Posts Tagged ‘football’

Must See Movies — Award Season Is Underway!

Many watch football and stuff themselves for Thanksgiving.  Many love to shop until they drop.

And, some like to lounge on the couch and watch movies.

If you’re one of those people, I want to recommend a few movies if you haven’t already seen them.

Why?  Because I enjoyed these and they just picked up “Independent Spirit Award” nominations.

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“PATTI CAKE$”

This awesome overlooked American drama is nominated for Best First Feature for the “Independent Spirit Award”.

I’ve heard really good things about the summer drama “Patti Cake$”.

As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.

Danielle Macdonald plays Patricia Dombrowski, who’s mockingly called “Dumbo” in her New Jersey neighborhood.

She’s down on her luck and her home life is appalling.  She lives with her mother and terminally ill grandmother.  They’re poor and behind on their bills and are constantly getting collection agency calls.

But, the hardship comes naturally for Patti.  Her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett) loves to get drunk and sing karaoke at the dive bar where Patti works.

Patti’s calling is writing rhymes and rapping with her best friend, Jheri, played by a very charming Siddharth Dhananjay, a YouTube star from India.

By the end of the movie, you’re rooting for Patti and being thankful that Barb isn’t your mother.

Another interesting note about “Patti Cake$” is that while watching the movie, it had a very “Muriel’s Wedding” feel with rap music substituted for ABBA songs.

The reason could be that Macdonald is Australian, just like Muriel Heslop and actress Toni Collette.

GRADE:  A-

“GET OUT”

This movie picked up five nominations in the “Independent Spirit Award”:  Best Feature, Best Director (Jordan Peele), Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Male Lead (Daniel Kaluuya).

Racism is front and center of this psychological drama about a young, white woman taking her black boyfriend home to her little small New England town.

It’s the directorial debut from comedian Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele” and “MADtv”) and he masters it beautifully.  Peele knows the subject very well since he’s the son of an interracial couple.

As the movie is moving toward its climax, you might have to suspend disbelief, but the point is perfectly driven home.

While it’s a drama, the comedy provided by Chicago actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery is so funny.  He plays the main character’s best friend.

When he explained to his friend why he needed to “Get Out” of there, I’m glad I wasn’t taking a drink of something when he started talking about Jeffrey Dahmer, lobotomies, and penises!  It was so flipping hilarious!

GRADE:  A-

“THE BIG SICK”

This movie picked up two nominations for “Independent Spirit Award”:  Best First Screenplay and Best Supporting Female (Holly Hunter).

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

And, my most anticipated movie that I won’t get to see until 2018 is “Call Me By Your Name”.

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This movie picked up the most “Independent Spirit Award” nominations — six — for Best Feature, Best Director (Luca Guadagnino), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Male Lead (Timothee Chalamet), and Best Supporting Male (Armie Hammer).

I so wish I lived in a big city to see this when it hits theaters Friday!  But, since I don’t, it’ll be early 2018 that I’ll see it — just in time for Oscar nominations!

Anthony

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My Fantasies Don’t Involve Football Leagues

I’m not really going to talk about the kind of fantasies that might involve Christian Grey (“Fifty Shades of Grey”) or since I mentioned football, Tom Brady.  Not that those would be bad, but…

Tom-Brady

Okay, minds out of the gutters.

Recently, I was talking about all of the “residencies” in Las Vegas, the ones coming up, and the “rumored” ones in the works.

Back in October 2012, I was fortunate to see the one of the best entertainers in music, Sir Elton John in “The Million Dollar Piano” at Caesars Palace.

Elton LasVegas

And, then last May, I saw Shania Twain at Caesars Palace.

Shania

And the night before I saw Shania, I saw Olivia Newton-John at the Flamingo.

Olivia

In addition to those “residencies”, I saw Madonna on my birthday in October 2012 at the MGM Grand.

Madonna

And, we saw Lady Gaga there on her “Born This Way Ball” Tour in January 2013 just three weeks before an injury, that required surgery, forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour.

Gaga Las Vegas

That was then and this is now.

Britney Spears is now playing a residency at Planet Hollywood and coming this summer at Caesars Palace, Mariah Carey will begin a residency in May and Reba and Brooks & Dunn will start in June.

Reba 2011

I absolutely adore Reba and I’ve seen her in concert twelve (yes, that’s 12) times and I met her ten years ago this April.

While I get lost in her beautiful voice, I would love to see Reba’s concerts in Vegas go back to the glitzy productions of costume changes, dancers, and various sets like when I first saw her in Chicago in 1995 and Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1996.

Every time since those first two shows, it was Reba in a no (or very few) frills concert — just her and her beautiful voice.

Reba’s new show with Brooks & Dunn is already selling out months in advance.

And, recently, it was announced that “The Boss” Diana Ross would be performing a nine-show engagement this spring at The Venetian.

The hotel is trying to become a competitive concert venue for residencies after a successful show with Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

Also, hushed rumors on “The Strip” say that talks are in the works for residencies for Ricky Martin, Lionel Richie, and the subject of today’s fantasy (see, I’m back to that again).

NO, MY FIRST NAME AIN’T BABY, IT’S JANET, MISS JACKSON, IF YOU’RE NASTY

Just the other day, I was saying that I’d love to see Janet Jackson in a residency in Vegas and then I see an article that she might be close to signing a deal with either The Venetian or Planet Hollywood when Britney’s “Piece of Me” show is on hiatus.

It’s also rumored that Miss Jackson will be dropping a new album in 2015.

I have two of Janet’s concert VHS tapes (no typo there, VHS — not DVD): “The Velvet Rope Tour” and “Live in Hawaii”.

Now, here’s where my ultimate fantasy comes in, as if seeing Janet for the first time in concert wouldn’t be enough.

Janet-Jackson-And-Paula-Abdul

Before Miss Jackson takes the stage, special guest Paula Abdul, Janet’s former choreographer, would come out and do a 20-minute set of her high-energy dance and pop radio hits from the late-1980s and early-1990s.  And, it would have to include “Rush Rush”!

At this point, my imagination runs away from me.  As Paula wraps up her set, either in a special effects hologram or on the concert monitors, Paula and Janet are in a diner in the current day and you hear:

“What’s up girl?
He stood me up again
Again?
Mmhmm
Well what’s up with this guy?
Do you really like him that much?
Yes honey, I love him, he is fine,
he does a lot of nice things for me I know he used to do nice stuff for you,
but what has he done for you lately?

And, then the arena explodes with a fabulous light show and Janet kicking off a magical show with “What Have You Done For Me Lately”!

I can’t remember how many times my friend, Steve, and I did this video routine over the years getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing!

And, one final note about Vegas, concerts, and holograms.

I recently read that a new concert with a “hologram” Liberace is coming to town.

If that’s successful, I have one suggestion Vegas  — get Richard Carpenter on the line and bring the angelic-voiced Karen Carpenter back to life and back to the stage soon!

As you can tell, I’m obsessed with shows in Vegas.  There it isn’t just a concert, it is magic!

Don’t tell Ray, but I’ll be working on convincing him to retire to Las Vegas in a few years.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 17

It’s Friday and it finally feels like spring and summer!  Can you believe this crazy weather?  It was 90° here Tuesday, but the story gets even crazier in Sioux City, Iowa.  Sunday morning, it was a frosty 29°.  Two days later, they hit an all-time May record high of 106°!  These other cities hit record highs for the date.

Tuesday Record HIghs

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be emceeing the kick-off to the Heart Walk in Rock Island, Illinois, and then I’m lying low this weekend to catch up on movies, television shows, and spending some time with Ray, Gretel, and Tammy.  We still have to take her out to brunch Sunday for a belated Mother’s Day gift since she worked last Sunday.  I hope you have a great weekend.  Here are the random thoughts on my mind today.

QUIET WEEKEND UNTIL SUNDAY NIGHT

Just a quick heads up that the weather could become a little scary Sunday night into Monday.  Severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes are possible.  Here’s the latest Storm Prediction Center map of the threatened area.  I’ll touch on this topic again Saturday or Sunday.

7am Sunday - 7am Monday

WHY INVEST TIME IN NETWORK SHOWS?

Either I pick crummy shows to watch or networks don’t allow a show to breathe these days and find an audience.  I was fortunate that “The Following”, “Elementary”, “Nashville”, and “American Horror Story” were both renewed.  However, in the past week, “The New Normal” and “Malibu Country” with Reba were cancelled!

The-New-Normalmalibu-country

A few years ago, I invested in “Invasion” and “Commander In Chief” and both of them only lasted one season on ABC.  “Eli Stone”, another favorite of mine, made it to two seasons before being cancelled.  Luckily, I can get my Jonny Lee Miller fix these days on “Elementary”!  It seems that only reality TV can find an audience!

On a final television note, I’m thinking that “Hannibal”, another one of my favorites, may be cancelled, too.

REBA’S FUTURE

Now that “Malibu Country” has been cancelled, I hope Reba gets to work on picking out fantastic songs for a new album.  While I’m hopeful, I don’t even care if country radio embraces new Reba music.  I know I would enjoy it and so would her fans.

Also, although I’ve seen Reba in concert twelve times, I want her to do something she hasn’t done since the late 1990’s.  I want her to do a large concert production with multiple sets and costume changes.  I know it’s a lot of work, but if Madonna, who’s in her 50s, and Cher, in her 60s ,can do it, I know “Red” can do it.

Since I’m placing my order, Reba, how about a resurrection of  “The Singer’s Diary”, which I never got to see when it was presented about 15 years ago.

SPEAKING OF REALITY TV

I never watched “Jersey Shore” in its six seasons on MTV, the network that was fun when was actually “music television”!  However, even having never watched it, you couldn’t escape the train wreck of a cast.  But, I have a confession — while skanky, Snooki is adorable!

Snooki

I was reading an old “Rolling Stone” (August 5, 2010) and I have to share this Snooki quote:  “To be honest with you, I Google myself every single day.  The negative stuff?  I get off on it.  Because the only reason why people talk negative is because they’re jealous.  Every time they call me a midget, Oompa-Loompa, orange, they’re just jealous.  It makes me want to be more ridiculous and more stupid”.

Let your freak flag fly, mama!

One last thought about “Jersey Shore”, you have to admit that Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is a hottie.  And, didn’t Snooki make him mad by insinuating that he was gay? 🙂

mike_0644 the-situation

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ann Coulter

Absolut-ely  Got Milk Secrets

WAY TO GO, MINNESOTA!

Have a Gay Day

Minnesota becomes the 12th state (along with the District of Columbia) to vote in favor of marriage equality.  After the 37-30 state Senate vote Monday, Governor Mark Dayton signed it into law Tuesday afternoon.  Same-sex couple will be able to marry later this summer.  In just the past two weeks, three states (Rhode Island, Delaware, and Minnesota) have made it possible for everyone in the state to marry!

While watching and listening to the state senators talk before the vote, here’s what I posted on my Facebook page Monday:  “I’m listening to Minnesota senators talk about why they’re for/against marriage equality before taking a historic vote. I’ve smiled several times, but I also realize that in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, there must be a lot of big rocks near those lakes that some of these politicians have been living under!”

patricia-torres-ray

A couple of the senators really touched me like Patricia Torres Ray.

Speaking in English and Spanish (her native language for the first time on the Senate floor), Torres Ray said her faith would lead her to vote for marriage equality, “Many people may ask why a Catholic, immigrant woman feels so strong about this and why it is I have been so vocal about this campaign and why I stand in strong support.  My commitment to work on their behalf here and on behalf of all issues that i consider to be fair and just. I hope I get invited to their wedding now. I hope I’m able to celebrate their relationship, see their children having children, and continue on this journey of loving our kids, loving our partners together.”

In Spanish, she added for her family that didn’t necessarily support her beliefs for marriage equality, “Son las mismas cosas … Es sobre egualidad,”, which basically confirmed her commitment to all issues that would promote equality for everyone.

MEANWHILE IN MINNESOTA, A NOT SO HAPPY ENDING

Just one month after linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo was released from the Baltimore Ravens, punter Chris Kluwe was cut from the Minnesota Vikings.

Now, professional players get cut from teams all the time or leave teams to become free agents.  However, I find it a little odd that both players, both straight men with wives and children, and very strong advocates for marriage equality, were cut so close together.

Brendon Ayanbadejo

Ayanbadejo and Kluwe have both been longtime and a very loud voices for the LGBT community.  Both vow to keep fighting for equality.

Kluwe

After Kluwe was cut from the Vikings, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton said he “doesn’t feel good” about the decision and he made this accusatory statement, “public officials should be honest about what’s going on.”

Was the heat too hot in the kitchen for the teams with high visibility athletes supporting marriage equality and the LGBT community?  I think it was a huge factor, but Cyd Zeigler, the co-founder of the gay website, outsports.com, doesn’t think that LGBT advocacy was a factor.  Will we every really know?

Nevertheless, Brendon & Chris, thank you for your support and good luck!

KATY PERRY:  A LITTLE OUT THERE OR AWESOME?

As I was catching up on my old “Rolling Stone” magazines, there was a really good article about Katy Perry’s very religious background and her using a sexy image to sell fun, pop music (August 19, 2010).

In the article, she says, “I still believe that Jesus is the son of God.  But I also believe in extraterrestrials, and that there are people who are sent from God to be messengers, and all sorts of crazy stuff.  I look up into the sky and I’m just mindf**ked — all those stars and planets, the neverendingness of the universe.  I just can’t believe that we’re the only polluting population.  Every time I look up, I know that I’m nothing and there’s something way beyond me.  I don’t think it’s as simple as heaven and hell.”

Whoa!  Beauty, brains, boobs, and fun music that makes you want to dance.  I admit that I was late becoming a Katy Perry convert, but she’s incredible and “Teenage Dream” is definitely a must have album.

By the way, “Teenage Dream” spawned an incredible 8 Top Three hits, with six of them topping the Billboard Hot 100.   Katy also tied Michael Jackson as the only artist to have five consecutive #1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 from one album.  She did it with “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “Firework”, “E.T.”, and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).  Michael did it with 1987’s “Bad” album and the singles, “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You”, “Bad”, “The Way You Make Me Feel”, “Man In The Mirror”, and “Dirty Diana”.

And, “Teenage Dream” is the only album ever to have 9 songs top the Billboard Hot Dance Club Song charts.  In addition to the eight radio hits, “Peacock” topped the dance charts!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

These two pictures were taken on May 19, 2011.  In the front yard, Miss ABBA found the perfect place to beat the summer heat by hiding out in the shrubbery.  And, in the back yard, we had a visitor that was just passing through in the ravine.

May 19 2011 ABBA Hiding Out May 19 2011

SHE’S AMAZING AND “SHE’S SO UNUSUAL”

80s pop star Cyndi Lauper is still touring, making music, and writing soundtracks for Broadway!  (“Kinky Boots” is nominated for 13 Tony Awards this year).  She’s a strong ally to the LGBT community and is a strong advocate for HIV/AIDS education and awareness.  Lauper says, “Having never been a person who was afraid to speak up, I knew I had to help make some noise and do whatever I could to make a difference. You fight fear and ignorance through education and awareness.”  (It seems that I have, at least, two things in common with Cyndi —  being unusual and speaking out about things I believe in!)

Cyndi Lauper

Lauper says that while people are not dying from AIDS like the 1980s and the 1990s, we can’t stop the fight now and must continue to educate people.  She says, “the biggest challenge today is that people don’t think HIV is that much of an issue anymore. While the drug therapies have done an incredible job of keeping people with HIV alive, it is an arduous journey for people taking the drugs. The side effects are significant. The public does not see HIV as a death sentence anymore. We need to continue to reinvest in prevention efforts and to put all the resources we can into ending the epidemic.”

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Cyndi Lauper’s debut album, “She’s So Unusual” turns 30 years old this October (it was released just one day after I turned 19-year-old)!  Don’t do the math. 🙂

In the 30 years since, she’s sold 50 million albums, more than one million DVDs, and over 20 million singles.  On the Billboard Hot 100, Cyndi has scored 11 Top 40 singles.  Of those, all but two have hit the Top Ten.  Six of them have reached the Top Three:  “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” (#2, 1983), “Time After Time” (#1, 1984), “She Bop” (#3, 1984), “We Are The World (#1, 1985, as part of USA For Africa), “True Colors” (#1, 1986), and “Change of Heart” (#3, 1987).

She’s had so many amazing songs to choose from, but I picked one of my favorite performances and a song that was never officially released as a single.  Cyndi performed the Prince classic, “When You Were Mine”, at the 1985 American Music Awards.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.   I love doing this segment.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony