Posts Tagged ‘Melissa McCarthy’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 28, 2017

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

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

#45, YOU DON’T SURPRISE ME AT ALL

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

donald-lgbt

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

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

Here’s my reply.

AP to DT

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

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

Yes You Are

KILLING GAYS IN CHECHNYA

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

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

Ramzan Kadyrov

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

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

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

Hillary

BUT, WE HAVE OUR OWN HATRED

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

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

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

Brandy

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

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

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

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

“LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE”

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

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

AnthonyLeAnn

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

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

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

“OZARK”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

“TO THE BONE”

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

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

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

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

Overall, a great movie to highlight a devastating illness.

GRADE:  B

RECOVERY IS A LIFELONG STRUGGLE

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

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

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

Bad Meal

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

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

MELISSA McCARTHY KNOWS SHE’S NOT THIN

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

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

Melissa

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

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

What is wrong with people?

MARTHA WASH & BLACKBOX

Just one more thought on this weighty subject matter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TROPICKLES

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

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

Pickles

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

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

PICK HIT & PANAMA CITY BEACH

Most of you may not know Jason Dottley.

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

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

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

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

I know Jason is man enough to handle her ignorance.

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Daily Struggle Through Thick and Thin

It’s summer when you want to look your best if you’re heading to the pool or the beaches.  Those few pounds you packed on during the holidays and the winter are harder to lose than to gain.

It’s even more of a challenge when you’re a recovering food addict.

Over the years, I’ve written several times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

eating-disorder

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Sadly, I fell off the wagon this past winter.  Abrupt changes in my life were just too much to handle and I found solace in binging and purging.  After months of relentless walking on the treadmill and purging all that I’d eat, I lost 20 pounds the wrong way.

I’m happy to say that I’m back on the wagon again — almost three months now!  I’m eating healthy, exercising, and gaining a few months and I’m okay with it.

Ironically, I got back on the wagon on the day I packed my truck to move to Panama City, Florida.  My celebratory meal for the renewed fight was Osaka Buffet in Moline!

Osaka

So, what prompted me to share this failure and my renewed effort to start the next two decades of a healthy eating lifestyle?  A new Netflix movie and “Rolling Stone” magazine.

I watched “To The Bone” about a 20-year-old woman’s struggle with anorexia that was not only threatening to kill her, but it was also tearing her family apart.

The movie was honest and it accurately covered the “tricks” that people struggling with eating disorders perfect on a daily basis.

And, it earned points with me for featuring a young man dealing with anorexia since most people associate the disorder with girls and women.

It’s estimated that boys and men now make up about 25% of those with eating disorders.

Also, I was reading an old issue of “Rolling Stone” and the feature was on actress Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”, “Spy” and “Mike & Molly”).

Melissa

She told the magazine that she often wished she was taller, prettier, and thinner.

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

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

Melissa, you’re a beautiful, funny woman!  If you lose weight, I’m thrilled for you.  If you don’t, I know you’ll be happy with your life and your wonderful family.

Through thick and thin, when we see someone that may look too skinny or overweight, maybe we shouldn’t be so quick to judge them on their appearance.  We really don’t know the struggles that they may be going through in their lives.

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 22, 2016

The weekend is almost here and that means I’m sharing some of my random thoughts with you.

I realize now if I want to take a break and still have something to post, I’ll just have Malania Trump, Donald’s wife, to put together a blog for you under my name.  It wouldn’t take much effort. 🙂

Malania, look up the word “plagiarism”.  P-L-A-G-I-A-R-I-S-M.

Melania

I saw this online and it was perfect and it made me smile, “I’d like to thank my speech writers ‘Copy and Paste'”.

VICIOUS ATTACKS ON ACTRESS LESLIE JONES

I never saw the original “Ghostbusters” from the 1980s and I have no desire to see the all-female remake in theaters now.

However, all of the sexist chatter on the Internet is rather appalling.  Actress Leslie Jones, the only black actress of the four leads (the others are Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon), has been singled out for the most vicious of the online insults.

ghost-hospital

It’s a sad, sad world when it’s so easy to sit at a computer or use your smartphone and make racist and misogynistic comments and think it’s okay.

Please crawl back under the rock you surfaced from.  It just might help you from getting heat exhaustion this summer in the real world!

SPEAKING OF SUMMER HEAT

Liz

KARDASHIAN-WEST-SWIFT FUED

I truly don’t care what Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift argue about.  There are so many things in this world that demand our attention and our actions.

Who cares about these millionaire celebrities’ petty little attempt to garner more headlines?

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

See, even Taylor agrees!

BUT, THIS STUFF JUST WRITES ITSELF

Originally, when I started this week’s blog, I was going to briefly mention Donald Trump’s moment of glory and call attention to his lesser known running mate.  And, I wasn’t going to say anything more about the tiff between the millionaires mentioned above until….

Joseph Kahn, the Grammy Award and MTV Video Music Awards winning director of some the most classic music videos by Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Eminen, and so many more, went on a Twitter rant against Kim Kardashian and her family.

Kahn 1.jpg

Kahn 2.jpg

Usually when someone tweets something that people are shocked or offended by, the tweet mysteriously disappears (and lives on through screenshots).  Not, Kahn.  He makes no apologies.

Wednesday he tweeted, “People have been group attacking me for years on Twitter but they don’t understand that unlike normal humans, I have no emotions.”

MORE CIVIL SWIFTIES DEFENDERS

Unlike Kahn, other Swift friends have commented on the matter in a much more civil manner.

Singer and actress Selena Gomez tweeted “There are more important things to talk about… Why can’t people use their voice for something that fu**ing matters?” and “Truth is last thing we need right now is hate, in any form”.

But, she summed it up perfectly with “This industry is so disappointing yet the most influential smh”.

Gomez Moretz

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz tweeted “Everyone in this industry needs to get their heads out of a hole and look around to realize what’s ACTUALLY happening in the REAL world” and “Stop wasting your voice on something so petulant and unimportant”.

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CIRCUS CONVENTION

Since more Republican voters chose Donald Trump as their choice in the primaries, I’m glad that he was picked as the nominee at the Republican Nation Circus Convention.

Cleveland.jpg

Why?  Because I’ll be visiting Cleveland, Ohio, in late September and I didn’t want people to burn the city down in protest.

ANTI-GAY VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MIKE PENCE

Indiana Governor Mike Pence was chosen to be Trump’s running mate.

I thought it was going to be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and all of his baggage, but I never thought for a minute that it’d be Newt Gingrich.

So, who is Pence?  Well, I definitely know he’s not a friend of LGBT people.

He’s opposed to marriage equality and civil unions, he believes that gays should not serve in the military, he opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009 (which expanded the definition of hate crimes to include gender identity and sexual orientation), and he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (it would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation).

And, then there’s the whole Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Indiana State Bill 101), which allows individuals and companies to discriminate against LGBT people using religion as a defense.

He signed it into law in March of last year, but amended it a week later with certain provisions to “protect” LGBT people.

Pence.jpg

However, there was still widespread opposition and criticism.  Many huge companies threatened to take their business elsewhere and some cities and states would not allow employees to travel to Indiana on business.

So, if you have loved ones or people you love that are LGBT, you might want to think twice in November if you’re thinking of this pair for president.

peace_love_understanding

ONE MONTH SINCE THE DEATH

It’s hard to believe that the tragic car accident that took the life of 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin was over a month ago.

Anton

His new movie, “Star Trek Beyond” hits theaters this weekend.

In a full page ad in “Variety” magazine, his parents shared these heartfelt words:

“Thank you to all of you who have sent flowers and gifts, for your condolences and kind words and to all who came to celebrate the life of our dear son, Anton.  We are deeply grateful for your unconditional love… He would be surprised at how many hearts and souls he touched. Thank you very much.”

Yelchin died in a freak accident on July 19th when his Jeep pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar attached to a security fence outside his home in Los Angeles.

“GREEN ROOM”

This weekend, Anton Yelchin will most likely debut at the top of the box office with “Star Trek Beyond”.

“Green Room” was the last movie he released before his death and it’s now out on DVD.

He turns in an incredible performance as Pat, a member of a punk rock band, the Ain’t Rights.  The group is down on their luck and they get booked a gig at a backwoods Oregon dive.

But, it turns out that the audience is a group of neo-Nazis skinheads and the venue is owned by a menacing drug peddler played by Patrick Stewart.

When Pat goes back into the “green room” to grab a band mate’s phone as they’re leaving, he witnesses a death.  It quickly becomes apparent that the band has to be silenced to keep police away and it becomes a psychological game of survival.

This is “red band” trailer (adult language and situations).

GRADE:  B

FIVE MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS

The heat index in the Quad Cities (of Illinois and Iowa) hit 114°  Thursday as much of the middle part of the country is in a heat wave that’ll last through, at least, the weekend.

christmascocktails

So, some may think it’s too early to be thinking about winter or Christmas, but I say, “bah humbug”.

It’s only five months to Christmas now, but new holiday albums from some of your favorite singers start coming out in the fall.

This year, I’m looking forward to a duets Christmas album from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and I’m really excited about a new holiday collection from Kacey Musgraves.

I’m sure it’ll have Christmas classics and originals with her witty, down home brand of country music.  That’ll make me very happy as long as it doesn’t sound anything like the hokiness of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Grammy Award-winning singer, this is a big hit from her album, “Same Trailer Different Park”, which was my 10th favorite album of 2013.

Last year, my favorite new Christmas album was “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.

Kylie Christmas

While she covered classics like “Let It Snow”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, there were new tracks such as the instant disco classic with her sister, Dannii Minogue, “100 Degrees”.  Give it listen!

Country acts Rascal Flatts and Chris Young are also promising new Christmas albums this fall.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

While there are a few movies I want to see later this year, “The Girl on the Train” has been at the top of my list since I read Paula Hawkins’ amazing debut novel and the movie was announced.

The Girl on the Train

Here’s what I had to say last July about the book and the lead character, Rachel, who will be played by Emily Blunt:

“Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.  One day, she sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”

The first trailer was released in April and now a second trailer is out just months before the movies opens October 7th.

I’m so ready for October!

PICK HIT

17-year-old Daya (Grace Tandon) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is well on her way to becoming a pop music superstar.

She most recently topped the Top 40 radio airplay charts with her collaboration with The Chainsmokers, “Don’t Let Me Down”.

She made her debut last summer with “Hide Away”, which reached #7 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Her latest, “Sit Still, Look Pretty” is already Top 20 at pop radio and is my pick hit of the week.

Here’s a recent morning show performance since there isn’t an official video yet.  Check out the incredible Lady Gaga-ish shoes.  The shoes are almost as awesome as Daya’s voice!

A full album from Daya is expected later this year.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Favorite Movies of 2015

It’s time for me to share my twenty favorite movies of 2015.  Notice I said “favorite” and not “best”.  There may have been better movies, but that doesn’t mean I’d want to see them again.  The ones on this list, I would watch again (and, maybe, again).

These are the movies that I saw for the first time in 2015 regardless of the release date.  You’ll see some familiar titles that were big at the Oscars and Golden Globes earlier in the year.

Before I begin, as Casey Kasem did to start his countdown, here’s a recap of my favorite movies over the past three years. In 2012, my favorite movie was “Weekend”.  In 2013, it was “Out in the Dark”, and last year, “Bridegroom”.

Here’s a link to those movies (and my favorite albums from 2010-2014):

 https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/best-of-2010-2015-flashback/

2015 Movies

Now, my favorite movies of 2015!  Oh, disclaimer:  some of the movie trailers might be more “rated-R”.

20

“SPY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $235.7 MILLION

 

19

“LILA & EVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $38,263

18

“CHAPPIE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $102.1 MILLION

#17

“WELCOME TO ME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $625,727

16

“THE 10-YEAR PLAN”

15

“THE LAST STRAIGHT MAN”

14

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $122.9 MILLION

13

“KRAMPUS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $47.6 MILLION

12

“TRAINWRECK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $139.5 MILLION

11

“WHIPLASH”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $49 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4 MILLION

 

9 CD

“THE JUDGE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $84.4 MILLION

8

“HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.6 MILLION

 

7

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $57.7 MILLION

6

“CHEF”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $46 MILLION

#5 MOVIE

“STRANGER BY THE LAKE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.1 MILLION

#4 MOVIE

“BIRDMAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $103.2 MILLION

#3 CD

“THE IMITATION GAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $227.8 MILLION

#2 CD

“STILL ALICE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.8 MILLION

Now, before I reveal my favorite movie of 2015, here are the worst movies of the year.  Okay, my least favorite movies.

Gag Me

“MAGIC MIKE XXL”, “PITCH PERFECT 2”, “IT FOLLOWS”, AND “WHILE WE’RE YOUNG”.

Now, back to the countdown.

#1

“LILTING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $197,588

Tomorrow, my 20 favorite songs of 2015.

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

“Foxcatcher”, “St. Vincent”, “Dear White People” & More

It’s time to share a few more reviews of recent DVD releases in case you’re caught up on your television viewing or you want suggestions for movie night.

“ST. VINCENT”

I’ve never been of “Saturday Night Live”, so I never followed Bill Murray’s movie career.

As a teenager, I saw “Meatballs” and I enjoyed it.  I also loved “Tootsie” and “Zombieland”, but not so much for Murray.  And, I’ve also seen Murray in “Groundhog Day” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and I’m indifferent about both.

So, I rented “St. Vincent” with reservations.

I’m so glad I checked it out!  While his character was severely flawed, he played the lousy neighbor with precision.

I’m also not a fan of Melissa McCarthy, but her straight performance in this dramatic role as a divorced parent trying to make a new life for her and her son was refreshing.

The real standout in the movie is Jaeden Lieberher, who played the 12-year-old neighbor that Murray’s alcoholic Vincent MacKenna was responsible for watching after school.

Two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) was also funny as Vincent’s pregnant, pole-dancing/prostitute girlfriend, Daka.

A very touching movie that’ll make you laugh and cry.

GRADE:  A-

“FOXCATCHER”

While captivating, “Foxcatcher” was more than two hours of pure creepiness and awkwardness.

“Best Actor” Oscar nominee Steve Carell was incredible behind his prosthetic nose and teeth. His portrayal of John du Pont’s loneliness was sad to watch, but you couldn’t turn away.

And, I believe that Oscar gave the “Best Supporting Actor” nominee to the wrong person.

I love Mark Ruffalo as an actor, but Channing Tatum was the real star with the most pain expressed on-screen.

The movie could have been about thirty minutes shorter!

GRADE: B

“THE DROP”

This little seen Brooklyn crime drama marked the final movie appearance by the late James Gandolfini.

Gandolfini played Marv, the former owner of a neighborhood bar called “Cousin Marv’s”.  He had turned over ownership years earlier to a Chechen mob and is still making payments to them — by laundering money that the bar makes each day.

Tom Hardy was fantastic as slightly challenged bartender, Bob, who rescues a pit bull puppy from a trash can in Nadia’s yard.  Nadia is played by Noomi Rapace (from the Swedish “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” movie series).

While an enjoyable movie that kept you guessing, it was pretty cookie cutter as a crime caper.

GRADE:  B-

“BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP”

You’d think a mystery thriller with Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth would be incredible.

While the performances were great, the story of a woman who forgets everything about her life each night when she goes to sleep tired quickly.

Kidman’s Christine Lucas memory loss is the result of a brain injury she suffered ten years ago in a car accident.  Or, is it?

She gets a mysterious call from a doctor that informs her to start recording her thoughts each day.  That way, when she wakes the next day, she’ll have somewhere to start in piecing together who she was and if she was really injured in a car accident.

There is a dramatic scene between Kidman and Firth toward the end of the movie that redeemed it from a failing grade to average.

GRADE:  C

“COLD IN JULY”

I’m a huge Michael C. Hall fan.

Dexter-michael-c-hall

I could watch all eight seasons of “Dexter” on repeat.  He was mesmerizing and insanely sexy as everyone’s favorite serial killer on the Showtime series.

I even traveled to New York City in January to see him on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, in which he plays fame-seeking East German transgender rocker, Hedwig.

While he’s a Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild winner and an Emmy nominee, movie stardom has eluded him.

That trend continues with “Cold In July”, which only made less than one-half million dollars last year in theatrical release.

Hall plays a Texas man who shoots an intruder in his house in the middle of night.  While the police say it’s an open and shut case, the victim’s father comes back for answers and revenge after being released from prison.

It turns out there’s more to the story of who the victim is and why police closed the case so quickly.

While I only watched the movie to see Hall, it was great to see Don Johnson (“Miami Vice”) again in a comedic/dramatic role.

GRADE:  C

“DEAR WHITE PEOPLE”

In a perfect world, a movie about racism would be something that would take you back to pre-1960s America.

However, the world is not perfect and this satirical dramedy is very poignant in pointing that out.

Samantha (“Sam”) White is a mixed race student in a predominantly white college that uses her radio show to criticize white people and their racism and the school administration.

There’s a scene in the movie where the school president’s son is behind a very racist-themed party to retaliate against Sam’s views and her radio show.

In light of the recent racist video that surfaced from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, maybe more people should see this movie and hopefully learn from it.

“Dear White People” stars Tyler James Williams, who’s on the current season of “The Walking Dead”.

GRADE:  B

Soon, I’ll post a blog of three movies that I just watched years after their release that definitely deserve a second look since not many people checked them out the first time in theaters.

Anthony