Posts Tagged ‘Nicole Kidman’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2019

It’s been some time since I last shared some random thoughts.

Thoughts

There have many things I would have written about if I was still doing “Random Friday Thoughts” on a weekly basis, so here are just a few.

It’s also a reason to share a personal potentially embarrassing story! 🙂

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today!

THE MANSON MURDERS 

We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Charles Manson “family” murders on August 9-10, 1969.

As you may recall, a group of psychos led by the notorious Manson terrorized Los Angeles by slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Hollywood home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

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The next night, the “family” randomly killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

A crazy new book by Tom O’Neill called “Chaos” claims much of what we know about the case is wrong and that prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lied in his book “Helter Skelter”.

I read that book and I’m interested to read O’Neill’s far-fetched (?) book and theories.

The thing that intrigues me the most is who O’Neill says knows more about the murders, but isn’t talking — actress Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame (pictured below)!

Candice Bergen

Bergen and record producer Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) actually lived in the house where the murders took place as late as early 1969!!!

O’Neill tells “Entertainment Weekly” that Bergen “knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said.”   

Creepy tidbit:  Before the Manson murders, the home was rented to these Hollywood actors: Lillian Gish, Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, and Olivia Hussey.

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And, the house’s owner, Rudolph Altobelli, moved back in just three weeks after the Manson bloodshed!!!  He lived there for the next 20 years before selling it in 1989 for the equivalent of $3.2 million today!

“OZARK” EMMY LOVE

After watching the second season of Netflix’s “Ozark”, in October 2018, I wrote, “I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.”

Netflix TCA 2018

Well, I was right!

“Ozark” picked up two more nominations this summer — one for “Outstanding Drama Series” and another for Jason Bateman.

“ARCTIC”

If you’d like something to distract you from the summer heat and humidity, definitely check out the thriller “Arctic”!

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since NBC’s “Hannibal”.

After seeing the survival story, I definitely hope there’s an Oscar “For Your Consideration” campaign for Mikkelsen for “Best Actor”.

“Arctic” is stunning, breathtaking, and heartbreaking — unlike Robert Redford’s alone on a boat and lost at sea 2013 movie “All Is Lost” (which was one of my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014)!

GRADE:  A

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

I love Armie Hammer and Dev Patel and when I watch movies, I tend to lean toward dramas and thrillers.

This one is based on a real-life terrorist attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

While very realistic, it wasn’t overly gory.  It’s a great movie that was never given a chance for box office success.

GRADE:  B+

“GRAND HOTEL”

I started watching this ABC soap opera with low expectation, but I’m still watching it!

Yes, it’s cheesy and some of the characters are silly caricatures of spoiled rich people.

But, the cast is beautiful — especially Australian actor Lincoln Younes, Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez!

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And, then there’s Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, the hotel manager!

Shalim Ortiz

Eva Longoria Baston (“Desperate Housewives”) is an executive producer on the series and guest stars as the late former hotel co-owner.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

I read Liane Moriarty’s book in early 2017 and absolutely loved the HBO mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgaard and Adam Scott.

After the eight Emmy Award wins (out of sixteen), I was thrilled when it was announced that there’d be a second season even though the first covered everything in the book!

I love Kidman and the thought of spending more time with the “Monterey Five” was fantastic.  Meryl Streep joining the cast as Kidman’s imposing, untrusting mother-in-law with a sharp tongue was just icing on the cake!

What I’ve seen of the second season is great, but not fantastic!.  However, Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep make it very worthwhile.

And, I’m loving Laura Dern’s angry Renata Klein this season.  Here’s an example why! 🙂

And, here is my favorite scene, so far, by far.

Two Oscar winners going at it and then the line, “What do we call that?  Foreplay?” followed by a sinister laugh off-camera are just too much! 🙂

Please give Streep her Emmy now and Kidman and Dern their second ones for this series!

“CLAWS”

I’m still loving this TNT series lead by Niesy Nash!

However, halfway through the third season, it’s definitely different than the first two seasons.

Sometimes, it feels a little lost.  However, I know the payoff will be great!

I mean really, it’s focused around a casino! 🙂

“WORLD WAR Z” SEQUEL CANCELLED

I really loved 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt and I’m bummed that the long-planned sequel has been nixed!

The reason?  A source tells “The Hollywood Reporter” that the Chinese government’s ban on movies with zombies or ghosts is the single biggest reason that Paramount cancelled the sequel!

The expensive $190 million movie was a box office smash bringing in more than $540 million worldwide.  This made it the highest-grossing zombie film of all time!

It was my second favorite movie of 2013.

OMG!

I think this is too funny not to share.  I’m downsizing my apartment before my next move — including my CDs and movies.

I’m watching movies over again that I may have watched once over the years.  Some I enjoyed, but they weren’t my favorites.  Others, I vaguely remember.

The other night after work, I was watching one of those movies while eating a salad and drinking my wine.  A sex scene comes on and I didn’t think anything about it.

I’m VERY open-minded and liberal! 🙂

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All of sudden, the scene gets more and more graphic!  It went from soft core adult to pornographic.  I thought, “Wow, they can show that!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember that scene!”

Sitting in the dark with only the flicker of the large screen television, I looked over my shoulder and realized my neighbor directly across the way was out on his balcony!!! (Our balconies are only separated by two small patches of grass and a sidewalk.)

I quickly grab the remote to hit “stop” for the very graphic (but erotic) image to go away.  I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

So, not only did it not go away, but it was frozen for all the world (well, my neighbor) to see!

I didn’t go back to finish that movie for a few nights and when I did, it still wasn’t that good.  No wonder I didn’t remember it!

As for the neighbor, I now realize he had his back toward my apartment and was leaning on his ledge watching his own television! 🙂

So, that’s my funny, almost embarrassing story.

Don’t get me wrong!  I have nothing against adult scenes or material. I’d just discrete about it! 🙂

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 Thoughts — February 8, 2019

We’re snowed in again here in the Northland of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin with  almost a foot of new snow!

Here’s hoping that we all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’M TAKING THE PLUNGE!!!!!!!

I’ve always wanted to do a Polar Plunge, but I’ve never had the opportunity.

Now, I get to do it for a great cause — Special Olympics Minnesota!

On February 16th in Duluth, Minnesota, a group of co-workers and I are raising money and are jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Polar Plunge

Any donation, large or small, will add up!

Once you go to the page and if you want to make a smaller donation that what’s listed, just type it into the box!

Thank you in advance and here’s the link:

https://reg.plungemn.org/participant/anthonypeoples

OUT AND PROUD & CLOSETED AND OUTING

I’ve always been out.  For me, the closets are for clothes.  But, that’s not the case for many others.

In the mid-1980s, as Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and his management team was giving lame excuses for his sickness, one of my favorite authors and a leading LGBTQ activist Armistead Maupin outed him as being gay.

While it was an “open secret”, Maupin confirmed to mainstream news agencies that Hudson was gay.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

Maupin also came down hard on lesbian actress Lily Tomlin in the 1990s for waiting so long to come out.

Personally, I think the LGBTQ community needs visibility.  Kids need role models to look up to when they feel alone in some small town or in a family that doesn’t accept gay people.

While I’d love for rumored LGBTQ celebrities and politicians to come out and be proud, it’s their choice.  I would not out them.

However, for politicians that are anti-LGBTQ or support anti-LGBTQ legislation, I’m all for outing them without any remorse at the first hint of them being deceptive and closeted!

Even for those “straight” celebrities that support religions (or cults pretending to be religion, TC/JT, I’m looking at you) that are anti-LGBTQ, I’m all for someone outing them when there’s proof!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  

Was Maupin right or wrong with outing Hudson as a gay man or saying Tomlin shouldn’t have waited so long to come out?

What do you think?

“THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN”

While I’ve read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the Cities” novels many times (there are nine of them), the series was first written for a California newspaper.

The story begins in San Francisco in the 1970s and follows a core group of friends that become “family” over time.

If you’ve never heard of it, go to the library and get them or buy the first one on Amazon and you’ll be hooked!

“The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”, a 2017 documentary, follows Maupin from his conservative upbringing in North Carolina (where he even worked for racist, homophobic Senator Jesse Helms) to becoming a writer in San Francisco and coming out.

It’s also an incredible love story!

GRADE:  A

So far, the “Tales of the City” novels have been made into three amazing miniseries with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.

A fourth arrives on Netflix this year!

“THE WIFE”

“And, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Glenn Close in ‘The Wife’!”

That’s what I predict we’ll be hearing Sunday, February 24th, at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

After six previous nominations and six losses, I think this is Close’s year.  Sorry, Lady Gaga, you may have more chances.

Close plays Joan, the wife of Jonathan Pryce’s Joseph Castleman, who’s awaiting a call from the Nobel Prize committee to see if he’ll earn one for his literary work.

Spoiler, not Spoiler: he does!

As the story unfolds, we see how Joseph and Joan meet and how their lives have played out over the decades — professionally and personally.

Close plays the perfect wife standing by her famous writer husband, but also feels the sting of disappointment over how her husband depends on her and takes her for granted — professionally and personally!

GRADE:  A

“BOY ERASED”

The main point I want to stress here is that “gay conversion therapy” is still going on across the U.S. and it’s sad, pathetic, and damaging!

This movie, with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges, is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 “Boy Erased:  A Memoir” about his time in an Arkansas facility.

Pop singer Troye Sivan, director/actor Xavier Dolan, and Joe Alwyn (Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) also turn in amazing performances.

Since I hadn’t read Conley’s book when the movie was announced, I decided to wait to do so and now I’m ready to read it.

“Boy Erased” will be more powerful to people who are not all that familiar with gay conversion therapy.

While the movie was very touching, it was a bit sanitized.  For those of us that have heard the horror stories of conversion therapy, I felt it was too Hollywood-ized and needed a rougher edge!

It’s still a must see!

GRADE:  B

LAST TWO BOOKS READ IN 2018

It’s a tradition for me to read “Christmas in Plains” by my idol President Jimmy Carter every year at the holidays!

Christmas In Plains

“JACKIE AFTER JACK”

After finishing Ted Sorensen’s 800+ page biography of John F. Kennedy and “Christmas in Plains”, I jumped right into Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack”.

Anderson Jackie after Jack

Sorensen’s book on President Kennedy was more about Kennedy as “President” rather than Kennedy as a husband, father, brother, and friend.

I was shocked into reality with the abrasive tone difference at beginning of Andersen’s book, which pretty much talks about Kennedy’s assassination in graphic detail.

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

But, if only a fraction of the book is true, Jackie certainly loved her children and she was definitely what we’d call a “gold digger” today!

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.

Andersen mentions several times about Jackie wanting to toughen her son, John John, up because she was didn’t want him to “grow up to be a fruit”.

I’m not giving a free pass on that, but I’m putting it in the context of the 1960s and 1970s and how most people have evolved when it comes to being gay.  I know the Kennedys would have been much more accepting in today’s world!

Thank God “homosexuality” (a truly clinical term that had implications of mental illness prior to 1973 in the United States) has now progressed to being “gay” and part of the acronym LGBTQ!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Thoughts — January 30, 2019

With the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills invading much of Canada and the middle part of the United States, I thought I’d share a few things with you.

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That’s how it looked on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.  Temperatures were around -18° and wind chills were -45°!

Cold, but gorgeous!  Stay warm!

HERE’S TO A SPEEDY RECOVERY JUSSIE!

While it’s not new, I’m disgusted by the hatred in this country (and world).

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago by two white men.  Police are treating it as a possible hate crime.

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The men allegedly yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

chicago police

Jussie, I pray for a quick recovery from the physical injuries.  I know emotionally, it’ll take time to heal.  My thoughts are with you!

RACISM

There’s another very pathetic part of the story that I won’t mention because it hasn’t been confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.  But, if it’s true, it’s so very sad!

We all know that racism and hate has always been a part of our country’s fabric. Even after the progress in the 1960s, it was still there.

davidduke kkk

But, before 45, it was rightfully condemned to be publicly racist.

Sadly, people are “free” again to hate without regret! 😦

SUAVE, BUT CREEPY, (VIOLENT) MEN!

Dating at a more mature age sucks!  Well, it can suck at any age! 🙂

I finally got around to watching the Bravo series, “Dirty John”, which is based on a true story.  (I talk about it below.)

As I was watching the first episode, I couldn’t believe that the woman (Debra) didn’t pick up on the warning signs that the man she had just started dating was a loser and user.

But, by the second episode, it really clicked as to how this could happen.  It happened to me on my 30th birthday, in Chicago, in the fall of 1994!

I had just been living in the city for three months and went out to celebrate.  I met Richard, a very charming guy with a great smile.  He was 25.

We had a great time that night and the first few weeks were fun.  Before I knew it, he had “moved in” — actually, “would never leave” is more like it!

By Christmas, the relationship was strained by his jealousy, which led to domestic violence.

Yes, I became “that person” lying about the bruises and making excuses that it wouldn’t happened again.

Five months after we met, it culminated with a near death, stalking experience — an emergency room visit, an arrest, and a court appearance!

This was a few days after the attack.  You can still see the gash on the forehead from a brick and the bruises under the eye and on the lip.

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While the Chicago court system let him off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, karma and fate prevailed.

A few years ago, I heard that he died!

“DIRTY JOHN”

Sharing that personal story was clearly inspired by Bravo’s “Dirty John” with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

It’s based on a podcast about a very successful businesswoman and mother of three, Debra Newell.  She’s been unlucky at love after four failed marriages when she finally meets John Meehan, a man just too good to be true.

Well, guess what?  He is too good to be true, thus the show’s name, “Dirty John”!

After the first episode, I thought, “Seriously, you’re that lonely not to see the red flags?”  But, more pieces of the story come together and you’re sucked into it!

Britton looks amazing and her clothes scream elegance!  Bana looks great even as the louse John!  And, it’s always a treat seeing Julia Garner (“Ozark” and “The Americans”).

But, I was really blown away by Juno Temple, who plays Veronica, Debra’s oldest daughter. She’s incredible!  I remember her from 2010’s “Kaboom”!

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Okay, one more thing — I’m still crushing on Kevin Zegers!

If you missed it on Bravo, it hits Netflix on Valentine’s Day (how lovely and twisted!) and a second season is in the works.

GRADE:  A-

REMEMBERING JAMES INGRAM

Two-time Grammy Award winner (with 12 other Grammy nominations) and two-time Oscar nominee James Ingram’s death was announced Tuesday, just a few weeks shy of his birthday.

He was 66.

Ingram first hit the chart in 1981 with “Just Once” (with Quincy Jones), one my favorite songs of his.

He scored a total of eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including two chart-toppers, 1982’s “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and 1990’s “I Don’t Have The Heart”.

SAG AWARDS — DIVERSITY HUMOR! 🙂

megan mullally

Host Megan Mullally : “Hollywood did manage to get a few things right: They cast black people in “Black Panther”, so that was good… Asian people in”Crazy Rich Asians”… And, a green book in “Green Book”.  You know there were some executives saying, ‘Um, could the book be white?”

OSCAR NOMINATION SNUBS

While I was hoping for nominations for Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman for “Boy Erased” and Julia Roberts for “Ben Is Back”, I didn’t expect them!

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I was surprised that Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Bradley Cooper (Best Director – “A Star is Born”) were overlooked.

Furthermore, I was shocked that Marina De Tavira (“Roma”) picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress!  However, with all of the awards season love for the movie, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But, the biggest snub for me was in the Documentary category.  I still can’t believe “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, my #3 movie of 2018, wasn’t nominated!

#3 CD

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on my return flight from Morocco last fall, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

As you’ll see below the trailer, I gave it a grade I rarely give anything in entertainment!

GRADE:  A+

“BEAUTIFUL BOY”

As for acting, Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell were fantastic in this true story about a father’s efforts to save his teenager from drug abuse and death.

