Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’

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

 

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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.

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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”!

zegers

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? 🙂

AP Kid.JPG

“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

Snowed In & Hibernating?

I hope you enjoyed your weekend!

We shivered here in the Minnesota’s Northland with temperatures around -15° to -40° and wind chills of -30° to -50°.

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feels_like

Meanwhile, my friends back in the Quad Cities are waking up to a new blanket of 4″-8″ of snow!

So, you might be wanting some movie suggestions!

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

While this retro thriller didn’t exactly set the box office on fire last fall, it’s incredible.

I was intrigued by the trailer and the movie exceeded my expectations.

It takes place in the late-1960s when a group of travelers and people with an agenda show up at the El Royale hotel, just outside of Lake Tahoe.  Part of the hotel is in California and part of it is in Nevada, which is used as a sales gimmick.

From the title, you can tell it’s not a vacation and bad things happen!

Cynthia Erivo is amazing, as is relative newcomer Lewis Pullman (son of Bill Pullman).

And, Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) is stunning as a scantily clad, oh well, I don’t need to give much away.  I’ll just leave it as “scantily clad”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

From the trailer, this black comedy/thriller looked fun and it was!

The $20 million late summer movie starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, and sexy Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”) made an impressive $97.1 million in theaters.

It was much darker and funnier than I expected.

Blake Lively was great.  While I knew of her from “Gossip Girl”, I first took notice of her in the beautiful “The Age of Adeline” (2015).

Okay, that’s a little bit of a lie.  I really took notice when she married my future ex-boyfriend, Ryan Reynolds! 🙂

Ryan-Reynolds-Body

Oops, I digressed!

There’s a running joke in the movie that if I had been drinking something, I’d spit it out in laughter! “BF”!

Yes, the movie is dark, but humorous!  A perfect combination of the two.

GRADE: B+

“22 JULY”

This movie is based on the true story of a 2011 terrorist attack on Norway.

Two separate attacks, one by a bomb in Oslo’s city government district to distract police and another at a camp in Utøya for teenagers, left 77 dead.

Of the 69 killed at the camp, most were kids!

The motive — white supremacy and the hate of Muslims coming into Scandinavia!

The Netflix movie was directed by Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips” and three of the “Jason Bourne” movies).

Greengrass also directed 2006’s Oscar nominated, heartbreaking and heart-pumping “United 93”, which is a far more superior movie.

As you know, “United 93” was one of the planes used in the 9/11 attacks.

GRADE: B

“UNITED 93”

GRADE: A-

“MARY POPPINS RETURNS”

Okay, this may come as a shocker, but I never saw the original “Mary Poppins”!  I’m familiar with it and I did see a high school stage production of it! 🙂

But, my friend Katie convinced me to go see it with her after work earlier this week (she’s already seen it four or five times).  I was sold with Emily Blunt and my crush, Ben Whishaw, as stars!

Ben Whishaw

Blunt was incredible as usual as Mary Poppins.  What an incredible year for her after last winter’s “A Quiet Place”, which was one of my Top 10 movies of 2018.

Lin Manuel-Miranda (“Hamilton”) was great as Jack, the lamplighter.

His “Trip a Little Light Fantastic”, which reminded me of director Rob Marshall’s “Cell Block Tango” from 2002’s “Chicago”, was probably my favorite number in the movie.

A must see for kids and adults!

GRADE:  B+

“THE BODYGUARD”

This six-episode Netflix thriller is sexy and full of intrigue and twists.

A former Afghanistan war veteran, Sergeant David Budd (Richard Madden) is hired to protect a controversial high-ranking British cabinet member, the Home Secretary.

Well, there are snakes in the grass, so all doesn’t go as planned.

Madden beat out Matthew Rhys of “The Americans” for this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama.  But, Rhys ended up winning the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor.

That goes to show how great of a performance it was.

And, as much as I loved Rhys performance in the final season of “The Americans”, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Madden had won both awards!

GRADE: A-

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome and the conclusion!

GRADE:  B

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It’s racking up all kinds of win leading up to the Oscar nominations.  My prediction:  while it’ll be nominated for Best Picture — it won’t (and shouldn’t) win!

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

2018: My Favorite Movies

2019 is almost here and Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

Since the Academy, movie critics, and people living in huge metropolitan cities (read:  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) get access to some movies before the rest of us, some of these movies made 2017 lists.  Oh well!

Here are my favorite movies I saw this year.  There are two documentaries on the list that were not released in theaters, but it’s my list and I’m including them. 🙂

If these two weren’t on the list then “The Greatest Showman” would have been my #20 movie of the year and “Halloween (2018)” would be at #19.  But, they’re not. 🙂

Before we kick off my countdown of my favorite movies of 2018, this Oscar nominated movie was my 2017 favorite!

#1 CD

“LION”

20

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $157.2 MILLION

19

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

#18

“I, TONYA”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $54 MILLION

#17

“BLACKKKLANSMAN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $88.6 MILLION

16

“PEPPERMINT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $51.8 MILLION

#15 Movie

“PADDINGTON 2”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $227.3 MILLION

#14 Movie

“THE FLORIDA PROJECT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.9 MILLION

13

“VICTORIA & ABDUL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $65.4 MILLION

12

“SEARCHING”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $75.1 MILLION

#11 Movie

“BOBBY”

10

“LOVE, SIMON”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $66.3 MILLION

9 CD

“A QUIET PLACE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $340.7 MILLION

#8 MOVIE

“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $335,609

#7 CD

“BORG VS. McENROE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $231,346

#6 CD

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1 MILLION

#5 MOVIE

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $238 MILLION

4

“BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $702.5 MILLION

green 3

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $22.6 MILLION

#2 CD

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $195.2 MILLION

Gag Me

Before I reveal my favorite movie I saw in 2018, here are four worst movies I saw this year.

4th Worst:  “BREAKING IN”

In September, I gave it a “D+” and I wrote, “This movie will likely have a mention in my year end blog of my 20 favorites movies of the year.  But, it’ll be on a different list — the worst movies of the year!”

I added, “it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!”

3rd Worst:  “THE FIRST PURGE”

In November, I gave it a “D” writing, “it was so jokey and silly that I was mostly bored.  Pretty sad because I really liked the first three movies in the series.  Skip this movie if you haven’t already seen it and if you need a “purge” fix, check out the 10-episode USA Network event.”

2nd Worst:  “THE SNOWMAN”

It pains me to say that “The Snowman” was the second worst movie I saw this year.

I loved the book and my man, Michael Fassbender, is so hot.

I gave the movie a D+ writing under the headline “THE SNOWMAN (DISASTER)”!

I added, “it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.”

WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR:  “HAPPY DEATH DAY”

In March, I gave it a “D” and wrote, “‘The Snowman’ is no longer my least favorite movie I’ve seen in 2018. This horror movie is atrocious!”

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Now it’s time for me to “pick” my favorite movie I saw this year.  It should come as no surprise if you’ve read my blog on a regular basis.

I mentioned it last year when I counted my favorite movies of 2017.  It made the critics’ list, it was nominated for several Oscars.  But, it didn’t open wide until 2018, so it’s on list at the top!

#1

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.9 MILLION

So, how many of these have you seen?

What was your favorite movie you saw this year?

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

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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. 🙂

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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 — November 16, 2018

Where does the time go?  It’s a week before Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season.

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

THE “N-WORD”

“Green Book” is a drama-comedy set in the 1960s racist-South (as opposed to the current-day racist South — okay, not all of the South is racist).

Viggo Mortensen plays “Tony Lip”, a big city club bouncer hired to chauffeur a famous black pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a tour of the South while navigating racial tension.

Before the movie even hit theaters to tackle that subject, there was a tense conversation last week during a screening of the movie.  Mortensen was talking about generational use of hate speech and used the “n-word” specifically as speech that’s no longer commonly used.

That didn’t set well with Ali.  He responded, “However well-intended or intellectual the conversation may have been, it wasn’t appropriate for Viggo to say the n-word… An excellent and poignant thought was unfortunately overshadowed by voicing the word in its fullness. Which for me, is always hurtful.”

In his apology, Mortensen said, “Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context, especially from a white man. I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again.”

Ali adds, “The use of the word within the black community has long been debated, and its usage should continue to be examined within the black community… The use of the word by those who aren’t black, is not up for debate.”

Ali accepted Mortensen’s apology.

“GREEN BOOK”

I’ve been wanting to see this movie since the trailer came out.

I can already see Academy Award nominations for two-time Oscar nominee Mortensen (“Eastern Promises” and “Captain Fantastic”) and Oscar winner Ali (“Moonlight”) and a Best Picture nomination!

And, if you never saw “Captain Fantastic, do so.  It was my #2 movie in 2016!

SPEAKING OF RACE

The first eight episodes of the fifth season of “How To Get Away With Murder”, which just went on winter break with the revelation of who was killed at Connor and Oliver’s wedding, were great!

The show, headed by a white man with a black lead (Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis), has never shied away from problems that people of color face in the U.S.

In last week’s episode at a celebration before Connor and Oliver’s wedding, Michaela made a very bold and, sadly, honest toast, “Is this country a scary, evil, racist place? Yes. Are those guards probably home with their families right now, not giving a damn about what they did.”

Scary Evil Racist

You can watch the entire scene here:  https://www.mrctv.org/videos/htgawm-evil-racist-place

After a few more responses, Oliver toasted, “To Nate Senior and the hope that, someday, we will live in a world that isn’t always so terrible all the time.”

ANOTHER “HTGAWM” THOUGHT

I’ve always thought that Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) was hot, but he’s exceptionally sexy this season.

Charlie Weber Frank Delfino

SALT & STRAW

If you live in California, Oregon, or Washington, chances are that you’ve enjoyed or at least heard of Salt & Straw.

I definitely want one or I have to visit one of their shops!

The West Coast ice cream company is chef-based and everything is made from scratch.  The ice-cream base is churned into five to ten gallon batches from locally sourced cream.

So, you might be thinking, big deal.  There are many companies that make their own ice cream!

But, Roasted Peach & Sage Cornbread Stuffing (ice cream infused “with fresh-picked sage…handfuls of sweet and crunchy cornbread brown sugar shortbread cookies and spoonfuls of spiced peach jam brightened with a splash of peach vinegar)?

Roasted Peach Sage Cornbread Stuffing.JPG

I’d also love to try the Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkie Pie (“warm spices, fresh local goat cheese, and streaks of fresh baked pumpkin pie filling… It’s almost as if we scooped out that yummy pumpkin custard straight from the pie shell and smattered it into a spicy, goaty, cheesecake ice cream.”)

Spiced Goat Cheese Pumpkin Pie.JPG

Now, the one I’d definitely take a bite or two, but might not (or might) want a full serving of is the “Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey” (“sweet and buttery turkey brittle into a turkey fat caramel ice cream”)!Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey.JPG

When it comes to culinary delights and if you’re curious like me, you can check out their other non-Thanksgiving flavors here:  https://saltandstraw.com/flavors/

Until I get to a Salt & Straw, I’ll just have to enjoy the interesting flavors of gelato at the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The blockbuster is coming to DVD next week — November 20, 2018!!!

Crazy-Rich-Asians-Movie

The $30 million dollar production has already brought in $236 million in theaters (74% of that in the U.S. with $173.6 million)!

“MEET CUTE”

I know pop culture comes up with little words and phrases that go on to be overused very quickly.

I’m not a fan of “meet cute”!

Come on!  People “meet” and some start dating.  Sometimes these introductions are not in perfect Hollywood situations.

Stop using this phrase!  “Crazy Rich Asians” didn’t bore us with a “meet cute” with Nick and Rachel. 🙂

Oops, “SPOILER ALERT”! 🙂

“THE WALKING DEAD” IS TRULY DEAD TO ME NOW!

I didn’t like seasons 7 and 8 of “The Walking Dead” and I vowed that I was done — until I heard that my favorite character was leaving!

So, I gave the first five episodes of season nine a chance and they were great.

That was up until the final moment of episode 5 when my favorite character should have been eaten alive by walkers.

That’s when “TWD” “jumped the shark” with a rescue and flash forward of six years!  Judith Grimes as a kid badass!  Gimme a break!

I didn’t even think about it.  At that moment, I took the recordings off the DVR.  I’m done!

And, just in case you haven’t heard, there’s a reason for the last minute rescue.  My favorite character will be starring in three future “The Walking Dead” movies.

Um, probably, no thanks!

spoiler-alert

Notice I didn’t say who the character was.  If you haven’t caught up, you’re really good at avoiding spoilers because it’s been everywhere.

If you want to know who it is, the actor’s picture is at the bottom!

If not, stop scrolling down at the Carly Rae Jepsen video!

MORE FALL TELEVISION

The first season of the “The Purge” and Lifetime’s “You” wrapped up (both have been renewed for a second season).

While very uneven, this season of “American Horror Story:  Apocalypse” is over.  It was enjoyable at times, especially the scenes with Joan Collins and with Jessica Lange.

The finale was so over-the-top and “WTF”, but mostly fun — only because it was so crazy and ludicrous!  Nice to see you again Angela Bassett!

I’m still loving “Madam Secretary ” and “Manifest” and while I’ve cooled on “The Good Doctor”, I’m still watching it.

NEXT WEEK IS THANKSGIVING

FB Turkey

Thanksgiving Forecast“WASTED!  THE STORY OF FOOD WASTE”

Since most of the country will be feasting on a lot of food next week for Thanksgiving, it’s unfortunate that there’ll be a lot of waste!

I watched an incredible documentary on how we can use more of the crops we grow for creative dishes and even use the waste in more creative ways.

It’s very eye-opening!

“Wasted!” features the late chef and television star Anthony Bourdain.

While his views are very bold in the 2017 documentary, he made a very chilling comment about people hanging themselves in one of his soundbites.

It’s eerie and creepy since he was found dead in France this past summer from an apparent suicide by hanging!

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Carly Rae Jepsen will always be known by her signature hit, “Call Me Maybe” from 2012, but she’s had so many more incredible songs!

“Emotion” was my #3 album of 2015.  I still love it and listen to it.

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

I saw her in concert in March 2016 at Terminal 5 in New York City and it’s still one of my favorite shows.

Here’s the final number, “I Really Like You” and around the first chorus, you’ll see just how close I was! 🙂

Her latest song, “Party of One”, just came out.

It’s about moving on from relationships, self-love, and being intimate — even it’s alone!!!

The video is a happy, sad, and peppy!

P.S.   It’s also a little risque with toys not usually seen in mainstream music videos!   Read between the lines and enter at your own risk! 🙂

GOODBYE SEXY ANDREW LINCOLN!

Andrew Lincoln

“The Walking Dead” is dead to me now, so goodbye Rick Grimes!

Andrew_Lincoln_shirtless_02

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony