Posts Tagged ‘Netflix’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2019

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts over the past few weeks.  This is it for a while again.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts diplomatically if we disagree.

Have a great weekend!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN LATEST

I’ll start off with some sad news, but I know she’s a fighter!

Pop music icon Olivia Newton-John tells “60 Minutes Australia” she’s not giving up the fight as she battles stage four cancer.

Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer back in 1992.

She overcame the disease, but it returned in 2013.  Olivia won that battle, too, and it was never made public.

However, the cancer returned in May 2017 and metastasized into her lower back.

This month, we learned that the cancer has advanced to Stage IV, which means it has spread to other organs and the mortality rate is higher.

If you click on this, you can hear just how courageous she is!

I’ve loved Olivia since the early-1970s as a little kid when she dominated country radio before crossing over to pop music.

I was so lucky to catch her during her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2014.

Olivia 2014

Olivia, you beautiful woman, stay strong and keep fighting!

Here’s Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi on their #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “You Have To Believe”, from 2015, with Dave Aude!

MY TWO CONNECTIONS TO PRINCESS DIANA

We’re coming up on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lady Diana

Of course, I remember the fairy tale wedding back in 1981 and the tragic news of her death in Paris, France, in 1997.

I was working at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas, as the weekend news anchor.  We led our 10 p.m Saturday newscast with the news of the car crash.  At that point, she was still alive or it hadn’t cross the wires that she had died.

However, just minutes after we said goodnight, the Associated Press reported that the Princess was dead!  We waited for CBS to break into programming.  They didn’t!

Finally, my co-anchor, Ny Lynn Nichols, and I went back on the air with the sad news.  We reported all that we knew at the time, which wasn’t much.  We re-ran the story from the newscast about the crash and gave updates for a few minutes as information came into our newsroom.

That was my first connection to Princess Diana.  So, if anyone was watching CBS in Lubbock, Texas, after the 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday, August 30, 1997, they saw Ny Lynn and I relaying the tragic news.

SARAH, THE DUCHESS OF YORK

My second connection to Princess Diana came many years later.

sarah ferguson.jpg

In March 2010, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (and Princess Diana’s former sister-in-law), came to the Quad Cities for a benefit for Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people fighting cancer.

The Duchess spoke to a crowd of more than 600 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

They had a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book, “Little Red to the Rescue”, and I won.

Sarah Duchess of York

Needless to say, it was so pretty cool to get not only an autographed book from the Duchess, but also a package addressed from Windsor Castle!

“A ROYAL DUTY”

As the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approached, I decided to read the two books on my bookshelf about her life (and death).

The first was “A Royal Duty” by Paul Burrell.

Paul Burrell Diana.JPG

This 2003 best seller chronicles Burrell’s life of working his way up through the ranks in British Royal Household to become Queen Elizabeth II’s footman.

Burrell then worked for Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, before working for Diana exclusively after the Royal separation and divorce up until her untimely death.

While I believe Burrell’s stories about his commitment to Princess Diana, I do think he was overly dramatic at times!

GRADE:  B 

“THE DIANA CHRONICLES”

Tina Brown, who worked for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, released “The Diana Chronicles” in the summer of 2007, a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

Diana Tina Brown.JPG

While I believe Burrell’s stories in his book, I think that he hid away the naughty and nasty side of Princess Diana.  We all have one!

Brown’s book is very comprehensive and easy to read.  It’s much more journalistic, thorough and fair (i.e. honest).  However, she could be catty!  Meow!

Although the front and back cover featured the same collage of photos of Princess Diana’s life, I really wish the book featured photos inside!

One thing that Brown talked about that intrigued me was Diana and Charles’s divorce settlement: a lump sum of £17 million (roughly $20.5 million) and £400,000 annually for Diana’s office (nearly one-half million dollars).

Also, Diana would lose the HRH (Her Royal Highness) title, but retain the Diana, Princess of Wales title.

GRADE:  A

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

If you follow the Royal Family and checked out the first two seasons of “The Crown” on Netflix with the amazing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, the next season is getting closer.

Season 3 with Oscar winner Olivia Colman as a more mature Queen Elizabeth II premieres on November 17, 2019!

“IS IT JUST ME?”

As I mentioned back in February, I’m going through my movie collection and I’m watching older ones to either get rid of or save.

So far, I’ve only kept two:  the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”) and the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”.

Now, a third one is saved — the 2010 romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?” with the sexy Nicholas Downs (Blaine) and David Loren (Xander).

Blaine is looking for a nice guy, but doesn’t think that they exist until he meets Xander online.

After chatting, they talk for hours on the phone.

The problem is that Blaine realizes his roommate, Cameron, an actor and go-go dancer, was logged into his computer and it was his profile they were chatting under.

So, while Xander is talking to Blaine, he thinks Blaine looks like Cameron!

This scene between Blaine and his friend Michelle is one that made me laugh (and I watched it over and over!) The other is the last scene in the movie trailer below. 🙂

Michelle Blaine Sarcasm.JPG

GRADE:  B

LET’S GO TO VEGAS

I’m finally heading back to Vegas this weekend.  I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend since they’ve never been.

As you may know, Vegas experienced a grasshopper invasion earlier this summer.

Grasshopper Las Vegas.JPG

There were so many grasshoppers in the air that it was detected on Doppler radar!

Vegas Radar Grasshopper.jpg

This was the most creative response to the creepy infestation! 😉

Grasshopper

It’d be pretty neat to experience them if they’re still around when we get there! 🙂

VEGAS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG

Since 2012, I’ve tried to get to Vegas every year, but I failed last year since I was moving to Duluth, Minnesota.

However, I had a great time there on my last visit in December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s magical “All I Want For Christmas” show…

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

met Lionel Richie…

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and saw one of my childhood favorites, Tanya Tucker!

Tanya

“NEW” WHITNEY HOUSTON ON THE RADIO

It’s been more than seven-and-a-half years since Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills, California hotel.

whitney-houston

Now, Whitney and Norwegian record producer Kygo are poised to have a big hit at Top 40 radio with a rework of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love”, one of my all-time favorites.

Whitney originally recorded the song for the Japanese version of her third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The new version is incredible!

“Higher Love” is already at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and at #43 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio airplay chart!

Whitney’s last Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was in the fall of 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks when “The Star Spangled Banner”, her 1991 recording, was re-released.  This time around, it reached #6.

Before that, her last original song to hit the Top 40 was in 2000 when “I Learned from the Best”, the fifth and final release from the “My Love is Your Love” album, hit #27.

Kygo’s 2016 album, “Cloud Nine”, is fantastic.  Check it out!

“THE LOUDEST VOICE”

This Showtime series about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, who sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives, was great.

Okay, the acting was great.  Watching Ailes’ creepiness of preying on women and forcing sex on them was disgusting.

In the series, Ailes blamed the left for all of America’s problems and gloated, “I’ve given the Silent Majority a voice” and that “we worship a Christian God”.

Yes, womanizer and rapist, worship that Christian God!

But, I have to hand it to Ailes for seeing a wide opening in television “news” that wasn’t catering to Republicans and the “religious right” and seizing the opportunity.

Give Russell Crowe his 2020 Emmy now and Roger Ailes, may you rot in hell!

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 9, 2019

Thank you for taking the time to check out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” and have a great weekend!

I know this will likely tick off some people, but that’s okay!

I also know there are so many others here in America (and the world) that are rather pissed off about the way things are right now, too!

DONALD TRUMP

I’ve tried really hard not to be too political lately because with Russian intervention in 2016, it did so much for me to sell Hillary Clinton as president!  And, the 2020 presidential election is still a long ways away!

However, after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, I can’t stay quiet.

Trump

Donald Trump’s hateful words are not going to “Make America Great Again”! 

Those words are destroying the U.S.A. with senseless violence of people killing others almost daily!

Democrats, independents and Americans, let’s UNITE to kick this man and his sad sense of grandeur out of the White House on November 3, 2020!

MENTAL HEALTH & MENTAL ILLNESS

In my lifetime, I’ve fallen into two categories of “mental illness” *, but I wouldn’t go out and kill anyone!

It’s shouldn’t be a “get out jail free card”.

“Mental illness” and “mental health” really need to be addressed in this country and the only time we talk about the need for it SHOULD’NT be when there’s another mass shooting!!!

*Until 1973, being gay was considered a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.  And, eating disorders are a mental illness!

ONE MORE MENTAL ILLNESS THOUGHT!

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter worked hard to bring mental health issues to the forefront.

President Jimmy Carter signed the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 into law in October, a month before the 1980 presidential election.

Ronald Reagan, seven months after taking office, signed The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 into law.

This repealed most of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE… MY “LOVER” ARRIVES IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!

I’d like to just fast forward through the next two weeks — not only to wish away the summer heat, but for Taylor Swift’s “Lover” to come out on August 23rd!

Taylor Swift Lover

It features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

The video has already been viewed over 106 million times!

“MINDHUNTER”

It’s almost time for more Jonathan Groff and the second season of the critically acclaimed (and incredible) hit series, “Mindhunter”.

It drops on Netflix on Friday, August 16th!

This season will focus on the Atlanta murders (children and young adults) of 1979-1981.

Here’s the season two trailer.

If you’re not familiar with “Mindhunter”, the first season was set in 1977 and follows two FBI agents, who help start the Behavioral Science Unit by profiling criminals.

Awesome Anna Torv (“Fringe”) also stars.

And, it’s also a reason to post this gorgeous shot of my future husband.

Groff

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  1984”

After a mostly disappointing “Apocalypse”, I’m excited for the new installment of “American Horror Story: 1984”!

Not only does it take me back to the slasher films of my youth, but it’ll obviously have a killer soundtrack!  It’s the ’80s!  Like totally! 🙂

“American Horror Story: 1984” premieres on FX Wednesday, September 18, 2019.

“YOUNGER”

I absolutely loved the first five seasons of this cute comedy.  But, I’m definitely not feeling season six!  (Breaking… Episode 8, “The Debu-taunt”, was perfect!)

Sutton Foster (Liza) and Miriam Shor (Diana) are amazing and I just get lost in dreamland when Nico Tortorella (Josh) is on screen.

Nico Tortorella

#TeamJosh

There are still a few episodes left this season for it to turn around AND it’s already been renewed for a seventh season.

It’s now the longest running original program on TV Land!

“AMERICAN WIFE”

Curtis Sittenfeld’s third novel, “American Wife” (2008), is a fictionalized book on the life of former First Lady Laura Bush.

American Wife.jpg

It was a great book, but it was a little weird reading it.

In the book’s dialogue, I was hearing Laura and George W. Bush’s voice.

However, I’d see Laura Bush’s face as “Alice”, but Josh Brolin’s face as the former president!  Oops, I mean, “Charlie”!  (Brolin played George W. in the movie, “W”).

And, it was a little AWKWARD (okay, a lot) reading the graphic sex scenes and thinking of Laura and George W!

Laura Bush

By the way, I still really want to have dinner with and meet President Bush and Laura!

“REFLECTIONS:  LIFE AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE”

A couple of years ago, I read Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s “A Memoir”.

Before reading the book, I stated that I really wasn’t a fan during her White House years  and “there was just something standoffish about her…. I just didn’t feel the warmth was genuine.” 

After reading the book, I said, “I’ve changed my views quite a bit.  I still think she’s a force to reckon with and I still disagree with her on several things, but that’s part of life. She is more down-to-earth than I gave her credit for and she accomplished so much in those twelve years.”

This summer, I read her 2003 book, “Reflections:  Life After the White House”.

Barbara Bush Reflections

It was a very homey book that even featured some recipes!

In it, Ms. Bush talked about many of the speeches she gave (for free and for money), places she visited, her family and friends and the fact that they were very rich.

She wasn’t boasting about being well off financially, but more so that it gave them the luxury of doing things we can only dream about without breaking the bank!

Toward the end of the book she said something that I can definitely relate to these days, “We are at the stage in our lives where we are giving away and not accumulating more.”  

While talking about the crazy 2000 presidential election, which the U.S. Supreme Court gave to her son, George W. Bush, she also talked about Hillary Clinton winning big in New York.

She quoted Hillary saying, “Her first statement was that she was going to work to change the Electoral College, “that it was outdated.””

Fast forward to the 2016 presidential election, all I can say, “If only!” 😦

Still

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — May 3, 2019

Now that May is here and the weather will start being nice on a regular basis (I hope), I’m ready to get out more and enjoy life.

So, I have just a few more blogs to share with you before I go on hiatus.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about what I’m talking about and if we disagree, that’s fine.  Just do it diplomatically!

GET VACCINATED!

I know I probably have friends that don’t believe in vaccinating their children, but this is a subject where we sorely disagree.

If you don’t vaccinate, I’m sure you have your reasons.

I think people, of any age, should be up to date on their shots to help prevent the spread of contagions!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tweeted this on Monday!

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Measles.JPG

KENT STATE MASSACRE

This weekend marks the 49th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre!

As you recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the campus and the shootings left four students dead.

In May 2000, I was a reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, about 75 miles away from Kent State University and I got to cover the 30th anniversary of the shooting spree.

It was very eerie and I can’t believe that next year will be 50 years!

Here is the report that I filed in 2000.  My apologies for the quality since this was recorded on my phone from TV and VHS!

The story is still great!

2019 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS

The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were amazing! It was a total throwback for me to the fun 1980s American Music Awards — so many great, exciting visual performances!

Madonna & Maluma, Taylor & Brendon Urie, Mariah Carey, Ciara, Paula Abdul and The Jonas Brothers rocked Las Vegas and the MGM Grand, along with Halsey and Kelly Clarkson (both performances)!!!

2019 BBMA.JPG

I’m still crushing on Brendon!

“KILLING EVE”

We’re midway through the eight-episode second season of BBC America’s “Killing Eve”.

I just finished binge watching the first season’s eight episodes and finally brought myself to start watching the second season.

After the shocking season one finale, I hesitated to start this season because I know I’ll have to wait for the next four episodes to air on television and then wait another year for the third season!

The show is absolutely incredible!

Sandra Oh, who won Best Actress awards in a drama from the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and the Golden Globes, is amazing, as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer in London.

And, every time that Jodie Comer, who plays psychopathic, hired assassin Villanelle, is on screen, I’m mesmerized!

And, of course, I’m crushing on Sean Delaney, who plays Kenny Stowton, an ex-hacker who has been recruited by Eve in her search for Villanelle!

Sean Delaney.JPG

“SECOND ACT”

I love Jennifer Lopez and I’m hoping to see her in concert this summer.

Until then, you can catch her on this hit from last winter.  The $16 million comedy brought in $72.3 million in theaters.

Lopez plays Maya Vargas, an assistant manager at a Value Shop store, who is ready for a big promotion after working there for 15 years.

She’s passed over because she doesn’t have a college degree.

On her birthday, she makes a wish that is far-fetched.  But, through the magic of the internet and social media, things start happening for Maya, but it’s based on a lie!

Leah Remini is hilarious and sexy Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”) plays Lopez’s boyfriend.

Okay, the movie is cute, sexy, and funny, but it’s not totally realistic.  But, that’s why we watch some movies!

GRADE: B+

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

This movie is based on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It covers her life from her college years, when not too many women were enrolled at Harvard Law School, to her trying her first big case.

Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Bader and dreamy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband, Martin Ginsburg.

It’s a well told story and both actors are great, so I recommend it.  However, I’d highly suggest that you watch the superior “RBG” instead or in addition to “On The Basis of Sex”.

GRADE: B

“RBG”

In September 2018, I wrote, “This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”  

GRADE: A

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” CANCELLED

I haven’t gotten around to watching the third season of this Netflix comedy.

I guess I should laugh and cherish each episode since it was cancelled!

Where will I watch Timothy Olyphant now?

SPECTRUM “ON DEMAND”

My cable company, Spectrum, is pretty much like any other cable company, most notably, Mediacom — very expensive and very unreliable.

While recently on a customer service call, I was told that “On Demand” is free.

I politely told the agent that while Spectrum may consider it “free” and there may not be a line on my bill that charges me for “On Demand”, when I pay them $140.40 a month, when I turn on the television to watch something on cable, it’s not free!

I was calling because there was a missing episode in season three of “Veep” and there are four missing episodes scattered about in seasons three and four of “Younger”!

“YOUNGER”

Speaking of… I’ve been trying to binge watch the TV Land series, “Younger” for over a year now.

I watched season one last spring while I was still in Panama City.  When I got to Duluth, Minnesota, seasons two through four were not available “On Demand”, yet I did DVR season five.

Now “On Demand”, all five seasons are available with random missing or unavailable episodes.

I’m just finished season four and for the missing episodes, I just read the Wikipedia episode synopsis and ventured on. 😦

“Younger” is from creator and producer Darren Star, who brought us the classics “Beverly Hills, 90120”, “Melrose Place” and “Sex and the City”.

It stars Sutton Foster, as Liza, a 40-year-old recently separated mother of a teenager, who’s trying to jump start her once thriving career.  She tries to get a job in publishing, but she realizes the industry is obsessed with much younger employees!

Her roommate and best friend, Maggie (Debi Mazar), gives her a makeover and she lands a job as a “26-year-old” and works for Diana Trout (a hilarious Miriam Shor) and alongside Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff).

She meets and falls for young, inked, and insanely sexy Josh (Nico Tortorella), a tattoo artist, who thinks Liza is around his age, mid-20s!

I’ve crushed on Tortorella since he was on the first season of Fox’s “The Following”.

Nico Tortorella

On ‘Younger”, the bisexual/genderfluid actor is absolutely stunning!

And, the sexiness doesn’t end with Tortorella.  There’s also Peter Hermann (Charles) and Dan Amboyer (Thad).

Dan Amboyer

Amboyer (above) came out as gay in 2017 and announced he had married his long-term partner.

And, my new hottie in seasons three and four is Ben Rappaport!

Ben Rappaport

Season six debuts on June 12, 2019, on TV Land.

“ME”

Taylor Swift is back and she seems happy after the awesome, darker 2017 “Reputation” album.

This time she’s teaming up with sexy Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco.

Wonder if there’s going to be a duet with The Dixie Chicks on the new album?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 5, 2019

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

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

LUKE PERRY

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

Luke Perry.jpg

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

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

Luke Perry 1.JPG

R.I.P. LUKE

“MELROSE PLACE”

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

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

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Well, before crazy Kimberly blew it up!

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

Grant Amy.jpg

BERNIE SANDERS & 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

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

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

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

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

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

NBC News Poll

A couple of highlights:

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

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

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

Hillary AP

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

Translation:  Vice President under Joe Biden! 🙂

But, in the words of Benita Buttrell…

but-i-aint-one-to-gossip-so-you-aint-heard-that-from-me.jpg

POST OSCARS THOUGHTS

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

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

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

Glenn Close

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

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

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

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

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

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

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

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

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

I don’t give too many movies this grade!

GRADE:  A+

“A STAR IS BORN”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would I watch it again on my own?  No.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” 

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

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

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

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

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

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

spoiler-alert

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

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

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

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

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

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

gerardo.jpeg

“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN”

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

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

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

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

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

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

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

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

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

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

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“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobby Kennedy

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

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

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

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

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

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

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

JOHN DIED

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

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

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

Skip it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 15, 2019

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

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

YOU’RE THE SCARY ONE!

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

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

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

Porterfield

What a disgusting man!

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

Dude, talk to God or a therapist!

HOLLYWOOD HOMOPHOBIA

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

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

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

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

“MINDHUNTER”

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

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

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

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

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

REBA IS BACK!

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

Reba Truth

Here’s the first single.

“A PRIVATE WAR”

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

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

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

That’s “Angels of Sex” for me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

“WIDOWS”

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

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

But, maybe it was just me!

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

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

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — Weekend of January 26, 2019

The snowy and bitterly cold weather this weekend is keeping many inside hibernating, so if you need something to watch, I have a few suggestions.

I was going to keep my random thoughts to entertainment and leave heavier topics, like politics, the government shutdown, and Chris Brown out of it, but I digress!

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I’m not commenting on the allegations, but about his name being “tarnished”!  Seriously????

Trust me, he took care of that 10 years ago!  As a matter of fact, we’re just a couple of weeks away from that Grammy Awards weekend shocker!

And, one more!

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Will my recommendations make the childhood Anthony smile or will they bring on the “you gotta be kidding me” and “there’s no way I’m going to smile” look? 🙂

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“SEX EDUCATION”

I absolutely love Gillian Anderson and she’s incredible in this Netflix series.

She plays Dr. Jean Milburn, a sex therapist with a 16-year-old son, Otis (Asa Butterfield), who suffers from solo performance anxiety.

While dealing with his own sexually repressed issues, Otis and a classmate start a “clinic” (for pay) offering sex advice to fellow students.

Otis’ best friend, Eric, is out and proud, but he endures an encounter that makes him re-think his life and his friendship with Otis.

While a comedy, the story lines are real and dramatic, too.

I’m hoping that “Sex Education” is renewed for a second season.  With Gillian Anderson involved, I’m sure it will be! 🙂

GRADE: A

GOODBYE “MANIFEST & HELLO “THE OTHER TWO”

I loved “Manifest” on NBC when it started, but once it came back from its holiday break, it didn’t hold my attention and I abandoned it!

I’m still enjoying “How To Get Away With Murder” as it heads toward the end of its fifth season (February 28, 2019).

A part of me thinks this will be the last season because of dwindling ratings.

However, it’s still a strong show and it still needs another 13 episodes to reach the new “standard” of 88 episodes for syndication!  ABC, bring it back for season six!

I also hope that “Madam Secretary” is renewed for a sixth season.

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And, I absolutely loved the premiere episode of Comedy Central’s “The Other Two”.   It’s only 30 minutes long, so check it out!

It’s about a 13-year-old who becomes an overnight viral sensation and how it affects his struggling millennial siblings!

I absolutely fell in love with Drew Tarver (Cary)!

My favorite scene, other than the “Survivor” make out scene, was when Cary’s boss at his server job told him and a co-worker that he and his wife watched “Brokeback Mountain”, but didn’t care for it.

The reaction was priceless, “You are… an ally.  We’ll see you at Pride!” 🙂

Molly Shannon and Helene Yorke also star.

PREMIERE GRADE:  A

“ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA”

This Ben Stiller-directed, seven-episode limited series on Showtime is based on the 2015 escape at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

Patricia Arquette stars as Tilly Mitchell, a supervisor in the facility that helped inmates Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) escape.

Arquette picked up Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Television awards for her performance.

While the acting is superb, the story that Stiller told in seven episodes could very well have been done in six tighter episodes!

GRADE: B-

COMING SOON TO DVD

I’m very excited that “Boy Erased” and “The Wife” with Oscar nominee Glenn Close are both coming to Redbox next Tuesday (January 29th)!

Sadly, “Boy Erased” didn’t come to theaters where I live.

It’s a heartbreaking story about “gay conversion therapy” that I wish more people knew about.  Yes, it’s appalling and it’s still happening in the U.S!

It stars two of absolute favorites, Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges!

For “The Wife”, Glenn Close picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  This is her seventh Oscar nomination without a single win in the first six tries!

While she’s up against Lady Gaga (and before seeing either performance), my money is on Close.

Close has already won a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice for this role, along with many film festival awards.

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

The next movie I’m looking forward to seeing in theaters is “Hotel Mumbai”, which is based on a November 2008 true event that rocked India.

It stars Oscar nominee Dev Patel (“Lion”, my favorite 2017 movie), and Golden Globe Award nominee and my future husband Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”).

It hits theaters March 29, 2019.

“THE AMERICANS

I highly recommend “The Americans”, which just wrapped up last summer.

It took me no time to binge watch all 75 episodes of the Emmy and Golden Globes winning series with the incredible Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

For six seasons, Russell and Rhys played Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, Soviet spies in Washington D.C. in the early-1980s at the height of the “Cold War”.

It’s intense, sexy, violent and thought-provoking!

The sixth and final season just won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series – Drama, an Emmy Award for Rhys and won three Critics’ Choice Television Awards!

And, let me tell you without spoilers, the series finale was one of the best finales I’ve watched!

It was heartbreaking, but the perfect ending to an almost perfect series.

GRADE: A

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony