Posts Tagged ‘Golden Globe Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 20, 2021

Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend?

As much as I love my career and my job, I’m ready for the weekend from the moment when I wake up for work at 2:30 a.m. on Mondays! 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. It’s okay to disagree, just do it diplomatically!

GET OVER YOURSELF, CHICAGO LEADERS!

I’m not going to harp too much about the current spike in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. Yes, most of them are associated with the “delta variant”, yet the latter two are mostly those that are unvaccinated!

However, with all of the confusion about the pandemic, the vaccinations, and the ever-changing rules and mandates, I’m agitated with Chicago leaders.

The Chicago Department of Public Health issues weekly updates of states and territories in the U.S. that it’s issued travel advisories for that have the highest increase of COVID-19 cases.

It goes on to say, “Any unvaccinated people traveling from these states and territories are advised to obtain a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chicago or quarantine for a 10-day period upon arrival. Vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine or receive a negative test.”

What bothers me is that people coming to Chicago ARE NOT LIKELY going to get a COVID-19 test within three days of arriving and ARE NOT LIKELY going to quarantine themselves for ten days!

So, stop the confusion if you’re not going to enforce this by stopping people on the interstates, bus stations, train stations, and airports!!!!

This is all for public relations!

Okay, I’ll step down from my soap box!

REMEMBERING JEANETTA JONES

For those that follow television weather and meteorologists, I have some sad news to share.

Jeanetta Jones, whose smiling face and cheerful presentation graced The Weather Channel from 1986-2006, has died from COVID-19!

I was such a big fan of her on-air presentation!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Over the past week or so, people on social media have been sharing picture comparisons of their fall plans and their fall plans now that the “delta variant” is rampant across the country and the world.

I thought I’d join in with a comparison with a shout-out to my favorite Batman movie, 1993’s “Batman Returns”, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman!

“FRENCH EXIT”

Since I’m talking Michelle Pfeiffer, I just watched her latest movie, “French Exit” and it was great.

Pfeiffer picked up a Golden Globe nomination this year in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category, but she lost out to Rosamund Pike in “I Care A Lot”, which I really enjoyed, too.

“French Exit” was overlooked by the Academy Awards, but the Best Actress category was incredible this year — Carey Mulligan, Viola Davis, Frances McDormand, Andra Day, and Vanessa Kirby!

While it’s a comedy, it deals with some very heavy topics, such as suicide.

Pfeiffer plays Frances Price, a Manhattan heiress that’s almost broke after her husband’s death. She and her son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges), have few options.

So, from the title, they head to Paris with their cat, which plays a big role in the bizarre story.

In France, they meet Madame Reynard (a very enjoyable Valerie Mahaffey).

On the transatlantic voyage across the Atlantic, Danielle Macdonald makes an appearance as Madeleine, a “witch” that Malcom hooks up with. (It’s funny calling her a witch because Frances uses a very risque, hilarious description of her.

It’s always great to see Macdonald. I loved her in “Patti Cake$” and “I Am Woman”.

GRADE: B+

WHAT IS MIDDLE AGED?

Recently, I watched the 1976 Oscar-winning classic, “Network”. However, watching it in 2021, one thing that caught my attention was that William Holden’s character was constantly referred to as “middle aged”.

Wait, Holden was almost 58-year-old when filming got underway and that really baffled me.

But, it made sense since the director, the producers, the writer, and both male leads were all in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. So, I just chalked it up to old white men running the show and calling themselves “middle aged”!

However, one thing I learned when looking up the definition of “middle age” is that it’s usually accepted as 45-65 years old — the middle of age of adulthood, which starts at 18!

Since I’m closing in on Holden’s age at the time of that movie, I still wouldn’t refer to myself as “middle age”, but if the dictionary says I am, I should start enjoying my middle-aged years and take a new lease on life! 🙂

BUT, here’s the irony about both William Holden and his co-star, Peter Finch. Finch died less than two months after the movie was released over Thanksgiving 1976 and Holden would be dead five years later.

So much for middle aged! 🙂

WHY I DRINK WINE!

Thanks Debby for sharing this with me! 🙂

“PLEASE LIKE ME”

I absolutely loved this four season Australian comedy (with a few dashes of drama) from quadruple threat Josh Thomas (creator, co-writer, co-director, and star).

The series ran from 2013-2016.

Josh is hilariously funny, but I definitely couldn’t date his character, Josh! 🙂

His roommate and best friend, Tom (Thomas Ward) is great and it introduced us to comedian Hannah Gadsby, who plays Hannah! 🙂

My absolute favorite character was Arnold (Keegan Joyce). And, he was SO.DAMN.SEXY.!

You can catch it on hulu.

“GRACE AND FRANKIE” UPDATE

Last week, I mentioned that I had watched the first six seasons of the Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie”, and couldn’t wait for the final season.

Well, last Friday, Netflix surprised fans by dropping the first four episodes of the seventh and final season. The concluding twelve episodes are expected in 2022.

So, I’ve decided to wait and binge watch all sixteen episodes in the new year!

When the series concludes with 94 episodes, that’ll make it the longest-running Netflix original series!

“NETWORK”

After 45 years, I finally watched the 1976 four-time Oscar winning movie, “Network”.

The black comedy is a satire of the television news business and the thin line between news and entertainment! (Wait, is that a real thing?)

Um, that rhetorical question is satirical, too! 🙂

Peter Finch (Best Actor), Faye Dunaway (Best Actress), and Beatrice Straight (Best Supporting Actress) won Academy Awards for acting and Paddy Chayefsky won for Best Screenplay.

William Holden was also nominated in the Best Actor category.

Five years later, Dunaway would play Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest”, a role and movie that she said ruined her career.

Well, her Diana Christensen was quite over the top in “Network”, too, and, in hindsight, it prepared her well for “Mommie Dearest”!

GRADE: B

“AMERICA IN SEARCH OF ITSELF”

Last week, I mentioned that this 1982 book by Theodore H. White subtitled, “The Making of the President 1956-1980”, was an enlightening read.

Here are a few more things I learned:

In the 1956 presidential election, Democrat Adlai Stevenson started hitting sitting President Dwight D. Eisenhower hard about his age.

Stevenson said that Ike was too old, at 66, to be a good President. Boy, have things changed since then. (Hello Ronald Reagan, 45, and Joe Biden!)

White wrote that President Richard Nixon blamed Gerald Ford’s loss to Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election on his inability to get the Italian vote in New York. That state would have swung the win to Ford.

In the 1980 election between President Carter and Ronald Reagan, the federal government only gave each candidate $29.4 million to spend on the campaign ($93 million in 2021 USD). Meanwhile, the three networks spent north of $50 million for coverage ($165.7 million in 2021 USD)!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 13, 2021

Happy Friday the 13th! If you’re superstitious, beware!

Oh, boo! Forget you, Jason Voohres!

Michael Myers is the man and Halloween is just around the corner!

“HALLOWEEN KILLS”

After being pushed back a year last fall because of COVID-19 closing down movie theaters, Jamie Lee Curtis is ready to go up against Michael again — for the last time?

2018’s Halloween was very successful (it made $255.6 million with a $15 million budget).

The trailer for “Halloween Kills” is out and it’s incredible.

From the title and the trailer, the body count is going to be very high!

“Halloween Kills” is in theaters October 15, 2021.

I’m so ready for my large plain popcorn and large Coke Zero (and my free refills)! The last movie I saw in theaters was “Bombshell” in early 2020 about Megyn Kelly and Fox News!

TRAVEL REBOUND?

Once the COVID-19 vaccinations became available this spring and the number of cases and deaths dropped drastically earlier this summer, did you start planning any big trips?

I did!

Now, I’m very dismayed with the resurgence of cases and deaths from the “delta variant” and the unvaccinated overwhelming hospitals!

I’m going to be optimistic!

With more businesses mandating a vaccination (or weekly negative COVID tests) for employment, I hope the U.S. and the world will beat down the “delta variant” and we’ll see the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths drop again!

“GRACE AND FRANKIE”

Earlier this year, I started watching “Schitt’$ Creek” and “Grace and Frankie” at the same time. I’d watch one series during dinner one day and the other the next day.

By the time I got into the third season of “Grace and Frankie”, I started bingeing “Schitt’$ Creek” exclusively and put “Grace & Frankie” on hold.

After I finished “Creek”, I watched season four of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, a few movies, and then caught up on the new “American Horror Stories”.

As you can see, I was avoiding getting back to the Jane Fonda-Lily Tomlin series. Once I returned, I don’t know if it was because of the break or the writing or the flow changed, but seasons four, five, and six were much better!

I love Grace (Fonda), Robert (Martin Sheen), and Joan-Margaret (Millicent Martin), but Brianna (June Diane Raphael) is my favorite.

When the series returns to Netflix for the seventh and final season, I really want them to kill off Sol early in season. Okay, that may be a little harsh.

Just send him away for some reason! While I like Sam Waterston, who plays Sol, I can’t stand the character and I can’t believe that Robert wants to be with him!

Here are a couple more highlights…

The final season is being filmed now, so there’s no release date yet.

“THE MAURITANIAN”

This incredible 2021 movie is based on the true story of a man detailed at Guantanamo Bay for more than a decade without ever being charged with a crime.

While the movie was overlooked by the Academy Awards this year, it earned Jodie Foster a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture and a Best Actor nomination for Tahar Rahim in the Best Actor in a Motion Picture-Drama category.

Foster plays an Albuquerque, New Mexico lawyer who takes up the case of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a man from the African country of Mauritania in 2001.

Shailene Woodley and Benedict Cumberbatch co-star and were great, too.

GRADE: A

AMERICA IN SEARCH OF ITSELF”

This 1982 book by Theodore H. White is subtitled, “The Making of the President 1956-1980”, and is a very interesting read.

Here are a couple of oily things I learned:

The first year that the United States imported more oil than it exported was in 1948. After that, we were dependent on the Middle East!

White added that during the oil shortages of the 1970s, the price for a barrel of oil from OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — originally, in 1960, four Middle Eastern countries and Venezuela) at the start of 1973 was $3.41 and jumped to $41.00 in 1980!

By that year, in the U.S. “it required an uninterrupted eight million barrels every day from overseas to maintain an entire way of life.”

“A QUIET PLACE, PART TWO”

The 2018 original was my #9 movie of the year and I gave it an “A” when I reviewed it.

Here’s what I said then: “The movie ended perfectly for a sequel and one is on the way. Does it need one?  No.  It’s a perfect stand alone movie.”   

So, even then, I had a feeling that I’d be disappointed with the follow-up and I was!

The positives: We saw director John Krasinski again and Emily Blunt is great, but under-utilized.

Millicent Simmonds, who played Blunt and Krasinski’s daughter, is magnificent in this movie, just as she was in the original.

This one felt like it was made just because it’d bring in a lot of money like the original.

The first one made $350.3 million and this one brought in $294 million, which is great for a sequel and in the new COVID-19 landscape with theaters just opening back up.

GRADE: B-

FINAL THOUGHTS

“THE HANDMAID’S TALE”: Since I mentioned season four earlier, I loved this season. The change of pace and scenery was great.

But, I seriously hope the series in with season five!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORIES”: Not to be confused with Ryan Murphy’s other series “American Horry Story”, this is a new weekly series that features of a horror of the week instead of a storyline for the entire season.

It’s like “The X-Files” when it featured a different monster or case of the week!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 5, 2021

Happy March!

Soon, we’ll start seeing budding trees and blooming flowers and bushes!

For much of the country, the weather is finally starting to warm up. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done with snow and cold yet, but it sure feels nice.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. The first two are a little heavy.

So, if you don’t agree with me and you want to comment, that’s fine. Just do it diplomatically!

KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS TO YOURSELF!

More sexual misconduct allegations are coming out against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Three women are now accusing him of inappropriate advances.

Sadly, we live in a country where men feel they can do whatever they want — even “grab ’em by the p***y”!

In a culture where the last president of the United States is accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than two dozen women, this needs to stop — now!!! Actually, it should never have started!

Men (and women), regardless of profession, unless you’re asked to touch or kiss someone, keep your damn hands and lips to yourself!

“No” means “No”!

And, if you don’t understand printed or verbal words, maybe a song will help you understand better. Here’s the one hit wonder, The Georgia Satellites’ #2 1986 hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”!

BUSINESS AS USUAL IN TEXAS!

Note to self: AVOID TEXAS until I get vaccinated!

Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week announced that the state is lifting its mask mandate.

Texas is now the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the state will no longer limit the number of diners that can be served indoors!

Even during the worst outbreak of the pandemic, over the past months, restrictions across the Lone Star state were only lightly enforced.

More than 45,000 Texans have been killed by the pandemic and only two states, California and New York, have had more COVID-19 deaths than Texas!

And, what makes this change even more shocking is that over the past two weeks, Texas has seen a 31% increase in the number of daily new cases!!!

After Texas made the announcement, it should come as a shock to no one that Mississippi got on the bandwagon, too, announcing it would be dropping mask restrictions and businesses opening to 100% again!

GOLDEN GLOBES HITS

Last month, I said that season four of the “The Crown”, the award-winning Netflix series, was my absolute favorite. I added, “Even if you haven’t watched the first three seasons, watch this one. You don’t need to see their first three to follow the storyline.”

I guess the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) agrees because “The Crown” was a smash hit at this year’s Golden Globes!

The series won for Best Television Series Drama and my girl crush, Gillian Anderson picked up the Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie award as Margaret Thatcher.

Also, sexy Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin both came away as winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Television Series Drama categories as Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Sadly, with Corrin’s win, that means Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, lost as Ozark’s Wendy Byrde.

DREAMING OF… DEXTER!

After an eight-year absence and that disappointing series finale, America’s favorite, sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan is coming back this fall.

As fans already know, production for the ten-episode, ninth season is underway in New England. While nothing is known about the storyline and what’s happened since they show wrapped in 2013, here’s the sexy new look Dexter is sporting!

Good riddance, 2013 lumberjack Dexter!

While I can’t wait for the new season to debut later this year, I did see Michael C. Hall off-Broadway in January 2015 in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. It was a fantastic show and he was so damn sexy as the genderqueer East German rocker!

“THE UNITED STATES vs. BILLIE HOLIDAY”

This Hulu original is very compelling, even at over two hours. I never realized how messed up legendary singer Billie Holiday was with her heroin addiction.

Also, just another reason to despise J. Edgar Hoover, it amazes me the lengths the FBI went through to trap and falsely imprison Holiday because she refused to stop singing the controversial song “Strange Fruit”.

Why was it controversial and scared the government so? It focused the spotlight on the lynching of Black people in the South!

Andra Day was amazing as Holiday and won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe last weekend.

GRADE: B+

“NOMADLAND”

This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2020 and will get many Oscar nominations later this month. Ahead of the Golden Globes, I watched it last weekend.

I can’t imagine living the life of a nomad (someone in a community without fixed habitation that regularly moves from place to place), but I can see the freedom of it.

Frances McDormand is excellent and heartbreaking as Fran, who loses her job and her husband. When the town, Empire, closes down, too, she hits the road.

I definitely feel that the movie deserves its Best Picture Drama win at last weekend’s Golden Globes.

While McDormand is excellent in everything she does and I think this role is definitely worthy of an acting nomination, I don’t feel that it deserves the top prize! (I guess the HFPA agrees. Oscar voters may disagree!)

So far, I’ve seen four of the five performances for the Best Actress Drama category for the Golden Globes and I think that Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) all deserved it more.

P.S. I wrote these last two paragraphs before last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony!

You can see it on Hulu.

GRADE: B+

MY NIGHT WITH MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Following 63 old white guys, she became the first woman Secretary of State (1997-2001) during President Bill Clinton’s second administration.)     

Albright was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report. It did!

However, I then flubbed a simple English word that followed Milošević’s name! 🙂

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Last summer, I finally got around to reading Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

What an incredible read! Here are a few things I learned:

She was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in May 1937. Her real name is Marie Jana Korbelová.

Her grandmother nicknamed her “Madla” and her mother modified it to “Madlen”, but most of the time she was called “Madlenka”. However, while learning French at the age of ten, she chose “Madeleine”.

Three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust.

One of her favorites treats and something I’d love to try is “Knedliky” — “Czechoslovak fruit dumplings swimming in melted butter, cover with sugar and ground nuts”.

At the age of 40, after earning her Ph.D., she began working in President Jimmy Carter’s office under his National Security Advisory.

Since Albright, there have been two more female Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

MISSING RIHANNA?

You might not have even thought about it, but I bet it crossed your mind now. 🙂

While her last album was 2016’s “Anti” and she says her new album is complete, there is no release date.

Earlier this week, I heard a new dance song that sounds a lot like Rihanna and I love the lyrics, “I got a bed, but I’d rather be in yours”!

Enjoy the new song from David Guetta with Joel Corry and RAYE! It’s my new favorite right now!

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 12, 2021

Happy Valentine’s Day weekend!

To us single people, it’s just another day or the day we prepare to get leftover chocolates for half-price the next day. 🙂

Thank you for taking time to check out my thoughts. It’s fine to disagree with me, just do it diplomatically!

BEING RACIST — NO PROBLEM TO SOME!

Country music star Morgan Wallen is “embarrassed and sorry.”

Earlier this month, after a night out on the town in Nashville, Wallen returned home and was yelling back to his friends that were leaving, “take care of this “p****-ass mother******” and then says, “take care of this p****-ass n*****” .

Once TMZ shared the video and story, iHeart and many country radio stations stopped playing his music, CMT dropped his videos, and his record label suspended his contract indefinitely.

Admitting he was embarrassed and sorry, Wallen went on to tell TMZ, “I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

So, you’d think his career would be pretty much over? Hold up!

Sadly, a large number of country music fans don’t seem to have a problem with his racist stupidity. I’m not speculating. In the wake of his rant, they’re still buying his music!

Earlier this week, a week after TMZ broke the story, Wallen still had 12 of the Top 100 most downloaded songs in the U.S. on the all musical genre chart, not just country.

He had an astounding 26 of the Top 100 country downloads with six in the Top Ten!

That says more about the people continuing to support this man than his racist stupidity!!!

HOW TWISTED!

Enough about him!

It’s hard to believe that the Oscar-winning “The Silence of the 🐑 Lambs” came out 30 years ago this weekend.

And, what’s more twisted about that — it came out on Valentine’s Day 1991!!!

It’s still one of my favorite movies of all-time!

CHINESE NEW YEAR

Xin nian kuai le! Gong hei fat choy!

February 12th is the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Ox!

By the way, “Xin nian kuai le” is Mandarin for “Happy New Year” and “Gong hei fat choy” is Cantonese for “Congratulations and wishing you prosperity.”

I learned those from reading the three-book “Crazy Rich Asians” series by Kevin Kwan!

REMEMBERING WHITNEY HOUSTON

It’s hard to believe that Whitney Houston has now been gone nine years!

On February 11, 2012, the 48-year-old singer was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, one day before the Grammy Awards. 

The autopsy showed that she drowned in the bathtub and subsequent toxicology reports attribute that to heart disease due to chronic cocaine use.

“A SONG FOR YOU: MY LIFE WITH WHITNEY HOUSTON”

Leading up to the anniversary of Whitney’s death, I read Robyn Crawford’s 2019 book, “A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston”.

Crawford was Whitney’s personal assistant and creative director for much of her career. Whitney and Robin met in New Jersey when they were teenagers.

There was always gossip that Whitney’s relationship with Crawford was more intimate than just working together. In this book, Crawford confirms that they together in every way!

You can tell in the book that Robyn definitely cared for and loved Whitney. She didn’t shy away from their use of drugs that started out with marijuana and then progressed to harder drugs. While Robyn cleaned up her act and left Whitney’s circle, Whitney couldn’t break the cycle.

What was astounding was how Whitney’s parents closed their eyes not only their daughter’s relationship with Robyn, but more detrimentally, her drug dependency.

A couple of things that I learned that I couldn’t believe slipped by me from being a fan of almost four decades:

Jermaine Jackson was tapped to produce Whitney’s 1985 debut album! The horror!

I recently listened to their duet, “If you Say My Eyes Are Beautiful” again. If that recording would have been any indication of her first album, her career probably wouldn’t have reached the stratosphere as it did!

Also, I was shocked that Whitney was close to marrying another “bad boy” when Bobby Brown came into her world — Eddie Murphy!

CISSY HOUSTON’S “REMEMBERING WHITNEY”

In early 2013, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston, now 87, released her book, “Remembering Whitney: My Story of Love, Loss, and the Night the Music Stopped”.

I refused to read it because of how Cissy responded to a question from Oprah Winfrey while promoting the book.

In the book, Whitney’s mother writes, “I knew I didn’t want Robyn around my daughter, and I told [Whitney] that. There wasn’t much I could do though. [Whitney] liked Robyn. She was past the age when I could forbid her from seeing someone. Kids have a mind of their own when they get older. They want to experiment with all kinds of things. And I don’t know if it was more than that.”

In the interview, Oprah read that excerpt and asked Cissy, “Would it have bothered you if your daughter, Whitney, was gay?” and she replied,  “Absolutely.”

At the time, I tried to be objective because Cissy was 79-year-old and religion played a big role in her career and life. However, it still bothered me.

In my January 2013 blog about book, I closed with “All I know is that my God, the one I pray to each night, loved Whitney for what she was, his child — straight, gay, or anything in between.  And, he’s happy to have her with him now.”

After reading Robyn’s book, I’m going to read Cissy’s book, even if I cringe through it — to see if she mentions the gay rumors!

MARDI GRAS

While it’ll different again this year, February 16th is “Mardi Gras”!

As much as I love New Orleans, I’ve never had a desire to be there for this event. However, I’d definitely take part in Blue Bell’s fan-favorite Mardi Gras King Cake ice cream!

Doesn’t this sounds amazing: “cinnamon cake flavored ice cream, tasty pastry pieces and a colorful cream cheese swirl with festive candy sprinkles”?

“THE PROM”

Let me first say that I enjoyed this Ryan Murphy/Netflix musical.

Really, how could you go wrong with Meryl Streep and one of my girl crushes, Nicole Kidman (as Angie Dickinson — the name alone is so campy!)

It tells the story of a group of down on their luck, self-centered New York City entertainers looking for a “cause” to support to help change their image.

They find it in a small town Indiana lesbian banned from attending prom with her girlfriend by the incredibly close-minded mother of one of the girls (played with such villainy by the gorgeous, very open-minded Kerry Washington).

A couple of the numbers were fun, but it wasn’t worth waiting an hour into the movie to see Kidman perform a solo number.

Last week, it picked up two Golden Globe nominations — one for the movie in the musical/comedy category and one for James Corden for actor in the musical/comedy category.

GRADE: B-

“HILLYBILLY ELEGY”

This “white trash” movie barely made my top 20 movie list (#19) of 2020 solely on the incredible performances by Amy Adams and Glenn Close.

Both are Oscar nomination-worthy performances and last week, Close earned a Golden Globe nomination in a supporting role.

Would I watch this movie or “The Prom” again? No!

Am I glad I watched them once? Yes.

GRADE: B-

WHITNEY’S GREATEST

In honor of Whitney Houston, here are my six favorite Whitney Houston songs. Why six, no reason! 🙂

And, you’ll notice that there are no ballads! WOW!

My favorites would be “The Greatest Love of All” and “I Have Nothing”.

“IT’S NOT RIGHT, BUT IT’S OKAY”

“MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE”

“QUEEN OF THE NIGHT”

“HOW WILL I KNOW”

“SO EMOTIONAL”

“I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)”

What are your favorites?

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 5, 2021

Happy 2021! Yes, I know it’s the first weekend of February (where did January go?)!

However, other than my Christmas wishes in December and my favorite movies of 2020 in January, I haven’t had a “Random Friday Thoughts” blog since November 20, 2020!

So, here goes and thank you for checking it out!

SUPER BOWL WEEKEND

Who cares? While I don’t care, I know there are many that do.

The only time I’m even remotely interested in the big game is when there’s someone on the halftime show I want to see (J Lo in 2020, Lady Gaga in 2017, Madonna in 2012, and Janet Jackson (and her boobie) in 2004!

Again, it was NOT planned — it was a “wardrobe malfunction”! (I actually typed that with a straight face without laughing out loud!)

This year, it’s The Weeknd!

So, here’s my favorite The Weeknd song — my #9 song of 2015.

GUACAMOLE

While I’m talking about the Super Bowl, this weekend is the biggest selling weekend of the year for avocados!

It’s estimated that the United States alone eats enough guacamole this weekend to fill the Super Bowl stadium!

Meanwhile, the biggest selling food for other holidays: corn (Fourth of July), turkeys (Thanksgiving, duh!), and strawberries (Valentine’s Day).

Those interesting facts are from one of the most intriguing books I read last year — Michael Ruhlman’s 2017’s “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”!

A few fun other things from that book…

In the 1930s, inland Americans only ate about 10 pounds of chicken per person per year compared to about 50 pounds of beef and pork.

Two of the biggest changes in the way we shop came in 1988 thanks to Walmart Supercenters and Whole Foods Market!

While the grocery section accounts for a large portion of a store’s sales, produce (second in sales) is the most profitable.

It’s hard to educate ourselves to eat better because while there 535 lawmakers in Congress, there are more than 10,000 lobbyists in Washington to persuade (con) them — 20 lobbyists to each politicians!

“MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM”

The Golden Globes nominations were announced earlier this week and it comes as no surprise to me that Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman were nominated. I expect them to get Oscar nominations, too.

This was my #5 movie of 2020. As I wrote in January when I posted my 20 favorite movies I saw in 2020, “I could watch Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis act her way through a phone book.”

When I started hearing all the Oscar buzz about Boseman, I was hoping it wasn’t because he had just died in late August. Well, give that man his posthumous Golden Globe and Oscar now. Incredible performance!

You can see it on Netflix.

GRADE: A-

“PIECES OF A WOMAN”

And, speaking of the Golden Globes and the Oscars, Viola Davis will have some stiff competition from Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”).

This movie is downer, but Kirby’s performance in the opening 24 minutes of this drama is amazing!

It’s on Netflix.

GRADE: B+

KYLIE & DUA LIPA

While we look forward to see what the “new normal” will be in 2021 as the world tries to get a grasp on the Covid-19 pandemic, it’ll be interesting to see what awaits us in the world of entertainment.

For me, I want Kylie Minogue to announce a “Disco 2021 Tour” to support her critically acclaimed album (and my favorite of 2020), “Disco”.

The third single, “Real Groove”, features a fantastic version with chart-topper Dua Lipa!

And, the Studio 2054 remix is incredible!

WALKING AND READING

I spend a lot of time walking and reading (12-plus miles daily) — yes, both at the same time. So, I get a lot of books read.

Although they weren’t new books (within the last few years), a disturbing trend I noticed was the lack of quotation marks with dialogue. It was so offsetting and hard to follow! Please stop this! 🙂

The first time I noticed it was in “LaRose”.

“LaROSE”

Over the years, when “Entertainment Weekly” gives a stellar review for a book that sounds interesting and I jot it down to read.

Over the years, that’s how I found Sarai Walker’s “Dietland”, “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins, and “Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler.

This summer, I read three more from that old list.

Louise Erdrich’s 2016 “LaRose” was a very informative fictional book about the Ojibwe tribe.

It tells the story of a hunting accident that leaves a little boy dead and it’s heartbreaking what the hunter’s family has to do to make things right with the family that lost the child.

“THE IMMORTALISTS”

Chloe Benjamin’s 2018 best seller “The Immortalists” was a great book.

Four brothers and sisters in 1969 New York City go to see a fortune teller that specializes in telling people the day they’ll die.

The book follows the youngsters as they maneuver through life trying to deal with the fact that she might be right and how it shapes the decisions they make and how they live their lives.

I have to hand it to Benjamin on her amazing description of gay love and sex with one of the characters!

“THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR”

And, another book on that “EW” list was Canadian author Shari Lapena’s 2016 crime caper, “The Couple Next Door”.

Marco and Anne are heading to dinner at their duplex neighbor’s townhouse when their baby sitter cancels on them at the last minute.

Since they live in a nice, safe neighborhood, they decide to leave their baby Cora at home with a baby monitor and they take turns checking on her every 30 minutes.

When they finally get home after midnight, Cora is missing! Was she kidnapped for ransom? Was she taken and murdered?

Of these three, it was the best.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 26, 2019

It was great last week sharing some random thoughts with you, along with my funny story involving the movie and the very graphic sex scene! 🙂

This week, I learned first hand to be careful what you write (especially if you have a blog) in today’s technological age!

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

WAIT!  I SAID WHAT???

Writers calls it “foreshadowing”.  I’d probably call it something with expletives!

Five years ago, on the Fourth of July, I reviewed a movie that really touched me and I shared a personal anecdote.

It was the Chilean drama “Gloria” and I said it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.”

In it, Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee facing single life again after her two grown child moved out.  But, Gloria didn’t just sit at home.  She went out drinking and socializing to meet men — hoping she’d find “the one”.

In that blog, I added, I was so impressed with her strength and determination”.  I also wrote about finally finding “the one” and summed “Gloria” up with “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

Wait, what was that again? “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

How prophetic in 2014 that I’d be talking about my own life in 2019 as I approach my mid-50s single for over two years!

Olivia Pope wine.gif

Reading that was definitely a “WTF” moment!

However, “I GOT THIS”!  I’ve already shared with you that 2020 is the year for change.  I’ll take back my life and start living again!

#NextChapter2020 and #Pug2020

“Gloria” ended up being one of my 20 favorite movies in 2014.

Here’s how I ended my review of the movie, “Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.”

GRADE:  A

“GLORIA BELL”

I absolutely love Julianne Moore, but I had serious reservations about whether I wanted to see director Sebastian Lelio’s re-imagining of his original “Gloria”.

Well, I rented it and Moore and John Turturro were amazing.  Except for Americanizing the soundtrack and Moore freely exposing herself with confidence, I couldn’t wait for the movie to be over!

If you love Moore and you haven’t seen the original, rent it and you’ll enjoy it.  Otherwise, rent the original!

GRADE:  C+

“POSE”

Although the second season debuted back in early June on FX, real life got in the way of me catching up on this amazing drama.

pose

After watching the first episode of season two, “Acting Up”, I saved it to watch again!  It was the absolute best episode of the young, incredible series!

Season two picks up three years after the first season (1987).

Last season, two characters learned they’re HIV-positive.  “Acting Up” is about their fight to stay alive when so many of their friends are dying at an alarming rate and the government could care less about their suffering!

It also touched on the fear of taking the life-saving, but also toxic new drug AZT — the only HIV/AIDS drug available at the time.

pose billy porter

For the first season, Billy Porter (Pray Tell) and the show both picked up Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominations.

Both were just nominated for Emmys this year!  This makes Porter the first openly gay black man to be nominated in the “Outstanding Lead Actor” drama category!

I also wish that Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista) had gotten a nomination, too.

One final note about season two:  it’s now 1990 and Madonna just released “Vogue”, which brought the underground ball scene of New York City to a mainstream audience!

Here’s Candy (Angelica Ross) in her “Blonde Ambition” best!

Candy as Madonna

Next week, I want to talk about the powerful fourth episode, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”.  Why not this week?  I want to give you a chance to get caught up!

spoiler-alert

“Pose” is already renewed for a third season!

As Pray Tell says, “THE CATEGORY IS LIVE.WORK.POSE.”

FIVE MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS

Christmas is now less than five months away!

Recently, it was announced that actress/singer Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be starring in the ABC holiday movie, “Same Time, Next Christmas”, in December.

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She’ll also be releasing her first Christmas album later this year!

THIS CHRISTMAS(LAND) GIVE ME THE CREEPS

The ten-episode AMC series, “NOS4A2”, wraps up Sunday night and has already been renewed for a second season of Christmas horror!

It’s a “supernatural horror drama” that’s pretty damn creepy because Christmas and child abductions drive the story line.

Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek”) is unrecognizable, at times, as the immortal 135-year-old Charlie Manx!

A young woman, “Vic” McQueen, realizes she has a supernatural ability to track down Manx, who feeds off the souls of children.

He then drops the living, yet soulless kids, off at Christmasland.  It’s a very twisted part of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day!

By the way, it’s pronounced “Nosferatu”.

GRADE (before the finale):  B

SLOW DOWN CHRISTMAS, LET’S TALK HALLOWEEN!

Last week, Jamie Lee Curtis posted on Twitter that not one, but two more “Halloween” movies are on the way!

Capture

On October 16, 2020, “Halloween Kills” hits theaters and then the following fall on October 15, 2021, “Halloween Ends”!

“Halloween (2018)”, the eleventh movie in the franchise, was critically acclaimed and made $255.5 million worldwide!

Halloween

As we all know, “You can’t kill the boogeyman!”

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Since I talked about “Gloria”, I want to take a moment to memorialize Laura Branigan, who died of a brain aneurysm at her home almost fifteen years on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, three reached the top ten:  the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.

It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Snowed In & Hibernating?

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

We shivered here in the Minnesota’s Northland with temperatures around -15° to -40° and wind chills of -30° to -50°.

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feels_like

Meanwhile, my friends back in the Quad Cities are waking up to a new blanket of 4″-8″ of snow!

So, you might be wanting some movie suggestions!

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

While this retro thriller didn’t exactly set the box office on fire last fall, it’s incredible.

I was intrigued by the trailer and the movie exceeded my expectations.

It takes place in the late-1960s when a group of travelers and people with an agenda show up at the El Royale hotel, just outside of Lake Tahoe.  Part of the hotel is in California and part of it is in Nevada, which is used as a sales gimmick.

From the title, you can tell it’s not a vacation and bad things happen!

Cynthia Erivo is amazing, as is relative newcomer Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman).

And, Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) is stunning as a scantily clad, oh well, I don’t need to give much away.  I’ll just leave it as “scantily clad”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

From the trailer, this black comedy/thriller looked fun and it was!

The $20 million late summer movie starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and sexy Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) made an impressive $97.1 million in theaters.

It was much darker and funnier than I expected.

Blake Lively was great.  While I knew of her from “Gossip Girl”, I first took notice of her in the beautiful “The Age of Adeline” (2015).

Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie.  I really took notice when she married my future ex-boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds! 🙂

Ryan-Reynolds-Body

Oops, I digressed!

There’s a running joke in the movie that if I had been drinking something, I’d spit it out in laughter! “BF”!

Yes, the movie is dark, but humorous!  A perfect combination of the two.

GRADE: B+

“22 JULY”

This movie is based on the true story of a 2011 terrorist attack on Norway.

Two separate attacks, one by a bomb in Oslo’s city government district to distract police and another at a camp in Utøya for teenagers, left 77 dead.

Of the 69 killed at the camp, most were kids!

The motive — white supremacy and the hate of Muslims coming into Scandinavia!

The Netflix movie was directed by Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips” and three of the “Jason Bourne” movies).

Greengrass also directed 2006’s Oscar nominated, heartbreaking and heart-pumping “United 93”, which is a far more superior movie.

As you know, “United 93” was one of the planes used in the 9/11 attacks.

GRADE: B

“UNITED 93”

GRADE: A-

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS”

Okay, this may come as a shocker, but I never saw the original “Mary Poppins”!  I’m familiar with it and I did see a high school stage production of it! 🙂

But, my friend Katie convinced me to go see it with her after work earlier this week (she’s already seen it four or five times).  I was sold with Emily Blunt and my crush, Ben Whishaw, as stars!

Ben Whishaw

Blunt was incredible as usual as Mary Poppins.  What an incredible year for her after last winter’s “A Quiet Place”, which was one of my Top 10 movies of 2018.

Lin Manuel-Miranda (“Hamilton”) was great as Jack, the lamplighter.

His “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”, which reminded me of director Rob Marshall’s “Cell Block Tango” from 2002’s “Chicago”, was probably my favorite number in the movie.

A must see for kids and adults!

GRADE:  B+

“THE BODYGUARD”

This six-episode Netflix thriller is sexy and full of intrigue and twists.

A former Afghanistan war veteran, Sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden) is hired to protect a controversial high-ranking British cabinet member, the Home Secretary.

Well, there are snakes in the grass, so all doesn’t go as planned.

Madden beat out Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” for this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama.  But, Rhys ended up winning the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor.

That goes to show how great of a performance it was.

And, as much as I loved Rhys performance in the final season of “The Americans”, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Madden had won both awards!

GRADE: A-

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome and the conclusion!

GRADE:  B

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It’s racking up all kinds of win leading up to the Oscar nominations.  My prediction:  while it’ll be nominated for Best Picture — it won’t (and shouldn’t) win!

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Randomness — Holidays, Movies & More

Since I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I still wanted to share some recommendations on things I watched and enjoyed lately.

If you saw these, too, let me know what you thoughts.  If you didn’t, you have some things to check out!

A QUEEN BRINGS LIFE TO THE NEWBORN KING!

Leave it to a queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, to bring life to the newborn king holiday ballad, “The Little Drummer Boy” !

This is an incredible, fun version of the song and I love the video. 🙂

BABY, BRING THE BUBBLY INSIDE!

Fun Mimosas.jpg

CHRISTMAS SONG THOUGHTS

I’m not even going to get into the whole “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” debate.  It was already one of my least favorite holiday songs even before this year!

But, here are a few things to think about when listening to Christmas music this year!

In “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, it lists the other reindeer and then asks a very silly question, “but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all”!

hermey-rudolph01

Seriously, if he’s the most famous reindeer of all, of course we remember him!

From “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “a child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.

While silver and gold would be nice to have, why not a damn blanket since the baby is cold!!!

Wise-Men-Baby-Jesus-Manger.png

And, I love the Carpenters!  But, in “Home For The Holidays”, I shake my head when Karen sings of going home and “Geez, the traffic is terrific!”

Traffic is terrific????  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER.

It’s more like…

gtfo

… of my way!

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE”

I finally got around to watching “It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes, which made debuted on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Rimes stars as Eve Morgan, who goes back home as Interim school superintendent to get the district out of financial trouble.  The easiest way to do it is to cut the arts program.

And, who does she meet living across the street from her mother and stepfather?  You probably guessed it — a very handsome music teacher, Liam (Tyler Hynes), at one of the schools on the chopping block!

While predictable, it’s still a cute movie.

The only thing I cringed about was the use of my least favorite (and widely overused) term these days:  “meet cute”.   It wasn’t used once or twice, but three times, if I’m not mistaken! 🙂

GRADE:  B

Before the show premiered, I wrote, “the soundtrack is incredible!  Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave it an “A” grade!

REMEMBERING DREW & JUAN

After the summer 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims — especially 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

While that Christmas was perfect for the young men and their families, I know the following ones have been difficult for the grieving families.

To their families. Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

This past November marked the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.  Some called it “mass murder” and others, a “mass suicide”.

I’m in the “mass murder” camp, since the Reverend Jim Jones was deranged and pretty much forced those people to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at gunpoint!

More than 900 people died.

This SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life from Indiana to the jungles of Guyana was incredible.

GRADE:  A

“PADDINGTON 2”

2014’s “Paddington” was fun.  The little bear is adorable and especially so, voiced by my big-time crush, Ben Whishaw!

Ben Whishaw

Plus, Nicole Kidman as a villain was icing on the cake.

This year’s $40 million sequel was box office gold.  It made $226.9 million.

Paddington is living in London and wants to buy his aunt a picture book.  But, this movie’s villain (played by Hugh Grant) wants the book because it holds clues to a treasure that no one knows about, except him.

The movie is very cute and heartwarming.  With just minutes before the end credits, Iit brought tears to my eyes!  🙂

Also, at one point near the end of the movie, a scene with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins made me feel like I was watching “The Shape of Water 2”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“SEARCHING”

This incredible movie was made for just a million dollars and brought in an astounding $70.6 million in theaters.

It was shot mostly on smartphones and computer screens and is eerie and creepy.

John Cho stars as a dad that learns he knows very little about his 15-year-old daughter when she goes missing.

Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) is a detective that’s helping solve the case.

Cho is nominated for the “Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead”.

GRADE: A-

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” WINTER FINALE

While I still like “The Good Doctor” on ABC, I recently wrote that I’ve cooled on the show.  Well, that all changed with the winter finale, “Quarantine”!

If you’ve never watched the show or you don’t watch it religiously, watch this episode “On Demand”!!!

And, if you’ve never watched it, all you need to know is that Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is autistic and is considered a savant!

It was intense and scary to think that this could really happen!  And, which major characters will die?

“The Good Doctor” returns on ABC Monday, January 14, 2019.

“JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS”

Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”).

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.

GRADE: A-

“BLACKkKLANSMAN”

This Spike Lee picture was made for $15 million and made $88.2 million in theaters.

It’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado in the early-1970s.

John David Washington (Denzel’s son) plays Stallworth, who contacts the Ku Klux Klan and then has to coach a white officer (Adam Driver) to pose as Stallworth to meet the hooded haters!

While this story took place in the ’70s, there were subtle and not so subtle references to “that man”, 45!

The nominations are coming in for BLACKkKLANSMAN”!  It’s up for five Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

It’s also nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Washington) and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

While this movie was very enjoyable and entertaining, my favorite Spike Lee movie is still 1999’s underappreciated “Summer of Sam”.

GRADE: B+

“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU”

Lakeith Stanfield will be a name you’ll hear more of in the future.

He leads this movie about a telemarketer who learns that using a “white voice” helps his sales and will move him up the corporate ladder at WorryFree faster.

But, it comes with a price.

This comedy is crazy and definitely goes off the rails with well-endowed horse people (you’ll have to watch the movie)! 🙂

Sexy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) stars as the CEO of the company.

It made $17.6 million in theaters and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

GRADE: B

“HEREDITARY”

I like horror movies and I love Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding”), but I wasn’t drawn to the theaters to see “Hereditary”.

I finally saw it on DVD and I made the right decision to avoid it.

Supernatural movies have less appeal to me than horror movies with deranged serial killers!  Hello Michael Myers!

Halloween

“Hereditary” does have a very surprising and shocking death scene that I didn’t see coming.

While Collette and Alex Wolff, who plays her 16-year-old son, are great, the movie was too long and convoluted.

Yet, it was a box office hit earning $79.3 million.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — October 5, 2018

Happy first week of October!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts!

MORE REFLECTIONS ON PRESIDENT CARTER

President Jimmy Carter turned 94 earlier this week.

Here’s a note I left at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, a couple of years ago on my visit.

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AP Jimmy Carter Presidential Library  Museum.jpg

AMERICA’S MOOD

It’s summed up perfectly by Dana Scully and the always incredible, beautiful, and intelligent Gillian Anderson!

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COMFORTING ROBERT KENNEDY 

Just moments after giving his victory speech in the California Democratic primary at the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was making his exit through the kitchen.

That’s when an assassin’s bullets mortally wounded the Democratic presidential hopeful.

18-year-old hotel busboy, Juan Romero rushed to Kennedy’s side and cradled him and kept his head off the restaurant floor.

Kennedy.JPG

Romero died earlier this week of an apparent heart attack in Modesto, California. He was 68.

Earlier this year, Romero said, “I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, ‘Is everybody OK?’ I said, ‘Yes, everybody’s OK.’ I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable.”

“THE WALKING DEAD”

Like 45 and his old tweets that come back to bite him in the ass, I’m retracting something I said in my April 20, 2018, blog.

Under the ominous headline, GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD”, I wrote, “After eight seasons, I’m giving up on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.  The seventh and eighth season were painful and I didn’t find them enjoyable… Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!”

Well, hell’s bells!  Now that I know Lincoln is leaving the show early in the ninth season, I now have to watch it to say goodbye to my future ex-boyfriend.

Andrew Lincoln

By the way, I saw the first five minutes of the October 7th premiere episode and it looks great.

Okay, show runners, while the details of how he departs is unknown to the public, I hope his death (?) is heartbreaking!  And, as an added bonus, can Judith go along with him?

I’m normally not a shipper, but may I request Jesusaron?

“YOU”

Last week, I talked about the Lifetime stalker drama, “You”.

I’m still loving it and I was laughing out loud with these two lines from the last episode.

you-lifetime

Beck’s thoughts after the quick intimacy with Joe: “What was that? Eight seconds? Hell yeah, he’s got that Trump just took Pennsylvania look!”

Also, from Beck, “You’re a coward. Britney got through 2007 though, right?”

BASEBALL SEASON

I’m a fair weather baseball fan.

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By the way, that Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. 🙂

I don’t really follow a particular team although when I lived in Chicago, I rooted for the Cubs. And, then when the White Sox made the World Series, they were my team.

There are just too many games for me, but I start to pay attention when the 30 teams are whittled down and the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series take place.

The Division Series (quarterfinal round) got underway this week!

In the August 6-13, 2018 issue, “Time” reported that the average age of those watching Major League Baseball (MLB) rose from 52 in 2000 to 57 in 2016. (42 is the average age of National Basketball Association viewers!)

Not only are MLB viewers getting old, there are fewer young people watching the games.  A recent survey showed that nearly two-thirds of people ages 18 to 36 didn’t watch baseball!

By the way, I was huge Cleveland Indians fan when I lived in Ohio and Grady Sizemore played for the team (2004-2011).

Sizemore

And, as a kid, I had the biggest crush on Kansas City Royals third baseman, George Brett!

Brett

“MANIFEST”

The new hit, “Manifest” on NBC is creepy, sad, and awesome!

In 2013, a flight takes off from Jamaica and arrives in New York five years later.  However, to the people on board, it was a typical three-hour flight with some turbulence.

But, the world has moved on without them.

I was blown away by the premiere and the second episode was equally compelling!  I love the premise, the acting, and I’m touched with the sentimentality!

While I can’t wait to see how the story develops, I’m majorly crushing on Josh Dallas!

josh-dallas-manifest

I may have to binge watch “Once Upon a Time” when I’m snowed in this winter to catch more of him!

Totally random here, but one advantage to a “Manifest”-like situation is not having to deal with 45 in the White House!

FALL TELEVISION MVP

I’m happy to see more of my network television shows back from summer break.

“9-1-1” on Fox is still sexy, thrilling , and fun.  The earthquake episodes were fantastic.

And, here’s to the new hotties:

Ryan Guzman (Eddie Diaz, a new firefighter on “9-1-1”)

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and from the USA Network show, “The Purge”, Gabriel Chavarria (Miguel Guerrero, a US Marine who returns home on Purge Night to save his sister, Penelope).

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HARVEST SEASON IS HERE

Before you know it, a hard freeze and snow will be on the way.  Harvest those crops!

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CANDY CORN PIZZA

Would you try it? 🙂

CC pizza

“A LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS”

Finally, more information about the upcoming John Legend Christmas project.

john legend - A Legendary Christmas

The new album (and 25-date Christmas tour) is called “A Legendary Christmas” and it comes out October 26th!

Fourteen songs will appear on the album and it includes several original songs and many classics like “Please Come Home for Christmas”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “The Christmas Song” (featuring Esperanza Spalding).

Stevie Wonder brings his harmonica skills to the album’s first song, “What Christmas Means to Me”.

“SONS OF ANARCHY”

I just started binge-watching the seven season, 92-episode FX series, “Sons of Anarchy”, which ran from 2008-2014.

After the first two seasons, I’m very impressed.  I even Googled to see if “motorcycle club” life was as violent as the series portrays it and from what I read, it’s pretty rough to be part of that gang!

Charlie Hunnam has grown up from when I first saw him in the 1999-2000 original UK series “Queer As Folk”.  He’s still gorgeous and nicely buffed as rough Jax Teller.

Charlie Katey.JPG

And, I’m blown away by Katey Sagal, who play’s Jax’s mother, Gemma, and is the real life wife of “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter.   Many will remember her as Peg Bundy on Fox’s long-running series “Married… with Children”.

Sagal won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress” in a Television Series Drama for the third season.

In the second season, there’s a brutal rape and beating of a major character and it’s painful to watch.  It’s even more heartbreaking watching her try to recover without her family knowing about it!

Here’s an interesting tidbit that you may remember if you’ve watch the series.

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Other than Hunnam, I’m crushing on Johnny Lewis, who plays “Half-Sack” (no, I won’t explain his nickname!) in seasons one and two.

When I went online to find out more about the actor, I learned that he dated Katy Perry many years ago.

Johnny Lewis Katy Perry.JPG

However, I was shocked to learn that he’s dead.

Lewis and his 81-year-old landlady Catherine Davis were found dead at Davis’ home in September 2012.

Police were called after neighbors heard the woman screaming.  Authorities say Lewis broke into the house, beat Davis to death and killed her cat, Jesse.

They found his body in the driveway and believe he fell to his death from the building.

Lewis had just been released from jail just five days before the murder, but the autopsy found no alcohol or drugs in his body.

His family says he had occasional spurts of violence, which stemmed from untreated head injuries suffered from a high-speed motorcycle accident one year earlier!

“JAKE SHEARS”

It’s hard to believe that the last Scissor Sisters album came out in 2012.

I was so grateful to see them in Chicago in 2010.

This was the pre-concert and post-concert after dancing and getting caught in the rain!

AP SS Final

This is sexy Jake Shears, one of the two lead singers for the band (with Ana Matronic).

Scissor Sisters

In August, Jake released his self-titled debut album and it’s phenomenal.  Sadly, it hasn’t made a splash in America like it did in Europe!

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There are many incredible songs on the album and my favorites are “Good Friends”, “S.O.B.” (which stands for sex on the brain), “Everything I’ll Ever Need”, “Creep City”, and “Sad Song Backwards”!

GRADE:  B+

“DANCING QUEEN”

If you love Cher and you love ABBA, then this album is a combination of unicorns, rainbows, and bell bottoms if you’re a dancing queen!

It’s expected to debut in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart!

And, the album’s first single, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” moves into the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, her 14th top 10 hit on that chart!

Cher

GRADE:  B+  

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 28, 2018

September is coming to a close and it’s time to get those pumpkins and think about carving jack-o-lanterns.

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As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.   I’ll start off on a happy note, vent a little, and then share more positive things. 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

It’s a few days early, but I’d like to wish a “Happy Birthday” to my idol, President Jimmy Carter!

Autograph Carters

On October 1st, our nation’s 39th president turns 94!

This makes him the second longest-lived president and the president that’s lived the longest after leaving office (almost 37 years and 8 months and counting)!

What’s amazing about this wonderful man is that he and his incredible wife, Rosalynn, are still both very active writing, touring, and building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Since leaving office in 1981, with The Carter Center, he’s done more for world peace and a healthy planet than any U.S.  president — living or dead!

Here’s to many more happy, loving years, President Carter!

A QUICK MOMENT TO VENT

Full disclosure here:  I think 45 is a joke, I hope America votes him out of office in 2020, and I can’t understand why people still support him — even if they voted for him.

Facebook is a wonderful thing (?) because some “friends” on there make strange bedfellows.

The other day, I defended “that man” (45) for drinking Diet Coke from a wine glass and then I made a critical comment about him.  Well, it was a meme.

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Of course, one of his supporters came to his defense.  That’s fine, if you can coherently debate the topic and defend the man.

However, when she posted this comment, it crossed the line with me:  “but you supported a [sic] anti American Muslim who wanted to take America down?

At this point, I jumped into melee with this post:

“Christine, I’m really glad that Neil blocked you. Why? Your comment on his thread about the American Muslim that tried to take down America! Let me clarify something with you as diplomatically as I can. The Muslims that tried to bring America down on 9/11 were Islamic extremists! They killed thousands, but they failed miserably when you look at the big picture. Whether you’re an American Muslim, a Middle Eastern Muslim, or wherever you’re from, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist. The Islamic faith is not based on those extreme actions from the extremists! Look at all the white terrorists that have made it their ill-fated mission with the killing sprees here in the U.S. I know your life will go on and mine will, too, if I chose to delete you, too. It’s one thing to support that man and his beliefs, but when you demean the #MeToo movement and make sexual misconduct jokes (yes, I looked at your page), I really don’t know what we even have in common and why we’re “friends”!”

People (who really test my tolerance)!

“RBG”

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, this year alone, “Won’t You Be My Friend” ($22.6 million) and”RBG” ($14 million) changed that!

This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She started her trailblazing from just being a woman and using her voice when women didn’t really have a place or a voice in the world of law.

What an amazing woman!

GRADE:  A

MORE GINSBURG

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Earlier this summer, Ginsburg announced that she has no plans to give up her seat anytime soon, “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

And, if you can’t get enough of Ginsburg, you’ll get another chance in select theaters on Christmas Day with “On The Basis of Sex”.

Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Ginsburg and Golden Globe Award nominee Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband Martin.

THEY SAID WHAT???

CHER (on “Ellen” when asked what three celebrities she’d like to record a duet with): “Oh, Adele, Pink, and, uh, um, not Madonna!”

JACQUELINE KENNEDY (born and raised Republican, in 1960, the year her Democratic husband would be elected the 35th president of the U.S.: “But you have to be a Republican to realize how nice it is to be a Democrat.”

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

The final season (eight episodes) of House of Cards” with Robin Wright as President Claire Underwood debuts on Netflix November 2nd!

A new revealing trailer came out this week and “the reign of the middle-aged white man” is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNDERWEAR

Why not take a few minutes for something sexy and lighter?

Here’s a look at the the changes in men’s underwear over the past century!

“YOU”

I shamelessly (sorry, not sorry) admit two things — occasionally watching “Lifetime” and actually enjoying the creepy stalker series, “You”.

It’s based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel about a bookstore owner, Joe (Penn Badgley) who becomes obsessed with a college graduate student, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who comes into the store.

I know many of us has had psychotic exes or stalkers, but what’s more disturbing is that even though you know that what Joe is doing is bad, bad, bad, you still feel for him.  He does have a thin thread of humanity in him!

I guess I’m not alone.  Before the first episode aired, Lifetime renewed it for a second season.

“THE PURGE” TELEVISION SERIES

I love “The Purge” movie series and I thought I’d give the USA Network’s 10-episode television event a chance.

After four episodes, I’m still with it.  However, I don’t know if it’ll hold my interest to see it through to the end.

There are some exciting things in the series and some lame filler, too.

GRADE:  B-

One last note:  The latest movie in the series, “The First Purge”, came out in theaters this summer and made $135.6 million.

I can’t wait to see it when it arrives on DVD October 2nd!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE” 

As I approach my birthday and since I’m in my 50s, I had to laugh out loud at one of Joan Collins’ line from the second episode of “Apocalypse”.

JCollins

By the way, Collins is 85.

Another “Apocalypse” note:   Very little on television or in movies shocks me (language, violence, or sex), but I have to say there was a very graphic sex scene in the second episode that probably made conservatives choke — if they watch “American Horror Story”.

It made Joan Collins’s character blush and run away! 🙂

“BLOODLINE”

This three-season, 33-episode Netflix series aired from 2015-2017.

The drama is about the Rayburn family who own a beach side inn, the Rayburn House, in the Florida Keys.

Three of the Rayburn children still live in Monroe County.  John is a detective for the Sheriff’s Office, Meg is a lawyer, and hot-headed Kevin is a mechanic.

The drama comes in when the black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home.

Kyle Chandler plays John and I had the biggest crush on him back in the late-1990s when he starred on the CBS series “Early Edition”.

My recommendation is to watch season one and the last five episodes of season two.  Just read the episode summary for the first five episodes of season two online and skip season three altogether!

I had a major crush on Enrique Murciano, who played John’s work partner, Marco Diaz, who also dated Meg.

Enrique Murciano

The series also stars Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard.

Season 1 GRADE:  B+

Season 2 (FIRST FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  D+

Season 2 (SECOND FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  A-

Season 3 GRADE:  D+

SISSY SPACEK

One of the great pleasures of watching “Bloodline” was seeing Sissy Spacek.

Sissy Spacek

I remember seeing her as a teenager as Carrie White in 1976’s “Carrie” (which earned Spacek an Oscar nomination) and as Loretta Lynn in 1980’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, for which Spacak won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

What did surprise me is that the Texas-born actress, who’ll turn 69 on Christmas Day, has been nominated for an Oscar four other times!

The other Best Actress nominations were for “Missing” (1982), “The River ” (1984), “Crimes of the Heart” (1986), and “In The Bedroom” (2001)!

Spacek has upcoming roles in the movie “The Old Man & the Gun” with Robert Redford and in Amazon’s “Homecoming” (November 2, 2018) starring Julia Roberts and directed and executive produced by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”).

“BREAKING IN”

This movie will likely have a mention in my year end blog of my 20 favorites movies of the year.

But, it’ll be on a different list — the worst movies of the year!

It’s basically the story of four bad guys who take a woman’s two children hostage inside her father’s fortified home.  She has to break into the house to save her children.

The $6 million movie brought in almost $51 million at the box office, but it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!

However, Gabrielle Union is a fine actress and I also enjoyed seeing Billy Burke (“Zoo”) as a bad guy.

It was also great to see Richard Cabral again.   He was phenomenal in seasons one and three of ABC’s “American Crime”.

GRADE:  D+

SPEAKING OF THOSE 20 FAVORITES MOVIES OF THE YEAR…

Now that I’ve seen more than 30 movies in 2017, here are the ones that I liked, but have been pushed out of my Top 20 list for this year (the “honorable mentions”):

“The Star”, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, “Molly’s Game”, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, “It”, “The Mountain Between Us”, “All the Money in the World”, “Darkest Hour”, “Marshall”, “Chappaquiddick”.

“My Friend Dahmer” almost made the list of the three worst movies I saw in 2017, but there were three other stinkers!

“SAY YOU REALLY WANT ME”

English singer Kim Wilde first hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 with “Kids in America”.  Even though it only reached #25, it’s still one of my favorites.

Her biggest hit in the U.S. was a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.  It reached #1 in 1987.

The follow-up was “Say You Really Want Me”, a very sultry song that barely missed the Top 40 on the Hot 100, but I still love it to this day!

Sexy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony