Posts Tagged ‘Richard Gere’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 31, 2018

Where does time go?

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

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

BAD THINGS FOLLOW ME???

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

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

Jacksonville.jpg

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

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

I was in Ottawa, Ontario, in September 2014.

AP Ottawa.jpg

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

AP Paris

I was in Paris, France, in October 2014.

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

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

Vegas

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

LV

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

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

Vegas Strong.JPG

OH DONNIE, KEEP YOUR TWEETS STRAIGHT!

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

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

Oh Trump.JPG

KAREN CARPENTER’S WEDDING

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

KC Wedding

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

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

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

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

Three months later Karen was dead!

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

MY FAVORITE CARPENTERS’ SONGS

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

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU”

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING”

#1 “TOP OF THE WORLD”

“INSATIABLE”

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

It was accused of fat-shaming and homophobia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christopher Gorham.jpg

GRADE:  B+

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD”

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“AMERICAN GIGOLO”

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

ALCAZAR

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

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

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

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

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

“THE BELKO EXPERIENCE”

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

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

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

Talk about a rough day on the job!

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

GRADE:  B

“THE STEPFORD WIVES” REMAKE

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

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

SW

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Ready to Watch Some Movies?

I love watching movies, yet I’ve only been to the theater once this year.  I saw “Beauty and the Beast” when it came out this spring.

I want to share some of the recent ones I’ve watched at home.  I highly recommend some and you should proceed with caution on others.

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

If you want a movie that doesn’t have superheroes or isn’t a sequel, check out this Warren Beatty-directed flick about reclusive and eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

While he’s the star of the movie, it focuses on the flirting and budding affair of one of his drivers (Alden Ehrenreich) and an actress on his payroll (Lily Collins).

Ehrenreich is mesmerizing on screen and for “Star Wars” fans, he’ll be playing the young Han Solo in next year’s stand alone film.

Collins was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Sadly, the movie bombed at theaters, so here’s your chance to see it in Redbox.

GRADE:  B+

“THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES”

You’ve got to check out this Netflix original comedy!

Jessica Williams plays a struggling New York City playwright that’s trying to get over a break-up.

Since her relationship ended, life hasn’t been all that great — career rejections letters and rejects in her single life.

She goes out on a date with a divorced man a few years older, played by the charming Chris O’Dowd.

Williams and O’Dowd are funny together and that first date is hilarious.

If you’ve ever had a break-up, this romantic comedy (with some drama) is perfect.

GRADE:  B+

“THE DINNER”

This movie stars two of my favorite actors, Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and one of my new discoveries, Rebecca Hall.

Gere and Hall (he’s a politician running for governor and she’s his wife) are having dinner with his brother and sister-in-law (Steve Coogan and Linney).

They’re there to discuss a family issue that could blow up and become a public relations nightmare for Gere and bring criminal charges onto the family.

If the movie focused on the two couples and dinner at the restaurant, it would have been rated much higher.

While I know there has to be back story to set it up, some of the scenes went on way too long — especially the Gettysburg scene.  It was painfully long!

However, “The Dinner” is still a movie to see just for the spectacular acting of the four leads.

GRADE:  B-

Since I mentioned that Rebecca Hall is one of my new favorites, I want to add “Christine” to the list.

I saw this movie this summer on Netflix and wrote about it to my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 23, 2017.

“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

“CLOSET MONSTER”

This little seen Canadian movie is about a kid that witnesses a harrowing hate crime and doesn’t tell anyone.

As he’s coming of age as a teenager, he’s traumatized living in a broken home with a homophobic father, especially since he thinks he’s gay.

Connor Jessup is incredible as Oscar, the tormented teenager.

You’ll probably remember Jessup from the second season of ABC’s “American Crime”, where he played a teen that was raped by a member of the football team, which was covered up by the school.

Jessup plays heartbreak and pain well!

GRADE:  B

“PHIL SPECTOR”

This 2013 HBO film was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards.

I bought it when a movie franchise was going out of business and just got around to watching it.

It stars one of my favorite actresses Helen Mirren as an attorney for Phil Spector, incredibly played by Al Pacino.

As you recall, Spector, one of the most famous music producers of all time, was on trial for shooting and killing a “down on her luck” actress in his home.

While the movie didn’t win any Emmy Awards, Mirren did win the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie”.

GRADE:  B+

I hope you’re able to check some of these out.  Some are in Redbox, some on Netflix, and some might be harder to find.

Anthony

Crooks, Cheaters, Killers, & Lovers

Prior to meeting Ray almost four years ago, the late great Miss ABBA and I spent much of our free time during the winter on walks in the cold and ample Midwestern snows.  We also spent a lot of time curled up on the couch watching movies.  While we haven’t had much snow this winter (officially, 5.3″ in the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois), I’ve been watching plenty of movies lately and I want to recommend some to you.  This past Saturday, Ray and I had a marathon movie day watching five movies!

“ARBITRAGE”

Richard Gere is already a Golden Globe nominee this year for his role as multi-billionaire Robert Miller in “Arbitrage”.  While Gere has won a Golden Globe for his performance as Billy Flynn in “Chicago” and he was also nominated for “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Pretty Woman”, the 63-year-old actor has never been nominated for an Oscar.  I think it’s time for that to change.

While it’s almost a given that Daniel Day-Lewis will likely take home the gold statue this year, Gere deserves his first Academy Award nomination.

As Miller, a hedge fund manager, he’s not only being shady with his company’s assets, he’s also cheating on his wife, played by Oscar winner Susan Sarandon (“Dead Man Walking”).  While trying to keep his French mistress happy, something unfortunate happens and Miller not only has to work to secure a make-it-or-break-it deal to keep his company afloat, but also to stay out of jail.

The movie does have plenty of business talk diaogue to comprehend, but there’s enough drama and suspense to make it a must see.

Gere is as striking to me today as he was in “Pretty Woman” two decades ago.  As Robert Miller, he was phenomenal.  While she wasn’t given a part that is worthy of Oscar’s attention, Sarandon looks amazing.  I sure hope Hollywood keeps Gere and Sarandon busy in the years to come.

GRADE:  A

“ABSENT” (“AUSENTE”)

This Spanish-language film by Argentinean director Marco Berger won the “Best Feature Film” Teddy Award, which is part of the Berlin International Film Festival, last year.

This psychological drama follows 16-year-old Martin (stunning Javier De Pietro) as he spins a web of lies to seduce his sports coach Sebastian (Carlos Eschevarria).  The movie is told from the perspective of the coach and it leaves you with many unanswered questions:  did something really happen between the two and if so, is the adult still at fault even if he was the “victim”?

Berger (“Plan B”) is a great director and I look forward to more movies from him.

The only problem I had with the movie is that if it’s left up to the viewer to decide what really happened, we should have had one more scene to show what may or may not have happened that night.  The kiss goodbye at the end of the movie implies that something did happen, but since we didn’t see that, it was just confusing.

GRADE:  B

“ELLIOT LOVES”

This comedy-drama follows the life of Elliot, a Dominican-American, first as a 9-year-old trying to bond with his mother, and then as a 21-year-old trying to find love in New York City.

Elliot and his mother have one thing in common — looking for love in all the wrong people.

The movie is a perfect combination of feel good laughs and a few scenes that will tug at your heart and push you almost to tears.  Like his mother, Elliot will do anything to be loved.  As in real life, you find love when you’re least expecting it.

GRADE:  A-

“GAYBY”

This is easily one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in some time.

Matt and Jenn have been friends since college and now that her biological clock is ticking, she wants to have a baby (oh yeah, there’s a trust that requires a baby).  So, she asks Matt, her gay BFF, to be the father of the baby and after thinking about it, he agrees.  When she tells him that she wants to do it the old-fashioned way, many awkwardly funny scenes ensue.

GRADE:  A

‘THE HUNGER GAMES”

Since I’m one of the last people in the world to see this movie, my review will be short.  Just see it, it’s amazing.

It’s about 24 poor kids (12 boys and 12 girls) called “tributes” that have to fight to the death in a futuristic reality show.

There’s a girl, Katniss, who’s fierce with a bow and arrow and she has a fiery dress.  There’s a boy, Peeta, who bakes bread and believe it or not, that comes in handy in the “hunger games”.  And, there’s a hottie back home, Gale, that has to watch a scene in a cave that has nothing to with cuddly bears or Osama bin Laden.

Did I mention that they fight to the death and only person survives?  Or, do they?  Keep in mind that the movie has made $686 million dollars and there are three sequels coming.  I don’t want to spoil it, but who do you think might survive?  Oh, Jennifer Lawrence, the star, may be nominated for an Oscar this year for “Silver Linings Playbook”.

GRADE:  A

“KILLER JOE”

This Southern white trash film was pretty much ignored at movie theaters.  It’s made only $3.7 million.  And, that’s a shame because the movie stars some of Hollywood’s best:  Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Gina Gershon, Thomas Hayden Church, and Juno Temple.  It’s also directed by William Friedkin, the mastermind behind “The Exorcist”.

One reason this movie might have been skipped over was its NC-17 rating.  Other reasons might be the violence and a provocative, controversial sex scene between McConaughey and Gershon.  All I can say is that I’ll never look at KFC the same way again.

The acting is spectacular, the subject matter is violent, and the pivotal scenes are truly disturbing.

GRADE:  A

“THE FALLS”

After seeing “Latter Days”, one of my favorite movies of all time, any future coming-of-age or coming out Mormon love story would have big shoes to fill.  While mildly entertaining and the actors showed promise, this was not that movie.

GRADE:  C

Anthony

Hits & Misses — What Is The Key To Succeed?

I think I have good taste.  I also think I have a good ear for music and can pick out great movies.  But, that doesn’t always translate into mainstream success.  Maybe I’m just not mainstream???

In 1990, I loved “Pretty Women” and it was huge at the box office ($463.4 million) and it made that stunning Julia Roberts a star and showed how sexy Richard Gere was with gray hair.

Okay, women, gay friends, and jealous straight men, you have to admit that young Richard Gere was breathless.

On the other hand, in 1991, I absolutely loved “For The Boys” with Bette Midler.  I’m still enthralled with it today, but it bombed at the box office.  The $40 million movie only made back $23.2 million.

This weekend, I predicted that “Looper” would be huge and for the weekend of October 12, 2012, “Argo” will rule the box office and I’ll be checking that one out in Las Vegas.  I can’t wait.

However, before I get totally sidetracked about movies, this blog is really about picking music.  And, if you stay with me to the end, a very sexy, naughty new video that should be big.  If not, I don’t know what to say. 🙂

In 1983, I fell in love with a dancer and singer that specialized in club music before she was mainstream.

When Madonna charted with her first few radio hits, “Holiday”, “Lucky Star”, and “Borderline”, music industry skeptics said that her career would be over soon and that Cyndi Lauper was the real star.  I loved Cyndi’s music and I still do.  I appreciate all that she’s done for the LGBT community, but let’s face it, Madonna is the biggest star.

On the other hand, I thought that Kim Wilde would be big in the U.S.  She scored 21 Top 40 hits in her native England.  However, in America, she only hit #25 with “Kids In America” in 1982, and she topped the chart in 1987 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

In 2005, I loved Cascada and they scored a few big radio hits in the U.S. (“Everytime We Touch” and “Evacuate The Dancefloor”).  And, in early 2008, I fell in love with another blonde dance artist named Lady Gaga before she went mainstream and she’s doing pretty good!

Last spring, I predicted that Carly Rae Jepsen would be huge this summer and I think you may have heard her song “Call Me Maybe” a few times.  Okay, a few thousand times.

Recently, my pick hits have been Chris Wallace, Calvin Harris, and Martina and the Diamonds.

So far, Chris had some modest airplay with Remember When (Push Rewind) and Calvin Harris sent Rihanna to the top of the chart with “We Found Love” and scored big hits with “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.

The act that I really expected to do much better in America was Marina and the Diamonds.  The new album, “Electra Heart” is great.  It sounds like 1980s new wave combined with 2012 angst.  Marina even  sounds like Katy Perry.  That should be enough for U.S. radio success.  However, the first single, Primadonna” didn’t even chart of the Billboard Hot 100 despite modest radio airplay.

Her new song, “How To Be A Heartbreaker” may receive the same cool reception at radio, but the video is nothing short of HOT!!!!  Prepare yourself ladies and gay men!

Okay, before I post it, there is some drama associated with it.  After the video was finished, here’s what Marina tweeted, “So, someone at my record label wont let me release the video bc I look ugly in it apparently + we need more $ / time to paint out ugly parts'”.

There’s that whole freaking image thing again and how young woman in entertainment are supposed to look.  Let the woman sing and do her thing!!

“HOW TO BE A HEARTBREAKER”

As a bonus (if you’re still reading), here’s Marina’s video to “Primadonna” and Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind).  Both are amazing and under appreciated.

“PRIMADONNA”

“REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND)”

Have a great weekend.

Anthony