Posts Tagged ‘Summer of Sam’

Randomness — Holidays, Movies & More

Since I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I still wanted to share some recommendations on things I watched and enjoyed lately.

If you saw these, too, let me know what you thoughts.  If you didn’t, you have some things to check out!

A QUEEN BRINGS LIFE TO THE NEWBORN KING!

Leave it to a queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, to bring life to the newborn king holiday ballad, “The Little Drummer Boy” !

This is an incredible, fun version of the song and I love the video. 🙂

BABY, BRING THE BUBBLY INSIDE!

Fun Mimosas.jpg

CHRISTMAS SONG THOUGHTS

I’m not even going to get into the whole “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” debate.  It was already one of my least favorite holiday songs even before this year!

But, here are a few things to think about when listening to Christmas music this year!

In “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, it lists the other reindeer and then asks a very silly question, “but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all”!

hermey-rudolph01

Seriously, if he’s the most famous reindeer of all, of course we remember him!

From “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “a child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.

While silver and gold would be nice to have, why not a damn blanket since the baby is cold!!!

Wise-Men-Baby-Jesus-Manger.png

And, I love the Carpenters!  But, in “Home For The Holidays”, I shake my head when Karen sings of going home and “Geez, the traffic is terrific!”

Traffic is terrific????  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER.

It’s more like…

gtfo

… of my way!

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE”

I finally got around to watching “It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes, which made debuted on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Rimes stars as Eve Morgan, who goes back home as Interim school superintendent to get the district out of financial trouble.  The easiest way to do it is to cut the arts program.

And, who does she meet living across the street from her mother and stepfather?  You probably guessed it — a very handsome music teacher, Liam (Tyler Hynes), at one of the schools on the chopping block!

While predictable, it’s still a cute movie.

The only thing I cringed about was the use of my least favorite (and widely overused) term these days:  “meet cute”.   It wasn’t used once or twice, but three times, if I’m not mistaken! 🙂

GRADE:  B

Before the show premiered, I wrote, “the soundtrack is incredible!  Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave it an “A” grade!

REMEMBERING DREW & JUAN

After the summer 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims — especially 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

While that Christmas was perfect for the young men and their families, I know the following ones have been difficult for the grieving families.

To their families. Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

This past November marked the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.  Some called it “mass murder” and others, a “mass suicide”.

I’m in the “mass murder” camp, since the Reverend Jim Jones was deranged and pretty much forced those people to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at gunpoint!

More than 900 people died.

This SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life from Indiana to the jungles of Guyana was incredible.

GRADE:  A

“PADDINGTON 2”

2014’s “Paddington” was fun.  The little bear is adorable and especially so, voiced by my big-time crush, Ben Whishaw!

Ben Whishaw

Plus, Nicole Kidman as a villain was icing on the cake.

This year’s $40 million sequel was box office gold.  It made $226.9 million.

Paddington is living in London and wants to buy his aunt a picture book.  But, this movie’s villain (played by Hugh Grant) wants the book because it holds clues to a treasure that no one knows about, except him.

The movie is very cute and heartwarming.  With just minutes before the end credits, Iit brought tears to my eyes!  🙂

Also, at one point near the end of the movie, a scene with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins made me feel like I was watching “The Shape of Water 2”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“SEARCHING”

This incredible movie was made for just a million dollars and brought in an astounding $70.6 million in theaters.

It was shot mostly on smartphones and computer screens and is eerie and creepy.

John Cho stars as a dad that learns he knows very little about his 15-year-old daughter when she goes missing.

Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) is a detective that’s helping solve the case.

Cho is nominated for the “Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead”.

GRADE: A-

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” WINTER FINALE

While I still like “The Good Doctor” on ABC, I recently wrote that I’ve cooled on the show.  Well, that all changed with the winter finale, “Quarantine”!

If you’ve never watched the show or you don’t watch it religiously, watch this episode “On Demand”!!!

And, if you’ve never watched it, all you need to know is that Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is autistic and is considered a savant!

It was intense and scary to think that this could really happen!  And, which major characters will die?

“The Good Doctor” returns on ABC Monday, January 14, 2019.

“JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS”

Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”).

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.

GRADE: A-

“BLACKkKLANSMAN”

This Spike Lee picture was made for $15 million and made $88.2 million in theaters.

It’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado in the early-1970s.

John David Washington (Denzel’s son) plays Stallworth, who contacts the Ku Klux Klan and then has to coach a white officer (Adam Driver) to pose as Stallworth to meet the hooded haters!

While this story took place in the ’70s, there were subtle and not so subtle references to “that man”, 45!

The nominations are coming in for BLACKkKLANSMAN”!  It’s up for five Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

It’s also nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Washington) and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

While this movie was very enjoyable and entertaining, my favorite Spike Lee movie is still 1999’s underappreciated “Summer of Sam”.

GRADE: B+

“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU”

Lakeith Stanfield will be a name you’ll hear more of in the future.

He leads this movie about a telemarketer who learns that using a “white voice” helps his sales and will move him up the corporate ladder at WorryFree faster.

But, it comes with a price.

This comedy is crazy and definitely goes off the rails with well-endowed horse people (you’ll have to watch the movie)! 🙂

Sexy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) stars as the CEO of the company.

It made $17.6 million in theaters and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

GRADE: B

“HEREDITARY”

I like horror movies and I love Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding”), but I wasn’t drawn to the theaters to see “Hereditary”.

I finally saw it on DVD and I made the right decision to avoid it.

Supernatural movies have less appeal to me than horror movies with deranged serial killers!  Hello Michael Myers!

Halloween

“Hereditary” does have a very surprising and shocking death scene that I didn’t see coming.

While Collette and Alex Wolff, who plays her 16-year-old son, are great, the movie was too long and convoluted.

Yet, it was a box office hit earning $79.3 million.

GRADE:  B-

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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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