Posts Tagged ‘Redbox’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 23, 2017

It’s officially summer now and the “spring of discontent” is over!  Yes, I changed the season from the popular “summer” or “winter”.  But, this was probably the worst (or very close to it) spring of my lifetime!

I’m glad summer is here and I’m ready to get through those hot and insufferably humid Florida months because I’m told it’s gorgeous here from October through March. 🙂

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

CAITLYN, PLEASE GO AWAY — ANYWHERE!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Caitlyn Jenner.

There are several reasons for that.  I have transgender friends and they would make much better spokespeople for the LGBT community.

For the record, I have said a few nice things about her.

Caitlyn

Typically when I don’t like someone, I’ll choose one of the worst pictures I can find to post.  But, I’ll be a true southern gentleman here and post a nice one.

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

Last week, in the wake of the baseball field shooting spree outside of Washington D.C., in which Republican Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, Jenner did what she and her family (the Kardashians and the Jenners) do best, she opened her mouth!

Jenner joked to a group, “Liberals can’t even shoot straight.”

Seriously???  I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll repeat myself, Caitlyn, please go away!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM!

Bachmann

No, not her this time!

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

Not, him either.  But, as zany as it was, I do miss “The Following” and I’ll likely watch all three seasons again on Netflix one day.

I had a cherry popsicle the other night and laid the plastic wrapping on the counter and forgot to throw it away.  The next day, I noticed a big red stain on the Formica counter and Windex didn’t take it off.

But, Uncle Google told me, “Mix baking soda with just enough water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and lay a wet paper towel over the paste to keep it moist.”

Presto!  It worked!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM! (PART TWO)

Aren’t you glad that I reminded you of that #4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1991?  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

This also got me to thinking about another weighty C+C Music Factory controversy that I’ll share next week.  That’s a great tease! 🙂

I’LL CALL HER “BRENDA”

I was at Walmart last Sunday picking up a couple of movies from Redbox and another rotisserie chicken.

The chicken has become a weekly tradition for me since moving here. The first weekend, it was out of necessity since I hadn’t unpacked the kitchen.  Now, it’s just tasty and convenient!

While checking out the wine selection, a nicely dressed, older woman (I’ll call her “Brenda”) asked if I was the new morning meteorologist.  We got to talking about the Panhandle and “climate change” came up.  She was appalled that people don’t think it’s happening.  I agreed with her.

Then she says, “I don’t know if you’re religious or not” and I replied, “I don’t believe in organized religion, but I pray each night”.

lake_of_fire

“Brenda” proceeds to tell me that in Revelation it says those that destroy the Earth will be destroyed by God and that she feels it’ll be sooner than we think.

I stood and politely listened.

She ended the conversation by telling me I look much younger in person and that maybe I should wear my shorts and tank top on air. 🙂

MY HISTORY WITH THE “BOOK OF REVELATION”

“Brenda” got me to thinking about the “Book of Revelation” again how it tormented me as a child.  It may have scared me away from church, but it didn’t scare me away from God.

Now that I live deep in the “Bible Belt”, I’ll share it again for my new friends or for those that may have missed it the first time.  Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD”

Shania Twain is back and she’s ready to take over from she left off fifteen years ago.

Her new album, “Now”, the first since “Up!” in 2002, will be released September 29th!

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good”, the first single, is being played some at country radio!

I saw Shania in concert in 2014 in Las Vegas and she looked and sounded amazing.

Shania 2014

Too bad I had just gotten my camera at that time and wasn’t a master at selfies when she walked right up to me! 🙂

AP Shania

IT’S JUST SIX MONTHS AWAY

Christmas is now just six months away.

I’ve thought about it a few times and I already know I’ll miss my beautifully decorated house back in the Quad Cities.  This was last year.

Last Christmas

I’ve been wanting to see the Will Smith movie “Collateral Beauty” and it takes place at Christmas.

“COLLATERAL BEAUTY”

In the opening scene, Smith’s character, Howard Inlet, a successful advertising executive, tells an audience that “We long for LOVE, we wish we had more TIME, and we fear DEATH.”

He then suffers a major loss and becomes reclusive to the point that he’s bringing down the company almost to the point of it going under.  His business partners devise a plan to prove that he’s losing it since he’s the majority shareholder.

That plan consists of a having a private investigator follow Inlet and three actors are hired to portray love, time, and death.

Along with Smith, an Oscar nominee, the movie also stars three other Academy Award nominees, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and two Oscar winners, Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet.

However, all that star power and the gold pedigree couldn’t save the movie from being panned by movie critics and some fans.

On the “Rotten Tomatoes” movie website, it only has a 12% approval rating! However, movie goers on CinemaScore gave it an “A-“.

The $36 million movie grossed $88.2 million.

GRADE:  B

DAVID LYNCH SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I never saw “Twin Peaks”, but the sequel is back on Showtime.

Director David Lynch is known to be a little out there.  If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know that.

But, what he told “Entertainment Weekly” recently shows that the man know what he’s talking about.

“People are people, and we are the way we are.  We’re all supposed to get along, and diversity should be appreciated fully in the light of unity.  That’s peace on Earth and there should be room for everyone.”

David, thank you for being an ally!

PRIDE — THE MUSIC LIVES ON

June is national LGBT Pride month.

LGBT

Two weeks ago, I highlighted the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and last week, I talked about meeting the founder of the Panama City PFLAG chapter at a meet and greet.

I also meet some great people there and had some tasty appetizers.

P FOOD

PRIDE IN MY EARLY CLUB DAYS

Last week, I also shared two songs that’ll always stay with me and remind me of my early club days in the 1980s.

Today, I’m featuring two more.  Both were huge hits in the early-to-mid-1980s as AIDS was ravaging the gay community and President Reagan and the federal government kept its eyes, ears, mouth, and minds closed.

Ironically, both of these songs are from HIV-positive artists and the songs couldn’t be as different — one was about quick sex without any commitment and the other was about taking it slow — talking, dancing, and having cherry wine.

PrideFlag

Greek-American model and dancer Paul Lekakis was discovered in an Italian nightclub.

He never scored a Top 40 American hit on the Billboard 100, but his first release that only peaked at #43 is one of my favorite songs from back in my club days.

“Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room”) hit #6 on the Billboard Dance charts and it topped the charts in Austria for five weeks and it hit #1 in South Africa and Japan.

In 1990, he released his debut album, “Tattoo It”, which generated several big dance hits, but he was too hot (read: gay) to market commercially.

Singer Jermaine Stewart was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957 and his family moved to Chicago in 1972.

He became a regular dancer on “Soul Train”, which was filmed in Chicago.  He moved to Los Angeles with fellow Chicagoans Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel and just missed out on becoming the lead singer of Shalamar, a dance and R&B band.

Stewart met Mikey Craig of Culture Club and sang back-up on the demo for “Miss Me Blind” and he was signed to Arista Records.  His first single, “The Word Is Out” just missed the Billboard Top 40 in 1983, peaking at #41.

However, Stewart hit it big in 1986 when “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” reached #5 on the Hot 100.

The follow-up single about his friend, Jody Watley of Shalamar and “Looking For A New Love” fame, “Jody”, went as high as #42 on the Hot 100, but it reached the top twenty on the R & B chart.

He died at the age of 39 in 1997 of AIDS-related liver cancer.

BOOM BOOM BONUS

Lekakis is living healthy now and working as an actor (he had a leading role in a club movie called “Circuit” and he starred in one of my favorite horror movies, “Hellbent”). Meanwhile, he still tours with his music.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

More Random Panama City Thoughts

I guess it’s time to update my adventures after almost two weeks in Panama City, Florida.

I’m still finding beauty here and I haven’t even ventured outside of the city!  This is a reflection in a pond (swamp) in the complex!

Reflections

I’m still getting settled in and I promise once every box is emptied, put away, and extra stuff is re-packed, I’ll decorate my walls and post pictures.

STILL STUNNED WITH “NO RECYCLING”

As I empty those boxes and take all the newspaper and cardboard boxes to the trash compactor (or empty the last of the 2-liter bottles of soda I bought), much to my chagrin, I’m reminded of the lack of recycling!

Actually, the complex has two trash compactors and one has been broken since I arrived. Here’s a novel idea — start a recycling program and that’ll cut back on waste and the trash compactors won’t have to work as hard!

TOO MANY, I THINK SO!

I’ve decided that no matter how fun a shirt looks, I’m not buying another one!

What I think I’m going to do is not wash t-shirts until I wear every one of them!  Do you get into a rut of wearing your favorites?  I do.  Some of these have not even been worn.

TShirts

Also, look at the top left.  Most of my daily wear — pajama bottoms — are flannel! Houston, we have a problem for Florida heat and humidity !

I love my new pantry, but doesn’t it look a little too much like “Sleeping With The Enemy”?  Maybe I need to pull a Julia Roberts and knock something over just because I can!

Pantry

The other day, I wore flip flops on a walk and a kid laughed at me.  He said, “Old man, you don’t wear socks with flip flops”!  There’s so much for me to learn about Florida living!

Okay, for the record, I didn’t really wear socks with flip flops and no kid laughed at me! 🙂 However, I did get a blister on the top of my foot from wearing them on a walk, so I’ll be wearing tennis shoes now!

WTH?

As I was working in the kitchen, I looked down at the doors under the sink and this is what I saw.

Fire Ex

This is seriously on the outside on the door!  Couldn’t the complex tell me there’s a fire extinguisher under my sink instead of posting a sign on the door?  It doesn’t exactly match my decor!

I know every time I walk into the kitchen, I’ll stare down at it and say “WTF”!

COMCAST AND MEDIACOM

If I ever have Mediacom again, I promise not to complain because for the first week here, my Comcast cable sucked!

My cable and internet was turned on last Sunday (May 7th) around noon.  It worked some that evening and then it was off for much of the week.    Four technicians have been out now and it’s finally working now.

Comcast

I’ve spent more time on the phone with agents troubleshooting their crappy services than I have watching cable.

Absolutely horrible!  What makes it worse is that I’ve already gotten a bill for almost $200!

So far, I’ve only watched two episodes of “Madam Secretary” on it.  I hope I find something else to watch soon!

The good news is that the internet works much better than Mediacom!

 

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

As you know, I love Redbox and I finally rented a movie this past weekend.  I saw the last of nine Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars.

“Hidden Figures” was incredible.  It’s about the NASA’s space program and the contributions of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

While Spencer was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actress, I think that Henson should have been nominated, too.  Her post-drenched rain scene alone was award worthy and tear jerking!

What’s heartbreaking 50 years later is the racism of the 1960s and the whole “colored this” mentality.  Mind boggling!

And, what’s even sadder is that that BS still exists today.  People, open your mind and your heart and if that’s hard, don’t speak.  Just think a little more!

Monae’s character says it best, “It’s equal rights. I have a right to see fine in every color!”

I agree!  If I ever find myself single again, I’ll be open for fine in every color!!!!!!!!!!!

FINAL NOTE

I make my Panama City television debut Friday evening at 5, 6, and 10.  The chief has the night off.  I’m also working the evening shows this weekend and, again, next Tuesday!  A 12-day work stretch!  What a way to break in the new guy!

I’ll likely start my regular morning and midday routine in early June!

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 4, 2016

Happy November!

In just days, the country will elect a new president.  I’m excited for two reasons — a shattered glass ceiling and this nightmare of an election will be over.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be decking the halls, decorating our homes, visiting with families and friends for the holidays, and vowing to lose weight after eating and enjoying too much Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and delicious Christmas treats and cocktails.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to disagree, but do it diplomatically.

THIS IS HALLOWEEN!

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GretelAvatarABBA2010

THIS IS NOT — AND I REPEAT — THIS IS NOT HALLOWEEN!

I’m very confident that many of you reading my blog today will find this image as disgusting, disturbing, and tasteless as I do.

Trump Pence.jpg

This is a “Halloween” display in Florida.

It just might be a coincidence that the homeowner is a supporter of one of the most outwardly racist presidential candidates in quite some time.

After the public outcry of seeing the effigy of two dark-skinned men hanging from a tree, supporters of the creative idiot behind this display replied, “it’s just Halloween”.

What?  What kind of person looks at this as entertainment?

You know the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Well, this is 32-year-old Rubin Stacy in Florida in 1935.

Rubin Stacy Florida 1935.jpg

Is this just “Halloween”?  White men and women coming around and gawking at the hanged body of a black man?

By the way, there were children on the right side of the picture witnessing this atrocity.  I took the liberty of cropping them out hoping that they became more open-minded in their adulthood than their family and friends in this picture.

This is real life folks!  This is what ignorance and intolerance looks like.  This is the hate that still thrives today and these people are teaching the same ignorance to their kids and grandchildren.

This is not just Halloween!  If that’s as creative as you can, then buy a lighted jack-o-lantern and put it on your porch!

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION DAY”

I’ve been a fan of “The Purge” movie series since the first one hit theaters in 2013.

The Purge Masks

That movie with a budget of $3 million earned $89 million at the box office and the sequel the following year earned even more, $111.9.

“The Purge: Election Year” this year has ended up being the most profitable in the franchise making $118.2 million.

I wrote this back in March before the movie came out this summer, “the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!”

If you’re unfamiliar with “The Purge”, it’s an annual, 12-hour period when all criminal activity, including murder, is legal.

While the original is still my favorite, I did enjoy this one and I’m looking forward to a fourth installment, which hasn’t been announced.

However, I did have a couple of issues with the sloppiness of the script.

It’s March in the movie, yet the trees are ablaze with fall colors (the movie was shot in New England in the fall).  Oops!

And, when the presidential election is held in May, one candidate reaches the 270 electoral votes needed to win.  Unless our election process changes in the next 24 years (since the movie is set in 2040), that countdown to 270 happens in November.

But, it’s Hollywood — and the future.

GRADE:  B-

REDBOX WEBSITE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  It’s very economical and I can take a chance on movies I might never watch and not break the bank.

REDBOX

However, the most recent changes to its website frustrates me.

It used to be that I’d click on the location I wanted to rent from and it would list just the movies available in that kiosk.

Now, when you click on a location, it lists the movies, but when you click on a movie, it’ll either pop up if it’s in the kiosk or have you choose a nearby location.

Go back to the old way.  Just show me what’s available in the kiosk that I want to rent from!

TWEETERS CAN BE MEAN (AND FUNNY)!

We all know how miserable a lot of people are in life.  You know how I know that we know?  Look at the their posts on social media and the tweets they send celebrities.

Sadly, I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets”.  “Sadly” because, like the celebrities reading them, I’m laughing at them, while at the same time, I’m thinking, “f**k you and get a life” to the people that send those tweets!

In honor of ABC’s “CMA Awards 50” this week, Kimmel had some of country’s biggest and brightest stars read mean tweets about themselves.

As usual, Dolly Parton handles everything with so much grace and humor.  And, Cassadee Pope and Dan + Shay made me smile.

CALLING SAVANNAH HOME

A couple of months ago, we visited Charleston, South Carolina (during Hurricane Hermine) and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

While in Savannah, I finally watched “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, Clint Eastwood and Kevin Spacey’s 1997 movie about Savannah that didn’t make that big of a splash or its money back in theaters.

I even saw the Mercer House (now the Mercer-Williams House Museum), where Jim Williams lived, several times on my walks in the city.

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I just read the book and I enjoyed it as much as I did the movie.

As writer John Berendt proclaimed in the book, Savannah is the “hostess of the South” and the first question a Savannahian will ask you is “What would you like to drink?”

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In the few days that I was there, I could definitely see myself living there and enjoying the southern charm of the city.

Who knows?  Retirement is only years away!

PET SHOP BOYS THIS WEEKEND

I’m very excited to see my first Pet Shop Boys concert this weekend in Chicago.

Yes, the Pet Shop Boys, from the 1980s.  You know, “West End Girls”!

super-tour

In anticipation for “The Super Tour”, I went back and listened to every album they’ve released since “Please” in 1986 and ranked my 20 favorite songs from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

I know most of you didn’t check out my blog when I posted it earlier this week, so here it is again for you!

Just click on it and make my day.  I guarantee that you’ll find a Pet Shop Boys song that you’ve never heard and love it.  You can thank me later. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

If you click on that and listened to some of my picks, you now know they’re still producing amazing music thirty years later.

DAYA — “SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY”

It’s been an incredible 18 months for 18-year-old Grace Tandon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

We know her as Daya and it was in the spring of 2015 when she released her first single, “Hideaway”.

While it put her on the radio, this summer she topped radio airplay charts with “Don’t Let Me Down”, a collaboration with The Chainsmokers.   (Sadly, it’s not on her debut album that I’m blogging about today and I don’t download “singles”.)

daya

Daya’s first full length album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty”, came out in early October and it’s definitely one of my favorite albums of 2016!

If you turn on the radio, you’ll hear the title track, which is one of the ten most played songs in the country.

What I love about Daya, other than her voice, is her maturity and the material she choose for this album, as a teenager.

In addition to the two hits, my other favorite standout tracks are “Words”, “Back To Me”, “Cool”, “U12”, “Talk”, “Love of My Life” and “I.C.Y.M.I.”.

Several stations across the country are beginning to play “Words”, although it hasn’t been officially picked as the third single.

It has my approval!

HALLOWEEN & A PUBLIC SERVICE REMINDER!

My favorite Halloween costume this year comes from Brooklyn, New York.

This 8-year-old not only set out to get candy, but he’s also lining up votes for Hillary Clinton.

8-yo-as-hillary

And, one of his moms, Deb, says that’s not a wig.  Now, that’s a lot of hair!

Of course, homophobic idiots, internet trolls, and uneducated-Donald Trump supporters took this as an opportunity to bash the parents, the little boy, and Hillary, but all I can say about that is, “bless their hearts”.

Please vote Tuesday!

HIllary Flag

We have to keep Trump away from the White House!  In doing so, we can send a strong message for him to get out of politics, too.

Good riddance Donald!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Beat The Cold & Snow With These Three Movies

I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of spring.

While it looked nice, it was a chilly one in the Quad Cities after Friday’s high of 62°!  That was the first 60-plus temperature this year and the warmest day in more than four months!

Saturday LeClaire

Now, we have a little snow (an inch or two) on the way today and tonight.  The good news is that it won’t last long and much warmer weather is expected by the weekend!  Yes, I’m already thinking of the weekend and it’s just Monday!

So, if you want to cuddle up on the couch tonight and Tuesday and if you’re not watching “The Following”, I have a few suggestions to definitely check out if you want to rent movies!  I love my Redbox!

“INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED”

This Mexican comedy-drama directed and written by star Eugenio Derbez stunned the American box office when it opened last fall and I can see why.

Instructions Not Included

The $5 million dollar movie is now up to $90.2 million in box office revenues.

Of that amount, $39.3 million was made in the U.S.  “Instructions” is now the highest grossing Spanish-language movie of all time and it’s the 4th highest grossing foreign film domestically.

In Mexico, by the second week in release, it had become the highest grossing Mexican film of all time.

Derbez stars as Valentin’, a bum that likes to sleep around.  One day, a former fling shows up at his door while he’s entertaining a couple of women.  She hands him a baby and gets money to go back down to pay the taxi.  She doesn’t return.

instructions_not_included

Valentin’ begins tracking down the American mother and realizes that she may be in Los Angeles.  He and the little girl, Maggie, head off in search of the baby’s mother, Julie.

He gets a job as a stunt man after saving the baby’s life in front of a director.  Over the years, Valentin’ and Maggie grow close.

Valentin Maggie

And, that’s where the drama comes in.

This movie is a definite must-see.  You won’t even notice that you have to read subtitles!

GRADE:  A

“NEBRASKA”

This black & white movie was nominated for six Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Director for Alexander Payne, Best Actor for Bruce Dern and Best Supporting Actress for June Squibb.

Nebraska

Dern stars as Woody Grant, an elderly Billings, Montana, man who thinks he’s won a million dollars in a sweepstakes.  Since he’s suffers from memory loss, he heads off walking several times to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect his money.

You can see the stress that this brings to his wife, Kate (Squibb) and his son, David, played by former “Saturday Night Live” comedian, Will Forte, in a dramatic role that he aces.

David gives in and decides to drive to Nebraska with his father.  On the way, there will be a family get together in Woody’s small Nebraska hometown the weekend before they arrive in Lincoln.  Once Woody tells people he’s won a million dollars, family and friends all come forward to demand their share of the winnings.

June Squibb

The movie was very hard to watch at times because it was so awkward, but real.  I felt like I was a voyeur in the Grant family’s life.

While Dern and Forte were amazing, June Squibb made the movie.  The fact that she didn’t have a filter and said what she was thinking, her performance definitely deserved an Oscar nomination — if not for the cemetery scene alone and it was funny!

GRADE:  A-

“OLDBOY”

Director Spike Lee’s remake of the 2003 South Korean cult film, Oldboy, was a box office bomb, but it was very entertaining and intriguing.

OLDBOY

Josh Brolin stars as Joe, an alcoholic advertisement executive.  He drinks during the work day just to get through it and he’s good at what he does.

However, one night, after he botches a pretty much sealed high-profile deal over dinner, he gets wasted and wakes up being held captive in a “room” after following an Asian woman with an umbrella through an alley.

In his captivity, he finds out the he’s being framed for the rape and murder of his ex-wife.  His infant child, Mia, survived the attack.

Josh Brolin

Joe is held prisoner for 20 years and then he’s drugged and released in a box in the middle of a field with cash and a cell phone.  While in captivity, he was forced to watch a video of his grown daughter, Mia, talking about how she’d feel to meet her father again.

That’s where it gets violent and very creepy.

The movie also features incredible performances from Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, who’s one of the best new actresses out there, and Sharlto Copley (“District 9” and “Elysium”).

While I enjoyed this movie, when it hits theaters, it was one of the weakest openings for Thanksgiving of all time.  It only grossed $850,000 in the first five days.

“Summer of Sam” is still my favorite Spike Lee movie, but this is solid, too.

GRADE: B

As you know, I love watching movies and I’m sure I’ll have a few more short reviews to share with you soon.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!  I wish you the very best this year.  If 2013 was a great year for you, I hope this one is better.  If 2013 wasn’t all that great, I hope 2014 is incredible.

Happy 2014

Here are my first random thoughts of 2014!

HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!

This is not a segue into the bitterly cold, below zero temperatures we’re waking up to in the Midwest this Friday or the brutal cold coming in early next week.

Hell has frozen over because I can now say that I agree with former Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck on something!

On CNN recently, Beck cracked me up talking about Santa and race when he replied, “I don’t know what color your imaginary friends are.”

However, it was his comments about Russia and a prominent television star there that caught my attention and we found common ground.

People, I’ve talked about this hate since last summer, but we really need to wake up when it comes to Russia and the sad state of human rights there!

GOODBYE CHRISTMAS

Christmas Outside

As much as I love the Christmas lights and decorations, the outdoors lights will be put away when some of the snow melts and it warms up a little.  The “live” tree inside comes down next weekend!

Christmas Tree

I had a very nice Christmas and Santas Ray, Tammy, Gretel, Betty & Ray’s parents lavished me with some fun and some very practical gifts.  By practical, do you notice the soap, shampoos, and lotions?  I can’t wait to use the food processor this summer when the garden produces enough tomatoes for homemade salsa.

And, Vickie, thank you for the Michael Buble book and Andy, the tie is too cool!

Christmas Gifts

RICKY MARTIN IS SINGLE

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Ricky Martin’s publicist has confirmed that the Latin heartthrob and his partner of about three years, Carlos González Abella, are no longer together.
The statement says, “Ricky and Carlos have mutually agreed to end their relationship, but continue to be united by friendship and their shared experiences.”
ricky-martin-vanity-fair

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Jesus

Forecast

Healthy

BEING HEALTHIER IS NOT A RESOLUTION

If you recall, in 2012, Ray and I both lost about 25-30 pounds for his 30th high school reunion and the Madonna concert for my birthday in Las Vegas.  While it was hard eating very little and walking a lot, it was worth it.

Vegas October 2012

Since October 2012, we haven’t been very dedicated to healthy eating and it shows.  I’ve gained all the weight back and more!  Yesterday morning, I weighed more than I’ve ever weighed!

I feel like I look like Christian Bale’s character in “American Hustle”, but with better hair and clothes.  Okay, I’m slightly exaggerating there.

Christian Bale American Hustle

Ray and I have both set our weight loss goal of 15 pounds by summer.

Bring on the lettuce!

REDBOX TARGETED OVER SAME-SEX MOVIE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  I’ll watch a movie that I normally wouldn’t check out, because for $1.20, you generally can’t go wrong.  As far as I can recall, I’ve never rented a gay-themed movie from Redbox because they normally aren’t there.

However, there’s a documentary called “Bridgegroom” available now and it’s causing some uproar.

NETFLIX POSTER

It tells the story of the documentary’s producer, Shane Bitney Crone, and his late partner, Tom Bridegroom, who died in an accidental fall from a rooftop.

Some of you may recall this story about Crone’s grief in the YouTube video sensation, “It Could Happen To You”, in which Crone describes Bridegroom’s family refusing to let him to come to his partner’s funeral and them threatening his life. It has been viewed more 4.6 million times since it was posted more than a year ago.

Crone posted on Facebook earlier this week, “some radio hosts and church groups have encouraged others to boycott the popular Redbox video rental kiosks completely, simply because they are against a love story about two men.”

REDBOX

Redbox plans to supply the documentary to its 44,000 kiosks across the country and is contributing 5% of the film’s proceeds to GLAAD, GLSEN, PFLAG, and Freedom the Marry.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” FLASHBACK

Since I started my blog almost two years ago, I regularly featured some of my favorite pop songs from the 1980s, the best decade of music!

In 2014, I’m taking the mantra of Marie Osmond, with whom I share a birthday.  This year, “I’m a little bit country” and I’m starting it off with Shania Twain.

Shania2

No, it’s not one of the awesome country and pop crossover hits from her mega-selling albums “The Woman In Me”, “Come On Over” or “Up” that made Shania the best-selling female country artist not only in America, but the world.  She has sold more than 85 million albums world-wide!

In America alone, “The Woman In Me” sold 12+ million copies, 20+ million for “Come On Over”, and 11+ million for “Up”.

Shania’s first hit, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” reached #11 in 1995.  Including that hit, she has scored 27 Top 40 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 7 have topped the charts.

Shania Twain

However, my feature hit today is her first release from her self-titled debut in 1993.  Sadly, “What Made You Say That” and the follow-up, “Dance With The One That Brought You”, both only reached #55.

We played this song like crazy at Charlie’s, the country bar that I worked at in Chicago, before Shania made it big!

2014 CONCERTS

If it all works out, I want to visit Las Vegas in 2014 and see a double feature of Shania Twain and Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”, which is earning rave reviews since it started last Friday night.

Shania1Britney

More than likely, the first show we’ll see this year will be Cher and her “Dressed To Kill” tour when it comes to Rosemont, outside Chicago, on June 7th.

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

I’d also like to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis’ “Grits & Glamour Tour” in Clinton, Iowa, in June, since I’ve seen both of them separately in concert.

Lorrie-Morgan-and-Pam-Tillis-(Grits-&-Glamour-Tour)

I also want to see Erasure next fall and Olivia Newton-John, if she tours.

ErasureOlivia

And, I’m still holding out for a Culture Club reunion tour.

culture-club

“AMERICAN HUSTLE”

Last week, you learned that the Israeli drama/love story, “Out in The Dark”, was my favorite movie of 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I’m already starting to compile my best of 2014 list and the first theatrical movie I checked out was “American Hustle”.

American Hustle

The movie, directed by David O. Russell, stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who Russell directed in “The Fighter” and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook”, which was also directed by Russell.

“American Hustle” is loosely based on a FBI undercover operation back in the  late-1970s and early-1980s involving crooked politicians.

All four stars were incredible in the movie and gave Oscar worthy performances.

I think Adams has a Best Actress nomination secured and Lawrence could very well be nominated in the Supporting Actress category.  Her nutty character was funny and heartbreaking.

GRADE:  A-

HOLLYWOOD, LISTEN TO ME!

I’ve now seen Jennifer Lawrence in five movies and she’s been captivating in every one of them.

jennifer-lawrence

I believe every movie should star Lawrence and Melissa Leo, who I hope Oscar remembers in mid-January when the nominations are announced.  She was phenomenal in “Prisoners”.

Melissa Leo Prisoners

Happy 2014 again and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  I plan on relaxing this weekend, vegging out, watching movies, and getting through more of “The X-Files”.  We’re midway through season seven.

Since I mentioned my favorite movie of 2013 in this blog, I’ll leave you with my favorite song and video of 2013.  You can find separate blogs of my “best of 2013” by hitting the back button at the top of this blog for past blogs. 🙂

Wait, I have a Cher playlist and I know the words to every Britney song…………

Anthony