Posts Tagged ‘Magic Mike’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 16, 2020

Here’s wishing you a great weekend and thank you for checking out what’s on my mind this week.

I’ll go ahead and get the heavy stuff out the way and move on to happier thoughts!

“SEXUAL PREFERENCE” & “CHOICE”

Those two terms, when talking about people in the LGBTQ community, are outdated and if you use them, it shows you’re misinformed and out of touch!

It’s especially alarming when an unqualified candidate to become a Supreme Court justice uses them!

I never made a “choice” and “preferred” to be discriminated against as a gay man and to be a “second class citizen”!

When did you choose to be straight?  You don’t remember? 

Of course not, it wasn’t a choice!  You were “born this way”, just as I was “born this way”!

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DISGUSTING?

What kind of world do we live in?

It saddens and angers me when some in the “basket of deplorables” (yes, I said and I own it!) plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer!

Just look at this disgusting group!

I agree with Governor Whitmer that “words matter” and they are domestic terrorists!

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was also targeted.

Ironically (???), both are Democratic governors!

I know there have been assassination attempts and plots in my lifetime against American presidents and politicians.

However, this insanity has to stop. I hope the first step is taken November 3, 2020!

“THE BOYS IN THE BAND”

The latest Ryan Murphy television event debuted a couple of weeks ago on Netflix and it’s fantastic, caustic, and catty!

It’s a remake of the 1968 Off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley, which was made into a 1970 movie directed by William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”).

Before adapting this into a movie, Murphy brought a revival of the play to Broadway in 2018 with the same cast members — Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Robin De Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington, Charlie Carver, Tuc Watkins, and Brian Hutchinson.

Jim Parsons deserves an Emmy nomination in 2021 and my favorite character in the movie was the flamboyant and effeminate Emory, played by Robin De Jesus.

My best friend asked me which characters were us in our younger days. For me, I’d say a combination of Bomer’s (chill, but not depressed) and Carver’s (naive, but not an escort) characters.

However, in my 20s, I didn’t have the sexiness of either! 🙂

GRADE: A

RAINBOW OREOS

There’s a new Oreo cookie, but you won’t be able to buy it in stores!

OREO and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) are releasing the limited edition rainbow cookie in celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month.

The cookies will be given away to fans as a “reward acts of allyship for the LGBTQ+ community”.

The cookies are part of the new Proud Parent platform, “a long-term campaign shining light on the importance of a supportive family in fostering greater LGBTQ+ acceptance.”

“LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE”

This eight-episode Hulu original series is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 critically acclaimed novel. It’s great!

While Reese Witherspoon (Mia Warren) and Kerry Washington (Elena Richardson) are amazing in this series, it’s the young stars that carry much of the weight in this drama that takes place outside Cleveland, Ohio.

Lexi Underwood, Mia’s teenager daughter Pearl, Gavin Lewis (Moody), and Megan Stott (Izzy), two of Elena’s kids, are incredible young actors.

You’re captivated by them in every one of their scenes.

And, your heart breaks whenever Huang Lu, who plays Bebe Chow, a co-worker of Mia’s in Shaker Heights, is on screen.

Not to be outdone by the female leads and the younger cast, Joshua Jackson’s tighty whities got a lot of press from that one scene! 🙂

Jackson handled the attention like a star, “Who knew that all these years what was missing from my career was parading around in my tighty-whities… I’m in my 40s now. I enjoy getting objectified!”

Now, I’m going to read the critically acclaimed book.

GRADE: A-

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month!

UNTIL #PUG2021, THIS WILL DO!

With Covid-19 and things, I’ve pushed back getting my pug until the spring or summer of 2021.

So, #Pug2020 is now #Pug2021. Until then, this will have to do! 🙂

CHICAGO CURIOSITIES

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

It was autographed by McNamee to Ann and Bill and a gift from Doug! I guess they didn’t want it anymore! 🙂 I picked it up at a yard sale.

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting factoids I learned. *Keep in mind that this is a 29-year-old book and the stats may be outdated. I didn’t check for their current validity — that’s another benefit of Google if you choose to check!* 🙂

  • The suburbs once had a Romeo and Juliet in the pioneer days! In 1845, “Juliet” became Joliet and “Romeo” was renamed Romeoville in 1895.
  • One of the nicknames of Mayor Jane Byrne, the first woman elected to the office, was “the Snow Queen”.
  • After the “Chicago Blizzard of 1979”, Byrne used the ineffectiveness of Mayor Michael Bilandic to clear away the snow and it helped her beat Mayor Daley’s “Democratic Machine”!
  • In that 1979 election, Byrne received more than 700,000 votes (82% of the votes cast). No other mayoral candidates have gotten that many votes in an election since!
  • While it was costlier, “The Great Chicago Fire” (1871) was not the deadliest fire in the city. On December 30, 1903, 602 people were killed in the Iroquois Theater Fire.
  • In its 105 years of operation, more than a billion (that’s with a “B”) creatures were slaughtered at The Union Stockyards. Its busiest year was 1924 — it received 18.65 million head of livestock! This help earn Chicago the nickname, “Hog Butcher for the World”! (Now, I’m going to read Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, “The Jungle”.)
  • The Hostess Twinkie was invented in Schiller Park in 1930 by James Dewar. Dewar ate two Twinkies each day and lived to be 88!
  • Other foods that got their start in Chicago: Cracker Jack (19 tons a day made at the plant in Northbrook), Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Roll Pops (20 to 30 million pieces made daily at the Cicero plant), and Vienna hot dogs (104 million made in 1991 on Damen)!

MY FAVORITE BIRTHDAYS

While I had a birthday earlier this week, it was just another day of work, walking, and reading. My sister is making a birthday dinner for me this weekend! 🙂

As I reflect back, my four most recent favorites were in 2011 — my last with my golden retriever, Miss ABBA.

In 2012, I enjoyed an endless mimosa brunch topped off with carrot cake at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

That night, I partied with Madonna! Actually, she was on stage and I was hanging out with 13,000 of her friends!

My most memorable birthday ever (and I doubt this will ever be topped) was in 2014, when I turned 50.

At midnight, I was sipping champagne sitting at a stage table at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France after a dinner cruise on the Seine River and looking out at a foggy city from atop the Eiffel Tower!

The next day, it was off to my dream birthday destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

And, in 2018, while in Morocco, my tour guide and my group surprised me with a birthday cake!

While this birthday was uneventful, here’s to many more healthy and more exciting ones in the future — like, seeing Kylie Minogue in concert in some fun foreign city in 2021 for the “Disco Tour”!

If you haven’t seen the two new Kylie videos from the upcoming “Disco” album (November 6, 2020), here they are!

If you love disco or dance music, these will make you happy! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 2, 2020

The holiday seasons are fast approaching with Halloween up next!

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’ll be nice to put 2020 behind us and hope for a better 2021!

Just a clarification before you read it. I’m calling someone “scum of the earth” and I’m following my own advice of being “diplomatic”. The words I’d like to use would show far less diplomacy! 🙂

But, first…

HELEN REDDY, YOU’RE ALREADY MISSED!

International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee, and feminist Helen Reddy passed away earlier this week at the age of 78!

A movie honoring Helen and her iconic song, “I Am Woman” is out now and will be released on DVD on November 3, 2020.

I submitted an entry this summer on what Helen’s music and that song meant to me for an advertising campaign promoting the movie. I was chosen! 🙂

Here’s my original and unedited 1 minute, 10 second submission!

Here’s a little bit about my favorite Helen Reddy song!

While the song was included on her 1971 album, she re-recorded it and it was shipped to radio in May 1972. 

It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart! Months later, it was released again.

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

Helen, thank you for the music and you’ll be missed even though you’ll be in our hearts and souls! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

SCUM OF THE EARTH

Read this clearly: Most of us already know which candidate we’re going to vote for on November 3, 2020, so this isn’t about Joe Biden or Donald Trump!

But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scum of the earth!

In no time following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell was on the fast track to have her replacement named and confirmed before the 2020 Election — just a little over a month away!

Again, I don’t care if you’re supporting Biden or Trump (well, I really do, but that’s not the point of this post!), it’s the principle.

SCALIA’S DEATH

Because it was a presidential election year, when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell was such an obstructionist!

He and the Republican-controlled Senate declined to take any action on President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, one month later.

That nomination expired with the end of the 114th Congress in January 2017 and #45’s nomination later that month was confirmed in the spring.

The bottom line is that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”!

While a nominee has already been announced, we SHOULD WAIT for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to move this process forward. The winner should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice!!!

THE “MILLENNIUM” SERIES

Although this Swedish crime series came out more than a decade ago, the three books have been sitting on my bookshelf.

I finally read the Stieg Larsson’s series — “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” — and loved them!

The first book was my favorite and I felt the quality dropped off a little with the next two books.

I also watched the first two Swedish movies based on the books and Noomi Rapace was amazing as Lisbeth Salander.

I remember seeing David Fincher 2011’s English version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and it not making an impression on me. I’ll have to watch it again now that I’ve read the books!

“BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END”

Leif G.W. Persson’s 2002 book was translated to English in 2010.

On the back cover, here how it’s described: “acclaimed as one of the greatest Swedish crime novels of all time” .

Well, based on the four that I’ve read, after the three “Millennium” books, I disagree! Halfway through the 638 page book, I was ready to discard it!

So, skip it!

There are definitely better Scandinavian crime novels out, like Norwegian Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” (2007, translated to English in 2010)!

And, totally irrelevant, 60-year-old Nesbo is so hot! 🙂

That’s just a bonus! 🙂

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

I normally read autobiographies, biographies, and books on real events, so my familiarity with fiction isn’t that great.

However, in the four Scandinavian crime novels that I read this year from Stieg Larsson and Leif G.W. Persson, one thing I appallingly noticed was the degradation and the violence directed toward women.

But, just the description of women in these books was gross and unjust.

Is it a crime novel thing? Heaven forbid, I can’t imagine that Scandinavian women would put up with this from men! Now, granted, these four books were written before the “Me Too” movement.

However, earlier this year, this was addressed by Nesbo in an interview with “The Guardian”.

He says, “Violence against women is a problem in society – it is something we should talk about. I would be more worried if there was an absence of violence against women in fiction, because it’s a problem in real life. Of course, it’s a question of how you do it, but in general I would be more worried if fiction pretended it wasn’t a problem.”

“MAGIC”

On a lighter note and one that excites me so much, Kylie Minogue treated us fans to the second single from her upcoming “Disco” album coming out November 6th!

“Magic” is the new single!

“MAGIC” BONUS TRACK!

I hope you took a few minutes and watched the amazing Kylie video.

So, now you know it’s not a remake of Olivia Newton-John’s four-week #1 smash from the “Xanadu” soundtrack from 1980!

MEGYN KELLY “SETTLE FOR MORE”

I enjoyed reading Megyn Kelly’s 2016 autobiography.

Along with stories about her childhood, her career as a successful lawyer, and how she gave it up to become a television reporter and anchor with no experience (really, I mean no real experience!), she spent a lot of time talking about her abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters in the 2016 presidential election!

She also talked about how great of a guy that toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert Roger Ailes was! He’s the one that sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives!!!

By the way, “toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert” are my words, not Kelly’s!

It wasn’t until the end of the book that she addressed the sexual allegations that brought Ailes down. It felt more like, “Oh, I should mention that!”.

In fairness, Kelly shared a 2006 meeting with Ailes in his office when he once again came on to her. She said he tried “to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips”.

Kelly got away from him and as she moved toward the door, Ailes allegedly (I’ll say that word for legalities even though the scumbag likely said it with venom) said, “When in your contract up?”

She also states that Ailes earlier said, “I don’t like to fight, but when I do, I fight to kill.”

MORE THINGS SHE SHARED IN “SETTLE FOR MORE”

When she moved to Chicago in 1995 to take a law firm job, she looked out her Navy Pier apartment window drinking white Franzia boxed wine and listened to Tina Turner’s “I Don’t Wanna Fight” CD. She said that her “real life” was starting! (I only shared this one because I loved Franzia boxed wine!)

She told Roger Ailes that while she was raised in a Democratic household, she was “apolitical”. She went on to share a passage from her 1988 journal, “Am I a Republican or a Democrat? I seriously don’t know.”

There were rumor of her having an affair with married Fox News anchor Brit Hume. He thought it was funny and said people wouldn’t believe it. She disagreed by saying, “people love to dismiss potentially threatening women as ‘nuts or sluts’. Evidently, I didn’t pass as a nut, so I was to branded a slut…”

“BOMBSHELL”

If you haven’t seen the 2019 movie, “Bombshell”, check it out.

Here’s what I said about it in January.

“Even after seeing ‘The Loudest Voice’ on Showtime last year, watching ‘Bombshell’ was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!”

GRADE:  B

“Bombshell” was my #13 movie of 2019!

“CHOW DOWN”

Although this parody of Wilson Phillips’ #1 1990 debut hit, “Hold On”, came out in 2012, I can’t watch it enough — even today! 🙂

The drag queen trio of Willam Belli, Detox, and Vicky Vox take on the anti-gay agenda of the Georgia chicken restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A.

Disclaimer: Yes, it’s hilariously funny and R-rated.

***It includes adult language and adult situations***!

The bottom line and I couldn’t have said it better myself:  “we just want a little meat without your Bible!”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!

While I wished my idol, President Jimmy Carter a Happy 96th Birthday last week, I’ll do it again since his birthday was October 1st!

In 2016, I left this message for the Carters when I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 7, 2016

October is here and I’m excited that cooler days are in the forecast and the holiday seasons are right around the corner.  (Notice I said “seasons”?  While Christmas is my favorite, I do love my Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving feast!)

Now that the summer heat is giving way to fall temperatures, we’ll probably be eating fewer Popsicles.

Popsicle

But, it’s always the perfect time for ice cream!

As political as I get sometimes, I admit that I really want November 8th to get here and have this long, drawn out election cycle and 2016 presidential election behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random Friday thoughts and as always, if you disagree, do it diplomatically!

CREEPY CLOWN SIGHTINGS

I’m not sure what’s behind this sudden fascination with creepy clowns showing up and freaking people out.

I’d venture to guess that social media and 24-hour news cycles are huge factors for us hearing so much about it.  Aren’t those two always to blame? 🙂

john-wayne-gacy-killer-clown

When it comes to creepy clowns, this is the creepiest by far!  On the brighter side, this particular “killer clown” in no longer a threat to anyone.

If you’re too young to know, that’s John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer and rapist that murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 inside his Chicago-area home.  Let me tell you, as a teenager when that killing spree was exposed, it creeped me out big time.

A decade or so later, I had a “too close for comfort” brush with Jeffrey Dahmer.  That’s a story for another time!

KIM KARDASHIAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was reportedly robbed at gunpoint earlier this week at her Paris hotel residence by five men dressed as police officers.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

While she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, it had to be a scary ordeal!

At least $11 million in jewelry was taken including a jewelry box worth about $6.7 million and a ring valued at $4.5 million.

Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never know what it’s like to have that kind of money and anything of that much value in my house.

The thing that baffles me most about the ordeal is that if someone had that much money or jewelry, wouldn’t you keep it at a safer location like a bank or a vault?

In Kardashian West’s case, if she wanted any particular piece of her collection that was safely tucked away, she could have someone fetch it for her!

MAGIC MIKE MISFIRE

I really enjoyed “Magic Mike”, but I hated the sequel.

Now, James Marsden reveals that he regrets not signing on for the movie.

Well, that makes two of us.  Okay, three if you count Ray and I know the number doesn’t stop there!

With that in mind, if Marsden is still up to strip down, this might actually excite me for a third installment!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON FINALE

The second season of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” wrapped up last Sunday night with back-to-back episodes for a two-hour finale.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

While the first season’s six episodes were slow, it was still enjoyable.  However, the second season was stronger and much more powerful.

The finale featured one of the most intense “walker” deaths of the series.  It was a wrenching scene that lasted beyond the comfort level and that’s a good thing.

We also saw one of the show’s original cast members die.  While the death may not have come as a surprise, how it was executed was a shocker to me.  I tweeted the actor about his amazing two seasons and he liked the tweet.

While I gave the season and the finale a high grade (see below), I have a complaint.

It’s becoming monotonous when the characters disembowel a walker and smear the blood on themselves now that they’ve learned they can walk freely among the walking dead by doing that.

This is much more believable and is done with more intensity on “The Walking Dead”.  And, it isn’t overused as a gimmick.

rick

If “Fear The Walking Dead” is going to keep doing this, why not make it a “chore” and each day for several hours, people can go out, get exercise, and rid themselves of the walker population in their area.  But, this would be boring.

That’s my only complaint and I can’t wait for season three in 2017.

GRADE:  A-

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

After what seems like an eternal wait since I read the book, “The Girl on the Train” finally hits theaters this weekend.

I’ve highly recommended the Paula Hawkins book several times in my blog and I can’t wait to see the movie, which I think will easily debut at #1 in the U.S. and at worldwide box office.

“WILL & GRACE” TAKE ON VOTING

If you miss the NBC hit comedy, “Will & Grace”, you got a treat around the time of the first presidential debate.

The cast gathered ten years after the comedy left television to raise awareness on the importance of voting in this November’s election.

This is hilarious (and even borderline offensive to some).

Disclaimer:  it’s definitely not made for NBC’s “standards and practices”!

A LESS “BRAGGADOCIOUS” LOOK BACK

Comedian Randy Rainbow takes a much different approach to last week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think this is the best skit I’ve seen him perform.

“MONEY MONSTER”

This Jodie Foster-directed suspense thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Donnell (“Unbroken”) was high on my list to see this summer when it hit theaters.

Life got in the way, so I caught it on DVD.

I’m glad it worked out that way because I wouldn’t have been too happy if I had spent $35-plus for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d watch Julia Roberts read the newspaper.

The story was intense and the way it ended was fulfilling, but I had higher expectations.

I guess most of all, I want to see Foster back in front of the camera!

GRADE:  B

“RISEN”

This movie about the search for a risen Jewish messiah (yes, Jesus) was a modest box office hit earlier this year.

The $20 million movie grossed $46.1 million and most of that was here in the United States.

It was an entertaining movie without being too preachy for those that proceed with caution with religious-based movies.

The very sexy Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman tribute, assigned to investigate the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  By the way, Jesus is played by Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis on “Fear The Walking Dead”.

One thing that cracked me up was the silly MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie.

For this one, it warned viewers of “Biblical Violence”.

Okay, while implied more than glorified with blood and gore, the movie was rather savage, at times, and violence is violence.  Putting the word “biblical” in front of it doesn’t make it less painful or deadly, right? 🙂

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

I admit that since I don’t hear any new music from my country favorites on the radio these days and I’m not a fan of “bro-country”, I don’t make it a point to listen to the genre.

However, Canadian country music star Brett Kissel is one of my new favorites even though he doesn’t get airplay on American country radio.

Recently, “Entertainment Weekly” showcased several women making inroads in the country music field.  Two of them stood out to me.

Margo Price, who was born in Aledo, Illinois, in Mercer County, just down the road from the Quad Cities, is one of them.

Her debut album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”, which hit #10 on the Billboard Country Album chart earlier this year, features some great country music.

“4 Years of Chances” is a favorite of mine.

Next week, I’ll feature another standout and if you like traditional country music, you’ll love it.

ANOTHER PICK HIT

As I’ve stated before, “7/27”, the latest CD from Fifth Harmony is a great album.

It’s already produced the #1 hit “Work From Home” and the smash “All In My Head (Flex)”.

“That’s My Girl” is their latest release.

Right now, it’s at #36 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Movies To Rent & Two To Avoid

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and we inch closer and closer to the winter season, more and more people will be renting movies becoming couch potatoes.

Here are the recent movies we rented that you may have thinking about checking out.  Some you’ll want to see and some are definitely not worth spending your money or wasting your time on.

LILA & EVE 

This drama stars Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”) and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez (“The Boy Next Door”) as grieving mothers who join a support group after their children are murdered .

Great performances from both actresses with several shocking twists.

If you love Davis as Annalise Keating on “Murder”, treat yourself to this one.

GRADE: B

“BOULEVARD”

Robin Williams stars in this drama, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role.  It’s new to DVD and it’s very touching.

You get heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).

Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

Speaking of Aguire, I tweeted him recently about the movie and got this kind response.

Roberto

A must see!

GRADE:  A

“THE GIFT”

This psychological thriller stars Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton, who also wrote, produced, and directed the movie.

Simon (Bateman) and his wife, Robyn, move from Chicago to California near when Simon grew up.  They run into a man, Gordo, who claims that he and Simon went to high school together.  Simon doesn’t seem to remember Gordo.

Gordo begins popping up at their house with gifts and you realize that Simon does know Gordo and it becomes very interesting.

The story line twist is original and downright creepy.

GRADE:  B

“SPY”

As I’ve blogged before, I’ve never been a big fan of Oscar-nominated comedian Melissa McCarthy.

I enjoyed her dramatic performance in “St. Vincent” and thought I’d give the comedy “Spy” a chance with low expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with the movie and I laughed a lot — once you suspend some belief.

McCarthy and Rose Byrne were hilarious in the movie.

The biggest scene stealer was English actress Miranda Hart, who played a CIA agent and friend of McCarthy’s Susan Cooper.  I definitely want to see more of her.

GRADE:  B

“SAN ANDREAS”

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) stars in this disaster flick about a massive earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded on Earth, that devastated California from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the San Andreas Fault.

If you suspend ALL belief in science and take the movie at face value for the popcorn thriller it is, you’ll enjoy it.

And, any movie that featuresKylie Minogue in a bit part is all right with me.

The $110 million dollar budgets movie grossed $470.5 million!

GRADE:  C

NOW, LET’S TALK SEQUELS NEW TO DVD…

“THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”

I loved the 2012 surprise hit, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  The $10 million movie ended up making almost $137 million.

Thus, the expectations were high for the follow-up, which cost about the same to make, but only brought in $86 million.

And, it’s fitting.  While the main original cast returned, the movie was enjoyable, but didn’t really add too much to the story and it really didn’t need to be two hours long.

The Bollywood musical number toward the end of the movie bumped it up from a “C”.

GRADE:  B-

“PITCH PERFECT 2”

The 2012 original about the a cappella group, the Barden Bellas was entertaining, it spawned a radio hit, “Cups”, by Anna Kendrick and jump-started the career of Rebel Wilson, who played Fat Amy.

The sequel fell flat!

The only bright spots in the movie were the clueless, politically incorrect commentators played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins and the German powerhouse group “Das Sound Machine” (DSM).

If hearing Kendrick and Snoop Dog (Lion) or just Snoop perform “Winter Wonderland/Here Comes Santa Claus” wasn’t bad enough, by the time Fat Amy performed, “We Belong”, I felt sorry for Pat Benatar for allowing the movie to use the song!

Sadly, another sequel is coming in August 2017.

GRADE:  C-

“MAGIC MIKE XXL”

Here’s what I wrote and graded the summer 2012 original, “Magic Mike”:

“‘Magic Mike’ is definitely a fun, hot movie that also has a heart.  It’s not all about sweaty dollar bills, cheap sex, and chiseled bodies — although there’s nothing wrong with that.  Who am I to judge?”

GRADE:  A-

This sequel three years later was too talky and boring — flaccid!

“We didn’t want to show the best parts of the movie in this trailer, but it was very very hard to resist”.

That’s actually from the movie trailer.  Sure enough, my favorite scene in the whole movie is featured 23 seconds into the trailer — Joe Manganiello’s character doing a dance routine in a convenient store.

I think the “XXL” in the title means “extra extra lousy”.

Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, and Jada Pinkett Smith could not even save this movie!

GRADE:  D

If you saw any of these movies, let me know what you think.  You might have liked them more than me or hated them more.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Happy Fourth

Oh, Liberace!

I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. 

Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront.  But, is it really “United” or just “States”?

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states.  While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.

marriage

I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.

I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.

I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right.  It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION

One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.

Let it go, people.

God

I pray every night to God.

I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.

I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that.  Let God judge me.  When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.

Worry about your own relationship with God!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”

It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.

gays_in_church

Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.

I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING

Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.

There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.

Pathetic!

People, live your lives and let others live their lives.  It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE

We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.

Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state?  Not at all!

Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.

AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”

After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.

This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.

Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.

However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.

Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina?  That’s up for debate.

Church Fire

But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..

Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.

You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt.  It is so big.  She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.  Who understands those rap guys?  They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”

That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.

Becky-Wegner-Rommel

However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.

An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.

While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!

This video is NOT to be missed!  🙂

Bless her heart!  I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…

“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN

On to a much lighter topic…

When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.

APMagicMike

I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.

I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.

ChanningTatum

Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”

Matt Bomer

Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed.  Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”

He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”

Ahhhh!

EVEREST

It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.

“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.

I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.

“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard.  It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).

“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.

“BITCH I’M MADONNA”

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.

Madonna Rebel Heart

But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.  This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.

Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist.  Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.

Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.

MID-YEAR UPDATE

Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?

Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)

And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.

Frozen Soundtrack

At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies.  However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.

The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs

1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)

Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.

“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK

In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.

The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.

Hannibal

There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.

However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows.  Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.

Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.

Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.

Hannibal 3

Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.

hannibal gillian

Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!

“ZOO”

Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?

I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.

I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.

The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television.  “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.

He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.

However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.

“BEAUTIFUL NOW”

One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”.  “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.

The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.

True Colors Zedd

Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.

GRADE:  B+

ELECTION 2016

The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014” blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, that seems to holding true.

Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.

In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.

“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD

Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend.  I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.

I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.

However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.

gay-pride NYC

While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK!  NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.

She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development.  He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”

Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!

SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT

“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year.  It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.

The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today.  And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you.  As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 5, 2013

The weekend is almost here and that means it’s Friday and I get to share some of my random thoughts!  When I do this, it’s my way of expressing some of the things that have crossed my mind.  Some are small, some are big, and some have little relevance to anything, but I love having this avenue.  I know you may not always agree with me or I may enlighten you on something you haven’t thought about, but I appreciate you checking out my blog and my random thoughts.  I always welcome your thoughts, too.

I hope you all had a great time celebrating our independence from England yesterday!

Happy Fourth

Oh, the Fourth of July.  A day to show off your pride and wear your finest red, white, and blue!  What a way to rock that fringe!!  (Thanks Stacia!)

Behind_the_Candelabra_poster

By the way, I pre-ordered “Behind the Candelabra”, the HBO Liberace movie with Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his much younger lover, Scott Thorson.  It covers the last ten years of the flamboyant singer’s life and his “secret” affair with Thorson.  “Secret”?  That’s right, people thought he was straight!  (Said no on ever — out loud!)

When “Candelabra” aired on HBO on May 26, 2013, 3.5 million people tuned in making it the highest rated TV film for the network since 2004.  It arrives on DVD on September 17, 2013.

HATERS DEFY THE RECORD NUMBER OF OPEN-MINDED

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.  This now makes federal benefits available to people in same-sex marriages.

Earlier this week, a new USA Today poll shows that a record number of Americans (55%) support marriage equality.  That’s the highest level of support nationwide since Gallup first asked this question in 1996 when only 27% of Americans supported marriage equality.

Yet, while millions are rejoicing and are moving to the right side of history, there are still haters that can’t mind their own business and tend to their own lives, families, and marriages.  Of course, one of the first to speak out against this righting of a wrong in American history was Chick-fil-A COO and President Dan T. Cathy.

Here’s what he tweeted (and quickly deleted) on the day of the SCOTUS landmark decision.

Dan Cathy

Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnson quickly issued a statement saying, “He realized his views didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience” and that “Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great-tasting food and genuine hospitality to everyone.”  If you read between the lines, that basically says the company wants your money — regardless of who you love.

I’ve made it very clear in the past about how I feel about Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy and the money they give to anti-gay groups, so I won’t go there today.  (You can type in Chick-fil-A in the search engine at the top of the blog to read the previous stories!)  However, I’ll just let three sassy “ladies” do the work for me.

Warning:  NSFW!

THE WEAKEST LINK IN EQUALITY

In that poll released this past Monday, “USA Today” also reports that the only other major demographic groups that a majority still opposes marriage equality are Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%).

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS — RAP WITH A HEART  ❤

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop music.  In 1986, I owned the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” cassette and in 1990, I bought the cassette of “To The Extreme” by Vanilla Ice!  However, there’s a Seattle rapper and producer that I have to shout out to and say “thank you”.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis are one of the hottest acts in pop music today.  Just this year alone, the duo topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks (and the R&B/Hip-Hop chart for 14 weeks) with “Thrift Store”.  Its already sold almost 5.6 million copies.  They followed that up with five more weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and 7 weeks atop the R&B/Hip-Hop chart with “Can’t Hold Us”.  That song’s sales are up to 3.1 million copies.

Almost one year ago, on July 18, 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released “Same Love” with singer Mary Lambert.  The song was written to support legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, which would be voting on “Washington Referendum 74” that fall.  It also tackled homophobia in hip-hop music.

“Same Love” is racing up the Billboard Hot 100 (up from #28 to #16 this week).  And, on the Billboard Rap Songs chart, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have three of the top songs (#1, #2, and #4)!  The video has already been viewed more than 54 million times!

Who better than Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the hottest act on the chart, to get the word out about marriage equality and homophobia!  Even if you’re not a rap or hip hop fan, take seven minutes to watch this incredible video with a powerful message.  And, another thing that I love about the video is that there is a sparkler and champagne toast.  Ray and I did that at our wedding reception almost two years ago!  🙂

And, while it doesn’t matter, another thing that makes this even more amazing is that Macklemore is straight.

Macklemore

He says, “It’s a record I’ve wanted to write a long time.  I tried writing it from the perspective of a gay bullied kid… I grew up in the Catholic Church, I grew up with two gay uncles and a gay godfather, and I grew up in the hip hop community. So the Catholic Church and hip hop community are known as being very homophobic communities in a lot of ways.”

Gay Uncles

And, those are his gay uncles.

MORE Z IS ON THE WAY, BUT I’M NOT TALKING “ZZZZZ”, AS IN SLEEP

After months of speculation about how “World War Z” would perform at the box office, the verdict is in and it has Paramount very happy.

world-war-z-poster

The $190 million, zombie flick with Brad Pitt has already brought in $271.4 million in its first thirteen days ($136 million of that is from the United States).  Talk about the troubles the production encountered and a third act re-shoot gave Paramount cold feet about the movie becoming a trilogy.  However, after the box office success, last month Paramount announced that it was moving ahead with a sequel!

Now, we can see if the “camouflage” will really buy the survivors time!  That’s not really a spoiler because you’d have to know what the “camouflage” is and I’m not talking about what you see them wearing on “Duck Dynasty”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Carry On Elementary English Usage

TASTY, BLOODY DEXTER

The eighth and final season of my favorite show, “Dexter”, premiered last Sunday night and shattered records.  This season opener ranked as the series’ highest-rated premiere ever with 2.5 million viewers at 9 p.m., which is up 4% from the season seven premiere.  For the night, “Dexter” had 3.2 million viewers, up 5% from season seven.

Dexter S8

And, since I can’t have Dexter for my birthday, I’ll settle for the “Dexter” action figure or these bloody, incredible desserts created to coincide with the kick off to the final season and the last twelve episodes!

Dexter Cupcakes Dexter Cupcakes2

These sweet confections are from Magnolia Bakery in New York City.  The red velvet cupcakes are topped with a whipped vanilla icing dripping in blood (caramel) and sugar “glass” shards!

SERIOUSLY, GROW A PEAR!

If you remember back to last spring and summer, it was a very warm to hot one in the Quad Cities.  March 2012 was the warmest on record with an average temperature of 53.3°, which was more than 14° above average.  And, we only had 4″ of snow in March 2012 and that fell toward the beginning of the month.

Needless to say that flowers, shrubs, and trees got off to a quick start.  This picture was taken toward the end of June last year.  The pears were huge!

Pears 062412

It’s a much different story this year.

With 10.6″ of snow and temperatures almost 8° below average this March (about 22° colder than March 2012), the growing season is a little behind.   And, it isn’t being helped by more than 21″ of rain falling in April, May, and June.  We’ve only been at 90° or higher three times this year.  Last year, at this time, we had already been there 15 times!

This pear picture was taken this week!  As you can see, they are much smaller.

Pear July 2013

I THOUGHT ABOUT “MACHETE KILLS” AND GOT SIDETRACKED

When I hear the word “Latin”, I instantly think of sexy Enrique Iglesias and Sofia Vergara!   Be still my beating heart! 🙂  How could two people be any sexier???

Enrique Iglesias sofia-vergara

This really has nothing to do with them, it just gave me a reason to Google search images of Enrique and Sofia!  Okay, now that I’m sidetracked, I’ll talk about Sofia and her new movie.  I’ve gone to two movies lately, “World War Z” and “White House Down” and both showed previews of her action flick coming out this fall, “Machete Kills”.

Machete-Kills-Lady-Gaga MACHETE KILLS

It features the acting debut of Lady Gaga and Sofia is over the top cray cray in the previews.  I definitely won’t be seeing it in a theater, but I’ll check it out on DVD.  While it doesn’t appear to be my kind of movie, it’s crazy enough that I’m interested.

And, when listing the stars in the movie, the trailer boasts, “and introducing Carlos Estevez” as the President of the United States.  WTH??  Sorry, Charlie Sheen, you can’t sneak that past me.  I know it’s you.

OKAY, NOW THE HOT LATINA WITH A SHOT OF TEQUILA

Shakira - Paulina Rubio

Does the name Paulina Rubio ring a bell to you?  That’s her on the right in the white shirt.

The other woman is Colombian singer Shakira.  Of course, Shakira is the biggest star of the two selling more than 70 million records worldwide and she is one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time.  Shakira has had nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, four have reached the Top Ten, including her biggest hit, the #1 smash, “Hips Don’t Lie”.  You also know her as the substitute judge on “The Voice” this season for Christina Aguilera.  While Shakira is talented, I want to introduce you to my favorite Latina star.  Okay, that’s Selena, but she’s no longer with us!

PaulinaRubio

My favorite, for about a decade now, is Paulina Rubio.  The 42-year-old Mexico City native has sold about 20 million records worldwide and is regarded as the “most influential Latin celebrity in the world”.

Her first Latin album came out in 1992.  In 2002, she made a modest attempt at a crossover to English music with her album “Border Girl”.  It reached #11 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #1 on the Latin album chart.  The closest she came to having a big hit on mainstream radio in America was with “Don’t Say Goodbye/Si Tú Te Vas”, which peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rubio has scored 24 Billboard Latin chart hits.  Of those, 15 have reached the Top Ten and five of them have reached #1.  Here’s one of those #1 Latin Hits from 2004, “Dame Otro Tequila”.  She and her friends are too Caliente!  Hot!

You’ll see much more of Paulina Rubio this fall when she joins the third season of “The X Factor” as one of the two new judges replacing Britney Spears and L.A. Reid.  The other new judge is Kelly Rowland, formerly with Destiny’s Child.

INTRIGUED BY “LIFE”

I’ve don’t own a Rolling Stones album or CD.  I can only list a few of their songs without cheating and looking at Wikipedia:  “Start Me Up”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Beast of Burden” (with Bette Midler), and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, thanks to Whoopi Goldberg.

But, I just read an excerpt of “Life”, the 2010 rock memoir from Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, in a November 2010 “Rolling Stone” magazine (not to be confused with the Rolling Stones, the band) and it sounds intriguing.

Keith-Richards-book-cover-Life

The book deals with his strained relationship with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, how the Stones got started, and a lot of talk about drugs.

But, it was this quote that captured my attention and made me keep reading the article, “I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it…. It’s impossible not to end up being a parody of what you thought you were.”

“Image is like a long shadow” is so philosophical!

Keith Richards 1967 keithrichards

And, it doesn’t hurt either that in the 1960s and the 1970s, Richards was a hot, young lad!  Since I was never a big fan, it was interesting to looks back 40 or 50 years to see who he was back then.  I’m definitely getting the book and learning more about Richards and the Rolling Stones.

PEEP’S ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since I’m talking about Keith Richards, I’ll feature his band in this week’s ’80s Friday Flashback.  In the United States, from their first hit in 1964 (months before I was born) to their last radio hit in early 1990, the Rolling Stones hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 41 times.  Of that impressive feat, 23 of those songs reached the Top Ten, and seven made it all the way to #1.

My favorite Rolling Stones hit peaked at #2 in the fall of 1981, just as I was halfway through my senior year in high school.  “Start Me Up” was the first release from their #1 multi-platinum album, “Tattoo You”,  which moved more than 4 million copies sold in the U.S.

And, by the way, I remember “State of Shock” with the Jacksons, but that a Mick Jagger hit without the Stones.

‘WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

If you’re going to this movie for an Academy Award winning flick, you’re wasting your time and money.  If you’re going to see a great popcorn summer movie that’s full of action and destruction to American institutions that director Roland Emmerich likes to deliver (“Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”), you’re in the right place.

“People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (Tatum) is trying to get a job as a Secret Service to protect the President of the United States, played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.  Tatum’s John Cale is not having a good day with his 11-year-old daughter after he misses her recital.  He makes it up to her by getting her a tour of the White House.  Needless to say, terrorists take over the White House and then we have an action movie.

The movie was very entertaining, riveting, suspenseful, and enjoyable.  The biggest question on my mind as I went into the movie was not how many people would be killed or blown up, but how long would I have to wait to see Tatum lose the suit and parade around in the more comfortable and appealing white tank top. 🙂

GRADE:  B

WHD

This is a continuation of a running gag that started last summer when I had my picture taken by the poster of the very hunky Channing Tatum when “Magic Mike” was in theaters.

062912 Magic Mike

Now, there are three reasons that my body does not look like Tatum’s:  (1)  that popcorn for starters, (2) he has a trainer and the motivation to work out, and (3) he’s 33 and I’m in my late-40s!

SUMMER PICK HIT

I’ve had pretty good luck picking future hits.  You may have heard of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, but that one was already well on its way.  However, I’m still waiting for “Get It Tonight” by Erika Jayne with Flo Rida to take off.

Take note of the name Avicii, (pronounced “Uh-vee-che”).  The Swedish DJ will turn 24-years-old in early September just about a week before he releases his debut album, “#True”.

Avicii and Madonna

His career really took off last summer when he remixed “Girl Gone Wild” by Madonna and he became the first DJ to headline at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  Two performances last September were sold out and the first show took less than a minute to sell out!

While he’s had a couple of moderate radio hits in the United States (“Levels” reached #33 last year on the radio airplay and “I Could Be The One” with Nicky Romero peaked at #34 on that same chart earlier this year), his biggest successes domestically has been on the Billboard Dance chart.  Avicii has hit the Top Five with his last four songs:  “Collide” with Leona Lewis and “Levels” both topped that chart, “Silhouettes” reached #4, and “I Could Be The One” was also a #1 Dance hit.

And, the song I’m featuring today made its debut all the way up at #12 this week on the Billboard Dance chart.  It’s at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

HAPPY WEEKEND

I hope you have a fun, safe weekend.  Ray and I are going to relax this weekend.  With the heat and Gretel still at her grandmother’s this weekend, we’ll be spending some time in the pool.  I’m sure the potent potable will be refreshing, even if it isn’t a “Skinny Girl white cranberry Cosmo”.  We drank that yesterday in the pool. 🙂

Pool Time

Anthony

Summer’s Coming, So Get the Popcorn Ready

I’m sure there aren’t too many people who would tell Ryan Gosling, Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, James Franco, Amanda Seyfried, and Henry Cavill to wait.

Ryan GoslingHugh Jackmansandra_bullock_james franco imageamanda-seyfried-2Henry-Cavill-Shirtless-On-Superman-Set

As hot and talented as they are, I’ll likely be waiting for their new movies, “Only God Forgives” (Gosling, July 19), “The Wolverine” (Jackman, July 26), “The Heat” (Bullock, June 28), “This Is The End” (Franco, June 12), “Lovelace” (Seyfried, August 9), and “Man of Steel” (Cavill, June 14) to arrive on DVD in late 2013 or 2014, even though they all hit the movie theaters this summer.

Here are the movies that I’ve decided will send me into the theaters for my large popcorn and large Coke Zero (and free refills).

May 10, 2013

“THE GREAT GATSBY”

If the latest Buz Luhrmann movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire is as magical as Luhrmann’s 2001 musical, “Moulin Rouge!”, it’ll be a masterpiece to me.  From all of the buzz I’m hearing, this 2013 version should easily surpass the 1974 adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

May 17, 2013

“STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”

I previewed this sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 hit and re-boot, “Star Trek” last week in my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I can’t wait to see where this movie takes the USS Enterprise.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana return and are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (of the BBC hit series, “Sherlock”).

June 21, 2013

Since we’ll have Gretel one of these two weekends (June 21 or 28), we’ll have to make it a double feature weekend at the movies when she’s not with us.  It also saves money because you’re only buying one popcorn and two sodas and getting refills instead of doing it each weekend!

The last time we did that, Ray and I saw “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” on the same day.

Of the two new movies I want to see in late June, one features a fight to save the world from, you guessed it, zombies!  And, the other features “Magic Mike” Channing Tatum with his clothes on trying to save the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx).

“WORLD WAR Z”

This will be one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.  The Brad Pitt-action flick was pushed back from a December 2012 release date for re-shoots, which is sometimes seen in Hollywood as a sign that the movie is in trouble.  Plus, it’s not a cheap movie with a budget of  more than $170 million!  Pitt hopes that this feature will become a franchise.

All I can say is that these are not your “The Walking Dead” slow-moving flesh eaters.  They can move!

June 28, 2013

“WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

While I’ve never gone to the theater to see over-the-top movies by Roland Emmerich (the modern-day Irwin Allen), I’ve decided that it might be fun doing something I normally don’t do.  I enjoyed his “The Day After Tomorrow” on DVD.

And, with publicity pictures like this, I’d be a fool not to go!

Tatum Foxx

August 7, 2013

“ELYSIUM”

The Oscar-nominated 2009 action/thriller “District 9”  was incredible.  Director Neill Blomkamp is back with his latest thriller starring Matt Damon and a very stunning and sexy Jodie Foster.  I mean, check out that hair!  Did that sound too gay?  I’ve always been in love with Jodie!

Elysium-Jodie-Foster1

The movie takes place in 2154 and “the world has been divided into two classes”, says “Entertainment Weekly”:  the rich living aboard a high-tech orbital space station, “Elysium”, and everyone living on the suffering, dying Earth below.

Matt Damon plays an Earth resident that has to break into Elysium to cure himself of a medical condition that is available there, but not on Earth.  And, from what I’ve read, Jodie Foster is the villian in this movie.  She heads up the Elysium Corporate Authority.

The movie also stars Sharlto Copley, the star of “District 9”.

August 7, 2013

“PERCY JACKSON:  SEA OF MONSTERS”

Sometimes you do it for the kids.

Gretel is a huge fan of the Rick Riordan young-adult series, she loved the first movie, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief”, and she has a crush on “Percy Jackson” actor Logan Lerman.  (I have to admit that he is cute.)  Grown-ups will more likely know him as Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” from last year.

This movie will whet our appetites for “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” coming in November.

HONORABLE MENTION

And, while I’ll wait for the DVD, the new movie from Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar, “I’m So Excited” looks very funny.  His last movie, the horror/psychological drama, “The Skin I Live In”, was one of my favorite movies that I saw in 2012.

And, I’ll never think of the Pointer Sisters performing this song again after seeing this over-the-top, hilarious version of “I’m So Excited”.  Here’s the video.

In honor of the late movie critic Roger Ebert, I hope my choices that I’ll spend good money on get “two thumbs up”.

Anthony

They Said What??? Willie Nelson, Lily Tomlin, & Rick Perry

“TODAY” SHOW EXECUTIVE PRODUCER DON NASH

(about host Matt Lauer and former co-host Ann Curry’s relationship):  “You can’t fake it for very long that early in the morning.   I think viewers have a sixth sense about all that. If your two anchors don’t like each other off the air, they’re not going to be fooled if they love each other on the air.

MORE DON NASH

“Off air, Curry and Lauer had no relationship and barely spoke.  When she started, Curry had asked Lauer out for lunch to get advice, but Lauer seemed to drag his feet scheduling it and Curry felt he didn’t offer much. … with Curry, who threw off his rhythm and also threatened his dominance of the hard-news stories, he could often look sour.”

“MALIBU COUNTRY” ACTRESS LILY TOMLIN

“It’s stunning, the progress in the last 15 years.  “Time” magazine offered me the cover in ’75 if I would come out.  I was a bit insulted that they thought I’d trade my personal life for the cover of “Time”.  It’s probably just as well. Being such a big TV personality at that time, it probably would have been tsunami-like.”

POP MUSIC ICON & BROADWAY COMPOSER (“KINKY BOOTS”) CYNDI LAUPER

“I can hear myself everywhere — I’m not deaf.  But a lot of people inspired me.  You get from everybody and you give.  It’s a whole cycle.  I love music and I will always listen to and make music.  I heard Cher say she’ll probably still be standing with the cockroaches.  I’m with her.”

ACTOR ADAN CANTO

(who plays Paul, one-third of the Paul-Jacob-Emma love triangle on “The Following”):  “It’s been strange how I’ve become desensitized or light-hearted while conversing about death and violence at work — you know, just talking about the best ways to depict a scene. I’d imagine it must be an awkward scene to eavesdrop on.”

“THE NEW NORMAL” ACTOR JUSTIN BERTHA

“I’ve thought about this a lot, because one if I’m lucky enough to have children, you have to make those choices.  I would absolutely want my child to be part of an organization like the Boy Scouts.  On the other hand, I can’t necessarily condone it if their values don’t promote equality.”

CLEVELAND BROWNS LINEBACKER SCOTT FUJITA

“I don’t ever want to explain to my daughters that some ‘versions’ of love are viewed as ‘less than’ others. I’m not prepared to answer that kind of question.”

TEXAS GOVERNOR AND FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RICK PERRY

(regarding Madonna wearing a Boy Scouts uniform and speaking out against its anti-gay policies):  It’s fascinating that someone would make that kind of gratuitous shot at an organization that has probably done as much to promote young men to the type of values that the vast majority of the people in this country aspire to.”

“MAGIC MIKE” STAR & “PEOPLE’S SEXIEST MAN ALIVE” CHANNING TATUM

“I’ve spent time with George Clooney, and he’s the most interesting man on the planet. He can do it all. I guess what I’m saying is I’d have sex with him.”

COUNTRY MUSIC ICON WILLIE NELSON

“[gay people] should be just as miserable as the rest of us,” before noting that he finds the ongoing debate over same-sex marriage “ridiculous…in this day and age.”

MORE WILLIE

“For same-sex couples, taxes are different, benefits are different, survivor benefits are different.  It’s crazy … I never had a problem with any of it. I’ve known straight and gay people all my life. I can’t tell the difference. People are people where I came from.”

FINAL THOUGHT FROM WILLIE 

“I never thought of marriage as something only for men and women. But I’d never marry a guy I didn’t like.”

Anthony

Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part Two

How was your Saturday?  I hope it was great and that your Sunday is even better.

Tomorrow marks my blog’s one year anniversary.  I can’t believe I’ve been sharing my thoughts for a year now.  I’ve really enjoyed having the avenue to write.  Yesterday, I featured my most viewed blog entries over the past year from #20 to #11.  Today, it’s my ten most popular blogs since I started it on January 7, 2012.

#10 MOVIE

Charlie Brown, We Found Your Grown-Up Christmas Tree

Posted:  November 29, 2012

Views:  1,578

9 CD

Drugs Are Bad — “Just Say No” To Molly & Tina

Posted:  March 27, 2012

Views:  1,591

#8 CD

Dreams, They Can Come True

Posted:  April 22, 2012

Views:  1,617

#7 CD

Does The Erie School District (Illinois) Need A Stronger Anti-Bullying Approach?

Posted:  May 22, 2012

Views:  1,860

#6 CD

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Posted:  November 1, 2012

Views:  2,045

#5 CD

Hats Off To Jason Mraz’s Love of Equality

Posted:  April 9, 2012

Views:  2,232

#4 CD

“Magic Mike” — The Real Deal or A Cheap Thrill

Posted:  June 30, 2012

Views:  3,309

#3 CD

Will John Travolta Finally Be Forced Out of the Closet?

Posted:  May 9, 2012

Views:  5,221

#2 CD

Do We Really Need To Tell Adele She’s “Too Fat”?

Posted:  February 12, 2012

Views:  6,018

#1 CD

Super Bowl Bet: 50 Cent, I’ll Pay You A Dollar To Keep it To Yourself

Posted:  January 29, 2012

Views:  25,028

a few of my favorites

Those are my Top Ten viewed blogs since I started my blog January 7, 2012.

I have to admit that my favorites on this list are #2 “Do We Really Need To Tell Adele She’s “Too Fat”? about weight and my eating disorder, #6 “When One Door Closes, Another One Opens” about losing my job, and from yesterday’s countdown from #20 to #11, “ABBA:  My Best Friend” at #15, “Marriage Expert Bristol Palin Weighs In On Marriage Equality” at #16, “Marriage Equality:  Is It Simply Black & White” at #17, “Have Your Reception Here Unless You’re Gay” at #19 (which was featured on the Facebook page of “Instinct”, a leading gay magazine), and “President Reagan, I No Longer Hate You” at #20.

Here’s yesterday’s recap of #20 to #11.

Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part One

Throughout 2013, on the one year anniversary of some of my favorite 2012 blogs, I’ll highlight them again.  There are some that didn’t make the year-end recap that I’m proud of and want to share again, in case you missed them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part One

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one.  Monday marks my blog’s first birthday.  In the past year, I’ve covered highs and lows in many topics about love, hate, politics, death, entertainment, the future, and countless others.

WordPress sent me an email on New Year’s Eve telling me that my blog has been viewed in 180 countries around the world.  As we approach my blog’s anniversary, I want to recap the stories that have been viewed the most.  And, let me tell you now that the #1 viewed blog was viewed more than 25,000 times!  I’m not sure what sites shared it to get that many views, but it’s pretty cool.  What’s even funnier is that it’s one that I didn’t put much time in when writing it.

Today, I’m featuring #20 to #11 and tomorrow, you’ll see the Top Ten most viewed blogs.

If you missed them the first time, here’s your chance to see which blog entries were the most popular.  All you have to do is click on the link.

#20

President Reagan, I No Longer Hate You

Posted:  July 5, 2012

Views: 556

#19

Have Your Reception Here Unless You’re Gay

Posted:  June 22, 2012

Views:  582

#18

New Kitchen = Endless Culinary Possibilities — Bon Appétit!

Posted:  July 1, 2012

Views:  614

#17

Marriage Equality: Is It Simply Black & White?

Posted:  May 24, 2012

Views:  615

#16

Marriage Expert Bristol Palin Weighs in on Marriage Equality

Posted:  May 10, 2012

Views:  659

#15 Movie

ABBA: My Best Friend

Posted:  February 3, 2012

Views:  783

#14 Movie

Gay Rumors — A Humorous Look

Posted:  May 11, 2012

Views:  910

#13

Hot Shorts & Push-up Bras — It Must Be Summer

Posted:  June 20, 2012

Views:  952

#12 Movie

Advice To Chris Brown, (Yes, That One)

Posted:  July 3, 2012

Views:  979

#11 Movie

Hard Bodies Need Only Apply!

Posted:  June 29, 2012

Views:  1,239

Thanks for checking out #20 to #11.  Have a great Saturday and I’ll have the Top Ten tomorrow.

Anthony