Posts Tagged ‘Cate Blanchett’

Oscars, I Disagree in One Acting Category

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

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

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

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

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

BEST ACTOR 

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

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

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

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

BEST ACTRESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

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

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

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

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

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

oscar-statues-02

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts –February 19, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the week and are ready for the weekend.

It’s been an interesting week since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” — Valentine’s Day, a snowstorm for Iowa and Illinois, the return of “The Walking Dead”, and warmer temperatures!

Have a fun weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today.

YOUR COMPASSION IS HEARTWARMING

Last Friday, I shared with you a vile response to a blog I posted on why I support Hillary Clinton for president.  It was one of my most viewed blogs on the day it was posted since  I started writing my blog four years ago.

MrazLoveAlbumCover

The feedback and compassion you extended to me was incredible and greatly appreciated.  I know there are so many more great people in this world than the jerks — they just spew their hate openly and loudly.

As I told many of you in my responses, rude comments like that tick me off.  However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because being in the public eye, I’ve developed a tough skin.

Something it proves is that as much progress as we’ve made in this country, there’s still so much more work to be done before we reach equality — not just for the LGBT community, but for women, race, pay, and the list goes on and on.

Again, thank you!

LoveEqualityFormula

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DEAD

Speaking of equality, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man that made a career of voting against it, died at a Texas resort last weekend at the age of 79.

Since I was just talking about compassion, I’ll just say that I feel for his wife and their nine children.

Since the word “hate” is such a vile word, I didn’t “hate” Scalia, but I disliked him with strong convictions because of his long history of being anti-gay in his court decisions.

NATALIE COLE’S FAMILY UPSET ABOUT THE GRAMMYS

The family of singer Natalie Cole, who died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65, is upset with the “shameless” tribute she received at Monday night’s Grammys compared to other musicians that were memorialized.

Cole’s son, Robert Adam Yancy told “Entertainment Weekly”, “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than a minute-and-a-half tribute.”

Cole was remembered in a photo montage, while Lady Gaga performed a seven-minute musical tribute to David Bowie, who won two Grammys in his career.  (I’m torn writing this because Gaga was incredible.  It’s the principle I’m addressing here!)

There were also tributes to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire), winner of seven Grammys, Glenn Frey of the Eagles (six Grammys) and Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead) with only one Grammy win.

One one other music tribute was to a musician who won more Grammys than Cole, B. B. King  (15 Grammys).

So, there’s my tribute video to Cole and not the others!

OKAY, I COULDN’T RESIST

Here’s Lady Gaga’s amazing tribute to David Bowie from the Grammys.

STARS READING “MEAN TWEETS”

These always crack me up because the entertainers make the best of a bad situation.  On the other hand, mean people really do suck!

What troopers — to read what idiots say about them!

“THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”

We all know the story — a savage double murder in the posh Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1994 involving the wife of a famed football star.

A botched (?) criminal case that allowed a murderer (?) to walk free!

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (“American Horror Story”) are behind the new Fox series “American Crime Story:  The People v. O.J. Simpson” (notice the similar title).

This 10-episode series event is going behind the story to share details that we may not remember from the headlines or the circus that was the murder trail against Simpson.

After watching the first two episodes, I’m intrigued with the detailed story telling and the acting of Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran).

However, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson is a hard sell for me.  One, Gooding doesn’t remind me that much of Simpson and, two, the constant whining and ranting is annoying.  I’m totally not buying him as O.J.!

Overall, a great show and it hasn’t even gotten to the trail yet!

YES, BEYONCE IS BLACK!

I’m sure you already know that Beyonce is black.  If not, she is!  And, remember that expression from the 1960s that “Black is Beautiful” and Bey is definitely beautiful.

Bey1

The most recent controversy with Beyonce started on February 6th when she released the “Formation” video, which features references to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina black culture, racism, and police.

She performed the song the next day at “Super Bowl 50” and more controversy ensued from conservatives thinking she was promoting too much black — power, the Black Panthers, and Black Lives Matter.

Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani vented, “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

While “Formation” won’t have the same radio success as “Crazy in Love”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, pop and R&B/Hip Hop stations are already playing it!

For the record, Beyonce has had huge success on the pop chart (Billboard Hot 100) with 26 hits, fifteen of which hit the Top Ten, and five of those went all the way to #1.

However, she’s had more success on the R&B/Hip Hop charts — 38 hits, 23 of which made the Top Ten, and 8 topped the chart.

And, this is not even counting her hits with Destiny’s Child!

“SNL” NAILS IT AGAIN!

“ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY” IS BECOMING GREEDY

I’m a huge fan of “Entertainment Weekly” and I look forward to my magazine each week even though I can find much of the same information online from their website and tweets.

It used to be that they’d have a feature series with several cover photos and present them all in the issue.  You’d just flip the cover and there’d be the next one.

That would have been perfect for this week’s “The Walking Dead” feature with six different collector edition covers.  However, they randomly picked which cover you’d get.  But, you could purchase the other five covers!

Seriously?

Rick EW.jpg

While I wanted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I got Daryl Dixon.  As much as I love the show, there’s no way I’d buy the other five!

Greedy!

29 AND ANCHORING IN NEW YORK CITY?  NO WAY!

If you’re familiar with how the television news business works, you know you start out at small market stations and work there for a couple of years before moving on to a larger market.

You work there for a couple of years and then move on again.  You continue this process until you get to the big markets (New York City is the largest TV market followed by Los Angeles and Chicago).

If you’re very talented and you luck out, you might skip one of these ladder jumping moves.  Or, maybe there’s other factors.

I’m not saying that 29-year-old Stefan Holt, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, isn’t talented, but…

The younger Holt graduated college and interned at KABC in Los Angeles and with NBC News in London before joining the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as a reporter and fill-in anchor.  This is market  #38 out of 210 (the smallest).  It’s unusual to get your first job in a market that size.

After just two years there, he moved on to NBC5 in Chicago (market #3) as a reporter and weekend morning anchor.  Holt was promoted to weekday mornings just months later where he worked for five years.

Again, 29 and anchoring in the biggest television market in the country!  What’s next? Filling in for his dad on “NBC Nightly News”?

JUSTIN BIEBER

Okay, first things first about Justin Bieber.

I bought his “Purpose” album last fall and it’s a great album and has already produced four huge hits, including three #1s, “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry”, and “Love Yourself”, and my favorite 2015 Bieber hit, the Grammy Award-winning “Where Are U Now”  with Skrillex and Diplo.

And, if you haven’t noticed, Justin is gorgeous and I feel more comfortable saying that now that he’s a man — over 18 years old!

Bieber

However, I was a little freaked out by music executive and producer L.A.Reid’s description of Bieber in his new book, “Sing To Me”.

Reid says, “this kid was beautiful, like a woman can be beautiful and men rarely are, and he turned it on as soon as he stepped into the room.”.

This one sounds more innocent and I totally agree, “Justin was simply beautiful.  His superpower was his face.”

PICK HIT

Zayn Malik, another sexy and beautiful man, who left the boy band One Direction for a solo career, is off to a great start.

“Pillowtalk” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is burning up the radio airwaves.  It’s already on the short list of my favorite songs of 2016.  I know, it’s only February!

The video is pretty erotic and steamy, too!

Malik’s debut album, “Mind of Mine”, comes out March 25, 2016.

“THE MARTIAN”

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A-

“THE OVERNIGHT”

In stark contrast to “The Martian” in running time, “The Overnight” is one hour, 18 minutes long and it works in a lot in that short time.

A couple with a small son move from Seattle to Los Angeles where they meet another father and son playing in the park one day.  Since they don’t know anyone and the boys get along, they’re invited to a pizza party.

At the party, after much alcohol and the boys go to bed, the foursome talk about everything, including sex.  Inhibitions are lowered and tempers flare when insecurities surface.

The question becomes will they or won’t they and how will that change the course of the relationships — between each couple and the two couples’ friendship.

GRADE:  B

“FREEHELD”

This movie is an expansion of the Oscar-winning “Best Short Documentary” in 2007 with the same name.

This 2015 film stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a 23-year veteran of the police force in Orange County, New Jersey.

She sues after finding out she has lung cancer and her request to have her domestic partner receive her benefits is denied.  Oscar nominee Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays her love interest, Stacie.

The acting is superb not only from the female leads, but also from Michael Shannon, Hester’s partner on the police force, and Luke Grimes, a closeted police colleague.

However, watching the movie, it did feel like a Lifetime movie.  And, that’s not a bad thing.

This is based on a true story.

GRADE:  B

“TRUTH”

This movie focuses on the authenticity of documents reported by “60 Minutes” on CBS from iconic news anchor Dan Rather during George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential re-election campaign.

The controversy called into question if Bush received preferential treatment while he served in the Texas Air National Guard in the early-1970s.

Robert Redford stars as Rather in the last days of his career at CBS, but the focus of the movie is on Mary Mapes, Rather’s producer on the investigative piece.

Mapes is played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  As expected, she is flawless.  Yet, even she couldn’t save this movie and make it a thriller.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough thoughts for one week.  As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my randomness!  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — as long as you’re diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Ready For Popcorn & These Fall Movies

I’m craving movie popcorn and I finally have the motivation to head to the theater soon and eat some.

popcorn

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of September, nine months into year, and I haven’t been to the movies yet in 2015.  The last movie I saw in a theater, “Unbroken”, was back on December 28, 2014.

With fall approaching, here are the movies tickling my fancy and will likely encourage me to cash in the two free movie passes and two generous theater gifts cards that I’ve been waiting to use.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

And, many of them will likely get some Oscar love when nominations are announced in early 2016.

Among the movies I want to see, last year’s Best Actress and Best Actor winners, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, will possibly be nominated again, along with the Best Actress winner from two years ago, Cate Blanchett.

Also, there’s Best Actress winners Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts.  Yes, Julia’s back!

So, enjoy these trailers of the movies I want to see before the end of the year.  Chances are that I’ll be seeing some of them when they are released on DVD.

Who knows, you may be sitting right next to me in the theater if you like what you see here.

SEPTEMBER 11

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

SEPTEMBER 18  

“EVEREST”

SEPTEMBER 18

“SICARIO”

SEPTEMBER 25

“STONEWALL”

OCTOBER 2

“THE MARTIAN”

OCTOBER 2

“FREEHELD”

OCTOBER 23

“SUFFRAGETTE”

OCTOBER 30

“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS”

NOVEMBER 6

“TRUMBO”

NOVEMBER 20

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

NOVEMBER 20

“CAROL”

 NOVEMBER 25

“VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN”

NOVEMBER 27

“THE DANISH GIRL”

Any of these look good to you?

Enjoy your fall, your movies, and your popcorn.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 28, 2014

It’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2014 are already behind us.  I sure hope that with March starting this weekend that spring can’t be too far behind.  With that being said, enjoy the snowy weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

DISGUSTED WITH UGANDA

This past Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that makes being gay punishable by life in prison.  Before this week, a gay person faced 14 years of jail time.

Uganda President

Museveni had been going back and forth over the issue and just last week he said that gay people were “sick” and needed treatment and not imprisonment.

He added that this is necessary because of the arrogance of Westerners promoting behavior that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

Here’s a reality check for you, President Museveni:  my being gay and open about it does not threaten the “way of life” in your nation (and the other 37 African countries that make it illegal to be gay).  What you should be threatened by is losing the $1.6 billion aid that you received in 2011 from the United States!

UGANDAN AID BEING CUT

In wake of Museveni signing that law, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands were the first three countries to cut aid to the Ugandan government.

Pink News

Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, reports that Norway and Denmark will donate money directly to human rights groups now and not the government there.

The news service also reports that the U.K. is making changes.  It will now only send money to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organizations in Uganda.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT — ARIZONA

Normally, in this segment, I don’t add commentary.  But, this week, I must.

Wednesday night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 that would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service based on religion, especially toward the LGBT community.

While I applaud Governor Brewer for vetoing it, in my heart, I feel that she did it because of the money Arizona stood to lose and not because it was the right thing to do.

Today’s “Food For Thought” is for the 17 Senators and the 33 Representatives that voted for the ill-fated and bad SB 1062 in the first place!

Uganda Arizona  ArizonaGay Wedding Cake

“HANNIBAL” RETURNS

The critically acclaimed and ratings challenged NBC series based on the Thomas Harris novel, “Red Dragon”, returns tonight (February 28th).

Hannibal S2

For the 2 million people in the U.S. that were still watching the series for the June finale last year, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) had done his part to drive FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) mad and Will was jailed for murder.

If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.

“Entertainment Weekly” and NBC released this two-minute opening teaser for tonight’s premiere.  Let me warn you, it’s awesome and violent.  It also makes you wonder what led up to this scene because once you watch it, you know they will flash back to let you know how this transpired!

“EW” definitely likes the season 2 premiere!

EW Hannibal Review

For the thirteen episodes this season, I really hope that we see much more of Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychotherapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

Gillian Anderson Hannibal

I can’t get enough of my crush, Gillian Anderson!

BREAKING NEWS…. MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND

Sick of Winter

Remember, I’m only the messenger.  But, in reality, I’m shooting for 70″ this winter and the all-time record!

This is where we stand right now before any snow falls today, tomorrow, and Sunday in the Quad Cities.

Snow Stats -- Friday Morning

Light snow is on the way later this evening and tonight.  This first wave will be gone by daybreak Saturday.  Accumulations will generally be less than an inch for most of us.  Northern hometowns near the Wisconsin border may see a little more — closer to 2″.

More snow is on the way Saturday afternoon into early Sunday night.

This Weekend

Here is how much snow I’m expecting from Friday evening through Sunday night.  This snow will be falling over a three-day period and not all at once!

Snow This Weekend

‘Tis the season!  Yes, it’s still winter!

SNOW SWIMMING!

Obviously some in Duluth, Minnesota, look at snow differently than we do in the Quad Cities!

Duluth has had about 84″ of snow this winter and there’s still about 29″ on the ground.

Snow?  I didn’t notice snow in the video!

OSCAR WEEKEND 2014

I’ll be staying up past my bedtime Sunday to watch some or all of this year’s Oscars with host Ellen DeGeneres.

While I’ll post my Oscar picks for all 24 categories Sunday morning, including Best Picture, I’ll touch on a few here.

After seeing the incredible performances of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both nominated this year, for “August: Osage County”, I wanted them both to win.  Their performances were flawless.

august-osage-county- Julia Roberts Meryl Streep

However, I don’t think either will take home the Oscar.

Although I haven’t seen “Gravity” yet, I don’t want  Sandra Bullock to win, as much as I love her.  Yes, I’m still jaded that she beat Meryl for “The Blind Side”.  Meryl’s Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” was much more deserving.

Cate Blue Jasmine

For Best Actress, Cate Blanchett will win for her devastating and heartbreaking performance in “Blue Jasmine”.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

I also pick Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey to win for  “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Actor”, respectively, for  their incredible performances in “Dallas Buyers Club”.

My other 21 winning picks will be revealed Sunday!

“BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD”

Last weekend, we watched two more of the late, great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s movies, “The Savages” and “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”.

Both were amazing and I highly recommend them for different reasons.

“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” was released in 2007 and was director’s Sidney Lumet’s last movie before his death in 2011.

before_the_devil_knows_youre_dead

The $18 million dollar crime drama barely made its money back at the theaters ($25 million), but it was highly entertaining and it kept you guessing as to how it would end.

Hoffman played Andy, a finance executive at a New York City real estate firm, who was embezzling money from the company to help support his drug use.  In a scary case of real-life deja vu, it was hard watching Hoffman shooting up drugs.

He devises a plan with his brother Hank (Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke) to knock off a small mom & pop jewelry store, which would net them about $120,000.  As you can guess, things don’t go as planned.

The movie also stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney.

I have a warning and a spoiler about the movie:  I’ll never get the image of Hoffman’s naked butt, while having sex with his wife, in the opening scene out of my mind — ever!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“THE SAVAGES”

We also watched Hoffman’s 2011 family dramedy, “The Savages”, which earned co-star Laura Linney an Oscar nomination.  The movie was also nominated for Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Tamara Jenkins.

E25SavagesB

Hoffman and Linney star as a couple of single New Yorkers, who have to come up with a plan to take care of their estranged elderly father suffering from dementia in Arizona.

While the subject matter is heavy at times, it’s also heartwarming and funny.  I’m a huge fan of Laura Linney, so it was a pleasure seeing her in the movie.

The movie was produced by Academy Award winner Alexander Payne, who’s up for an Oscar this year for directing “Nebraska”.

GRADE:  B

With these two movies, I’ve now seen ten Hoffman movies:  “Twister” (1996), “Boogie Nights” (1997 — his Scotty J. was heartbreaking), “Happiness” (1998 — a sad, creepy performance in an amazing movie that made you want to shower after watching it), “Magnolia” (1999), “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999), “Red Dragon” (2002 — slimy, sleazy, but unforgettable as Freddy Lounds), “Doubt” (2008 — touching and worthy of the Oscar nomination), and “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” (2013).

PICK HIT

“Take Me Home” by the dance band, Cash Cash, featuring vocals from Bebe Rexha is my pick hit of the week.

While the song has already reached the Top Ten in Australia and on the Billboard Dance chart, it only reached #64 on the Hot 100.

However, it’s one of the 20 most played songs right now on Top 40 radio stations in the  U.S.

It’s still a great song to get your weekend off to a fun start.

“MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES”

I’m almost done with Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” nine-book series.  Over the past week, I read books seven and eight, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “Mary Ann in Autumn”, respectively.

If you’re familiar with the series, Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”) is one of the original tenants of Mrs. Madrigal’s 28 Barbary Lane.

Michael Tolliver Lives

It’s now 2005, almost thirty years since the first book.  Michael is no longer a youngster from Orlando, Florida, living in San Francisco’s Castro.  He’s now married to a younger man about 20 years his junior.  It’s a very happy union.

The bleakness from the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, is gone, even when we learn of an original “Tales” character’s death to cancer and the death of a loved one closer to Michael.

Also, the book is told in first person from Michael, which is a departure from the third person story telling of the previous six books.

“Michael Tolliver Lives” is one of my favorite books of the “Tales” series.

At the end of “Michael Tolliver Lives”, Mary Ann Singleton, now a married woman on the East Coast, returned briefly to visit an elderly friend that may not recover from a stroke.

Mary Ann

In “Mary Ann in Autumn”, it’s a couple of years later and Mary Ann and “Mouse” are back together again in San Francisco almost thirty years after they first met in 1970s.

A couple of secrets brings Mary Ann back to cry on Michael’s shoulder.  All of the years and the tears of twenty years apart are forgotten when they examine their friendship and what they’ve been missing.  It brought me so much joy to see them together poking fun at each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they head toward their golden years — both are in their late fifties and early sixties now!

And, boy, does Maupin have a few shockers up his sleeve that go all the way back to the original “Tales” book.

As much as I loved “Michael Tolliver Lives”, “Mary Ann In Autumn” is my new favorite after the first book.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

One of my favorite songs as a kid was “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Texan Jeannie C. Riley.

Jeannie C. Riley

I used to play the record over and over as a 4-year-old.  I played it so much that my older step-sister too the record away from me and broke it!

The song went on to sell six million copies and it became the first song by a woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Country charts at the same time.   That was in 1968.  The next time that would happen would be in 1981 with “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.

From 1968-1972, Jeannie C. Riley would score 14 hits on the country charts.  Of those, six would reach the Top Ten.  “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was her first and only #1 hit.

Later in the 1970s, Riley would become a “born again Christian” and she briefly distanced herself from the sexy and risque song, but she never stopped performing it.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

That’s enough random thoughts for one blog.  I have no plans this weekend and I just might take advantage of the freshly fallen snow and go sledding with Gretel.  It’ll take me back to December 2010 when Ray, Gretel, Miss ABBA, and I took advantage of the winter wonderland.

Sledding December 2010

Ray Gretel ABBA December 2010

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 31, 2014

Another weekend is here.  Do you have big plans?  I’m emceeing a fashion show tonight and tomorrow is my company’s Christmas party.  ‘Tis the season.

As always, on Friday, I share some of my random thoughts and I welcome your feedback.

SNOW AND MORE SNOW

This January, the Quad Cities is already the record book as one of the ten snowiest Januarys on record at #7.  So far, 17.7″ of snow has accumulated this month and more could be added before midnight.  However, the heavier snow will come late Friday night and Saturday.

A “Winter Weather Advisory” and a “Winter Storm Warning” covers the area and goes into effect Friday evening into Saturday evening.

Warnings Advisories

(Editor’s note:  Only the “Advisories” map was updated.  The snow projections are still looking good.)

Here is how much snow I’m forecasting today, tonight, and Saturday.

Snow Today & Tomorrow

KEEP UP ON THE LATEST FORECAST BECAUSE THIS COULD CHANGE!

The bottom line is that I don’t mind the snow.  I just wish we could keep the bitter cold away!

GRAMMY LOVE & HATE

This is not about Taylor Swift going home empty-handed after she thought she won “Album of the Year”.

Taylor Didn't Win

At the 56th annual Grammy Awards last Sunday night, the big winners were the French electronic duo Daft Punk taking home five trophies and Paul McCartney and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis each winning four awards.

Grammy’s Best New Artist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their same-sex marriage anthem “Same Love” with Mary Lambert and Madonna.   Toward the end of the song, rapper and talk show host, Queen Latifah married 33 straight and gay couples.  Latifah was sworn in as a commissioner by the state of California to perform the ceremony and her powers ended that night at midnight.

Macklemore, Mary Lambert, Madonna, Ryan Lewis, Queen Latifah

It was a happy time for those on stage and for many celebrities.

Happy about Same Love

Meanwhile, others were not happy and definitely didn’t share any love on Twitter.

Anti Same Love 1 Anti Same Love 2

What do you think?

GRIMM NEEDS TO RESIGN!

New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who’s been under a two-year investigation about his 2010 campaign fundraising, needs to resign after threatening  a reporter Tuesday night.

Grimm

After the interview that Grimm walked away on, Capitol Hill reporter Michael Scotto closed by saying, “Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances … but as you saw he refused to talk about that”.  At that point, Grimm comes back and allegedly tells the reporter, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”

Grimm issued this statement after the altercation, “I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”

I’m sorry Congressman Grimm, but telling a reporter off and threatening to break him in half and throwing him off a balcony is not just telling someone off!

As a reporter that was thrown against a car in Lubbock, Texas, by someone who didn’t want a story done about them, I find your comments belligerent and unprofessional.  Go away!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Spring Already

Snowman HostageHuman Interaction

SOCHI IS A HARD SALE

One week from today, the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, Russia.

Whether it’s the economy, the terrorist threats, or the fact that the games are being held in Russia, which has displayed so much encompassing love to all people in the past year (sarcasm), tickets are not selling like in past games.

SOC_Olympic logoRGB

Around the middle of January, Sochi organizers say that 70% of tickets have been sold for the games.  These tickets went on sale in February 2013 and ranged in price from 500 rubles ($15) to 40,000 rubles ($1,200).

Four years ago, 97% of the 1.54 million tickets available for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada were sold.  And, 97% of the 8.5 million tickets for the 2012 Summer Games in London were snatched up.

SOCHI HAS NONE OF THEM!

Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of Sochi, Russia, is certain that his city has no gay people!  He told the BBC, “We do not have them in our city.”

Anatoly Pakhomov

When the journalist told him that he was in the city’s gay bar the night before, the mayor added, “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”

So, if you’re keeping count, there are no gays in Sochi or Iran!

AND, RUSSIA IS CONCERNED WITH GAYS?

In the February/March 2014 issue of “The Advocate”, it’s reported that the HIV infection rate in Russia is twice as high as the United States.  In the numbers that were released last month, 58% of cases result from intravenous drug use, 40% from heterosexual sex, and 2% from “other”, which includes gay sex.

HIV AIDS

Russia should not be focused on gay people as the root of all evil.  If the HIV/AIDS rates were not bad enough, the country has the world’s highest abortion rate.  One reason, the magazine reports, is there is such a stigma when it comes to buying condoms that abortion is most prevalent form of contraception.  Insane!

I really do feel for the people of Russia, even though as I blogged last fall, a Pew Research Center survey shows that 74% of Russians think that gay people should not be accepted by society!

Anti-Gay Russia

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

“I’ve got chills and they’re multiplying” and it has nothing to do with a young John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John.

If you love “Grease”, check out these Swedish Marines in Afghanistan and their rendition of “Greased Lightning.”

UNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE

Does William Shakespeare’s style of writing confuse you when you read it?

If you’re never read Shakespeare or it’s been a long time, have no fear.  I have a short “Hamlet” monologue by Tom Sandoval from the Bravo show, “Vanderpump Rules” for you to enjoy.

Don’t worry because there won’t be a quiz afterwards.  You’ll likely be distracted and not comprehend a thing!

“BLUE JASMINE”

The latest Woody Allen movie, “Blue Jasmine” is up for two Oscar acting awards:  Cate Blanchett for Best Actress and Sally Hawkins for Best Supporting Actress.

blue_jasmine

Blanchett is Jasmine, a New York City socialite who loses everything because of her husband’s shady business dealing.  Broke, she heads to San Fransisco to live with her sister, Ginger, and her two children in a poorer part of town in a small, confining apartment.

This is Blanchett’s sixth Oscar nomination.  She won for Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for “The Aviator”.  In “Blue Jasmine”, she’s incredible as the pill-popping and boozing woman who has to start over and even learn how to hold down a job.

It’s heartbreaking when you learn that pills, alcohol, and having no money may not be the worst of Jasmine’s problems.

It’s going to be a close Oscar race between Blanchett and Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”.

GRADE:  B+

PICK HIT

International superstar and one of my favorite entertainers, Kylie Minogue is back with a new song, “Into The Blue”, the first single from her latest album, “Kiss Me Once” that comes out March 18, 2014.

Kiss Me Once

Kylie has sold about 70 million records worldwide.  In the U.S., she’s had 5 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with two reaching the Top Ten.  However, in the U.K, Kylie has scored 49 Top 40 hits with 35 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 8 topped the charts!

I really hope that she tours in 2014 and that I get to see her!

“MORE TALES OF THE CITY”

I’m on a roll with my reading.  It really helps that I’ve been spending a lot of time on the treadmill.  Since January 2nd, I’ve lost 6.6 pounds.  I’ve hit brick wall now and the weight loss from here on out is going to more difficult and slower.

I just finished my fourth book this year, which matches what I read in all of last year!

More Tales of The City

“More Tales of the City” is the 1980 follow-up to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City”.  “More Tales” is the second in the nine-book series.  I reviewed the first book last week and talked about it and the PBS television miniseries based on it that debuted in the U.S. twenty years ago this month.

In this book, we still follow all of the comings and goings of Anna Madrigal and her “children” at 28 Barbary Lane on Russian Hill in San Francisco.  It’s still the 1970s.

Mary Ann and Michael go on a cruise and both meet the men of their dreams, but Mary Ann’s is a man of mystery.  He just can’t remember it.  Mona escapes to a Nevada brothel (even though the book uses the w-house word) and learns a big secret.  Also, a major character dies, one has a health issue, and another is almost attacked!

After reading the first book, I started watching the first miniseries again.  Now that I’m two books in, I’ll continue on to the second installment miniseries that aired on Showtime in 1998.  Here’s that trailer and it does contain adult language and images.  (The first miniseries’ trailer is in last week’s random blog.)

Now, it’s on to book three in the series.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Missouri-born country singer Sara Evans will release her seventh studio album, “Slow Me Down” in March.  The title track is her new single and it became her 19th Top 40 hit on the Billboard Country chart.

Sara Evans

Her first four singles generated buzz for Sara, but they failed to reach the Top 40.  The second single from her second album was the one to do it.  “No Place That Far” not only became her first Top 40 hit, it was also her first #1 song in 1999.

Of her 19 Top 40 country hits, nine have hit the Top Ten, and five, including, “No Place That Far” have topped the chart:  “Born To Fly” (2001), “Suds In The Bucket” (2004), “A Real Fine Place To Start” (2005), and “A Little Bit Stronger” (2011).

I saw Sara in concert in August 2001 in Buffalo, New York, as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” tour that also featured Martina McBride, Jamie O’Neal, and Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

Be safe out there and enjoy your weekend.  I know some of you read my random thoughts each Friday and some may have seen them for the first time today because of the snow forecast included in today’s blog.  I appreciate it.  Feel free to check back and see what I have to say.

Anthony