Posts Tagged ‘Academy Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 9, 2017

I hope you have a great late spring or summer weekend.  That all depends on whether you call seasons by the calendar or like us meteorologists, where “meteorological summer” starts June 1st.

Have a fun one and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

PULSE SHOOTING ANNIVERSARY

Sadly, it’s been almost a year since the worst mass shooting in American history.

It took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, in the Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub, “Pulse”.

Pulse

49 people were murdered (plus the shooter) and another 58 were hurt.

Here’s what I wrote about this tragedy afterwards, “We’re human just like you — we love and we want to find love, we work and pay taxes, we’re someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, or co-worker.

And, when some coward charges into a nightclub armed with “an assault-type weapon, a handgun” and “some type of (other) device”, we bleed and die just like the rest of America and the world.

All we want is peace, love, and understanding.

peace_love_understanding

If you want to read the rest of my original blog, this link will open in a new window:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

REMEMBERING A COUPLE AT CHRISTMAS

It’s easy to remember tragedies as the anniversaries approach.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims of the Pulse shooting.  They planned on getting married, but the couple were buried together.

As you can see here, they loved Christmas.

Christmas Was Perfect

This is what I wrote in my June 24th blog last year:

“Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.”

I did think of them and their love during the holidays last year and I’ll remember them again this Christmas!

LGBT PRIDE MONTH

Happy Pride month to my LGBT brothers and sisters and to all my “straight but not narrow” friends!

PrideFlag

Most recently, I’ve celebrated Pride in Chicago and the Quad Cities.  Actually, my golden retriever, ABBA, and I had a great time in Davenport, Iowa, meeting some wonderful new friends in 2010.

ABBAPride2010

BE PROUD, BE LOUD!

Chicago Pride is so much fun and very festive.

It’d be easy to say this is what pride means to me.

Pride4

Hot boys and drag queens are amazing and I’d be the first to look — okay, gawk!

But, this is what Pride means to me — it’s one of my favorite Pride memory and photos.

This is loud, this is proud, and this is being who you are!!!!!!!!!

Pride3

Cheers!

pride-martini-collection

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

What a compelling two-hour season three premiere of “Fear The Walking Dead”!

spoiler-alert

When you see the stop sign “spoiler alert” below, scroll past it if you don’t want to know the spoiler!!!!!

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

 

If you follow the news, then you know that “45” last week made a huge public statement regarding the environment by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.

In late July, the sequel to 2006’s Oscar winning Best Documentary Feature, “An Inconvenient Truth”, hits theaters.

It’s called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”.

Promoting the documentary, here’s what former Vice President Al Gore told “Entertainment Weekly”: “Every night on the television news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.  And some of these carbon polluters say, “Oh, there’s no problem.” Ridiculous!”

pb

Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need To Wake Up” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006.

FLORIDA WINE RIP-OFF!

I’m really getting ripped off with my favorite boxed wines here in the Sunshine State.

I’ve heard that it’s some law in Florida that they can only sell 3-liter boxed wines.

Wine Ripe off

I really miss the 5-liter boxes I enjoyed in the Quad Cities.

I guess since there’s only one drinking it here now, it’s not such a bad thing.  However, I’m paying the same price for 3-liters here that I paid for 5-liters there!

I can’t say “cheers” to that!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SPOILER!

Just minutes into second hour, a major character — one of the original stars — died!!!

Fear

It was very shocking, dramatic, and well acted.  Sadly, I liked the character.

It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

But, it also makes me wonder if season three will be the last season of the AMC series?

PICTURES ARE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS….

It’s no secret that I’m now living deep in the “Bible Belt” in a conservative part of Florida.

I know there are open-minded people here, just as there people with closed minds.

However, it did give me great joy when I came upon this street sign in Panama City.

Fairy

Then, moments later, at the Piggly Wiggly, I smiled when I saw this advertisement! 🙂

Fruity Day

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Have a great weekend everyone!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 10, 2017

It’s the weekend and the countdown is on for next weekend.  I must be crazy!

Well, maybe.  But, the reason I’m excited about March 17th — the live action “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters.  I can’t wait!

After very warm temperatures and Midwestern tornadoes last week and, again, this week, we’re looking at a snowstorm later this weekend!

IOWA & ILLINOIS WEEKEND SNOW

Updated Snow Details:  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 5:30 a.m.

I got up at 3:30 a.m. to analyze the data on our late weekend winter storm and here it is.

The snow will be heaviest Sunday night and early Monday.  This is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Monday.

Monday 6am

For snow forecast amounts and a complete update on the winter storm, click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/spring-forward-into-snow/

Updated Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 4:10 p.m.

The snowstorm for Sunday evening into Monday night looks much more potent.  I’m now thinking that we could easily see 3-6″of snow with that storm!

We’ll know much more this weekend and I’ll have another update Saturday morning.

Original Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 6:15 a.m.

The last two winters in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa were lame.

Snowfall amounts for the season were well below average and a far cry from the 65.1″ of snow we saw in the winter of 2013-2014.  That was the second snowiest winter on record.

It snowed all the time that winter!

The first system late Friday night and early Saturday morning could drop up to an inch mainly to the southwest of the Quad Cities.

We’ll see a more widespread snow Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday.  This one could blanket the area with three inches or more.

I’ll continue to update you this weekend when the data is better once the storm comes ashore from the Pacific.

There could finally be some winter weather and cold — in MARCH!

SILENT OSCAR PROTEST AGAINST AFFLECK

Last week, I reviewed “Manchester By The Sea” (I gave it an “B”).  The movie earned Casey Affleck the Oscar for Best Actor.

Before he walked away with the gold statuette, there was speculation that two sexual harassment allegations against him in 2010 would cause Academy voters not to vote for him.  (Both cases were settled out of court.)

Larson Affleck.jpg

As you probably know, the previous year’s Best Actress announces the new Best Actor category.

When Brie Larson (“Room”) announced Affleck as the winner, she handed him the trophy and envelope without clapping or hugging him.

Larson, who is an advocate for victims of sexual abuse and played one in her Oscar winning role, told Vanity Fair, “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself.”

She added, “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”

REMEMBERING TOMMY PAGE

If you were a New Kids on the Block fan in the late 1980s, the name Tommy Page may ring a bell with you.

Before he was a music industry executive, he was a teen pop star.  While he gained exposure with “A Zillion Kisses”, it was 1990’s “I’ll Be Your Everything” that topped the Billboard Hot 100 with back-up assistance with several members of NKOTB.

Last Friday, Tommy was found dead of an apparent suicide.  He was 46 and is survived by his partner, Charlie, and their three kids.

I saw him open for the New Kids in 1988 in Du Quion, Illinois and I saw him again at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1990.

R.I.P. Tommy

“MARIAH’S WORLD”

I’m not a fan of reality television, but I finally broke down and watched my first full reality show for two reasons — it was only eight episodes and it was Mariah Carey.

“Mariah’s World” took us backstage during Mariah’s European “Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour”.  It was also during this time that Mariah was engaged to billionaire James Packer.

If you followed that story, you know how it ended.  But, in “Mariah’s World”, you see how it unfolds.

Yes, the series was over-the-top and many times you get the impression that the drama was played up for the cameras!  Shocking!

It’s great to see more of Mariah — her humor, her thoughts, and her insecurities.  It did sadden me to think that she’s such an icon that she seems out of touch with the world, at times, because she can’t experience things that the average person can because of her celebrity.

It also cracked me up that Mariah would be interviewed lying on a chaise lounge in very sexy negligee and it was funny to see her wheeled down the corridor back stage on a chair to go on stage.

One final note that I came away with is that Mariah loves her champagne and wine.  We’d get along fab-lamb-ulously!

LIONEL RICHIE-MARIAH CAREY BUMMER

When Lionel Richie announced his “All The Hits Tour” with special guest Mariah Carey, I immediately snapped up tickets for Nashville, Tennessee, in May.

Lionel Mariah

This would give me a chance to take a road trip and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

A few weeks ago, the tour was postponed because Lionel’s knee surgery recovery was taking longer than expected.

Those plans are cancelled now!  Nashville was one of a dozen cities that was dropped when the new summer dates were announced.  Others include Saint Paul, St. Louis, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.

While I know that Lionel had surgery and the recovery may have taken longer to heal, it’s also very clear that ticket sales were very “soft” in many cities and Lionel and Mariah would have been playing to half-empty venues!

It won’t be this time, but I still want to be one of those “Dancing on the Ceiling” with Lionel.

And, I still long to share “Emotions” and a “sweet sweet fantasy baby” with Mariah!  Maybe in December in New York at her annual Christmas show?

“HACKSAW RIDGE”

This Mel Gibson-directed motion picture was nominated for six Academy Awards this year including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Andrew Garfield.

While it didn’t win any of those, it did win two Oscars — Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.

Whether you’re a fan of war movies or not, this one is phenomenal.

The first half of the movie focuses on character development and is even a cute love story.

Oscar nominee Garfield is adorable and awkward as Desmond Doss, especially when he meets a nurse at the hospital after his quick thinking saves a man’s life.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Doss enlists to fight for his country, but because of his religion and the commandment “thou shalt not kill”, Doss refuses to carry a gun.  He went to war to save lives and take them.

Needless to say, this doesn’t go over well with his superiors.

The second half of the movie is a full-on war movie.  It’s gory and heartbreaking, but realistic and amazing.

Garfield and Teresa Palmer are incredible.

GRADE:  A

“MOONLIGHT”

After this year’s Oscar debacle when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope and “La La Land” was announced as Best Picture, when it was actually “Moonlight”, the little seen, but well received movie got more press than it could have without the mix-up.

The little movie that could, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, ended up not only winning the biggest prize of the night, but it also earned Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”) the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, making him the first Muslim to win the gold statute.

It also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Moonlight” also became the first LGBT movie to win Oscars’ biggest prize  (that honor should have gone to 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”) and the first movie with an all-black cast to win Best Picture.

“Moonlight” tells the story of a poor, lonely Miami kid, Chiron, with a drug addicted and abusive mother.  One day, while hiding out from bullies, the kid befriends a drug dealer (Ali), who nicknamed him “Little”.

The movie is played out in the three chapters of Chiron’s life:  childhood, teenager, and adult.  It’s a beautiful and sad “coming of age” story.

All three actors playing Chiron were great.  However, I think Trevante Rhodes, as adult Chiron (nicknamed “Black”) stole the show with his vulnerability, loneliness, and withdrawn look at life.

You just wanted to wrap your arms around him and tell him it’ll be okay.  That has nothing to do with the fact that he was gorgeous and had the physique of a Greek God.

Ali was good in his short time on screen, but it’s a shame that Rhodes wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor!

“Moonlight” was so brutally honest in its portrayal of life on the streets and life as an outsider.

A must see!

GRADE:  A

TREVANTE RHODES EXTRA!

Trevante Rhodes.jpg

“EDGE OF WINTER”

Don’t bother!

I’ve been a fan of Joel Kinnaman since “The Killing” and I like him on “House of Cards”.

Tom Holland was great in the tsunami-survival movie, “The Impossible” and he’ll be the next Spiderman in this summer’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

However, this movie doesn’t do anything for either actor or me.

Kinnaman plays a down on his luck father being visited by his two sons, while their mother and new husband are away on a cruise.

Well, a simple trip into the wilderness to practice shooting goes astray and not everyone comes back.

The premise and the trailer makes more sense than the movie.

GRADE: C-

ONE MORE TOMMY PAGE 

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 3, 2017

It’s already the first week of March and for the winter weary (even though in the Quad Cities, the winter hasn’t been bad at all), it’s officially “meteorological spring”.

That’s the three months (March, April, and May) sandwiched between the three coldest months of the year and the three hottest of the year.

So, enjoy that and my Random Friday Thoughts.

FOUR YEARS ALREADY 

This past weekend, Facebook alerted me through its “On This Day” feature that I started my new position on “Local 4 News This Morning” four years ago!  Time sure does fly.

Anthony CBS4

When I posted that as my status update, the outpouring of kind comments was heartwarming.  Thank you all so much for following me down the road in the Quad Cities as I continue to do what I love and something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.

But, it wasn’t the four year announcement that got a few people to thinking, it was this line that started off the post, “As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes know where it’ll lead. At other times, the unforeseen detours make it more exciting.”

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

One of my close friends sent me this, “…lately I’ve been having a feeling you may be leaving broadcast weather, or debating doing so…So upon seeing your anniversary post, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an announcement that you were moving on to a different challenge.”

So, that got me to thinking and two things came to mind.

I’ve always been upfront in my daily correspondences with family and friends, in my blog, and on social media.  At times, I’m too brutally honest (a fault, I know — it’s that “tone”)!

Mouth Shut

Kidding aside, when there’s something new to disclose, you know I’ll share it with you.  I’m just honored that some of you really care.

I appreciate that and the feelings are mutual.

AND THE WINNER IS…. NO, WAIT…..

Remember back in 1993 when Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny”?

There are still people today that believe the wrong name was announced and to save face, a correction was never made.  (By the way, Tomei has been nominated two more times since in the Best Supporting Actress category!)

True or not, the climax of the 89th Annual Academy Awards was definitely suspenseful.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Legendary actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” won Best Picture.

Warren Faye.jpg

Well, the winner of Best Picture was actually “Moonlight”!

As the “La La Land” team was making its way on stage, the error was realized and the correct winner was announced.  Awkward!

According to Beatty and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles Oscar voting and the envelopes with the winners, the presenters were handed the envelope for Best Actress, which was won by Emma Stone of “La La Land”.

Sounds logical, but here’s where it gets fishy!

Emma.jpg

Best Actress Stone, who had just picked up her Oscar, says “I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time.”  Stone adds, “I don’t mean to start stuff but whatever story that was, I had that card, so I’m not sure what happened.”

But, the snafu might make sense!  In a 2016 interview, PricewaterhouseCoopers says it makes duplicates of every card.  So, Stone may have had hers and the other one was accidentally handed to Beatty and Dunaway.

Leave it to Hollywood for the drama.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

Since I don’t have HBO, I’m bummed that I have to wait to see “Big Little Lies”, the seven-part series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Alexander Skarsgaard when it comes to DVD.

It’s based on the Liane Moriarty book, which I just read!

I loved that you got almost to the end of the the book before you find out who was killed and who did it.  Now, that’s great storytelling and suspense.

Once I finished the book, I finally checked out the trailer for the series.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that I’m not surprised that the locale moved from Pirriwee, Australia in the book to Monterrey, California, for the series.

I also can’t wait to see the HBO series to find out more about the gun you see in the trailer. I sure don’t want that to be the method of “murder” since the book’s cause of death is much more potent and highly unexpected than a gunshot!

It’s a great, catty, powerful read.

BARBARA BUSH

I have a confession to make.

BB.jpg

When Barbara Bush was the “First Lady” of the United States (1989-1993) and even the eight years that she was the “Second Lady of the United States” (1981-1989), I wasn’t a fan.

There was just something standoffish about her.  It was clear to me that she loved her family, but I just didn’t feel the warmth was genuine.

After reading her book, “A Memoir”, I’ve changed my views quite a bit.  I still think she’s a force to reckon with and I still disagree with her on several things, but that’s part of life.

She is more down-to-earth than I gave her credit for and she accomplished so much in those twelve years.

However, she did say some things that sound so odd today (keep in mind that the book came out in 1994) and very politically incorrect.

But, Ms. Bush gets brownie points with me when she talks about whether or not she thinks the American public likes the First Lady to be front and center.

president-hillary

She writes, “Hillary Rodham Clinton is certainly very much a part of her husband’s decision-making process.  She seems much the stronger of the two.  Does it make him seem weaker?  I am afraid that when problems or controversy occur, and they will, the finger will be pointed at Hillary.”

How prophetic!

It’s great seeing her and former President George H.W. Bush out in public whenever they make appearances these days.

George Barbara

She’s now 91 and he’s 92 (both have June birthdays) and they’re now the the oldest living President and First Lady.

My favorite Commander-in-Chief Jimmy Carter is less than four months younger.  He turns 93 on October 1st.

Jimmy Carter

I still have another Barbara Bush book to read, “Reflections:  Life After the White House”(2003).

And, as I’ve stated before, my favorite Bush family member is former First Lady Laura Bush.

Laura Bush

I still want to meet her one day!

YOUTH SUICIDE RATES IN UTAH

I’m getting caught up on some magazines stacked in my bedroom and I came across an eye-opening fact in a couple of them.

In “Out” (September 2016), it was reported that in Utah, suicide is the number one cause of death for kids ages 10 to 17.

How sad is that!

MORE STARTLING FACTS

In “The Advocate” (June/July 2016), I read these startling facts from John T. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago:

  • Living with obesity increases the odds of an early death by 20%
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases the odds by 30%
  • Loneliness increases odds of an early death by 45%

Damn!  This means some of us aren’t going to live anywhere near forever!

“I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER”

I’m just a bundle of happiness today! 🙂

Maybe this is the perfect time to share my favorite song out right now —  Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.

“MANCHESTER BY THE SEA”

Casey Affleck won the Best Actor award at the Oscars last weekend for his role in this Best Picture nominee.

Affleck was incredible in character, but his character had no likable characteristics.

He plays a Boston janitor with many issues and you learn more of them as the movie goes on.

He’s called home when his brother has a fatal heart attack and he’s asked to raise his teen-aged nephew.  That’s not a spoiler!

Michelle Williams plays Affleck’s ex-wife and is only in a few scenes, but a couple of them were very emotional and earned her an Oscar nomination.

Lucas Hedges played Affleck’s nephew and he’s incredible.  He has some very funny lines that are still rooted in pain.  There’s one scene where he doesn’t speak, but his facial expressions and reaction speaks volumes.

Hedges was also nominated for an Oscar, but didn’t win.

GRADE:  B

“ARRIVAL”

I love Amy Adams and she was great, as always, in this science fiction movie.

I also like sci-fi, too, but this one didn’t blow me away.

While the movie was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (Adams didn’t get a nomination), neither deserved it.

Adams plays a language expert grieving a personal loss and she’s asked to decipher the language of aliens that have landed in different ships around the world.

It just didn’t gel me and I didn’t get excited about the fate of the world or the aliens.

GRADE:  C+

ONE LAST BARBARA BUSH NOTE

One thing that resonated strongly while reading “A Memoir” by Barbara Bush is her response to late actress and two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters (“The Poseidon Adventure”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “A Patch of Blue”, and “A Place in the Sun”).

An upset Winters called the First Lady during “Desert Storm” and wanted President Bush to enact some war act restricting the press from telling all.

Ms. Bush writes, “I tried to explain to this extremely agitated woman that if the President were to do as she asked and put a ban on the press, the hue and cry from one and all would be deafening.”

I agree.

So, where is that deafening cry from one and all today with #45???

ss

Resist!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 27, 2017

It’s Friday again and the weekend is almost here.

I appreciate you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.  As always, if we disagree and you want to tell me so, do it diplomatically and concisely.

LGBT RIGHTS & CLIMATE CHANGE, GONE!

Moments after #44 became history and America moved on to #45, searching the White House website yielded no results for “LGBT” and “Climate Change”.

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In my heart I know what this means and anyone with a functioning brain knows, as well.

At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!

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I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…

If you’ve never watched the U.S. version of the political drama, “House of Cards”, you’re missing one of the most intelligent television shows ever!

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are incredible in the lead roles.  Their characters’ determination, iciness, and conviction to get what they want in the political arena is mesmerizing.

The show gives us the backstory of what really goes on in Washington.  Things are not cut and dry.  While it’s a television show, you know that Beau Willimon, the man behind the American version, is serving you a slice of reality.

He also tweeted that slice of reality last Friday morning!

beau

We’re now at 1,454 days now!

Resist!

ONE LAST COMMENT

Facts:  “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Synonyms of “facts”:  reality, actuality, certainty

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So, Kellyanne Conway, “Alternative facts” are LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REBA HEADS INTO A NEW DIRECTION

Country music icon Reba McEntire is heading into a new musical direction with her latest release on February 3rd.

The deluxe version “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” will feature 22 gospel hymns.

Ever since “Sky Full of Angels” from 2003’s “Room To Breathe” album, I was hoping that Reba would record a gospel album.  And, since country radio airplay for her last album, 2015’s “Love Somebody” was pretty much non-existent, this is the perfect time for a change of genres.

The first single is “Back to God”.

Reba, how about a dance-oriented album next since you hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in 1996 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”?

JIMMY CARTER

In September, when visiting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library And Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, I left this message.

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I’d love to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and leave a similar message!

Hope

I hope I have those feelings again for a future president!

HAVEN’T TALKED GAGA IN FOREVER

If you regularly read my blog, you know I love Lady Gaga.  I’ve see her in concert several times and her shows are amazing!

Gaga Las Vegas

However, I wasn’t fond of the musical direction she took on “Joanne”, her latest album, and it’s the first Gaga album I didn’t buy. 😦  (I wasn’t alone.  Sales and radio airplay have paled in comparison with her previous releases!)

She’ll be playing the Super Bowl halftime show next weekend.  While I’m not a football fan, I’ll be watching her performance.

Sources close to Gaga told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that Gaga was informed that she couldn’t mention the 2016 presidential election or the current president.

The NFL says otherwise, “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Ironically, that nameless “source” is quoting another “unsourced” person.  Seriously, grow a pair, face up, and speak up or shut up.

Unless Gaga has gone soft, you know she’ll say and do whatever she wants.

Did Beyonce make a statement last year with “Formation”?  You’re damn right, she did.

Did her career suffer?  One word:  “Lemonade”!

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

This comedy, based on a true story, was my #3 favorite movie of 2016.

It’s about a wealthy woman, Florence Foster Jenkins, who was determined to become a successful singer although she was horrible.

Meryl Streep, who some idiot called “overrated”, was amazing as Jenkins.

On Tuesday, she earned her 20th Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category.

GRADE:  A

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

Also, on Tuesday, I was ecstatic Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the “Best Actor” category for my #2 movie of 2016.

Here’s what I had to say about the movie in December.

“I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT

Calum Scott is best known for appearing on “Britian’s Got Talent” in 2015.

One of the songs he performed on the reality series was “Dancing On My Own”, a remake of Robyn’s 2010 hit.

Scott’s version has already topped the chart in Scotland and reached #2 in Australia and the U.K.

It’s recently just debuted on the American’s Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Scott’s debut album is expected this year.

ORIGINAL VERSION BY ROBYN

Swedish singer Robyn dominate the worldwide charts with this incredible song in 2010.

In America, it was a bigger hit on the Dance Club songs chart.

It reached #3 on both the U.S. and the U.K. dance charts.  But, it hit #1 in Sweden and #2 in Denmark.

“THE SHALLOWS”

It’s winter now, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water and thinking about sharks.

The last two Blake Lively (the beautiful wife of the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds) movies I saw were also on my favorites’ list in the respective years.

She was great in “Savages” (my #7 movie of 2013) and she was incredible in “The Age of Adaline” (my #7 movie of 2015).

I see a trend there.  Will “The Shallows” be my #7 movie of 2017?  Probably not.

However, it was a very enjoyable and realistic movie.

I got a little scared 72 minutes into the 87-minute movie because the plausibility took a little hit.  You realized that while what happened could take place, the stars would really have to align perfectly.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood.  Just go with it.

“Jaws” this isn’t, but it’s worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Oscars, I Disagree in One Acting Category

Finally, I can post this blog after seeing “Carol”.

Although the Oscars were months ago, I didn’t want to agree or disagree with voters on the Academy Awards until I watched each of the movies nominated for Best Picture and the ones featuring acting nominees.

In May, I posted whether I agreed or disagreed with the “Best Picture” category and I suggested some of the movies in that category that you may not have seen yet.  Here’s that blog again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/did-oscar-get-it-right-on-best-picture/

Now, on with the acting categories.  I agree with Oscar on three of the four winners!

BEST ACTOR 

I agree that Leonardo DiCaprio won this category hands down for “The Revenant”.

Eddie Redmayne was incredible in “The Danish Girl” and Michael Fassbender was mesmerizing as “Steve Jobs”.

Bryan Cranston is always amazing and his role in “Trumbo was no different.

And, while I enjoyed “The Martian” and Matt Damon’s performance in the movie, I’m still a little surprised he was nominated for the big acting award.

BEST ACTRESS

This was a very tough category because all five women were captivating.  However, unless there had been a tie, Brie Larson was the true winner and was rightfully awarded the Oscar for her heartbreaking performance in “Room”.

I once blogged that Jennifer Lawrence (and Melissa Leo) should be in every movie and she outdid herself in “Joy”.  I know many see it as a movie about a woman and a mop and that would be simplifying it too much.  I loved this movie and Jennifer.

Charlotte Rampling is one of the most underrated actresses working today and if more people saw her in “45 Years”, they’d have to agree.

I admit that it took a turn on the final season of Showtime’s “Dexter” to introduce me to Rampling and her calculated performance in “London Spy” makes me want to check out more of her movies.

I also loved Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”, which was one of my favorite movies of last year. It was amazing and if more people see the movie, I’m sure they’d fall in love with her “Eilis” and Emory Cohen’s “Tony”.

And, then there’s the always captivating Cate Blanchett and her turn in “Carol” was no exception.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

I want to do this supporting category first because I agree that Alicia Vikander won the Academy Award without a doubt playing opposite Best Actor nominee Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”.

If Vikander hadn’t been in the category, I would have wanted Rooney Mara in “Carol” to win because I fell in love with her just as Cate Blanchett’s Carol did.

It’s interesting that both Vikander and Mara could just as easily been nominated in a less crowded “Best Actress” race.

I’m glad that Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated in the over-the-top “The Hateful Eight” because I couldn’t take my eyes off her and she kept me laughing.  However, she didn’t deserve to win this category.

Kate Winslet was almost unrecognizable in “Steve Jobs” and the performance was duly recognized by Oscar.

While Rachel McAdams put in a strong performance in the “Best Picture” winner “Spotlight”, her reward was the nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Here’s where my agreement with the Academy voters ends.  They chose Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies” as the winner.  It was a great performance opposite Tom Hanks in the Steve Spielberg movie.

But, there are two other actors in the category that I thought deserved the gold statuette more.

Before the Oscars, odds makers put their money on Sylvester Stallone picking up the award for his latest installment as Rocky Balboa in “Creed”.  I agree with them.

And, if it wasn’t Stallone, I would have given the award to Tom Hardy for his villainous performance opposite Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”.

The other nominees in the category were Christian Bale in “The Big Short” (incredibly quirky and unrecognizable) and Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight” (solid performance, but not worthy of Oscar).

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Now that it’s taken me almost five months to finally post this blog after seeing all of the Best Picture and acting category movies, the 89th annual Academy Awards is just seven months away — February 26, 2017.

Anthony

 

Did Oscar Get It Right on “Best Picture”?

This is not BREAKING NEWS!

The 88th annual Academy Awards were almost three months ago and this is not a spoiler:  “Spotlight”, Leo, Brie, Alicia, and Mark came away as the winners in the movie and acting categories.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

It’s taken me this long to see all of the nominees (the exception is “Carol”, which hopefully, I’ll get around to seeing next weekend — sorry Cate and Mara!)

So, did Oscar voters get it right?  Maybe I should rephrase that — “Do I agree with the Hollywood vote casters?  Yes, except for one category.

If you’ve already seen them, feel free to weigh in.  Here are my short reviews.

BEST PICTURE

The nominees:  “The Big Short”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Brooklyn”, “Mad Max:  Fury Road”, “The Martian”, “The Revenant”, “Room”, and “Spotlight”.

And, the Academy Awards goes to:  “Spotlight”!

“SPOTLIGHT”

This incredible story is about the Boston Globe’s investigation that broke open the Catholic church sex scandal and cover-up.

The acting was above par with Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams both picking up Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominations, respectively.  For both of those actors, I agree that “it’s an honor to be nominated”.  Like Oscar, I think someone else in the categories shined brighter.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SHORT”

This movie about the housing bust is very talky with very little physical action and that’s a good thing.

Ryan Gosling was awesome, as always, and an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale was very intruiging.  Bale picked up a nomination for “Best Supporting Actor”, but I didn’t pick him as the winner in that category.

GRADE:  B

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg directed “Cold War” caper was an enjoyable movie starring the always stellar Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, who won the Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”.

GRADE:  B

“BROOKLYN”

I saw this Oscar-nominated Best Picture on the flight to China and what a beautiful love story it turned out to be.

Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan was heartbreaking as Eilis, a 1950s woman living in New York City and having to choose between the man she met and loves in the U.S. and a charming man back home in Ireland.

GRADE:  A

P.S.  I would have loved to see Saoirse and my dreamboat, Ben Whishaw on Broadway this spring in “The Crucible”.

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Damn you, Tony Awards, for snubbing them both! (Okay, different blog at a different time!)

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

I’ve never seen any of the previous “Mad Max” movies and since they star the hateful Mel Gibson, that’s a good thing.

As beautiful as Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are, I admit that during the first thirty minute of this movie, my thoughts were “WTF”.  Oh, if that’s too harsh for your sensitivities, I was thinking, “WTH”!

But, then it all started making sense and the movie blew me away.  I want to see it again just to marvel at director George Miller’s brilliance.

GRADE:  B

“THE MARTIAN”

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts — February 19, 2016”:

“I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.  I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE REVENANT”

This movie took home three Academy Awards (“Best Actor” for Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G. Inarritu for “Best Director”, and Emmanuel Lubezki for “Best Cinematography”).

The cinematography was breathtaking and beautiful.  While the movie was brutal, graphic, and realistic, you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen.

When I’m watching a movie and there’s an animal that is killed or injured, I tell myself that it’s a “Holly (insert animal here)” for “Hollywood (fake) animal”.  Well, there were many “Holly animals” in this one. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“ROOM”

From my “Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016”:

“When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

So, there you have all eight nominees for “Best Picture”, the Oscar winner, and my grades.

You’ll notice that my top picks (based on grades) were “Brooklyn”, “The Revenant”, and “Room”.  If it was based solely on that, I’d say Oscar was wrong.

It was definitely a hard choice for me for “Best Picture” between “The Revenant” and “Spotlight”.  However, with the social message, the real life emotions, and the changes it brought in humanity, “Spotlight” rightfully won the Oscar.

And, I want to add that Oscar was correct honoring Inarritu for “Best Director” and Lubezki for “Best Cinematography” for “The Revenant”.

Soon, I’ll blog about the acting categories since I still need to see “Carol”.  As of now, I agree with three of the four winners.

Stay tuned  or coming soon, whichever you like best.

Anthony