Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’

Random Friday Thoughts — January 17, 2020

Happy 2020!

2020

I hope the new year is off to a great start for you.  Even though we’re only a few weeks into 2020, I already feel overwhelmed with some of the things I’m working off that I’ll share one day!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  If you want to comment, feel free.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

MOVE ALONG, YOU’VE PROVED YOUR POINT!

We’re now just a few weeks away from the beginning of the voting process for the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

After a few more suspended campaigns, we’re down to twelve “active major” candidates, which is still several too many!  (It’s a stretch that Bennet, Delaney, Gabbard, and Patrick are still in the race!)

I’m sure the Iowa caucus (February 3), the New Hampshire primary (February 11), the Nevada caucus (February 22), and the South Carolina primary (February 29) will weed out several more of those running.

However, it’ll likely be Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, that will narrow the field to just the front runners.  Fourteen states have their primaries on that day.

So, Hillary Clinton, it’s time to jump into the race!

Still

Say what you want — diplomatically!

WE CAN CHANGE THE FACE OF INAUGURATION DAY 2020!

JFK JUNE 1963

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

High Crime.JPG

EERIE, SAD COINCIDENCE

Melanie Panayiotou, the sister of pop legend George Michael, died on Christmas Day.  She was in her 50s!

What’s eerie is that Michael also died on Christmas Day in 2016!  He was 53.

George Michael.gif

They are survived by their father and an older sister.

MILLIONAIRE “LOVER”

My favorite CD of 2019 was also the ONLY album to sell more than a million copies last year!

It’s astounding that the music landscape has changed so much with streaming, downloading singles, etc.!

Taylor Swift Lover

Taylor Swift’s “Lover” sold 1.085 million copies.  Of that, 699,000 were physical units (including mine) and the other 386,000 were digital copies.

Now I’m getting excited to see what the fourth single will be from the album.  I hope it’s either “I Forgot That You Existed” or “The Man”.

I would have added “Cornelia Street”, too, but it’s a ballad and her last single, “Lover”, was a ballad!

“FAST FOOD NATION:  THE DARK SIDE OF THE ALL-AMERICAN MEAL”

This incredible, eye-opening, and mind-boggling book by Eric Schlosser came out in 2001.

Fast_food_nation

While I know there have been improvements and advancements in raising animals for human consumption and in food processing and distribution, something tells me there are still so many horror stories today that threaten our health and our lives.

Even before reading this book, I was already considering giving up eating meat.  The first step will be to stop buying it for home (except when I’m hosting) and only eating meat when I’m out.

I’m sure I can do it since I gave up beef more than a decade ago!

While I know the research in the book is reliable, if only a fraction was true and our lives weren’t dictated by huge corporations and shady politicians, we Americans would change our eating habits.

Not just because it’d be healthier, but the production of meat, from raising livestock to slaughtering them for food, is so cruel and unsanitary!

A very compelling documentary to watch from 2009 is called “Food, Inc.”, which was nominated for Oscar!

In 2012, I wrote a very interesting blog called “Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us.”

Here’s the link if you want to read it and see some of the monstrosities we serve in our restaurants, including this:

6pound_000

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

“UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS: A STORY OF LOSS AND AGAIN”

I can’t believe that it took me so long to read Portia De Rossi’s 2010 heartbreaking book about her fight with food addiction and the obsession with weight loss!

Portia

I also didn’t expect that reading it would trigger me to fall off the food addiction wagon!

For a recovering bulimic or anorexic, eating is a nightmare.

Once you fall, it’s hard to get back on track.  The scale entices you with weight loss that you can’t do easily just by eating right and exercising.

Every pound that disappears is not just one step closer to a goal.  Sadly, it’s only more encouragement for the physically destructive behavior to continue!

After nine years as a practicing bulimic (1986-1995), I spent the next two decades “on the wagon”.  A separation (and ultimate divorce) caused a relapse for a few months, in 2017, but I overcame it.

And, I know I’ll overcome this recent relapse, too.  I just hope it’s sooner rather than later!

SKIP THIS BOOK!

“Call Me By Your Name” was my favorite movie I saw in 2018.  Afterwards, I read the book by Andre Aciman.

I was so excited when it was announced in 2019 that a sequel, “Find Me”, was on the way.

andre-aciman-call-me-by-your-name-find-me

I was thoroughly disappointed!

I was so excited that I’d see where Elio and Oliver were in life and if they ended up together!  However, most of the book (the first part) was about Elio’s father!

When we finally caught up Elio and in a fleeting moment, Oliver, it was too little, too late.

As for “Find Me”, don’t even look for it!

Pretend that this sequel doesn’t exist and just enjoy the beauty of “Call Me By Your Name” again!

It’s peachy!  🍑🍑🍑

peach 1

MORE BOOKS I READ LATELY

“Dispatches From The Edge:  A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper (2006)

What a riveting book about what Cooper saw in 2005 from the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami, various wars, and Hurricane Katrina.

Anderson also talked quite a bit about his brother’s suicide.

I sure hope that he sought therapy after 2005 because he sounded very depressed and down.

Or, like me, writing is therapy and maybe authoring the book was therapeutic for him!

“Vice:  Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of The American Presidency” (2006) by Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein

I knew from living through the George W. Bush presidency that Dick Cheney was a despicable man.  However, I didn’t know that his wife, Lynne, was also a mean, snake of a woman, too.

But, then again, why should that shock me???

“Christmas in the Old West” (2003) by Sam Travers

A very informative and fun look at Christmases when the West was truly wild.  How people survived back then (1800s and early 1900s) still amazes me!

“The Words Lincoln Lived By:  52 Timeless Principles To Light Your Path” (1997) by Gene Griessman

A great quote from the book, which is perfect for the new year!

Lincoln (1858):  “By all means, don’t say ‘if I can’; say ‘I will'”. 

“THE FAREWELL”

“The Farewell” was my favorite movie of 2019!

Its star was also in my #5 movie of 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians”, in a much different role.

In “Asians”, Awkwafina was comedic relief and in “The Farewell”, she shows off her dramatic acting chops.

She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical this month, but was snubbed and didn’t get an Oscar nomination!

It’s a the story of a Chinese family going back to their homeland from the U.S. to visit a loved one who’s dying of cancer.  However, the family chooses not to let her know!

GRADE:  A

“JUDY”

What an incredible movie!

If you’re a Judy Garland fan, you’re already familiar with what is covered in the movie.

If you just know Garland as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and maybe as Liza Minnelli’s mother, then definitely check out this movie.  It’s on DVD!

Renee Zellweger won the Golden Globe Award earlier this month in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama category and will be the one to beat when the Academy Awards are handed out.

“Judy” was my #5 movie of 2019!

GRADE:  A

“BOMBSHELL”

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

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

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

“Bombshell” ended up being my #13 movie I saw in 2019.

GRADE:  B

A WARM YOU UP THIS WINTER FLASHBACK!

Since we’re into the “dead of winter”, here’s something to warm you up!

It still astounds me that Kim Wilde only scored two Top 40 hits in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Kids in America” reached #25 in 1981 and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” topped the chart in 1987.

She came close to scoring two more hits with “You Came” in 1988 (#41) and this one, “Say You Really Want Me” (#44), in 1987.

This video is so sexy and hot, but it was deemed “raunchy” in the U.K.!

SUPERBOWL TEASE

And, ahead of her Super Bowl halftime performance, a 2020 megamix of the sexiest woman alive — Jennifer Lopez!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

My Favorite Movies of 2019

It’s hard to believe that the first two decades of the 2000s are behind us!

Now that it’s 2020, here are my favorite movies that I saw in 2019.  The list was held off because I was seeing one of the movies that made the list on New Year’s Eve!

Some of them were in the Oscar race last year since critics and those living in large metropolitan cities get to see movies before most of America!

Before I kick off my countdown, here’s my favorite movie I saw in 2018!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.9 MILLION

Just missing out on the countdown:  #40 “The Old Man and the Gun”; #39 “Beautiful Boy”; #38 “The Front Runner”; #37 “Hotel Artemis”; #36 “Gloria Bell”; #35 “Widows”; #34 “22 July”; #33 “At Eternity’s Gate”; #32 “The First Man”; and #31 “The Mule”.

At #30 “On The Basis of Sex”; #29 “Green Book”; #28 “Rocketman”; #27 “Boy Erased”; #26 “Us”; #25 “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; #24 “Yesterday”; #23 “Mary Poppins Returns”; #22 “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and #21 “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

Now, my favorite 20 movies I saw in 2019.

#20

“THE FAVOURITE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $96.0 MILLION

19

“A STAR IS BORN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $434.9 MILLION

#18

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $97.6 MILLION

#17

“MIDSOMMAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $42.3 MILLION

#16

“MA”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $60.6 MILLION

15

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.5 MILLION

#14 Movie

“SECOND ACT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $72.3 MILLION

13

“BOMBSHELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.3 MILLION

12

“THE HATE U GIVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

11

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $21.3 MILLION

Bonus

We’re halfway through the countdown of my favorite movies I saw in 2019.

As a bonus, here’s a look at one of my favorites movies of not only 1995, but one of my favorite movies of all time! I can’t believe it turned 25 this year!

(While the movie premiered in 1994 in its native Australia, it debuted in the United States in 1995!)

It also launched the careers of Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.

Muriel.gif

10

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $31.9 MILLION

#9

“ARCTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4.1 MILLION

8

“ALADDIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.05 BILLION!!!

#7 MOVIE

“A PRIVATE WAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.8 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“HUSTLERS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $157.1 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JUDY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $37.9 MILLION

#4 CD

“THE WIFE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.2 MILLION

3

“BEN IN BACK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $10.1 MILLION

Holiday Bonus

Before I reveal my two favorite movies I saw last year, I want to celebrate another one of my favorite movies that turned 25 in 2019!

I had just moved to Chicago in the summer of 1994 and I remember feeling so metropolitan seeing a LGBTQ movie on the big screen that fall!

Ironically, I featured another Australian movie earlier with “Muriel’s Wedding” and now it’s “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert.gif

Guy Pearce was so beautiful as Adam Whitely/Felicia Jollygoodfellow!

The movie won an Oscar for “Best Costume Design”!

#2 CD

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $12.4 MILLION

Before I reveal my favorite movie that I saw in 2019, the two least favorite movies I saw this year were:  “Vice” (great acting, cheesy movie about evil people) and “Good Boys” (just the worst — I laughed once)!

For “Good Boys”, watch the funnier trailer instead and don’t waste 90 minutes of your life!

Now back to the countdown!

1

“THE FAREWELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $19.6 MILLION

Now, on to the new year!

2020

Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, January 13, 2020.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, 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.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — April 12, 2019

While it’s officially spring, I hope you’re having spring weather.

We had a significant winter storm with blizzard-like conditions move into the Northland of Minnesota and Wisconsin Thursday!

Snow Car 2.jpg

Snow Car 1

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

“IN SEARCH OF HOPE”

After reading Mariane Pearl’s “A Mighty Heart” about the Al Qaeda kidnapping and execution of her journalist husband, Daniel, in early 2002, I jumped right into “In Search of Hope:  The Global Diaries of Mariane Pearl”.

MARIANE PEARL HOPE

It’s an excellent book with many great stories and photos of extraordinary women around the world up against incredible odds to make a difference.

While human and sex trafficking is a problem all over the world, including the U.S., some parents in Cambodia sell their daughters off to become prostitutes for less than $10!

Those girls and women then have to service many men each day for just pennies a trick while the pimps keep the rest.

Now, that may not sound like something you would want to read, but to hear about the women who are risking their owns lives to stop things like this is very encouraging.

“In Search of Hope” is a very powerful read!

GRADE:  A

“POSE”

If you didn’t see the incredible first season of FX’s “Pose”, you have time to binge watch the award winning series NOW!

pose

Season two premieres June 9th, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the “Stonewall Riots” and gay pride month!

This season jumps ahead to 1990 after Madonna released “Vogue”!

“CLAWS”

I know what I’ll be doing after work on June 9th.  I’ll be watching “Pose” and one of my other favorite shows, “Claws” on TNT.

Desna and the girls return for their third season.

I guess this isn’t a spoiler, but a main character that was shot in an assassination attempt at the end of season two is in the trailer, so I guess she lives. 🙂  I never thought for a moment that she’d die!

Again, if you haven’t seen the first two seasons, binge watch now!

Niecy Nash is awesome!

“THE NUTCRACKER & THE FOUR REALMS”

This 2018 holiday movie ended up making $173 million worldwide against an expensive $120+ million budget.

As you may gather, this fantasy is based on the “The Nutcracker”.

If you like the ballet and you like adventure, you’ll enjoy this movie.

If not, watch for the amazing special effects with the Mouse King in the woods!  Once you see it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!

The incredible sequences with American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland are breathtaking!

GRADE:  B

“VICE”

This movie about George W. Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney rightfully earned the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling!

This was the only win out of eight nominations, including Best Picture!  What????

Attractive Christian Bale was physically lost in his look as Cheney.  He and Amy Adams, who played wife Lynn Cheney, were amazing in their performances.

That’s really about the only good thing I can say about this atrocious movie and waste of time — other than the hair and makeup!

Cheney is probably one of the most vile men ever in American politics.  With all of the nasty things he’s done in life, I definitely won’t shed a tear when he dies.  In all fairness, he won’t shed a tear for me when it happens either!

Full disclaimer here:  I’m a die-hard liberal (actually, in an argument once with a Republican former co-worker, I exclaimed, “I’m a Meryl Streep-loving, tree hugging liberal and I’m proud of it!”), but “Vice” was nothing more than a hatchet job against Cheney.  But, an honest one!

Spoiler alert:  About an hour into the movie, there was a fake ending and credit roll.  Watching the movie, I wished it was the real ending!

But, it wasn’t and the second half of the movie was better than the first half!

GRADE:  C-

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER!

Horror movies really don’t drive me to the theaters like they used to.  Last October, I was excited to see “Halloween” and it was worth it.

I’d much rather see psychological thrillers now and there’s one coming out May 31, 2019, that really has me excited.

I first saw the short trailer of “Ma” on the season five finale of “How To Get Away With Murder”.

It stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as a villain!!!!!!!!!

It’s directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help” and “The Girl on the Train”) and produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions (“Halloween” and “Get Out”).

“A NO NO”

I absolutely love Mariah Carey’s latest album, “Caution” and this is the second single!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 29, 2019

Spring is here and this is my first random thoughts blog since returning from Bangkok, Thailand.

This is my favorite picture that I took there!  I love koi!

Koi Buddha

If you missed the pictures or the details of that enlightening trip (even with the rat and the snakes), here’s the link.  It’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/my-one-night-in-bangkok-okay-actually-five-nights/

It’s always nice to get away, but it’s nice to come home.  Now I’m ready to enjoy the nicer weather heading our way.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and have a great weekend!

“LEAVING NEVERLAND”

This is the four-hour documentary on HBO that’s everybody’s been talking about regarding Michael Jackson and child sexual abuse allegations.

Choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck, now adults, talk extensively and graphically about the sexual abuse they suffered when spending time with Michael Jackson.

I’m going to make some comments and I’m going to keep the sentences short, so there’s no misunderstanding or taking things out of context.

  • I believe Robson and Safechuck!
  • As a parent, I’d NEVER allow my child to spend nights with a man in his 30s.
  • Where was the parental supervision and let’s talk about the lapse of judgement there — I don’t care if Jackson was the biggest star on the planet!
  • If Jackson was alive today, I’m not sure he’d give details of what did and didn’t happen with those boys, who were around 7 and 10-years-old when the alleged abuse started.
  • I do wish that the director had reached out to a Jackson family member since Michael is dead and couldn’t speak for himself.  But, we know they’d just say it didn’t happen and the two men are out for just money.
  • By the way, Robson is a multi-millionaire!

“Leaving Neverland” is definitely worth seeing — if you can handle the graphic content!

And, yes I’ll listen to Michael Jackson’s music today.  He’s a musical genius!

However, I have no desire now to watch his videos again!!!!!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“BEN IN BACK”

I absolutely love Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges is one of my favorite current young actors.  He was fantastic in “Manchester by the Sea” and “Boy Erased”.  And, he’s so adorable!

I’ve really been wanting to see this movie, but I don’t recall it playing in Duluth, Minnesota, where I live.  If it did, it was brief and I missed it.

The movie is about Ben returning home for the holidays after a stay in drug rehab and trying to stay clean.

The trailer is compelling, but the movie is so much better and more intense!

Now I don’t believe in spoilers, so I won’t say if it happens or not.  But, Ben, I know you’ve watched horror movies and you should know never to say anything like “I’ll be right back”!

As you’ll see in the trailer, Ben says, “I’m not going to die”!

GRADE:  A-

“FREEDOM”

Reba McEntire is back and I really think that country radio is finally going to give her another chance.

Her new single, “Freedom”, makes its debut on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week at #52!

reba 52.JPG

Sadly, Reba’s last Top 10 hit at country radio was “Turn on the Radio”, which topped the chart in January 2011!  What?  That’s eight years ago!

Reba Freedom.JPG

“Freedom” is being called “euphoric” and a “fist-pumping anthem”!

It’s the first official release to country radio from her new album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, which comes out April 5, 2019.

“9-1-1” ON  FOX

If you don’t watch “9-1-1” on Fox, what are you waiting for?  You’re missing a great show that’s really entertaining.

And, two recent episodes — the winter finale and first episode back from the holidays — were the series’ best!

nightmare

Earlier this week, Fox renewed “9-1-1” for a third season!

“GREEN BOOK”

Spoiler alert, “Green Book” won the Oscar for Best Picture!

I’ve seen five of the eight nominations from this year (I still need to see “The Favourite” and “Vice” and I won’t watch “Black Panther”.  I’m not a Marvel fan and if I can’t get through the Captain America movies with my future ex-boyfriend Chris Evans, I won’t be seeing “Black Panther”!  Bummer because I love Angela Bassett!).

I enjoyed “Green Book” and the acting was superb.  However, I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was in a group and they wanted to see it.

I think the talk of the movie’s racism was overblown.  I didn’t see it as a movie where the white man saves the black man.  I think it was a movie of two people becoming friends and enlightening each other.

Yes, it had racial stereotypes in it, but it was set in the early-1960s South!

Best Picture, no!  Of the five I’ve seen, so far, I would have voted for “Bohemian Rhapsody”!

GRADE: B

“FIRST MAN”

I love Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy is incredible (“The Crown” seasons one and two)!  And, director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” was awesome, so what is this?

I almost stopped the movie within the first 30 minutes!

While it does have some great drama (at times) and it has some great special effects, it seems so disjointed.

Bon Jovi sings, “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “First Man” gives space exploration a bad name!

GRADE: C+

MY FAVORITE CURRENT SONG!

Ava Max is a musical newcomer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

But, her song, “Sweet but Psycho” has already topped the charts in at least 22 countries.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Club Songs chart in the U.S.!

The song has a very European sound to it, which is probably why it’s my favorite current song.

In the U.S., it’s currently one of the five most played songs on Top 40 radio and the video is pretty sexy (but psycho), too! 🙂

Ava Max is definitely channeling one of her idols, Lady Gaga in this video and with her voice!

“Sweet but Psycho” has been viewed almost 234 million times!

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…

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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!

Capture

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)!

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“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!

jussie-smollett

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”.

Robert Kennedy.JPG

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