Posts Tagged ‘Benedict Cumberbatch’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 21, 2018

It’s Friday and I still have things to say.  I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

My sister and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, Minnesota.  We had a great time.

On Monday, she’ll be celebrating her birthday.

Tammy1

I love this blast from the past, but vintage photos don’t hold up well, thus the discoloration.

Happy Birthday Tammy!

Tammy

“PATTI CAKE$”

While they were here, I shared “Girls Trip” (#15) and “Patti Cake$” (#10) with them.  Both made my 20 favorite movies list in 2017.

“Patti Cake$” was one of the best and most overlooked movies last year.  If you get a chance, check it out.

“DIETLAND” CANCELLED

I was a huge fan of Sarai Walker’s 2015 novel, “Dietland” and the AMC series starring Joy Nash and Julianne Margulies.

Dietland

Sadly, it was cancelled after just one season and Sarai summed it up best in the first line of a very powerful Facebook post this week, “Fat girls can get invited to the party, but we don’t get to stay for very long…”

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Sorry, Sarai, I know there are great things ahead for you and all of the beautiful fat girls.

You can stay at my party as long as you want!!!

COMING SOON!

While I await the “surprise drop” of Madonna’s new studio album this fall, I got excited earlier this week after this social media post from Reba!

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To be honest, “coming soon” doesn’t always come soon enough for my schedule. 🙂

Reba’s last non-holiday album was the amazing gospel collection, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope” in February 2017.

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It topped the Billboard Country Album and Billboard Christian Album charts and featured the #1 Christian song, “Back to God”.

During the fall of 2009, Reba was climbing the charts with “Consider Me Gone”.  The song started 2010 at the top of the country charts and would become her longest running #1 song of her career at four weeks.

I’m being shallow here (and complimentary) — the video features three gorgeous people! 🙂

By the way, Reba would also start 2011 at #1 with “Turn on the Radio”.

That tied her with Dolly Parton with 25 number one hits on the Billboard Country charts — the most by a female artist!

QUICK EMMY NOTES!

Emmys, thank you for showing love to Darren Criss and giving him the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story”!

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He even beat an incredible Benedict Cumberbatch for “Patrick Melrose”!

Why not show a few bonus extras of Criss as Cunanan!

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Criss 1

Criss 2

But, I’m saddened that Judith Light lost in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie for the same series!

Miglin

Her performance was heartbreaking and chilling!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE” 

After seeing the first two episodes of FX’s “American Horror Story”, I think I’m going to like it.

It’s all over the place, but it’s already showing a lot of skin and a very edgy and humorous Joan Collins (yes, the Joan Collins of “Dynasty” fame)!

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And, there were several very shocking scenes in the second episode!  The horror! 🙂

FALL ARRIVES THIS WEEKEND

While it’s already “meteorological fall” (September, October, and November) for those weather people, fall officially begins this weekend.

The “autumnal equinox” (fall) is Saturday, September 22nd at 8:54 p.m. Central.

Fall

TEAM FIONA IS READY!

I absolutely love Fiona, the hippopotamus at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoos usually feed large animals frozen melons as treats, especially for special occasions.

Well, thanks to my fantastic director at work, Katie, Fiona is already enjoying the fall season early with a little creative magic!

Fiona Pumpkin

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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“GTFO”

Mariah Carey is getting close to releasing her latest album.

She teased us fans with the slow burning ballad with a very strong message!

Yes, “GTFO” stands for what you think it does and she says it with a breathy coo! 🙂

I, TONYA

I finally got around to seeing this Oscar nominated movie and it was definitely worth the wait.

The documentary style presentation was executed well.  At first, I had my doubts about it being gimmicky.

Oscar nominee Margot Robbie was great as Tonya Harding and Allison Janney definitely earned her Best Supporting Oscar for playing Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden.

Sebastian Stan was very sexy as Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly, despite their abusive relationship.

While there isn’t much that offends me, the language was rather strong. I found it rather ironic that Janney’s character used an offensive word that’s usually directed to women.

It’s not so much that her trashy character used it, it’s just that in the spectacular 2013 film, “The Way, Way Back”, Janney’s hard-drinking Betty says it in a much less offensive way that I’d never heard, “See You Next Tuesday”.

It still cracks me up!  (Guilty!)

GRADE: B+

“THE WAY, WAY BACK”

Since I mentioned “The Way, Way Back”, if you haven’t seen it, check it out.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 20, 2018

July is moving right along and before you know it, it’ll be August!  I hope you’re having a great summer and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

DEAR CANADA

Will you please share Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with us here in the U.S.?  We’re heading into crisis mode!

JT

TRUMP-PUTIN LOVE AFFAIR

45 and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland earlier this week and 45 basically says he trusts his buddy more than American intelligence.  (Seriously, him debating anyone’s intelligence?)

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You know my thoughts without me expressing them.  So, I’ll let fellow Republicans speak their mind of the summit, or as Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) calls it, “a tragic mistake”.

McCain calls it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) says it was NOT “a good moment for our country. This was a very good day for President Putin” and that Trump made the U.S. “look like a pushover”.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says there’s “no question” that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and this about “that man” (45): “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

BREAKING NEWS… 24 HOURS LATER.  45 claims that he misspoke.  Whatev!

HeatherMooney

JUST A FEW THINGS RUSSIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF…

Interfering in the 2016 American presidential election, buying the right to host the World Cup soccer tournament, condemning and making the lives of the LGBTQ community miserable, and poisoning people with substandard street alcohol… for starters.

DAN QUAYLE, REST EASY…

You’ll likely not be remembered as the most useless Vice President in recent American history.

Quayle

Mike Pence is giving you one hell of a run for your money!

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This photo of just another old white man standing around gives credence to the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”!

What has he really done as vice president?  I can answer that with two comments:  (1) With his boss that wants, needs, and lives for the spotlight, nothing, and (2) with his hateful views, I’m glad he doesn’t have power to do anything!

I really don’t think that 45 will run again in 2020, although he says he will and is already setting the stage for it.

If he does run, I hope there’s a Republican that’ll pull a stunt like Ronald Reagan did in 1976 or Ted Kennedy in 1980 and be successful.  Both Reagan and Kennedy failed in their efforts in trying to steal the nominations from sitting presidents (Ford in 1976 and Carter in 1980).

Hopefully, a “sea of blue” in the 2018 midterm elections in November and the 2020 presidential election will end the current rhetoric of “Make America Hate Again”!

And, then Mike Pence can take his misguided interpretation that God stands for hate and fade away into obscurity.

“MAMMA MIA:  HERE WE GO AGAIN”

I absolutely love and adore the 2008 original starring Meryl Streep and the fabulous music of ABBA!

With that being said, I WILL NOT being seeing the sequel out in theaters now!  That’s all I’ll say since I don’t believe in spoilers.

Full disclosure:  I may break down and watch it on DVD one day!

CHER DOES ABBA

On a happier note, the iconic and legendary Cher will be releasing an album of ABBA covers in September!

Cher says, “It’s not what you would think of when you think of ABBA, ’cause I did it in a different way.”

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In “Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again”, Cher plays Sophie’s grandmother and Donna’s mother.

EMMY NOMINATIONS HITS & MISSES

Last week, the Emmy nominations were announced and I’m excited that FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story” picked up 18 nods, the most for a Limited Series!

Criss

As I predicted, Darren Criss was nominated for “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Andrew Cunanan in “Versace”.

Miglin

Also, I said that Judith Light would be pick up a nod for “Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Marilyn Maglin, the wife of one of Cunanan’s victims.

I’m happy that Finn Wittrock was nominated in the supporting actor category, but I was a little surprised that Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, and Ricky Martin were also nominated in supporting roles.

And, as I expected, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated in the “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for Patrick Melrose.

However, I’m disappointed that Jennifer Jason Leigh was snubbed as his mother, Eleanor.

JJL

Also, bummed that Evan Peters was overlooked for “American Horror Story: Cult”. But, there is some happy news — two of his castmates, Sarah Paulson and Adina Porter were nominated.

spoiler-alert

Beware a “Nasty Woman” and two Emmy nominees (Paulson and Porter)!

Contains strong language and violence!!!

Again, no nomination for Peters!!!!

Finally, no love for AMC’s “The Terror”.

KINDNESS

If you haven’t been watching “Pose”, you’re missing out on an incredible period of life in LGBTQ culture and a show that’s so damn heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time!

In a recent episode, Pray Tell (Billy Porter) doesn’t hold back when he retaliated against Blanca’s transphobic and homophobic siblings after their mother’s funeral.

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“Kindness doesn’t cost you anything.”

Pray Tell, tell it!!!

“DIETLAND”

I first wrote about “Dietland” (the book) in January 2016 and I’ve become Twitter friends with the amazing author, Sarai Walker.

Sarai Walker

Dietland

Now, “Dietland” is a hit AMC series.

Not every woman is a size zero and trying to get there can kill you or get you killed if you’re one to degrade women or fat girls!

Okay, before you think I’m insensitive to use the word “fat”, instead of “full figured”, “large”, or “overweight”, you need to understand what Walker wants people to know about these beautiful women!

The series stars an incredible Joy Nash, as Plum, a mostly reclusive 300-pound-plus woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to young women.

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She works for a very demanding, gorgeous, piranha of a woman named Kitty Montgomery (Julianna Margulies).

Next year when Emmy nominations are announced, I hope that both Nash and Marguilies get a nod!

The 10-episode series concludes on July 30, 2018, so you still have time to binge watch it before the finale.

Here’s my original blog on Walker’s book (clicking on this link will open it in a new window)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

FARMERS’ MARKETS

Since moving to Duluth, I haven’t been to a farmers’ market, yet peaches 🍑 and grapefruits are on my mind!

Maybe that has to do with “Call Me By Your Name” and “Girls Trip”.  If you’ve seen both of those movies, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t, I won’t tell! 🙂

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I’m still thinking of juicy peaches! 🍑 🙂

SPEAKING OF PEACHES! 🍑

Armie Hammer told Stephen Colbert recently that people are bringing him peaches 🍑 to autograph.

Wondering what people did with those peaches 🍑, Hammer says,  “Watch it wither like Donald Trump’s presidency.”  (and this was even before 45 spoke, misspoke in Helsinki!)

“GEORGE MICHAEL: FREEDOM”

There’s an incredible documentary on Showtime about music icon George Michael.

While I knew much of what was covered, it was heartbreaking to hear George talk about finally meeting the man of his dreams only to have his lover become ill and die of AIDS not long into the relationship.

It was very interesting to hear how George became a staple at black radio and then once he won awards in that genre over black artists, he became a pariah in that format.

Michael was found dead at his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day 2016. A coroner’s report attributed his death to natural causes.

I think he died of a broken heart and loneliness!

If you think you’ll never watch the documentary, this longer trailer gives you much more of the George Michael story.

MY FAVORITE GEORGE MICHAEL HITS

5

“FAITH” (1987)

So damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4

“FREEDOM ’90” (1987)

green 3

“ONE MORE TRY” (1988)

#2 CD

“I WANT YOUR SEX” (1987)

Again, so damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another number 1

“I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” featuring Aretha Franklin (1987)

Bonus

FAVORITE WHAM! SONG

As much as I love “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Last Christmas”, and “Everything She Wants”, “I’m Your Man” (1985) is my favorite Wham! song.

Bonus

“JESUS TO A CHILD” (1996)

I didn’t realize how emotional and touching this song was until I heard the story behind it — finally falling in love and coming out and then losing your lover without getting to spend much time together! 😦

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

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Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

Duluth.jpg

I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

white_house_rainbow

Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter.  He gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”.  His fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”.

But, that film and the money gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do:  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed their lifestyle.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Kock) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

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Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

Ap 1987.jpg

Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

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Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Three Movies — Two Oscar Hopefuls

As we head into the second weekend of 2016, I hope your year is off to a great start.

We took advantage of the after-the-holidays down time and got caught up on shows on our DVR:  “Madam Secretary”, “American Horror Story:  Hotel”, “Empire”, and “Zoo”.

We are still five episodes of “Quantico” behind and we started watching “The Man in the High Castle”.  Up next for the rest of the snowy winter:  “Breaking Bad”.

We also watched three movies last weekend and two of them are garnering some Oscar buzz.

“MR. HOLMES”

We’ve all heard the story of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  We can even catch modern versions on CBS with super hottie Jonny Lee Miller (he’ll always be Eli Stone to me) and sexy Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC and PBS series “Sherlock”.

But, an interesting twist on the Sherlock Holmes story is told perfectly in director Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes”.   Condon directed the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” in 2006 and wrote the Academy Award-winning hit, “Chicago” in 2002.

“Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old long retired Holmes living in Sussex and attended to by Mrs. Munro played by the always amazing Laura Linney.

Holmes is desperate to recall the details of his last case before his mind fails him.

While Oscar nominees McKellen and Linney are always stellar, a future star in the making in this movie is 13-year-old actor Milo Parker, who plays Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son.

GRADE:  A

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Mad Max” movies (there are four) like me, you’ll be in for a surprise if you choose this as your first.

I love Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s why I wanted to see “Mad Max:  Fury Road”.

Let me just say this bluntly.  If you make it past the first thirty WTF minutes, you’ll be hooked into this dystopian look at a wasteland following a nuclear holocaust.

There’s even Oscar buzz building for the movie and director George Miller.

And, thankfully, there’s no Mel Gibson.

GRADE:  B

“NO ESCAPE”

This premise of this movie is promising and the acting is decent, but it does have some big flaws.

As the movie opens, we see the prime minister of Cambodia assassinated by a group of rebels.

It flashes back 17 hours with a man, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), on a plane with his wife and two daughters.  They’re from the United States and are relocating to southeast Asia for his new job.

Maybe it’s an omen, but nothing works in their hotel room and when Jack tells the hotel desk clerk the problems, he’s told it’s happening all over town.

The next morning Jack goes out to get a paper.  On his way back to the hotel, he’s caught in a riot between police and armed demonstrators.  Shots are fired and deadly violence breaks out.

Just that scene alone is frightening and so realistic.  It’s easy to image being in a foreign country and not knowing your way around and the native language in a life and death situation.

People are being killed all over town and Jack realizes that Americans are being targeted.  More specifically, he learned they’re out to kill him because of the company he moved there for with the job.

If it hadn’t been for the totally bogus escape scene from the hotel with his family, this movie would have scored a higher grade.  But, that scene alone destroyed the realism of what is, otherwise, a great movie.

Okay, that and the fact that the director allowed Pierce Brosnan to sing — even if it’s karaoke and that’s usually bad.  But, after “Mamma Mia”, Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in movies again. 🙂

GRADE:  C

If you’ve seen these movies, let me know what you thought of them.  If you haven’t, I know you’ll love “Mr. Holmes” and enjoy the other two.

Anthony

 

 

My Favorite Movies of 2015

It’s time for me to share my twenty favorite movies of 2015.  Notice I said “favorite” and not “best”.  There may have been better movies, but that doesn’t mean I’d want to see them again.  The ones on this list, I would watch again (and, maybe, again).

These are the movies that I saw for the first time in 2015 regardless of the release date.  You’ll see some familiar titles that were big at the Oscars and Golden Globes earlier in the year.

Before I begin, as Casey Kasem did to start his countdown, here’s a recap of my favorite movies over the past three years. In 2012, my favorite movie was “Weekend”.  In 2013, it was “Out in the Dark”, and last year, “Bridegroom”.

Here’s a link to those movies (and my favorite albums from 2010-2014):

 https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/best-of-2010-2015-flashback/

2015 Movies

Now, my favorite movies of 2015!  Oh, disclaimer:  some of the movie trailers might be more “rated-R”.

20

“SPY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $235.7 MILLION

 

19

“LILA & EVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $38,263

18

“CHAPPIE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $102.1 MILLION

#17

“WELCOME TO ME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $625,727

16

“THE 10-YEAR PLAN”

15

“THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN”

14

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $122.9 MILLION

13

“KRAMPUS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $47.6 MILLION

12

“TRAINWRECK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $139.5 MILLION

11

“WHIPLASH”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $49 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4 MILLION

 

9 CD

“THE JUDGE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $84.4 MILLION

8

“HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.6 MILLION

 

7

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $57.7 MILLION

6

“CHEF”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $46 MILLION

#5 MOVIE

“STRANGER BY THE LAKE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.1 MILLION

#4 MOVIE

“BIRDMAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $103.2 MILLION

#3 CD

“THE IMITATION GAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $227.8 MILLION

#2 CD

“STILL ALICE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.8 MILLION

Now, before I reveal my favorite movie of 2015, here are the worst movies of the year.  Okay, my least favorite movies.

Gag Me

“MAGIC MIKE XXL”, “PITCH PERFECT 2”, “IT FOLLOWS”, AND “WHILE WE’RE YOUNG”.

Now, back to the countdown.

#1

“LILTING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $197,588

Tomorrow, my 20 favorite songs of 2015.

Anthony

Movies For A Rainy Day

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

“THE IMITATION GAME”

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

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

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

GRADE: A

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

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

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

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

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

Redmayne succeeds and Hawking was a winner in real life.

GRADE:  A-

“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“A MOST VIOLENT YEAR”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

“INTO THE WOODS”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  C

“NIGHTCRAWLER”

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

A casual viewer would rate the movie higher.

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

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

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

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

“RABBIT HOLE”

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

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

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

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

Not a happy movie, but very powerful.

GRADE:  B+

Enjoy your weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014

Winter begins this weekend and Christmas is now less than a week away!

I hope you and yours have a very merry holiday — whatever you celebrate this time of the year.

If you’re not caught up on “The Following” or “The Walking Dead”, this blog DOES, I repeat, DOES contain spoilers.

“RARE EXPORTS:  A CHRISTMAS TALE”

If you’re tired of the holiday classics this season and the Lifetime movies just don’t do it for you, check out this Finnish Christmas movie that was my fifth favorite movie in 2011.

This horror/fantasy/thriller will have you looking at Santa is a whole different light!  Now, when I say “horror”, I don’t mean silly slasher movie.

Sadly, “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” was only released in 21 American theaters and it made a whopping $236-thousand domestically!  However, its foreign box office pushed it up to $4 million.

“THE INTERVIEW”

Sony has scrapped its release of the $44 million budgeted, James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy, “The Interview” after cyber threats to moviegoers.

I have to say that I’m disappointed in this decision and I hope that the movie is quickly released to DVD or VOD (video on demand).  Yet, Sony adds that it has “no further release plans” for the movie at this time.

It seems that I’m not alone in the scary precedent Sony is setting regarding internet threats.

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “Sony is a disgrace. Sickening.”  And, here are some others:

The Interview Reaction 1 The Interview Reaction 2

In the movie, Rogen and Franco’s characters are asked by the United States government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Here is the “red band trailer” that just cracks me up.

In case you’re not familiar with “red band trailer”, it means that it’s NOT SUITABLE FOR KIDS and NSFW!  As with any truly “R-rated” video on YouTube, you might not be able to view this video without verification that you are 18 years old!!!

Again, this trailer is truly adult in nature and may be too abrasive to some.

warning

I loved the duo’s last big screen collaboration, “This Is The End”, which was my fifth favorite movie of last year.

I just wonder if they had made the North Korean leader a fictional character if things would have gone down differently?

JEB BUSH IS CLOSER TO BEING THE FIRST!

While it’s not official just yet, in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on November 7, 2014, I predicted that Jeb Bush would be the first candidate to declare his run for the 2016 presidency.

Earlier this week, he said he will “actively explore” a run for the Republican nomination for President.

I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, just like the 1992 election, I think that Hillary will be back in the White House.  Only this time, she’ll be the President of the United States and former President Bill Clinton will become the country’s “First Gentleman”!

“THE FOLLOWING” RETURNS

The third season of the psychological thriller, “The Following”, returns to Fox on March 2, 2015.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

spoiler-alert

Sadly, my favorite character, Emma, won’t be returning since she was killed off toward the end of the second season!

The Following Silence

It’ll be interesting to see how unstable Luke (Sam Underwood) will handle and avenge the death of his twin brother, Mark, and his mother, Lily.

following Mark

And, who was in the truck that picked him up as the season ended?

NEW REBA MUSIC COMING VERY SOON!

In just a little over two weeks, Reba McEntire will be making her return to country radio.

On January 6, 2015, her new song, “Going Out Like That”, an “upbeat”, sassy song is being released.

It’s the first single from her upcoming 2015 album.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women  I Am”, was released more than four years ago and it was my third favorite album of 2010.

It featured her last #1 hit on country radio, “Turn Up The Radio”.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD” SPINOFF

While I await the return for the second half of season five of “The Walking Dead” and see how the group handles Beth’s death at the end of the shocking mid-season finale, more details are surfacing about the spinoff to the hit AMC series.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Forget the east coast and Atlanta, the new pilot will take place in Los Angeles.

Can you just imagine “walkers” taking over Sunset Boulevard, the Malibu beaches, the deserts, and the Hollywood Hills?

ANY “LOVE ACTUALLY” FANS THAT WATCH “THE WALKING DEAD”?

This weekend, I plan on watching “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” and “Love Actually” again just in time for the holidays.

If “Love Actually” is one of your Christmas favorites and you love “The Walking Dead”, you might find this parody entertaining.

Andrew Lincoln

If you recall, a much younger Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead”) played Mark in “Love Actually”.

Now, while Lincoln is beautiful and flawless, sexy Charlie Farrell in the parody could definitely pass a double!

RENEE FLEMING

I just bought Renee Fleming’s “Christmas in New York” album and it’s quite delightful and very charming.

renee-fleming

For those of you that may not know her, Renee is world-renowed American opera singer, a soprano.

Beginning on New Year’s Eve, Renee will appear with Kelli O’Hara at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in a revival of the operetta, “The Merry Widow”, which was first performed in 1905.  Renee performed this role in 2010 in Germany.

NEW YORK CITY

Christmas is a magical time for many reasons and one place I’d love to visit around Christmastime is New York City.  In my fifty years, I’ve never visited the “Big Apple”.

If I was there now or over the next few weeks, I’d love to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, check out my first opera with Renee Fleming at the Metropolitan Opera, get lost in the Christmas spirit with the iconic Mariah Carey’s holiday show at the Beacon Theater, and be blown away by Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

In the absence of my favorite new network show this season, “How To Get Away With Murder”, which returns to ABC on January 29, 2015, I’ve had a chance to catch up on two other great shows on CBS.

Tea Leoni, who is nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her role as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is incredible.  And, Tim Daly, who plays her husband, is incredibly handsome in his late-50s.

The show is very intelligent and thought-provoking.  It also makes me miss my favorite real life Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright.

The show is doing rather well in the ratings and should easily be renewed.

Other than the awesome Leoni, my other two favorite characters are Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff, and Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth’s quirky and sexy personal assistant.

“STALKER”

However, the other new show I’m enjoying, is not looking too promising for getting a second season if you trust the website, zap2it.

“Stalker” is a very creepy and sadistic thriller starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott.

Other than Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis character, my other favorite is Janice (Mariana Klaveno), who’s on Beth’s Threat Assessment Unit team.  Klaveno also played Lorena, Bill’s maker on the hit HBO series, “True Blood”.

“HANNIBAL”

Sadly, there is no return date scheduled for the most under appreciated, least watched, best written and acted series, “Hannibal”, on NBC.

Hannibal Jack Showdown

Come on, schedule the return!  There was so much blood shed in the season two finale with four main characters lying there dying!  Who will survive?

Obviously, Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia du Maurier as they jetted off to Italy!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  FREAK SHOW”

I have to say that the fourth season of “American Horror Story:  Freak Show” has been my least favorite season, so far.  (We have “Coven”, season three, but haven’t gotten around to watching it.)

I’m not alone since the ratings this season have dropped almost 50% since the October 8th premiere.

However, I’m not giving up on it because two of the last episodes, “Blood Bath” and “Tupperware Party Massacre”, were very entertaining and intense.

While the mid-season finale focusing on Pepper and showing us a connection between the seasons was touching, my favorite character was missing — psychotic man-boy Dandy Mott.

Actor Finn Wittrock is incredible and mesmerizing.  And, it doesn’t hurt that in recent episodes we were treated to several full posterior naked shots of him and others in his tighty whities!

american-horror-story-freak-show

Okay, Dandy does have a thing for blood!

‘UNBROKEN”

While “The Interview” has been pulled from theater release on Christmas Day, there are still a couple of movies that I want to see during the holiday season.

One is the Angelina Jolie-directed true story, “Unbroken”.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

And, the other is another true life story also centering around World War 2, “The Imitation Game”, with Oscar-buzz front-runner Benedict Cumberbatch.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW…

for my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Up next, my favorite (and least favorites) movies and songs of 2014 and my favorite albums of 2014.

I want to leave you with a beautiful version of “Blue Christmas” from my idol, Reba McEntire, with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli from his 2009 album, “My Christmas”, which was the top-selling holiday album of that year.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you agree or disagree with or what your random thoughts are.

Anthony