Posts Tagged ‘Carrie’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 21, 2014

My favorite two days of the week are upon us — the weekend.  Okay, technically, those aren’t “days”.  But, I’m sure you get the point.

Whatever you have planned, make the best of it and enjoy.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

FIVE YEARS!  HERE’S TO FIVE MORE…

Saturday marks the fifth year that Ray and I met in person for the first time.  While we chatted before then, we had drinks for the first time on February 22, 2009.   It was champagne and we hit it off rather well and after he left, Miss ABBA, the golden, and I talked and agreed that he was worth a second date.

That came a couple of days later with lunch at Exotic Thai in Moline and the rest is history, as they say.

Here’s one of our first pictures together from the spring of 2009!

Ray Anthony Spring 2009

To mark five years together, we’ll have champagne this weekend and go have lunch at Exotic Thai Monday.  We do that each year to mark those dates and Miss ABBA is still with us — in our hearts.

“LOOKING”

The eight episode, HBO series, “Looking”, is about three gay friends in San Francisco looking to find themselves and love.

Looking

It stars Jonathan Groff, who is best known for his Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award winning role on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and on “Glee” as Jesse St. James.  He also voices the character of Kristoff in the worldwide Disney smash, “Frozen”.

Frozen

“Looking” has been criticized as “boring” and lacking diversity, even with one of the leads and a major recurring character being Hispanic.

I love the show.  It’s funny and it’s sexy.  My only gripe is that there’s only eight episodes and they’re only 30 minutes long!

Here’s the trailer and remember that it’s HBO, so there are so are some adult themes.

I have to admit that I have a crush on Patrick, Groff’s character.  Or, maybe I just have a crush on Groff?

JENNIFER NETTLES IS AN ALLY

Jennifer Nettles, the leader singer of the country duo Sugarland and a married mother of a one-year-old boy, is a friend of the LGBT community.

jennifer-nettles

Nettles tells PrideSource that country music is slowly evolving and becoming more accepting.  “It’s exciting to see within the country genre, yet at the same time, for me in terms of social motivation and evolution and moving forward, I always feel — be it within a music genre or a religious movement or whatever — like, ‘OK, come on, let’s move faster. Let’s get there faster. Let’s get it done.”

She adds, “This should have already been behind us. So I am excited about it, but I want it to continue and be more.”

Sugarland, featuring former member Kristen Hall, who is a lesbian, took “Something More” to #2 on the Billboard Country chart in 2005, from their debut album, “Twice The Speed of Life”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Sarah Palin Olympics Shoveling SnowSummer Hot

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

We’ve had a lot of snow this winter.  We’re now up to 54.3″ in the Quad Cities.

21714 Snow Update

That makes this the 5th snowiest winter on record (and the snowiest since I moved to the Quad Cities in November 2005)!

However, there’s some confusion.  A local newspaper and some local television meteorologists are reporting it as the “snowiest winter” on record.  What they are referring to is the snowiest “meteorological winter” on record.   “Meteorological winter” is the months of December, January, and February.

But, if you use that analogy, do you magically just forget about the snow that falls in October, November, March, and April?  That’s why when we list the snowiest winters on record, the National Weather Service runs the snow totals from summer to summer to cover all the snows from the first to the last.

One thing that isn’t confusing.  It’s the snowiest February on record in the Quad Cities with 21.8″!

Here’s a cool shot of the solar lights around our fish ponds trying to shine through the snow.

Snow globes

Gretel is definitely making the most of the snowy winter.

Gretel Snow HillGretel in Snow

At this point last winter, we had only picked up 14.5″ of snow in the Quad Cities!

“MOST UNPLEASANT CITY RIVALING SOCHI”

How would you like to win that honor?  Russia’s blantant homophobia aside, we’ve heard the less than desirable reports of hotel and facility issues with the 2014 Winter Olympics hosting city.

Now, MissTravel.com, a travel dating site, recently polled more than 3,000 people and asked what the “most unpleasant city rivaling Sochi” is and the winner (or loser) was Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

In second place was New Delhi, the capital of India.  Also ranking high on the list was Rio de Janerio, the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics!

Two American cities also made the list, Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio.

I lived and worked in Youngstown for years from the late 1990s until the summer of 2002 and met some really nice people there.  I hope I don’t lose friends over what I’m going to say.  And, to put a positive spin on the dubious “honor”, I’ll start with a nice photo of Youngstown.

Youngstown 2

When I talk to people about all the places I’ve lived (there have been ten), I refer to the former booming steel town as “the most deplorable city I’ve ever lived.”

I know the loss of the steel mills and jobs, rampant crime, and mob activity took its toll.  From 1930-1960, more than 165,000 people called Youngstown home.  In 2012, the population is down almost 100,000 people to just around 65,000!

Youngstown 1

Sorry, Youngstown.  I guess I’m not alone.

SERIOUSLY, BILLY RAY CYRUS IS BACK ON THE CHART AGAIN!

I was still living in Kentucky, in 1992, when “Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus was so popular.  It spent five weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At the time, I was appalled by the song and the fact that we were both from Kentucky.  I was okay with the down home country image that Loretta Lynn portrayed to the world about the Bluegrass state, but not with Cyrus!

Then, when Reba appeared on “TV Guide” with him, I just about died.

Reba Billy Ray Cyrus

Now, I have to admit that I took a chance and listened to the new Buck 22 song, “Achy Break 2”, which features Miley’s dad!  And, Billy, you rock now.

“Achy Breaky 2” is at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is up to #11 on the Hot Rap songs chart!

So, to make amends, here’s a more recent picture of Reba and Billy Ray.

More recent Reba BRC

Billy Ray, this is my sincerest apologies for disliking you so much more than twenty years ago!

One final note is that Buck 22 is Damon Elliott, a well-respected music producer and the son of singer Dionne Warwick!

“ENOUGH SAID”

This little romantic comedy that made $21.8 million at the box office was one of the last roles for the late “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini.

Enough Said

He and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a couple of divorcees, Albert and Eve, who meet at a party and start dating.  The only problem is that Eve is the masseuse of Albert’s ex-wife and she starts filling Eve’s head with all of Albert’s faults.

The movie is very touching and very funny.  It’s hilarious to watch these two awkward adults fall for each other.

GRADE:  B+

“CARRIE”

I absolutely love the 1976 original with Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.

Carrie

So, I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other when I heard that a remake was coming out.  I love director Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry”, so having her behind the movie helped.  It was also a positive that stars Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”) and Julianne Moore are incredible.

Carrie

While some of the special effects were awesome, the high school drama seemed very Disney and silly.  Maybe it’s because the original was so creepy that the suspense never built up for me in this one.

For a dollar in Redbox, you might enjoy it.  Otherwise, watch the original.

GRADE:  C

“SURE OF YOU”

I finished reading my eighth book of 2014 this week, “Sure of You”, which is the sixth book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” series.

Sure of You

While you may not have read them, you’ve likely been following along with me about the book series in my blog.

It’s now 1988, twelve years after the first book and three years after the last book, “Significant Others”.   While the book had some fun parts, this was my least favorite of the series, so far, because there wasn’t much happiness to be found.

Like real life, friends drift apart over the years and that takes place here with some of Barbary Lane’s favorite tenants.

One chance meeting in the last book leads to love in this book and that is a happy point.  However, one person becomes very successful and leaves San Fransisco and their family for fame in the “Big Apple”.

“DJANGO UNCHAINED”

I finally got around to seeing my first Quentin Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained”.

Dja

The lengthy, Oscar-winning movie for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Christop Waltz was entertaining and fun.  However, it too long and too much of a joke.

Maybe that was the intent — to make you laugh through the horror that was slavery in America.  Even the shoot outs were jokey and fake with the overkill of blood.  Don’t get me wrong, I love “The Walking Dead”, “Dexter”, “Hannibal”, and “American Horror Story”.  So, I can handle the blood.

After seeing this, I’m really ready to see this subject matter handled accurately with “12 Years A Slave”!

GRADE:  B-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

In 2014, I’m taking a break from the 1980s music and featuring some of the country songs I loved growing up and when I listened to more country before going pop!

I remember a couple of my favorites from Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band.

Gatlin Brothers

From 1973 until their last hit in 1989, the trio reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart 34 times.  Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and 3 topped the chart.

My favorites were “Broken Lady” (#5, 1976) and “All The Gold In California” (#1, 1979).

When researching Larry Gatlin for the chart information, I was surprised to see that he’s very conservative (not a problem) and a regular contributor for Fox News (less comfortable).  So, I was concerned about featuring the song because I didn’t want to promote him if he was anti-gay.  But, I haven’t come across anything to point to that.  Hopefully that proves that you can be a “Christian” and not be anti-gay!

Granted, if I learn otherwise about Gatlin, I’ll come in and delete this and that will be another blog topic altogether!

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Other than the plans I mentioned earlier, I’m having lunch with Ray and my sister, Tammy, Saturday and enjoying a blizzard tonight!

No, you didn’t miss a weather report.  I’m talking about a Red Velvet Cake Blizzard, silly!

Red Velvet Blizzard

After posting this blog early Friday morning, I added this line Friday afternoon because my local Dairy Queen was out of Red Velvet Cake blizzard!

That might be a good thing because I’m getting mixed reviews about them.  Some say they weren’t good, but I also heard that they excellent.  Oh well, better luck with the next blizzard, Peeps!

Anthony

Ready for Popcorn & These Fall Movies

Fall is here and I’m ready to spend the shorter and cooler days with a hot bucket of movie popcorn sitting in a dark theater or all comfy on my couch with home-popped popcorn.

Here are the motion pictures that have piqued my interest as we head into that season.  No, not winter, but Oscar-bait season.

The movies that I want to see in the theater will have trailers and the ones that I’ll likely see, but I’ll wait for the DVD release will have just movie posters.

“C.O.G.”

My first selection is already playing at select theaters across the country and I doubt that it’ll play in the Quad Cities.  So, I’ll be waiting for the DVD release on November 19, 2013 and I’ll buy it to add to my collection.

C.O.G.

The comedy, “C.O.G.”, is the first-ever screen adaptation of the work of writer David Sedaris.  It stars Jonathan Groff (“Glee”), Denis O’ Hare (“American Horror Story”), and Troian Bellisario (“Pretty Little Liars”).

WAITING FOR THE DVD RELEASE

As much as I love Lady Gaga and “Modern Family” seductress Sofia Vergara, I’ll wait to see “Machete Kills” (release date:  10/11) on DVD, just in case it’s so bad I’m only out $1.20 at Redbox.

Machete-Kills-Lady-GagaMACHETE KILLS

The latest thriller starring Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips” (release date:  10/11) is based on a true story of Somali Pirates taking over the “Maersk Alabama” in 2009.  The film, which is already getting Oscar buzz, is directed by Paul Greengrass (“United 93”).

Captain Phillips

And, as much as I love Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz, I’ll be waiting to watch the remake of the Stephen King classic, “Carrie” (release date:  10/18) at home on DVD.

The new version is directed by Kimberly Peirce, who was behind the incredible “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1999.  That movie earned Hillary Swank her first Oscar, as Brandon Teena, a murdered transgender man.

Carrie

Here are the movies that I’m marking my calendar to see in theaters.

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS”

Now that “Dexter” has ended its eight season run on Showtime, I have to get my Michael C. Hall fix somewhere.

Kill Your Darlings

I get that in “Kill Your Darlings” (limited release:  10/16), which also stars Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter”) and Dane DeHaan (“Chronicle”).

It’s based on the murder of David Kammerer (Hall) by Lucien Carr (DeHaan) in 1944.  It also brings the great beat generation poets Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) together.

“12 YEARS A SLAVE”

12 Years A Slave

The star of “12 Years A Slave” (release date:  10/18) that is getting heavy Oscar buzz is Chiwetel Ejifor.

He plays a free black man who was sold into slavery after he was lured away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1841.  He was forced to work on a Louisiana plantation for 12 years before his release.

The movie also stars sexy Michael Fassbender as an evil plantation owner, along with Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, and Quvenzhane Wallis.

“DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are garnering the best reviews of their acting career for their upcoming drama, “Dallas Buyers Club” (release date:  11/1), which is based on a true story.

Dallas Buyers Club

McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a drug using, womanizing, homophobic man who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1986 and given only thirty days to live.  It tells the story of how he began smuggling non-toxic, alternative medicines from all over the world, thus forming the “Dallas Buyers Club”.

For his part, McConaughey lost around 40-50 pounds and his co-star, Leto lost 30-40 pounds to play Rayon, an HIV-positive transgendered woman, who became business partners with Woodroof.

This isn’t the first time that Leto has significantly altered his body for a part.  Check out this photo of him playing Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon in December 1980.

Jared Leto - Mark David Chapman

In that movie, “Chapter 27” from 2007, Leto gained 67 pounds!  And, it’s disgusting how he did it.  He would drink microwaved ice cream by the pints that was mixed with olive oil and soy sauce every night!

I expect that both McConaughey and Leto will get several nominations in this upcoming awards season!

“THE HUNGER GAMES:  CATCHING FIRE”

There isn’t much I have to say about the second installment of Katniss Everdeen fighting for her life in “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” (release date:  11/22).

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

Gretel has read all three books and she’s excited to see this one.

“AMERICAN HUSTLE”

American Hustle

This movie (limited release 12/13; wide release 12/25) has the “Midas Touch”.

It’s directed by David O. Russell, who was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” last year.  That movie earned “American Hustle” star Jennifer Lawrence an Academy Award and a nomination for her co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, who are both back in this film.

It also stars Oscar winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter) and four-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams, who was also in Russell’s “The Fighter” in 2010, which earned him another directing Oscar nomination!

“AUGUST:  OSAGE COUNTY”

This black comedy-drama (release date:  12/25) has Oscar written all over it.

august_osage_county

It stars Oscar’s favorite Meryl Streep as a woman with oral cancer that develops an addiction to drugs and Oscar winner Julia Roberts as her daughter.

So, I have my movie rewards card ready to sit in the dark, stare up at the big screen, and stuff myself with popcorn and Coke Zero.  Now, you know what movies excite me this fall and Oscar season.

And, the Oscar goes to….

Anthony

It’s Time To Be Spooked

Halloween is almost here and I know many of you have been having hauntingly fun evenings curled up on the couch watching your favorite horror movies.

Sadly, and this is scarier than any Hollywood production, I never seem to find the time anymore to just veg out on my days off to watch all of my favorite movies over and over again.  This includes Halloween movies.

There’s no contest as to what my favorite horror movie is.  Before I get to that, I want to share one of my new favorites and I actually made time this past Thursday afternoon to watch it again.  It came out in 2004 and I’m sure many of you have never heard of, much less seen it.

It’s called “Hellbent” from the co-creator of  “Halloween” and the executive producer of “The Nightmare on Elm Street”.  The tagline of the movie is “When the night belongs to the devil, the party goes to hell.”

The movie opens with a steamy love scene in a park in West Hollywood (WeHo), California, and the scene ends with a very graphic double murder.

Four friends are heading to the annual Halloween carnival in WeHo.  One of the guys works for the WeHo Police Department and he knows the gory details in the deaths of the two men that were making out in the park and tells his friends and freaks them out.

And, since you know this is a horror movie, the bloodshed is only beginning.

The movie is fun, upbeat, sexy, and gay.

While I’ve seen it many times since it arrived on DVD in the fall of 2006, my only problem (and it’s a slight one) is that it never explains why the serial killer is slaughtering the young, sexy men.  The movie redeems itself with a touching love story through all the blood and gore.

I really enjoyed the first two “Friday The 13th” movies and the first two “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies were okay, but I lost interest in them.

While Jason was relentless with his machete, I was more afraid of his mother!

I loved both “Let The Right One In” and the American version, “Let Me In”.  Both of them are spectacular if you love vampires and winter!

“Carrie” is still one of my favorites.

Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie were both amazing.  And, as much as I love Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”), I’m not really sure that we need the 2013 remake.  I could be wrong.

Of course, I love “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), and the “Dawn of the Dead” remake (2004).  I remember my cousin, Steve, and I taking my mother, Dessie to the late night showing of 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead” without telling her how gory it was going to be and, afterwards, she said “That was so gross that I couldn’t eat my popcorn”.  That’s still funny to me to this day.

With that being said, it probably comes as no surprise that I love those zombie movies since “The Walking Dead” is one of my favorites.

There is still the ultimate horror movie that I want to see.  As hard as it may be to believe, I have not seen 1973’s “The Exorcist” in its entirety!  It’s one thing to see serial killers, but it’s another to deal with demonic possession!  One day soon, I hope I break down and see it.

I liked the original “The Amityville Horror” and I’ll be honest, I only watched the remake just to see studly Ryan Reynolds go mad and shirtless for much of the movie. 🙂

Now, it’s time to reveal my favorite Halloween movie, franchise, and movie ghoul.  Hands down, it’s Michael Myers and 1978’s “Halloween” is my all-time favorite horror movie.  It scared the devil out of me as a 14-year-old.  They are actually showing it here in Moline through Halloween night at the cheap theater.  I think I have Ray talked in to going and seeing it on the big screen!  It’s only been 34 years!!!!!!

There are ten movies in the “Halloween” franchise and it’s been a very interesting ride.

The original Halloween and its sequel came out in 1978 and 1981, respectively.  Then, in 1982, “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” was released and I had heard that the plan was to make ten movies with five different themes of Halloween.  The third movie focused on a demented toy maker that put microchips in the masks that would kill those wearing them.

After the movie pretty much bombed, Michael Myers returned for the fourth “Halloween” movie in 1988 and has been in all of the sequels.

While part four, five, and six, were watchable, they weren’t the best.  Actually, “Halloween 5:  Revenge of Michael Myers” was pretty annoying, but the worse was yet to come!

“Halloween:  Curse of Michael Myers” in 1995 featured a younger, sexy Paul Rudd.  The storyline was also a little far-fetched, but it was still good.  And, I loved the line, “It’s raining red” as blood dripped down on a little girl in her costume from a body hanging in the tree!

The franchise got back on track in 1998 when Jamie Lee Curtis returned as Laurie Strode in “Halloween H20”.  The interesting thing about the re-boot is that Laurie’s character was killed off off-camera for 1988’s “Halloween 4:  Return of Michael Myers”.  However, “H20” pretended that parts four, five, and six never happened.  Curtis returned again briefly for 2002’s “Halloween: Resurrection”.

And, then in 2007, rocker Rob Zombie directed his version, his re-imagining of the original “Halloween”.  Going into the movie, I thought I would hate it.  How could someone mess with the original?  I was pleasantly surprised.  Actually, I loved it because Michael was so much more violent in this movie.

However, Zombie’s 2009’s sequel “Halloween 2” changed my mind.  I saw it in theaters when it came out.  I survived, but I didn’t like it.  When it was released on DVD, I bought it and watched it again thinking I might have been wrong.  I wasn’t wrong.  It was painful to watch again and it pretty much sucked.

There was talk of another “Halloween” in 3D coming out, but it was scrapped and I have to say that if Rob Zombie is involved, count me out.

Two more horror movies I want to bring up for honorable mention are “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:  The Beginning” to see sexy Matt Bomer and his interesting encounter with Leatherface.

And, check out 2005’s “House of Wax” just to see Paris Hilton die!  (Oops, spoiler!)

Happy Halloween everyone!  Enjoy your candy, popcorn, and horror movies.

Anthony