Posts Tagged ‘Cold War’

Random Thoughts — Weekend of January 26, 2019

The snowy and bitterly cold weather this weekend is keeping many inside hibernating, so if you need something to watch, I have a few suggestions.

I was going to keep my random thoughts to entertainment and leave heavier topics, like politics, the government shutdown, and Chris Brown out of it, but I digress!

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I’m not commenting on the allegations, but about his name being “tarnished”!  Seriously????

Trust me, he took care of that 10 years ago!  As a matter of fact, we’re just a couple of weeks away from that Grammy Awards weekend shocker!

And, one more!

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Will my recommendations make the childhood Anthony smile or will they bring on the “you gotta be kidding me” and “there’s no way I’m going to smile” look? 🙂

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“SEX EDUCATION”

I absolutely love Gillian Anderson and she’s incredible in this Netflix series.

She plays Dr. Jean Milburn, a sex therapist with a 16-year-old son, Otis (Asa Butterfield), who suffers from solo performance anxiety.

While dealing with his own sexually repressed issues, Otis and a classmate start a “clinic” (for pay) offering sex advice to fellow students.

Otis’ best friend, Eric, is out and proud, but he endures an encounter that makes him re-think his life and his friendship with Otis.

While a comedy, the story lines are real and dramatic, too.

I’m hoping that “Sex Education” is renewed for a second season.  With Gillian Anderson involved, I’m sure it will be! 🙂

GRADE: A

GOODBYE “MANIFEST & HELLO “THE OTHER TWO”

I loved “Manifest” on NBC when it started, but once it came back from its holiday break, it didn’t hold my attention and I abandoned it!

I’m still enjoying “How To Get Away With Murder” as it heads toward the end of its fifth season (February 28, 2019).

A part of me thinks this will be the last season because of dwindling ratings.

However, it’s still a strong show and it still needs another 13 episodes to reach the new “standard” of 88 episodes for syndication!  ABC, bring it back for season six!

I also hope that “Madam Secretary” is renewed for a sixth season.

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And, I absolutely loved the premiere episode of Comedy Central’s “The Other Two”.   It’s only 30 minutes long, so check it out!

It’s about a 13-year-old who becomes an overnight viral sensation and how it affects his struggling millennial siblings!

I absolutely fell in love with Drew Tarver (Cary)!

My favorite scene, other than the “Survivor” make out scene, was when Cary’s boss at his server job told him and a co-worker that he and his wife watched “Brokeback Mountain”, but didn’t care for it.

The reaction was priceless, “You are… an ally.  We’ll see you at Pride!” 🙂

Molly Shannon and Helene Yorke also star.

PREMIERE GRADE:  A

“ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA”

This Ben Stiller-directed, seven-episode limited series on Showtime is based on the 2015 escape at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

Patricia Arquette stars as Tilly Mitchell, a supervisor in the facility that helped inmates Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) escape.

Arquette picked up Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Television awards for her performance.

While the acting is superb, the story that Stiller told in seven episodes could very well have been done in six tighter episodes!

GRADE: B-

COMING SOON TO DVD

I’m very excited that “Boy Erased” and “The Wife” with Oscar nominee Glenn Close are both coming to Redbox next Tuesday (January 29th)!

Sadly, “Boy Erased” didn’t come to theaters where I live.

It’s a heartbreaking story about “gay conversion therapy” that I wish more people knew about.  Yes, it’s appalling and it’s still happening in the U.S!

It stars two of absolute favorites, Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges!

For “The Wife”, Glenn Close picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  This is her seventh Oscar nomination without a single win in the first six tries!

While she’s up against Lady Gaga (and before seeing either performance), my money is on Close.

Close has already won a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice for this role, along with many film festival awards.

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

The next movie I’m looking forward to seeing in theaters is “Hotel Mumbai”, which is based on a November 2008 true event that rocked India.

It stars Oscar nominee Dev Patel (“Lion”, my favorite 2017 movie), and Golden Globe Award nominee and my future husband Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”).

It hits theaters March 29, 2019.

“THE AMERICANS

I highly recommend “The Americans”, which just wrapped up last summer.

It took me no time to binge watch all 75 episodes of the Emmy and Golden Globes winning series with the incredible Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

For six seasons, Russell and Rhys played Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, Soviet spies in Washington D.C. in the early-1980s at the height of the “Cold War”.

It’s intense, sexy, violent and thought-provoking!

The sixth and final season just won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series – Drama, an Emmy Award for Rhys and won three Critics’ Choice Television Awards!

And, let me tell you without spoilers, the series finale was one of the best finales I’ve watched!

It was heartbreaking, but the perfect ending to an almost perfect series.

GRADE: A

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 23, 2018

The shortest month of the year is coming to a close and spring arrives next month.

Here in the Florida Panhandle, summer has already arrived with more than a week of highs in the 70s and 80s!

I’m ready to return to the Midwest with four distinct seasons — and snow. 🙂

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

SADLY, JUST THE ONE BEFORE THE NEXT ONE

Last week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Florida high school killing 17 people and injuring 15 others.

It was the deadliest school shootings since Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, where 27 died at the school (the shooter’s mother was killed at home, making it 28 dead).

This was also the deadliest mass shooting since another man killed 59 people (including himself) in Las Vegas, last October.

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The most recent shooting at the Florida high school was done with a legally obtained AR-15 style rifle.

AR 15

Just in those shootings above, 209 people died and about 611 others were hurt by gunfire (hundreds more were injured during and after the gunfire)!

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS 

I’m all for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”.

However, these AR-15-style weapons were designed for the military, not the public!

So, prayers alone are not the answer to all of these shootings.  God doesn’t have the money or the power over politicians like the National Rifle Association does!

STUPID KIDS

Sadly, four Florida Panhandle students are in trouble for making threats to shoot up their schools in just one day this week!

A couple of those students said it was “a joke”.

I’m sorry, but in today’s climate, what kind of stupid kid would think it’s “a joke”?

Throw the book at them!

“AN AMERICAN LIFE”

I just finished Ronald Reagan’s 1990 autobiography, “An American Life”, which wasn’t a short read at 723 pages!

An American Life

I wasn’t a fan and I voted against him twice even though I wasn’t old enough to vote (I accompanied my grandmother inside the voting booth and I chose Jimmy Carter each time).  However, I like to give people a chance and expand my mind.

It seems he was a likable guy and I hope one day to find a romance like the one he and Nancy shared.

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I’m happy that Reagan gave President Carter the due credit Carter deserved for getting the American hostages released from Iran after more than a year of captivity.  (Ironically, the Iranians boarded the hostages on a plane and held them on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as President.  Carter heard that they were out of Iran on his flight home to Plains, Georgia!)

CarterPresIt was interesting to read how hard and how long Reagan worked with the Russians to reduce the threat of nuclear war.

However, he did a poor job of convincing me (as he did the public) on his role (or lack thereof) in the Iran-Contra affair controversy.

Reagan only wrote two lines about his nine-year marriage to actress Jane Wyman.

Sadly, that was two lines more than he dedicated to his failures as president of getting out ahead of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

AIDS (“gay cancer”) first appeared in the summer of 1981, but it wasn’t until early 1987 that Reagan mentioned the disease publicly for the first time!

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I hated him for this for decades and “hate” is not a word I use too often…

RONALD REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

which leads me to this — my original Ronald Reagan blog from the summer of 2012.  Click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window.

Ronald Reagan murderer

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

THEY SAID WHAT???

SHONDA RHIMES (ABC “TGIT” MEGA-PRODUCER)

“Getting on a plane and discovering that your seat belt won’t fit around you was a moment of extreme horror.  It was hard to ignore.”

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MORE SHONDA RHIMES

“Accepting that losing weight was always going to suck:  I was always going to be hungry.  I was always going to want to eat fried chicken.  We work so hard in all areas of life to succeed, I don’t understand why we think this should be easy.”

SCANDALOUS “SCANDAL” QUOTES

While the men are sexy,

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the women of “Scandal” are strong.

I love Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Sally Langston (Kate Burton), Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), and Abby “Red” Whelen (Darby Stanchfield).

Here are some of my favorite quotes through the first episode of season five.

First up… right-wing religious fanatic Republican Vice President Sally Langston

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Sally 2

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First Lady Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope, who is the president’s mistress!

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Also, there’s Olivia and Queen Isabel of Caledonia…

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And, we can’t forget Gladiator Abby, who’s now the President’s Press Secretary.

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Remember, I’m just starting season five, so I know some of the descriptions of the characters change in upcoming seasons. 🙂

“A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS”

So, it’s ten months before Christmas or two months past last Christmas and I just watched this holiday movie since it’s new to DVD.

It was a smash bringing in $130.6 million on a $28 million budget.

Christine Baranski was my favorite of the three older moms (the mothers of the moms from the original 2016 “Bad Moms” movie).

I love her character’s idea of the perfect Christmas party (with the exception of Kenny G)!

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines play the other two moms.

Kathyrn Hahn (“Transparent”) was my favorite of the three younger moms and I loved her foul mouth and thought process. 🙂

GRADE:  B

“MARSHALL”

This movie is the story of Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice years before he was appointed to that position.

At that time, Marshall was going around the country fighting for people of color in court cases they would have lost otherwise because of the racist views stacked against them.

Great acting, but it felt like a made-for-television movie rather than a big screen motion picture.

GRADE: B

REAGAN & GORBACHEV’S EFFECT ON ’80S POP

The threat of nuclear war made its way into the music world in the early-1980s.

“Two Tribes” was the follow-up to the international smash “Relax” by the English group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

While the song hit #1 in seven countries and the Top Ten in many more, it only reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Maybe radio was afraid to play it since America was having a love fest with Ronald Reagan in 1984!

This song (and the English version, “99 Red Balloons”) by the German band Nena hit #1 in more than a dozen countries in 1983 and 1984.

In the U.S., it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Did Oscar Get It Right on “Best Picture”?

This is not BREAKING NEWS!

The 88th annual Academy Awards were almost three months ago and this is not a spoiler:  “Spotlight”, Leo, Brie, Alicia, and Mark came away as the winners in the movie and acting categories.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

It’s taken me this long to see all of the nominees (the exception is “Carol”, which hopefully, I’ll get around to seeing next weekend — sorry Cate and Mara!)

So, did Oscar voters get it right?  Maybe I should rephrase that — “Do I agree with the Hollywood vote casters?  Yes, except for one category.

If you’ve already seen them, feel free to weigh in.  Here are my short reviews.

BEST PICTURE

The nominees:  “The Big Short”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Brooklyn”, “Mad Max:  Fury Road”, “The Martian”, “The Revenant”, “Room”, and “Spotlight”.

And, the Academy Awards goes to:  “Spotlight”!

“SPOTLIGHT”

This incredible story is about the Boston Globe’s investigation that broke open the Catholic church sex scandal and cover-up.

The acting was above par with Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams both picking up Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominations, respectively.  For both of those actors, I agree that “it’s an honor to be nominated”.  Like Oscar, I think someone else in the categories shined brighter.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SHORT”

This movie about the housing bust is very talky with very little physical action and that’s a good thing.

Ryan Gosling was awesome, as always, and an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale was very intruiging.  Bale picked up a nomination for “Best Supporting Actor”, but I didn’t pick him as the winner in that category.

GRADE:  B

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg directed “Cold War” caper was an enjoyable movie starring the always stellar Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, who won the Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”.

GRADE:  B

“BROOKLYN”

I saw this Oscar-nominated Best Picture on the flight to China and what a beautiful love story it turned out to be.

Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan was heartbreaking as Eilis, a 1950s woman living in New York City and having to choose between the man she met and loves in the U.S. and a charming man back home in Ireland.

GRADE:  A

P.S.  I would have loved to see Saoirse and my dreamboat, Ben Whishaw on Broadway this spring in “The Crucible”.

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Damn you, Tony Awards, for snubbing them both! (Okay, different blog at a different time!)

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

I’ve never seen any of the previous “Mad Max” movies and since they star the hateful Mel Gibson, that’s a good thing.

As beautiful as Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are, I admit that during the first thirty minute of this movie, my thoughts were “WTF”.  Oh, if that’s too harsh for your sensitivities, I was thinking, “WTH”!

But, then it all started making sense and the movie blew me away.  I want to see it again just to marvel at director George Miller’s brilliance.

GRADE:  B

“THE MARTIAN”

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts — February 19, 2016”:

“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 REVENANT”

This movie took home three Academy Awards (“Best Actor” for Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G. Inarritu for “Best Director”, and Emmanuel Lubezki for “Best Cinematography”).

The cinematography was breathtaking and beautiful.  While the movie was brutal, graphic, and realistic, you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen.

When I’m watching a movie and there’s an animal that is killed or injured, I tell myself that it’s a “Holly (insert animal here)” for “Hollywood (fake) animal”.  Well, there were many “Holly animals” in this one. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“ROOM”

From my “Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016”:

“When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

So, there you have all eight nominees for “Best Picture”, the Oscar winner, and my grades.

You’ll notice that my top picks (based on grades) were “Brooklyn”, “The Revenant”, and “Room”.  If it was based solely on that, I’d say Oscar was wrong.

It was definitely a hard choice for me for “Best Picture” between “The Revenant” and “Spotlight”.  However, with the social message, the real life emotions, and the changes it brought in humanity, “Spotlight” rightfully won the Oscar.

And, I want to add that Oscar was correct honoring Inarritu for “Best Director” and Lubezki for “Best Cinematography” for “The Revenant”.

Soon, I’ll blog about the acting categories since I still need to see “Carol”.  As of now, I agree with three of the four winners.

Stay tuned  or coming soon, whichever you like best.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016

What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities.  I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically.  (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah.  The dead horse is still dead!)

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

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She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.

Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.

I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.

While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.

Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.

Hillary AP

There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.

LAURA BUSH

Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She seems so genuine and down to earth.

I’ll  share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.

Laura Bush

Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.

Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit.  Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.

She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”

In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”

Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.

rebecca-bradley

Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

My thoughts:  I know people are young (and stupid).  I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.

However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know.  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.

And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!

I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years.  Well, he and I are at odds again.

terry-branstad

Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.

Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”

I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times.  In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.

Brittany Maynard

I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”).  If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/random-friday-thoughts-november-7-2014/

But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.

That’s the good news if you share my views.  The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.  Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.

Sadly, viewers are moving on.  The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers.  However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.

Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!

If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation.  However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.

The Purge Masks

While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).

The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder.  The goal is to stay alive.

This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!

“The Purge:  Election Year” opens July 1st.

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside.  Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Caitlyn.jpg

However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.

Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified.  With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless,  privileged views with her.

I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.

It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.

I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.

I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.

If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.

It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable.  Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.

Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying.  I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.

When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it.  It looked so moronic and not funny.

Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance.  For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.

I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie.  But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding.  I think Franco should be in every movie!

There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.

With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie.  But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess.  How bad was it?  I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony