Posts Tagged ‘Helen Mirren’

Ready to Watch Some Movies?

I love watching movies, yet I’ve only been to the theater once this year.  I saw “Beauty and the Beast” when it came out this spring.

I want to share some of the recent ones I’ve watched at home.  I highly recommend some and you should proceed with caution on others.

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

If you want a movie that doesn’t have superheroes or isn’t a sequel, check out this Warren Beatty-directed flick about reclusive and eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

While he’s the star of the movie, it focuses on the flirting and budding affair of one of his drivers (Alden Ehrenreich) and an actress on his payroll (Lily Collins).

Ehrenreich is mesmerizing on screen and for “Star Wars” fans, he’ll be playing the young Han Solo in next year’s stand alone film.

Collins was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Sadly, the movie bombed at theaters, so here’s your chance to see it in Redbox.

GRADE:  B+

“THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES”

You’ve got to check out this Netflix original comedy!

Jessica Williams plays a struggling New York City playwright that’s trying to get over a break-up.

Since her relationship ended, life hasn’t been all that great — career rejections letters and rejects in her single life.

She goes out on a date with a divorced man a few years older, played by the charming Chris O’Dowd.

Williams and O’Dowd are funny together and that first date is hilarious.

If you’ve ever had a break-up, this romantic comedy (with some drama) is perfect.

GRADE:  B+

“THE DINNER”

This movie stars two of my favorite actors, Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and one of my new discoveries, Rebecca Hall.

Gere and Hall (he’s a politician running for governor and she’s his wife) are having dinner with his brother and sister-in-law (Steve Coogan and Linney).

They’re there to discuss a family issue that could blow up and become a public relations nightmare for Gere and bring criminal charges onto the family.

If the movie focused on the two couples and dinner at the restaurant, it would have been rated much higher.

While I know there has to be back story to set it up, some of the scenes went on way too long — especially the Gettysburg scene.  It was painfully long!

However, “The Dinner” is still a movie to see just for the spectacular acting of the four leads.

GRADE:  B-

Since I mentioned that Rebecca Hall is one of my new favorites, I want to add “Christine” to the list.

I saw this movie this summer on Netflix and wrote about it to my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 23, 2017.

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“CLOSET MONSTER”

This little seen Canadian movie is about a kid that witnesses a harrowing hate crime and doesn’t tell anyone.

As he’s coming of age as a teenager, he’s traumatized living in a broken home with a homophobic father, especially since he thinks he’s gay.

Connor Jessup is incredible as Oscar, the tormented teenager.

You’ll probably remember Jessup from the second season of ABC’s “American Crime”, where he played a teen that was raped by a member of the football team, which was covered up by the school.

Jessup plays heartbreak and pain well!

GRADE:  B

“PHIL SPECTOR”

This 2013 HBO film was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards.

I bought it when a movie franchise was going out of business and just got around to watching it.

It stars one of my favorite actresses Helen Mirren as an attorney for Phil Spector, incredibly played by Al Pacino.

As you recall, Spector, one of the most famous music producers of all time, was on trial for shooting and killing a “down on her luck” actress in his home.

While the movie didn’t win any Emmy Awards, Mirren did win the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie”.

GRADE:  B+

I hope you’re able to check some of these out.  Some are in Redbox, some on Netflix, and some might be harder to find.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — June 23, 2017

It’s officially summer now and the “spring of discontent” is over!  Yes, I changed the season from the popular “summer” or “winter”.  But, this was probably the worst (or very close to it) spring of my lifetime!

I’m glad summer is here and I’m ready to get through those hot and insufferably humid Florida months because I’m told it’s gorgeous here from October through March. 🙂

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

CAITLYN, PLEASE GO AWAY — ANYWHERE!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Caitlyn Jenner.

There are several reasons for that.  I have transgender friends and they would make much better spokespeople for the LGBT community.

For the record, I have said a few nice things about her.

Caitlyn

Typically when I don’t like someone, I’ll choose one of the worst pictures I can find to post.  But, I’ll be a true southern gentleman here and post a nice one.

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

Last week, in the wake of the baseball field shooting spree outside of Washington D.C., in which Republican Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, Jenner did what she and her family (the Kardashians and the Jenners) do best, she opened her mouth!

Jenner joked to a group, “Liberals can’t even shoot straight.”

Seriously???  I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll repeat myself, Caitlyn, please go away!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM!

Bachmann

No, not her this time!

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

Not, him either.  But, as zany as it was, I do miss “The Following” and I’ll likely watch all three seasons again on Netflix one day.

I had a cherry popsicle the other night and laid the plastic wrapping on the counter and forgot to throw it away.  The next day, I noticed a big red stain on the Formica counter and Windex didn’t take it off.

But, Uncle Google told me, “Mix baking soda with just enough water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and lay a wet paper towel over the paste to keep it moist.”

Presto!  It worked!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM! (PART TWO)

Aren’t you glad that I reminded you of that #4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1991?  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

This also got me to thinking about another weighty C+C Music Factory controversy that I’ll share next week.  That’s a great tease! 🙂

I’LL CALL HER “BRENDA”

I was at Walmart last Sunday picking up a couple of movies from Redbox and another rotisserie chicken.

The chicken has become a weekly tradition for me since moving here. The first weekend, it was out of necessity since I hadn’t unpacked the kitchen.  Now, it’s just tasty and convenient!

While checking out the wine selection, a nicely dressed, older woman (I’ll call her “Brenda”) asked if I was the new morning meteorologist.  We got to talking about the Panhandle and “climate change” came up.  She was appalled that people don’t think it’s happening.  I agreed with her.

Then she says, “I don’t know if you’re religious or not” and I replied, “I don’t believe in organized religion, but I pray each night”.

lake_of_fire

“Brenda” proceeds to tell me that in Revelation it says those that destroy the Earth will be destroyed by God and that she feels it’ll be sooner than we think.

I stood and politely listened.

She ended the conversation by telling me I look much younger in person and that maybe I should wear my shorts and tank top on air. 🙂

MY HISTORY WITH THE “BOOK OF REVELATION”

“Brenda” got me to thinking about the “Book of Revelation” again how it tormented me as a child.  It may have scared me away from church, but it didn’t scare me away from God.

Now that I live deep in the “Bible Belt”, I’ll share it again for my new friends or for those that may have missed it the first time.  Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD”

Shania Twain is back and she’s ready to take over from she left off fifteen years ago.

Her new album, “Now”, the first since “Up!” in 2002, will be released September 29th!

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good”, the first single, is being played some at country radio!

I saw Shania in concert in 2014 in Las Vegas and she looked and sounded amazing.

Shania 2014

Too bad I had just gotten my camera at that time and wasn’t a master at selfies when she walked right up to me! 🙂

AP Shania

IT’S JUST SIX MONTHS AWAY

Christmas is now just six months away.

I’ve thought about it a few times and I already know I’ll miss my beautifully decorated house back in the Quad Cities.  This was last year.

Last Christmas

I’ve been wanting to see the Will Smith movie “Collateral Beauty” and it takes place at Christmas.

“COLLATERAL BEAUTY”

In the opening scene, Smith’s character, Howard Inlet, a successful advertising executive, tells an audience that “We long for LOVE, we wish we had more TIME, and we fear DEATH.”

He then suffers a major loss and becomes reclusive to the point that he’s bringing down the company almost to the point of it going under.  His business partners devise a plan to prove that he’s losing it since he’s the majority shareholder.

That plan consists of a having a private investigator follow Inlet and three actors are hired to portray love, time, and death.

Along with Smith, an Oscar nominee, the movie also stars three other Academy Award nominees, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and two Oscar winners, Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet.

However, all that star power and the gold pedigree couldn’t save the movie from being panned by movie critics and some fans.

On the “Rotten Tomatoes” movie website, it only has a 12% approval rating! However, movie goers on CinemaScore gave it an “A-“.

The $36 million movie grossed $88.2 million.

GRADE:  B

DAVID LYNCH SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I never saw “Twin Peaks”, but the sequel is back on Showtime.

Director David Lynch is known to be a little out there.  If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know that.

But, what he told “Entertainment Weekly” recently shows that the man know what he’s talking about.

“People are people, and we are the way we are.  We’re all supposed to get along, and diversity should be appreciated fully in the light of unity.  That’s peace on Earth and there should be room for everyone.”

David, thank you for being an ally!

PRIDE — THE MUSIC LIVES ON

June is national LGBT Pride month.

LGBT

Two weeks ago, I highlighted the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and last week, I talked about meeting the founder of the Panama City PFLAG chapter at a meet and greet.

I also meet some great people there and had some tasty appetizers.

P FOOD

PRIDE IN MY EARLY CLUB DAYS

Last week, I also shared two songs that’ll always stay with me and remind me of my early club days in the 1980s.

Today, I’m featuring two more.  Both were huge hits in the early-to-mid-1980s as AIDS was ravaging the gay community and President Reagan and the federal government kept its eyes, ears, mouth, and minds closed.

Ironically, both of these songs are from HIV-positive artists and the songs couldn’t be as different — one was about quick sex without any commitment and the other was about taking it slow — talking, dancing, and having cherry wine.

PrideFlag

Greek-American model and dancer Paul Lekakis was discovered in an Italian nightclub.

He never scored a Top 40 American hit on the Billboard 100, but his first release that only peaked at #43 is one of my favorite songs from back in my club days.

“Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room”) hit #6 on the Billboard Dance charts and it topped the charts in Austria for five weeks and it hit #1 in South Africa and Japan.

In 1990, he released his debut album, “Tattoo It”, which generated several big dance hits, but he was too hot (read: gay) to market commercially.

Singer Jermaine Stewart was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957 and his family moved to Chicago in 1972.

He became a regular dancer on “Soul Train”, which was filmed in Chicago.  He moved to Los Angeles with fellow Chicagoans Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel and just missed out on becoming the lead singer of Shalamar, a dance and R&B band.

Stewart met Mikey Craig of Culture Club and sang back-up on the demo for “Miss Me Blind” and he was signed to Arista Records.  His first single, “The Word Is Out” just missed the Billboard Top 40 in 1983, peaking at #41.

However, Stewart hit it big in 1986 when “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” reached #5 on the Hot 100.

The follow-up single about his friend, Jody Watley of Shalamar and “Looking For A New Love” fame, “Jody”, went as high as #42 on the Hot 100, but it reached the top twenty on the R & B chart.

He died at the age of 39 in 1997 of AIDS-related liver cancer.

BOOM BOOM BONUS

Lekakis is living healthy now and working as an actor (he had a leading role in a club movie called “Circuit” and he starred in one of my favorite horror movies, “Hellbent”). Meanwhile, he still tours with his music.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Movies on DVD You Must See

It’s still summer and there’s still some blockbusters showing at the theaters.

However, as the days get shorter and you start to spend more time indoors, here are some movies I caught on DVD recently that I recommend for your viewing pleasure.

“WOMAN IN GOLD”

While it brought in $55 million at the worldwide box office, this movie based on a true life story of one woman’s fight to get back her family’s art that was stolen when Germany invaded Europe in World War 2.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren is amazing as always.  It also stars Ryan Reynolds as her young lawyer fighting his first big case that became an international fight with Vienna, Austria.

“Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany plays Mirren’s character as a young woman.

GRADE:  A-

“THE DIVERGENT SERIES:  INSURGENT”

I moved on from “The Hunger Games” after the second movie.  I don’t care to see either of the “Mockingjay” movies.  Katniss, I wish you the best against President Snow.

I’m on “Team Divergent”.

I just saw the second movie in the series, “Insurgent” and it was just as enjoyable as the first one, “Divergent”.  Both movies have made almost $300 million each.

This one picks up just after Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and few others escape evil Jeanine (Kate Winslet).

“The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part One” hits theaters in March 2016 and the final movie in the series, “The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part Two” comes out March 2017.

GRADE:  B+

“BOXTROLLS”

While this Oscar and Golden Globes-nominated animated feature came out in theaters last fall, I finally got around to seeing it and it was highly enjoyable.

It’s about Eggs, a human boy who thinks he’s a box-wearing troll.  His father sent him to safety to live with the trash-collecting trolls to save the baby from the evil pest exterminator.

That exterminator wants to eliminate all the Box Trolls to get into a secret society called the “White Hats”, which is run by the Mayor.

And, they love cheese!  You’ll want a cheese tray after seeing this movie — if you’re not allergic to it, as the exterminator is. 🙂

People in town fear the Boxtrolls because they’ve come to believe (falsely) that they kidnap and kill children.

GRADE:  B

“THE 10-YEAR PLAN”

If you’ve seen many LGBT films over the past years, you may have come across “Is It Just Me?” and “eCupid” by writer/director JC Calciano.

His latest is a romantic comedy starring the charming Jack Turner and Michael Adam Hamilton as best friends Myles and Brody.

They live in West Hollywood and are complete opposites.

Myles is a hopeless romantic that sees his next husband in all of the guys he dates (don’t worry, Myles, we’ve all been there!  Okay, at the time, I didn’t have the internet!).  Brody doesn’t want love, he just wants to have a good time and he does.

One night they make an agreement that if they’re still single in ten years, they’ll become a couple forever.

Ten years later, they’re still single and Brody is freaking out and starts working feverishly on finding someone for Myles to love — but, has he been there all along?

GRADE:  B

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 29, 2014

Happy Friday and surprise as I’ve put together some random thoughts to kick off the weekend!  I hope it’s a good one.

BIRTHDAY TRIP IS STILL ON

My 50th birthday vacation and celebration is now just six weeks away and it’s still on.

In case you didn’t read my blog from last Friday, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has us, at least, reconsidering that leg of the trip.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Here’s that blog that talks about both continents that we plan on visiting.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/50th-birthday-plans-revealed/

THE LATE GREAT, GRACEFUL ARTHUR ASHE

Since I’ve been walking on the treadmill so much this year to prepare me for my fall trips, I’ve read many books.

I just finished “Days of Grace” by tennis great Arthur Ashe, who won three Grand Slam tournaments:  the U.S. Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970, and Wimbledon in 1975 against Jimmy Connors.

Arthur Ashe - Days of Grace

In this book, Ashe not only talked about his tennis achievements and disappointments, but also about growing up in a very segregated Richmond, Virginia, in the 1950s.

Even as he became a tennis professional playing in tournaments around the world, Ashe still faced obstacles.  If not facing blatant racism, there were those including his friend, fellow tennis legend Billie Jean King, that expected him to react differently to certain situations and she teased him.

She once said, “I’m blacker than Arthur“.  Ashe responded to that in the book with “I suppose she meant that I was not impulsive or explosive enough.  Maybe I should have called her a name, or slapped her around a little, and thus demonstrated my ‘blackness.’  Unfortunately, I don’t call people names, and I have never slapped anybody in my life.  Besides, she might slap me back.”

In the book that was co-written by Arnold Rampersad, Ashe talked at length about the heart attack in July 1979 and the quadruple bypass five months later that ended his tennis playing career.  Another heart surgery in 1983 to correct the first bypass would change his life forever.

Ashe needed a blood transfusion after that surgery that infected him with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.  However, it wasn’t until he had paralysis in his hand in late 1988 that doctors discovered that not only had he been infected with HIV, but that he had developed AIDS.

HIV AIDS

He talked a lot in the book about the the moral and religious aspects of sexuality.

“I want them to be familiar with the teachings of the Bible and with other religious doctrines.  Because of AIDS, however, I am equally committed to the policy of giving condoms, as well as the bare, unvarnished factors about sex and AIDS, to students.  I want adolescents caught up for the first time in the sizzling heat of sex to know scientifically about the penis, the vagina, and the rectum; about blood, sperm, and mucous membranes; about pregnancy, viruses, and the fatality of HIV.  In the midst of an epidemic that will only grow worse, I have no time for evasions and euphemisms or other timidly genteel deceptions in teaching young people who are either sexually active or on the brink of becoming so.”

Ashe died on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49, just a week after he finished writing his part of “Days of Grace”.

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

Back in January, I saw “August: Osage County” and I loved it.  Since then, there have been a couple of movies that grabbed my attention (“Godzilla” is one of them), but it didn’t make me go.

Once I saw the trailer to “The  Hundred-Foot Journey”, I knew I would be there on opening day.  If you love food porn, this is the movie for you.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars as Madam Mallory, the owner of a Michelin-star restaurant in the South of France.  Her life is turned upside down when an Indian family moves in across the street from her and opens a restaurant serving authentic Indian food.

Madam Mallory does whatever she can to make sure the new venture fails.  Even so, she’s captivated by the charm and the cooking expertise of young Hassan, played by the charismatic and beautiful Manish Dayal.

You figure out early on how the movie will play out, but it’s still a great journey.

The movie, brought to us by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, has grossed $33.7 million.

GRADE:  A-

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!

Ray turned 49 again (51 in reality) this week.

Ray BD

He chose Mexican for his birthday dinner at Los Agaves, a newer restaurant, on Avenue of the Cities in Moline.

While the food and the service were less than stellar compared to the chain’s other restaurant on John Deere Road, he enjoyed it.

Here’s to 50 more birthdays Ray!

DIVERGENT

After seeing the first two “The Hunger Games” movies, I’m no longer interested in seeing the final two movies in the franchise.  The reason, “Divergent”!

This futuristic dystopian science fiction film takes place in Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues:  Abnegation the selfless, Amity the peaceful, Candor the honest, Dauntless the brave, and Erudite the intelligent.

Each person takes a serum-based aptitude test to best place them into one of the factions.  Those that exhibit several factions are called “divergent” and are seen as a threat to social order.

Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice, a young woman who chooses Dauntless, much to the chagrin of her parents (played by Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn), even though she’s really “divergent”.

She is trained by the very sexy, smoldering, and tattooed Four, played by Theo James.

She must keep the fact that she’s “divergent” from the icy Jeanine, the leader of Erudite, played with perfection by Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.

The movie made $275 million dollars in theaters and the sequel “Insurgent” arrives in March 2015.  That will be followed by two more sequels in 2016 and 2017.

AMY GRANT REMIXED!

Amy Grant is sitting at #4 on the Billboard Dance chart this week with a song she first charted back in 1991.

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

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

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

Amy Grant

Her new album is called “In Motion: The Remixes” and it features remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, moves up to #4 on the Billboard Dance chart.

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Laura Branigan’s death.

Laura Branigan was from New York and in the early-1970s, she was in a band called Meadow, but they never charted.

As a solo artist, Laura’s first four releases didn’t make an impact at radio or on the charts.  The biggest of those, “All Night With Me”, which was the first release from her debut album, “Branigan”, peaked at #69 in 1982.

However, everything changed with the second single from that album!

Laura-Branigan-Gloria

Not only did “Gloria” reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it earned Laura a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female”.  However, she lost to Melissa Manchester’s “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”

The follow-up album, “Branigan 2″, came out in the spring of 1983.  The first single, “Solitaire” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was followed by “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” (#12).

In the spring of 1984, Laura released her third album and the title track, “Self Control”, is still my favorite Laura Branigan song to this date.  It made it all the way up to #4.

In 1995, Laura released the last music video of her career for the album, “The Best of Branigan”.  It was for the remake of the Donna Summer classic, “Dim All The Lights”, in which she was partying it up with a group of drag queens. It reached #36 on the Billboard Dance chart.

She withdrew from the music business in 1994 to care for her husband, Larry, who had colon cancer.  He would succumb to the disease in the summer of 1996.

Eight years later, Laura died in her sleep on August 26, 2004, of an undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm and her ashes were scattered over Long Island Sound.

Laura, your music will always live on!

A PEPPY ANSWER TO SEXISM IN COUNTRY MUSIC

To the good ol’ boys in country music, move over for the Texas and Oklahoma duo of Maddie & Tae.

They’re currently at #17 on  the Billboard Country chart with their first hit single, “Girl In A Country Song”.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and have a fantastic weekend!

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts – June 13, 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week and have a great weekend!

ACCEPTING JONAH HILL’S APOLOGY?

It’s been almost two weeks since two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill (“This Is The End”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and “Moneyball”) screamed out a homophobic remark to the paparazzi that was hounding and berating him in a Los Angeles neighborhood near Hollywood.

He quickly went into damage control mode expressing how disgusted he was with himself because that’s not how he really feels and that he’s always been very supportive of the LGBT community.

While he’s a solid actor, I can’t say that I’m a fan.  On the other hand, I don’t dislike him.

I feel he’s genuinely sincere with his apology.  However, if he was really pushed into lashing out, he could have still said, “Suck my d***” without the derogatory f-word that precipitated this whole apology tour.

When I’m mad, I may use choice words, but they definitely don’t start with “F” or “N”, because those words are not part of my daily vocabulary and shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s!

BRAD PAISLEY IS AWESOME

I met country music superstar Brad Paisley back in 2001 in Canfield, Ohio, when he was just starting out and was promoting his second album.  (That’s a much younger me in the middle with the microphone).

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

At the time, he was new to business and came across as rather shy.  Now, he’s very outgoing and outspoken.

Here’s how he handled the Westboro Baptist cult outside his show in the Kansas City, Missouri, area back on June 1st.

Brad Paisley WBC

He took a selfie with the group that was protesting him and said that they’d “play loud” enough that night for the group to hear outside.

Awesome!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

At this point, I might as well feature Brad as my weekly country music pick of the songs and artists that I’ve loved or admired when I listened to country music.

Brad first hit the chart in 1999 when “Who Needs Pictures” peaked at #12.  The follow-up, “He Didn’t Have To Be” topped the chart in December of that year.

In all, he’s had 37 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 30 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Of those, 18 have reached #1.  As a matter of fact, he had an amazing run from 2005-2009 with ten consecutive number one hits on the charts!

While I love, “He Didn’t Have To Be”, “We Danced”, and “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, my pick hit today is convenient.  “Celebrity” reached #3 in 2003.

Brad has sold more than 12 million albums, picked up three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards.

“TONY AWARDS” HUMOR

Hugh Jackman from Sunday night’s “Tony Awards” broadcast:  “There’s the amazing Neil Patrick Harris, nominated for Hedwig.  He is a legendary four-time Tony host.  But, Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So, Neil is right behind her and I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states.”

Hugh Jackman

Disclaimer:  That picture of Hugh Jackman has nothing to do with the Tony Awards.  Oh well….

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

It’s now June and I’ve only gone to the movies once this year.  I saw “August:  Osage County” back in January.

I still want to see “Godzilla” on the big screen and I’ll wait to see “Neighbors” on DVD.  Other than that, there’s nothing out there or coming out anytime soon that I can’t wait for to watch at home.

The next movie I anticipate seeing is “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”, 2006, Best Actress).

The movie is co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”).

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” opens August 8th.

CHER IS COMING BACK TO THE QUAD CITIES

This fall, music and screen icon, Cher, will be making another stop in the Quad Cities on October 22nd with her “Dressed To Kill Tour”.  Pat Benatar is opening for her.

Cher 2014 311

I saw her last Friday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Cyndi Lauper opening for her.  The show, from the costumes, the sets, the choreography, and Cher’s humor and voice, was amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi back in 2002 in Chicago on “The Farewell Tour” and the “Dressed To Kill Tour” was much better and more entertaining.

DO YOU KNOW RYAN LEWIS?

Ryan Lewis is part of the biggest act that has hit pop and rap music in the past few years.  He’s the good-looking half of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

But, could you pick him out a crowd?  Obviously, New Yorkers couldn’t.  Lewis is so funny in this clip from “The Tonight Show”.

COOKIE FAIL

I got really excited when I saw that Chips Ahoy had birthday frosting and Oreo creme filled cookies.

Chips Ahoy Filled Cookies

I wasn’t impressed.  I think the cookies would have been much better if they were crunchy Chips Ahoy with the creme frosting filling.  I’ll save my 75 calories per small cookie for something more rewarding.

PICK HIT

Swedish music producer and DJ Avicii has produced songs for some of the biggest names in music — Madonna, Coldplay, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Daft Punk, Robyn, and many more.

He even scored his first hit album with himself as the star.  “True” debuted at #5 in the U.S. last fall and was one of my favorite albums of 2013.

The first two songs from that album have made a big impact on Top 40 radio in America and both have topped the Billboard Dance chart.

“Wake Me Up” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013 and was downloaded more than 4 million times.  The follow-up, “Hey Brother”, peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.

His new song, “Addicted To You”, has already topped the Billboard Dance chart and is now racing up the Top 40 radio chart.

Warning:  the video does include shots of butts!

SPEAKING OF MADONNA

It seems that she is hard at work on her 13th studio album.  While there is no release date set, it appears that she’s working with Avicii,  the English duo Disclosure (who’s scoring big on American radio right now with their Top 15 hit, “Latch”), American DJ and producer Diplo, and English singer/actress Natalia Kills.

I really thought that Natalia Kills would have been big in the U.S. in the wake of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  However, that didn’t happen even with will.i.am on her side.

But, “Wonderland” is still one of my favorite songs and videos.  Warning — it’s disturbing.

THAT’S IT

Have a splendid weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week!

Anthony

 

They Said What??? Bill Clinton, Rick Perry, & Helen Mirren

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON

(about whether his wife, Hillary, will be running for president in 2016):  “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know this: that is the worst expenditure of our time.”

MORE BILL CLINTON

(speaking at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s 2013 Fiscal Summit in Washington):  “She’s taking a role in the foundation, she’s writing books, she’s having a little fun being a private citizen for the first time in 20 years. We need to be worried about the work at hand. All of us do. So whoever the next president is has an easier set of choices.”

TEXAS GOVERNOR & REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABE RICK PERRY

(defending the Boy Scouts of America and increasing acceptance of gays):  “The fact is, this is a private organization. Their values and principles have worked for a century now, and for pop culture to come in and try to tear that up because it just happens to be the flavor of the month, so to speak, and to tear apart one of the great organizations that have served millions of young men … that is just not appropriate.”

FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST

“I most certainly support marriage equality in Florida and look forward to the day it happens here.”

“PRECIOUS” ACTRESS & ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE GABOUREY SIDIBE

“Who hasn’t dated a gay dude?!? He didn’t tell me [he was gay], I just sort of figured it out… [we dated] sort of recently. There were weird things he would say. He also tried on my heels once – that’s a pretty big indication!”

NEIGHBOR CHARLES RAMSEY

(in a live interview after calling 9-1-1 that led to the rescue of three kidnapped victims in Cleveland, Ohio):  “There’s some more girls up in that house.” So they go up in there, 30, 40, deep. And when they came out, it was just astonishing. ‘Cause I thought they would come up with nothing. Like I said my neighbor, you got to have some pretty big testicles to pull this off, bro. Because we see this dude every day. I mean every day.”

MORE RAMSEY

“Bro, I knew something was wrong when a little, pretty white girl ran into a black man’s arms. Something is wrong here. Dead giveaway. Dead giveaway.”

ACTRESS HELEN MIRREN

(storming out of a theatrical production where she was playing Queen Elizabeth II and screaming at drummers promoting a LGBT gathering):   “Quiet! I’m trying to do a play in here! People have paid a lot of money for tickets.”

MORE MIRREN

(later):  “I would love to track them down and invite them to see the play. I felt rotten but on the other hand they were destroying our performance so something had to be done.”

SINGER AGNETHA FALTSKOG

(about her former super group, ABBA, getting back together):  “I don’t think so. No. And we’ve had a lot of offers but we have our own life now since many years back and we don’t understand why we should do it. Because we’ve had our time and I think we should let ABBA rest and just listen to the music.”