion” with Gwen Stefani on “Together”.

MOTION CALVIN HARRIS

Now that I’ve listened to “Motion” on what seems like repeat lately, it’s definitely one of my favorite albums of 2014.  It’s not too late to check it out and make it a part of your collection.

And, if club music and dance beats aren’t your thing, there’s something else that Calvin Harris works very hard on  — his body!  That’s why he’s a model for Armani.

Calvin Underwear

Calvin 2

MOTION CALVIN HARRIS

CALVIN HARRIS’ “MOTION”  — GRADE:  A

Anthony

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 161 other followers