Posts Tagged ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 16, 2021

The weekend is upon us and I hope you have fantastic plans.

I’m working part of it, but will make the most of it!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Okay, I’ll kick off with an astounding statistic that might blow your mind! (There’s a theme here for me to kick off with a writer that’s been dead for 45 years, the same year her last novel, “Sleeping Murder”, came out.)

English writer Agatha Christie, who’s mostly known for her 66 detective novels, has had more than 2 billion (that’s with a “B”) copies of her work published!!!

In 2019 alone, she moved 2 million copies!!!

She’s only been outsold by the Bible and the works of William Shakespeare!

Jokingly, some could say that “fiction sells”! 🙂

ARMIE HAMMER

34-year-old Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominee Armie Hammer is still under investigation for sexual assault by the Los Angeles Police Department.

This comes after multiple women came forward earlier this year about abuse they had allegedly experienced during relationships with Hammer.

His wife of ten years, Elizabeth Chambers, announced their separation in the summer of 2020 — before the allegations surfaced.

He’s now been dropped by his talent agency and his publicist is no longer with him. He’s also been fired/dropped out of several new movies, including one with Jennifer Lopez.

If that sexual assault allegations weren’t bad enough, texts with “disturbing sexual fantasies” involving cannibalism surfaced!

DEATH ON THE NILE”

So, what does this mean for the blockbuster release of the Kenneth Branagh-directed movie, “Death on the Nile”, which Hammer co-stars alongside Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”), Annette Benning (“The Kids Are All Right”), and Branagh?

The movie opening has already been delayed, at least, six times.

It was originally scheduled for December 20, 2019, and was pushed back to October 9, 2020. Then with COVID-19, it was pushed back to September 17, 2021.

Last month, it was rescheduled once again to February 11, 2022! And, I’d bet money this was due to the Hammer scandal!

COSTLY SCANDAL SOLUTION

What I think will happen is that unless Hammer’s role is a major one, his scenes will be re-shot this summer with a new actor.

This happened with Kevin Spacey in “All The Money in the World”.

After his sex/rape scandal, his scenes were re-shot with the late Christopher Plummer. Plummer earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

If you don’t remember the story, gay actor Anthony Rapp, a star of Broadway’s “Rent” and the CBS All Access’ series, “Star Trek Discovery”, alleges that back in 1986, then 26-year-old Spacey invited him to a party at his Manhattan apartment, when Rapp was only 14!

Rapp told “Buzzfeed” Spacey tried to seduce him and that “I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually”.

It was then that Rapp says that Spacey “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk … He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”

Spacey’s career disintegrated and he was written out of the final season of “House of Cards”. I absolutely loved that show and would still watch it again with Spacey, but it would a little cringy.

However, my main draw to the show was always Robin Wright as Claire Underwood.

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

Now, with Hammer, I’m torn because the LGBTQ+ classic “Call Me By Your Name” with Hammer and Timothee Chalamet was my favorite movie of 2018!

I know I’ll still watch it, but just like listening to the music of Michael Jackson, I still do it. It just adds creepiness to it!

MOVING ON!

THEY SAID WHAT???

GEORGE H.W. BUSH (then Republican National Committee Chairman, in his August 6, 1974, diary entry three days before President Nixon resigned, on President Ford and President Nixon): “this era of tawdry, shabby, lack of morality has got to end… I will take Ford’s decency over Nixon’s toughness because what we need at this juncture in our history is a certain sense of morality and a certain sense of decency.”

LEGENDARY DIRECTOR MARTIN SCORSESE (about Glenn Close, who was recommended to play Tony Montana’s (Al Pacino) mistress in “Scarface” by Oliver Stone in his book, “Chasing The Light”: “She’s got a face like a horse!”

Um, WTF? Glenn Close is beautiful! Well, definitely not in “Hillbilly Elegy”! 🙂

Darren Franich (in The Bullseye “Entertainment Weekly” March 2021): “‘Clarice’ is a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ spin-off about… who cares, ‘Hannibal’ is on Netflix.”

“JUSTIFIED”

I just finished binge watching the 2010-2015 FX series, “Justified”, with Timothy Olyphant, and absolutely loved it!

It’s tells the story of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Olyphant) having to go back to his home state of Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains as punishment for shooting a Miami thug in a questionable manner. (Givens has his own set of justice that doesn’t set well with his bosses!)

I’ve had the biggest crush on Olyphant since I saw him in Greg Berlanti’s 2000 LGBTQ movie, “The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy”.

His character, Dennis, did have major flaws though — he wasn’t into commitment, he definitely got around, AND, worst of all, he hated the Carpenters! 🙂

Fast forward ten years or so –this is how you rock your 40s (from “Justified”)!

And, there’s been industry buzz that the team behind the series may be bringing it back in some form with the Emmy-nominated Olyphant rumored to be coming back!

Final note: if you want to see a more comical side of Olyphant, he was amazing in the three seasons of the Netflix’s comedy “Santa Clarita Diet” with Drew Barrymore.

BEWARE OF HARLAN COUNTY

Since much of “Justified” took place around Harlan County, Kentucky, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” was featured prominently in five of the six season finales. (Only season three didn’t use it.)

It’s an amazing and haunting song. Brad Paisley’s version from his 2001 album, “Part II” is amazing and was used in the season one and season two finales.

However, my favorite version of the song is by Patty Loveless from her 2001 album, “Mountain Soul”.

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

Final comments from Jonathan Adler’s must read 2020 biography…

Nine months before Islamic Revolution “students” seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, and kept 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, they briefly took over the embassy nine months earlier on Valentine’s Day, but released them!

President Carter sensed allowing the exiled Shah of Iran to stay in the U.S. could cause Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and his radicals to take over the embassy again. In March 1979, President Carter asked his Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, “What are you guys going to advice me to do if they overrun our embassy and take our people hostage?”

After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan over Christmas 1979, it led a longshoreman group’s members to refuse to load ships with grain headed to the Soviet Union. While high ranking officials in Carter’s administration was behind a grain embargo, Rosalynn (Jimmy’s wife and one his closest advisors) and Vice President Walter Mondale was opposed.

President Carter went along with it and that decision was later compared to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When Johnson signed that into law, it turned the Democratic South “red” (Republican) just as the embargo did for the farm belt states!

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

My (Stay at Home) Favorite Movies of 2020

The deadly Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on every aspect of our lives in 2020.

The movie industry was especially hard hit. Movie production stopped, motion pictures were delayed, and theaters closed down changing the way we viewed first run movies.

With that being said, I only saw 26 movies last year.

I barely had enough to rank my Top 20 of 2020 without adding in a Lifetime and a Hallmark Christmas movie! 🙂 Kidding aside, I wanted to see them because of the LGBTQ storylines.

However, after seeing one of them, I regretted it. More on that one later!

A parting thought: While I love seeing movies on the big screen, the thing I missed most was getting my large popcorn (without that nasty butter on top) and a large Coke Zero with a splash of cherry and my refills on both before leaving the theater! 🙂

So, before I share my Top 20 movies I saw in 2020, here was my favorite movie I saw in 2019!

“THE FAREWELL

Oh, let me know many you saw and your favorite movie you saw in 2020!

“HARRIET

I absolutely love Cynthia Erivo! Check her out in “Bad Times At The El Royale”, my #10 movie of 2019.

“HILLBILLY ELEGY

This made the list mainly because of the Oscar nomination-worthy performances of Amy Adams and Glenn Close!

“SHIRLEY

Two words: Elisabeth.Moss. Okay, two more words: Logan.Lerman.

“KNIVES OUT

Fun, snarky, all-star cast whodunnit!

“1917

Oscar winner with the great George MacKay and an acting Harry Styles!

“MANK

I expect a BEST PICTURE Oscar nomination for this one — very Hollywood. You can see it on Netflix!

“HAPPIEST SEASON

Hulu LGBTQ Christmas movie with the incredible Kristen Stewart.

“THE CHRISTMAS SETUP

Yes, it’s a Lifetime Christmas movie. However, it was very touching and I teared up twice (for the right reasons).

It stars real life, charming couple Blake Lee and Ben Lewis. Oh, Fran Drescher, too!

“PALM SPRINGS

Hilariously funny Hulu original with many awesome f-bombs!

“THE HUNT

Sadistic and crazy! If you love “The Purge” series, you’ll enjoy it and Betty Gilpin (“Glow”) was amazing.

“FORD V. FERRARI

Awesome movie, acting, and story telling!

“RICHARD JEWELL

True story based on the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta, Georgia, with the fantastic Kathy Bates.

“THE JOKER

Twisted and fun and Joaquin Phoenix was great!

“I AM WOMAN

Biopic honoring the late great iconic feminist singing legend Helen Reddy!

“THE INVISIBLE MAN

Elisabeth Moss again! 🙂 I can’t wait for season 4 of “The Handmaid’s Tale”!

“MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

I could watch Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis act her way through a phone book. I expect Oscar nominates for Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. It’s on Netflix.

“JOJO RABBIT”

Who knew a movie about Adolf Hitler could be funny?!

“THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

If you’re missing the beautiful writing of “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, check out this all-star Netflix film that will rack up several Oscar nominations this year!

WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!!

“The Christmas House” — this Hallmark Channel movie was so painful, I stopped watching halfway through it. LGBTQ storyline or not, no thanks!

Movies missing out on the Top 20:

#25 “Dashing in December”

#24 “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Fantastic acting, but I seriously felt like I was on an LSD trip for two hours!)

#23 “Jingle Jangle”

#22 “Little”

#21 “The Prom” (Even my girl crush Nicole Kidman and Queen Meryl Streep couldn’t propel this to the level that I’d want to watch it again. However, it was enjoyable one time!)

“THE BOYS IN THE BAND

Catty New York City queens definitely NOT enjoying a birthday dinner party in the late-1960s. Amazing performances! So, one Ryan Murphy Netflix movie made the countdown! 🙂

Before I reveal my favorite movie I saw in 2020, here’s a bonus!

MOVIES I’M LOOKING FORWARD THIS YEAR

“THE WHITE TIGER” (January 22, 2021)

“A QUIET PLACE PART II” (April 23, 2021)

“DEATH ON THE NILE” (September 17, 2021)

“HALLOWEEN KILLS” (October 15, 2021)

“ARMY OF THE DEAD” (Summer 2021??? on Netflix)

Zombies! Las Vegas! Zack Snyder! Sign me up NOW!

And, now my favorite!

“PARASITE

So worthy of winning the Academy Award for Best Picture! WOW!

Wishing and hoping for a much better year for us in 2021.

Anthony