Posts Tagged ‘Jussie Smollett’

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

Two more snow events are on the way to the Northland of Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan this weekend.

With almost three feet of snow this month, by Friday night, this will be the snowiest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota, breaking the record set back in 1939!

I hope you have a great weekend whatever you do and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

I’ll preface this by saying that I want “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to be innocent and that this media circus has been one big misunderstanding.

Okay, that was my feeble attempt at thinking the best.

You’ve heard a lot about the case this week, but I first blogged about it three weeks ago.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor reported to Chicago police that two men yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

jussie-smollett

The story has taken a strange turn and now it seems that Smollett MAY have orchestrated the whole ordeal for the publicity and to get more money from “Empire”!

He turned himself into police late this week for allegedly filing a false police report about the racist and homophobic attack!  A judge set his bond at $100,000 and Smollett had to turn over his passport.

IF HE’S GUILTY, I hope he goes to jail and that he NEVER works again!

IF HE’S GUILTY, in the mind of people that don’t like people of color and the LGBTQ community, this stunt will call into doubt every hate crime and every gay bashing reported to police in the future!

And, it’ll also make the LGBTQ community and people of color more reluctant to even report hate crimes!

Again, I hope that this turns out to be a huge misunderstanding.  Sadly, it’s not looking that way!

Here’s why I’m thinking that:  Our country has a nasty history of hate crimes against people based on race and sexual orientation.

Many times, when LGBTQ people and people of color are attacked, it’s not just a punch to the face and name calling!  These attacks are usually very violent and sometimes lead to death!

Two names quickly come to mind:  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

It’s Academy Awards weekend!  I’ve never been to an Oscars party, but I think it’s be fun.  Well, the food spread and drinking sounds fun!

Here are the movies and actors that I think will take Oscar home!

I predict “Roma” will win Best Picture, but I don’t think it should!

While I haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, I saw “Roma” and it didn’t even make my Top 20 list of favorite movies of 2018!

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While I pick Christian Bale to win, I really, really hope that Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) wins!

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“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

This movie tells the story of the final years of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Willem Dafoe earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of the tormented, alcoholic van Gogh.

It’s a decent movie and Dafoe is great, but I’m not sure that he deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

He was also was nominated for an Oscar last year for the fantastic “The Florida Project” (my #14 movie of 2018).

Last year, I even wrote that he didn’t deserve that nomination!  Clearly, the Academy and his peers love him.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fantastic, and if I had to choose, his van Gogh was more Oscar worthy of the two roles.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about “At Eternity’s Gate” and the van Gogh brothers:

Defoe, who played Vincent, is 63 and van Gogh died at the age of 37!

Vincent van Gogh was four years older than his brother, Theo, but Rupert Friend (“Homeland”), who played Theo, is only 37 in real life! 🙂

And, finally, Theo van Gogh died at the age of 33 just six months after Vincent died!

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

This movie is about Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 run for the Democratic nomination for president.

His campaigned ended after news broke of an extramarital affair.  His argument was that it was his private life and it shouldn’t affect his job as president.

Remember, this was a time before reporters ran with stories like this.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reporters knew about John F. Kennedy’s affairs, but didn’t make them public.

I love Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga, who play Hart and his long suffering wife, Lee.

They both had some powerful scenes, but it seemed like the movie dragged on longer than his 1984 and 1988 presidential runs!

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

As I mentioned last week, I’m going through my movie collection and watching old movies to either get rid of or save.

One gem that made the save list was “Angels of Sex” which I talked about in my last blog.  Another one that I enjoyed much more the second time around was the 2008 Israeli film, “Antarctica”.

Director Yair Hochner’s love story follows a group of very sexy men and women around Tel Aviv searching for that special one (or just a good time)!

It’s a very sensual movie with nudity and graphic sex scenes.  Israelis definitely know how to make a movie sexy and erotic without it automatically being seen as soft porn!

Yiftach Mizrahi (Danny) was stunning and he can act and dance beautifully!

P.S.  This trailer may be a little risque for some!

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

I just finished reading Evan Thomas’ 2000 biography, “Robert Kennedy:  His Life”.

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It paints a very interesting look at RFK 32 years after he was gunned down in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic California Primary in his 1968 presidential run.

The book touches on RFK’s neglected childhood following in the shadows of his two older, golden brothers.

Thomas doesn’t shy away from showing the nasty, dark side of RFK and what he did to make his brother, John F. Kennedy, president and a very successful one.

It also shows how he became a fighter for the disenfranchised — blacks, poor and other minorities.

I’ve written before about how much I love Bobby Kennedy and how great it would have been if he had become our 37th president.

However, there’s still something about him (and the other Kennedys) that I still have a problem with today.

Recently, I wrote this while talking about Jackie Kennedy, “By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.”

I also said, “Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.”

Thomas also touches on RFK’s fear of gay people.  Like Jackie and John, I hope that Bobby would have “evolved”.  Remember, this was the 1950s and 1960s and there was no such thing as “gay rights” or openly and accepted people in the LGBTQ community.

Bobby Kennedy

So, I’ll still crush on the image of the youthful and charming Bobby Kennedy with reservations about the homophobia.

And, I learned from Thomas that RFK hated popping corks of champagne bottles!

Come on RFK, what’s up with that?  I love champagne and there’s only so much I can overlook! 🙂

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

While technically “Bobby Kennedy For President” wasn’t a movie, I ranked this excellent Netflix documentary as my #11 movie of 2018.

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

Before reading the book on RFK, I read Ted Sorensen’s 800-plus page biography of John F. Kennedy and Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack” and Andersen’s “The Day John Died”.

JOHN DIED

While I did learn things about JFK, Jr., a lot of the book was a rehash of “Jackie After Jack”, especially when he talked of Jackie and how she dominated her son’s life and the Kennedy Camelot legacy.

Also, I didn’t care much for Andersen’s highly speculative dramatization of events in the minutes before John John’s plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, in 1999.

That crashed not only killed JFK, Jr., but also his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren.

Skip it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — January 30, 2019

With the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills invading much of Canada and the middle part of the United States, I thought I’d share a few things with you.

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That’s how it looked on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.  Temperatures were around -18° and wind chills were -45°!

Cold, but gorgeous!  Stay warm!

HERE’S TO A SPEEDY RECOVERY JUSSIE!

While it’s not new, I’m disgusted by the hatred in this country (and world).

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago by two white men.  Police are treating it as a possible hate crime.

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The men allegedly yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

chicago police

Jussie, I pray for a quick recovery from the physical injuries.  I know emotionally, it’ll take time to heal.  My thoughts are with you!

RACISM

There’s another very pathetic part of the story that I won’t mention because it hasn’t been confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.  But, if it’s true, it’s so very sad!

We all know that racism and hate has always been a part of our country’s fabric. Even after the progress in the 1960s, it was still there.

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But, before 45, it was rightfully condemned to be publicly racist.

Sadly, people are “free” again to hate without regret! 😦

SUAVE, BUT CREEPY, (VIOLENT) MEN!

Dating at a more mature age sucks!  Well, it can suck at any age! 🙂

I finally got around to watching the Bravo series, “Dirty John”, which is based on a true story.  (I talk about it below.)

As I was watching the first episode, I couldn’t believe that the woman (Debra) didn’t pick up on the warning signs that the man she had just started dating was a loser and user.

But, by the second episode, it really clicked as to how this could happen.  It happened to me on my 30th birthday, in Chicago, in the fall of 1994!

I had just been living in the city for three months and went out to celebrate.  I met Richard, a very charming guy with a great smile.  He was 25.

We had a great time that night and the first few weeks were fun.  Before I knew it, he had “moved in” — actually, “would never leave” is more like it!

By Christmas, the relationship was strained by his jealousy, which led to domestic violence.

Yes, I became “that person” lying about the bruises and making excuses that it wouldn’t happened again.

Five months after we met, it culminated with a near death, stalking experience — an emergency room visit, an arrest, and a court appearance!

This was a few days after the attack.  You can still see the gash on the forehead from a brick and the bruises under the eye and on the lip.

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While the Chicago court system let him off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, karma and fate prevailed.

A few years ago, I heard that he died!

“DIRTY JOHN”

Sharing that personal story was clearly inspired by Bravo’s “Dirty John” with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

It’s based on a podcast about a very successful businesswoman and mother of three, Debra Newell.  She’s been unlucky at love after four failed marriages when she finally meets John Meehan, a man just too good to be true.

Well, guess what?  He is too good to be true, thus the show’s name, “Dirty John”!

After the first episode, I thought, “Seriously, you’re that lonely not to see the red flags?”  But, more pieces of the story come together and you’re sucked into it!

Britton looks amazing and her clothes scream elegance!  Bana looks great even as the louse John!  And, it’s always a treat seeing Julia Garner (“Ozark” and “The Americans”).

But, I was really blown away by Juno Temple, who plays Veronica, Debra’s oldest daughter. She’s incredible!  I remember her from 2010’s “Kaboom”!

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Okay, one more thing — I’m still crushing on Kevin Zegers!

If you missed it on Bravo, it hits Netflix on Valentine’s Day (how lovely and twisted!) and a second season is in the works.

GRADE:  A-

REMEMBERING JAMES INGRAM

Two-time Grammy Award winner (with 12 other Grammy nominations) and two-time Oscar nominee James Ingram’s death was announced Tuesday, just a few weeks shy of his birthday.

He was 66.

Ingram first hit the chart in 1981 with “Just Once” (with Quincy Jones), one my favorite songs of his.

He scored a total of eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including two chart-toppers, 1982’s “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and 1990’s “I Don’t Have The Heart”.

SAG AWARDS — DIVERSITY HUMOR! 🙂

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Host Megan Mullally : “Hollywood did manage to get a few things right: They cast black people in “Black Panther”, so that was good… Asian people in”Crazy Rich Asians”… And, a green book in “Green Book”.  You know there were some executives saying, ‘Um, could the book be white?”

OSCAR NOMINATION SNUBS

While I was hoping for nominations for Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman for “Boy Erased” and Julia Roberts for “Ben Is Back”, I didn’t expect them!

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I was surprised that Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Bradley Cooper (Best Director – “A Star is Born”) were overlooked.

Furthermore, I was shocked that Marina De Tavira (“Roma”) picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress!  However, with all of the awards season love for the movie, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But, the biggest snub for me was in the Documentary category.  I still can’t believe “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, my #3 movie of 2018, wasn’t nominated!

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“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on my return flight from Morocco last fall, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

As you’ll see below the trailer, I gave it a grade I rarely give anything in entertainment!

GRADE:  A+

“BEAUTIFUL BOY”

As for acting, Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell were fantastic in this true story about a father’s efforts to save his teenager from drug abuse and death.

Chalamet was nominated for many major acting awards for this movie, but he didn’t get the Oscar nod.

Last year, he did get an Academy Award nomination for “Call Me By Your Name”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2018.

So, about “Beautiful Boy” — the acting was superb, but the movie was just a few steps up from a Lifetime movie.

You can catch it on Amazon Prime.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

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Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 23, 2015

Happy Friday!  It’s been a month since I posted some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so here are a few.

It’s time to put the final touches on your Halloween costumes and stock up on candy that you buy for yourself and the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Gretel Halloween

Yes, that’s Gretel from a few years ago!  Visions of “The Walking Dead” are dancing through my head.

“HALLOWEEN” IS STILL MY FAVORITE

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is still my all-time favorite horror movie and Michael Myers still rules 37 years later (and he hasn’t aged one bit!).

Michael

I’ve always wanted to be in a “Halloween” sequel and a new one is coming to theaters next year — without me!  It’s being shot this fall.

CHECK OUT THIS HALLOWEEN MOVIE

While we all have our favorite scary movies (if you like them), the little seen “Hellbent” from 2005 is one that I make sure that I watch ever fall.

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While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it has some great pedigree.  It’s from the co-creator of “Halloween” and the executive producer of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

SOMETHING SCARIER THAN HALLOWEEN…

… Presidential politics!

DT Masks

A new Quinnipiac poll yesterday shows that Donald Trump no longer leads in the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus.

An even scarier candidate, Dr. Ben Carson has jumped to 28 points with Trump at 20 and Marco Rubio in third with 13.

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Up until now, I thought that Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee, but now I think it’ll be Rubio!

By the way, if a Rubio is going to be in the White House, I vote for Paulina Rubio (even though she wasn’t born in the United States)!

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BIGGEST THREAT TO POLITICIANS — INTERNS?

After the poll came out showing Trump had fallen behind Carson in Iowa, this tweet came across Trump’s Twitter feed.

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Trump now claims it was an “intern” that posted it.

Maybe people should manage their own social media — it’s always the “intern”!

Again, another case of the lack of responsibility!  And, there are hearings today about Benghazi?

Oh, about that…

LAST POLITICAL COMMENT TODAY

Like the email server controversy, I’m ready for the Republican House-led Benghazi hearings with Hillary Clinton to be over and for people to get the answers they need.

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Many think (not just me and not just Democrats) that these hearings are being held now to sidetrack Hillary’s bid to be president.

Look at this graph of attacks on U.S. diplomats.  More have happened under which side’s control of the country?

Attacks

Are you not convinced?  In January, just two weeks ahead of the Iowa Caucus, director Michael Bay (the “Transformers” series) will be releasing a Benghazi movie!

Coincidence in timing?  I think not!

FALL TELEVISION — HITS AND MISSES

How are your television favorites this season and what new shows are you watching?

I’m really enjoying the new hits, “Quantico” (ABC) and “Limitless” (CBS).

I love the quirkiness of “Limitless” and the character, Brian Finch.  If that wasn’t enough, actor Jake McDorman is so sexy!

I plan on getting around to checking out the new season of “Fargo” and the series, “Wicked City” and “The Man in the High Castle”.

“Scream Queens” is entertaining if you love camp — deliciously bad!

As for my returning favorites, I think “How To Get Away With Murder” is even better this season than it was in the over-the-top incredible first season.

How the heck are we going to get to this teased ahead shocker???? I can’t wait to find out!

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I’m still loving “Madam Secretary” and the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” is off to a refreshing (and violent) start.

The Walking Dead

I’m reserving my judgement on the Lady Gaga-led “American Horror Story: Hotel” and after three episodes, I’m on the fence about liking the return of “Empire”.

Empire

The first season was fresh and exciting.  This season just seems tired even with the amazing Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett.  I even loved the music of the first season more than the new music this season.

Let’s hope it changes before I abandon the show.

READY FOR MOVIE POPCORN!

We’re approaching the end of October and I still haven’t been to the movie theater this year!  I’m missing my movie popcorn and free refill.

There are two movies I want to see out now and I think I may see one of them this weekend.

I want to see “The Martian” with Matt Damon, but I’m putting my money on “Sicario” with an Oscar-buzzed performance by Emily Blunt.

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ LAST ON-SCREEN MOVIE

We watched “Boulevard”, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role, just out on DVD, and it’s very touching.

It features heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).  Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

A must see!

GRADE:  A-

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

While you may be thinking of the candy rush of Halloween, I’m already salivating over turkey and cheesecake for Thanksgiving.

Our Turkey 2012

But, Christmas is also right around the corner.

I just bought LeAnn Rimes’ “Today is Christmas” album, but the one that I’m really excited for and counting down to (November 13th) is “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.

Kylie Christmas

The deluxe edition not only comes with extra songs, but a DVD, too!

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS

There are three albums that instantly come to mind when I think of Christmas and two of those artists are featured in this one video!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without these staples:  “Christmas” by Michael Buble, “Merry Christmas” from Mariah Carey featuring the incredible “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and “Christmas Portrait” by the Carpenters!

‘Tis the season early!

PICK HIT

24-year-old Alvaro Soler of Barcelona, Spain, is ready to move beyond Europe and take the United States and the world by storm.

Alvaro Soler

His debut album, “Eterno Agosto” came out this past summer to moderate success in Italy and Switzerland.

The first single, “El Mismo Sol” topped the charts in Italy and Poland and the song hit the Top Ten in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Spain.

The song now has a bilingual version subtitled, “Under The Same Sun” featuring Jennifer Lopez and is currently at #22 on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart here in the U.S.

I’m still waiting for the full version, but here’s the amazing teaser.

The song is so uplifting (both versions) and to feature these two beautiful people makes it even better.

Here’s the original version.

I hope that Alvaro becomes a huge star in America.  There’s enough love for him and Enrique Iglesias!

FINAL THOUGHTS

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  If you agree with me on something, let me know.  If you don’t, tell me, too.  We can disagree — diplomatically.

And, since I mentioned Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas today, this sums it up.

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Have a great weekend.

Anthony