Chalamet was nominated for many major acting awards for this movie, but he didn’t get the Oscar nod.

Last year, he did get an Academy Award nomination for “Call Me By Your Name”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2018.

So, about “Beautiful Boy” — the acting was superb, but the movie was just a few steps up from a Lifetime movie.

You can catch it on Amazon Prime.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

AP Bitmoji Random.jpg

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!

cb

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

Randomness — Holidays, Movies & More

Since I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I still wanted to share some recommendations on things I watched and enjoyed lately.

If you saw these, too, let me know what you thoughts.  If you didn’t, you have some things to check out!

A QUEEN BRINGS LIFE TO THE NEWBORN KING!

Leave it to a queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, to bring life to the newborn king holiday ballad, “The Little Drummer Boy” !

This is an incredible, fun version of the song and I love the video. 🙂

BABY, BRING THE BUBBLY INSIDE!

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CHRISTMAS SONG THOUGHTS

I’m not even going to get into the whole “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” debate.  It was already one of my least favorite holiday songs even before this year!

But, here are a few things to think about when listening to Christmas music this year!

In “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, it lists the other reindeer and then asks a very silly question, “but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all”!

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Seriously, if he’s the most famous reindeer of all, of course we remember him!

From “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “a child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.

While silver and gold would be nice to have, why not a damn blanket since the baby is cold!!!

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And, I love the Carpenters!  But, in “Home For The Holidays”, I shake my head when Karen sings of going home and “Geez, the traffic is terrific!”

Traffic is terrific????  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER.

It’s more like…

gtfo

… of my way!

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE”

I finally got around to watching “It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes, which made debuted on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Rimes stars as Eve Morgan, who goes back home as Interim school superintendent to get the district out of financial trouble.  The easiest way to do it is to cut the arts program.

And, who does she meet living across the street from her mother and stepfather?  You probably guessed it — a very handsome music teacher, Liam (Tyler Hynes), at one of the schools on the chopping block!

While predictable, it’s still a cute movie.

The only thing I cringed about was the use of my least favorite (and widely overused) term these days:  “meet cute”.   It wasn’t used once or twice, but three times, if I’m not mistaken! 🙂

GRADE:  B

Before the show premiered, I wrote, “the soundtrack is incredible!  Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave it an “A” grade!

REMEMBERING DREW & JUAN

After the summer 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims — especially 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

While that Christmas was perfect for the young men and their families, I know the following ones have been difficult for the grieving families.

To their families. Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

This past November marked the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.  Some called it “mass murder” and others, a “mass suicide”.

I’m in the “mass murder” camp, since the Reverend Jim Jones was deranged and pretty much forced those people to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at gunpoint!

More than 900 people died.

This SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life from Indiana to the jungles of Guyana was incredible.

GRADE:  A

“PADDINGTON 2”

2014’s “Paddington” was fun.  The little bear is adorable and especially so, voiced by my big-time crush, Ben Whishaw!

Ben Whishaw

Plus, Nicole Kidman as a villain was icing on the cake.

This year’s $40 million sequel was box office gold.  It made $226.9 million.

Paddington is living in London and wants to buy his aunt a picture book.  But, this movie’s villain (played by Hugh Grant) wants the book because it holds clues to a treasure that no one knows about, except him.

The movie is very cute and heartwarming.  With just minutes before the end credits, Iit brought tears to my eyes!  🙂

Also, at one point near the end of the movie, a scene with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins made me feel like I was watching “The Shape of Water 2”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“SEARCHING”

This incredible movie was made for just a million dollars and brought in an astounding $70.6 million in theaters.

It was shot mostly on smartphones and computer screens and is eerie and creepy.

John Cho stars as a dad that learns he knows very little about his 15-year-old daughter when she goes missing.

Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) is a detective that’s helping solve the case.

Cho is nominated for the “Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead”.

GRADE: A-

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” WINTER FINALE

While I still like “The Good Doctor” on ABC, I recently wrote that I’ve cooled on the show.  Well, that all changed with the winter finale, “Quarantine”!

If you’ve never watched the show or you don’t watch it religiously, watch this episode “On Demand”!!!

And, if you’ve never watched it, all you need to know is that Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is autistic and is considered a savant!

It was intense and scary to think that this could really happen!  And, which major characters will die?

“The Good Doctor” returns on ABC Monday, January 14, 2019.

“JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS”

Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”).

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.

GRADE: A-

“BLACKkKLANSMAN”

This Spike Lee picture was made for $15 million and made $88.2 million in theaters.

It’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado in the early-1970s.

John David Washington (Denzel’s son) plays Stallworth, who contacts the Ku Klux Klan and then has to coach a white officer (Adam Driver) to pose as Stallworth to meet the hooded haters!

While this story took place in the ’70s, there were subtle and not so subtle references to “that man”, 45!

The nominations are coming in for BLACKkKLANSMAN”!  It’s up for five Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

It’s also nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Washington) and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

While this movie was very enjoyable and entertaining, my favorite Spike Lee movie is still 1999’s underappreciated “Summer of Sam”.

GRADE: B+

“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU”

Lakeith Stanfield will be a name you’ll hear more of in the future.

He leads this movie about a telemarketer who learns that using a “white voice” helps his sales and will move him up the corporate ladder at WorryFree faster.

But, it comes with a price.

This comedy is crazy and definitely goes off the rails with well-endowed horse people (you’ll have to watch the movie)! 🙂

Sexy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) stars as the CEO of the company.

It made $17.6 million in theaters and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

GRADE: B

“HEREDITARY”

I like horror movies and I love Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding”), but I wasn’t drawn to the theaters to see “Hereditary”.

I finally saw it on DVD and I made the right decision to avoid it.

Supernatural movies have less appeal to me than horror movies with deranged serial killers!  Hello Michael Myers!

Halloween

“Hereditary” does have a very surprising and shocking death scene that I didn’t see coming.

While Collette and Alex Wolff, who plays her 16-year-old son, are great, the movie was too long and convoluted.

Yet, it was a box office hit earning $79.3 million.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — November 23, 2018

I hope you’re having a great and happy Thanksgiving holiday and the kick-off to the Christmas season!

Thank you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

THANKSGIVING

turkey_thanksgiving

Before work, I enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast with my friend, Katie, and her family and friends.

I still have vivid memories (and pictures) of Thanksgiving pasts!

Our Turkey 2012

ABBATG2007

PLAY THAT CHRISTMAS SONG NOW!

A few weeks ago, I highlighted the soundtrack to “It’s Christmas, Eve” on the Hallmark Channel by LeAnn Rimes.

LeAnn

I wrote, “It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave the album an “A”!

Not only am I telling you again to get the album, but I’m thrilled that LeAnn saw my review and called me “sweet” on Twitter. 🙂

LeAnn.JPG

By the way, LeAnn and I crossed paths back in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2005.  She was just as sweet and fantastic then as she is now!

AnthonyLeAnn

Check out this mix from the soundtrack!  Incredible!

LeAnn and family, Merry Christmas and Happy 2019!

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

While “Bohemian Rhapsody” went through cast changes (Sacha Baron Cohen was originally cast as Freddie Mercury) and a rocky road from development to screen, the movie was amazing!

In just three weeks, the $52 million production has already made $404.1 million (one-third of that in the U.S.)

Emmy winner Rami Malik (“Mr. Robot”) was incredible as Queen lead singer Mercury and will very likely be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar!

GRADE:  A- 

QUEEN — BY THE NUMBERS

In the U.S., the band scored eleven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Its first “Killer Queen” reached #12 in 1975.

Queen hit the Top Ten five times (two of those were with “Bohemian Rhapsody” — #9 in 1975, #2 in 1991).  “Rhapsody” also reached #33 on the Hot 100 this year, too, when the movie soundtrack came out.

They topped the chart twice:  “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (1980, 4 weeks) and “Another One Bites The Dust” (1980, 3 weeks).

As risque as Mercury could be, in 1984, the band’s relatively tame video “I Want To Break Free” was banned on MTV because the band was wearing women’s clothes!

Because of that ban in Reagan’s uptight America, the song only reached #45 here.

However, it hit #1 in three countries and the Top Ten in eight others around the world!

“MAMMA MIA!  HERE WE GO AGAIN”

In 2008, “Mamma Mia! was one of my favorites of the year and it grossed $615.7 million worldwide.

I was excited when the sequel was announced to hit theaters in the summer of 2018.

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again.jpg

Well, that was until I heard that a major character (my favorite) was dead in the sequel, but would appear briefly.

So, I refused to go see it in theaters.  But, it made $393.4 million worldwide.

Now that it’s on DVD and Redbox sent me a free movie for my birthday, I saw it.

Pros:  Jeremy Irvine, Lily James, Meryl Streep (in the closing credits production number), the closing production number, Cher, and Jeremy Irvine. 🙂

Cons:  incoherent mess (at times), the “I Kissed The Teacher” production number and several others, and Cher.

Instead of sharing the trailer for the movie, here’s the amazing closing credits production number!

GRADE:  B- 

JEREMY IRVINE

I put Jeremy Irvine in my “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” review because I’ve loved him since his 2011 movie debut in “War Horse”.

Jeremy_Irvine

I even enjoyed him in 2015’s reviled “Stonewall”!  About that movie, I know it was “white-washed”, but it still told a very important story in LGBTQ history!

“BOY ERASED” & “BEN IS BACK”

There are a few more movies I want to see this year.

“Boy Erased” (with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and the incredible Lucas Hedges) about gay conversion therapy ( P.S.  IT’S WRONG AND IT DOESN’T WORK!),

“Green Book”, “Mary Poppins Returns”, and “Ben Is Back”.  (I may have to wait until 2019 for some of them since they’re only playing in bigger cities for now!)

I absolutely love Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges (him again) blows me away.  When I heard they were doing a movie together, I was excited.

All I knew about it was that Ben is a drug user and he shows up on Christmas Eve.  So, I figured it was going to be a drama-filled holiday.

However, when the full trailer debuted, I was floored.  It’s so much more intense and powerful than I expected.

I’ll definitely be there when it opens in Duluth, Minnesota!  WOW!

Final note from the trailer:  When Ben says, “I’m not going to die.”

Really?  If this is like horror movie foreshadowing when they say “I’ll be right back”, you’re know they’re doomed and they won’t be back!!!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 31, 2018

Where does time go?

It’s Labor Day weekend, which, to some, marks the “unofficial” end of summer!

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

BAD THINGS FOLLOW ME???

I know it’s only coincidence, but I’m beginning to think that bad things follow me!

In January 2017, I was at The Jacksonsville Landing Mall.

Jacksonville.jpg

Just last Sunday, a gunman opened fire there killing three (including himself) and injuring 11 others (ten by gunfire).

There are others places I’ve visited that were followed by mass shootings and the time frame was closer!

I was in Ottawa, Ontario, in September 2014.

AP Ottawa.jpg

One month later, a gunman opened fire on Parliament Hill and the Canadian National War Museum.  He killed one and injured three others.

AP Paris

I was in Paris, France, in October 2014.

Less than three months later, two French Muslim extremists attacked the “Charlie Hebdo” headquarters killing 13 people and two days later, another terrorist killed four others in a grocery story.

And, then on November 13, 2015, coordinated attacks across the city killed 137 (89 of those were at the Bataclan Theatre), including seven perpetrators.

Vegas

And, I was in Las Vegas in March 2017, and October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert killing 58 and injuring another 851 (422 by gunfire).

LV

And, I’ll end this craziness with a couple of bittersweet photos.

When I was in Las Vegas two months after this massacre, a gorgeous “Vegas Strong”
Remembrance Garden was built for the victims.

Vegas Strong.JPG

OH DONNIE, KEEP YOUR TWEETS STRAIGHT!

The top one is from this week and the bottom one is from six years ago!

FYI, Donnie, “extremely credible source” is just another term for “anonymous source”!

Oh Trump.JPG

KAREN CARPENTER’S WEDDING

This weekend in 1980 (Sunday, August 31), Karen Carpenter got married.

KC Wedding

The wedding to real-estate developer Thomas James Burris took place in the Crystal Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard.

The menu included Karen’s favorites, shrimp salad, a main course of chicken chasseur with broccoli polonaise, rise pilaf, strawberries Romanoff, and Parducci Chablis wine.

Five-tiered chocolate and mocha creme cake was served for dessert.

Sadly, while hospitalized, Karen filed for divorce on October 28, 1982, (just fourteen months later) because their relationship was built on lies that Burris told her.

Three months later Karen was dead!

If you’d like to read a great book about Karen and The Carpenters, check out “Little Girl Blue:  The Life of Karen Carpenter” by Randy L. Schmidt.

MY FAVORITE CARPENTERS’ SONGS

The Carpenters are still one of my favorite musical acts of all time.  Here are my five favorite songs!

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU”

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING”

#1 “TOP OF THE WORLD”

“INSATIABLE”

This Netflix series was trashed before it even premiered based on the trailer.

It was accused of fat-shaming and homophobia.

After watching the 12-episode series, while it was borderline, at times, on both of those subjects, I didn’t find it offensive.

Yes, Patty (Debby Ryan) thought that by being thin would change everything in her life.  She comes to realize that’s not true.

One character even tells her, “Being skinny don’t mean shit if you’re ugly on the inside.”

As for homophobia, there’s some name-calling that’s offensive.  However, I’ve known effeminate straight men, so I find Bob Armstrong’s (Dallas Roberts) character realistic.

Alyssa Milano is incredible as Coralee, Bob’s wife.

Milano did get some bad press over a story line involving her husband being accused of inappropriate behavior with a minor and her character didn’t believe the victim.

In real life, that’s bad.  But, this is a dramedy and Milano’s character and her real life involvement with the #MeToo movement are not the same!

By the way, Christopher Gorham is super hot in this series!

Christopher Gorham.jpg

GRADE:  B+

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD”

If you’re looking something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:

“I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.”

GRADE:  B

“AMERICAN GIGOLO”

I know this movie came out in 1980 and I’m just getting around to watch it.  The $5 million blockbuster brought in almost $53 million and introduced the world to Richard Gere!  Let me tell you, he’s damn hot!

Gere plays an escort in Los Angeles and gets wrapped up in situation where a trick takes a bad turn.

But, what I find most interesting watching the movie almost forty years after its release was the very homophobic tones, which fit perfectly into the early-1980s of the Reagan years.

Also, Gere used a phrase that I’ll write as “R F” (politically incorrect term for a mentally challenged gay person).  It floored me at just how gross the term sounded today and that it was okay to use either of the derogatory terms even then!

GRADE:  B

ALCAZAR

The Swedish dance group Alcazar has scored ten Top Ten hits in their native country since their first single was released in 1999.

Worldwide, between 2001-2004, they sold more than 12 million records.

In the U.S., they gained notoriety when their club hit “Crying at the Discotheque” was featured on the first season of “Queer As Folk” and it made the soundtrack.

The song also featured the line, “He wore a tie like Richard Gere”! 🙂

They also had another hit in 2002 with a remake of The Human League’s #1 hit from 1982, “Don’t You Want Me”.

“THE BELKO EXPERIENCE”

I took a chance of this movie which is more of a psychological thriller rather than a “horror” movie as it’s billed in this trailer.  And, it’s actually a decent movie that didn’t make much money!

As workers arrive at a South American company, some notice the usual guards are not at the gates.

Shortly into the work day, a menacing message comes across the intercom telling them that in order to survive, they must kill other employees!

Talk about a rough day on the job!

Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) is the biggest star and when the movie reaches its climax, another “Scandal” regular makes an appearance!  SPOILER! 🙂

GRADE:  B

“THE STEPFORD WIVES” REMAKE

I finally got around to seeing the 2004 remake of “The Stepford Wives” and even Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler couldn’t save this mess.

However, there was this funny exchange between Bobbie Markowitz (Midler) and Joanna Eberhardt (Kidman) that cracked me up!

SW

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony