Posts Tagged ‘true story’

Random Thoughts — January 30, 2019

With the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills invading much of Canada and the middle part of the United States, I thought I’d share a few things with you.

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That’s how it looked on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.  Temperatures were around -18° and wind chills were -45°!

Cold, but gorgeous!  Stay warm!

HERE’S TO A SPEEDY RECOVERY JUSSIE!

While it’s not new, I’m disgusted by the hatred in this country (and world).

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago by two white men.  Police are treating it as a possible hate crime.

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The men allegedly yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

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Jussie, I pray for a quick recovery from the physical injuries.  I know emotionally, it’ll take time to heal.  My thoughts are with you!

RACISM

There’s another very pathetic part of the story that I won’t mention because it hasn’t been confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.  But, if it’s true, it’s so very sad!

We all know that racism and hate has always been a part of our country’s fabric. Even after the progress in the 1960s, it was still there.

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But, before 45, it was rightfully condemned to be publicly racist.

Sadly, people are “free” again to hate without regret! 😦

SUAVE, BUT CREEPY, (VIOLENT) MEN!

Dating at a more mature age sucks!  Well, it can suck at any age! 🙂

I finally got around to watching the Bravo series, “Dirty John”, which is based on a true story.  (I talk about it below.)

As I was watching the first episode, I couldn’t believe that the woman (Debra) didn’t pick up on the warning signs that the man she had just started dating was a loser and user.

But, by the second episode, it really clicked as to how this could happen.  It happened to me on my 30th birthday, in Chicago, in the fall of 1994!

I had just been living in the city for three months and went out to celebrate.  I met Richard, a very charming guy with a great smile.  He was 25.

We had a great time that night and the first few weeks were fun.  Before I knew it, he had “moved in” — actually, “would never leave” is more like it!

By Christmas, the relationship was strained by his jealousy, which led to domestic violence.

Yes, I became “that person” lying about the bruises and making excuses that it wouldn’t happened again.

Five months after we met, it culminated with a near death, stalking experience — an emergency room visit, an arrest, and a court appearance!

This was a few days after the attack.  You can still see the gash on the forehead from a brick and the bruises under the eye and on the lip.

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While the Chicago court system let him off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, karma and fate prevailed.

A few years ago, I heard that he died!

“DIRTY JOHN”

Sharing that personal story was clearly inspired by Bravo’s “Dirty John” with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

It’s based on a podcast about a very successful businesswoman and mother of three, Debra Newell.  She’s been unlucky at love after four failed marriages when she finally meets John Meehan, a man just too good to be true.

Well, guess what?  He is too good to be true, thus the show’s name, “Dirty John”!

After the first episode, I thought, “Seriously, you’re that lonely not to see the red flags?”  But, more pieces of the story come together and you’re sucked into it!

Britton looks amazing and her clothes scream elegance!  Bana looks great even as the louse John!  And, it’s always a treat seeing Julia Garner (“Ozark” and “The Americans”).

But, I was really blown away by Juno Temple, who plays Veronica, Debra’s oldest daughter. She’s incredible!  I remember her from 2010’s “Kaboom”!

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Okay, one more thing — I’m still crushing on Kevin Zegers!

If you missed it on Bravo, it hits Netflix on Valentine’s Day (how lovely and twisted!) and a second season is in the works.

GRADE:  A-

REMEMBERING JAMES INGRAM

Two-time Grammy Award winner (with 12 other Grammy nominations) and two-time Oscar nominee James Ingram’s death was announced Tuesday, just a few weeks shy of his birthday.

He was 66.

Ingram first hit the chart in 1981 with “Just Once” (with Quincy Jones), one my favorite songs of his.

He scored a total of eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including two chart-toppers, 1982’s “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and 1990’s “I Don’t Have The Heart”.

SAG AWARDS — DIVERSITY HUMOR! 🙂

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Host Megan Mullally : “Hollywood did manage to get a few things right: They cast black people in “Black Panther”, so that was good… Asian people in”Crazy Rich Asians”… And, a green book in “Green Book”.  You know there were some executives saying, ‘Um, could the book be white?”

OSCAR NOMINATION SNUBS

While I was hoping for nominations for Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman for “Boy Erased” and Julia Roberts for “Ben Is Back”, I didn’t expect them!

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I was surprised that Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Bradley Cooper (Best Director – “A Star is Born”) were overlooked.

Furthermore, I was shocked that Marina De Tavira (“Roma”) picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress!  However, with all of the awards season love for the movie, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But, the biggest snub for me was in the Documentary category.  I still can’t believe “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, my #3 movie of 2018, wasn’t nominated!

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“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on my return flight from Morocco last fall, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

As you’ll see below the trailer, I gave it a grade I rarely give anything in entertainment!

GRADE:  A+

“BEAUTIFUL BOY”

As for acting, Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell were fantastic in this true story about a father’s efforts to save his teenager from drug abuse and death.

Chalamet was nominated for many major acting awards for this movie, but he didn’t get the Oscar nod.

Last year, he did get an Academy Award nomination for “Call Me By Your Name”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2018.

So, about “Beautiful Boy” — the acting was superb, but the movie was just a few steps up from a Lifetime movie.

You can catch it on Amazon Prime.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

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Anthony

Random Thoughts — Weekend of January 26, 2019

The snowy and bitterly cold weather this weekend is keeping many inside hibernating, so if you need something to watch, I have a few suggestions.

I was going to keep my random thoughts to entertainment and leave heavier topics, like politics, the government shutdown, and Chris Brown out of it, but I digress!

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I’m not commenting on the allegations, but about his name being “tarnished”!  Seriously????

Trust me, he took care of that 10 years ago!  As a matter of fact, we’re just a couple of weeks away from that Grammy Awards weekend shocker!

And, one more!

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Will my recommendations make the childhood Anthony smile or will they bring on the “you gotta be kidding me” and “there’s no way I’m going to smile” look? 🙂

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“SEX EDUCATION”

I absolutely love Gillian Anderson and she’s incredible in this Netflix series.

She plays Dr. Jean Milburn, a sex therapist with a 16-year-old son, Otis (Asa Butterfield), who suffers from solo performance anxiety.

While dealing with his own sexually repressed issues, Otis and a classmate start a “clinic” (for pay) offering sex advice to fellow students.

Otis’ best friend, Eric, is out and proud, but he endures an encounter that makes him re-think his life and his friendship with Otis.

While a comedy, the story lines are real and dramatic, too.

I’m hoping that “Sex Education” is renewed for a second season.  With Gillian Anderson involved, I’m sure it will be! 🙂

GRADE: A

GOODBYE “MANIFEST & HELLO “THE OTHER TWO”

I loved “Manifest” on NBC when it started, but once it came back from its holiday break, it didn’t hold my attention and I abandoned it!

I’m still enjoying “How To Get Away With Murder” as it heads toward the end of its fifth season (February 28, 2019).

A part of me thinks this will be the last season because of dwindling ratings.

However, it’s still a strong show and it still needs another 13 episodes to reach the new “standard” of 88 episodes for syndication!  ABC, bring it back for season six!

I also hope that “Madam Secretary” is renewed for a sixth season.

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And, I absolutely loved the premiere episode of Comedy Central’s “The Other Two”.   It’s only 30 minutes long, so check it out!

It’s about a 13-year-old who becomes an overnight viral sensation and how it affects his struggling millennial siblings!

I absolutely fell in love with Drew Tarver (Cary)!

My favorite scene, other than the “Survivor” make out scene, was when Cary’s boss at his server job told him and a co-worker that he and his wife watched “Brokeback Mountain”, but didn’t care for it.

The reaction was priceless, “You are… an ally.  We’ll see you at Pride!” 🙂

Molly Shannon and Helene Yorke also star.

PREMIERE GRADE:  A

“ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA”

This Ben Stiller-directed, seven-episode limited series on Showtime is based on the 2015 escape at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

Patricia Arquette stars as Tilly Mitchell, a supervisor in the facility that helped inmates Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) escape.

Arquette picked up Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Television awards for her performance.

While the acting is superb, the story that Stiller told in seven episodes could very well have been done in six tighter episodes!

GRADE: B-

COMING SOON TO DVD

I’m very excited that “Boy Erased” and “The Wife” with Oscar nominee Glenn Close are both coming to Redbox next Tuesday (January 29th)!

Sadly, “Boy Erased” didn’t come to theaters where I live.

It’s a heartbreaking story about “gay conversion therapy” that I wish more people knew about.  Yes, it’s appalling and it’s still happening in the U.S!

It stars two of absolute favorites, Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges!

For “The Wife”, Glenn Close picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  This is her seventh Oscar nomination without a single win in the first six tries!

While she’s up against Lady Gaga (and before seeing either performance), my money is on Close.

Close has already won a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice for this role, along with many film festival awards.

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

The next movie I’m looking forward to seeing in theaters is “Hotel Mumbai”, which is based on a November 2008 true event that rocked India.

It stars Oscar nominee Dev Patel (“Lion”, my favorite 2017 movie), and Golden Globe Award nominee and my future husband Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”).

It hits theaters March 29, 2019.

“THE AMERICANS

I highly recommend “The Americans”, which just wrapped up last summer.

It took me no time to binge watch all 75 episodes of the Emmy and Golden Globes winning series with the incredible Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

For six seasons, Russell and Rhys played Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, Soviet spies in Washington D.C. in the early-1980s at the height of the “Cold War”.

It’s intense, sexy, violent and thought-provoking!

The sixth and final season just won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series – Drama, an Emmy Award for Rhys and won three Critics’ Choice Television Awards!

And, let me tell you without spoilers, the series finale was one of the best finales I’ve watched!

It was heartbreaking, but the perfect ending to an almost perfect series.

GRADE: A

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Oscar, Remember Hushpuppy — A Little Beast

I know the week is just beginning, but I’m already looking forward to the weekend.  In addition to taking down the four Christmas trees, Ray and I are having a double theater movie experience:  “Zero Dark Thirty” Friday night and “Les Miserables” Saturday.

If you decide to rent movies, I have some suggestions and by this weekend, one or two of them could be Oscar nominees.  I’ll review them first.

“BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD”

This is that little movie that could.  Although I’ve been wanting to see it since it was released last summer, I was a little skeptical of the buzz surrounding the 9-year-old star of the movie (she was six at the time the movie was filmed).  My fears were unfounded.  I hope when the Academy Awards make the announcements Thursday morning that Quvenzhane Wallis becomes the youngest Best Actress nominee.

Her performance as Hushpuppy, a dirt poor girl raised in the Louisiana bayou called “the bathtub” that is cut off from the rest of the world by a levee, is breath-taking.  You can’t turn away from her.

We see little Hushpuppy as she deals with her dying father.  We see her and the other kids being taught about survival and about extinct large beasts released from the melting ice caps.  We see those ice caps crash into the water below as a hurricane swallows Hushpuppy and her dad’s derelict “homes”.  The flood waters from the hurricane force Hushpuppy, her dad, Wink, and some others into a makeshift boat.

Creatures in and around “the bathtub” start dying out from the flood waters and the poor water quality and we watch the survivors as they try to devise a way to save their pathetic livelihood and keep from being forced into a shelter in a mandatory evacuation.

As poor as I thought I was, as a child, living in a bug-infested, five-room apartment, I’ll never think I had it bad again.  Seeing Hushpuppy in “the bathtub” and knowing that she didn’t know there was a real world outside of her “bathtub” makes me realize how good I have it in life.

The movie is heartbreaking and a must see.  You’ll smile and you’ll want to cry when Wallis exclaims, “once there was a Hushpuppy and she lived with her Daddy in the bathtub”!

GRADE:  A

‘BERNIE”

I’ll get this out-of-the-way right now.  I’ve never been a fan of Jack Black and I’ve avoided movies that I wanted to see because he’s in them (“The Holiday”).  Now, I may have to check it out.

Black has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award for this movie and there is even Oscar buzz.  I don’t think that will happen because of the competitive Best Actor field this year.

Black plays Bernie Tiede, an assistant mortician in the small town of Carthage, Texas.  He is beloved by everyone in the community for his compassion and generosity.  He is especially loved by the little old ladies.  After they lose their husbands, he goes out of his way to follow-up to make sure they are doing well.

He does this with Marjorie Nugent, a cold, mean woman who’s even avoided by and sued by her own family.  The two become very close and are inseparable as they travel the world together.  Bernie even cuts back on his job to become Marjorie’s servant and right-hand man.

However, that’s when he really begins to see Marjorie’s nasty behavior.  When the elderly woman disappears from public, her accountant and family members become concerned.

Since this is based on true events, you can find out what happened to Marjorie.  And, that’s where the movie starts to drag and lose steam.

Most of the movie as we’re getting to know Bernie shows just how good of an actor and singer Jack Black is.  Shirley MacClaine is great in her role, which I saw as a continuation of her role as “Ouiser” Boudreaux in “Steel Magnolias” from 1989.  And, the “man on the street” interviews of locals are hilarious.

If you think of Black as a movie buffoon, you need to see this stellar performance.

GRADE:  B

“WEEKEND”

This was my favorite movie that I saw in 2012.  While I saw it back in the fall, I’m including it now because I never reviewed it and because I’m going to watch it again this week.

It tells the story of how Russell and Glen (played by newcomers Tom Cullen and Chris New) spent one weekend in Nottingham.

The story is a familiar one — the two meet at a bar and end up having sex.  The next morning over coffee, Glen asks Russell to speak into a tape recorder about how he remembers the alcohol and drug enhanced encounter for an art project he is working on.  After Glen leaves, Russell writes about his night, something he does after each time he meets someone and spends time with them.  Later in the weekend, he shares some of his writings with Glen.

Later that day, the couple spend the afternoon together and talk about their views on relationships and share stories about people who have made an impression in their life.  Glen informs Russell that he’s leaving for two years to study art in the United States and that’s he’s having a going away party that night.  At the party, one of Glen’s friends tells Russell that Glen always lets her listen to the tapes, but he didn’t let her listen to Russell’s tape.

The couple spends the rest of the weekend together with plenty of sex and some illicit drugs mixed in as they debate and argue over whether they could be happy as a couple and being “out” and how it’s different in England and America.

As the movie concludes, Glen is at the train station and Russell is at a birthday party for his friend’s little girl and his friend asks him what’s wrong.  Russell tells him about his weekend with Glen and that Glen is leaving.  Jamie, the friend, drives Russell to the train station and I won’t say what happens then!

Both actors, Cullen and New, are riveting and charming in their performance.  Despite their flaws and the drugs, you like both of them and it doesn’t hurt that they are cute.  You could definitely see yourself falling for either of them.  How compelling is this movie?  I just teared up watching the trailer again as I was writing this.  🙂

While this is a gay movie, it won several film festival awards and made many Top Ten lists in the mainstream media.

GRADE:  A+

“10 YEARS”

This overlooked comedy starring “People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” Channing Tatum is pretty much boring and awkward.

Channing is hot in “Magic Mike” and hilarious in “21 Jump Street”, but he is neither in this movie.

The movie follows a group of friends getting together for their ten-year class reunion.  The movie stars several well-known people like Justin Long and Chris Pratt, along with Tatum and his real-life wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and many others.

Pratt’s character, Cully, is a frumpy, obnoxious family man who spends all of the reunion trying to make amends to the high school classmates he was a jerk, too.  You realize he hasn’t changed in the past ten years.

Tatum’s storyline is mildly entertaining, but his wife (girlfriend in the movie) is pretty to look at, while he isn’t.  Let’s just say that the past ten years haven’t been great to his body in this movie and since this movie was shot before “Magic Mike”, he really had to get into shape!

The only story line that I was invested in was Elisa (Kate Mara), a woman who hid away in high school and didn’t socialize with her classmates, and Reeves (Oscar Isaac), a musician, who was the one person that did notice her from afar.  She made enough of an impression that he wrote a song about her, “Never Had”, that made him famous.  I enjoyed their story line.

“10 Years” might be a movie you’ll enjoy.  For me, it dragged for the first 45 minutes to an hour.  The last half of the movie picked up, so it raises my grade some.

I know high school reunions can be awkward (I never went to any of mine if we had any), but I didn’t miss much if this is how they look.

GRADE:  C