Posts Tagged ‘Oscars’

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°.

current_temps

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!”

peach 1

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

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 — 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

Random Friday Thoughts — September 28, 2018

September is coming to a close and it’s time to get those pumpkins and think about carving jack-o-lanterns.

PumpkinTurkey

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.   I’ll start off on a happy note, vent a little, and then share more positive things. 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

It’s a few days early, but I’d like to wish a “Happy Birthday” to my idol, President Jimmy Carter!

Autograph Carters

On October 1st, our nation’s 39th president turns 94!

This makes him the second longest-lived president and the president that’s lived the longest after leaving office (almost 37 years and 8 months and counting)!

What’s amazing about this wonderful man is that he and his incredible wife, Rosalynn, are still both very active writing, touring, and building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Since leaving office in 1981, with The Carter Center, he’s done more for world peace and a healthy planet than any U.S.  president — living or dead!

Here’s to many more happy, loving years, President Carter!

A QUICK MOMENT TO VENT

Full disclosure here:  I think 45 is a joke, I hope America votes him out of office in 2020, and I can’t understand why people still support him — even if they voted for him.

Facebook is a wonderful thing (?) because some “friends” on there make strange bedfellows.

The other day, I defended “that man” (45) for drinking Diet Coke from a wine glass and then I made a critical comment about him.  Well, it was a meme.

Shoes.jpg

Of course, one of his supporters came to his defense.  That’s fine, if you can coherently debate the topic and defend the man.

However, when she posted this comment, it crossed the line with me:  “but you supported a [sic] anti American Muslim who wanted to take America down?

At this point, I jumped into melee with this post:

“Christine, I’m really glad that Neil blocked you. Why? Your comment on his thread about the American Muslim that tried to take down America! Let me clarify something with you as diplomatically as I can. The Muslims that tried to bring America down on 9/11 were Islamic extremists! They killed thousands, but they failed miserably when you look at the big picture. Whether you’re an American Muslim, a Middle Eastern Muslim, or wherever you’re from, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist. The Islamic faith is not based on those extreme actions from the extremists! Look at all the white terrorists that have made it their ill-fated mission with the killing sprees here in the U.S. I know your life will go on and mine will, too, if I chose to delete you, too. It’s one thing to support that man and his beliefs, but when you demean the #MeToo movement and make sexual misconduct jokes (yes, I looked at your page), I really don’t know what we even have in common and why we’re “friends”!”

People (who really test my tolerance)!

“RBG”

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, this year alone, “Won’t You Be My Friend” ($22.6 million) and”RBG” ($14 million) changed that!

This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She started her trailblazing from just being a woman and using her voice when women didn’t really have a place or a voice in the world of law.

What an amazing woman!

GRADE:  A

MORE GINSBURG

RBG Icon.JPG

Earlier this summer, Ginsburg announced that she has no plans to give up her seat anytime soon, “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

And, if you can’t get enough of Ginsburg, you’ll get another chance in select theaters on Christmas Day with “On The Basis of Sex”.

Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Ginsburg and Golden Globe Award nominee Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband Martin.

THEY SAID WHAT???

CHER (on “Ellen” when asked what three celebrities she’d like to record a duet with): “Oh, Adele, Pink, and, uh, um, not Madonna!”

JACQUELINE KENNEDY (born and raised Republican, in 1960, the year her Democratic husband would be elected the 35th president of the U.S.: “But you have to be a Republican to realize how nice it is to be a Democrat.”

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

The final season (eight episodes) of House of Cards” with Robin Wright as President Claire Underwood debuts on Netflix November 2nd!

A new revealing trailer came out this week and “the reign of the middle-aged white man” is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNDERWEAR

Why not take a few minutes for something sexy and lighter?

Here’s a look at the the changes in men’s underwear over the past century!

“YOU”

I shamelessly (sorry, not sorry) admit two things — occasionally watching “Lifetime” and actually enjoying the creepy stalker series, “You”.

It’s based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel about a bookstore owner, Joe (Penn Badgley) who becomes obsessed with a college graduate student, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who comes into the store.

I know many of us has had psychotic exes or stalkers, but what’s more disturbing is that even though you know that what Joe is doing is bad, bad, bad, you still feel for him.  He does have a thin thread of humanity in him!

I guess I’m not alone.  Before the first episode aired, Lifetime renewed it for a second season.

“THE PURGE” TELEVISION SERIES

I love “The Purge” movie series and I thought I’d give the USA Network’s 10-episode television event a chance.

After four episodes, I’m still with it.  However, I don’t know if it’ll hold my interest to see it through to the end.

There are some exciting things in the series and some lame filler, too.

GRADE:  B-

One last note:  The latest movie in the series, “The First Purge”, came out in theaters this summer and made $135.6 million.

