Posts Tagged ‘Dexter’

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 — September 25, 2015

Fall is here and I hope it’s off to a great start for you.  In the Midwest, it’s starting out very warm and dry — just as summer ended.

I feel inspired to write about a few things that crossed my mind, so here’s a guest appearance of Random Friday Thoughts!

HOLY STAMPEDE

I’m really baffled by the stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  It’s reported that at least 700 were crushed to death and about 900 were hurt!

I know that about two million people take part in this, but what happened to orderly fashion?

Hundreds were also killed in stampedes in the past and in 1990, 1,426 people died in Mina, which leads to the holy sites.

While I love attending Christmas mass, I’m not going to trample over people to get there!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

I’m guilty of it and I bet you are, too.  How many times have you started snacking while waiting for dinner just because you’re hungry?

Pastries

I’m doing that with “Fear The Walking Dead”.  While I’m enjoying the show, it’s so slow and the fourth episode was so uneventful until the very end of the hour.

I actually got excited when the previews of the next show came on at the end and it said something like “only two episodes left”.

I know the final two shows will likely be great and move faster, but I’m really ready for dinner to be served — the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead” on October 11th.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-1

SUMMER IS OVER

While we enjoyed the pool this summer, we took it down last weekend.

Pool

But, that doesn’t mean we’re ready for winter and snow.  We dived into the biggest project ever and it turned out fantastic.

MOVING UP TO THE EAST SIDE!

You’ve heard me talk many times about the fish pond we built back in May 2012.  It held about 250 gallons of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recently, some of our friends gave us three of their goldfish and koi and this fall, we were going to acquire a dozen more that our friends decided not to keep.

So, we expanded the pond last weekend.  It’s now three feet deep and holds almost a thousand gallons of water!

Fish Pond

We now have 33 gorgeous fish and because of my recent mink encounter, the pond has added security!  (If you missed that mink predator ordeal, click here).

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

SINCE WE’RE TALKING FISH….

Fish Be You

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

Whether it’s pizza, wedding cakes, or marriage licenses, controversy arises when two sides see things differently when God (or one’s perception of God being judgmental) is involved.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBT community since I’m part of that subculture of humanity.

But, when we advocates raise awareness about people who deny others equal rights, there’s also a backlash.

MarriageEquality-711906

When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, there were many reports of gay bashings the weekend after the Supreme Court of the United States made its ruling.

When a small Indiana pizza joint spoke out against marriage equality and when bakeries refused to make wedding cakes for gay ceremonies, the LGBT community spoke out and the media extensively covered the stories.

Rainbow Cake

The restaurant and some of the cake makers started getting donations in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking a stand against the LGBT community.

And, when a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became a martyr for standing up for her religious rights.  (No, I’m not posting a picture of her or saying her name.  She’s had enough celebrity and hopefully her fifteen minutes are up soon!)

Now, just in time for Christmas, I read that she’s penning a religious book with an advance of seven figures.  Becoming a millionaire for refusing rights to the LGBT community and standing on the wrong side of history?

A Christmas Carol

I sure hope that when she is confronted with the ghost of Christmas past, it’s less haunting for her than for Scrooge!

gays_in_church

But, I’ll still raise awareness for LGBT equality.  I just wish the price wasn’t making celebrities out of people who use God and religion to hate!

AM I A “BELIEBER”?

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is a superstar.

Justin

While I’ve never declared myself a member of either camp, I have to admit he is a beautiful (and slightly troubled) young man.

Now, I’m beginning to think I may be a psuedo-Belieber (defined as a HUGE Justin Bieber fan)!

I loved his last song, “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo, which hit the Top Ten in America (and #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart).

And, “What Do You Mean?”, the lead single from his upcoming album has already topped the charts and is one of the biggest songs of the year just weeks after its release.

COUNTRY RADIO, SEXISM OR CUMULUS MEDIA?

I’ve written several times before that I think that country music radio is ageist and sexist.

There are many women’s new music in country that I’d love to hear in heavy rotation on the radio other than Reba, but she ignites that fire for me.

Now, I think it’s more than just sexism and ageism.  I seriously think those elements are still there.  But, I’m now convinced it’s Reba’s affiliation with Cumulus Media, which is a part of her new label, Nash Icon, that is the major problem.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Case in point is the second single from her #1 country album, “Love Somebody”, “Until They Don’t Love You”.  It’s an incredible song and sounds great live.

It was released to country radio August 7, 2015, and now seven weeks later, it only being played on 61 stations (out of more than 260 reporting country stations) with 879 plays.  (To put that into perspective, the #1 song on the chart was played 13,901 times.)

George Strait

Earlier this week, country legend George Strait released “Cold Beer Conversation”.  It’s now being played on 163 stations and got 830 plays in just two days!.

Yes, George is country music’s “king” to Reba’s “queen”, but obviously royalty isn’t being treated equal.

So, yes, there’s still the sexism thing.  But, moreso, I think Reba made a big mistake by allowing Cumulus Media to play and promote her music, thus shutting out the larger radio groups.

I guess we can listen to “Until They Don’t Love You” and her new music at home because we won’t find a home at country radio or high on the country music charts.

PICK HIT

“Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

“Desire” is the new release here in the U.S. and I hope it gets more airplay than their first American hit, “King”.

The band will be in San Francisco at the Fillmore Monday night.  I’ll be there, too, but sadly the concert is sold out and I don’t have tickets. 😦

If you missed my album review of “Communion” and you want to know more about the album, here it is again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

One of the best movies I seen lately is out on DVD.  I mention DVD only because it’s late September and I still have not been to the theater this year to see a movie.

Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl” and “Savages”) and Michiel Huisman (“The Game of Thrones” and “Nashville”) star as a couple that falls in love.

The problem is that Adaline is 107 years old, but doesn’t age due to a freak accident.  So, while everyone else in her life, including her daughter, played by Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, ages and dies, she stays the same.

GRADE:  A

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

A movie I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Austrian psychological thriller, “Goodnight Mommy”.  The trailer definitely creeps me out.

“DEXTER”

Although it’s been a couple of years now since my favorite sexy serial killer signed off Showtime after eight seasons, he’s still alive for me through books.

dexter-season-6

I’m reading Jeff Lindsay’s eight-book series that the television show was originally based on.  I’m on book six now.

I’ve decided in January, in the heart of winter, that I’m going back and watching all 96 episodes again!

It so interesting to see how much different the television show and the books are with characters that died in one format and are still alive in the other.  Also, the differences in the cases between the book and the show.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my Friday Random Thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — what you agree with and what you don’t.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

“Foxcatcher”, “St. Vincent”, “Dear White People” & More

It’s time to share a few more reviews of recent DVD releases in case you’re caught up on your television viewing or you want suggestions for movie night.

“ST. VINCENT”

I’ve never been of “Saturday Night Live”, so I never followed Bill Murray’s movie career.

As a teenager, I saw “Meatballs” and I enjoyed it.  I also loved “Tootsie” and “Zombieland”, but not so much for Murray.  And, I’ve also seen Murray in “Groundhog Day” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and I’m indifferent about both.

So, I rented “St. Vincent” with reservations.

I’m so glad I checked it out!  While his character was severely flawed, he played the lousy neighbor with precision.

I’m also not a fan of Melissa McCarthy, but her straight performance in this dramatic role as a divorced parent trying to make a new life for her and her son was refreshing.

The real standout in the movie is Jaeden Lieberher, who played the 12-year-old neighbor that Murray’s alcoholic Vincent MacKenna was responsible for watching after school.

Two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) was also funny as Vincent’s pregnant, pole-dancing/prostitute girlfriend, Daka.

A very touching movie that’ll make you laugh and cry.

GRADE:  A-

“FOXCATCHER”

While captivating, “Foxcatcher” was more than two hours of pure creepiness and awkwardness.

“Best Actor” Oscar nominee Steve Carell was incredible behind his prosthetic nose and teeth. His portrayal of John du Pont’s loneliness was sad to watch, but you couldn’t turn away.

And, I believe that Oscar gave the “Best Supporting Actor” nominee to the wrong person.

I love Mark Ruffalo as an actor, but Channing Tatum was the real star with the most pain expressed on-screen.

The movie could have been about thirty minutes shorter!

GRADE: B

“THE DROP”

This little seen Brooklyn crime drama marked the final movie appearance by the late James Gandolfini.

Gandolfini played Marv, the former owner of a neighborhood bar called “Cousin Marv’s”.  He had turned over ownership years earlier to a Chechen mob and is still making payments to them — by laundering money that the bar makes each day.

Tom Hardy was fantastic as slightly challenged bartender, Bob, who rescues a pit bull puppy from a trash can in Nadia’s yard.  Nadia is played by Noomi Rapace (from the Swedish “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” movie series).

While an enjoyable movie that kept you guessing, it was pretty cookie cutter as a crime caper.

GRADE:  B-

“BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP”

You’d think a mystery thriller with Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth would be incredible.

While the performances were great, the story of a woman who forgets everything about her life each night when she goes to sleep tired quickly.

Kidman’s Christine Lucas memory loss is the result of a brain injury she suffered ten years ago in a car accident.  Or, is it?

She gets a mysterious call from a doctor that informs her to start recording her thoughts each day.  That way, when she wakes the next day, she’ll have somewhere to start in piecing together who she was and if she was really injured in a car accident.

There is a dramatic scene between Kidman and Firth toward the end of the movie that redeemed it from a failing grade to average.

GRADE:  C

“COLD IN JULY”

I’m a huge Michael C. Hall fan.

Dexter-michael-c-hall

I could watch all eight seasons of “Dexter” on repeat.  He was mesmerizing and insanely sexy as everyone’s favorite serial killer on the Showtime series.

I even traveled to New York City in January to see him on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, in which he plays fame-seeking East German transgender rocker, Hedwig.

While he’s a Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild winner and an Emmy nominee, movie stardom has eluded him.

That trend continues with “Cold In July”, which only made less than one-half million dollars last year in theatrical release.

Hall plays a Texas man who shoots an intruder in his house in the middle of night.  While the police say it’s an open and shut case, the victim’s father comes back for answers and revenge after being released from prison.

It turns out there’s more to the story of who the victim is and why police closed the case so quickly.

While I only watched the movie to see Hall, it was great to see Don Johnson (“Miami Vice”) again in a comedic/dramatic role.

GRADE:  C

“DEAR WHITE PEOPLE”

In a perfect world, a movie about racism would be something that would take you back to pre-1960s America.

However, the world is not perfect and this satirical dramedy is very poignant in pointing that out.

Samantha (“Sam”) White is a mixed race student in a predominantly white college that uses her radio show to criticize white people and their racism and the school administration.

There’s a scene in the movie where the school president’s son is behind a very racist-themed party to retaliate against Sam’s views and her radio show.

In light of the recent racist video that surfaced from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, maybe more people should see this movie and hopefully learn from it.

“Dear White People” stars Tyler James Williams, who’s on the current season of “The Walking Dead”.

GRADE:  B

Soon, I’ll post a blog of three movies that I just watched years after their release that definitely deserve a second look since not many people checked them out the first time in theaters.

Anthony

More Movie Rentals To Check Out

You know I love watching movies and sharing my thoughts on them to let you know if you should hurry and rent something or don’t waste your time.

Here are some of the recent ones that we’ve watched.

“WHIPLASH”

This Academy Award-winning movie is a must-see!

I’ve now seen three of the 2014 performances for “Best Supporting Actor”.

While Robert Duvall was incredible in “The Judge” and Ethan Hawke put in a great performance in “Boyhood”, J.K. Simmons rightfully took home the Oscar for his sadistic music teacher.  I wonder if I’ll change my mind once I see Edward Norton in “Birdman” and Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”?  Oscar voters didn’t!

While he wasn’t nominated, Miles Teller was very compelling as a first-year jazz student that pushed himself to bloody pulp to excel at drumming to try to impress his cruel conductor.

GRADE:  A-

“LILTING”

This British drama and love story from Cambodian-born British director Hong Khaou is heartbreaking and touching.

It’ll make you want to hold your loved one tighter and even call your mother-in-law to let her know that she’s loved and needed.

The movie featured incredible performances from legendary Chinese actress Cheng Pei-pei and English actor Ben Whishaw.

Whishaw is best known for his role in the James Bond film, “Skyfall” and its upcoming sequel, “Spectre”.  He also voices Paddington Bear in the recent film, “Paddington”.

In “Lilting”, he’s so charming and adorable.

GRADE:  A

“JOHN WICK”

“John Wick” is a kick-ass American crime caper starring Keanu Reeves.

After his wife dies, he gets a present delivered that she arranged to help him cope with his sadness.  It’s a cute little Beagle named Daisy.

At a gas station, the leader of a trio of Russian thugs asks John how much he’d take for his vintage car, which isn’t for sale.

Needless to say, that’s not the last we see of them and things go badly and then John Wick is out for revenge.

The movie is violent and bloody, but very entertaining.

GRADE:  B

“THE EQUALIZER”

This movie, which stars Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington, is basically “John Wick” with more acting pedigree.

“The Equalizer” came out a month before “John Wick” and grossed about three times the money ($192.3 million to $78.7 million).

Like John Wick, Washington’s Robert McCall, a retired black ops government operative, goes up against the Russian mafia.

However, the circumstances are different — it’s sex trafficking in this movie when McCall befriends a teenaged prostitute played by Chloe Grace Moretz.

Other than the violence and the Russian bad guys, that’s where the real similarities end.

While Washington is hands down a better actor than Reeves, this movie is 31 minutes longer than “John Wick” and it definitely could have been edited down to tighten it up.  It dragged and wasn’t as much fun (for a crime thriller).

GRADE:  C

“HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”

Hedwig, the East German transgender rock musician, has been around since 1998.  That year, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” made its Off-Broadway debut and won the Obie Award and the Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Off-Broadway Musical.

It was adapted into a movie in 2001 by star and creator, John Cameron Mitchell and Mitchell was named “Best Director” at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and he was nominated for a Golden Globe that year as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.

Neil Patrick Harris led the 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig and won the Tony Award for “Best Actor in a Musical” and his co-star, Lena Hall won “Best Actress in a Musical”.  “Hedwig” also won “Best Revival of a Musical”.

I saw it on Broadway in early January with Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) and he was incredible.

The movie stars the original Hedwig, John Cameron Mitchell.

GRADE:  B+

“KINKY BOOTS”

Here’s another older movie (2005) that is earning rave reviews on Broadway.

In this version of “Kinky Boots”, you’ll see Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years A Slave”) like you’ve never seen him before as sassy, drag queen Lola in those “kinky boots”.

This British comedy-drama also stars a much younger and softer Joel Edgerton.

GRADE: B-

Let me know what you think if you’ve seen any of these.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014

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

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

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

“RARE EXPORTS:  A CHRISTMAS TALE”

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

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

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

“THE INTERVIEW”

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

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

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

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

The Interview Reaction 1 The Interview Reaction 2

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

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

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

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

warning

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

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

JEB BUSH IS CLOSER TO BEING THE FIRST!

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

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

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

hillaryclinton_jebbush

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

“THE FOLLOWING” RETURNS

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

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

spoiler-alert

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

The Following Silence

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

following Mark

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

NEW REBA MUSIC COMING VERY SOON!

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

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

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

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

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

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

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD” SPINOFF

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

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Lincoln

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

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

RENEE FLEMING

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

renee-fleming

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

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

NEW YORK CITY

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

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

“MADAM SECRETARY”

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

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

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

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

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

“STALKER”

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

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

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

“HANNIBAL”

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

Hannibal Jack Showdown

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

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

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  FREAK SHOW”

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

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

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

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

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

american-horror-story-freak-show

Okay, Dandy does have a thing for blood!

‘UNBROKEN”

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

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

“THE IMITATION GAME”

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

THAT’S IT FOR NOW…

for my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

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

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

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 21, 2014

We’re closing in on the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is next week and I hope that you have a happy one and if you head out to the stores or the malls afterwards, I hope you don’t get mauled or that you don’t maul others!

Thanksgiving Forecast

I have a few random thoughts to share with you.  With the Christmas season coming up and my countdowns of my favorite movies, albums, and songs in December, this will be my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2014.  Enjoy!

NOT ONE, BUT TWO COUNTRY STARS COME OUT AS GAY THIS WEEK

Ty Herndon last hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart in 2001 with a song that only peaked at #37.  While not impressive, that’s just one of thirteen hits he’s scored since his debut, “What Mattered Most”, topped the chart in 1995.

Ty Herndon

After two failed marriages, stints in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and a 1995 arrest in a Fort Worth, Texas, park for exposing himself to an undercover cop with drugs in his possession (the indecent exposure charged was dropped in a plea bargain), the Mississippi born singer is finally finding peace.

Earlier this week, he told “People” magazine, “I’m an out, proud and happy gay man” and that he’s been in a long-term relationship with his partner, Matt.

Herndon says he started thinking he was gay when he was 10-years-old and starting coming out to his family when he was 20, “My mother probably knew I was gay before I did. I remember sitting down with her and having the conversation.”  He adds, “She was more concerned about me having a happy life. You have to be able to do that in your own skin, and [my family] has seen me struggle with being gay my whole career.”

Herndon also talked to “People” about his demons.  “I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. They’ve been my mistakes, and I own them,” says Herndon. “I’ve done a lot of work around forgiveness with people that I’ve hurt and people I’ve not been honest with because of my sexuality.”

Of his thirteen country hits, seven reached the Top Ten with three topping the chart:  “What Mattered Most” (1995), “Living In A Moment” (1996), and “It Must Be Love” (1998).

Herndon plans to release a new solo album next year and is currently touring with Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs.

He plans on using his coming out to help others with visibility.  Herndon adds, “I just want to show up for the causes that I believe in. And be able to walk down the street and hold this man’s hand that will be my husband one day, and I know we’ll have kids one day.”

Ty, congratulations and I wish you and Matt the very best.  Enjoy country music, singing, touring, and whatever you choose to do in life.

BILLY GILMAN ALSO DECLARES PUBLICLY THAT HE’S GAY

Billy Gilman is now a charming, good-looking 26-year-old man, but he scored his first country hit back in 2000, when he hit #20 with “One Voice”, at the age of just twelve!

Billy Gilman

While he had one more modest hit later that year on the radio, his big accomplishment was having three Top Ten albums on the country chart in less than one year!

In a compelling video posted to YouTube yesterday, Gilman talks about what prompted him to come out and why he’s ashamed to say publicly that he’s gay.

He says, “It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person, but it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that I’m in a genre and an industry that’s ashamed of me for being me.”

And, sadly, that’s true.  Now, I know that not all country music fans are close-minded because many country music fans are friends and fans of mine.  But, you don’t have to look too far and too long to realize that what Gilman says is true.

Billy, coming out is courageous and I applaud you.  As you already know, there will be obstacles.  Deal with them and do what you love and you’ll have people follow you.

Best of luck!

DONATE, BUT AVOID THE EBOLA CHARITY SINGLE!

Back in the fall of 1984, Bob Geldof gathered a group of very popular English musicians including Culture Club, Duran Duran, Wham!, U2, Bananarama, Sting, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Phil Collins, and many more to record a charity single called “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”.

band_aid_1984

The money raised would go toward fighting starvation in Ethiopia.  By 1989, the single had already sold nearly 12 million copies worldwide.

It became the biggest selling single in UK history until 1997 when it was surpassed by Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle In The Wind”.

Band Aid Cover

Now, 30 years later, Geldof has brought together some of the biggest U.K. stars today including One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, Rita Oro, and others for a re-working of the song to raise money and awareness to fight ebola.

However, the lyrics are awkward and the production pales in comparison to original.  I couldn’t even get through the song once.  You can find it online by searching for “Band Aid 30”.

The good news is that the song raised the equivalent of $1.7 million in just the first few minutes of being released.

By the way, in November 2004, there was another version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by “Band Aid 20”.  Like the new version, it fails miserably living up to the original even with one of my favorites, Kylie Minogue, involved.

If you’d like to donate money in the fight against ebola and save yourself from buying and hearing the “Band Aid 30” song, you can donate here:

https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-stop-ebola-west-africa/18771

And, here’s the original “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and my early prayers that there won’t be a “Band Aid 40”!

REMEMBERING HARVEY MILK

Next week marks the 36th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected to public office in California as a member of the San Fransisco Board of Supervisors eleven months early.

It was on November 27, 1978, that Dan White, an unstable and disgruntled former supervisor on the board with Milk, went into City Hall and gunned down Milk and San Fransisco Mayor George Moscone in cold blood.

I just read the book, “The Mayor of Castro Street” by the late writer Randy Shilts, who was born right here in the Quad Cities, in Davenport.  What an incredible read and what an amazing man!

If you don’t know much about Harvey Milk, the man who help ignite the LGBT movement in the late-1970s, just as the Stonewall Riots in New York did in the summer of 1969, check out this feature I wrote a couple of years ago.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/11-3-1977-harvey-milk/

 “PEOPLE” SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

31-year-old Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) was named “People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”.

Chris-Hemsworth

While he is definitely gorgeous and I haven’t checked out the magazine yet, my choice for “Sexiest Man Alive” would be Enrique Iglesias.

Enrique Iglesias

James Marsden or Matt Bomer would also be high on that list, too.  For others that made my list last year, check out this fun blog I posted in October 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/least-thought-provoking-entry-yet/

If I had to update the list now, it would have to include singer Nick Jonas and actors Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), Theo James (“Divergent”), and Jack Falahee (Connor Walsh on “How To Get Away With Murder”).

Nick JonasHugh DancyTheo James

Andrew Lincoln

Wait, how did Andrew Lincoln of “The Walking Dead” pop up there? 🙂

MORE TAYLOR SWIFT ADMIRATION

If I thought “Shake It Off”, the first release from the mega-hit album, “1989”, was awesome, the follow-up, “Blank Space” is incredible.

I thought that when I first heard the song, but once I saw the over-the-top crazy video, there was no doubt!

TAYLOR, BY THE NUMBERS

Taylor Swift is still on fire.  “Blank Space” vaults from #13 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Taylor the first woman to ever replace herself at #1.  This week, “Shake It Off” drops from the top spot to #3.

Taylor Swift

The first act to do that was the Beatles back in 1964.  They actually replaced themselves at #1 back-to-back with three chart toppers:  “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, and “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

Also, Taylor’s album “1989” spent a third week at number one on the album chart selling another 312,000 copies.  In just three weeks, it’s up to sales of two million!

Only one other album in 2014 has sold more, the “Frozen” soundtrack and it’s up to 3.25 million.

“1989” and “Frozen” are the only million sellers this year!

With the Christmas buying season hitting full force next week, which album will end up as the biggest seller in 2014?  You can never count out “Frozen” since it has a big lead and it won’t go away, but I’m putting my money on T-Swizzle!

TWO HUMOROUS LOOKS AT TAYLOR

Thanks to my friend, Kathy McCoy, for bringing this to my attention from “Saturday Night Live”.  This is so me!

And, here’s “Blank Space” as a horror movie trailer!

ADAM JOSEPH — BEST DAD OF THE YEAR!

There are great dads out there all over the world, whether they are single dads, dads married to a woman, or dads that have another great man.

My vote for dad of the year goes out to fellow television meteorologist Adam Joseph of 6ABC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Adam is taking the holidays and the important November ratings period off to be with his son, Jacob.  Here’s what he posted on his Facebook page earlier this month.

Adam Joseph

Back in August, Adam not only publicly came out as gay, but he also announced that his partner, Karl, were proud dads of newborn, Jacob.

Adam told philly.com, “While I believe every person reading this article should respect others’ privacy, I decided to share this personal moment for my son.”

He added, “I want my son to be proud of both his fathers.  From the day he was born, I want him to understand that families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  In our eyes, as long as there is unconditional love for a child, it doesn’t matter who that child looks up to or leans on… This is unconditional love and hope.  I truly wish that every person wanting a family can feel this overwhelming happiness and joy.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Happy 2015, Adam, Karl, and Jacob!

MY PICK HIT IS NOW A CROSSOVER HIT

Last month in October, while in Tel Aviv, Israel to celebrate my birthday, I was so thrilled to get to see VH-1 and music videos all the time.

One new song that caught my attention was “Stolen Dance” by the German duo, Milky Chance.

That song has spent ten weeks #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and is now a Top 40 radio airplay hit here in America!

THE NEXT TIME YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT SNOW…

Think about poor western New York.  Lake effect snows this week have dumped more than seven feet of snow (that’s more than 84″ of snow)!

Sadly, the storm has killed at least ten people and stranded thousands.

However, I’m looking for the silver lining in this historic snow event.

Home Near Buffalo

Is this picture not too funny?

Last season, the second snowiest on record in the Quad Cities, we picked up 65.1″ and that was from October 2013 to March 2014!

 SOLO BONUS JONAS (NO, NOT FRANKIE)

Nick Jonas, the youngest in the pop trio, the Jonas Brothers, is having a great year.

He’s earning rave review in his role as Nate Kulina on the hit Audience Network series, “Kingdom”.

Additionally, he just hit #6 on the Billboard Album chart with his self-titled latest album and he just scored his first Top Ten solo hit on Billboard Hot 100 as “Jealous” moves to #10.

As part of the Jonas Brothers, he scored eight hits on the Hot 100 with two of them reaching the Top Ten.

A SEXY CHRISTMAS FLASHBACK

Remember this sexy “Show Your Joe” KMart commercial from last year?

If you’re a fan of the Showtime series, “Dexter”, you might recognize Darri Ingolfsson, the third from the left.  He played Oliver Saxon/Daniel Vogel in the eighth and final season.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and you get family time, even if you have to work.

I work Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, but I’m still going to make the most of my family time and the holidays when I get home from work!

If you’re still not buying into the amazing Christmas music on the Quad Cities’ Mix 96 yet, maybe this beautiful Coca-Cola commercial will get you into the Christmas spirit!

Now, I want a Coke Zero!

Thank you for checking out my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2014.   Let me know if you agree or disagree with me on anything that I wrote today.

My favorite albums, songs, and movies of 2014 are coming soon, along with another blog or two.

Anthony

“The Following” Shocks Before The Finale

The season two finale of “The Following” is tonight on Fox.

The Following S 2

I’m very excited to see how it all goes down, but I’d definitely not happy with something that transpired in the last episode.  In today’s blog, I’m venting about that and why I may not be following “The Following” next season!  (Okay, I’ll be watching the third season.  I’m just venting!)

Warning:  If you’re a fan of “The Following” and you haven’t watched this last episode, this blog does contain spoilers!

spoiler-alert

This your last chance to look away.

If you stop here, enjoy the season finale of “The Following” tonight.  I’m sure I will, too, with one exception!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

In season one of “The Following”, my favorite characters were Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), Emma (Valorie Curry), Jacob (Nico Tortorella), and Paul (Adan Canto)!

Shawn Ashmore

Paul, Emma, & Jacob

Two of them didn’t make it to season two!

This season, my favorite characters are the two survivors from season one, Mike and Emma, along with Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her two psychotic sons, Luke and Mark, played with amazing creepiness by English actor Sam Underwood (Zach Hamilton on the last season of “Dexter”).

The Following - Sam Underwood

So, I had this season all figured out going into the last three episodes of the season.  I knew it was going to come down to a confrontation between Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and Mike Weston and the villains: Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), Emma, Luke, Mark, and Lily.

Lily Gray

And, then Lily was murdered in the final minutes of the second episode from the finale!

I had to re-think my plan.  I knew that the twins would have to avenge their mother’s death, so they’d play a big role in the final two episodes.

Joe-Emma

In the first season, Emma was strong-willed and cold-hearted.  However, she was still vulnerable around Joe.  For much of this season, she was under-utilized and weak until the last couple of episodes when her iciness re-surfaced and I loved it.

Emma was beginning to doubt whether Joe had lost focus (he has) with this whole boring cult-loving, Bible-quoting, God-like vision he has of himself.

Joe  Emma Cult The Following

Since “The Following” was renewed for a third season, I saw Emma taking all she could take of Joe and his carelessness and killing him!  At that point, she and the twins would go on to terrorize Ryan, Mike, the FBI, and America next season.

However, that theory was shot to hell when Emma was brutally murdered in the final minutes of Monday’s episode by Joe Carroll’s ex-wife, Claire (Natalie Zea).  While I was shocked beyond belief with the killing, it was incredible drama!

The Following Silence

I know that Emma is dead, but if you’re holding out for the magic of television and drama to reveal that she’s alive, stop hoping!

Valorie Curry, who plays Emma, tells tvguide.com, “They really wanted to drive the point home.  It’s so funny, because people are on Twitter like, ‘She’s just in a coma! Maybe she’s alive.’ I’m like, she was stabbed, she was thrown out a window, and then staked like a vampire. There’s no coming back from impaling.”

R.I.P. Emma Hill!

Valorie Curry   The Following

Valorie Curry, you are amazing and thank you for the past two years!  Best wishes!

Now, what do I think will happen on the season two finale?

Joe will escape the church and be killed for real this time by Claire, who will be murdered by Tilda (Mackenzie Marsh), the Korben member and Joe Carroll follower.

Tilda

Carrie Cooke, the author and television reporter and Ryan’s love interest, will die.

Carrie Cooke

And, I think that Luke will also meet his death at the hands of Agent Weston as he tries to get revenge for Lily’s death.  And, since Lily told Mark, the sensitive twin, to “man up” right before she died, I think he’ll survive and wreak havoc in season three.

following Mark

Stay tuned.  The season finale is Monday night, 10 Eastern/9 Central, on Fox!

I’ve heard from several of the actors that three different endings were shot and that they don’t even know how the second season will end.

Anthony

P.S.  If you’re still in shock over Emma’s death and are big fans of Mike and the twins, here are a couple of fun pictures to get us over the grief of Emma and that will help melt away the cold and snow that the actors are dealing with in the last few episodes of “The Following”.

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

double-the-fun