Posts Tagged ‘Laura Linney’

Ready to Watch Some Movies?

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

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

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

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

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

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

Collins was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

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

GRADE:  B+

“THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+

“THE DINNER”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

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

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

“CHRISTINE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: A

“CLOSET MONSTER”

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

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

Connor Jessup is incredible as Oscar, the tormented teenager.

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

Jessup plays heartbreak and pain well!

GRADE:  B

“PHIL SPECTOR”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 28, 2017

Where does the time go?  It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of July and that seven months of this year have already passed.

I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  After you read mine, feel free to share yours.

#45, YOU DON’T SURPRISE ME AT ALL

Last summer, when #45 posted this on Twitter, I made sure to save it.

donald-lgbt

On January 27, 2017, I wrote, “At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!  I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.”

This past Wednesday, #45 tweeted that transgender people will not serve in the military in an capacity.

Here’s my reply.

AP to DT

This ban is a perfect example of “smoke and mirrors” to hide his job and policy failures.

Friends, just remember:  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

Yes You Are

KILLING GAYS IN CHECHNYA

Outside of conservative America, there’s an all out war against the LGBT community in Chechnya (a republic of Russia). When I say war, I mean savage murdering.

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta reports that as many as 26 men have been killed, so far, in 2017, in Chechnya.

Ramzan Kadyrov

However, Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov,  claims there are no gay people there.  In an interview with “Real Sports”, he said “To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them to Canada”.

Earlier this spring, he publicly stated that he wanted all LGBT people in his country eliminated by May 26, the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.

While sad and devastating, one has to think how this might be handled if the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was different — if we had Hillary Clinton as president and a different Secretary of State.

Hillary

BUT, WE HAVE OUR OWN HATRED

While Chechnya and Russia’s hatred of LGBT people needs to be addressed on the international stage, we need to do something at home, too.

Already in 2017, there have been, at least, 11 trans people, many of them people of color, murdered in the United States.

But, this is nothing new, it’s just getting worse.

Brandy

Over the years, Brandy Martell (above) is just one of many high-profile transgender women, again, mostly people of color, that have been brutally murdered.

37-year-old Martell was shot in the genitals in Oakland, California, and Diamond Williams’ body was hacked into pieces and scattered about in an overgrown lot in Philadelphia.

And, just last week, a former Navy sailor, 21-year-old Dwanya Hickerson, of Mississippi, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murdering a registered nurse, Dee Wigham, in 2016.

Hickerson stabbed Wigham 119 times after learning that she was transgender.

“LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE”

Maybe everyone needs to take four minutes and open their ears and mind and listen to LeAnn Rimes!

She’s one of my favorite singers and a sweetheart (I met her in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2005).

AnthonyLeAnn

This week she tops the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with her latest, “Love is Love is Love”.

Earlier this year, “Long Live Love” also topped the chart marking her third #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart.

If you haven’t bought her latest album, “Remnants”, do so now.  It’s phenomenal!

“OZARK”

“Ozark” is the latest Neflix series and it debuted last week.

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is a financial adviser from Chicago who’s laundering money for a Mexican drug lord.  When a scam deal goes bad, he relocates to the Ozarks of Missouri to continue his illegal work.

Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, plays his wife.  You’ve heard me talk about her many times as Mary Ann Singleton in “Tales of the City”.  Plus, she’s a three-time Oscar nominee and she’s won four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes!

This is an excellent series and both lead actors play their broken characters very well.

The Emmys will come calling for Bateman, Linney, and the series next summer and I hope it’s renewed for season two.

GRADE:  A

“TO THE BONE”

Earlier this week, I talked about the Netflix movie “To The Bone”.

It’s the story of a 20-year-old woman’s struggle with anorexia that was not only threatening to kill her, but it was also tearing her family apart.

While the movie was realistic and I commend it for showing that men suffer from eating disorders, too, I was a little offset by the amount of humor surrounding the dire subject.

Humor is needed in the darkest of times, but there has to be a line and I think this movie crossed that line, at times.

Overall, a great movie to highlight a devastating illness.

GRADE:  B

RECOVERY IS A LIFELONG STRUGGLE

I know first hand about eating disorders.  While “To The Bone” focused mostly on anorexia nervosa, my illness is the opposite, bumilia (binging and purging).

In 1995, I weighed 116 pounds (down from a weight of 169 in 1986).  I was on the wagon for 21 years, but I relapsed this past winter.

I’m eating healthy again and exercising. I’m at almost three months and counting toward my next 21-year run!

Bad Meal

You can read that blog by clicking here and it’ll open in a new window:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/daily-struggle-through-thick-and-thin/

If you or someone you know is fighting anorexia and/or bulimia, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association at 1-800-931-2237 or check out their website, http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

MELISSA McCARTHY KNOWS SHE’S NOT THIN

The hilarious comedian earned an Oscar nomination for “Bridesmaids” and scored one of my favorite movies of 2015 with “Spy”.

She’s talked candidly with “Rolling Stone” about her weight and said she often wished she was taller, prettier, and thinner.

Melissa

One night she was looking at the IMDB message board and saw an anonymous message from Ohio at 3:43 a.m. calling her a “fat pig” and hoping “she drops dead of a heart attack in front of her children.”

McCarthy told the magazine, “all the air left my lungs.  Like, wait a minute.  My kids?  Like who –?  What kind of ass?  I kind of wanted to go to Ohio and just be like, ‘Hey, I have two girls, I do by best, and you hope I die in front of them?  Like, what the f*ck?  I mean, you can hate my movies, find me boring or over-the-top, whatever it is.  But when you move into that realm of the world…”

What is wrong with people?

MARTHA WASH & BLACKBOX

Just one more thought on this weighty subject matter.

I’m sure many of you remember or have heard the classic,”It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls.

The group, made up of Martha Wash and Izora Armstead, also worked as back-up singers for Sylvester.  They were then known as Two Tons O’ Fun.

Since then, Wash has worked with many acts because she’s an incredible vocalist.  Back around 1990, she sang on albums by C+C Music Factory and Black Box.

“Everybody Everybody” and “Strike It Up” became Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and both topped the Dance Club Songs chart.

However, if you watch the “Strike It Up” video, you don’t see Wash.  You see a very petite Katrin Quinol lip-synching the lyrics!

Wash also sang the vocals on C+C Music Factory’s #1 hit, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”.  Yet, another petite woman, Zelma Davis, appears in the video moving her mouth to Wash’s voice.

It’s a perfect example of pandering to the mentality that it’s easier to sell a product with a pretty, young, and thin woman as opposed to a pretty, older, and larger lady.

I wish we lived in a society that accepted people for who or what they are, but we don’t. 😦

As for Martha Wash, in 1993, her self-titled album produced three Top Ten Dance Club Songs hits with two hitting #1 (“Carry On” and “Give It To Me”).  I also got to see her perform at the Vortex in Chicago around that time!

Here’s that full-figured dynamo with some very hot, hot dancers!

In 1994, Wash and C+C Music Factory’s Clivilles and Cole reached two out-of-court settlements giving Martha credit for singing on their hits.

TROPICKLES

You may have heard Walmart is carrying Tropical-flavored pickle spears!

Some of you are already snarling your nose up and some are thinking that it sounds interesting.

Pickles

Kyle, our morning photographer, brought some in and I tried one.

If you like “bread and butter” pickles and you like fruit punch, you’ll love them.  It’s a very pleasant combination and I’d definitely buy them for a picnic.

PICK HIT & PANAMA CITY BEACH

Most of you may not know Jason Dottley.

He starred in the LogoTV series, “Sordid Lives: Television Series”.  (If you’ve never seen the original “Sordid Lives” with Olivia Newton-John, Leslie Jordan, Beth Grant, Delta Burke, and others, you’ve got to find it.  Hilarious!)

Jason is also a singer that’s scored three hits on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart over the years.

His latest, “Summertime” is convenient for the season.

The video was filmed in Panama City Beach, Florida.  While there, over the Fourth of July, Jason says a young woman called him a “f**got”.

I know Jason is man enough to handle her ignorance.

But, I just want you all to know we have some great people here — like those that risked their own lives recently to make a human chain to save a family caught in dangerous rip currents.  But, we also have other people like that young woman!  It takes all kinds!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 8, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying your week following the Fourth of July weekend.

I loved the cooler temperatures last weekend, but the heat and humidity definitely returned to the Midwest.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and many of you did last Friday, so thank you again.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.

Jimmy & Rosalynn.jpg

Thursday marked the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.

After the couple married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, they lived in several different parts of the country when President Carter was in the Navy.  After that, they returned to Plains to run the family’s peanut farm and business before moving on to Atlanta to become to Governor and First Lady of Georgia.

As I’ve written before, as a 12-year-old boy, I accompanied my grandmother, Helen, who was mostly illiterate into the voting booth in November 1976 in Mayfield, Kentucky, and placed my first presidential vote for the former Georgia governor.

I want to think that my vote was instrumental in him winning my state’s nine electoral votes.

CarterPres

I went with her again in 1980 and, again, voted for President Carter.

I’ll be visiting Atlanta in early September for the first time and I can’t wait to see the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  I’m so hoping that the former President and First Lady will be speaking at the Carter Center while I’m there.

So, President and Mrs. Carter, I’d love to treat you to an anniversary lunch or dinner if our path’s cross in Atlanta this September!  🙂

Happy Anniversary!

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

In case you missed it, here’s the blog from four years ago confessing my admiration for President and Mrs. Carter. (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

SAD STATE OF THE WORLD

I already had this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” ready to post when the bloodshed in Dallas, Texas, became the top story.

Dallas

A sniper (or snipers) opened fire on about 100 police officers at a demonstration of around 800 people in Dallas.  Eleven police officers were shot and, at least, five were dead.

The group gathered to protest two police-related deadly shootings this week — one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota.

At least three people were in custody after an exchange of gunfire with police at a parking garage downtown.

This story is changing by the minute and will continue to do so throughout the day and weekend.

the real world

America and the world, violence is and has always been a part of our existence.   But, the lack of empathy and the total disregard for life and our fellow man has to change.

I’m a realist and I know how this will play out, but I truly want society and mankind to prove me wrong!

STOP THE HATE

(This part of the blog was already written before the Dallas shooting spree.)

It’s been almost a month since the deadly shooting at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.

49 people were gunned down and another 53 were injured.

There have been many vigils and memorials in the past few weeks.

Now, heavyweight producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”, “American Crime Story”, “Scream Queens”, and “Glee”) is behind a very powerful and beautiful 18-minute video tribute featuring Hollywood stars sharing the stories of each of the 49 victims’ lives with their photographs.

The video may be long, but that time pales in comparison to the lifetime that each of those 49 people will never experience now.

I hope you take the time to watch it.

So touching and heartbreaking!

THOSE “DAMN EMAILS”

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Those words came from Senator Bernie Sanders on October 13, 2015 (my birthday)  in a Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive U.S. Presidential nominee, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clinton quickly replied with a chuckle, “Thank you. Me, too.  Me, too.”

DEM 2016 Debate

Now, almost nine months later, the debate is over with FBI Director James Comey stating in a press conference with his agency’s decision, “Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But, Comey did call Clinton’s handling of private emails “extremely careless.”

Yesterday, while being grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he basically said that none of the Clinton documents in the investigation had headers stating it was “classified”.

Now that precedence is set, hopefully every Secretary of State from John Kerry forward will learn from this and new guidelines will be instituted that can keep up with the always changing internet world.

BENGHAZI — FOUR YEARS LATER

If you asked Americans what country Benghazi is in or where to find it on the map, most would not know.  From a security standpoint four years ago, our own government didn’t seem to have it (and several other places) high on their radar either.

It didn’t seem like a priority until September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans there.

The U.S. government, the Obama administration, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted formal responsibility and she said this of the blame game, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Hearing were held and many studies were conducted (even independent ones).  Yet, in this presidential election year, people are still looking for the “silver bullet” to implicate Clinton for this tragedy.

The Stevens Family.jpg

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Stevens, is that family’s spokesperson and she says the latest reports added nothing new because it was already established that Benghazi was not secure.

Stevens adds, “I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

Clinton Stevens.jpg

And, when asked what Chris would have thought about this year’s upcoming presidential election, she says, “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”

Sadly, many people are keeping this tragedy alive, not because they are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other men, to make it another piece of this year’s election puzzle.

It’s time to make security changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and, most of all, it’s time to move on people.

“13 HOURS:  THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

When it was announced in late 2014 that director Michael Bay would be bringing a movie about the Benghazi tragedy to the big screen, I didn’t have any interest in seeing it.

He’s famous for making popcorn movies geared toward teenage fanboys and fangirls (“The Transformers” series and “Armageddon”).

However, once I heard that the movie wasn’t just propaganda (it was released two weeks before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, 2016, which is the kick-off to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election), I decided I would check it out on DVD.

It’s much better than I expected it to be.  From a Hollywood telling of real life events, it was definitely a great thriller.  It ended up making about $70 million in theaters with a $50 million budget.

Since we’re talking about the movie here, John Krasinski looks incredible with his newly buffed physique.

GRADE:  B

TICKETMASTER & FREE TICKETS

The concert movie giant is trying to make good after a losing a lawsuit over the crazy fees it charges.

Ticketmaster has already released two waves of tickets totaling almost $15 million, but it’s only for select concerts and venues.

It’s a nice gesture, but it’ll not likely benefit most of the customers it ripped off over the years, including myself.

Here’s a July 1st post from Ticketmaster:

tm

Ticketmaster, I have an idea if you really (and I stress, REALLY) want to make good on redemption from your shady activities that got you sued.

Since you’re only offering select number of tickets anyway, let us pick the general admission seats to the concerts we’d want to attend — if seats are available.

For instance, there are two shows that still have plenty of cheap seats open in Las Vegas when I’m there later this month.  Let me use my free vouchers there.

Just a thought!

SULLY

You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.

Flight 1549

This is US Airways Flight 1549 resting on the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Shortly after take-off, the plane hit a flock of Canadian geese, which caused engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

Director Clint Eastwood and Oscar winner Tom Hanks are bringing this amazing story to the big screen September 9th.

The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart as Skiles and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

FISH POND UPDATE

It appears that the anti-viral chemical we’re using in the fish pond is making a difference!

As I told you in last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, we had four larger koi to die in about a week’s time and then we quickly treated the pond with an agent to fight viruses in case the last fish we acquired were sick.

Sadly, Snowflake, another of the larger koi, died last weekend.  (She’s on the left here.  Pumpkin Pie, my favorite fish, on the right, died two weeks ago.)

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.

FIRST LADIES

For the past three weeks, I’ve been sharing tidbits from the book I read called “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.

I’m wrapping it up this week.

First Ladies

Eleanor Roosevelt:   She worked for the advancement of women and civil rights for black Americans.  Many saw her and FDR as a team in politics.  She loved press conferences — she had 348 in the three terms as First lady.  She also ended Prohibition by serving wine in the White House in 1934.

Elizabeth “Bess” Truman:  She and President Harry Truman made it no secret that they closely worked together for his policies.  She didn’t travel by air and mostly took the train.  Unlike her First Lady predecessor, she hated press conferences and only gave one!

Mamie Eisenhower:  Her favorite color was pink and she surrounded herself with it.  She saw her role as wife as secondary and supportive.  She made many “best dressed” lists, but often bought clothes off the rack.  While she exuded a “soft” side, White House staff saw her as militaristic.

Jacqueline Kennedy:  She worked hard to restore the White House (she didn’t like the word “redecorate”).  She was the first First Lady to hire her own press secretary and she was very into art and not just what was popular at the time.

Lady Bird Johnson:  Her first name was Claudia.  She borrowed against her inheritance, so her husband, LBJ, could run for Congress in Texas in 1937.  She also borrowed money to buy an Austin radio station in 1942 and when television took off in the 1950s, her broadcasting complex made her a very rich woman.  She’s best known for supporting the environment and for starting Highway Beautification projects.

Pat Nixon:  Thelma was her first name.  In her renovations of the White House, she made it more accessible for disabled and the sight-impaired.  She responded to her correspondences individually and she was also a well-traveled First Lady visiting 83 nations.

Betty Ford:  Her real name was Elizabeth.  She was widely lauded (and likely mocked) for her frankness — about her kids, health problems, and her life, including using Valium.  She wasn’t afraid to share her views even when they contradicted President Gerald Ford’s stances.

Rosalynn Carter:  Her first name is Eleanor and she gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation of eleven students in Plains, Georgia.  As First Lady of Georgia and the country, she worked very hard for mental health reforms.  She also fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified.  She also played a big role in the Middle East Peace Talks at Camp David by making many trips back to Washington D.C. during the lengthy process to stand in at events for President Jimmy Carter.

Nancy Reagan:  She wasn’t shy about asking for White House renovations and new china even as the country was in a major recession.  She was often criticized for influencing her husband, especially in his second term.  The “New York Times” even wrote about her “Associate Presidency”.

Barbara Bush:   She worked hard during her White House years for literacy and to bring attention to the fight against AIDS.  She was heavily into volunteerism before she became First Lady.

Hillary Rodham Clinton:  As First Lady, she was seen as highly ambitious because she was a strong woman that worked on policy for her husband.  To counter criticism, she lightened her hair, wore a more feminine wardrobe, and cut back on her public speaking.  To top it off, she even added her married name publicly to her already establish name of “Hillary Rodham”.

This book was updated in 1993 and it didn’t have chapters on Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

HIllary Flag

One last interesting comment that the author made was “By 1993, the credentials of First Lady Hillary Clinton looked very much like those of the President.”

Prophetic much???? 🙂

PICK HIT

I saw Cardiknox, the pop duo of Thomas Dutton and lead singer Lonnie Angle, open for Carly Rae Jepsen in New York City in March on the “Emotion Tour”.

They are full of energy and their debut album, “Portrait”, is fantastic.

Here’s their new video, “Wild Child”.

PICK HIT BONUS

I also want to share the first song and video from the album, “On My Way”, which is one of my favorite songs of 2016.

The video is amazing because it definitely looks like it done in one take with no edits.

THAT’S IT

With all that’s going on in the world, I hope you can make your little part of this f**ked up world a little brighter!

Anthony

Amazing Television and Rescue

Time does fly.  (Pun intended!)

It’s hard to believe it was seven years ago today that US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese, which causes engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

A movie based on the real-life drama, “Sully” will hit movie theaters on September 9, 2016.

Clint Eastwood is directing and Oscar winner Tom Hanks will play the Captain and Aaron Eckhart portrays Skiles. The movie also stars Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

If you want a quick refresher, here’s more about what happened in the moment that led Sully to land the plane on the Hudson — from Wikipedia!  🙂

“First Officer Skiles was at the controls of the flight when it took off to the northeast from Runway 4 at 3:25 pm, and was the first to notice a formation of birds approaching the aircraft about two minutes later, while passing through an altitude of about 2,700 feet on the initial climb out to 15,000 feet. According to FDR data, the bird encounter occurred at 3:27:11, when the airplane was at an altitude of 2,818 feet above ground level (agl) and a distance of about 4.5 miles north-northwest of the approach end of Runway 22 at LGA. Subsequently, the airplane’s altitude continued to increase while the airspeed decreased, until 3:27:30, when the airplane reached its highest altitude of about 3,060 feet, at an airspeed of about 185 knots (343 km/h; 213 mph) calibrated airspeed (KCAS). The altitude then started to decrease as the airspeed started to increase, reaching 210 KCAS at 3:28:10 at an altitude of about 1,650 feet. The windshield view was quickly filled with big, dark-brown birds and several loud thuds were heard. Capt. Sullenberger took the controls, while Skiles began going through the three-page emergency procedures checklist in an attempt to restart the engines.”

At that point, birds were hit and both engines lost thrust and the plane turned back toward LaGuardia.

“Responding to the captain’s report of a bird strike, controller Patrick Harten, who was working the departure position, told LaGuardia tower to hold all waiting departures on the ground, and gave Flight 1549 a heading to return to LaGuardia and told him that he could land to the southeast on Runway 13.  Sullenberger responded that he was “unable” to do so.”

The September movie does sound interesting and I’m glad I’m not flying into LaGuardia until late March when maybe it won’t be fresh in my mind!

Anthony

Three Movies — Two Oscar Hopefuls

As we head into the second weekend of 2016, I hope your year is off to a great start.

We took advantage of the after-the-holidays down time and got caught up on shows on our DVR:  “Madam Secretary”, “American Horror Story:  Hotel”, “Empire”, and “Zoo”.

We are still five episodes of “Quantico” behind and we started watching “The Man in the High Castle”.  Up next for the rest of the snowy winter:  “Breaking Bad”.

We also watched three movies last weekend and two of them are garnering some Oscar buzz.

“MR. HOLMES”

We’ve all heard the story of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  We can even catch modern versions on CBS with super hottie Jonny Lee Miller (he’ll always be Eli Stone to me) and sexy Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC and PBS series “Sherlock”.

But, an interesting twist on the Sherlock Holmes story is told perfectly in director Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes”.   Condon directed the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” in 2006 and wrote the Academy Award-winning hit, “Chicago” in 2002.

“Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old long retired Holmes living in Sussex and attended to by Mrs. Munro played by the always amazing Laura Linney.

Holmes is desperate to recall the details of his last case before his mind fails him.

While Oscar nominees McKellen and Linney are always stellar, a future star in the making in this movie is 13-year-old actor Milo Parker, who plays Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son.

GRADE:  A

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Mad Max” movies (there are four) like me, you’ll be in for a surprise if you choose this as your first.

I love Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s why I wanted to see “Mad Max:  Fury Road”.

Let me just say this bluntly.  If you make it past the first thirty WTF minutes, you’ll be hooked into this dystopian look at a wasteland following a nuclear holocaust.

There’s even Oscar buzz building for the movie and director George Miller.

And, thankfully, there’s no Mel Gibson.

GRADE:  B

“NO ESCAPE”

This premise of this movie is promising and the acting is decent, but it does have some big flaws.

As the movie opens, we see the prime minister of Cambodia assassinated by a group of rebels.

It flashes back 17 hours with a man, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), on a plane with his wife and two daughters.  They’re from the United States and are relocating to southeast Asia for his new job.

Maybe it’s an omen, but nothing works in their hotel room and when Jack tells the hotel desk clerk the problems, he’s told it’s happening all over town.

The next morning Jack goes out to get a paper.  On his way back to the hotel, he’s caught in a riot between police and armed demonstrators.  Shots are fired and deadly violence breaks out.

Just that scene alone is frightening and so realistic.  It’s easy to image being in a foreign country and not knowing your way around and the native language in a life and death situation.

People are being killed all over town and Jack realizes that Americans are being targeted.  More specifically, he learned they’re out to kill him because of the company he moved there for with the job.

If it hadn’t been for the totally bogus escape scene from the hotel with his family, this movie would have scored a higher grade.  But, that scene alone destroyed the realism of what is, otherwise, a great movie.

Okay, that and the fact that the director allowed Pierce Brosnan to sing — even if it’s karaoke and that’s usually bad.  But, after “Mamma Mia”, Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in movies again. 🙂

GRADE:  C

If you’ve seen these movies, let me know what you thought of them.  If you haven’t, I know you’ll love “Mr. Holmes” and enjoy the other two.

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — February 28, 2014

It’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2014 are already behind us.  I sure hope that with March starting this weekend that spring can’t be too far behind.  With that being said, enjoy the snowy weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

DISGUSTED WITH UGANDA

This past Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that makes being gay punishable by life in prison.  Before this week, a gay person faced 14 years of jail time.

Uganda President

Museveni had been going back and forth over the issue and just last week he said that gay people were “sick” and needed treatment and not imprisonment.

He added that this is necessary because of the arrogance of Westerners promoting behavior that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

Here’s a reality check for you, President Museveni:  my being gay and open about it does not threaten the “way of life” in your nation (and the other 37 African countries that make it illegal to be gay).  What you should be threatened by is losing the $1.6 billion aid that you received in 2011 from the United States!

UGANDAN AID BEING CUT

In wake of Museveni signing that law, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands were the first three countries to cut aid to the Ugandan government.

Pink News

Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, reports that Norway and Denmark will donate money directly to human rights groups now and not the government there.

The news service also reports that the U.K. is making changes.  It will now only send money to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organizations in Uganda.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT — ARIZONA

Normally, in this segment, I don’t add commentary.  But, this week, I must.

Wednesday night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 that would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service based on religion, especially toward the LGBT community.

While I applaud Governor Brewer for vetoing it, in my heart, I feel that she did it because of the money Arizona stood to lose and not because it was the right thing to do.

Today’s “Food For Thought” is for the 17 Senators and the 33 Representatives that voted for the ill-fated and bad SB 1062 in the first place!

Uganda Arizona  ArizonaGay Wedding Cake

“HANNIBAL” RETURNS

The critically acclaimed and ratings challenged NBC series based on the Thomas Harris novel, “Red Dragon”, returns tonight (February 28th).

Hannibal S2

For the 2 million people in the U.S. that were still watching the series for the June finale last year, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) had done his part to drive FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) mad and Will was jailed for murder.

If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.

“Entertainment Weekly” and NBC released this two-minute opening teaser for tonight’s premiere.  Let me warn you, it’s awesome and violent.  It also makes you wonder what led up to this scene because once you watch it, you know they will flash back to let you know how this transpired!

“EW” definitely likes the season 2 premiere!

EW Hannibal Review

For the thirteen episodes this season, I really hope that we see much more of Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychotherapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

Gillian Anderson Hannibal

I can’t get enough of my crush, Gillian Anderson!

BREAKING NEWS…. MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND

Sick of Winter

Remember, I’m only the messenger.  But, in reality, I’m shooting for 70″ this winter and the all-time record!

This is where we stand right now before any snow falls today, tomorrow, and Sunday in the Quad Cities.

Snow Stats -- Friday Morning

Light snow is on the way later this evening and tonight.  This first wave will be gone by daybreak Saturday.  Accumulations will generally be less than an inch for most of us.  Northern hometowns near the Wisconsin border may see a little more — closer to 2″.

More snow is on the way Saturday afternoon into early Sunday night.

This Weekend

Here is how much snow I’m expecting from Friday evening through Sunday night.  This snow will be falling over a three-day period and not all at once!

Snow This Weekend

‘Tis the season!  Yes, it’s still winter!

SNOW SWIMMING!

Obviously some in Duluth, Minnesota, look at snow differently than we do in the Quad Cities!

Duluth has had about 84″ of snow this winter and there’s still about 29″ on the ground.

Snow?  I didn’t notice snow in the video!

OSCAR WEEKEND 2014

I’ll be staying up past my bedtime Sunday to watch some or all of this year’s Oscars with host Ellen DeGeneres.

While I’ll post my Oscar picks for all 24 categories Sunday morning, including Best Picture, I’ll touch on a few here.

After seeing the incredible performances of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both nominated this year, for “August: Osage County”, I wanted them both to win.  Their performances were flawless.

august-osage-county- Julia Roberts Meryl Streep

However, I don’t think either will take home the Oscar.

Although I haven’t seen “Gravity” yet, I don’t want  Sandra Bullock to win, as much as I love her.  Yes, I’m still jaded that she beat Meryl for “The Blind Side”.  Meryl’s Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” was much more deserving.

Cate Blue Jasmine

For Best Actress, Cate Blanchett will win for her devastating and heartbreaking performance in “Blue Jasmine”.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

I also pick Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey to win for  “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Actor”, respectively, for  their incredible performances in “Dallas Buyers Club”.

My other 21 winning picks will be revealed Sunday!

“BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD”

Last weekend, we watched two more of the late, great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s movies, “The Savages” and “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”.

Both were amazing and I highly recommend them for different reasons.

“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” was released in 2007 and was director’s Sidney Lumet’s last movie before his death in 2011.

before_the_devil_knows_youre_dead

The $18 million dollar crime drama barely made its money back at the theaters ($25 million), but it was highly entertaining and it kept you guessing as to how it would end.

Hoffman played Andy, a finance executive at a New York City real estate firm, who was embezzling money from the company to help support his drug use.  In a scary case of real-life deja vu, it was hard watching Hoffman shooting up drugs.

He devises a plan with his brother Hank (Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke) to knock off a small mom & pop jewelry store, which would net them about $120,000.  As you can guess, things don’t go as planned.

The movie also stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney.

I have a warning and a spoiler about the movie:  I’ll never get the image of Hoffman’s naked butt, while having sex with his wife, in the opening scene out of my mind — ever!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“THE SAVAGES”

We also watched Hoffman’s 2011 family dramedy, “The Savages”, which earned co-star Laura Linney an Oscar nomination.  The movie was also nominated for Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Tamara Jenkins.

E25SavagesB

Hoffman and Linney star as a couple of single New Yorkers, who have to come up with a plan to take care of their estranged elderly father suffering from dementia in Arizona.

While the subject matter is heavy at times, it’s also heartwarming and funny.  I’m a huge fan of Laura Linney, so it was a pleasure seeing her in the movie.

The movie was produced by Academy Award winner Alexander Payne, who’s up for an Oscar this year for directing “Nebraska”.

GRADE:  B

With these two movies, I’ve now seen ten Hoffman movies:  “Twister” (1996), “Boogie Nights” (1997 — his Scotty J. was heartbreaking), “Happiness” (1998 — a sad, creepy performance in an amazing movie that made you want to shower after watching it), “Magnolia” (1999), “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999), “Red Dragon” (2002 — slimy, sleazy, but unforgettable as Freddy Lounds), “Doubt” (2008 — touching and worthy of the Oscar nomination), and “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” (2013).

PICK HIT

“Take Me Home” by the dance band, Cash Cash, featuring vocals from Bebe Rexha is my pick hit of the week.

While the song has already reached the Top Ten in Australia and on the Billboard Dance chart, it only reached #64 on the Hot 100.

However, it’s one of the 20 most played songs right now on Top 40 radio stations in the  U.S.

It’s still a great song to get your weekend off to a fun start.

“MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES”

I’m almost done with Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” nine-book series.  Over the past week, I read books seven and eight, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “Mary Ann in Autumn”, respectively.

If you’re familiar with the series, Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”) is one of the original tenants of Mrs. Madrigal’s 28 Barbary Lane.

Michael Tolliver Lives

It’s now 2005, almost thirty years since the first book.  Michael is no longer a youngster from Orlando, Florida, living in San Francisco’s Castro.  He’s now married to a younger man about 20 years his junior.  It’s a very happy union.

The bleakness from the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, is gone, even when we learn of an original “Tales” character’s death to cancer and the death of a loved one closer to Michael.

Also, the book is told in first person from Michael, which is a departure from the third person story telling of the previous six books.

“Michael Tolliver Lives” is one of my favorite books of the “Tales” series.

At the end of “Michael Tolliver Lives”, Mary Ann Singleton, now a married woman on the East Coast, returned briefly to visit an elderly friend that may not recover from a stroke.

Mary Ann

In “Mary Ann in Autumn”, it’s a couple of years later and Mary Ann and “Mouse” are back together again in San Francisco almost thirty years after they first met in 1970s.

A couple of secrets brings Mary Ann back to cry on Michael’s shoulder.  All of the years and the tears of twenty years apart are forgotten when they examine their friendship and what they’ve been missing.  It brought me so much joy to see them together poking fun at each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they head toward their golden years — both are in their late fifties and early sixties now!

And, boy, does Maupin have a few shockers up his sleeve that go all the way back to the original “Tales” book.

As much as I loved “Michael Tolliver Lives”, “Mary Ann In Autumn” is my new favorite after the first book.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

One of my favorite songs as a kid was “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Texan Jeannie C. Riley.

Jeannie C. Riley

I used to play the record over and over as a 4-year-old.  I played it so much that my older step-sister too the record away from me and broke it!

The song went on to sell six million copies and it became the first song by a woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Country charts at the same time.   That was in 1968.  The next time that would happen would be in 1981 with “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.

From 1968-1972, Jeannie C. Riley would score 14 hits on the country charts.  Of those, six would reach the Top Ten.  “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was her first and only #1 hit.

Later in the 1970s, Riley would become a “born again Christian” and she briefly distanced herself from the sexy and risque song, but she never stopped performing it.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

That’s enough random thoughts for one blog.  I have no plans this weekend and I just might take advantage of the freshly fallen snow and go sledding with Gretel.  It’ll take me back to December 2010 when Ray, Gretel, Miss ABBA, and I took advantage of the winter wonderland.

Sledding December 2010

Ray Gretel ABBA December 2010

Anthony