Posts Tagged ‘Shailene Woodley’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 3, 2017

It’s already the first week of March and for the winter weary (even though in the Quad Cities, the winter hasn’t been bad at all), it’s officially “meteorological spring”.

That’s the three months (March, April, and May) sandwiched between the three coldest months of the year and the three hottest of the year.

So, enjoy that and my Random Friday Thoughts.

FOUR YEARS ALREADY 

This past weekend, Facebook alerted me through its “On This Day” feature that I started my new position on “Local 4 News This Morning” four years ago!  Time sure does fly.

Anthony CBS4

When I posted that as my status update, the outpouring of kind comments was heartwarming.  Thank you all so much for following me down the road in the Quad Cities as I continue to do what I love and something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.

But, it wasn’t the four year announcement that got a few people to thinking, it was this line that started off the post, “As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes know where it’ll lead. At other times, the unforeseen detours make it more exciting.”

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

One of my close friends sent me this, “…lately I’ve been having a feeling you may be leaving broadcast weather, or debating doing so…So upon seeing your anniversary post, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an announcement that you were moving on to a different challenge.”

So, that got me to thinking and two things came to mind.

I’ve always been upfront in my daily correspondences with family and friends, in my blog, and on social media.  At times, I’m too brutally honest (a fault, I know — it’s that “tone”)!

Mouth Shut

Kidding aside, when there’s something new to disclose, you know I’ll share it with you.  I’m just honored that some of you really care.

I appreciate that and the feelings are mutual.

AND THE WINNER IS…. NO, WAIT…..

Remember back in 1993 when Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny”?

There are still people today that believe the wrong name was announced and to save face, a correction was never made.  (By the way, Tomei has been nominated two more times since in the Best Supporting Actress category!)

True or not, the climax of the 89th Annual Academy Awards was definitely suspenseful.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Legendary actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” won Best Picture.

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Well, the winner of Best Picture was actually “Moonlight”!

As the “La La Land” team was making its way on stage, the error was realized and the correct winner was announced.  Awkward!

According to Beatty and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles Oscar voting and the envelopes with the winners, the presenters were handed the envelope for Best Actress, which was won by Emma Stone of “La La Land”.

Sounds logical, but here’s where it gets fishy!

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Best Actress Stone, who had just picked up her Oscar, says “I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time.”  Stone adds, “I don’t mean to start stuff but whatever story that was, I had that card, so I’m not sure what happened.”

But, the snafu might make sense!  In a 2016 interview, PricewaterhouseCoopers says it makes duplicates of every card.  So, Stone may have had hers and the other one was accidentally handed to Beatty and Dunaway.

Leave it to Hollywood for the drama.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

Since I don’t have HBO, I’m bummed that I have to wait to see “Big Little Lies”, the seven-part series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Alexander Skarsgaard when it comes to DVD.

It’s based on the Liane Moriarty book, which I just read!

I loved that you got almost to the end of the the book before you find out who was killed and who did it.  Now, that’s great storytelling and suspense.

Once I finished the book, I finally checked out the trailer for the series.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that I’m not surprised that the locale moved from Pirriwee, Australia in the book to Monterrey, California, for the series.

I also can’t wait to see the HBO series to find out more about the gun you see in the trailer. I sure don’t want that to be the method of “murder” since the book’s cause of death is much more potent and highly unexpected than a gunshot!

It’s a great, catty, powerful read.

BARBARA BUSH

I have a confession to make.

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When Barbara Bush was the “First Lady” of the United States (1989-1993) and even the eight years that she was the “Second Lady of the United States” (1981-1989), I wasn’t a fan.

There was just something standoffish about her.  It was clear to me that she loved her family, but I just didn’t feel the warmth was genuine.

After reading her book, “A Memoir”, I’ve changed my views quite a bit.  I still think she’s a force to reckon with and I still disagree with her on several things, but that’s part of life.

She is more down-to-earth than I gave her credit for and she accomplished so much in those twelve years.

However, she did say some things that sound so odd today (keep in mind that the book came out in 1994) and very politically incorrect.

But, Ms. Bush gets brownie points with me when she talks about whether or not she thinks the American public likes the First Lady to be front and center.

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She writes, “Hillary Rodham Clinton is certainly very much a part of her husband’s decision-making process.  She seems much the stronger of the two.  Does it make him seem weaker?  I am afraid that when problems or controversy occur, and they will, the finger will be pointed at Hillary.”

How prophetic!

It’s great seeing her and former President George H.W. Bush out in public whenever they make appearances these days.

George Barbara

She’s now 91 and he’s 92 (both have June birthdays) and they’re now the the oldest living President and First Lady.

My favorite Commander-in-Chief Jimmy Carter is less than four months younger.  He turns 93 on October 1st.

Jimmy Carter

I still have another Barbara Bush book to read, “Reflections:  Life After the White House”(2003).

And, as I’ve stated before, my favorite Bush family member is former First Lady Laura Bush.

Laura Bush

I still want to meet her one day!

YOUTH SUICIDE RATES IN UTAH

I’m getting caught up on some magazines stacked in my bedroom and I came across an eye-opening fact in a couple of them.

In “Out” (September 2016), it was reported that in Utah, suicide is the number one cause of death for kids ages 10 to 17.

How sad is that!

MORE STARTLING FACTS

In “The Advocate” (June/July 2016), I read these startling facts from John T. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago:

  • Living with obesity increases the odds of an early death by 20%
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases the odds by 30%
  • Loneliness increases odds of an early death by 45%

Damn!  This means some of us aren’t going to live anywhere near forever!

“I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER”

I’m just a bundle of happiness today! 🙂

Maybe this is the perfect time to share my favorite song out right now —  Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.

“MANCHESTER BY THE SEA”

Casey Affleck won the Best Actor award at the Oscars last weekend for his role in this Best Picture nominee.

Affleck was incredible in character, but his character had no likable characteristics.

He plays a Boston janitor with many issues and you learn more of them as the movie goes on.

He’s called home when his brother has a fatal heart attack and he’s asked to raise his teen-aged nephew.  That’s not a spoiler!

Michelle Williams plays Affleck’s ex-wife and is only in a few scenes, but a couple of them were very emotional and earned her an Oscar nomination.

Lucas Hedges played Affleck’s nephew and he’s incredible.  He has some very funny lines that are still rooted in pain.  There’s one scene where he doesn’t speak, but his facial expressions and reaction speaks volumes.

Hedges was also nominated for an Oscar, but didn’t win.

GRADE:  B

“ARRIVAL”

I love Amy Adams and she was great, as always, in this science fiction movie.

I also like sci-fi, too, but this one didn’t blow me away.

While the movie was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (Adams didn’t get a nomination), neither deserved it.

Adams plays a language expert grieving a personal loss and she’s asked to decipher the language of aliens that have landed in different ships around the world.

It just didn’t gel me and I didn’t get excited about the fate of the world or the aliens.

GRADE:  C+

ONE LAST BARBARA BUSH NOTE

One thing that resonated strongly while reading “A Memoir” by Barbara Bush is her response to late actress and two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters (“The Poseidon Adventure”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “A Patch of Blue”, and “A Place in the Sun”).

An upset Winters called the First Lady during “Desert Storm” and wanted President Bush to enact some war act restricting the press from telling all.

Ms. Bush writes, “I tried to explain to this extremely agitated woman that if the President were to do as she asked and put a ban on the press, the hue and cry from one and all would be deafening.”

I agree.

So, where is that deafening cry from one and all today with #45???

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Resist!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

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While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

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That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

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I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

CarterPres

My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

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Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

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Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Movies on DVD You Must See

It’s still summer and there’s still some blockbusters showing at the theaters.

However, as the days get shorter and you start to spend more time indoors, here are some movies I caught on DVD recently that I recommend for your viewing pleasure.

“WOMAN IN GOLD”

While it brought in $55 million at the worldwide box office, this movie based on a true life story of one woman’s fight to get back her family’s art that was stolen when Germany invaded Europe in World War 2.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren is amazing as always.  It also stars Ryan Reynolds as her young lawyer fighting his first big case that became an international fight with Vienna, Austria.

“Orphan Black” star Tatiana Maslany plays Mirren’s character as a young woman.

GRADE:  A-

“THE DIVERGENT SERIES:  INSURGENT”

I moved on from “The Hunger Games” after the second movie.  I don’t care to see either of the “Mockingjay” movies.  Katniss, I wish you the best against President Snow.

I’m on “Team Divergent”.

I just saw the second movie in the series, “Insurgent” and it was just as enjoyable as the first one, “Divergent”.  Both movies have made almost $300 million each.

This one picks up just after Tris (Shailene Woodley), Four (Theo James), and few others escape evil Jeanine (Kate Winslet).

“The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part One” hits theaters in March 2016 and the final movie in the series, “The Divergent Series – Allegiant – Part Two” comes out March 2017.

GRADE:  B+

“BOXTROLLS”

While this Oscar and Golden Globes-nominated animated feature came out in theaters last fall, I finally got around to seeing it and it was highly enjoyable.

It’s about Eggs, a human boy who thinks he’s a box-wearing troll.  His father sent him to safety to live with the trash-collecting trolls to save the baby from the evil pest exterminator.

That exterminator wants to eliminate all the Box Trolls to get into a secret society called the “White Hats”, which is run by the Mayor.

And, they love cheese!  You’ll want a cheese tray after seeing this movie — if you’re not allergic to it, as the exterminator is. 🙂

People in town fear the Boxtrolls because they’ve come to believe (falsely) that they kidnap and kill children.

GRADE:  B

“THE 10-YEAR PLAN”

If you’ve seen many LGBT films over the past years, you may have come across “Is It Just Me?” and “eCupid” by writer/director JC Calciano.

His latest is a romantic comedy starring the charming Jack Turner and Michael Adam Hamilton as best friends Myles and Brody.

They live in West Hollywood and are complete opposites.

Myles is a hopeless romantic that sees his next husband in all of the guys he dates (don’t worry, Myles, we’ve all been there!  Okay, at the time, I didn’t have the internet!).  Brody doesn’t want love, he just wants to have a good time and he does.

One night they make an agreement that if they’re still single in ten years, they’ll become a couple forever.

Ten years later, they’re still single and Brody is freaking out and starts working feverishly on finding someone for Myles to love — but, has he been there all along?

GRADE:  B

Anthony