I can’t wait to see it when it arrives on DVD October 2nd!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE” 

As I approach my birthday and since I’m in my 50s, I had to laugh out loud at one of Joan Collins’ line from the second episode of “Apocalypse”.

JCollins

By the way, Collins is 85.

Another “Apocalypse” note:   Very little on television or in movies shocks me (language, violence, or sex), but I have to say there was a very graphic sex scene in the second episode that probably made conservatives choke — if they watch “American Horror Story”.

It made Joan Collins’s character blush and run away! 🙂

“BLOODLINE”

This three-season, 33-episode Netflix series aired from 2015-2017.

The drama is about the Rayburn family who own a beach side inn, the Rayburn House, in the Florida Keys.

Three of the Rayburn children still live in Monroe County.  John is a detective for the Sheriff’s Office, Meg is a lawyer, and hot-headed Kevin is a mechanic.

The drama comes in when the black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home.

Kyle Chandler plays John and I had the biggest crush on him back in the late-1990s when he starred on the CBS series “Early Edition”.

My recommendation is to watch season one and the last five episodes of season two.  Just read the episode summary for the first five episodes of season two online and skip season three altogether!

I had a major crush on Enrique Murciano, who played John’s work partner, Marco Diaz, who also dated Meg.

Enrique Murciano

The series also stars Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard.

Season 1 GRADE:  B+

Season 2 (FIRST FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  D+

Season 2 (SECOND FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  A-

Season 3 GRADE:  D+

SISSY SPACEK

One of the great pleasures of watching “Bloodline” was seeing Sissy Spacek.

Sissy Spacek

I remember seeing her as a teenager as Carrie White in 1976’s “Carrie” (which earned Spacek an Oscar nomination) and as Loretta Lynn in 1980’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, for which Spacak won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

What did surprise me is that the Texas-born actress, who’ll turn 69 on Christmas Day, has been nominated for an Oscar four other times!

The other Best Actress nominations were for “Missing” (1982), “The River ” (1984), “Crimes of the Heart” (1986), and “In The Bedroom” (2001)!

Spacek has upcoming roles in the movie “The Old Man & the Gun” with Robert Redford and in Amazon’s “Homecoming” (November 2, 2018) starring Julia Roberts and directed and executive produced by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”).

“BREAKING IN”

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!

It’s basically the story of four bad guys who take a woman’s two children hostage inside her father’s fortified home.  She has to break into the house to save her children.

The $6 million movie brought in almost $51 million at the box office, but it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!

However, Gabrielle Union is a fine actress and I also enjoyed seeing Billy Burke (“Zoo”) as a bad guy.

It was also great to see Richard Cabral again.   He was phenomenal in seasons one and three of ABC’s “American Crime”.

GRADE:  D+

SPEAKING OF THOSE 20 FAVORITES MOVIES OF THE YEAR…

Now that I’ve seen more than 30 movies in 2017, here are the ones that I liked, but have been pushed out of my Top 20 list for this year (the “honorable mentions”):

“The Star”, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, “Molly’s Game”, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, “It”, “The Mountain Between Us”, “All the Money in the World”, “Darkest Hour”, “Marshall”, “Chappaquiddick”.

“My Friend Dahmer” almost made the list of the three worst movies I saw in 2017, but there were three other stinkers!

“SAY YOU REALLY WANT ME”

English singer Kim Wilde first hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 with “Kids in America”.  Even though it only reached #25, it’s still one of my favorites.

Her biggest hit in the U.S. was a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.  It reached #1 in 1987.

The follow-up was “Say You Really Want Me”, a very sultry song that barely missed the Top 40 on the Hot 100, but I still love it to this day!

Sexy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 21, 2018

It’s Friday and I still have things to say.  I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

My sister and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, Minnesota.  We had a great time.

On Monday, she’ll be celebrating her birthday.

Tammy1

I love this blast from the past, but vintage photos don’t hold up well, thus the discoloration.

Happy Birthday Tammy!

Tammy

“PATTI CAKE$”

While they were here, I shared “Girls Trip” (#15) and “Patti Cake$” (#10) with them.  Both made my 20 favorite movies list in 2017.

“Patti Cake$” was one of the best and most overlooked movies last year.  If you get a chance, check it out.

“DIETLAND” CANCELLED

I was a huge fan of Sarai Walker’s 2015 novel, “Dietland” and the AMC series starring Joy Nash and Julianne Margulies.

Dietland

Sadly, it was cancelled after just one season and Sarai summed it up best in the first line of a very powerful Facebook post this week, “Fat girls can get invited to the party, but we don’t get to stay for very long…”

Dietland.JPG

Sorry, Sarai, I know there are great things ahead for you and all of the beautiful fat girls.

You can stay at my party as long as you want!!!

COMING SOON!

While I await the “surprise drop” of Madonna’s new studio album this fall, I got excited earlier this week after this social media post from Reba!

REBA Coming Soon.JPG

To be honest, “coming soon” doesn’t always come soon enough for my schedule. 🙂

Reba’s last non-holiday album was the amazing gospel collection, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope” in February 2017.

reba-faith

It topped the Billboard Country Album and Billboard Christian Album charts and featured the #1 Christian song, “Back to God”.

During the fall of 2009, Reba was climbing the charts with “Consider Me Gone”.  The song started 2010 at the top of the country charts and would become her longest running #1 song of her career at four weeks.

I’m being shallow here (and complimentary) — the video features three gorgeous people! 🙂

By the way, Reba would also start 2011 at #1 with “Turn on the Radio”.

That tied her with Dolly Parton with 25 number one hits on the Billboard Country charts — the most by a female artist!

QUICK EMMY NOTES!

Emmys, thank you for showing love to Darren Criss and giving him the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story”!

DC Emmys.JPG

He even beat an incredible Benedict Cumberbatch for “Patrick Melrose”!

Why not show a few bonus extras of Criss as Cunanan!

Criss

Criss 1

Criss 2

But, I’m saddened that Judith Light lost in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie for the same series!

Miglin

Her performance was heartbreaking and chilling!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE” 

After seeing the first two episodes of FX’s “American Horror Story”, I think I’m going to like it.

It’s all over the place, but it’s already showing a lot of skin and a very edgy and humorous Joan Collins (yes, the Joan Collins of “Dynasty” fame)!

joan-collins-ahs-1016895.jpg

And, there were several very shocking scenes in the second episode!  The horror! 🙂

FALL ARRIVES THIS WEEKEND

While it’s already “meteorological fall” (September, October, and November) for those weather people, fall officially begins this weekend.

The “autumnal equinox” (fall) is Saturday, September 22nd at 8:54 p.m. Central.

Fall

TEAM FIONA IS READY!

I absolutely love Fiona, the hippopotamus at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoos usually feed large animals frozen melons as treats, especially for special occasions.

Well, thanks to my fantastic director at work, Katie, Fiona is already enjoying the fall season early with a little creative magic!

Fiona Pumpkin

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

HILLARY.JPG

“GTFO”

Mariah Carey is getting close to releasing her latest album.

She teased us fans with the slow burning ballad with a very strong message!

Yes, “GTFO” stands for what you think it does and she says it with a breathy coo! 🙂

I, TONYA

I finally got around to seeing this Oscar nominated movie and it was definitely worth the wait.

The documentary style presentation was executed well.  At first, I had my doubts about it being gimmicky.

Oscar nominee Margot Robbie was great as Tonya Harding and Allison Janney definitely earned her Best Supporting Oscar for playing Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden.

Sebastian Stan was very sexy as Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly, despite their abusive relationship.

While there isn’t much that offends me, the language was rather strong. I found it rather ironic that Janney’s character used an offensive word that’s usually directed to women.

It’s not so much that her trashy character used it, it’s just that in the spectacular 2013 film, “The Way, Way Back”, Janney’s hard-drinking Betty says it in a much less offensive way that I’d never heard, “See You Next Tuesday”.

It still cracks me up!  (Guilty!)

GRADE: B+

“THE WAY, WAY BACK”

Since I mentioned “The Way, Way Back”, if you haven’t seen it, check it out.

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 10, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and to see what I’m thinking about this week.

Have a great weekend!

OFFENSIVE?

“Arrow” star Stephen Amell, a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, enjoyed Vancouver Pride last weekend and his shirt caused quite a stir.

amell.JPG

Some find the shirt offensive saying he’s not really our ally to wear it!

However, a poll about whether the shirt is offensive says otherwise!

shirt poll.JPG

What do you think???   By the way, I voted “Seriously?”

Let me know while I run to the ATM!  I know I have $20 in my checking account! 🙂

Now on to something really serious!

“CONVERSION THERAPY”

Conversion therapy is harmful and sad!

Kids that feel broken suffer even more and it doesn’t mend families, it destroys them.

Love Cure

If you’re not familiar with “conversion therapy”, it’s an ill-fated, sad program that preys on a family’s fear of their son or daughter being LGBTQ.  It claims that you can change if you have feelings for someone of the same sex.

It uses psychological, physical, and spiritual torture to make an LGBTQ child “straight”.

In the United States, before 1981, ice-pick lobotomies, chemical castration with hormones, and aversion treatments (applying electric shock to the hands and/or genitals) were used to “change” gay people.

Electric shock treatment is still used in some places today!

A couple of popular expressions in the field are “Fake it till you make it” and “Pray away the gay”.

conversion-therapy

In the United States, 12 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy for minors based on sexual orientation and gender identity of expression.  Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Maryland (October 1, 2018) and New Hampshire (January 1, 2019) will soon be added to the list.

There are many other counties, municipalities, and communities in the U.S. that outlaw conversion therapy for minors, even though it’s not recognized on the state level in those states.

As of this summer, there are bills to ban conversion therapy on minors that have been introduced or are pending in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

MICHELE & MARCUS BACHMANN

Minnesota’s own former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has a record of being very anti-LGBTQ, has a skeleton in her closet when it comes to “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”.

Bachmann

The procedure was notably performed at Bachmann & Associates, a Christian therapy clinic started by Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, based in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

Marcus Bachmann

Ironic that I used the word “closet” when discussing the Bachmanns because of the “rumors”!

“BOY ERASED”

Two movies dealing with conversion therapy are coming out this year.

“Boy Erased”, based on the 2016 memoir of Garrard Conley, an Arkansas teenager outed in college to his fundamentalist parents.  His choice — be disowned or gay conversion therapy.

After seeing this powerful trailer, I’m convinced “Boy Erased” will be a strong Oscar contender.  It stars Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe and Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges.

I love Kidman and I’ve been a huge fan of 21-year-old Hedges since “Manchester By The Sea” and he was great in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

It also stars out pop star Troye Sivan.

“Boy Erased” hits theaters November 2, 2018.

“THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST”

The other “gay conversion” movie, The Miseducation of Cameron Post” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, debuted last weekend, in very limited release.

In just two theaters, it had an incredible box average of $26,500!

Chloe is a great actress and I can’t wait to see her stunning performance.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

As the fourth season ended in May, it was bittersweet.  I smiled, but I wanted to cry.

Madam Secretary Elizabeth McCord tells her husband Henry, that she wants to run for president.

He replies, “I’m with you!”

Capture.JPG

MORE “MADAM SECRETARY” (BIG GUEST STARS!)

When the fifth season of kicks off Sunday, October 7th on CBS, the shows will have some heavy hitters making guest star appearances.

ms.JPG

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright will star.

This will be Albright’s second appearance on the show.  She guest starred in 2015.

P.S.  In 45’s revolving door of cabinet and staff, whoever is Secretary of State was probably not invited. 🙂

THEY SAID WHAT — ABOUT 45???

Madonna (to “Vogue Italia”):  “I felt like we needed a change, and I wanted to get out of America for a minute ― as you know, this is not America’s finest hour.”\

Hollywood show runner Ryan Murphy (on having a 1980s version of “that man” on his FX hit series “Pose” and then scrapping the idea):  “I just don’t want to see him. I do not want to see that face, didn’t want to hear that voice, didn’t want that presence to pollute something very pure and beautiful. We almost never say his name, it’s a Pavlovian cringe at this point. I think it was a right decision.”

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham:

Graham.JPG

“WHO IS AMERICA”

If you haven’t seen this Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime series, you’re missing out on mind-boggling reality television!

I call it reality because, sadly, it shows how really f***ed up some are in this country!

The blatant racism is sad to watch and the things people say or do to show their blind love for 45 is just incredible.

After his ignorant and racist appearance on the show, Republican Georgia lawmaker Jason Spencer resigned his position.

Here’s what I tweeted to Cohen and Showtime about the show.

Who is.JPG

Cohen also duped former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  It’s unknown if that segment will air or not!

RETURN DATES ON MY FAVORITE SHOWS

Now that “Pose”, “Dietland”, “Claws”, and “Sharp Objects” are done or winding down and “The Sinner” is just getting started, I can’t wait for my next round of favorite series to return this fall.

Here are the return dates on those:

September 12 — “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” (FX)

ahs

The first trailer came out earlier this week!

September 23 & 24 — “9-1-1” (FOX) (2-night premiere)

September 24 — “The Good Doctor” (ABC)

September 27 — “How To Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

October 7 — “Madam Secretary’ (CBS)

November 2 — “House of Cards” (Netflix)

HOC.JPG

Still no date on the return of season 4 of “Mr. Robot” (USA).

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Halloween.jpg

90s NOSTALGIA

In the late-1980s and 1990s (and beyond), I was obsessed with Taylor Dayne and her music.

I’ve seen her in concert twice (and almost a third time, but we won’t talk about that).

My favorite album is still “Can’t Fight Fate” from 1989.

That album produced Taylor’s only #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Love Will Lead You Back”, and two more Top Five hits, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, and this one, the album’s lead single, “With Every Beat of My Heart”.

This is such a stunning and sexy video!

“Heart of Stone”, the fourth single, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony