Posts Tagged ‘London Spy’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 15, 2018

It’s been a few weeks without a new “Random Friday Thoughts” as I moved across the country to Duluth, Minnesota.

This now marks my third weekend in the “Northland” and I’m looking forward to making it my home.

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

TWO YEARS LATER

Earlier this week, we marked the two year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Pulse

49 people were massacred while out having a good time with their family and friends.  At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in modern American history.  That distinction now goes to the Las Vegas shooting last October.

Pulse

Former President Barack Obama, in 2016, said, “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.  And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”.

No comment from #45 this year on the anniversary.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT BUSH

On a happier note, earlier this week, the nation’s 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush turned 94-years-old.

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

He’s now the oldest living president and the first former president to live to age 94.

It’s been a tough year for him with numerous health issues and hospitalizations on top of losing his wife of 73 years, Barbara, back in April.

Jimmy Carter

My favorite president, Jimmy Carter, is now the second oldest living president.  He’ll turn 94 on October 1, 2018.

“HALLOWEEN” IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!

Excitement is building for Halloween and it has nothing to do with what costumes will be popular and how much candy you’ll get.

The reboot of the “Halloween” series hits theaters Friday, October 19, 2018, and it’ll pick up as the sequel to 1978’s original.

In this movie universe, none of the other sequels even happened!  After Rob Zombie’s very rancid and painful to watch “Halloween II” (2009), it’s time for a fresh start!

The trailer was released last Friday and had almost a million view in just four days!

“TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL”

Movie icon Tab Hunter was the hottest sex symbol is the 1950s and was usually seen in public with beautiful ingenues.

It was all a front to hide his sexuality and maintain his matinee idol status.

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his book, the 19th that I’ve read this year, Hunter doesn’t go into any sordid details about his sexual escapades, but he did talk a lot about his relationship with “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.

tab_hunter_anthony_perkins.jpg

One interesting story that Hunter shared was when an ex-lover tried to blackmail him.  The man, desperate for money, threatened to sell all the letters Hunter had sent him to the “Enquirer” in the late-1970s.

Hunter paid him off ($10,000) and the man asked to keep them because they meant something to him!!!! Um, yeah, blackmail material.  However, the man died a few years later.

Hunter is almost 87-years-old now and is still with his partner of more than 35 years, film producer Allan Glaser.

CELINE DION GOES ON AND ON

The 18th book I read this year and shared a blog about was “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”.

Celine

I really enjoyed reading about Celine’s life story and I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to read it.

I was surprised to hear that she’s the youngest of fourteen (yes 14!) children!

I became aware of Celine in the early-1990s at the same time as most Americans.  We also learned around that time that she was in a relationship with her manager and future husband, Rene Angelil.  (They married December 17, 1994 in Montreal, Quebec.)

Celine wedding

It was still a little weird reading about the love affair — with the 26-year age difference.  She was the one that fell in love first and pursued him!  But, knowing that the love was real made me smile.  We all want that!

I love how Celine was upfront and honest about the nastiness of the press about things such as her love life and her weight (calling her anorexic).  Being a recovering food addict, I feel for her having endured that.

Celine House

While Celine has been a multi-millionaire for much of career (after hitting it big worldwide), I’m glad she didn’t sugarcoat her love of spending money.  She earned it!

Celine is definitely a survivor and one of the greatest entertainers of all time!  Definitely check out “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”!

And, I shared my ten favorite Celine Dion songs.  Here’s my all-time Celine favorite!

You can read about how the book saved two ducks from a turtle and see my other nine favorites by clicking here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/celine-dion-saves-two-little-ducks/

“THE GREATEST SHOWMAN”

Before beginning my journey north, I did get a chance to check out the musical “The Greatest Showman”.

It was very entertaining and Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron looked and sounded amazing.

Many people know Jackman as Wolverine from the “X-Men” series, but he does have a background in musical theater and musicals (“Les Miserables” in 2012).

He gained worldwide attention playing flamboyant Australian entertainer Peter Allen on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, which earned Jackman a Tony Award for “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical”.

In “The Greatest Showman”, he plays P.T. Barnum, a down on his luck showman and entrepreneur that started the world famous circus.

The song, “This Is Me”, won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song” and it was also nominated for an Oscar.

It’s an incredible life affirming number!

My other favorite was from Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale” (Rebecca Ferguson), “Never Enough”, with real vocals by Loren Allred.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

If you’ve never watched this Netflix zombie comedy, what are you waiting for?

Season one was funny and season two was outstanding — even funnier and more crisp and cutting.

It’s the story of a typical California family that wakes up one day and the wife/mom begins violently vomiting and then starts craving human flesh.

The main cast, Drew Barrymore (Sheila Hammond), Timothy Olyphant (Joel Hammond), and Liv Hewson (Abby, their daughter), are incredible.

However, the one that cracks me up the most is Eric Bemis (Skyler Gisondo), the Hammond’s teenage neighbor and friend/love interest for Abby.

Small spoiler_alert_300_w2ahead!

In one scene, Eric is about to lose his virginity to Ramona, a Rite-Aid employee, and tries to sound more experienced than he really is. 🙂

Eric Ramona

Ramona : There are a million things I wanna do to you.”

Eric Bemis : There’s a million things I’ve had done to me. But I did all of them myself. Actually, it’s just one thing a million times.”

“Santa Clarita Diet” will be back for a third season in 2019.

HUGH GRANT & BEN WHISHAW MOVIE

Hugh Grant goes gay again (“Maurice” in 1987 and “Our Sons” in 1991) and this time with my major crush Ben Whishaw.

Ben Whishaw

In “A Very English Scandal”, a three-part series, Grant plays former British Liberal political party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who went on trial for the attempted murder of his ex-lover, Norman Scott (Whishaw) in 1979.

Spoiler! 🙂

The limited series was written by Russell T. Davies (“Queer as Folk”) and directed by Stephen Frears (“Florence Foster Jenkins” and “The Queen”).

Ben_Whishaw

If you’re not familiar with my major crush Whishaw (other than as the voice of Paddington, the bear), check out “London Spy”…

and my favorite movie of 2015, “Lilting”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — February 2, 2018

In life, we’re lucky if we’re blessed with good health, prosperity, happiness, and love.

As we go through “real life”, some or all of those things are taken away.

In my random thoughts today, I honor my one true unconditional love — the one that brought me so much joy and happiness.

STILL MISS MY SWEET GIRL

This week marks six years now that my golden retriever, Miss ABBA, crossed over the rainbow bridge.  She was a few months shy of turning 12.

We traveled down many roads together.  From the llama farm in Ohio where she was born to swimming in Lake Michigan when we lived in Chicago to the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and then back to the cold, snowy Midwestern winters in the Quad Cities, Miss ABBA loved it all and she loved life!

This is her contribution to storm clean up after a derecho (a fast-moving, widespread, intense line of wind) moved through Iowa and Illinois in 2008.  In Moline, Illinois, 94 mph winds brought destruction and power outages for days.

ABBADerecho1

This is Miss ABBA enjoying her last snow just days before that fateful day in 2012.

This was part of a calendar in her memory — “Miss ABBA’s 12 Christmases”.

ABBA Christmas Card 001

As I was lying on the bed comforting ABBA on those final two days, these words just came to me and I put them on paper.

While I’m not a poet, I still love this — my goodbye to Miss ABBA!

ABBA letter 001

 

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

 

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

 

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

 

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

 

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

 

My best friend — ABBA (May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012)

This is one of my favorite pictures taken of Miss ABBA in her last month with us…

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

… and this one was one of the funniest back in the day! 🙂

ABBAJuly2010

Reading that poem brought tears to my eyes again, but seeing this goofy picture is making me smile. 🙂

Miss ABBA, thank you for the memories!

ALSO, MR. PANDA

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” one year ago this week, too.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy was almost 14!

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

WINTER OLYMPICS — GO GUS!!!!!!

Okay, if that last picture of Miss ABBA didn’t make you smile, this might.

This month, when our athletes go to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, we should all support them.

I’m totally “behind” 26-year-old British born-American silver medalist (2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi) freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy! 🙂

snowy gus

Now, who’s complaining about winter and snow??? 🙂

I hope he wins more medals this year.  Even if he doesn’t, he flies the rainbow flag proudly for the LGBT community!

Okay, can you tell I’m crushing on him? It’s all innocent because he has a boyfriend — actor Matt Wilkas (“Gayby”) !

Gus Matt

THIS MAKES ME SMILE, TOO!

The new country-tinged dance hit, “Dancing”, from Kylie Minogue came out Wednesday and I can’t stop watching it!

She looks so glamorous in her sequins!

The new album, “Golden” arrives April 6, 2018!

REMEMBERING KAREN CARPENTER

It was 35 years ago this weekend that superstar Karen Carpenter died of heart failure brought on from years of battling the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.

It was a sad day and it still is because I idolized The Carpenters as a kid and I still love their music.

karen carpenterpeople

While eating disorders mainly affect girls and women, I’ve been very open and vocal about my battle with bulimia.

With all the images we see in the entertainment world of size zero women and men with their washboard abs, we need to be honest that those are unrealistic goals for most people.

Karen

On the Billboard Hot 100, The Carpenters scored 20 hits with 11 of them reaching the Top 5, including three #1s:  “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (1970, four weeks), “Top of the World” (1973, two weeks), and “Please Mr. Postman” (1975).

However, Karen and Richard were even bigger on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.  They scored 32 hits.  Of those, 15 topped the charts and three more reached #2!

In honor of The Carpenters, I’m sharing my five favorite songs.

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 CD

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING”

#1 CD

top of the world

“THE ALIENIST”

You know I love “The X-Files”.  However, “The Alienist” is not about those “aliens”.

An “alienist” is someone who works with those with mental illness, those that have been “alienated” from society.

Caleb Carr’s book, “The Alienist”, came out in 1994 and I’ve owned the book for many years, yet I haven’t read it.

Now it’s an 10-episode TNT series that debuted last week and the production values are first rate.  TNT is spent a reported $5 million on each episode — that’s as much as some movies.  And, trust me, each episode looks like a mini-movie.

After seeing the first two episodes, let me say that it’s an incredibly acted series, but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

“The Alienist” is a psychological thriller.  It’s 1896 in New York City and a serial killer is on the loose.  The victims are boy prostitutes, some dressed as girls.

Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), a criminal psychologist, John Moore (Luke Evans), a newspaper artist, and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), a secretary at the police headquarters under newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, are investigating the gruesome murders since “criminal psychology” isn’t a thing yet.

GRADE:  A

OTHER PHENOMENAL RECOMMENDATIONS FROM “THE ALIENIST” DIRECTOR

“The Alienist” is directed by sexy Belgian Jakob Verbruggen.

Jakob

He’s also directed three of my favorite shows:  “The Fall” (with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan),  “House of Cards”, and “London Spy” (with Ben Whishaw).

If you’ve never seen the fantastic and creepy “The Fall” (three seasons — 17 episodes)…

or the incredible and heartbreaking “London Spy” (5 episodes), do so now!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE:  AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

If you’re not watching this, start!

I’m beginning my thoughts with Wednesday night’s stunning third episode and working backwards.

The most recent episode was about Chicago real estate developer Lee Miglin’s murder, Andrew Cunanan’s third victim.

Judith Light plays Miglin’s wife, Marilyn, the owner of a cosmetics and perfume company and a star on the Home Shopping Network.

Miglin

When Emmy nominations are announced later this year, I can see Light getting a nomination along with Darren Criss (more on him later).

Lee Miglin was played by Mike Farrell of television’s “M*A*S*H” fame!

After I watched this episode, I didn’t even delete it because it was so powerful that I might watch it again!!!

EPISODE THREE GRADE:  A+

The latest FX series from Ryan Murphy, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now three episodes into its nine-episode run.

It focuses on the murder of fashion designer Versace, how his family reacted to the senseless killing, and the manhunt for the shooter.

However, it drives home how homophobia in the police investigation let Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree go on long enough for Versace to become the most famous victim. After all, it was mostly just “gay people” being killed!

sarcasm

“Glee” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” star Darren Criss is incredible as Cunanan.  This role is giving him a great opportunity to go the dark side!

GRADE:  B+

INTERESTING TIDBITS

The Versace family is calling the series “a work of fiction”.

Yet, Ryan Murphy and FX are standing behind its accuracy and the validity of Maureen Orth’s 1999 book, “Vulgar Favors:  Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History”, which it’s based.  The Versace family was against the book, too, when it came out.

In Italy, where the Versace family lives, the series is so popular, its ratings are higher than “Game of Thrones”!

RYAN MURPHY ON THE SHOW’S TIMING

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Ryan Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

ANTHONY AS CUNANAN — BY ACCIDENT

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.

Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in the city.

Cunanan

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities.  See for yourself! 🙂

“IT”

While I never saw the original television version of “It” with Tim Curry, I finally got around to seeing 2017’s movie version that’s made $700 million worldwide!

It was enjoyable and creepy.

While I expected the paper sailboat scene to end badly, how it went down surprised me and set the mood for the movie.

On a lighter note, the cussing teenagers and all the New Kids on the Block references cracked me up!

GRADE: B+

A sequel “It: Chapter Two” is scheduled to hit theaters in September 2019!

ALTERNATIVE “IT”

And, for a scarier (humorous) look at “It” and “Kellywise”.

snl kellyanne

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 30, 2017

The first half of the year is over now!  It’s incredible how fast time flies.

I hope you’ve enjoyed part one of 2017 and are looking forward to more of the same for the part two if it’s been a good one.  If it hasn’t been all that spectacular or if there’s room for improvement, here’s to a better summer, fall, and the kick-off to winter!

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

4 MORE YEARS, ANTHONY KENNEDY, PLEASE!

Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.

Anthony Kennedy

The Reagan-nominee has been a Justice for more than 29 years.

The court is currently split.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now 84, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer lean Democratic and Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito side Republican.

Kennedy is sometimes a tiebreaker or a swing voter.

My hope is that he holds out until 2021 before he retires since President Obama didn’t get to appoint a successor to conservative judge Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

TWO YEARS AND THE WORLD IS STILL HERE

It was two years ago this week (June 26, 2015) that Justice Kennedy authored SCOTUS’ decision making marriage equality the law of the land.

He concluded by saying, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

That night, the White House showed its true colors!

white_house_rainbow

Since that day, despite people like Kentucky’s “Wicked Witch” Kim Davis, the LGBT community learned more about what the expression “all men are created equal” means.

And, to this day, the Earth is still rotating on its axis, the sun still rises in the east, and settles in the west!  And, that won’t change with #45 either!

#Resistance

VERSACE LIVES AGAIN

Summer just started last week and I’m already looking forward to fall and winter.  And, now, early 2018 can’t get here soon enough. 🙂

The long awaited follow-up to the spectacular and award winning FX series “The People v O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story” was announced.

Originally, it was going to about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, but that’ll now be the third installment.

Katrina2005

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now being filmed at Casa Casuarina, Versace’s former Miami Beach home, and an early look at the series graced the cover of “Entertainment Weekly”.

EW verace

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man suspected of killing Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

ANDREW CUNANAN

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.  Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in that city.

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities. 🙂  See for yourself!

Cunanan

You can read my full blog on this story here.  Just click on this link and it’ll open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in today’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.

It also gives you the back history of the story.  It’s crazy to believe that it’s been twenty years already!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/cunanan-then-peeps-now-nicknames/

RYAN MURPHY ON TRUMP

Murphy’s new Versace series focuses not only on the designer’s murder, it also drives home how homophobia let Cunanan’s killing spree go one for so long and how that led to Versace’s death.

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

“GET OUT”

Racism is front and center of this psychological drama about a young, white woman taking her black boyfriend home to her little small New England town.

It’s the directorial debut from comedian Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele” and “MADtv”) and he masters it beautifully.  Peele knows the subject very well since he’s the son of an interracial couple.

As the movie is moving toward its climax, you might have to suspend disbelief, but the point is perfectly driven home.

While it’s a drama, the comedy provided by Chicago actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery is so funny.  He plays the main character’s best friend.

When he explained to his friend why he needed to “Get Out” of there, I’m glad I wasn’t taking a drink of something when he started talking about Jeffrey Dahmer, lobotomies, and penises!  It was so flipping hilarious!

GRADE:  A-

WARNING — CHRISTMAS TALK AHEAD!

I know it’s still about six months away, but I’m thinking about my first Christmas party — Florida-style.

While it won’t be as large as the ones Ray and I hosted back in the Quad Cities, I’m sure it’ll be festive.

Liquor is more expensive down here and as I’ve already vented in an earlier blog, boxed wine only comes in 3-liter boxes!  Instead of “I Want My MTV”, I want my 5-liter boxed wine!

Wine Ripe off

Well, thanks to returning my two Redbox movies and wanting to get salsa at WalMart last Sunday, I walked out with a gigantic start toward the Christmas party with a cart of discontinued, discount liquor with rebates!

All of this for just $4 to $12 a bottle!

Christmas Cheer

CHRISTMAS PARTY PUNCH????

I just came across the most interesting sounding cocktail that I’m considering making as a punch for my Christmas party.

It’s a staple at Latitude 29 in New Orleans called a “Paniolo”.

It’s a combination of fresh cranberry syrup, lime juice, bourbon, and a macadamia nut liqueur!

paniolo

Sounds tasty and festive!

The last really incredibly tasty and holiday-festive drink I had was on a Holland America cruise a few years back.

It was a Strawberry Basil Bellissimo (vodka, strawberries, basil infusion, and fresh basil)!

SBB

“BAD SANTA 2”

I didn’t see the original and I only wanted to give this one a try because of Kathy Bates.

She was very naughty and was the highlight of the movie.

“Bad Santa 2” is so crude.  I don’t think there’s a group that this movie didn’t set out to offend. 🙂  Yes, I did laugh at some of the absurd humor.

Warning:  contains adult language!  (You can check out the “red band trailer”, which is about four minutes long.  It’s really raunchy, so I didn’t share it, but it’ll save you 90 minutes of your life and a couple of bucks from not renting this movie at Redbox!)

GRADE:  C-

“3 GENERATIONS”

Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, and Elle Fanning headline this little seen summer movie about a trans teenage boy, Ray, played by Fanning wanting to transition from female to male.

Watts is stellar and Sarandon was very funny and likable as Watts’ mother and Fanning’s grandmother, who just happens to be a lesbian.

The subject matter is very relevant with today’s higher visibility of trans men and women and the fight for transgender equality, but this isn’t the movie to further the cause.

It’s just a step away from an after-school special or a Lifetime movie.  But, don’t take that the wrong way.  I’ve watched some Lifetime movies, especially at Christmas.

GRADE:  C

MORE OF MY PRIDE CLASSICS

LGBT Pride month is winding down, but I’m still sharing some of my favorite classics from my club days.  Actually, I had three different eras of club days.

In the 1980s, in Paducah, Kentucky, when I first started going out.  Then, in Chicago, from 1994-1996, and, again, from 2002-2004.

So, I’ll featured a couple more of my favorites!

OH L’AMOUR — ERASURE

This is still one of my favorite songs of all time.

I got to see Andy Bell and Vince Clark in concert in Chicago a couple of years ago and it was incredible.

Their new album, “World Be Gone”, their 17th, came out this May.

Dance diva Sylvester, who died from complications from AIDS in 1988, scored three Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late 1970s.

However, he had 18 hits on the Billboard Dance charts.  Three of them topped that chart.

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, from 1979, was one of those number one hits and it also was played on mainstream pop radio.

ANOTHER PARTING VERSACE SERIES NOTE

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is being written by Tom Rob Smith.

Smith, who created and wrote the incredible 2015 BBC Two five-part miniseries, “London Spy”, featuring my future fantasy husband Ben Whishaw.

Ben-Whishaw

If you haven’t seen, find it.  Not only is Whishaw captivating, it also stars a stellar Charlotte Rampling.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Best Movies of 2016

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

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

2016-movies

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

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

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

Weekend

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

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

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

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

#20

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION YEAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.4 MILLION

#19

“BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $400,000

*WARNING:  R-RATED TRAILER*

18

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $25.1 MILLION

#17

“STONEWALL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $187,674

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

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

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

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

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

16

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  unknown

15

“BROOKLYN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $62.1 MILLION

14

“BURNT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $36.6 MILLION

#13

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

12

“STEVE JOBS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.4 MILLION

11

“THE WALK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $61.2 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“HOLDING THE MAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $909,122

#9 MOVIE

“FORCE MAJEURE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.4 MILLION +

#8 CD

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $171.7 MILLION

#7 CD

“MR. HOLMES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $29.4 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“ROOM”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $35.4 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JOY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $101.1 MILLION

red-number-4

“THE REVENANT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $533 MILLION

#3 MOVIE

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $27.4 MILLION +

#2 CD

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.9 MILLION

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

Gag Me

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

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

Bonus

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

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

Ben-Whishaw

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

Okay, focus Anthony!

#1 CD

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

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.2 MILLION +

So, there’s my list.

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

Anthony

Oscars, I Disagree in One Acting Category

Finally, I can post this blog after seeing “Carol”.

Although the Oscars were months ago, I didn’t want to agree or disagree with voters on the Academy Awards until I watched each of the movies nominated for Best Picture and the ones featuring acting nominees.

In May, I posted whether I agreed or disagreed with the “Best Picture” category and I suggested some of the movies in that category that you may not have seen yet.  Here’s that blog again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/did-oscar-get-it-right-on-best-picture/

Now, on with the acting categories.  I agree with Oscar on three of the four winners!

BEST ACTOR 

I agree that Leonardo DiCaprio won this category hands down for “The Revenant”.

Eddie Redmayne was incredible in “The Danish Girl” and Michael Fassbender was mesmerizing as “Steve Jobs”.

Bryan Cranston is always amazing and his role in “Trumbo was no different.

And, while I enjoyed “The Martian” and Matt Damon’s performance in the movie, I’m still a little surprised he was nominated for the big acting award.

BEST ACTRESS

This was a very tough category because all five women were captivating.  However, unless there had been a tie, Brie Larson was the true winner and was rightfully awarded the Oscar for her heartbreaking performance in “Room”.

I once blogged that Jennifer Lawrence (and Melissa Leo) should be in every movie and she outdid herself in “Joy”.  I know many see it as a movie about a woman and a mop and that would be simplifying it too much.  I loved this movie and Jennifer.

Charlotte Rampling is one of the most underrated actresses working today and if more people saw her in “45 Years”, they’d have to agree.

I admit that it took a turn on the final season of Showtime’s “Dexter” to introduce me to Rampling and her calculated performance in “London Spy” makes me want to check out more of her movies.

I also loved Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”, which was one of my favorite movies of last year. It was amazing and if more people see the movie, I’m sure they’d fall in love with her “Eilis” and Emory Cohen’s “Tony”.

And, then there’s the always captivating Cate Blanchett and her turn in “Carol” was no exception.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

I want to do this supporting category first because I agree that Alicia Vikander won the Academy Award without a doubt playing opposite Best Actor nominee Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”.

If Vikander hadn’t been in the category, I would have wanted Rooney Mara in “Carol” to win because I fell in love with her just as Cate Blanchett’s Carol did.

It’s interesting that both Vikander and Mara could just as easily been nominated in a less crowded “Best Actress” race.

I’m glad that Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated in the over-the-top “The Hateful Eight” because I couldn’t take my eyes off her and she kept me laughing.  However, she didn’t deserve to win this category.

Kate Winslet was almost unrecognizable in “Steve Jobs” and the performance was duly recognized by Oscar.

While Rachel McAdams put in a strong performance in the “Best Picture” winner “Spotlight”, her reward was the nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Here’s where my agreement with the Academy voters ends.  They chose Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies” as the winner.  It was a great performance opposite Tom Hanks in the Steve Spielberg movie.

But, there are two other actors in the category that I thought deserved the gold statuette more.

Before the Oscars, odds makers put their money on Sylvester Stallone picking up the award for his latest installment as Rocky Balboa in “Creed”.  I agree with them.

And, if it wasn’t Stallone, I would have given the award to Tom Hardy for his villainous performance opposite Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”.

The other nominees in the category were Christian Bale in “The Big Short” (incredibly quirky and unrecognizable) and Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight” (solid performance, but not worthy of Oscar).

oscar-statues-02

Now that it’s taken me almost five months to finally post this blog after seeing all of the Best Picture and acting category movies, the 89th annual Academy Awards is just seven months away — February 26, 2017.

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  It’s the unofficial kick-off to the summer season.  I hope you have a great one.  It’ll be especially nice for those with a three-day weekend (Ray!).

I wasn’t planning on an installment of Random Friday Thoughts, but here it is.  Surprise!

Pool

We’re running behind schedule this year, but we’re putting up our pool this weekend.

We closed it down in late September, but I’m ready to float the weekends and afternoons away — especially now that we’re enjoying summer-like, above average temperatures in the Quad Cities.

R.I.P. BETH HOWLAND

Beth Howland, who played ditzy waitress Vera, on the long running 1970s-1980s CBS sitcom, “Alice”, has died of lung cancer. She was 74.

Vera

Howland actually died December 31, 2015, but her actor husband, Charles Kimbrough, told The Associated Press that it “her choice” not to have a memorial service or funeral.  That’s why the news is just now coming out.

As a kid, I loved her character and comedic timing.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

For whatever reason, the 2014 Austrian psychological thriller/horror movie, “Goodnight Mommy”, just hit Redbox and I highly recommend it!

Susanne Wuest is incredible in the role as “The Mother” and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz, are mesmerizing.

The movie was Austria’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, but it wasn’t picked as a nominee.  Oscar fail!

Before I saw the movie, I wrote, “the trailer definitely creeps me out”.  Wait until you see the movie!

I don’t give too many movies this grade, but “Goodnight Mommy” gets….

GRADE:  A+

LET’S CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS!!!

I know Earth Day is in April.  But, there’s something that we can do to cut back on pollution and some communities are working hard to make it happen.

As I travel across the country (and the world), I see more and more businesses charging for those paper-thin, flimsy plastic bags that Walmart and other stores use.

They’re cheap to produce and many aren’t used again because they rip open before you even get home!  Many end up blowing in the wind or floating in area lakes and rivers.

Ban Bags

More businesses are selling cloth reusable bags and I think that’s fantastic.

Aldi stores sell the reusable bags, but they also have plastic bags.  However, if you want one (whether you throw it away or reuse it), you pay for it.

I know it’d get expensive if you’re paying for the plastic bags at big stores like Walmart, but it’d probably prompt you to buy quality, reusable bags.  And, the environment would love you for it.

Many communities are even banning or proposing bans on the plastic bags.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY (AND EVERYDAY)

Fish Be You

POLITICS TIDBITS

I was wrong!

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014”, I predicted that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would be the two candidates on November’s ballot for U.S. president.

Hillary AP

Well, it looks like I’ll be right with the Democratic nominee come June 7th once New Jersey and California vote, but who would have thought the presumptive nominee out of seventeen candidates on the Republican side would be Donald Trump!

DT Masks

Scary, right?  Yes!  I don’t need to wait for an answer!

NEXT VEGAS PLAN CHANGES 

Going to Las Vegas is an annual pilgrimage for me and Ray.

We love to eat, gamble, catch a couple of shows, walk, walk, walk, and see the sights.

Las Vegas

We love checking out the beautiful hotels and casinos — especially the displays made of flowers at the Bellagio.  I really want to visit one December when the glitzy city is decorated for Christmas.

However, our next trip in late July will not include a visit to the gorgeous The Venetian and The Palazzo.

The CEO is donating $100 million (yes, million) to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign! I’m sorry, but I will not help fund in any way that sorry excuse of a man that wants to be president!

There are plenty of other places there to try my luck at the slots — and eat desserts!

We’ll be visiting the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.  It’s a tradition for us to eat there and have the weekend champagne brunch at the Stratosphere.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

Have I mentioned how much I love buffets, slot machines, and Las Vegas?

FOR THE LOVE OF NANCY REAGAN

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died earlier this year of congestive heart failure at the age of 94.  Her husband, Ronald, our country’s 40th president, died back in June 2004 at the age of 93.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

Since it’s an election year, I’ve mostly been reading biographies and autobiographies of political figures.  I’ve read books from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jimmy Carter, plus books on presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee.

I just finished Nancy Reagan’s “My Turn” and Kitty Kelley’s “Nancy:  The Unauthorized Biography”.

What I concluded from Nancy’s book is that she definitely heavily influenced Ronald Reagan in his two terms as California’s governor (1967-1975) and his two terms as president (1981-1989).

Even in her own words, I don’t think she was probably a very nice person (outwardly).  However, I don’t think she was the evil pariah that Kelley made her out to be.

But, reading some of the accusations made by Kelley — including an affair with Frank Sinatra, date rape, and unplanned pregnancies — it definitely makes one wonder what was really going on in the lives of one of the most conservative political families.

nancy.jpg

To restore some of my faith in Ms. Reagan, I read Michael Deaver’s “Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan”.

Although it’s a short book, don’t waste your time.  It’s basically the “CliffsNotes” version of Nancy’s “My Turn”.

He told the same stories she did with very little new insight.  The book only one earned its worth when in the last thirty or so pages, he addressed Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

RonaldReagan

There’s one thing that I would never dispute about the Reagans — their love for each other in their 50+ years of marriage.  It’s very admirable.

I still have a few more books to read about them — about their love and President Reagan’s autobiography.

PRESIDENT REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

I didn’t personally know or like the Reagans (especially the President).

There’s one big reason that I used to despise Reagan and it was much deeper than him defeating my favorite President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.  Here’s a blog from the summer of 2012 to explain.  (Clicking on this blog link will open a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s reading.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

TWO WEEKS IN CHINA

Since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”, Ray and I spent two weeks in China.  We met some really nice people in our tour group from all over the world, including New Zealand.

We climbed the Great Wall of China, cruised on the Yangtze River (when we weren’t fogged in and unable to move), saw the stunning Gorges, endured the worst smog I’ve ever seen in Beijing where our trip started and ended, and witnessed the lights and glamour of Shanghai, the reason we went to China!

AP Ray Shanghai.jpg

Maybe because it was for a tour group, the food was pretty bland and too Westernized.  I’m ready to enjoy my favorite Asian food in the Quad Cities, Osaka Buffet, in Moline, for some “real” tasty cuisine.

Would I ever go back to China?  Probably not.  Would I recommend seeing it once in your lifetime?  Definitely!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The first time I heard “Faded” by 18-year-old British-born Norwegian record producer Alan Walker (with vocals by Iselin Solheim), I fell in love with the song.

Instantly, I searched out more songs from Walker and much to my chagrin, I found there isn’t an album — yet.

The ethereal, very moody, and captivating song is already a chart-topping smash in Austria, Belgium,  France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vietnam, and eight other counties!

Here is the United States, the song is racing up the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart jumping from #26 to #17 this week and it’s already in the Top Ten on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

It’s getting some airplay at Top 40 radio here, but I hope it really catches on soon.  If you haven’t heard it, here it is.

Call B100 and 101.3 KISSFM here in the Quad Cities and request it.  Just tell them that Anthony from Local 4 requests that you play it. 🙂

“LONDON SPY”

If you’re looking for an intelligent television series to add to your summer viewing, you have to check out this five-part BBC America series. (You can catch it on Netflix.)

“London Spy” stars one of the best English actors working today, Ben Whishaw, who’s also appearing on Broadway in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw

It doesn’t hurt that Whishaw is charming and adorable, too!  But, I’m recommending this thriller because he’s incredible and the story is very suspenseful.

It also stars Jim Broadbent (“Moulin Rouge!”) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT 

Since I don’t write as much as I used to or as much as I’d like, I appreciate you checking out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.  As always, feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree — just do it diplomatically.

Have a great holiday weekend and remember the great men and women that made this Memorial Day weekend a holiday.

Anthony