Posts Tagged ‘John Travolta’

Best Movies of 2016

It’s that time of the year when critics rank the best and worst movies of the year.  They get to see movies before the rest of us, so they’ll have Oscar contenders on the list that many of us will see in 2017 and so they’ll likely be on my list next year.

That means you’ll see some movies that won at the Oscars last winter on my “best of” list for 2016.

2016-movies

Additionally, you’ll see a couple of movies on this year’s list that are several years old. When I rank my movies, I include movies that I see for the first time in 2016 regardless of the year it was released.

So, before I start counting down my 20 favorite movies of the year, I want to share my favorites from the past few years.

My favorite movie of 2010 was “The Kids Are All Right” with Annette Benning, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.  In 2011, my favorite was “Children of God”.

Weekend

“Weekend” was my favorite movie of 2012 and “Out of the Dark” topped my list in 2013.

My favorite movie of 2014 was “Bridegroom” and last year, it was “Lilting”.

You may have noticed that most of the top movies I listed from 2010 through 2015 were not mainstream.  Sadly, LGBT movies don’t get the same distribution and promotion.

It’s now time to start the countdown and I’ll let you in on a secret.  While my #1 movie this year is not LGBT, it wasn’t a widely seen movie either (in the U.S).

#20

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION YEAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.4 MILLION

#19

“BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $400,000

*WARNING:  R-RATED TRAILER*

18

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $25.1 MILLION

#17

“STONEWALL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $187,674

Note:  This movie was reviled by the LGBT community because it loosely fictionalized the Stonewall events through the character of Danny, a white Midwestern boy (Jeremy Irvine).

However, I know the story of Stonewall and I’ve written about it many times.  I know that drag queens, transgender, and people of color were at the forefront of the Stonewall Riots back in 1969.  I’ve done my homework.

With that being said, I still enjoyed the movie for what it was — a movie.

I hope that the few people that saw it and weren’t familiar with Stonewall took the time to Google the real story.  We should never get our news or learn about history from headlines, social media, or Hollywood.

And, finally, just because I crush on Irvine, that alone doesn’t justify a place in the Top 20.

16

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  unknown

15

“BROOKLYN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $62.1 MILLION

14

“BURNT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $36.6 MILLION

#13

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

12

“STEVE JOBS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.4 MILLION

11

“THE WALK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $61.2 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“HOLDING THE MAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $909,122

#9 MOVIE

“FORCE MAJEURE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.4 MILLION +

#8 CD

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $171.7 MILLION

#7 CD

“MR. HOLMES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $29.4 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“ROOM”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $35.4 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JOY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $101.1 MILLION

red-number-4

“THE REVENANT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $533 MILLION

#3 MOVIE

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $27.4 MILLION +

#2 CD

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.9 MILLION

Before revealing my favorite movie of 2016, it’s time for the worst movie I saw this year.

Gag Me

Let me say that Dan Stevens has a chance for redemption in March 2017 with the live action “Beauty and the Beast” movie and John Travolta was incredible in “Saturday Night Live”, “Grease”, and “Swordfish”.

But, “Criminal Activities” was not the movie to see!  It was so bad that I won’t even torture you with the trailer.

Bonus

For much of 2016, I had a five-part BBC America miniseries as my second favorite movie of the year. I mean, if “American Horror Story” can brand itself as this or that to qualify and win Emmy Awards, why can’t I call a miniseries a movie?

But, I decided to share “London Spy” as a must-see bonus!

Ben-Whishaw

It’s also a chance to mention the adorable and very talented Ben Whishaw and the amazing Charlotte Rampling.

Okay, focus Anthony!

#1 CD

My favorite movie I saw in 2016 was an Austrian film from 2015 starring the incredible Susanne Wuest and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.2 MILLION +

So, there’s my list.

What are your favorite and least favorite movies you saw in 2016.  Let me know.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — December 2, 2016

The weekend is almost here and can you believe in just three weekends, it’s Christmas already.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Since I took a break last week on my “Random Friday Thoughts” since people were shopping and eating leftovers, here’s a short version for this week.

HELLO DECEMBER AND WINTER!

UPDATED POST:  early Saturday, December 3, 2016

If you follow my forecast on “Local 4 News This Morning” or my blogs for winter weather updates, you know I always tell you to keep up on the changing forecast when snow is coming.  There’s a good reason.  Small changes in the forecast can have big implications.

Here’s an update on the three weather systems that I first told you about Friday morning in my blog and on-air:

Saturday Night:  Rain and snow will develop late and change over to snow.

Sunday:  Moderate snow in the morning changing to rain in the afternoon.

Since the ground is still relatively warm and part of the precipitation will come down as a mix or rain, accumulations will mainly be on grassy and elevated surfaces.

We could anywhere for 1-3″ of slushy snow.  It’ll start to melt away during the afternoon.

Monday Night & Tuesday:  Wintry mix still possible.  It’s not looking too impressive this morning.

Wednesday and Wednesday Night bigger snow:  This may very well not happen!  Stay tuned.  The cold air will definitely be coming in late week!

However, since we may not get a blanket of snow Wednesday night and Thursday, lows later in the week may only drop into the teens and not the single digits.

If we get a blanket of snow Wednesday and Wednesday night, then lows in the single digits are still possible.

Stay up on the latest forecast.  This is a developing and changing weather pattern.

March Snow

ORIGINAL POST:  early Friday, December 2, 2016

After the third warmest November on record in the Quad Cities, winter will be making its return to Iowa and Illinois to welcome December.

Over the next week, we have three chances of seeing some snow accumulation.

Late Saturday night and early Sunday, snow may accumulate on grassy and elevated surfaces.  Early indications show an inch or two possible.  That will melt away Sunday.

winter

Another system could bring some grassy accumulation Monday night and early Tuesday.

However, we could be seeing a winter storm Wednesday and Wednesday night.  As of this writing, there is low confidence in the details and the models are not very consistent.

This will have to monitored closely because depending on how this develops, we could be talking little or no snow or a lot of snow.

One thing is certain.  Late next week, we’ll see the coldest blast of air this season with highs only in the lower half of 20s and lows could drop to the single digits!

Brrrrr!!!!!!

“LOVE IS THE CURE”

If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s (and through “The Lion King” and “Candle in the Wind”, the 1990s), you have been touched by the genius of Elton John’s music.

During that same time period, you also heard a lot about Elton’s personal life since he was a pop music superstar.  That’s an understatement — he’s an icon.

He’s also a great humanitarian.  His 2012 book, “Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, he shares the struggles he went through to give more of himself to fight HIV and AIDS.

Love is the Cure.jpg

If you missed my thoughts on Elton, the book, and “World AIDS Day”, here’s the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/love-is-the-cure-to-end-aids/

After you read the touching stories in that blog, check out the book.  It’s an incredible read.

A MONSTER BEHIND THAT PRETTY SMILE

Since we’re talking about AIDS, Donald Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser pick, Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland is a monster behind that pretty smile.

kt

In 2006, when the New York Times Magazine was writing an article on McFarland, they found a 1992 letter she wrote to her parents shortly after finding out her brother, Michael Troia, had AIDS.

She reportedly wrote, “Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other?”  She added, “He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.

Michael died of AIDS in 1995.

McFarland goes on to elaborate and say that her father was an abusive parent, who beat them with belts and waved guns in their faces.

Responding to the allegations, her father denied them and offered to take a lie detector test.  Her other brother, Tom, living in Janesville, Wisconsin, at the time of the magazine article replied, “If I had one word to describe my sister, it would be ‘evil.’ ”

Not surprising, the people Trump has chosen for his cabinet are all anti-LGBT.

It’s going to be a fun four years!  (Note: sarcasm.)

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

Since I opened Pandora’s box by mentioning his name…

Pre-election, Donald Trump talked about a “rigged” election.  When he won the electoral vote, there was no big proclamations from Trump about the rigged elections.

Now that there’s talk of recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump has plenty to say, especially in incoherent tweets and rants.

He’s even saying that millions of California votes are illegal.

Even in victory, he’s such a “sore loser”.  It might have something to do with the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than two million votes and that number is still climbing as votes are still being counted.  Little man!

Hey, Donald, why don’t we just have a total recount or better yet, why don’t we have another election before the holidays and monitor the voting process even closer.

DT Masks

One final note and I actually agree with Trump on this one:  Burning an American flag is just wrong (but allowed by the freedom of free speech).

flag

However, here’s where I disagree with him.

Being threatened with losing citizenship or being imprisoned for burning the American flag sounds a lot like Russia — but, then again, Donald and Russia are friends, so I hear!

ARETHA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM

“The Queen of Soul” is earning mixed reviews for her Thanksgiving Day performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Vikings-Lions football game.

The gospel-tinged song clocked in at 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

Comments on the performance have ranged from “stirring” and “memorable” to “punishingly long”.

YouTube “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” are two to one positive.

What do you think?

LOSING FAITH IN “THE WALKING DEAD”

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” started off strong with the second highest ratings in the series history with 17 million viewers.

Last weekend’s episode dropped to the lowest ratings (10.4 million viewers) since season three when the ratings were still rising.

The fifth and sixth episodes this season were two of my least favorites.  Maybe I should look at it as a baseball game.  Those two episodes were strikes, so either this weekend, I need a base hit or I’m out.  I’m not interested in a foul or a ball.

Andrew Lincoln

Bring Rick (Andrew Lincoln) back and you’ll, at least, have my attention!

I’m not saying I want the show to be cancelled, but if it doesn’t come to life soon, maybe an end date should be set!

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

As the days get shorter and winter settles in, we find ourselves watching more television and movies.

I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

“HELL OR HIGH WATER”

Since I just mentioned the “Critics’ Choice Award” nominations, “Hell Or High Water” was nominated for six — “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Original Screenplay”, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster for “Best Supporting Actor”, and “Best Acting Ensemble”.

Chris Pine, Bridges, and Foster are incredible in this crime caper about a couple of brothers (Pine and Foster) on a bank robbing spree across west Texas.

Bridges plays a Texas Rangers nearing retirement when he gets the assignment of catching these small town crooks.

What makes this story compelling is learning the motivation of why the brothers need the money.

What’s also thrilling is that you know things will probably turn out badly for some or all of the characters.  It’s a crime drama, so don’t expect a truly happy ending.

GRADE:  B

BASHING “CHRISTIANS”

I love Christmas and I always smile when I hear people get bent out of shape about those who write “Merry Xmas”.  That takes “Christ” out of “Christmas”.

christ-in-chrismas

But, what about the “Christians”, who conveniently leave “Christ” our of their life.  Those are the ones I have issues with in this blog I shared last week.

Many have checked it out and here’s that link if you didn’t get a chance to read it.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you can continue reading today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

Happy  whatever you celebrate this holiday season!

ANOTHER CHANCE “THIS CHRISTMAS” FOR OLIVIA & JOHN

Each Christmas, I buy some of the new holiday offerings.  This year, I got “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and “A Very Kacey Christmas” by Kacey Musgraves and would recommend both of them.

I also bought the latest Straight No Chaser album, “I’ll Have Another…Christmas Album” and I really wish I had said, “No thanks.”

Don’t waste your time or money on it. Instead, pick up their other two Christmas albums, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition”.

Earlier this week, I also decided to give “This Christmas” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John from 2012 another listen.

I’ve avoided this album for four years now!

John Olivia Christmas

This is what I wrote about it at the time:  “I’ll get the bad news out of the way first and then focus on the good.  The opening song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, is probably the worst version I’ve ever heard.  As much as I love Olivia, she couldn’t get “Physical” enough to save this disaster!  Three songs later, “This Christmas” would have been better without John’s vocals.”

On the listen four years later, their version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is still painful and the worst version I’ve ever heard.

However, while Travolta is definitely the weak link and Olivia soars as usual, I enjoyed it a lot more this time and Travolta actually does a decent job on “Silent Night” and a few others.

What I wrote four years ago about “I Think You Might Like It” still holds true today, “It’s a very fun song and if I close my eyes while listening to it, I see Danny & Sandy in “Grease” dancing to it around the Christmas tree.

2012  GRADE:  C+

2016 GRADE:  B

ANOTHER TAKE ON OLIVIA’S “PHYSICAL”

I’ve never watched “The Real O’Neals” on ABC Tuesday nights, but this scene looks pretty funny and that so would have been me as a teenager if I had gone to a gym.

16-year-old Kenny (Noah Galvin) wants to check out the fitness center after seeing a sexy guy on the cover of a brochure.

This seems like the perfect time for the original again.

Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” was the biggest song of the 1980s.  It spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from November 1981 to January 1982!

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 11, 2016

What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities.  I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically.  (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah.  The dead horse is still dead!)

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.

Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.

I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.

While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.

Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.

Hillary AP

There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.

LAURA BUSH

Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She seems so genuine and down to earth.

I’ll  share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.

Laura Bush

Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.

Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit.  Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.

She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”

In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”

Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.

rebecca-bradley

Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

My thoughts:  I know people are young (and stupid).  I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.

However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know.  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.

And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!

I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years.  Well, he and I are at odds again.

terry-branstad

Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.

Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”

I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times.  In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.

Brittany Maynard

I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”).  If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/random-friday-thoughts-november-7-2014/

But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.

That’s the good news if you share my views.  The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.  Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.

Sadly, viewers are moving on.  The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers.  However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.

Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!

If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation.  However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.

The Purge Masks

While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).

The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder.  The goal is to stay alive.

This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!

“The Purge:  Election Year” opens July 1st.

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside.  Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Caitlyn.jpg

However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.

Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified.  With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless,  privileged views with her.

I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.

It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.

I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.

I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.

If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.

It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable.  Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.

Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying.  I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.

When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it.  It looked so moronic and not funny.

Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance.  For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.

I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie.  But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding.  I think Franco should be in every movie!

There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.

With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie.  But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess.  How bad was it?  I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony

 

 

“Frozen” Still Hot This Spring

“Frozen”, Disney’s latest animated blockbuster, is now the biggest animated film in history.  It’s crossed the one-billion dollar mark at $1.07 billion!

Frozen

When it was released a couple of weeks ago to the home market, it sold more than 3.2 million blue-rays and DVDs and in February, it became the biggest digital release ever!

I finally got around to seeing it.  Gretel, our 12-year-old daughter, has seen it several times already and loves it.  She says it’s one of her favorite Disney movies.

I guess my expectations were too just high with its box office success and the Oscar win for Best Animated Feature.  While I enjoyed the movie, it was no “Beauty and The Beast” and Belle will always be my favorite.

Beauty-And-The-Beast

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

The “Frozen” soundtrack is just as popular as the movie.  It’s the only album that has sold more than a million copies in 2014.  Since its November release, the soundtrack has sold 1.8 million copies and has spent eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Frozen Soundtrack

“Let It Go”, the first release from the album, picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song.  That song by Adele Dazeem has been downloaded around 1.8 million times!

What?  Damn you, John Travolta!  You’re right, it’s not Adele Dazeem, it’s “Wicked” star Idina Menzel!

John and Idina

“Frozen” is now ready to melt dance clubs across the country.  The song’s remix just debuted on the Billboard Dance Chart.  While Dave Aude’s remix is great, this is my favorite version by Papercha$er.

This will be Menzel’s fourth dance chart hit.  Her biggest hits on that chart were the #5 smash, “Defying Gravity”, from “Wicked” in 2007 and “Gorgeous” from her 2008 album, “I Stand”, peaked at #3.

Anthony

Taken from:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/random-friday-thoughts-april-4-2014/ 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 7, 2014

Happy Friday to you.  It’s March now and I’m ready for spring’s longer, warmer days and “March Madness”.

I hope you have a great weekend.  I plan on getting a few outdoor walks in and to watch several movies.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

WAS ELLEN TRANS-PHOBIC?

Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is getting rave reviews for hosting this year’s Oscars last Sunday night.  Her selfie with A-list stars crashed Twitter and became the most retweeted tweet in history and she made it a profitable night for a pizza delivery man.

Ellen

However, a joke she made to Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award winner Liza Minnelli is not setting well with some in the transgender community.

In her monologue looking at Liza, Ellen said, “the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen.  Good job, sir!”

This is Liza’s reaction.  Her sister, Lorna Luft, definitely thought it was funny!

Liza Reaction

As a gay man knowing how many drag queens imitate and look at Liza as a gay icon, I thought it was hilarious and I don’t think Ellen meant it mean-spirited.

After the show, Liza told tmz.com, “I think she thought it would be funny, but she never stopped after she said it and said, ‘My friend Liza Minnelli’.  So I think it went a little astray on her.”

But, without hesitation, Liza added, “I don’t think she meant any harm at all. She’s a wonderful lady and I think she did great.”

However, some are not as forgiving.

Bruce LaBruce

Most of America are still not all that familiar with the transgender community.  I admit that, as a gay man, I’m still learning, too.  However, there is a difference between transphobia, negative feelings and attitudes and feelings towards transsexuals and transgender people, and making a joke about a drag queen or a transvestite.

Ellen needs to contact Liza, if she hasn’t done so already, and say, “I apologize that my joke was not funny to you.  You looked fantastic Sunday night.”  And, we all need to step back and breathe and maybe learn a little more about our transgendered brothers and sisters.

OSCARS

I think host Ellen did a fantastic job hosting the Oscars telecast that was watched by 43 million people, up 6% in viewers from last year.

As for my Oscar picks, if I had played it safely, I would have correctly chosen 21-of-24.

However, I took a chance to stand out from the crowd and went against “Gravity” in the “Sound Mixing” and “Score” category.  Thus, I missed those two and got 19-of-24 right.  That’s much better than last year.

I correctly picked the top eight big categories.

Benedict U2

That is my favorite picture from the Oscars — “Sherlock” actor Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing Oscar-nominated rock band, U2.

And, the presenter that’s gotten the most post-Oscars buzz, unintentionally, was John Travolta.

Travolta Oscars

While introducing Broadway (“Wicked”), movie “(“Frozen”), and television (“Glee”) star Idina Menzel to perform the Oscar-nominated (SPOILER ALERT) and winning song, “Let It Go”, Travolta massacred Idina’s name.

John and Idina

In his enthusiastic introduction, Travolta says, “please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem”!

On Tuesday, Travolta released this statement, “I’ve been beating myself up all day. Then I thought … what would Idina Menzel say, She’d say, Let it go, let it go! Idina is incredibly talented and I am so happy Frozen took home two Oscars Sunday night!”

Needless to say, parody Twitter and Wikipedia pages popped up for the new star, Adele Dazeem!

Adele Dazeem

Okay, John I’m letting it go!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

JustinMichael Myers Winter

Let Us In

IS WINTER OVER?

March is definitely off to a cold start, but it’s starting to warm up.  After just the first three days of the month, Quad City temperatures were running more than 25.5° below average.

With two snows in the past week, we’re now up to 62.2″ of snow this winter in the Quad Cities, making this the third snowiest winter on record.

Snowy Winter

And, another inch of snow is expected tonight and early Saturday!

TOO EARLY FOR GARDENING, BUT…

While the ground is frozen and covered with inches of snow, I’m going to be optimistic and start gardening inside.

Late last summer, I bought three packages of seeds on ebay from Arkansas and I’m ready to start them with my “Seed Starter” kit Santa brought me for Christmas.

Seed Starter

Ironically, I hope the seeds I bought are what they say they are and nothing illegal!

I ordered Jerusalem Cherry, Pink Pampas Grass, and Ice White Cherry Tomato.

SPEAKING OF TOMATOES

“Better Homes and Gardens” is thinking of spring, too.  In the new March issue, it states that 86% of American gardeners raise tomatoes.

The magazine’s experts predict that “a hybrid like Black Pearl or Tye Dye” will be the “season’s hot tomatoes”.

ABBAtomatoes

While I love tomatoes, I always had them in the garden for Miss ABBA.

Now that she’s no longer with us, I still grow them and in the past two summers, I’ve perfected a fresh homemade salsa!

PICK HIT

Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin are household names in the United States.

J. Lo has charted 17 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with ten of them reaching the Top Ten and four topping of the chart.  Meanwhile, Ricky has had five hits on the Hot 100 with “Livin La Vida Loca” topping that chart in 1999.

Before this week, Ricky racked up 37 hits on the Billboard Latin chart.  Of those, 21 made the Top Ten and, incredibly, 11 of them reached #1.

Ricky and J. Lo are on their way to getting their latest #1 Latin hit with the help with Wisin, one half of the Puerto Rican raggaeton duo, Wisin & Yandel.

Wisin JLo Ricky Martin

“Adrenalina” debuted this week all the way up at #12 on the Billboard Latin chart and the video is incredibly hot!!!!!!!!!

It’s the first single from Wisin’s second solo album, “El Regreso del Sobreviviente” that comes out March 18, 2014, the same day as Kylie Minogue’s “Kiss Me Once” album.

Kiss Me Once

There is no correlation between Wisin and Kylie’s albums.  It’s just a shameless plug for Kylie.  I can do that, you know. 🙂

“SIX FEET UNDER”

While the HBO series ended its five-year run in 2005, we just got around to watching  and finishing it.

six feet under

What an incredible show!  While I wasn’t exactly prepared for its slow pace and it did get frustrating at times, the acting and the over-the-top story lines were amazing.  And, the last few minutes of the series finale were too cool.

By regularly reading my blog, you know I love Michael C. Hall.

He played David Fisher, one of the owners of the funeral home on the show.

Michael C Hall as David Fisher and Dexter

It was exciting to see him as a young, uptight gay man who would go on to become our favorite serial killer on Showtime’s “Dexter” for eight seasons.

Watching “Six Feet Under”, I realize that I lead a rather docile life compared to the crazy Fisher and Chenowith clans!

Six Feet Under starring Rachel Griffiths, Peter Krause, Michael C.Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, Justina Machado, Jeremy Sisto and James Cromwell

“THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL”

I just finished the ninth and final book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series.  If you haven’t been following my blog over the past few weeks when I talked about each book that I read, take notice.

The books follow the lives of a group living at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco in 1976 through current day.  The apartment complex is headed up by self-proclaimed matriarch Anna Madrigal and the final book is dedicated to Anna, who’s now 92-years-old.

The Days of Anna Madrigal

Needless to say when I started the book, I was bracing myself for the worse thinking this might be Mrs. Madrigal’s swan song.

I loved the flash backs in the book about Anna’s childhood at the Blue Moon Lodge, the Nevada whorehouse where she was raised by her mother, the madam, “Mother Mucca”.

While the book moves forward from Mrs. Madrigal’s childhood to the teenaged years and escaping Nevada, it was a pleasant ride.  It was also amazing to see her get to take one more trip back home to Winnamucca, even though most of what she remembered was already gone.

The book also updates us the lives of Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”), Mary Ann, and Brian, from the original “Tales” book.

Armistead

Although Maupin has been writing these stories for forty years, I just discovered them twenty years ago this spring when PBS aired the first “Tales of The City” miniseries.

It’s very strange to see Michael in his 60s and Anna in her 90s.  But, then again, I’m no longer watching the last months of my 20s escape me!  Before I know it, 50 will be here.

But, if my 50s and my golden years are half as much fun and exciting as the lives of the “Tales” gang and Armistead Maupin’s life, it’ll be “fantabulous”.

Armistead, thank you for giving this small-town Kentucky boy the motivation and the courage to move to Chicago just four months shy of my 30th birthday, just as you allowed Mary Ann Singleton to leave Cleveland, Ohio,  for San Francisco.

Tales-5

And, just like Mary Ann, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a television newscaster and meteorologist!

further+tales+of+the+city+sandra+oh+laura+linney

Thank you for the memories of 28 Barbary Lane and beyond.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Grammy Award winning country singer Lynn Anderson was raised in California, but she was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Born to country music songwriter parents, Lynn earned early notoriety in horse show arenas winning 700 trophies, including the title of “California Horse Show Queen” in 1966.

That same year she was signed to a recording music contract.  Her first hit reached #36 and was followed by “If I Kiss You (Would You Go Away)”, her first Top Ten hit in 1967, peaking at #5.

Lynn Anderson

From that first hit in 1966 to her last hit in 1988, Lynn Anderson scored 47 Top 40 Billboard Country Hits.  Of those, 18 reached the Top Ten, and five topped the chart, including her fall 1970 release, “Rose Garden”.

That song topped the Country charts for five weeks, reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a chart topper in Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.

She was also named Billboard Magazine’s “Female Artist of the Decade” in the 1970s.

Her last studio recording was 2010’s “Cowgirl II”.

Lynn is still touring and entertaining her fans and she recently attended a party in Nashville for radio personality Bob Kingsley with some of country music’s other legends, including my idol, Reba.

Lynn and Reba

“I BEG YOUR PARDON”, HERE’S MORE “ROSE GARDEN”

While Lynn Anderson scored almost 50 country hits in the U.S., “Rose Garden” was her only crossover to the Billboard Hot 100, where the song reached #3 in 1971.

However, in 1988, the Canadian synthpop/techno band, Kon Kan, sampled the song and “I Beg Your Pardon”, featuring Lynn’s “Rose Garden” made it up to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It also made it to the top five in the Netherlands and the U.K.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I appreciate you taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts.  Have a great weekend and we’ll do it again next Friday.

Anthony

They Said What??? Margaret Cho, Pat Robertson, & LeAnn Rimes

RELIGIOUS ZEALOT PAT ROBERTSON

“You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you like that? Well that makes me want to throw up. To me I would punch ‘Vomit’ not ‘Like’ but they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”

ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE

(speaking about gay people):  “I should like to shut them-up in some room and see if they get pregnant; if they don’t then its jail because they have claimed they can have children. So, to that kind of rot, we say no, no, no, no!”

MORE MUGABE

“Women are also engaged in this vile activity.  We have some claiming to be men but what is it that makes you a man? Show us your manhood. You want to make other women your wives and you the husband? Well, that is madness; we refuse to accept that.”

SINGER LEANN RIMES

“I was bullied when I was a kid — when I was in junior high. A lot of girls can get real mean during the sixth grade year.  i used to perform around Dallas and Texas where I lived, a lot. My principal would put something on the bulletin board if I was in the newspaper or something, and there was this clique of girls that did not like it.  So, I had my locker egged, I had a girl bring a knife to school the last day of sixth grade and tried to kill me! Awesome. So, I’d say I was bullied a little.”

MORE RIMES

“I’ve been such a target I guess for misjudgment lately, and a lot of anger from some people, especially through social media. Obviously we’re [celebrities] underneath a microscope and in the spotlight all the time, but it’s no reason to be able to pick apart someone the way that a lot of people do. We’re human … this is my job, and then I have my life. But I’m a human being in both of them — and I think people forget that a lot of times.”

NEW YORK TIMES WRITER MARK BITTMAN

(criticizing Beyonce Knowles for her Pepsi endorsement and working with Michelle Obama’s fitness campaign in his article, “Why Do Stars Think It’s O.K. to Sell Soda?):  “Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in.  From saying, as she once did in referring to Let’s Move, that she was ‘excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,’ she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis.”

POP SUPERSTAR SINGER BEYONCE

(responding to the criticism):  “Pepsi is a brand I’ve grown up seeing my heroes collaborate with.  The company respects musicians and artistry. I wouldn’t encourage any person, especially a child, to live life without balance.”

PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KATHLEEN KANE

(announcing that she will not defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban being challenged by 10 same-sex couples and one widow):  “We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I want to start acting like that.  It is our duty, each and every one of us, to protect the constitutionality, to protect the rights and dignity of others, and to protect the equality of all men and women in this Commonwealth.”

COMEDIAN MARGARET CHO

(about saying John Travolta is “so gay” and “like Oscar Wilde gay” in Australia earlier this year):  “You know, I would hope that he would be able to be himself. It’s not even like I’m outing him, because it’s so obvious.  That’s like outing Liberace.  All I’m doing is taking public speculation and joining it with what I know to be true.”

Anthony

Jodie Foster “Coming Out” — Why It Is and Isn’t Important

I think the most shocking part of Sunday night’s 70th Golden Globe Awards presentation on NBC was that Ben Affleck beat out Steven Spielberg and Kathryn Bigelow for Director and then “Argo” stunned “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” for Best Movie Drama.

Jodie Foster

However, it was the speech that movie icon Jodie Foster gave as she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award that has people buzzing.  Many were quick to say that she “came out” as a lesbian.  Some were just confused by her words.

So, what did she say and why does it matter?

“While I’m here being all confessional, I just have the sudden urge to say something I’ve never been able to say in public. A declaration that I’m a little nervous about. Not quite as nervous as my publicist, huh, Jennifer? But uh, you know, I’m just going to put it out there. Loud and proud. I’m going to need your support. I am — single.  Yes, I am.  I’m single!”

That was incredible.  I loved it.  Even before she said that, I said to Ray, “Wouldn’t it be something if she just shocked everyone and finally said, ‘I’m gay’, so the rumor mill would have nothing more to talk about?”

Jodie went on to say, “I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the stone age. In those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends, and family, coworkers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her. To everyone she actually met. But now, apparently I’m told, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime time reality show. You guys might be surprised, but I’m not Honey Boo Boo child.

And, she was so heartfelt and honest when she added, “If you had been a public figure since the time you were a toddler, if you had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too would value privacy above all else.  Privacy!”

I was touched by her speech about her private life, her mother, and Cydney Bernard, her “heroic co-parent, my ex partner in love, but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor… most beloved BFF of 20 years.”

jodie_foster_and_cydney_bernard_photo

Foster:  “Thank you, Cyd. I am so proud of our modern family, our amazing sons, Charlie and Kit who are my reason to breathe and to evolve. … Boys, in case you didn’t know it, this song, like all of this, this song is for you.”

I’ve always been a huge fan of Jodie Foster.  It wasn’t because she was sexy, a woman, a mother, straight, or lesbian.  I love her because she is a phenomenal actress.  Would it change the way I thought of her if she proclaimed, “I’m gay”?  Not one bit!  I can’t wait to see more about her next movie, “Elysium”.  It’s a science fiction film from the director of “District 9”, an Oscar nominee, and it comes out August 9, 2013, and stars Matt Damon.
elysium con

The timing for this blog about Jodie Foster is fitting.  Since my blog is now just over a year old, I’m highlighting some of my favorite blogs that I’ve written on those blog’s anniversary.  And, it was one year ago today that I debated on whether celebrities should be “outed” or live their lives privately.

As I read over that blog, I haven’t changed my opinion.  Yes, celebrities coming out would make it easier for people struggling with being LGBT to have role models.  But, they deserve a certain degree of privacy and the right to make that decision.  However, people who crusade against the LGBT community and are secretly gay should be forced out of the closet.

In last year’s article, I talked about whether pro football player Tim Tebow was gay and yes, it did mention Jodie Foster!

Here is the link and I really hope you check it out to understand more about outing celebrities.  I welcome your thoughts about Jodie Foster at this year’s Golden Globe Awards and about my article from last year.  By the way, in the past year, Anderson Cooper came out as a gay man.

Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/come-out-come-out-wherever-you-are/

And, here is the Jodie Foster Golden Globe speech.

Anthony