Posts Tagged ‘Academy Awards’

Random Thoughts — March 5, 2019

Wait, it’s not Friday!  But, I’m still sharing some random thoughts with you.

Thank you for checking them out and I hope you have a great week ahead!

LUKE PERRY

After suffering a massive stroke last week, actor Luke Perry died Monday at the age of 52.

Luke Perry.jpg

Perry rocketed to fame in the early 1990s playing Dylan McKay on the first six seasons of Fox’s “Beverly Hills 90210”.  (While he became a series regular in the show’s last two seasons in 1999 and 2000, he was billed as a “special guest”.)

And, in Perry, the LGBTQ community lost an ally!

Luke Perry 1.JPG

R.I.P. LUKE

“MELROSE PLACE”

I was familiar with “90210” and thought Jason Priestley (“Brandon Walsh”) was cute, but I was obsessed with the 1992 spin-off, “Melrose Place”.

Even though I was almost the same age as the “90210” actors playing teenagers, I felt I had more in common with the “Melrose Place” characters and I would have loved to live in that complex!

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Well, before crazy Kimberly blew it up!

I had a major crush on Grant Show (“Jake Hanson”) and I loved Amy Locane (“Sandy”), even though she was only on the first eleven or so episodes.

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BERNIE SANDERS & 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

We’re still about 20 months away from the 2020 Presidential Election.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve been pretty quiet overall about the “national emergency” the country is experiencing and I’m not talking about a damn wall!

If you recall in 2016, there were more than a dozen Republicans vying for the nomination.  Well, in 2020, that’s the Democrats looking to earn the right to run against that man.

Bernie Sanders has thrown his hat into the race.  That’s all I’ll say about him since my feelings toward him haven’t changed in the past four years. (Well, they have but not for the better.)

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows some interesting thoughts going through potential voters’ minds.

NBC News Poll

A couple of highlights:

68% of those surveyed would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate — that’s up from 43% in 2006!

And, 62% are very uncomfortable with someone over 75!

Ages at the 2020 election:  Sanders (79), Michael Bloomberg (78) and Joe Biden (77).

Hillary AP

If you’re still reading, Hillary Clinton said Monday night, “I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe” and added, “I want to be sure that people understand I’m going to keep speaking out. I’m not going anywhere”.

Translation:  Vice President under Joe Biden! 🙂

But, in the words of Benita Buttrell…

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POST OSCARS THOUGHTS

I’m so happy that Rami Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for his Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

I still haven’t seen “Green Book”, but it’s definitely on my list.

While social media (and Spike Lee) is upset that it won Best Picture, I’m just happy that “Roma” didn’t win!  As I’ve said before, I wasn’t blown away by “Roma”!

Glenn Close

Going into the Academy Awards, I was certain that seven-time nominee Glenn Close would finally win an Oscar.  Well, she didn’t!

I still haven’t seen “The Favourite”, but once I do, I may agree with the Academy that Olivia Colman deserves it.

After the Oscars, I saw another of Close’s competitors.  In retrospective, Close would have been my second choice!

I would have given the Best Actress Oscar to…. MELISSA McCARTHY!!!!!!!!!!!

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

She blew me away in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, a real-life story of author Lee Israel, who became a forger of celebrity letters.

While McCarthy is mostly known for her comedic roles, I saw a hint at her dramatic acting in 2014’s “St. Vincent”.

McCarthy’s co-star, Richard E. Grant was excellent in the movie and picked up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” wasn’t a box office smash, but in addition to the two acting Oscar nominations, it was also up for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I don’t give too many movies this grade!

GRADE:  A+

“A STAR IS BORN”

I finally saw the Academy Award Best Picture-nominated movie.  (It was nominated for a total of eight Oscars and won for Best Original Song for “Shallow”.)

It was enjoyable enough.  I thought Lady Gaga held her own with dramatic acting.  The brutal bathtub scene proved that!

If you haven’t seen it, this really isn’t a spoiler.  I had a hard time buying into one of the first scenes in the movie.

I know if you’re an alcoholic and you need liquor, you might go into a drag bar.  But, to become best buddies?

Even so, I still found Willam’s comment later in the movie, “I wore my Jackson titties!” hilarious! 🙂

Would I watch it again?  Yes, if I was with someone that wanted to see it.

Would I watch it again on my own?  No.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” 

The third season of the hilarious zombie comedy premieres March 29th on Netflix.

I can’t believe how much I still crush on Timothy Olyphant!  That’s not true, I can believe it!

I absolutely loved him in “The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy” (2000) and the critically panned “Catch and Release” (2006).

I have the first three seasons of “Justified” on DVD that I should binge and I need to check Netflix to see if seasons 4-6 are there!

Here’s a sample of “Santa Clarita Diet” and it contains language and violence (and humor)!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

spoiler-alert

The fifth (and final?) season of the fantastic ABC drama wrapped up with a few shocks and cliffhangers!

Two characters went missing, which explains why Annalise is screaming like a mad woman on the street!  And, another was poisoned and left gasping for air!

Capture

The bigger question is not who kidnapped them or will the <poisoned person> die, it’s will ABC renew the low-rated series for us to find out the answers?

With Viola Davis on board, I’d say yes!

I’m still one of those people that can’t wait to see what Annalise and the “Keating 5” (oops, “Keating 4”) get into and out of each week!

Another reason I want the show to come back is to see more of Gerardo Celasco (Xavier Castillo, Laurel’s brother)!

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“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN”

This movie was sold as Robert Redford’s last acting role.  We’ll see!

If it is, then he put in a nice performance and I absolutely love Sissy Spacek.

But, there’s really no need to see this movie based on a real-life elderly (and charming) bank robber.

With that being said, I’m not even posting the trailer!

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

Two more snow events are on the way to the Northland of Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan this weekend.

With almost three feet of snow this month, by Friday night, this will be the snowiest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota, breaking the record set back in 1939!

I hope you have a great weekend whatever you do and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

I’ll preface this by saying that I want “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to be innocent and that this media circus has been one big misunderstanding.

Okay, that was my feeble attempt at thinking the best.

You’ve heard a lot about the case this week, but I first blogged about it three weeks ago.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor reported to Chicago police that two men yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

jussie-smollett

The story has taken a strange turn and now it seems that Smollett MAY have orchestrated the whole ordeal for the publicity and to get more money from “Empire”!

He turned himself into police late this week for allegedly filing a false police report about the racist and homophobic attack!  A judge set his bond at $100,000 and Smollett had to turn over his passport.

IF HE’S GUILTY, I hope he goes to jail and that he NEVER works again!

IF HE’S GUILTY, in the mind of people that don’t like people of color and the LGBTQ community, this stunt will call into doubt every hate crime and every gay bashing reported to police in the future!

And, it’ll also make the LGBTQ community and people of color more reluctant to even report hate crimes!

Again, I hope that this turns out to be a huge misunderstanding.  Sadly, it’s not looking that way!

Here’s why I’m thinking that:  Our country has a nasty history of hate crimes against people based on race and sexual orientation.

Many times, when LGBTQ people and people of color are attacked, it’s not just a punch to the face and name calling!  These attacks are usually very violent and sometimes lead to death!

Two names quickly come to mind:  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

It’s Academy Awards weekend!  I’ve never been to an Oscars party, but I think it’s be fun.  Well, the food spread and drinking sounds fun!

Here are the movies and actors that I think will take Oscar home!

I predict “Roma” will win Best Picture, but I don’t think it should!

While I haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, I saw “Roma” and it didn’t even make my Top 20 list of favorite movies of 2018!

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While I pick Christian Bale to win, I really, really hope that Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) wins!

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“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

This movie tells the story of the final years of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Willem Dafoe earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of the tormented, alcoholic van Gogh.

It’s a decent movie and Dafoe is great, but I’m not sure that he deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

He was also was nominated for an Oscar last year for the fantastic “The Florida Project” (my #14 movie of 2018).

Last year, I even wrote that he didn’t deserve that nomination!  Clearly, the Academy and his peers love him.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fantastic, and if I had to choose, his van Gogh was more Oscar worthy of the two roles.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about “At Eternity’s Gate” and the van Gogh brothers:

Defoe, who played Vincent, is 63 and van Gogh died at the age of 37!

Vincent van Gogh was four years older than his brother, Theo, but Rupert Friend (“Homeland”), who played Theo, is only 37 in real life! 🙂

And, finally, Theo van Gogh died at the age of 33 just six months after Vincent died!

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

This movie is about Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 run for the Democratic nomination for president.

His campaigned ended after news broke of an extramarital affair.  His argument was that it was his private life and it shouldn’t affect his job as president.

Remember, this was a time before reporters ran with stories like this.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reporters knew about John F. Kennedy’s affairs, but didn’t make them public.

I love Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga, who play Hart and his long suffering wife, Lee.

They both had some powerful scenes, but it seemed like the movie dragged on longer than his 1984 and 1988 presidential runs!

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

As I mentioned last week, I’m going through my movie collection and watching old movies to either get rid of or save.

One gem that made the save list was “Angels of Sex” which I talked about in my last blog.  Another one that I enjoyed much more the second time around was the 2008 Israeli film, “Antarctica”.

Director Yair Hochner’s love story follows a group of very sexy men and women around Tel Aviv searching for that special one (or just a good time)!

It’s a very sensual movie with nudity and graphic sex scenes.  Israelis definitely know how to make a movie sexy and erotic without it automatically being seen as soft porn!

Yiftach Mizrahi (Danny) was stunning and he can act and dance beautifully!

P.S.  This trailer may be a little risque for some!

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

I just finished reading Evan Thomas’ 2000 biography, “Robert Kennedy:  His Life”.

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It paints a very interesting look at RFK 32 years after he was gunned down in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic California Primary in his 1968 presidential run.

The book touches on RFK’s neglected childhood following in the shadows of his two older, golden brothers.

Thomas doesn’t shy away from showing the nasty, dark side of RFK and what he did to make his brother, John F. Kennedy, president and a very successful one.

It also shows how he became a fighter for the disenfranchised — blacks, poor and other minorities.

I’ve written before about how much I love Bobby Kennedy and how great it would have been if he had become our 37th president.

However, there’s still something about him (and the other Kennedys) that I still have a problem with today.

Recently, I wrote this while talking about Jackie Kennedy, “By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.”

I also said, “Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.”

Thomas also touches on RFK’s fear of gay people.  Like Jackie and John, I hope that Bobby would have “evolved”.  Remember, this was the 1950s and 1960s and there was no such thing as “gay rights” or openly and accepted people in the LGBTQ community.

Bobby Kennedy

So, I’ll still crush on the image of the youthful and charming Bobby Kennedy with reservations about the homophobia.

And, I learned from Thomas that RFK hated popping corks of champagne bottles!

Come on RFK, what’s up with that?  I love champagne and there’s only so much I can overlook! 🙂

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

While technically “Bobby Kennedy For President” wasn’t a movie, I ranked this excellent Netflix documentary as my #11 movie of 2018.

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

Before reading the book on RFK, I read Ted Sorensen’s 800-plus page biography of John F. Kennedy and Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack” and Andersen’s “The Day John Died”.

JOHN DIED

While I did learn things about JFK, Jr., a lot of the book was a rehash of “Jackie After Jack”, especially when he talked of Jackie and how she dominated her son’s life and the Kennedy Camelot legacy.

Also, I didn’t care much for Andersen’s highly speculative dramatization of events in the minutes before John John’s plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, in 1999.

That crashed not only killed JFK, Jr., but also his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren.

Skip it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 15, 2019

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and if you didn’t celebrate it with anyone, maybe you’ll enjoy the half-price candy! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

YOU’RE THE SCARY ONE!

West Virginia Republican politician Eric Porterfield is scared (and scary)!

Appearing on a local television news show wearing a red “MAGA” hat, the interviewer asked him how he’d react if his son or daughter told him they were gay.

He responded, “Well, I would dress my daughter first, as I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done, and see if she could swim.  If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing, then I’d see if he could swim.”

Porterfield

What a disgusting man!

And, Porterfield has the nerve to say, I believe the LGBTQ is the modern version of the Ku Klux Klan, calls us “brutal, vicious monsters” and adds, “I am terrified of these people”.

Dude, talk to God or a therapist!

HOLLYWOOD HOMOPHOBIA

In my last random thoughts blog, I talked about outing people and if it’s appropriate and if so, under what circumstances.  Rock Hudson and Lily Tomlin were mentioned.

One of my friends responded, “I believe that Rock Hudson And Lily Tomlin were probably afraid their careers would be ruined!”

That same day, I was reading the February/March 2019 issue of “The Advocate” and Jeff Davis, the out gay creator and showrunner of  MTV’s “Teen Wolf” talked about how it is in Hollywood even now.

Davis says, “many gay actors I know still don’t believe they’ll get roles they want or [think] that they’ll only be considered for gay roles [if they come out].  The industry still believes that coming out is a career killer.  I can name 10 gay actors right now who are not publicly out.  It’s their choice.  But I keep hoping they’ll take that step.” 

“MINDHUNTER”

Sexy Jonathan Groff is one actor that publicly came out in 2009.

Groff

Groff is a star on Broadway (“Spring Awakening” and “Hamilton”), the big screen (the voice of Kristoff in the “Frozen” movie series) and television (“Glee” and “Looking”).

He plays straight on his hit, critically acclaimed (and incredible) Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

If you didn’t see the first season yet, it’s amazing!  It’s set in 1977 and follows two FBI agents, who help start the Behavioral Science Unit by profiling criminals.

The second season is expected this year and will focus on the Atlanta murders (children and young adults) of 1979-1981.

REBA IS BACK!

Reba’s new single, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now and the album of the same name comes out April 5th!

Reba Truth

Here’s the first single.

“A PRIVATE WAR”

This movie is based on a 2012 “Vanity Fair” article called “Marie Colvin’s Private War”.

Colvin was a real life, award winning news correspondent that covered many war torn areas (Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Syria).  She discovered and brought to light many atrocities and horrors being committed by foreign governments.

These nightmares brought on the private war that Colvin fought in her life and in her career.

Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) was stunning and heartbreaking as Colvin.

GRADE:  A

“ANGELS OF SEX” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”)

Have you ever watched a movie and depending on the circumstances or mood at the time, it might not have made a big impression on you?  Then, you see it again and you’re blown away by it.

That’s “Angels of Sex” for me!

I first saw this 2012 Spanish movie many years ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf since then.

I’m re-watching my older movies to get rid of them, but I’m definitely keeping this one now and watching it again!

I absolutely loved “Angels of Sex” this time around!

Alvaro Cervantes (Rai), Llorenc Gonzales (Bruno), and Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Carla) are beautiful, stunning and great actors to boot.  You can’t take your eyes off them!

And, this movie, which is about a polyamorous relationship and sexual fluidity, was well ahead of its time.

Those terms are becoming popular and more widespread in today’s LGBTQ and straight worlds!

GRADE:  A

“WIDOWS”

Academy Award winner Viola Davis is incredible as always in this movie, but I can’t say that I thought it was a spectacular film.

It felt like it wasn’t sure what kind of movie it wanted to be.  There were several story lines that the director tried to tie together seamlessly, but I don’t feel that was accomplished.

But, maybe it was just me!

The $42 million movie earned $75.8 million in theaters and made many critics’ Top Ten lists for 2018.

It was Richard Roeper’s (Chicago Sun-Times) #1 movie of the year!

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 8, 2019

We’re snowed in again here in the Northland of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin with  almost a foot of new snow!

Here’s hoping that we all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’M TAKING THE PLUNGE!!!!!!!

I’ve always wanted to do a Polar Plunge, but I’ve never had the opportunity.

Now, I get to do it for a great cause — Special Olympics Minnesota!

On February 16th in Duluth, Minnesota, a group of co-workers and I are raising money and are jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Polar Plunge

Any donation, large or small, will add up!

Once you go to the page and if you want to make a smaller donation that what’s listed, just type it into the box!

Thank you in advance and here’s the link:

https://reg.plungemn.org/participant/anthonypeoples

OUT AND PROUD & CLOSETED AND OUTING

I’ve always been out.  For me, the closets are for clothes.  But, that’s not the case for many others.

In the mid-1980s, as Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and his management team was giving lame excuses for his sickness, one of my favorite authors and a leading LGBTQ activist Armistead Maupin outed him as being gay.

While it was an “open secret”, Maupin confirmed to mainstream news agencies that Hudson was gay.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

Maupin also came down hard on lesbian actress Lily Tomlin in the 1990s for waiting so long to come out.

Personally, I think the LGBTQ community needs visibility.  Kids need role models to look up to when they feel alone in some small town or in a family that doesn’t accept gay people.

While I’d love for rumored LGBTQ celebrities and politicians to come out and be proud, it’s their choice.  I would not out them.

However, for politicians that are anti-LGBTQ or support anti-LGBTQ legislation, I’m all for outing them without any remorse at the first hint of them being deceptive and closeted!

Even for those “straight” celebrities that support religions (or cults pretending to be religion, TC/JT, I’m looking at you) that are anti-LGBTQ, I’m all for someone outing them when there’s proof!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  

Was Maupin right or wrong with outing Hudson as a gay man or saying Tomlin shouldn’t have waited so long to come out?

What do you think?

“THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN”

While I’ve read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the Cities” novels many times (there are nine of them), the series was first written for a California newspaper.

The story begins in San Francisco in the 1970s and follows a core group of friends that become “family” over time.

If you’ve never heard of it, go to the library and get them or buy the first one on Amazon and you’ll be hooked!

“The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”, a 2017 documentary, follows Maupin from his conservative upbringing in North Carolina (where he even worked for racist, homophobic Senator Jesse Helms) to becoming a writer in San Francisco and coming out.

It’s also an incredible love story!

GRADE:  A

So far, the “Tales of the City” novels have been made into three amazing miniseries with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.

A fourth arrives on Netflix this year!

“THE WIFE”

“And, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Glenn Close in ‘The Wife’!”

That’s what I predict we’ll be hearing Sunday, February 24th, at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

After six previous nominations and six losses, I think this is Close’s year.  Sorry, Lady Gaga, you may have more chances.

Close plays Joan, the wife of Jonathan Pryce’s Joseph Castleman, who’s awaiting a call from the Nobel Prize committee to see if he’ll earn one for his literary work.

Spoiler, not Spoiler: he does!

As the story unfolds, we see how Joseph and Joan meet and how their lives have played out over the decades — professionally and personally.

Close plays the perfect wife standing by her famous writer husband, but also feels the sting of disappointment over how her husband depends on her and takes her for granted — professionally and personally!

GRADE:  A

“BOY ERASED”

The main point I want to stress here is that “gay conversion therapy” is still going on across the U.S. and it’s sad, pathetic, and damaging!

This movie, with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges, is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 “Boy Erased:  A Memoir” about his time in an Arkansas facility.

Pop singer Troye Sivan, director/actor Xavier Dolan, and Joe Alwyn (Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) also turn in amazing performances.

Since I hadn’t read Conley’s book when the movie was announced, I decided to wait to do so and now I’m ready to read it.

“Boy Erased” will be more powerful to people who are not all that familiar with gay conversion therapy.

While the movie was very touching, it was a bit sanitized.  For those of us that have heard the horror stories of conversion therapy, I felt it was too Hollywood-ized and needed a rougher edge!

It’s still a must see!

GRADE:  B

LAST TWO BOOKS READ IN 2018

It’s a tradition for me to read “Christmas in Plains” by my idol President Jimmy Carter every year at the holidays!

Christmas In Plains

“JACKIE AFTER JACK”

After finishing Ted Sorensen’s 800+ page biography of John F. Kennedy and “Christmas in Plains”, I jumped right into Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack”.

Anderson Jackie after Jack

Sorensen’s book on President Kennedy was more about Kennedy as “President” rather than Kennedy as a husband, father, brother, and friend.

I was shocked into reality with the abrasive tone difference at beginning of Andersen’s book, which pretty much talks about Kennedy’s assassination in graphic detail.

Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.

But, if only a fraction of the book is true, Jackie certainly loved her children and she was definitely what we’d call a “gold digger” today!

By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.

Andersen mentions several times about Jackie wanting to toughen her son, John John, up because she was didn’t want him to “grow up to be a fruit”.

I’m not giving a free pass on that, but I’m putting it in the context of the 1960s and 1970s and how most people have evolved when it comes to being gay.  I know the Kennedys would have been much more accepting in today’s world!

Thank God “homosexuality” (a truly clinical term that had implications of mental illness prior to 1973 in the United States) has now progressed to being “gay” and part of the acronym LGBTQ!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Thoughts — January 30, 2019

With the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills invading much of Canada and the middle part of the United States, I thought I’d share a few things with you.

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That’s how it looked on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.  Temperatures were around -18° and wind chills were -45°!

Cold, but gorgeous!  Stay warm!

HERE’S TO A SPEEDY RECOVERY JUSSIE!

While it’s not new, I’m disgusted by the hatred in this country (and world).

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago by two white men.  Police are treating it as a possible hate crime.

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The men allegedly yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

chicago police

Jussie, I pray for a quick recovery from the physical injuries.  I know emotionally, it’ll take time to heal.  My thoughts are with you!

RACISM

There’s another very pathetic part of the story that I won’t mention because it hasn’t been confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.  But, if it’s true, it’s so very sad!

We all know that racism and hate has always been a part of our country’s fabric. Even after the progress in the 1960s, it was still there.

davidduke kkk

But, before 45, it was rightfully condemned to be publicly racist.

Sadly, people are “free” again to hate without regret! 😦

SUAVE, BUT CREEPY, (VIOLENT) MEN!

Dating at a more mature age sucks!  Well, it can suck at any age! 🙂

I finally got around to watching the Bravo series, “Dirty John”, which is based on a true story.  (I talk about it below.)

As I was watching the first episode, I couldn’t believe that the woman (Debra) didn’t pick up on the warning signs that the man she had just started dating was a loser and user.

But, by the second episode, it really clicked as to how this could happen.  It happened to me on my 30th birthday, in Chicago, in the fall of 1994!

I had just been living in the city for three months and went out to celebrate.  I met Richard, a very charming guy with a great smile.  He was 25.

We had a great time that night and the first few weeks were fun.  Before I knew it, he had “moved in” — actually, “would never leave” is more like it!

By Christmas, the relationship was strained by his jealousy, which led to domestic violence.

Yes, I became “that person” lying about the bruises and making excuses that it wouldn’t happened again.

Five months after we met, it culminated with a near death, stalking experience — an emergency room visit, an arrest, and a court appearance!

This was a few days after the attack.  You can still see the gash on the forehead from a brick and the bruises under the eye and on the lip.

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While the Chicago court system let him off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, karma and fate prevailed.

A few years ago, I heard that he died!

“DIRTY JOHN”

Sharing that personal story was clearly inspired by Bravo’s “Dirty John” with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

It’s based on a podcast about a very successful businesswoman and mother of three, Debra Newell.  She’s been unlucky at love after four failed marriages when she finally meets John Meehan, a man just too good to be true.

Well, guess what?  He is too good to be true, thus the show’s name, “Dirty John”!

After the first episode, I thought, “Seriously, you’re that lonely not to see the red flags?”  But, more pieces of the story come together and you’re sucked into it!

Britton looks amazing and her clothes scream elegance!  Bana looks great even as the louse John!  And, it’s always a treat seeing Julia Garner (“Ozark” and “The Americans”).

But, I was really blown away by Juno Temple, who plays Veronica, Debra’s oldest daughter. She’s incredible!  I remember her from 2010’s “Kaboom”!

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Okay, one more thing — I’m still crushing on Kevin Zegers!

If you missed it on Bravo, it hits Netflix on Valentine’s Day (how lovely and twisted!) and a second season is in the works.

GRADE:  A-

REMEMBERING JAMES INGRAM

Two-time Grammy Award winner (with 12 other Grammy nominations) and two-time Oscar nominee James Ingram’s death was announced Tuesday, just a few weeks shy of his birthday.

He was 66.

Ingram first hit the chart in 1981 with “Just Once” (with Quincy Jones), one my favorite songs of his.

He scored a total of eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including two chart-toppers, 1982’s “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and 1990’s “I Don’t Have The Heart”.

SAG AWARDS — DIVERSITY HUMOR! 🙂

megan mullally

Host Megan Mullally : “Hollywood did manage to get a few things right: They cast black people in “Black Panther”, so that was good… Asian people in”Crazy Rich Asians”… And, a green book in “Green Book”.  You know there were some executives saying, ‘Um, could the book be white?”

OSCAR NOMINATION SNUBS

While I was hoping for nominations for Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman for “Boy Erased” and Julia Roberts for “Ben Is Back”, I didn’t expect them!

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I was surprised that Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Bradley Cooper (Best Director – “A Star is Born”) were overlooked.

Furthermore, I was shocked that Marina De Tavira (“Roma”) picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress!  However, with all of the awards season love for the movie, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But, the biggest snub for me was in the Documentary category.  I still can’t believe “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, my #3 movie of 2018, wasn’t nominated!

#3 CD

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on my return flight from Morocco last fall, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

As you’ll see below the trailer, I gave it a grade I rarely give anything in entertainment!

GRADE:  A+

“BEAUTIFUL BOY”

As for acting, Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell were fantastic in this true story about a father’s efforts to save his teenager from drug abuse and death.

Chalamet was nominated for many major acting awards for this movie, but he didn’t get the Oscar nod.

Last year, he did get an Academy Award nomination for “Call Me By Your Name”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2018.

So, about “Beautiful Boy” — the acting was superb, but the movie was just a few steps up from a Lifetime movie.

You can catch it on Amazon Prime.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

AP Bitmoji Random.jpg

Anthony

Snowed In & Hibernating?

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

We shivered here in the Minnesota’s Northland with temperatures around -15° to -40° and wind chills of -30° to -50°.

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Meanwhile, my friends back in the Quad Cities are waking up to a new blanket of 4″-8″ of snow!

So, you might be wanting some movie suggestions!

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

While this retro thriller didn’t exactly set the box office on fire last fall, it’s incredible.

I was intrigued by the trailer and the movie exceeded my expectations.

It takes place in the late-1960s when a group of travelers and people with an agenda show up at the El Royale hotel, just outside of Lake Tahoe.  Part of the hotel is in California and part of it is in Nevada, which is used as a sales gimmick.

From the title, you can tell it’s not a vacation and bad things happen!

Cynthia Erivo is amazing, as is relative newcomer Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman).

And, Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) is stunning as a scantily clad, oh well, I don’t need to give much away.  I’ll just leave it as “scantily clad”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

From the trailer, this black comedy/thriller looked fun and it was!

The $20 million late summer movie starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and sexy Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) made an impressive $97.1 million in theaters.

It was much darker and funnier than I expected.

Blake Lively was great.  While I knew of her from “Gossip Girl”, I first took notice of her in the beautiful “The Age of Adeline” (2015).

Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie.  I really took notice when she married my future ex-boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds! 🙂

Ryan-Reynolds-Body

Oops, I digressed!

There’s a running joke in the movie that if I had been drinking something, I’d spit it out in laughter! “BF”!

Yes, the movie is dark, but humorous!  A perfect combination of the two.

GRADE: B+

“22 JULY”

This movie is based on the true story of a 2011 terrorist attack on Norway.

Two separate attacks, one by a bomb in Oslo’s city government district to distract police and another at a camp in Utøya for teenagers, left 77 dead.

Of the 69 killed at the camp, most were kids!

The motive — white supremacy and the hate of Muslims coming into Scandinavia!

The Netflix movie was directed by Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips” and three of the “Jason Bourne” movies).

Greengrass also directed 2006’s Oscar nominated, heartbreaking and heart-pumping “United 93”, which is a far more superior movie.

As you know, “United 93” was one of the planes used in the 9/11 attacks.

GRADE: B

“UNITED 93”

GRADE: A-

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS”

Okay, this may come as a shocker, but I never saw the original “Mary Poppins”!  I’m familiar with it and I did see a high school stage production of it! 🙂

But, my friend Katie convinced me to go see it with her after work earlier this week (she’s already seen it four or five times).  I was sold with Emily Blunt and my crush, Ben Whishaw, as stars!

Ben Whishaw

Blunt was incredible as usual as Mary Poppins.  What an incredible year for her after last winter’s “A Quiet Place”, which was one of my Top 10 movies of 2018.

Lin Manuel-Miranda (“Hamilton”) was great as Jack, the lamplighter.

His “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”, which reminded me of director Rob Marshall’s “Cell Block Tango” from 2002’s “Chicago”, was probably my favorite number in the movie.

A must see for kids and adults!

GRADE:  B+

“THE BODYGUARD”

This six-episode Netflix thriller is sexy and full of intrigue and twists.

A former Afghanistan war veteran, Sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden) is hired to protect a controversial high-ranking British cabinet member, the Home Secretary.

Well, there are snakes in the grass, so all doesn’t go as planned.

Madden beat out Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” for this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama.  But, Rhys ended up winning the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor.

That goes to show how great of a performance it was.

And, as much as I loved Rhys performance in the final season of “The Americans”, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Madden had won both awards!

GRADE: A-

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome and the conclusion!

GRADE:  B

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It’s racking up all kinds of win leading up to the Oscar nominations.  My prediction:  while it’ll be nominated for Best Picture — it won’t (and shouldn’t) win!

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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!”

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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