Archive for December, 2018

2018: My Favorite Movies

2019 is almost here and Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

Since the Academy, movie critics, and people living in huge metropolitan cities (read:  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) get access to some movies before the rest of us, some of these movies made 2017 lists.  Oh well!

Here are my favorite movies I saw this year.  There are two documentaries on the list that were not released in theaters, but it’s my list and I’m including them. 🙂

If these two weren’t on the list then “The Greatest Showman” would have been my #20 movie of the year and “Halloween (2018)” would be at #19.  But, they’re not. 🙂

Before we kick off my countdown of my favorite movies of 2018, this Oscar nominated movie was my 2017 favorite!

#1 CD

“LION”

20

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $157.2 MILLION

19

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

#18

“I, TONYA”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $54 MILLION

#17

“BLACKKKLANSMAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $88.6 MILLION

16

“PEPPERMINT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $51.8 MILLION

#15 Movie

“PADDINGTON 2”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $227.3 MILLION

#14 Movie

“THE FLORIDA PROJECT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.9 MILLION

13

“VICTORIA & ABDUL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $65.4 MILLION

12

“SEARCHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $75.1 MILLION

#11 Movie

“BOBBY”

10

“LOVE, SIMON”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $66.3 MILLION

9 CD

“A QUIET PLACE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $340.7 MILLION

#8 MOVIE

“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $335,609

#7 CD

“BORG VS. McENROE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $231,346

#6 CD

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1 MILLION

#5 MOVIE

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $238 MILLION

4

“BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $702.5 MILLION

green 3

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $22.6 MILLION

#2 CD

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $195.2 MILLION

Gag Me

Before I reveal my favorite movie I saw in 2018, here are four worst movies I saw this year.

4th Worst:  “BREAKING IN”

In September, I gave it a “D+” and I wrote, “This movie will likely have a mention in my year end blog of my 20 favorites movies of the year.  But, it’ll be on a different list — the worst movies of the year!”

I added, “it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!”

3rd Worst:  “THE FIRST PURGE”

In November, I gave it a “D” writing, “it was so jokey and silly that I was mostly bored.  Pretty sad because I really liked the first three movies in the series.  Skip this movie if you haven’t already seen it and if you need a “purge” fix, check out the 10-episode USA Network event.”

2nd Worst:  “THE SNOWMAN”

It pains me to say that “The Snowman” was the second worst movie I saw this year.

I loved the book and my man, Michael Fassbender, is so hot.

I gave the movie a D+ writing under the headline “THE SNOWMAN (DISASTER)”!

I added, “it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.”

WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR:  “HAPPY DEATH DAY”

In March, I gave it a “D” and wrote, “‘The Snowman’ is no longer my least favorite movie I’ve seen in 2018. This horror movie is atrocious!”

peach 1

Now it’s time for me to “pick” my favorite movie I saw this year.  It should come as no surprise if you’ve read my blog on a regular basis.

I mentioned it last year when I counted my favorite movies of 2017.  It made the critics’ list, it was nominated for several Oscars.  But, it didn’t open wide until 2018, so it’s on list at the top!

#1

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.9 MILLION

So, how many of these have you seen?

What was your favorite movie you saw this year?

Anthony

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5 Outstanding, Underrated 2018 Albums

Some people like lists and can’t wait until the end of the year to see the best and worst in the world of entertainment.

More and more, people are downloading songs instead of buying albums.  I only bought six this year, but there’s already two on my list for 2019 — new music from Madonna and Reba McEntire!

Before I reveal my five favorite and most underrated albums of 2018, my favorite album last year was “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes.

remnants

Here are my five favorite albums of 2018!

#5 MOVIE

“JAKE SHEARS” — JAKE SHEARS

Jake

Bonus

Flashback to 2005 and a younger (and oh so sexy) Jake with the Scissor Sisters!

4

“DANCING QUEEN” — CHER

Cher

green 3

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE” (SOUNDTRACK) — LEANN RIMES

LeAnn

#2 MOVIE

I’m so grateful for the new music from the Queen and I’m still re-living that amazing night last December in Las Vegas!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

“CAUTION” — MARIAH CAREY

MC

1

“GOLDEN” — KYLIE MINOGUE

Kylie-Minogue-Golden

I’m still holding out that Kylie brings the “Golden Tour” to the United States in the fall of 2019.

Kylie 1.JPG

It’s already toured Europe and will play Australia in March 2019.

And, Kylie, please bring Jake Leigh with you!!!

Kylie 5.JPG

Holiday Bonus

Anthony

P.S.  So, take my advice and get these albums now with your Christmas gift cards. 🙂

2018Albums

My Life This Year – Christmas 2018

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

Here’s my tree and my presents this year.

Gifts.JPG

Most of them are from my sister and her boyfriend, Gerald.  There’s also three tins of homemade sweet treats from my dear friend Connie and “Crazy Rich Asians” which I bought for myself. 🙂

It’s that time of the year again and I hope life is treating you well.  

Bedford Falls

It’s been another year of changes for me.  Luckily, for the better! As you know, 2017 was a life-altering year that I’d rather forget!

However, there were two highlights in 2017, which is where I’ll start!

In July, I got to meet my idol, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

Autograph Carters

And, in December, I saw three incredible concerts in Las Vegas.

With all of the sadness I felt last year, it was forgotten for 90 minutes at Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

To this day, the beauty and spectacle of that holiday treat still brings a smile to my face. 🙂  The sets were magical and Mariah looked and sounded flawless!

Also on that trip, I saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie.

Tanya

Capture2

I met Lionel and he told me that he doesn’t shake hands, he’s a hugger!  Then, he hugged me! 🙂

Capture2

In March 2018, my sister, Tammy, and I escaped for several days to Cancun, Mexico.

AP T.JPG

Weeks later, I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position at Fox 21 News in Duluth, Minnesota, and I moved there in June.

Duluth.jpg

I spent a year in Panama City, Florida, and it’s no secret that I was very unhappy there.  However, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to leave when I did.  In October, Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida, including Panama City.

Much of my apartment complex was totally destroyed and my dear friends, Cathy and Gerard

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and Robbie (left) and Diane (right)

Robbie Diane AP

are still picking up the pieces of their lives! 😦

In memory of my apartment and the complex in Panama City, here’s my balcony from last Christmas!

Balcony.jpg

On a happier note, after 19 months, I saw snow again in October!

I can’t wait to have a real winter, but it scares me a bit.  It’s not the 86” of snow that Duluth picks up in an average winter (more in some years), it’s that the city is built on a hill that leads down to Lake Superior!  And, I’ll have to endure months of bitterly cold temperatures in the Northland!

This is my apartment’s backyard view toward Lake Superior down the “hill”!

Snow.jpg

In October, I went to Morocco, in northwest Africa.

This was the first time I traveled internationally by myself.   I met some fun people that made the trip very enjoyable.

It was incredible learning about the African continent, the Muslim faith, and enjoying delicious Moroccan food!

1 Morocco.JPG

2 Morocco.JPG

I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life.  I’m already trying to decide what I want to do next (when I grow up)!!! 🙂

For now, I’ll just have an Olivia Pope Christmas and enjoy my beautiful tree, free flowing wine and popcorn!

Olivia Christmas

If you had a great year, I hope 2019 is even more fantastic.  If 2018 was a tough one for you, I hope things turn around in the New Year!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Anthony

 

Randomness — Holidays, Movies & More

Since I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I still wanted to share some recommendations on things I watched and enjoyed lately.

If you saw these, too, let me know what you thoughts.  If you didn’t, you have some things to check out!

A QUEEN BRINGS LIFE TO THE NEWBORN KING!

Leave it to a queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, to bring life to the newborn king holiday ballad, “The Little Drummer Boy” !

This is an incredible, fun version of the song and I love the video. 🙂

BABY, BRING THE BUBBLY INSIDE!

Fun Mimosas.jpg

CHRISTMAS SONG THOUGHTS

I’m not even going to get into the whole “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” debate.  It was already one of my least favorite holiday songs even before this year!

But, here are a few things to think about when listening to Christmas music this year!

In “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, it lists the other reindeer and then asks a very silly question, “but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all”!

hermey-rudolph01

Seriously, if he’s the most famous reindeer of all, of course we remember him!

From “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “a child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.

While silver and gold would be nice to have, why not a damn blanket since the baby is cold!!!

Wise-Men-Baby-Jesus-Manger.png

And, I love the Carpenters!  But, in “Home For The Holidays”, I shake my head when Karen sings of going home and “Geez, the traffic is terrific!”

Traffic is terrific????  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER.

It’s more like…

gtfo

… of my way!

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE”

I finally got around to watching “It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes, which made debuted on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Rimes stars as Eve Morgan, who goes back home as Interim school superintendent to get the district out of financial trouble.  The easiest way to do it is to cut the arts program.

And, who does she meet living across the street from her mother and stepfather?  You probably guessed it — a very handsome music teacher, Liam (Tyler Hynes), at one of the schools on the chopping block!

While predictable, it’s still a cute movie.

The only thing I cringed about was the use of my least favorite (and widely overused) term these days:  “meet cute”.   It wasn’t used once or twice, but three times, if I’m not mistaken! 🙂

GRADE:  B

Before the show premiered, I wrote, “the soundtrack is incredible!  Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave it an “A” grade!

REMEMBERING DREW & JUAN

After the summer 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims — especially 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

While that Christmas was perfect for the young men and their families, I know the following ones have been difficult for the grieving families.

To their families. Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

This past November marked the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.  Some called it “mass murder” and others, a “mass suicide”.

I’m in the “mass murder” camp, since the Reverend Jim Jones was deranged and pretty much forced those people to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at gunpoint!

More than 900 people died.

This SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life from Indiana to the jungles of Guyana was incredible.

GRADE:  A

“PADDINGTON 2”

2014’s “Paddington” was fun.  The little bear is adorable and especially so, voiced by my big-time crush, Ben Whishaw!

Ben Whishaw

Plus, Nicole Kidman as a villain was icing on the cake.

This year’s $40 million sequel was box office gold.  It made $226.9 million.

Paddington is living in London and wants to buy his aunt a picture book.  But, this movie’s villain (played by Hugh Grant) wants the book because it holds clues to a treasure that no one knows about, except him.

The movie is very cute and heartwarming.  With just minutes before the end credits, Iit brought tears to my eyes!  🙂

Also, at one point near the end of the movie, a scene with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins made me feel like I was watching “The Shape of Water 2”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“SEARCHING”

This incredible movie was made for just a million dollars and brought in an astounding $70.6 million in theaters.

It was shot mostly on smartphones and computer screens and is eerie and creepy.

John Cho stars as a dad that learns he knows very little about his 15-year-old daughter when she goes missing.

Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) is a detective that’s helping solve the case.

Cho is nominated for the “Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead”.

GRADE: A-

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” WINTER FINALE

While I still like “The Good Doctor” on ABC, I recently wrote that I’ve cooled on the show.  Well, that all changed with the winter finale, “Quarantine”!

If you’ve never watched the show or you don’t watch it religiously, watch this episode “On Demand”!!!

And, if you’ve never watched it, all you need to know is that Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is autistic and is considered a savant!

It was intense and scary to think that this could really happen!  And, which major characters will die?

“The Good Doctor” returns on ABC Monday, January 14, 2019.

“JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS”

Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”).

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.

GRADE: A-

“BLACKkKLANSMAN”

This Spike Lee picture was made for $15 million and made $88.2 million in theaters.

It’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado in the early-1970s.

John David Washington (Denzel’s son) plays Stallworth, who contacts the Ku Klux Klan and then has to coach a white officer (Adam Driver) to pose as Stallworth to meet the hooded haters!

While this story took place in the ’70s, there were subtle and not so subtle references to “that man”, 45!

The nominations are coming in for BLACKkKLANSMAN”!  It’s up for five Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

It’s also nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Washington) and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

While this movie was very enjoyable and entertaining, my favorite Spike Lee movie is still 1999’s underappreciated “Summer of Sam”.

GRADE: B+

“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU”

Lakeith Stanfield will be a name you’ll hear more of in the future.

He leads this movie about a telemarketer who learns that using a “white voice” helps his sales and will move him up the corporate ladder at WorryFree faster.

But, it comes with a price.

This comedy is crazy and definitely goes off the rails with well-endowed horse people (you’ll have to watch the movie)! 🙂

Sexy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) stars as the CEO of the company.

It made $17.6 million in theaters and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

GRADE: B

“HEREDITARY”

I like horror movies and I love Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding”), but I wasn’t drawn to the theaters to see “Hereditary”.

I finally saw it on DVD and I made the right decision to avoid it.

Supernatural movies have less appeal to me than horror movies with deranged serial killers!  Hello Michael Myers!

Halloween

“Hereditary” does have a very surprising and shocking death scene that I didn’t see coming.

While Collette and Alex Wolff, who plays her 16-year-old son, are great, the movie was too long and convoluted.

Yet, it was a box office hit earning $79.3 million.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony