Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Clarkson’

Random Thoughts — May 3, 2019

Now that May is here and the weather will start being nice on a regular basis (I hope), I’m ready to get out more and enjoy life.

So, I have just a few more blogs to share with you before I go on hiatus.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about what I’m talking about and if we disagree, that’s fine.  Just do it diplomatically!

GET VACCINATED!

I know I probably have friends that don’t believe in vaccinating their children, but this is a subject where we sorely disagree.

If you don’t vaccinate, I’m sure you have your reasons.

I think people, of any age, should be up to date on their shots to help prevent the spread of contagions!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tweeted this on Monday!

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KENT STATE MASSACRE

This weekend marks the 49th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre!

As you recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the campus and the shootings left four students dead.

In May 2000, I was a reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, about 75 miles away from Kent State University and I got to cover the 30th anniversary of the shooting spree.

It was very eerie and I can’t believe that next year will be 50 years!

Here is the report that I filed in 2000.  My apologies for the quality since this was recorded on my phone from TV and VHS!

The story is still great!

2019 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS

The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were amazing! It was a total throwback for me to the fun 1980s American Music Awards — so many great, exciting visual performances!

Madonna & Maluma, Taylor & Brendon Urie, Mariah Carey, Ciara, Paula Abdul and The Jonas Brothers rocked Las Vegas and the MGM Grand, along with Halsey and Kelly Clarkson (both performances)!!!

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I’m still crushing on Brendon!

“KILLING EVE”

We’re midway through the eight-episode second season of BBC America’s “Killing Eve”.

I just finished binge watching the first season’s eight episodes and finally brought myself to start watching the second season.

After the shocking season one finale, I hesitated to start this season because I know I’ll have to wait for the next four episodes to air on television and then wait another year for the third season!

The show is absolutely incredible!

Sandra Oh, who won Best Actress awards in a drama from the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and the Golden Globes, is amazing, as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer in London.

And, every time that Jodie Comer, who plays psychopathic, hired assassin Villanelle, is on screen, I’m mesmerized!

And, of course, I’m crushing on Sean Delaney, who plays Kenny Stowton, an ex-hacker who has been recruited by Eve in her search for Villanelle!

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“SECOND ACT”

I love Jennifer Lopez and I’m hoping to see her in concert this summer.

Until then, you can catch her on this hit from last winter.  The $16 million comedy brought in $72.3 million in theaters.

Lopez plays Maya Vargas, an assistant manager at a Value Shop store, who is ready for a big promotion after working there for 15 years.

She’s passed over because she doesn’t have a college degree.

On her birthday, she makes a wish that is far-fetched.  But, through the magic of the internet and social media, things start happening for Maya, but it’s based on a lie!

Leah Remini is hilarious and sexy Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”) plays Lopez’s boyfriend.

Okay, the movie is cute, sexy, and funny, but it’s not totally realistic.  But, that’s why we watch some movies!

GRADE: B+

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

This movie is based on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It covers her life from her college years, when not too many women were enrolled at Harvard Law School, to her trying her first big case.

Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Bader and dreamy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband, Martin Ginsburg.

It’s a well told story and both actors are great, so I recommend it.  However, I’d highly suggest that you watch the superior “RBG” instead or in addition to “On The Basis of Sex”.

GRADE: B

“RBG”

In September 2018, I wrote, “This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”  

GRADE: A

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” CANCELLED

I haven’t gotten around to watching the third season of this Netflix comedy.

I guess I should laugh and cherish each episode since it was cancelled!

Where will I watch Timothy Olyphant now?

SPECTRUM “ON DEMAND”

My cable company, Spectrum, is pretty much like any other cable company, most notably, Mediacom — very expensive and very unreliable.

While recently on a customer service call, I was told that “On Demand” is free.

I politely told the agent that while Spectrum may consider it “free” and there may not be a line on my bill that charges me for “On Demand”, when I pay them $140.40 a month, when I turn on the television to watch something on cable, it’s not free!

I was calling because there was a missing episode in season three of “Veep” and there are four missing episodes scattered about in seasons three and four of “Younger”!

“YOUNGER”

Speaking of… I’ve been trying to binge watch the TV Land series, “Younger” for over a year now.

I watched season one last spring while I was still in Panama City.  When I got to Duluth, Minnesota, seasons two through four were not available “On Demand”, yet I did DVR season five.

Now “On Demand”, all five seasons are available with random missing or unavailable episodes.

I’m just finished season four and for the missing episodes, I just read the Wikipedia episode synopsis and ventured on. 😦

“Younger” is from creator and producer Darren Star, who brought us the classics “Beverly Hills, 90120”, “Melrose Place” and “Sex and the City”.

It stars Sutton Foster, as Liza, a 40-year-old recently separated mother of a teenager, who’s trying to jump start her once thriving career.  She tries to get a job in publishing, but she realizes the industry is obsessed with much younger employees!

Her roommate and best friend, Maggie (Debi Mazar), gives her a makeover and she lands a job as a “26-year-old” and works for Diana Trout (a hilarious Miriam Shor) and alongside Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff).

She meets and falls for young, inked, and insanely sexy Josh (Nico Tortorella), a tattoo artist, who thinks Liza is around his age, mid-20s!

I’ve crushed on Tortorella since he was on the first season of Fox’s “The Following”.

Nico Tortorella

On ‘Younger”, the bisexual/genderfluid actor is absolutely stunning!

And, the sexiness doesn’t end with Tortorella.  There’s also Peter Hermann (Charles) and Dan Amboyer (Thad).

Dan Amboyer

Amboyer (above) came out as gay in 2017 and announced he had married his long-term partner.

And, my new hottie in seasons three and four is Ben Rappaport!

Ben Rappaport

Season six debuts on June 12, 2019, on TV Land.

“ME”

Taylor Swift is back and she seems happy after the awesome, darker 2017 “Reputation” album.

This time she’s teaming up with sexy Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco.

Wonder if there’s going to be a duet with The Dixie Chicks on the new album?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 24, 2018

Kids are heading back to school soon and summer is winding down.

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

THANK YOU KELLY CLARKSON!

Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson has always been an ally to the LGBTQ community and earlier this week, she took on a homophobic fan on Twitter.

Back in December 2016, Clarkson invited fan Kiana Clark on stage to propose to her girlfriend, Amanda.

The couple married recently and Kelly congratulated them and then came the rude tweet.

But, Kelly handled it like a sweetheart!

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Oh, Terri, if you’re going to be condescending and rude, I want to let you know that “dikes” are built to hold back water.

The offensive slang you were trying to use is spelled with a “y”!

“MARILYN MONROE:  THE BIOGRAPHY”

I finished reading my 21st book of the year.

This 1993 biography by Donald Spoto is just one of many books written about Marilyn Monroe after her death in 1962.

MARILYN

There’s no denying that in movies and magazines, Monroe was magic.

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But, boy was she one tormented soul!

She was pawned off from person to person as a kid and then spent time in an orphanage before she was married at 16-years-old to avoid another children’s home!

As she was trying to launch her career, she was even a “boulevard hooker”!

While there were many flaws in Monroe’s work ethic (tardiness and absenteeism), it’s easy to see from the book that she was a very generous and loving woman (to a fault).

It was heartbreaking reading about how Hollywood manipulated her financially as just another dumb blonde, when she worked so hard to be a great actress in both comedy and drama.

Also, her drug dependency (from 1954 to her death in August 1962) was sad.

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The book convinced me that her affair with President Kennedy was a one-night stand and that she and Bobby Kennedy never had an affair and that the Kennedys did NOT have her killed.

While there are many conspiracy theories out there, including the one I just mentioned, I believe that her psychiatrist/”doctor” ordered a drugged enema that negatively reacted with sleeping pills that Monroe had taken and that’s what killed her.

marilynmonroe

Her death was ruled a “probable suicide”.

I had two faults with the book.  It could have had a better editor and the 611 pages of Monroe’s story could have easily been cut down to 500 pages!

Also, the author was very protective of his subject and lacked objectivity at times.  There was, at least, one instance in the book that he justified Monroe’s drug dependency, just like all the “yes” people and “doctors” she surrounded herself with.

CATERING DRUGS TO CELEBRITIES 

With the loss of such a legend as Monroe more than fifty years ago, it’s nice to know that “doctors” are much more careful about prescribing medication to celebrities.

Oh wait, that’s not true.  There’s Michael Jackson (2009), Whitney Houston (2012), and Prince (2016), for starters!

Just to drive home how crazy things are getting in the U.S. — two million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers and nearly 50,000 died from opioids over a recent 12-month period!

“GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES”

Contracts are usually nasty pieces of paper.  They benefit the company more than the people signing them.

That was definitely the case for Marilyn Monroe when she did 1953’s iconic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

For the movie, Marilyn was only paid $15,000, while her co-star Jane Russell was paid $150,000!

By the way, Russell was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, which is about 150 miles northwest of Duluth! 🙂

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

“Crazy Rich Asians” was the box office champion last weekend bringing in $26.5 million ($48.2 million over its first eight days)!  It’s expected to be #1 again this weekend.

Jon M. Chu has directed a classic romantic comedy — a masterpiece of not only love, but culture.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a must-see!

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As Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), enjoy dessert in New York City, he asks her to join him on a trip back home in Singapore where he’s going to be the “best man” in his best friend’s wedding.  It’ll also give Rachel a chance to meet his family.

The movie is gorgeously shot and the cast is phenomenal.

It has romance, drama (not only with Nick’s mother), and humor, mostly supplied by actress/rapper Awkwafina.

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There’s one character not billed in the credits that’s vital to success of the movie — decadence!

It’s important to the movie’s charm and escapism — that mansion, the food, the parties, the wedding, and Singapore!

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“Crazy Rich Asians” shows that it’s time for executives to realize that movies don’t need white faces to make money.  But, then again, it’s hard for that to sink in when most of ones controlling the industry and making the decisions are older, white men!

GRADE:  A

MY COMPLETE REVIEW HERE

That was a condensed version of what I thought of the movie.  Here’s the complete and more exciting review (sexier and steamier)! 🙂

Click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/crazy-rich-asians-sparkles-fascinating-irresistible/

HELLO, SELENA TAN!

Selena Tan, who plays ‘Alix’, Nick’s aunt in “Crazy Rich Asians”, is hilarious at the beginning of the movie at the Bible study.  I wish she had had a bigger role in the movie.

I’m honored that she got to see my blog review of the movie and that she took the time to reply and follow me on Twitter!

Greetings across the miles!

Selena Tan

“ALEX STRANGELOVE” OR “LOVE, SIMON”

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Which coming-of-age LGBTQ movie do you choose to watch if you haven’t already seen them?

Why do you have to choose? Watch them both!

“Alex Strangelove” is a touching Netflix comedy and it’s more realistic in tone and language than “Love, Simon” since it was made for a streaming service.

The sex talk about losing one’s virginity and about being gay is spot on.

And, the scene when Alex is practicing his come-on lines with his stuffed monkey is hilarious!

Daniel Doheny is very funny and adorkable as Alex.  At times, he looks like a young Andrew Garfield.

GRADE: B

“Love, Simon” was a box office success bringing in $66.2 million total ($40.8 million of that was in the U.S.).  Since it was a mainstream movie with a PG-13 rating, it wasn’t as wild and mature as “Alex Strangelove”.

Here’s what I wrote about “Love, Simon” after I saw it in March 2018:

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUMS THIS FALL

While Christmas is still four months away, holiday albums usually come out in the fall.

I’m very excited about John Legend’s first Christmas album.  As of now, no title, track list or release date is known.

Maybe this 2010 track, “When Christmas Comes”, with Mariah Carey, will hold us over until we know more about Legend’s album.

Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) is releasing “Season of Peace” on October 12th.  It’s a compilation from his first three Christmas albums, plus a new song.

Also, Eric Clapton’s first holiday disc, “Happy Xmas” also arrives on October 12th.

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It’ll feature classics like “White Christmas”, “Away in the Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Mary Christmas Baby”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, along with seven lesser known titles, and an original “For Love on Christmas Day”.

It’ll also feature “Jingle Bells”, in memory of EDM superstar DJ Avicii, who died from suicide last spring in Oman.

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Martina McBride’s new collection “It’s The Holiday Season” comes out October 19th and will feature nine songs.

Now, I say “new” because her first holiday collection, “White Christmas”, came out in 1998 and there were “re-releases” in 1999, 2007, and a re-packaging and renaming of the album as “The Classic Christmas Album” in 2013!

Also, Brett Eldredge is working on a re-vamped version of his 2016 Christmas collection, “Glow”.

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This one is likely going to be called “Glow 2.0”.

And, finally, The Mavericks’ “Hey, Merry Christmas!” arrives November 2nd.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 20, 2018

While winter is relentless for my friends in the Midwest, spring is finally in the forecast.

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

BARBARA BUSH (1925-2018) 

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away earlier this week at her Houston home.

Barbara Bush

The 92-year-old had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.  She’s also suffered from Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition, since the late-1980s.

My thoughts go out to the Bush family.

BARBARA STUNS THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT…

In 1990, former PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) President Paulette Goodman asked for support from the First Lady.

Ms. Bush sent a personal response, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country.  Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.”

Needless to say, the “religious right” went ballistic.

AND, DON’T MESS WITH HER FAMILY

During the 1984 campaign season, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro continued her attacks on then Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Barbara had had enough and referenced Ferraro by saying, “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich!”

Ferraro

The former First Lady apologized for that comment.

REBA STILL STUNS!

Back in 1993, when she performed “Does He Love You”, a #1 hit with Linda Davis, gasps were heard across the world with Reba’s “red dress” and its plunging neckline (right below)!

At the time, Reba said she got “more press off that dress than if I’d won entertainer of the year”.

Reba

At last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, she performed the same song with her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson, and she wore the same dress from 25 years ago (left above)!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR

We know about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, but there’s been other shocking presidential behavior that just isn’t as widely known.

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Lyndon B. Johnson was being badgered by reporters over why the United States was in Vietnam.

With a simple, unmistakable off-the-record gesture, the president unzipped his pants, pulled out his “Johnson” and said, ”This is why!”

Could you just imagine a president doing that today???

GOODBYE OLIVIA POPE & “SCANDAL”

I’m probably in the minority here, but I felt the “Scandal” series finale was anti-climatic and the wrong person died in the final episode!

It’s sad to say goodbye to Olivia Pope, the Gladiators, and both President Grants (oops, spoiler) after binge watching seven seasons of the ABC drama — 124 episodes.

Mellie

However, there were many great moments in the seventh and final season, but this one had me laughing out loud.

I think the reaction from Kerry Washington (Olivia) is authentic and that she was really cracking up with Bellamy Young (Mellie)!

Warning:  Adult content!

“Olivia, there’s a famine in my lady bits…”  (Still laughing!)

And, another dramatic and hilarious scene is this confrontation between Olivia and her terrorist mother, Maya!

“You can either be my mother or a bitch!  What’s it gonna be?” and Mama’s reaction, “Girl, if you don’t sit your dramatic ass down…”

GOT MY CHRISTMAS “SCANDAL”

As you know, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I was so thrilled to get a “Scandal” Christmas in season five.

Although it was a tense and heavy episode, it ended with Olivia in a happy place!

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This is going to be me this Christmas!  Like Olivia, I’ll find my happy place this year!

GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD” 

After eight seasons, I’m giving up on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.

The seventh and eighth season were painful and I didn’t find them enjoyable.

I guess I’m not alone.  The season eight finale had the lowest ratings since the season one finale!

About 8 million people watched this season finale.  The season four and five finales both had about 16 million viewers!

Andrew Lincoln

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!

KYLIE HITS #1 AGAIN!

My girl Kylie Minogue hits #1 again with her latest album, “Golden”!

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The album topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and the U.K.

It started out in the Top 5 in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.

Kylie

It’s definitely “Raining Glitter” for Kylie fans with the new music.

I can’t wait for her to announce her U.S. tour dates to promote the album!

ROSE MAKING A COMEBACK

Over the past few years, drinking rose has been growing at a much higher rate than other wines.

rose

Dry rose almost went extinct in the 1970s when sweet White Zinfandel was introduced in California.

In France, Provence makes more than 140 million bottles of the crisp pink wine.

Spain and Italy are also prime producers of rose!

“ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD”

a.k.a. “The movie that went through drastic, last minute re-shoots with Christopher Plummer in the role that was originally played by Kevin Spacey!”

a.k.a. “The movie that “USA Today” reports that Mark Walhberg got $1.5 million for the re-shoots, while Michelle Williams was only paid less than $1,000!!

WTH on the second a.k.a. — Yes, there’s definitely still a big pay discrepancy between men and women in Hollywood (and the U.S.)!

It’s the story of J. Paul Getty, once the world’s richest private citizen, and the kidnapping of his teenage grandson in Rome in 1973.

At first, the elder Getty (Oscar nominee and former winner Plummer) refused to pay the $7 million ransom, even though that was just pocket change for him!

GRADE:  B

“TRUST” ON FX

Hollywood is mining the Getty kidnapping story with the movie version, “All The Money In The World” and the FX television series, “Trust”.

In the FX series, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland plays the elder Getty.

His kidnapped grandson is played by Harris Dickinson, who earned rave reviews from me (and other critics) in the incredible “Beach Rats”, my #3 movie of last year!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 26, 2018

The weekend is here and can you believe that January is almost over!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

SPANKING YOUR KIDS

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson went on the defensive after saying she’s “not above” spanking her kids.

Clarkson says, “My parents spanked me and I did fine in life. I feel fine about it, and I do that as well.”

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However, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages spanking and “other physical punishments”.

A recent survey showed that 78% of people believe spanking is okay “sometimes”, while 20% said “never”.

I’m fully on Clarkson’s side.  This whole “time out” or putting a child in the corner is silly to me.   I’ve been around children that could have used a few spankings in their lives.

I had my fair share as a youngster and I deserved every one them.  But, I also had a few beatings from my father that easily went over that threshold of spanking.  A beating and a spanking are much different!

Your thoughts on spanking?  Did you spank your children and how were you disciplined as a kid?

#TIMESUP MEGAN!

Who needs men to set women back 100 years when you have Megyn Kelly of “Megyn Kelly Today”?

Megan

Yes, I defended her against the attacks from “that man”.

But, to go after 80-year-old actress Jane Fonda about plastic surgery and then drag up a mistake she made during the Vietnam War!  Tacky!

Jane

When you want to use “Hanoi Jane” against her, Megyn and Fonda-haters, think of how welcoming America was to Vietnam War veterans when they returned home.  Even today, Vietnam War veterans get little respect!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Companies are always trying to come up with new variations on classics to increase their revenue.  Some work and some don’t.  Would you try these?

Food for Thought

A couple of years ago, McDonald’s in Japan marketed McChoco Potato.  It’s basically chocolate drizzle over their fries.  (YES, just to try it!)

Around that same time, Kellogg Company offered hot dog-flavored Pringles. (Again, yes, just to try it.)

And, in late 2014, PepsiCo tested a Doritos Nacho Cheese-flavored Mountain Dew with college students!  (NO THANK YOU!)

FINALLY SAW “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”!

Earlier this week, “Call Me By Your Name” was nominated for four Oscars — Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song (“Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens).

It was a year ago this week that the movie debuted at the Sundance film festival and it’s been gaining immense buzz ever since then.  The movie has been in limited release, but is now going wide.

I finally got to see it this week and it’s fantastic. 22-year-old Chalamet deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner for Best Actor.

It’s not only a coming-of-age love story between Elio (Chalamet) and a slightly older American graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) visiting northern Italy, but it’s a beautiful bond of love between a teenager and his parents.

“Call Me By Your Name” is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking!

GRADE:  A

By the way, there’s talk that director Luca Guadagnino is working on a sequel and both Charlamet and Hammer have expressed interest in continuing the story of Elio and Oliver.

“THE SNOWMAN” (DISASTER)

Nesbo+Snowman

After reading Jo Nesbo’s incredible Norwegian crime thriller, “The Snowman”, I was so excited to hear it was being made into a movie starring sexy Michael Fassbender!

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Well, when it arrived in the fall of 2017, critics hated it, the movie only made $6.7 million in the U.S. ($43 million worldwide), and “Entertainment Weekly” named it as one of the five worst movies of the year.

However, movie critics are known to be wrong.  But, not this time!

I watched the movie and it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.  (The director said they did run of time shooting the movie!)

I visited Norway late last summer.  You know the movie is bad when you spend most of it picking out all of locales that you saw while there: the Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo City Hall, the gorgeous Holmenkollen Hotel and Jump Tower, the amazing city of Bergen, and the view from Floyen Mountain — all covered in snow in “The Snowman”.

The only real highlight of the movie was a gratuitous, but pointless to the plot, shot of Fassbender standing by the window in tight blue briefs!

Read the amazing book instead!

GRADE:  D+

READING MILESTONE

Back in the Quad Cities, I read many books while walking on the treadmill.  Since moving to Panama City, I do all my walking outside (only twice have I walked on the treadmill).

It’s given me a chance to read through the two boxes of “Rolling Stone” and “Time” magazines that I brought with me dating back to 2014.

With those now finished, I’ll read my “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, and “The Advocate” magazines when they arrive and start clearing out books from my bookshelf and visit the library!

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I’m currently reading “Front Row At The White House” by the late United Press International journalist Helen Thomas.

“THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US”

Oscar winner Kate Winslet and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba star in this movie from last fall that made $61.1 million at the box office.

Both stars give excellent performances in a very predictable movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

The amazing and incredible Kylie Minogue is back with new music following “Kylie Christmas” in 2016.

While the new single, “Dancing”, may have been recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s definitely got the Kylie dance groove going on after the acoustic-sounding start!

The new album, “Golden”, arrives in April 2018.

And, since I’m excited about new Kylie music and I’m honoring the Queen, I had to share this hilarious commercial, which features Kylie!

It’s too funny!

REMEMBERING LARI WHITE

Country singer Lari White died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer.

She was moved to a Nashville hospice last week after being diagnosed with advanced peritoneal cancer in September 2017.

Lari hit it big in 1994 and 1995 with her phenomenal gold album “Wishes”.

It produced three Top Ten country hits:  “That’s My Baby” (#10), “Now I Know” (#5), and “That’s How You Know (You’re In Love)” (#10).

On “That’s My Baby”, she channeled her best Pam Tillis.

Lari leaves behind a husband and three children.  She was 52.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random (Christmas) Thoughts — December 22, 2017

Christmas is here in a few day!

Thank you for checking out my festive, holiday version of “Random Friday (Christmas) Thoughts” today.

“CHRISTMAS GHOSTS — LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT”

MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

I just saw the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Mariah Carey show in Las Vegas.  She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!

Here’s my Facebook album of the amazing show.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.gene.13/media_set?set=a.10155163332614849.1073742044.500579848&type=3

By the way, the title track to the new holiday movie, “The Star”, by Mariah has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award and is in contention for an Oscar nomination!

POINSETTIAS

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

Poinsettia 1

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

CANDY CANES

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

I wonder how many of those billions end up as garnishes in festive holiday drinks?

CHRISTMAS TREES

The National Christmas Tree Association reports that Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year.  And, of that number, one out of every four are from the country’s roughly 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

I did that back in 2000 and 2001 for Miss ABBA’s (my late golden retriever) first two Christmases.

In retrospective, I felt guilty for cutting down that big, gorgeous tree!

TURKEYS

The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century.

Our Turkey 2012

However, in rich households, it didn’t immediately replace the traditional goose, beef or boar’s head.

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

I chose these stamps this year to help out a very financially stressed United States Postal Service.  I sent out 136 cards and that’s really the only time I use the USPS except when I order things online.

Stamps 1

It’s ironic that the USPS is about to go under because as early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. wanted to limit the number of cards people could send at the holidays.

People were sending out so many homemade cards, since commercial cards weren’t available then, that an extra sixteen postmen had to be hired in the nation’s capital to handle the extra mail.

The Postmaster General would be ecstatic if that was the case today!

I guess this is my chance to say once again, stop Saturday mail service and save yourself a lot of money!

“SILENT NIGHT”

“Silent Night” was written in 1818, by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

On Christmas Eve, he was told that the church organ was broken and it would not be repaired for service that evening.

Saddened, he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music and he sat down and wrote three stanzas.  Later that night,  “Stille Nacht” was performed for the first time in that little Austrian church.

BABY JESUS & THE MANGER

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is Miss ABBA wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

“JINGLE BELLS”

And, finally, the Christmas classic, “Jingle Bells”, was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont.  It was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

Check out this version of the popular holiday carol at Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka.

It made me smile.

GLOWING TURTLE

Here’s a holiday bonus, “glowing turtles” were found a couple of years ago off the coast of the Solomon Islands (northeast of Australia).

Glowing Turtle

The biofluorescent species glow red and green!

“TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, while it isn’t one of my favorite holiday songs, crazy town’s Janice Dickinson’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” is over-the-top fun.

However, the song was written to help Catholic children, in England, remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs.

Now, I found this online and didn’t take the time to verify it, but it’s still interesting.

In the song:

The “partridge in a pear tree” = Christ.
2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity– the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

HOLIDAY BREAK

While I have a few year end “best of” or “favorites” blogs coming, I’m taking time off from “Random Friday Thoughts”.

If there’s something that I really want to talk about, I’ll write something just about that. 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Reba “My Kind of Christmas”

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

Also, be sure to catch Reba hosting “CMA Country Christmas” on ABC on November 27th!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 27, 2017

The holiday season is officially here with Halloween next week.

I hope you have fun shopping this weekend for costumes and candy.  Will there be any left over for trick-or-treaters? 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for taking time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S DOWNFALL

Harvey Weinstein

As more and more sexual harassment allegations surface and multi-million dollar lawsuits are filed against Harvey Weinstein, the former head of The Weinstein Company, I’m just shocked at how long it took all of this to come to light.

One person that’s probably the least bit surprised is actor-comedian-writer-director Seth Rogen.

Rogen

In a December 2014 “Rolling Stone” magazine article, Rogen was quoted as calling Weinstein “a well-documented psychopath” and “a real motherf**ker”!

“HALLOWEEN” (2018)

Since John Carpenter’s “Halloween” movie came out in 1978, there have been nine sequels.

Well, guess what?  For the 40th anniversary of the original, the 11th movie in the franchise hits theaters October 19, 2018.

Halloween-2019-sequel-Jamie-Lee-CurtisJamie Lee Curtis will return as Laurie Strode.

But, wait, didn’t Michael Myers kill Laurie in 2002’s “Halloween: Resurrection”?  Oops….spoiler-alert

The 2018 film will be a direct sequel to the 1978 original and will ignore all of the previous sequels!!!

Here’s the original trailer.

“It was the boogeyman!”

“As a matter of fact, it was!”

HALLOWEEN CANDY — BY STATE

My favorite candy bars are Snickers and Zero and I also love Twizzlers.

Here’s what candystore.com reports as the most popular Halloween candy by state!

CANDY

So, I was born and raised in a “Tootsie Pops” state (Kentucky) and lived in two “Starburst” (Wisconsin and Texas) states.  I’ve also lived in “Sour Patch Kids” (Illinois), “Milky Way” (Maryland), “Blow Pops” (Ohio) and “Skittles” (Florida) states.

I also love Candy Corn and it’s the most popular Halloween candy in Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, Alabama, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

I’M NOT AS POPULAR AS “SNL”, BUT… 🙂

It seems we think alike.

A couple of weeks ago, I was ticked off at one of Kellyanne Conway’s ignorant tweets and sent her one.

AP Clown

Well, I guess the writers of “Saturday Night Live” have the same thought process as me.

snl kellyanne

In a skit, Kellyanne is “Kellywise” and tries to lure Anderson Cooper into the sewers.  She’s already got two other famous victims in her clutches!

ARE YOU “READY FOR IT”?

“Ready For It”, the new video and second single from the upcoming Taylor Swift album, “Reputation”, is incredible, creepy, and sexy!

“MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN!”

A few months ago, I excitedly told you about the sequel to “Mamma Mia!”, the 2008 box office smash, based on ABBA songs.

Here’s an update — Cher is joining the cast alongside returning stars Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, and Amanda Seyfried. (Oh, Dominic Cooper is back, too) 🙂

While the details are limited, Cher was recently in the U.K..  She tweeted, “Just went through two dance numbers, everyone’s great.” and this:

Cher

The “Mamma Mia!” sequel hits theaters July 20, 2018, which will be ten years to the weekend of the original!  It made almost $610 million worldwide.

“TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY”

I’m four episodes into the new ABC thriller starring Kyra Sedgwick, who plays a Hollywood television and documentary producer whose child goes missing.

Each episode covers one day in the investigation to find the little girl. And, each episode casts characters as suspects and clears others.

In the trailer, Sedgwick says “People say there’s some truth in every lie.”

That’s funny because I’ve been told there’s a little truth to all my jokes! 🙂

I highly recommend it, although it’s the least watched new series on the major networks this fall!

“BABY DRIVER”

In this summer action caper, Ansel Elgort plays “Baby”, a getaway driver for a group of criminals who rob banks and businesses for a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) .

I saw Elgort in his first three movies, “Carrie”, “Divergent”, and “The Fault in Our Stars” and I thought he was cute, but that was it.  However, in “Baby Driver”, he’s downright adorable.

The movie plays out like a two-hour music video.  It has a lot of heart, but you have to suspend disbelief very early on (less than five minutes into the movie) and quite often.

Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Lily James costar.

GRADE:  B

“MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS” REVIEW

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Last week, I shared with you the two news USPS Christmas stamps and asked which ones you’d choose?

Although I liked them both, I’m buying these this year.

Stamps 1

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I wish you the scariest Halloween ever!

DT MasksWait, many of us feel as if we’ve been living it since last Halloween!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony