Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQ’

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

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It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

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In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

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That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

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Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

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If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony

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A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

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It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

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And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

Capture2

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

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LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

David Kersh.jpg

TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

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Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — April 26, 2019

My sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, so I didn’t share any random thoughts.

While she was here, we ate some great food and actually won some money at the casino — finally!

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

STILL SHAKING MY HEAD!

So, former Vice President Joe Biden announced he’s running for president in 2020.  Of course, 45 fires off a tweet.

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Two things quickly come to mind!

It’s so encouraging when “that man” vows the race will be “nasty”. (Note, that’s sarcasm!)

It’s even more bizarre when 45 talks about himself the same way his detractors speak of him, “you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas”.    For once, I agree with Trump on something!

And, really, attacking Biden’s intelligence, “long in doubt”.   That’s the pot calling the kettle black!

A similar scenario:  it’s usually the most disgusting guys that are always thinking that gay guys are cruising them or hitting on them!

Bitch Please.gif

“WRITE IT WHEN I’M GONE”

While it may be common, this is the first time I’ve come across this premise for a biography!

President Gerald Ford talked with print journalist Thomas M. DeFrank, the author of “Write It When I’m Gone”, for almost three decades.  The only thing is that nothing they talked about could be published until after Ford’s death.

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What an insightful read!  I’m glad that even after their harsh 1976 election campaign, Ford and my idol, President Jimmy Carter became friends and Carter even spoke at Ford’s January 2007 funeral.

Even though I was on Team Carter in 1976, I’m sure that I would have liked Ford in person!  He seemed down to earth, dearly loved his wife, Betty, and had two golden retrievers, Liberty and her pup, Misty.

LibertyandPuppiesGeraldFord

Here’s what Ford said about gay couples in the years after his short stint as president in the mid-1970s, “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period!” and gays joining and being welcomed by the Republican Party, “I have always believed in an inclusive policy, in welcoming gays and others into the party. I think the party has to have an umbrella philosophy if it expects to win elections.”

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, her first country album in four years, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

That’s a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me a little for deviating from Reba’s new album!

Reba Truth

This is Reba’s divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but gives us hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.  She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on “Stronger Than The Truth” with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

“Freedom”, the first official single that radio ignored, is a great song, too.

GRADE:  B+

REBA’s SINGING TO ME

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.

And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, from this album it’s not an optimistic song.  It’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

In a future blog I’m working on, I’ll go more in depth on this subject!  🙂

MADONNA’S RETURN TO MUSIC

Madonna is back with a new song, Medellín”, which features Colombian hottie Maluma.  Her album, “Madame X” arrives June 14th.

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The video debuted earlier this week on a format that Madonna knows all too well, MTV!

Madonna’s last album was 2015’s “Rebel Heart”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

The fifth season of this great CBS drama just wrapped with a huge announcement!

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Now it’s up to CBS to renew the show for a sixth season to see how it all plays out.

“VEEP”

The seventh and final season of “Veep”, the Emmy-winning HBO comedy, is airing now.

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I just got caught up on the first six seasons and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is amazing!

The series is so funny and so filthy.  If you want political correctness, you won’t find it here! 🙂

Warning: graphic! 🙂

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In addition to the star being outrageously funny, I absolutely love Sam Richardson as Richard and Tony Hale’s Gary is hilarious!  Poor Gary!

HAPPY 40TH “BAD GIRLS”

This week back in 1979, Donna Summer released her seventh studio album, “Bad Girls”.

Donna-Summer Bad Girls

The double album sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone and spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.

The “Bad Girls” album would produce four hits in the U.S. with two of them reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 — “Hot Stuff” for three weeks and the title track for five weeks.

“Dim All The Lights” made it to #2.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — April 5, 2019

It’s the first week of April and I hope you weren’t fooled too much earlier this week.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

KUDOS CHICAGO!

Lori Lightfoot’s election win earlier this week to become Chicago’s new mayor is historical!

Lori Lightfoot

Not only will she become the city’s first African American woman mayor, but she’s also part of the LGBTQ community!  She and her wife, Amy Eshleman, have one daughter!

Best wishes Lori!!!!!!

CHICAGO’S OTHER WOMAN MAYOR

Jane Byrne was the first woman elected as Chicago’s mayor and she served four years — from April 1979 to April 1983.

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“A MIGHTY HEART”

I remember the tragic story when it was developing back in early 2002 and when the Angelina Jolie movie came out in 2007.

However, reading “A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl”, Mariane Pearl’s account of the abduction and beheading of her husband in Pakistan by Islamic and religious extremists, is harrowing and heartbreaking.

A Mighty Heart

If you don’t recall, Daniel worked for the “Wall Street Journal”.  He was reporting on the United States’ “War on Terrorism” following the 9/11 attacks just months earlier.

He disappeared on January 23, 2002, at a Karachi hotel where he was meeting a contact. A terrorist group claimed he was an American spy.  Once they found out he was Jewish, his fate was sealed.

He was beheaded nine days later in a video that surfaced three weeks later.  His body, cut into ten pieces, was found in a shallow grave in May.

Daniel Pearl

One very interesting note I learned from Mariane’s book is that for a 40-day training session at a Taliban camp to learn “how to terrify, torture, kill”, it only cost about $20/day ($50/day with weapons)!  😦

SYMPATHY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN — COUGH!

The last part of Mariane’s book, “A Mighty Heart”, featured comforting letters to the Pearl family from around the world from everyday people and politicians, including President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

But, the one that struck me the wrong way all these years later was from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In light of all the atrocities he’s orchestrated (oops, I mean, that he’s accused of), this part of his letter didn’t set well with me, “We will do everything to root out this evil, eliminate the threat of terrorism, find and neutralize all those who bring death and destruction.”

Earlier in the letter, he was more honest — like he was looking in a mirror, “International terrorism knows no borders or nationality.”

Trump Putin

JOURNALISTS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA & HATRED

Many times while reading “A Mighty Heart”, I thought of 45’s constant attack on the “mainstream media” and his calling journalists that don’t pander to his rhetoric “the enemy of the people”!

No, Donald, jihadists like the ones that kidnapped Daniel Pearl because he was bringing news of their inhumane actions to the world stage are the enemies!

I know that past presidents of both parties have disliked the media.  It’s no secret that Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, just to name a few, disliked reporters and the news outlets.

But, they never went so far as screaming “fake news” to any group that wasn’t Fox News!

We don’t need more blood on our hands with journalists, like Danny Pearl and countless others, being killed just because one man or one group dislikes what they report!

“HOMELAND”

I finally got caught up on the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series “Homeland” with the incredible Claire Danes.

I had watched up to season four, but now that I have premium cable, they’ve added seasons five, six, and seven.

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And, in a casting note that I love, Hugh Dancy (NBC’s “Hannibal”), who’s also Danes’ real-life husband will have a multi-series arc!

The eighth and final season comes out later this year.  They’re currently shooting in Morocco, which is substituting for Afghanistan!

While I’m thrilled that Dancy will be joining the cast, I hope they bring back James D’Arcy and make him Carrie’s love interest.  He’s already mine!!! 🙂

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

FUNNIEST “HOMELAND” LINE

In a series about homeland security, terrorists, shady politics and being bipolar, there usually aren’t a lot of laughs.

However, in season seven, I had to LOL at one of Carrie Mathison’s (Danes) lines.

She’s knows that her body has built up a tolerance to the lithium that’s keeping her sane.  Storming into her therapist’s office with her head bleeding after a fight with a man blackmailing her, a manic Carrie tells the doctor she wants to try new medication.

The doctor is freaked out about the surprise visit and Carrie’s head bleeding asks her repeatedly how it happened.

Carrie’s response:  “Can you focus?” 🙂

“HANNIBAL”

Speaking of “Hannibal”, the amazing NBC series that was probably too intelligent for television was cancelled after three seasons.

There’s still talk of bringing back the critically acclaimed show with a Clarice Starling story line!  Because of contractual blah blah blah, that wasn’t possible in its first run.

I want more Hugh Dancy (“Will Graham”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal Lecter”) and Gillian Anderson (“Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier)!

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“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s 33rd studio album, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now!

Reba Truth

If you’re planning on buying it, Target has an exclusive disc with two additional songs!

“THE FAVOURITE”

This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture is set in the early 18th century and is very quirky!

At the beginning of the movie, Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne makes a humorous comment about the war, thinking it’s over.

But, once you realize that she has very serious health issues that affect her ability to make decisions for the country, it becomes darker.

Best Supporting Actress nominees Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were fantastic.

Now that I’ve seen all five Oscar nominees for Best Actress this year, I’m okay that Colman won.

Ideally, I would’ve been happier if it had been a tie between Colman and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

GRADE: B+

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

And, since I was talking about Best Supporting Actress nominees in “The Favourite”, Regina King won the Oscar this year in that category for this movie.

This is director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight” (2016).

“Tish” (KiKi Layne) and “Fonny” (Stephan James) have been friends all their lives and a romantic relationship develops when they’re a little older.

Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman and his mother-in-law, Sharon Rivers (King), tries to track down the woman and convince her to recant her story and clear Fonny.

Layne’s performance, in a weaker Oscar race, could easily have been nominated!

GRADE:  B

“BRITNEY:  INSIDE THE DREAM”

If you’ve been following the news this week, Britney Spears checked herself in a mental health facility to relax and help her cope with her father’s failing health.

Recently, I recently read Steve Dennis’ 2009 biography on the pop princess and it was more entertaining than reading about Britney on Wikipedia.

However, the book ends after her meltdown more than a decade ago and before she reclaimed her pop throne with “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011.

Additionally, Dennis didn’t have access to Britney, so much of it was speculation and the parts of the book where he had a psychologist analyze Britney without talking to her were a little awkward.

MY THREE FAVORITE BRITNEY SONGS

#3 CD

2

#1

BONUS BRITNEY

Bonus

This song was never released as a single, but it should have been!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 5, 2019

Wait, it’s not Friday!  But, I’m still sharing some random thoughts with you.

Thank you for checking them out and I hope you have a great week ahead!

LUKE PERRY

After suffering a massive stroke last week, actor Luke Perry died Monday at the age of 52.

Luke Perry.jpg

Perry rocketed to fame in the early 1990s playing Dylan McKay on the first six seasons of Fox’s “Beverly Hills 90210”.  (While he became a series regular in the show’s last two seasons in 1999 and 2000, he was billed as a “special guest”.)

And, in Perry, the LGBTQ community lost an ally!

Luke Perry 1.JPG

R.I.P. LUKE

“MELROSE PLACE”

I was familiar with “90210” and thought Jason Priestley (“Brandon Walsh”) was cute, but I was obsessed with the 1992 spin-off, “Melrose Place”.

Even though I was almost the same age as the “90210” actors playing teenagers, I felt I had more in common with the “Melrose Place” characters and I would have loved to live in that complex!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

Well, before crazy Kimberly blew it up!

I had a major crush on Grant Show (“Jake Hanson”) and I loved Amy Locane (“Sandy”), even though she was only on the first eleven or so episodes.

Grant Amy.jpg

BERNIE SANDERS & 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

We’re still about 20 months away from the 2020 Presidential Election.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve been pretty quiet overall about the “national emergency” the country is experiencing and I’m not talking about a damn wall!

If you recall in 2016, there were more than a dozen Republicans vying for the nomination.  Well, in 2020, that’s the Democrats looking to earn the right to run against that man.

Bernie Sanders has thrown his hat into the race.  That’s all I’ll say about him since my feelings toward him haven’t changed in the past four years. (Well, they have but not for the better.)

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows some interesting thoughts going through potential voters’ minds.

NBC News Poll

A couple of highlights:

68% of those surveyed would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate — that’s up from 43% in 2006!

And, 62% are very uncomfortable with someone over 75!

Ages at the 2020 election:  Sanders (79), Michael Bloomberg (78) and Joe Biden (77).

Hillary AP

If you’re still reading, Hillary Clinton said Monday night, “I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe” and added, “I want to be sure that people understand I’m going to keep speaking out. I’m not going anywhere”.

Translation:  Vice President under Joe Biden! 🙂

But, in the words of Benita Buttrell…

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POST OSCARS THOUGHTS

I’m so happy that Rami Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for his Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

I still haven’t seen “Green Book”, but it’s definitely on my list.

While social media (and Spike Lee) is upset that it won Best Picture, I’m just happy that “Roma” didn’t win!  As I’ve said before, I wasn’t blown away by “Roma”!

Glenn Close

Going into the Academy Awards, I was certain that seven-time nominee Glenn Close would finally win an Oscar.  Well, she didn’t!

I still haven’t seen “The Favourite”, but once I do, I may agree with the Academy that Olivia Colman deserves it.

After the Oscars, I saw another of Close’s competitors.  In retrospective, Close would have been my second choice!

I would have given the Best Actress Oscar to…. MELISSA McCARTHY!!!!!!!!!!!

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

She blew me away in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, a real-life story of author Lee Israel, who became a forger of celebrity letters.

While McCarthy is mostly known for her comedic roles, I saw a hint at her dramatic acting in 2014’s “St. Vincent”.

McCarthy’s co-star, Richard E. Grant was excellent in the movie and picked up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” wasn’t a box office smash, but in addition to the two acting Oscar nominations, it was also up for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I don’t give too many movies this grade!

GRADE:  A+

“A STAR IS BORN”

I finally saw the Academy Award Best Picture-nominated movie.  (It was nominated for a total of eight Oscars and won for Best Original Song for “Shallow”.)

It was enjoyable enough.  I thought Lady Gaga held her own with dramatic acting.  The brutal bathtub scene proved that!

If you haven’t seen it, this really isn’t a spoiler.  I had a hard time buying into one of the first scenes in the movie.

I know if you’re an alcoholic and you need liquor, you might go into a drag bar.  But, to become best buddies?

Even so, I still found Willam’s comment later in the movie, “I wore my Jackson titties!” hilarious! 🙂

Would I watch it again?  Yes, if I was with someone that wanted to see it.

Would I watch it again on my own?  No.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” 

The third season of the hilarious zombie comedy premieres March 29th on Netflix.

I can’t believe how much I still crush on Timothy Olyphant!  That’s not true, I can believe it!

I absolutely loved him in “The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy” (2000) and the critically panned “Catch and Release” (2006).

I have the first three seasons of “Justified” on DVD that I should binge and I need to check Netflix to see if seasons 4-6 are there!

Here’s a sample of “Santa Clarita Diet” and it contains language and violence (and humor)!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

spoiler-alert

The fifth (and final?) season of the fantastic ABC drama wrapped up with a few shocks and cliffhangers!

Two characters went missing, which explains why Annalise is screaming like a mad woman on the street!  And, another was poisoned and left gasping for air!

Capture

The bigger question is not who kidnapped them or will the <poisoned person> die, it’s will ABC renew the low-rated series for us to find out the answers?

With Viola Davis on board, I’d say yes!

I’m still one of those people that can’t wait to see what Annalise and the “Keating 5” (oops, “Keating 4”) get into and out of each week!

Another reason I want the show to come back is to see more of Gerardo Celasco (Xavier Castillo, Laurel’s brother)!

gerardo.jpeg

“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN”

This movie was sold as Robert Redford’s last acting role.  We’ll see!

If it is, then he put in a nice performance and I absolutely love Sissy Spacek.

But, there’s really no need to see this movie based on a real-life elderly (and charming) bank robber.

With that being said, I’m not even posting the trailer!

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

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

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

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

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

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

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

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

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

jussie-smollett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

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

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

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

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

Oscars 1.JPG

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

Oscars 2.JPG

Oscars 3.JPG

“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

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

Robert Kennedy.JPG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobby Kennedy

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

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

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

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

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

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

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

JOHN DIED

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

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

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

Skip it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 15, 2019

I hope you had a great Valentine’s Day and if you didn’t celebrate it with anyone, maybe you’ll enjoy the half-price candy! 🙂

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

YOU’RE THE SCARY ONE!

West Virginia Republican politician Eric Porterfield is scared (and scary)!

Appearing on a local television news show wearing a red “MAGA” hat, the interviewer asked him how he’d react if his son or daughter told him they were gay.

He responded, “Well, I would dress my daughter first, as I would take her for a pedicure, I’d take her to get her nails done, and see if she could swim.  If it was my son, I would probably take him hunting, I would take him fishing, then I’d see if he could swim.”

Porterfield

What a disgusting man!

And, Porterfield has the nerve to say, I believe the LGBTQ is the modern version of the Ku Klux Klan, calls us “brutal, vicious monsters” and adds, “I am terrified of these people”.

Dude, talk to God or a therapist!

HOLLYWOOD HOMOPHOBIA

In my last random thoughts blog, I talked about outing people and if it’s appropriate and if so, under what circumstances.  Rock Hudson and Lily Tomlin were mentioned.

One of my friends responded, “I believe that Rock Hudson And Lily Tomlin were probably afraid their careers would be ruined!”

That same day, I was reading the February/March 2019 issue of “The Advocate” and Jeff Davis, the out gay creator and showrunner of  MTV’s “Teen Wolf” talked about how it is in Hollywood even now.

Davis says, “many gay actors I know still don’t believe they’ll get roles they want or [think] that they’ll only be considered for gay roles [if they come out].  The industry still believes that coming out is a career killer.  I can name 10 gay actors right now who are not publicly out.  It’s their choice.  But I keep hoping they’ll take that step.” 

“MINDHUNTER”

Sexy Jonathan Groff is one actor that publicly came out in 2009.

Groff

Groff is a star on Broadway (“Spring Awakening” and “Hamilton”), the big screen (the voice of Kristoff in the “Frozen” movie series) and television (“Glee” and “Looking”).

He plays straight on his hit, critically acclaimed (and incredible) Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

If you didn’t see the first season yet, it’s amazing!  It’s set in 1977 and follows two FBI agents, who help start the Behavioral Science Unit by profiling criminals.

The second season is expected this year and will focus on the Atlanta murders (children and young adults) of 1979-1981.

REBA IS BACK!

Reba’s new single, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now and the album of the same name comes out April 5th!

Reba Truth

Here’s the first single.

“A PRIVATE WAR”

This movie is based on a 2012 “Vanity Fair” article called “Marie Colvin’s Private War”.

Colvin was a real life, award winning news correspondent that covered many war torn areas (Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Syria).  She discovered and brought to light many atrocities and horrors being committed by foreign governments.

These nightmares brought on the private war that Colvin fought in her life and in her career.

Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) was stunning and heartbreaking as Colvin.

GRADE:  A

“ANGELS OF SEX” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”)

Have you ever watched a movie and depending on the circumstances or mood at the time, it might not have made a big impression on you?  Then, you see it again and you’re blown away by it.

That’s “Angels of Sex” for me!

I first saw this 2012 Spanish movie many years ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf since then.

I’m re-watching my older movies to get rid of them, but I’m definitely keeping this one now and watching it again!

I absolutely loved “Angels of Sex” this time around!

Alvaro Cervantes (Rai), Llorenc Gonzales (Bruno), and Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Carla) are beautiful, stunning and great actors to boot.  You can’t take your eyes off them!

And, this movie, which is about a polyamorous relationship and sexual fluidity, was well ahead of its time.

Those terms are becoming popular and more widespread in today’s LGBTQ and straight worlds!

GRADE:  A

“WIDOWS”

Academy Award winner Viola Davis is incredible as always in this movie, but I can’t say that I thought it was a spectacular film.

It felt like it wasn’t sure what kind of movie it wanted to be.  There were several story lines that the director tried to tie together seamlessly, but I don’t feel that was accomplished.

But, maybe it was just me!

The $42 million movie earned $75.8 million in theaters and made many critics’ Top Ten lists for 2018.

It was Richard Roeper’s (Chicago Sun-Times) #1 movie of the year!

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony