Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment Weekly’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 7, 2016

October is here and I’m excited that cooler days are in the forecast and the holiday seasons are right around the corner.  (Notice I said “seasons”?  While Christmas is my favorite, I do love my Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving feast!)

Now that the summer heat is giving way to fall temperatures, we’ll probably be eating fewer Popsicles.

Popsicle

But, it’s always the perfect time for ice cream!

As political as I get sometimes, I admit that I really want November 8th to get here and have this long, drawn out election cycle and 2016 presidential election behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random Friday thoughts and as always, if you disagree, do it diplomatically!

CREEPY CLOWN SIGHTINGS

I’m not sure what’s behind this sudden fascination with creepy clowns showing up and freaking people out.

I’d venture to guess that social media and 24-hour news cycles are huge factors for us hearing so much about it.  Aren’t those two always to blame? 🙂

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When it comes to creepy clowns, this is the creepiest by far!  On the brighter side, this particular “killer clown” in no longer a threat to anyone.

If you’re too young to know, that’s John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer and rapist that murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 inside his Chicago-area home.  Let me tell you, as a teenager when that killing spree was exposed, it creeped me out big time.

A decade or so later, I had a “too close for comfort” brush with Jeffrey Dahmer.  That’s a story for another time!

KIM KARDASHIAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was reportedly robbed at gunpoint earlier this week at her Paris hotel residence by five men dressed as police officers.

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While she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, it had to be a scary ordeal!

At least $11 million in jewelry was taken including a jewelry box worth about $6.7 million and a ring valued at $4.5 million.

Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never know what it’s like to have that kind of money and anything of that much value in my house.

The thing that baffles me most about the ordeal is that if someone had that much money or jewelry, wouldn’t you keep it at a safer location like a bank or a vault?

In Kardashian West’s case, if she wanted any particular piece of her collection that was safely tucked away, she could have someone fetch it for her!

MAGIC MIKE MISFIRE

I really enjoyed “Magic Mike”, but I hated the sequel.

Now, James Marsden reveals that he regrets not signing on for the movie.

Well, that makes two of us.  Okay, three if you count Ray and I know the number doesn’t stop there!

With that in mind, if Marsden is still up to strip down, this might actually excite me for a third installment!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON FINALE

The second season of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” wrapped up last Sunday night with back-to-back episodes for a two-hour finale.

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While the first season’s six episodes were slow, it was still enjoyable.  However, the second season was stronger and much more powerful.

The finale featured one of the most intense “walker” deaths of the series.  It was a wrenching scene that lasted beyond the comfort level and that’s a good thing.

We also saw one of the show’s original cast members die.  While the death may not have come as a surprise, how it was executed was a shocker to me.  I tweeted the actor about his amazing two seasons and he liked the tweet.

While I gave the season and the finale a high grade (see below), I have a complaint.

It’s becoming monotonous when the characters disembowel a walker and smear the blood on themselves now that they’ve learned they can walk freely among the walking dead by doing that.

This is much more believable and is done with more intensity on “The Walking Dead”.  And, it isn’t overused as a gimmick.

rick

If “Fear The Walking Dead” is going to keep doing this, why not make it a “chore” and each day for several hours, people can go out, get exercise, and rid themselves of the walker population in their area.  But, this would be boring.

That’s my only complaint and I can’t wait for season three in 2017.

GRADE:  A-

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

After what seems like an eternal wait since I read the book, “The Girl on the Train” finally hits theaters this weekend.

I’ve highly recommended the Paula Hawkins book several times in my blog and I can’t wait to see the movie, which I think will easily debut at #1 in the U.S. and at worldwide box office.

“WILL & GRACE” TAKE ON VOTING

If you miss the NBC hit comedy, “Will & Grace”, you got a treat around the time of the first presidential debate.

The cast gathered ten years after the comedy left television to raise awareness on the importance of voting in this November’s election.

This is hilarious (and even borderline offensive to some).

Disclaimer:  it’s definitely not made for NBC’s “standards and practices”!

A LESS “BRAGGADOCIOUS” LOOK BACK

Comedian Randy Rainbow takes a much different approach to last week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think this is the best skit I’ve seen him perform.

“MONEY MONSTER”

This Jodie Foster-directed suspense thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Donnell (“Unbroken”) was high on my list to see this summer when it hit theaters.

Life got in the way, so I caught it on DVD.

I’m glad it worked out that way because I wouldn’t have been too happy if I had spent $35-plus for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d watch Julia Roberts read the newspaper.

The story was intense and the way it ended was fulfilling, but I had higher expectations.

I guess most of all, I want to see Foster back in front of the camera!

GRADE:  B

“RISEN”

This movie about the search for a risen Jewish messiah (yes, Jesus) was a modest box office hit earlier this year.

The $20 million movie grossed $46.1 million and most of that was here in the United States.

It was an entertaining movie without being too preachy for those that proceed with caution with religious-based movies.

The very sexy Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman tribute, assigned to investigate the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  By the way, Jesus is played by Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis on “Fear The Walking Dead”.

One thing that cracked me up was the silly MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie.

For this one, it warned viewers of “Biblical Violence”.

Okay, while implied more than glorified with blood and gore, the movie was rather savage, at times, and violence is violence.  Putting the word “biblical” in front of it doesn’t make it less painful or deadly, right? 🙂

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

I admit that since I don’t hear any new music from my country favorites on the radio these days and I’m not a fan of “bro-country”, I don’t make it a point to listen to the genre.

However, Canadian country music star Brett Kissel is one of my new favorites even though he doesn’t get airplay on American country radio.

Recently, “Entertainment Weekly” showcased several women making inroads in the country music field.  Two of them stood out to me.

Margo Price, who was born in Aledo, Illinois, in Mercer County, just down the road from the Quad Cities, is one of them.

Her debut album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”, which hit #10 on the Billboard Country Album chart earlier this year, features some great country music.

“4 Years of Chances” is a favorite of mine.

Next week, I’ll feature another standout and if you like traditional country music, you’ll love it.

ANOTHER PICK HIT

As I’ve stated before, “7/27”, the latest CD from Fifth Harmony is a great album.

It’s already produced the #1 hit “Work From Home” and the smash “All In My Head (Flex)”.

“That’s My Girl” is their latest release.

Right now, it’s at #36 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

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 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.

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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

Random Friday Thoughts — February 12, 2016

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be sharing my “Random Friday Thoughts” with you again on a regular basis and the feedback has been great.  Thank you for not only reading to see what I’m thinking about, but also commenting.

As always, you don’t have to agree with me, but be diplomatic about it if you disagree.

WARNING — THIS IS NOT DIPLOMATIC!!!

This is the response I got earlier this week to last week’s blog explaining why I support Hillary Clinton for president, which featured a photo of my beautiful family.

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Pathetic!  But, we know there are many people out there like this!  Putting ignorance aside, let’s move on…

Here is the blog that brought out the hate:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/my-teenaged-daughter-a-damn-good-reason-i-support-hillary-clinton/

WHAT I REALLY WANT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY…

Candy is always nice and flowers are beautiful, but here’s how I plan on spending Valentine’s Day — a little snow storm, a few glasses of wine by the fireplace with Ray, and the return of the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” Sunday night!

Walking Dead VD

SNOWY VALENTINE’S DAY

If you live in the Midwest, especially across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, snow is in the forecast late Saturday night and Sunday.

In the Quad Cities, I’m still expecting 3″ or so of snow that’ll fall mostly on Valentine’s Day.

Snow Potential

The snow diminishes to flurries Sunday night and Monday.

CHARLIE SHEEN’S SCARY DR. SAM

There are medications now to make living with HIV more manageable and it’s no longer a death sentence.   However, unless someone is hiding information from me and the 37 million people living with HIV and AIDS across the world, there is no (realistic) cure.

In my opinion, actor Charlie Sheen is a poor spokesperson for those living with HIV, even though the high visibility is a good thing.  Sheen’s antics since going public with his HIV-positive status has made me shake my head in surprise or shock more than once.

Now, the story is even more insane and bizarre when you find out that he’s associated with an Australian doctor who claims he injected himself with Sheen’s tainted blood and cured the infection with goat milk!  Goat milk???

This is how Dr. Sam Chachoua describes himself on Twitter!

Dr Sam

I’m not buying into any “effective way to treat” cancer or AIDS.  If it was that easy, he’d be winning every award there is for humanity and wouldn’t have to make his claim to fame through the troubled Sheen!

Sad!

ABC NEWS — BLATANTLY SEXIST MOVE

ABC News made a big blunder last Saturday night when hosting a New Hampshire presidential debate by not allowing candidate Carly Fiorina to participate.

While I’m not a fan of Fiorina and I can’t say she wasn’t invited because she is a woman, she had every right to be there.

In the Iowa Caucus last week, she beat Chris Christie in both votes and delegates and got just as many votes and delegates as John Kasich and had the same number of delegates as Jeb Bush.

So, it makes no sense that she wasn’t invited.  Jim Gilmore wasn’t invited either, but rightfully so.  He picked up only 12 votes in the Iowa Caucus last week and is polling at 0%!

After the New Hampshire Primary Tuesday, both Christie and Fiorina dropped out of the presidential race.  Dr. Ben Carson, we’re waiting on you (and Gilmore) next.

TRAIN WRECK INTRODUCTION OF CANDIDATES

Maybe it’s a good thing that Fiorina wasn’t there.  The introduction to the ABC News debate looked more like a skit from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”.

This is hilarious — just as funny as seeing Marco Rubio falling on his face and getting agitated by Christie!

GLENDA JACKSON

Two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Glenda Jackson, now 79, was last seen in a Hollywood movie 24 years ago, but she’s been very busy.  She was a member of Parliament from 1992 through March 2015.

She’s gained a new fan in me with her openness.  Here are some of the things she recently told “Entertainment Weekly”.

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On “12 Years a Slave” winning the Best Picture Oscar and social change:  “But how can you say that 12 Years a Slave or Selma has caused a fundamental cultural shift? And then you have these black guys being shot by policemen. Would that the Oscars could change the world but, I’m sorry, it just ain’t true.”

On the media making Donald Trump a viable Republican presidential candidate:  “It’s going to come down to what people are prepared to back with their votes, in terms of the status quo, and whether they’ll still go with that nutcase with the worst hair in the world. All that money and you think he could buy himself a decent wig.”

On her Oscar-nominated role in the bisexual love story, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, in which she played a businesswoman in love with an artist (Murray Head), who loves a doctor (Peter Finch). “Best film script I’d ever read.”

“It was about relationships between people who wanted more than they could furnish. And, of course, United Artists was scared to death of it and didn’t know how to sell it. Apologies to Uncle Sam, but in America, they think homosexual affairs are about sex. But they are about love.”

“AMERICAN CRIME”

The first season of ABC’s Emmy-winning series “American Crime” was great and featured a college actor friend of mine, W. Earl Brown, in a major recurring role.

The second season of the drama, airing now, is phenomenal.

Felicity Huffman and Lili Taylor are both superb in their roles as the principal of an elite private school that’s facing a student sex scandal and as the mother of the young man that’s the victim in that scandal, respectively.

However, the standout this season is 21-year-old Canadian actor Connor Jessup.  Every moment he’s on camera trying to hold it together and make it through the day, your heart breaks for Taylor.

We’re a little past midway through the ten episode season, so it’s not too late to get caught up.  And, since season two is not a continuation of season one, you don’t have to know anything about the first season.

“BURNT”

Bradley Cooper stars in this movie as an acclaimed chef that lost everything because of a drug addiction.

He tries to make a comeback in London, but the road to redemption is not a smooth one.

The foodie in me loved the food porn.

But, while watching the movie, I was also hoping that my chef friend, Monika Sudakov, and the chef I most admire, Grant Achatz, are not like Cooper’s character, Adam Jones, when they’re in a high pressure kitchen making their culinary creations!

GRADE:  B

BRETT KISSEL

When you think of Canadian county music stars, I’m sure Shania Twain, Terri Clark, and Anne Murray come to mind.  However, the only Canadian male country singer I can think of off the top of my head is Paul Brandt.  I love his voice and have some of his earlier American releases.

Recently, I saw the nominations for the Juno Awards and Brett Kissel caught my eye –he’s up against Brandt this year.

So, I went to YouTube and started watching his videos and before I knew it, I bought his fall 2015 release, “Pick Me Up”.

Brett Kissel.jpg

It’s crazy how he’s already had seven Top Ten country hits on the Canadian chart, but is still an unknown here in America.  He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, so I hope his American radio debut is coming soon.

“Pick Me Up” is a great country album with a slightly different feel than today’s American hit makers.  It’s a real feel that I think is missing from the current bro-country sounds you hear overplayed on U.S. country stations.

The album features the two Canadian hits, “Airwaves” (#1) and the title track (#6), which are both great country songs.  My other upbeat favorites are “I Hope It’s Me”, “Cool With That”, and “I Can Play Guitar” (with Hunter Hayes).

If you love ballads, “Why Won’t You” is amazing and “Feet Back on the Ground” is a beautiful tribute to those of us that love our mamas, even if they’re no longer with us!

After buying and loving “Pick Me Up”, I’ll now have to get Kissel’s 2013 album, “Started With a Song”.

Here’s hoping American audiences will get to hear Brett on the radio in 2016!

GRADE:  A-

“THE RIVER LIVE TOUR”

In his long career, Bruce Springsteen has done it all and he’s still doing it.  There’s a reason he’s called “The Boss”!

His current 42-show concert tour will play America through April and then Europe and Israel this May, June, and July.

It’s called “The River Live Tour” and it’s exactly that — his entire 1980 20-song double album, “The River”, played in sequential order!  In addition to that, he also does other songs — about 30 in all in a concert that runs about 3 1/2 hours!  The man must be a machine!

Here I’m featuring the first release from “The River” and my favorite Springsteen song, “Hungry Heart”.  It was his third Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and his first Top Ten.  It peaked at #5.

So, think about it.  If any of your favorite artists would perform a full-length album in addition to other hits, who would it be and what album?

Mine would be “Rumor Has It” (1990), “For My Broken Heart” (1991), and “Starting Over” (1995) by Reba McEntire, Madonna and her 1983 self-titled debut, and Toni Braxton’s 1993 self-titled debut.

MORE GLENDA JACKSON IN “ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY”

Margaret Thatcher

On her disdain of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when South African President Nelson Mandela visited Parliament in 1996:  “I stood to watch Mandela and there was bloody Margaret Thatcher, the woman who had called him a terrorist, sitting in the front row in this big f*cking hat, obstructing the view. Acting like she was doing everybody a f*cking favor by coming there.”

hillary2016

On Hillary Clinton and her presidential run:  “I would like to see her become the first female president…  the Republicans don’t have anybody who can take her on politically. So it’ll be very ugly.”

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you enjoyed the read.  Please share your thoughts with me and have a great weekend.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Anthony

 

Losing Weight & Degrading Women Is Torture In “Dietland”

When it comes to recommendations, you expect me to suggest movies (you still need to see “Lilting”, “Bridegroom”,”Weekend”, and “Mr. Holmes”), music (“Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder, “Communion” by Years & Years, and “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen were tops last year), or television shows (loving “The Man In The High Castle” and “Quantico” while I wait for my regulars to return.)

Last year, I even suggested a couple of books — the incredible “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz — both debut novels.

Normally, I read non-fiction books, autobiographies, and biographies.  Since it’s an election year, I’m going to devour political books this year and I’m starting off with “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly”, I had to get one more book in before polluting my mind with politics.

It named “Dietland” by Sarai Walker as one of the ten best books of 2015.

Dietland

And, I totally agree.  I devoured the stellar 307-page novel like Plum would choke down greasy cheeseburgers, cupcakes, and homemade lady fingers.

Okay, I need to back up because there’s also Alicia and we definitely can’t forget Jennifer!

“Dietland” is centered around Plum, a reclusive woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women.  Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.

And, she’s likely not working from the Austen Media Tower high rise in Manhattan because she doesn’t fit the editor’s or the magazine’s ideal woman mold — Plum is very overweight, clocking in at over 300 pounds.

Although she’s tried dieting and weight loss programs since she was young, her weight keeps going up.

She feels her only alternative is to have gastric bypass surgery.  That’ll allow “Alicia” (her given birth name and the skinny woman deep down inside her overweight body) a chance to shine — a chance to live life, wear fun clothes, date, and fall in love.  Those are the things that Plum feels she’ll never have.

One day, she realizes that she’s being followed.  This eventually leads to a confrontation with the person tailing her and Plum meeting other people including a woman with ties to a weight loss program Plum tried and failed at when she was younger.

In the meantime, a series of high profile events involving men suspected of rape, domestic violence, and other acts against women — directly or indirectly — are starting and gaining national and international attention.

These are not court cases.  No, I’m talking about men being dropped from a plane to their deaths in the desert and much more.

But, who’s doing this?

Is Jennifer the mastermind behind the series of attacks on men and the media that objectify women.  Is Jennifer an alias of one of the main characters or an underground group?  And, how long will it take before she starts a whole revolution of women lashing out at men and institutions that demean them with unrealistic expectations?

And, then the big question is how does this all tie into Plum and her aversion to saying the one word, the f-word, that she’s never been able to say about herself — that’s she fat!

Sarai Walker

“Dietland” is a stellar debut novel from Sarai (pronounced sa-RAY) Walker and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Walker has mastered what it feels like to be an outsider.  An outsider that learns if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other small-minded people think — since killing them is still against the law!

In a perfect world and if Hollywood took real chances, this book would be optioned for a movie — like five minutes ago!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 27, 2014

Happy Friday!  This is the kickoff to the last weekend of June.  I cannot believe that one-half of 2014 is already behind us and the Fourth of July is next week!

We have nothing planned this weekend and that’s perfectly fine with me.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I hope you have a great one.

CELEBRATING 90TH BIRTHDAY

A couple of weeks ago, former President George H. W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by jumping out of a plane.

Before the jump, he tweeted, “It’s a wonderful day in Maine — in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump.”

Bush Jumping on 90th

I commend him for doing something that I’d never do.  He also took parachute jumps on his 80th and 85th birthdays.

George H.W. Bush becomes the fifth U.S. President to reach 90-years-old and he’s the fifth longest living President.  He joins the ranks of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, John Adams, and Herbert Hoover.

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter

God-willing, on October 1st of this year, my favorite President, Jimmy Carter, will become the sixth President to live to 90!

WAS THERE FOUL PLAY INVOLVED IN TAMMY WYNETTE’S DEATH?

I recently read “Tammy Wynette:  A Daughter Recalls Her Mother’s Tragic Life and Death” by Jackie Daly, the country legend’s second oldest daughter.

A Daughter Recalls

Tammy Wynette died in April of 1998 at the age of 55.  While she had health issues, numerous major surgeries, and an addiction to painkillers over the course of her life, the circumstances surrounding her death were very questionable.

This book is pretty one-sided since it’s told by a daughter that went to great lengths to prove that there was a cover-up in her mother’s death.  However, it definitely makes you realize that celebrity deaths are handled much differently than the deaths of average people.  And, even moreso, when there are millions of dollars at stake.

Jackie Daly (with Tom Carter) makes a good argument that it’s very suspicious that Wynette’s husband, George Richey, called his wife’s personal physician in Pennsylvania, hundreds of miles away, to inform him of the singer’s death before the local medical examiner was contacted.

Tammy’s four daughters would go on to file a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Wallis Marsh of Pittsburgh, who had prescribed the drug, Versed, to Wynette.  That drug has been proven that it could cause death if not administered by professionals and under supervision.

Richey was also named in the lawsuit for administering the drug, but he was later dropped.  The pharmacy, Care Solutions of Nashville, was also named in the lawsuit for delivering the painkiller.

Four years after Wynette’s death, a confidential out-of-court settlement was reached between Marsh and the four daughters.

ENOUGH ALREADY

I could care less about Chris Brown’s court appearances and Justin Bieber’s latest run-ins with the law.  Also, “Entertainment Weekly”, move on from “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men”.  There are other things happening in the world of television, movies, music, and books!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that Ray and I are wrapping up the fifth and final season of “Fringe”, (R.I.P. Walter, Olivia, and Peter), we’re debating what series to watch next.  It’s between “Breaking Bad” and “True Blood”.

fringe-show

I think we’re leaning toward “Breaking Bad” since the seventh and final season of “True Blood” is now underway.

Also, the second season of “Under The Dome” starts Monday night, June 30th, on CBS!

Under The Dome

PICK HIT

Christian pop singer Amy Grant is ready to make a comeback on the pop charts and in the dance clubs.

Amy Grant

On August 19th, “In Motion: The Remixes” is released and it’ll feature remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, is ready to blast its way into the dance clubs.

Since her first Christian hit in 1977, she’s hit the top of that chart 16 times and she’s also crossed over to the pop chart.

Amy has a total of ten Top 40 hits of the Billboard Hot 100, including five from her 1991 album, “Heart in Motion”, that sold more than five million copies in the U.S.

Of those pop hits, two have topped the Hot 100, “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera in 1986, and a solo hit, “Baby Baby”, for two weeks in the spring of 1991.

This is one release I’m looking forward to this fall.

“WALK OF SHAME”

The last comedy that really made me laugh out loud was “This Is The End” last year and that ended up being my fifth favorite movie I saw in 2013.

Now, I can add the box office bomb, “Walk of Shame” to that list of funny movies.  Yes, critics hated it and it was panned by the few movie goers that saw it.  For whatever reason, it was only released in 51 theaters for a week!  Nevertheless, Ray and I thought it was funny.

Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan Miles, a Los Angeles television news anchor, who is dumped by her fiance.  Her two friends force her to go on the town.  After getting drunk and hooking up with the very hunky Gordon, played by James Marsden, she leaves his place when he falls asleep and checks her messages.  The network is coming to see her show for a promotion to do the national news.

When she leaves Gordon’s place, her car is being towed away with her purse in it.  In her quest to get the car back, she runs into altercations with local drug dealer, prostitutes, the police, and that’s only part of the drama and the chaos.

So, it may not be Oscar-worthy material, but I laughed many times and I plan on buying the DVD.

Many of us have done the “walk of shame” and this is one I’d definitely do again!

GRADE:  B

I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

Since I talked about Tammy Wynette earlier in the blog, I’ll feature her in this weekly segment.

In her long career, Tammy scored 44 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 31 reached the Top Ten and 25 of them made the Top 5.

Tammy topped the country music chart 17 times and for a stretch from 1967 to 1969, she had seven consecutive number one songs.  Some of her number ones include “I Don’t Want To Play House”, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, and “Stand By Your Man”

“‘Til I Can Make It on My Own” is one of my favorite Tammy Wynette songs.  It hit #1 in the spring of 1976.

In addition to her solo hits (and a #1 duet with David Houston in 1967), Tammy also scored 13 Top 40 hits with George Jones.  Of those, eight reached the Top Ten and three topped the Country charts including “Golden Ring” and “We’re Gonna Hold On”.

tammy-wynette

With all the country success, only “Stand By Your Man”, her #1 1968 country hit crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100.  It peaked at #19.

However, that would not be her last appearance.  In late 1991, the British duo, KLF, called up the “Queen of Country Music” to lend her vocals to their hit, “Justified & Ancient (Stand by the JAMs)”.

That song made it all the way up to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached #2 on the Billboard Dance charts.

But, it hit #1 in Austria for five weeks and #1 in Sweden for three weeks.  It also topped the charts in Finland and New Zealand and almost hit the top in the U.K. peaking at #2.

R.I.P. TAMMY WYNETTE

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.   Here’s hoping that we all have a great weekend.

Anthony

The Best Show America Isn’t Watching!

So much tension, psychological games, culinary delights, a new serial killer, and much more Gillian Anderson.  Needless to say, the season two premiere of “Hannibal” was incredible.

If you missed it, it’s still available on nbc.com.  Here is the blog I posted about its return last Friday.

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!

All all new “Hannibal” airs this Friday at 10/9c.

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — February 28, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/random-friday-thoughts-february-28-2014/

Random Friday Thoughts — June 7

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one.  In the Quad Cities, Gumbo Ya-Ya is taking place in the District of Rock Island.  While I’ve broadcasted weather live from the event, I’ve never actually gone to it.  So, this evening, I’ll be there an hour or so for work and then I may sample some of the culture and the food.

On Sunday,we’re heading to Chicagoland to celebrate Gretel’s birthday a month early.  Two years ago, we took her to the “Glee Live” concert.  This time it’s Ke$ha and Pitbull.  While I was the one that really wanted to go, Gretel was very excited about getting to see the show, too.

KE$HA & PITBULL IN CONCERT

Ke$ha Pitbull

While I know that Ke$ha is strange and her songs are auto-tuned to the max, she’s still fun to listen to and who doesn’t love someone that’s not afraid to let their freak flag fly.  Her current album, “Warrior” is amazing.

The reviews of the concert are really good.  From what I’ve read, Ke$ha comes out first and performs about 55 minutes and then Pitbull brings his Latin magic to the stage for about 75 minutes.

Ke$ha’s new song, “Crazy Kids” featuring will.i.am is currently racing up the chart and is already Top 30 at pop radio.

KAISER’S LAST  WALK

In a heartwarming show of respect last Friday in Massachusetts, several Plymouth Police Department personnel gathered outside an animal hospital to salute Kaiser, their 2.5-year-old K-9 companion, as he walked into the veterinarian clinic to be put down.
Remembering Kaiser

The German Shepherd was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure this March, but his health problems became too severe early last week for him to work and the decision was made to end his pain.

Kaiser was one of the youngest dogs to ever attend the training academy – at just 10 months old.  After finishing the four-month Patrol Dog Academy, he was certified in human tracking, criminal apprehension and evidence recovery and was assigned to Plymouth Police Officer Jamie LeBretton.

LeBretton posted this on the Plymouth Police K-9 unit’s Facebook page, “I feel privileged to have had a front row seat to witness his bravery and heroic actions while serving the people of Plymouth and my brothers and sisters in blue.”

Rest in peace, Kaiser!

TRAIN WRECK AMANDA BYNES HAS CROSSED THE LINE

Troubled actress Amanda Bynes is giving people plenty to talk about and it has nothing to do with her acting!

Following her last arrest on May 23, 2013, she tweeted, “Don’t believe the reports about me being arrested. It’s all lies.  I was sexually harassed by one of the cops the night before last which is who then arrested me. He lied and said I threw a bong out the window when I opened the window for fresh air. Hilarious. He slapped my vagina.  Sexual harassment…The cops were creepy.”  Um, okay.

Amanda Bynes

And, then last weekend, she was upset with “People” magazine and posted this on Twitter with a gay slur.

Amanda Bynes

Before it was deleted, RuPaul got wind of it and had this come back.

RuPaul

Amanda, you need help, but let me give you some advice.  You should really watch your mouth, especially dropping that f-bomb because one thing you don’t want in your twisted little life is for the LGBT community to come down on you, especially a 7-foot tall drag queen (with heels and wig)!

RuPaul

You better work!

YUM!

I finally had the new Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita and it was pretty tasty.  And, the nice thing is that it’s only 199 calories.  While it has more calories than a glass of wine or a vodka/diet tonic, I would not want to have more than one or two of them at a time anyways.  It seems more like a cordial or a dessert drink to me.  Also, I bet it would fun to make my own variation of the drink for a party!

strawberrita

As many of you know, I love making fun drinks or having a vodka tonic or a glass or two of wine, so this cartoon is rather fitting for me. 🙂

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Forecast  Know it allHuman

PRIDE PROTEST SHAME

Last weekend was 6th annual Pride weekend in the Quad Cities.  I’ve attended three of them now.  Two with Miss ABBA and this one with Ray and Gretel.  I hear the turnout on Saturday was phenomenal!  Thank you, Quad Cities!

We went on Sunday and it wasn’t as busy during the afternoon.  As many of you know, I’m very outspoken about matters that are true to my heart.  I believe in equality for all and I stand behind my convictions and I don’t hide.  What you get is what you see!

As we were leaving Pride, Ray pointed out the two protestors standing by the entrance/exit.  While thousands attended the Quad Cities Pride, two people took it upon themselves to let us know that we were sinners in God’s eyes.

Pride Protestor

If this is a relative of yours, I offer my apologies on several levels.  But, most of all, if you have the nerve to condemn people on God’s behalf, please have “pride” in yourself that you don’t hang your head in shame when someone takes your picture.  I know there are many people who believe as this man does.  On the other hand, I know there are many more people who are proud to stand up for the rights of their LGBT brothers and sisters.

Gretel, who turns 12 next month, asked, “What is he protesting?”  I told her, “he thinks God doesn’t want your two dads married”.  And, her response was priceless, “Why?”  I ♥ my little girl!

I can hear the angel Whitney Houston singing in my head, “I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”.  So, I’ll share it with you now.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

It’s been almost 16 months since the incredibly talented and beautiful Whitney Houston left us.  Her music still sounds as good today as it did when she blasted onto the music scene in 1985 with her first hit, “You Give Good Love”.  From that first Billboard Hot 100 hit that peaked at #3 to her last Top 40 appearance in 2001 (“The Star-Spangled Banner, #6), Whitney scored 30 Top 40 hits.  Of those, 24 reached the Top Ten, and eleven made it all the way to the top of the chart!

As a matter of fact, from 1985-1988, Whitney topped the Billboard Hot 100 with seven consecutive songs:  “Saving All My Love For You”, “How Will I Know”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”.

In addition to those seven consecutive chart toppers, Whitney also reached the top with “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, “All The Man I Need”, I Will Always Love You”, and “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”.

She also topped the Billboard Dance Chart fourteen times.

DONUT VODKA LAST YEAR AND NOW WHAT?

Last year at this time, I was anxiously awaiting the “Glazed Donut” vodka from 360 Vodka, which the company called the “irresistible taste of America’s most-popular donut.”  I wasn’t impressed when I bought it, so I need to try it again to see if I was wrong last summer.

Today, on National Donut Day, Dunkin’ Donuts is offering not only a free donut with the purchase of a beverage, but it’s also offering a new, relatively healthy breakfast (or I guess, anytime) treat, the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich!

donut-sandwich

The company describes the 360 calorie, 20 fat grams sandwich this way, “The glazed donut is light and fluffy and gives you just the right amount of sweetness. Combined with the lightly salted, smoked bacon, the texture and flavors marry together in a wonderful way. It’s a delicious bite of the perfect harmonization of sweet and savory flavors.”

So, would it be overkill to have this new Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich and a 360 Vokda Glazed Donut cocktail for dinner tonight??? 🙂

Speaking of Dunkin’ Donuts, the chain’s Moline, Illinois, store on Avenue of the Cities that was struck by a hit and run stolen pickup truck almost three months ago is still closed.  And, it will remain that way indefinitely.  While I’m not a regular customer there, I thought it was rather odd that it has taken so long to re-open.  So, I did some investigating and no building permit has been requested from the Moline Building Division for the repair work.  Interesting!

I guess if I really want my free donut and to try this sandwich today, I’ll have to go to Davenport!

“THE WALKING DEAD”

While we’re still months away from the start of the fourth season of “The Walking Dead”, I got excited earlier this week when it was announced that season three arrives on DVD on August 27th!  Yes, I’m one of those people who don’t watch enough television to pay Mediacom’s outrageous prices for cable.

I can’t wait to see the third season because I hear it was fantastic.  And, yes, I’m aware that some of the main characters die since you can’t avoid spoilers these days, especially if you wait for shows to arrive on DVD.

The season 3 finale was watched by 12.4 million people making it the most-watched drama series telecast in basic cable history.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll see you in less than three months!

“DEXTER”

While I love “The Walking Dead”, my favorite show is “Dexter”.  The final season begins June 30th on Showtime!

Dexter The Final Season

And, guess who graces the cover of my favorite magazine, “Entertainment Weekly’?

Dexter -EW-COVER

While my issue will arrive in the mail today, I already know part of what it says about season 8.  Since I don’t believe in spoiling things for others, in case you’re not caught up, here’s what I’ll let out of the bag.  According to “EW”, the final season picks up six months after the shocking season seven finale.  Debra has a new job and Dexter is desperate to get close to his sister again after the all of the turmoil she faced last season after she found out what Dexter is!

And, this sounds like an awesome new storyline:  “Enter Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), a psychiatrist with a secret: Decades ago she helped Dexter’s father write the Code that he’s used to manage his psychotic impulses. Now she’s being stalked by a mysterious killer and wants Dex’s help.”

Ray and I just watched Season 7 and I have to say that it was my favorite season so far, but season one is very close!

Since I love ranking and grading pop culture, here goes:

Season 1: (A+)   — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

And, the icing on the cake, I finally got a Christmas “Dexter” episode!

RENT THIS!

If you’re looking for a movie to rent this weekend, I suggest “Silver Linings Playbooks” (A-), “The Life of Pi” (A), and “The Impossible” (A).

the-impossible

“The Impossible” is about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck many southeast Asia countries on December 26, 2004.  Indonesia was hardest hit with the most damage and casualties.  Around a quarter of a million people died.

This movie follows a British couple played by Naomi Watts (who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance) and Ewan McGregor and their three sons on a holiday vacation to Thailand.  After enjoying opening presents for Christmas, the movie moves on to their fight for survival during and after the waves hit their resort.

Watts’ performance was subtle, but very touching.  In a weaker Oscar race year, Tom Holland, who played the couple’s 12-year-old son, Lucas, would have have nominated.

The special effects of the tsunami and the aftermath of the raging water that turned land into an extension of the Indian Ocean were so realistic.

A must-see!

AND, TAKE A CHANCE ON THIS!

K-11

This was one of the craziest, but entertaining, movies I’ve seen in some time.

It’s the directorial debut of Hollywood veteran script supervisor Jules Stewart, the mother of the “Twilight” series star Kristin Stewart.  At one point, K-Stew was attached to the movie, but had to drop out because of a scheduling conflict.  Her brother, Cameron Stewart makes his acting debut as a prisoner.

The movie stars Goran Visnjic, of “ER” fame, as hard partying, boozer, and druggie music producer Raymond Saxx, Jr.  He ends up in jail one night after a blackout and then mistakenly (one guard bribing another is more accurate) gets taken to K-11, a part of the Los Angeles County Jail, that houses gay or transsexual inmates to keep them “safe” from the general jail population.

K-11 is a cesspool of drugs and bad behavior and is controlled by Mousey, a street wise transsexual inmate played by actress Kate De Castillo.  De Castillo is incredible.  It’s a case of Julie Andrew’s “Victor Victoria” gone bad.  A woman playing a man dressing as a woman.  I seriously thought that De Castillo was a man playing a woman or a transsexual.

The movie is violent and does have drug and rape scenes, so it may not be for the faint of heart.

GRADE:  B

OBSESSED WITH THIS VIDEO!

I love the latest song and video from singer and songwriter Hailey Rowe.  When I first saw the video, I loved it because it was fun and both Hailey and video “boyfriend”, actor Blake Peyrot, are so damn cute.  Now, I just can’t stop watching it.  And, the song was added to the playlists at stations in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Palm Springs, California.  I think it would be so awesome for this song to take off at Top 40 radio this summer!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

A mini-vacation sounds nice right now, but we don’t have any planned.

However, last year at this time, Ray, Gretel, Betty (“Mom”) and I spent the weekend at “Four Mounds”, a little getaway in Dubuque, Iowa, overlooking the Mississippi River.  They have a little cabin that we’ve rented several times.  We just relaxed, played cards, walked in the woods and along the River, and ate some good food like my favorite meal that Ray makes — chicken piccata.  That’s also the first meal he cooked for me and Miss ABBA in early 2009 when we met.

June 8 2012 Betty AP Ray Ray AP June 9 2012 Ray Gretel June 8 2012Chicken Piccata June 8 2012

Okay, that’s enough random thoughts.  You know I always welcome your thoughts on anything that I’m talking about or something totally off the subject.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony