Posts Tagged ‘Argo’

“Argo” — Early Oscar Contender???

When people see shows in Las Vegas, some of the ones that come to mind are legendary singers, female impersonators, hot “Magic Mike” dancers, skinny women with big boobs shaking their bon bons, magic shows, and comedy shows.

Sitting in a movie theater probably isn’t one of the shows that you thought about when I brought up the topic.  But, that is what Ray and I did Sunday.  Director/actor Ben Affleck’s latest thriller, “Argo” opened nationwide this past Friday.

I’ve been very excited about this movie since I first saw the trailer months ago.  While I was only 15-years-old back in November, 1979 when the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran, was overtaken and 52 Americans were taken hostage, I remember it very well.  I also know that the 444 day hostage situation, along with the faltering economy, doomed President Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign.

That historical event plays into the storyline of “Argo”, however, the main emphasis of the movie focuses on the six Americans that escaped when the embassy was seized.  They hid out in the home of the Canadian ambassador.

It was up the United States government to figure out how to go into Iran and rescue the six Americans before they were discovered and killed.

So, CIA operative Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) came up with a bold plan.  He went to Tinseltown to recruit a make-up artist that has worked with the government in the past (John Goodman) and a successful director (Alan Arkin).  They would pretend to be producing a Hollywood science-fiction movie, “Argo” that would be taking place on another planet and they wanted to use Iran as the set for the movies.

But, would this bizarre operation work and if the Iranian government allowed the crew to film in the country, would it go off without anyone getting caught and killed?

The aforementioned actors, Goodman and Arkin are so convincing and funny as the Hollywood types.  It was probably so much fun to lampoon the industry and people that they have both seen throughout the years acting.

Affleck was convincing as brooding agent with a crumbling marriage and the lives of six Americans and his own at stake.  And, while it shouldn’t have anything to do with the movie’s success, he was so hot with that 1970s shaggy hair.

All of the sets and costumes were very vintage ’70s and I felt like I was living through the whole hostage turmoil again.  The movie was suspenseful enough and you were rooting for all of them to get home safely.  However, it was sad that President Carter did not get any credit for the safe return of the 52 hostages during his presidency.

While the movie states that this was a potentially deadly situation if the Iranians found out that six people escaped, I wish that “Argo” had showed us more of the violence and sentiment toward the West and Americans without glorifying it.  Otherwise, the movie was very successful at telling its story and was very enjoyable as a thriller.

Critics are already raving that “Argo” is an early favorite for the upcoming award season.  After seeing it, I think that Ben Affleck will earn a Best Director nomination that many felt he deserved for 2010’s “The Town.”

GRADE: A-

With a Blog, What Happens There Doesn’t Stay There!

It’s finally time!  I’m leaving on a jet plant and sorry, Peter, Paul, & Mary, I know when I’ll be coming back.  But, I’m in no hurry.  After eight long months, it’s time to head out to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday with Madonna.  Oh, Ray’s invited, too!

I’ve only been to Vegas once, back in 1993, and I stayed at the Excalibur.  At the time, it was only three years old!

Here’s a picture of me and my buddy on my first trip.  Interestingly enough, I did all the talking!  Oh wait, that was the sculpture.

And, notice that I had a large plastic cup to carry my winnings in!  I doubt that they even have machines that take coins now????  Just in case you can’t see that sexy early-1990s hair style, here’s another one from that trip. 🙂

I’m excited to see how just much the city has grown in the past two decades.  On my list of hotels that I want to visit and take pictures of are the Wynn, Paris, The Venetian, Bellagio, New York-New York, and Palazzo.  You know how much I love my camera!

When I visited in 1993 with one of my oldest friends, Dennis, he mainly wanted to party.  So, I didn’t do all that much sight-seeing and I regret not seeing the Liberace Museum, which closed two years ago this month. 😦

I’m not thrilled with the arrival day forecast.  Just like when we arrived in Houston recently, the first day looks rainy.

In addition to the Madonna concert Saturday night for my birthday, we’re going to see Frank Marino’s Divas show at the Imperial Palace Sunday night.

In the past, the award winning illusionist has performed Britney Spears, Cher, Diana Ross, Beyonce, Madonna, and Dolly Parton.  He’s even added new pop sensations Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Katy Perry!  I wonder who will show up Sunday night????

We’re also trying to find decent priced tickets to Elton John’s “The Million Dollar Piano” concert at Caesars Palace and I’d love to see the Prince tribute show, “Purple Reign”!  Too many show, too little time.

Also, Friday, I finally get to see the highly-anticipate movie, “Argo”, which opens that day.  I know that it’s crazy to be in Las Vegas and go to a movie!  But, I want to see it before I hear people talk it about after it’s out.  And, I’m digging that sexy 1970s hair that Ben Affleck is sporting!  I’m not joking.  It’s hot!

The movie is going to be amazing!

I hope you all have a great rest of the week and a fun weekend.  I’ll share stories of my trip via my blog and Facebook.

“Hey baby, let’s go to Vegas/Kiss the single life goodbye/Hey baby, let’s go to Vegas/Bet on love and let it ride.”

Hits & Misses — What Is The Key To Succeed?

I think I have good taste.  I also think I have a good ear for music and can pick out great movies.  But, that doesn’t always translate into mainstream success.  Maybe I’m just not mainstream???

In 1990, I loved “Pretty Women” and it was huge at the box office ($463.4 million) and it made that stunning Julia Roberts a star and showed how sexy Richard Gere was with gray hair.

Okay, women, gay friends, and jealous straight men, you have to admit that young Richard Gere was breathless.

On the other hand, in 1991, I absolutely loved “For The Boys” with Bette Midler.  I’m still enthralled with it today, but it bombed at the box office.  The $40 million movie only made back $23.2 million.

This weekend, I predicted that “Looper” would be huge and for the weekend of October 12, 2012, “Argo” will rule the box office and I’ll be checking that one out in Las Vegas.  I can’t wait.

However, before I get totally sidetracked about movies, this blog is really about picking music.  And, if you stay with me to the end, a very sexy, naughty new video that should be big.  If not, I don’t know what to say. 🙂

In 1983, I fell in love with a dancer and singer that specialized in club music before she was mainstream.

When Madonna charted with her first few radio hits, “Holiday”, “Lucky Star”, and “Borderline”, music industry skeptics said that her career would be over soon and that Cyndi Lauper was the real star.  I loved Cyndi’s music and I still do.  I appreciate all that she’s done for the LGBT community, but let’s face it, Madonna is the biggest star.

On the other hand, I thought that Kim Wilde would be big in the U.S.  She scored 21 Top 40 hits in her native England.  However, in America, she only hit #25 with “Kids In America” in 1982, and she topped the chart in 1987 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

In 2005, I loved Cascada and they scored a few big radio hits in the U.S. (“Everytime We Touch” and “Evacuate The Dancefloor”).  And, in early 2008, I fell in love with another blonde dance artist named Lady Gaga before she went mainstream and she’s doing pretty good!

Last spring, I predicted that Carly Rae Jepsen would be huge this summer and I think you may have heard her song “Call Me Maybe” a few times.  Okay, a few thousand times.

Recently, my pick hits have been Chris Wallace, Calvin Harris, and Martina and the Diamonds.

So far, Chris had some modest airplay with Remember When (Push Rewind) and Calvin Harris sent Rihanna to the top of the chart with “We Found Love” and scored big hits with “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.

The act that I really expected to do much better in America was Marina and the Diamonds.  The new album, “Electra Heart” is great.  It sounds like 1980s new wave combined with 2012 angst.  Marina even  sounds like Katy Perry.  That should be enough for U.S. radio success.  However, the first single, Primadonna” didn’t even chart of the Billboard Hot 100 despite modest radio airplay.

Her new song, “How To Be A Heartbreaker” may receive the same cool reception at radio, but the video is nothing short of HOT!!!!  Prepare yourself ladies and gay men!

Okay, before I post it, there is some drama associated with it.  After the video was finished, here’s what Marina tweeted, “So, someone at my record label wont let me release the video bc I look ugly in it apparently + we need more $ / time to paint out ugly parts'”.

There’s that whole freaking image thing again and how young woman in entertainment are supposed to look.  Let the woman sing and do her thing!!

“HOW TO BE A HEARTBREAKER”

As a bonus (if you’re still reading), here’s Marina’s video to “Primadonna” and Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind).  Both are amazing and under appreciated.

“PRIMADONNA”

“REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND)”

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

A Buffet of Thoughts — A Little of This & That

It feels like one of those days where I’d love to have a buffet!  But, I’m determined to eat healthy through Saturday when I leave for Houston.  So, I’ll have a blog buffet — where I talk a little about this and a little about that.

SO GOES OHIO, SO GOES THE COUNTRY

Watch out, Mitt Romney!!!  If the great people of the Buckeye State are correct and they have been since 1972, you’re in trouble.  Since Ohio is considered a “battleground” state that will be key in deciding the 2012 election, you’d better be spending much of your time, money, and efforts there.

Since 1972, Ohio has picked the winning candidate in the presidential election.  As a matter of fact, since 1944, the state has only picked the wrong candidate in the race for the White House one time!  Back in 1960, Ohio picked Republican Richard Nixon over Democratic winner John F. Kennedy by 6.6%.

In the latest CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters posted on Real Clear Politics, President Barack Obama leads Romney by 10%!

And, speaking of President Obama, I entered a contest the other day and the winner gets to have dinner with the President before the election.  While a long shot, Gretel is very excited.

IS THAT A DINOSAUR?

While the Quad Cities will enjoy more “Indian Summer-like” weather (NOAA: “Indian Summer” is generally associated with a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions ushered in on a south or southwesterly breeze”), from this weather map you’d think that a storm would be bringing a dinosaur into the middle of the country!  I saw this a while back and saved it.  Too funny!

Sadly, the forecast for Houston Saturday when we arrive doesn’t look too great and will likely keep us from seeing the “Balloon Glow” of hot air balloons at the Johnson Space Center!   Bummer!  😦

OUR FISH SHOULD BE VERY AFRAID

Overnight, I was awakened around 2 a.m. by a noise down on the patio, which is located right below our bedroom window.  One of the cats heard it, too, and she was in the window peering outside.  As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw it.  A raccoon was scurrying around trying to get the can of fish food open after it knocked the container off the patio table.  I ran downstairs and turned on the patio light and it ran up the steps into the backyard away from me.  Like a warrior, I grabbed the water hose and started spraying it into the direction that it ran.

Those are pictures of the fish earlier in the week.  I think we need to find something to keep the raccoons away from them this week while we’re gone.  We definitely didn’t  fatten them up to be a meal for a nocturnal beast!

RANDOM PICTURES I REALLY LIKE

REMEMBERING MY GRANDMOTHER

On Monday, my sister, Tammy, turned 46.  We celebrated by Ray making her dinner and we had pumpkin cake roll for dessert.  Tammy is not the only family member that would have been celebrating a birthday Monday.  She was born on my grandmother Helen’s birthday.

Had my grandmother been alive, she would have been 99 years old!!!

FALL MOVIES & OSCAR CONTENDERS ARE COMING

I’m so excited to see the new Ben Affleck movie, “Argo” when it’s released on October 12th.  I’ll be in Las Vegas and I plan on finding a movie theater.  I’ve already expressed interest in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “The Paperboy”, “Lincoln”, and “Zero Dark Thirty”.  Now, I’ve added another one to the list.

“Entertainment Weekly” calls “The Impossible”, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, a “shocking tsunami drama” based on one family’s experience of the Indian Ocean tsunami that hit on Christmas Day (our time) 2004.  The trailer looks incredible.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

I know that I just blogged two days ago about the new Mattel Barbie coming out and that I still didn’t get my Reba doll from last year, but here are a few nice places you can shop this year and know that some of your money goes toward marriage equality.

FALL TELEVISION

While I wait for the new ABC Reba McEntire comedy, “Malibu Country” (November 2nd), the only new television show I’ve checked out this fall is “The New Normal”, from Ryan Murphy (“Glee”, “American Horror Story”, and “Nip/Tuck”).  It focuses on a gay Los Angeles couple (Bryan and David) wanting to have a baby.  Goldie, who just moved to LA from Ohio agrees to be their surrogate mother for $35,000 to go back to law school and to make a better life for her daughter, Shania.

It’s funny and enjoyable.  The premiere episode has been the best.  The ensemble cast is great and the standouts are Ellen Barkin (Goldie’s grandmother), NeNe Leakes (Bryan’s personal assistant), and Bebe Wood (Shania, Goldie’s pre-teen daughter).

Sadly, the ratings for the NBC show have already started slipping from almost 7 million viewers for the first two episodes to around 5 million for Tuesday night’s politically-charged episode, “Obama Mama”.  Check out this extended preview if you haven’t already watched the show.

Tonight (Thursday night), I want to check out CBS’ new take on Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary”.  It’s not because I’m a fan of the detective.  It’s because I’ve had the hots for Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband, Jonny Lee Miller, ever since he played “Eli Stone” on ABC (thanks for cancelling that ABC, bad call!).

Speaking of hots, Miller’s version of Holmes is even tattooed! 🙂

And, finally, Sunday night is the seventh season premiere of “Dexter”.  And, we’re only two weeks away from the new season “The Walking Dead”!  I love this post to thank the show’s 10 million Facebook fans!

And, the new season of “American Horror Story” is coming, along with the final season of “Fringe”.

FLOWERS

With the trees beginning to turn and mums opening up, colors are beginning to pop.  Did you know that in the winter of 1636, tulip mania hit Holland and for some time, bulbs traded for the price of houses? Crazy!  Although I’d never pay that much for anything, other than a house, the sight is majestic!

MY NEW MUSIC GUILTY PLEASURE

While I await the new Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, “On This Winter’s Night” and  Blake Shelton’s Christmas album (because it features Reba), the album I’m really excited about is Calvin Harris’ “18 Months” (October 29, 2012).

For those that don’t know him, he’s a Scottish DJ and producer.  He also spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Rihanna on “We Found Love”.  He’s also had other hits like, “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.  His new song, “Sweet Nothing”, features Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.

And, FYI, I still cringe when I hear the current Taylor Swift song, “We Are Never Blah Blah Blah”!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

I’ll leave with you this amazing quote from Chinese journalist Hu Shuli, “Believe in what you do, do it smartly, and never give up.”

Have a great day and thanks for checking out my buffet blog.

Anthony

I’m Having More Random Thoughts

You know what it’s like to have random thoughts much of time.  Seriously, tell me that I’m not alone. 🙂  My mind works all the time and sometimes it’s a picture that prompts me to think.  At other times, its entertainment, a magazine, or Facebook.  And, today’s blog is about sharing some of those thoughts with you.

Miss Betty, “Mom”, is with us through Tuesday morning.  We’ve already been to the casino and we’re going back tonight.  She says she has to win her money back.  Last night, we grilled out and enjoyed the beautiful, cool weather.  With the exception of the casino tonight, we’re going to continue to chill out.

‘SAWDUST PIE” & BANANAS

Last weekend, when we had dinner guests, I made Patti’s 1880s’ (my favorite restaurant in Grand Rivers, Kentucky) “Sawdust Pie”.  Actually, I made two and froze one for Betty’s visit.  You serve them warm with cool whip and sliced bananas.

I didn’t know that bananas are the most purchased grocery item in the United States!

While that surprised me, here’s the shocker that I learned from “Time” magazine:  Bananas “are picked immature, shipped in special boats and then taken to ripening rooms that use ethylene gas to complete the job.”  So since the boats use fuel, the price of bananas increase when gas prices are high.  Stick with me and you might learn all kinds of interesting (or useless) information.

ASIAN CARP, WHILE BAD FOR OUR AREA LAKES AND STREAMS, DON’T LOOK SO BAD NOW!

PUTTING MARRIAGE  AND FAMILY INTO PERSPECTIVE

LINCOLN” & “ZERO DARK THIRTY” TRAILERS

Earlier this summer, I blogged about the movies that have my attention as we head into the fall.  I still want to see “Looper” and “The Paperboy”, but I’ll probably wait to see them in the cheap theater or on DVD.

There’s also “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” and “Argo”.  “Argo”, directed by Ben Affleck, is my most heavily anticipated movie this fall.  It’s based on a true story of a rescue effort to free American hostages from Iran back in 1979.  It comes out October 12th and I’ll be seeing it in Las Vegas, one day before my birthday and Madonna.  I’ve never gone to a movie in Vegas and to be honest, do tourists even do that? 🙂

Also, the trailers for two more movies that I want to see later this year were finally released.  Both “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” will likely have a date with Oscar in early 2013.

REMEMBERING 9/11

Since “Zero Dark Thirty” is about the search for Al-Qaeda learder Osama bin Laden and last Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks when terrorists flew four planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing more than 3, 000 Americans, I’ll reflect by showing some of my favorites pictures posted that day on Facebook.

FORGETTING OSAMA BIN LADEN

While President Barack Obama gave the order for the brave U.S. Navy Seals to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in its successful mission in killing the terrorist leader in May 2011, we’ll always live with the threat that jihadists or other terrorists will attack Americans here at home or abroad.  We saw that last Tuesday in Libya when Islamic jihadis killed an American ambassador and three others.

As I read more about the man who had so much hatred for western civilizations and especially, the United States, it makes me happy that bin Laden was killed and buried deep below the North Arabian Sea.

In 1996, bin Laden said “O Lord, shatter their gathering, divide them among themselves, shake the earth under their feet and give us control over them” and then in December 2001, “We calculated in advance the number of casualties.”

It’s also very interesting that President Barack Obama announced that bin Laden was dead on May 1st.  That is also the same date back in 1945 when the German government announced that Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the mass murder of more than six million people, most of them Jewish people, was also dead.

bin Laden and his terrorist group won the battle on 9/11, but we’ll win the war.  It may take us the rest of our lifetime and the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren, but there’s hope that one day “the world will live as one” as John Lennon so eloquently sang in “Imagine”.

POINSETTIAS

The plant that grows in the wild in its native Mexico and Central America is my favorite plant.  Over the years, I’ve collected misfit poinsettias that were either marked down in the  stores because they weren’t beautiful enough or had a broken stem or from friends that just wanted to get rid of them after the holiday.  My poinsettias are huge now and I can’t wait for them to turn from green to red, white, and pink.  Here’s just one my four potted poinsettias.

My goal this year is to locate a very hard to find variety called “Harvest Orange”.  Last year, a California grower was producing them.  So, I’ll have to keep my eyes open to find that poinsettia in my favorite color!  This is what it looks like.

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.  What’s on your mind?

Here’s a closing thought.

Anthony