Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Oscar Gripes

 I'm not even sure where to start with my Oscar gripes this year.
The snub of Lady Gaga for Best Actress is galling. House of Gucci was one of the few Oscar-hyped films I made a point of seeing this year - along with Being the Ricardos - and both were shut out of the Best Picture category. But I really thought Lady Gaga was a lock for another Oscar nod this year. 

Then there is the Original Song category where you could have just picked every song from Encanto and left it at that. But while Encanto is filled with wonderful songs that are tearing up the pop charts like the sensational "We Don't Talk About Bruno" and "Surface Pressure," what song does the tone-deaf Academy nominate? - the Spanish language "Dos Oruguitas," which is a wonderful song, but nowhere near the best song in the movie. 

And then there is the Best Director category where it seems we are setting up for the 12th year in a row where a non-American director will win the statue. The last American director to win an Oscar was Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 for The Hurt Locker. This year there are only two American directors nominated - Steven Spielberg and Paul Thomas Anderson - while the Oscar is likely to go to New Zealand's Jane Campion.

And we also seem to have a new requirement where the Academy has to nominate a foreign language film every year for Best Picture. This is the fourth year in a row where one of the precious Best Picture slots goes to a foreign language film - in 2018 it was Roma, in 2019 it was Parasite (which even won the Oscar that year), in 2020 it was Minari, and this year it is Drive My Car.

Meanwhile, the Academy continues its long-standing policy of ignoring movies that are popular with people who actually spend money going to the movies. If a film earns more than $100 million at the domestic box office it is guaranteed to be ignored by the snooty voters of the Academy. This year it is Spider Man No Way Home that got snubbed after raking in an incredible $572 million in a Covid year! 
The whole point of expanding the Oscar nominations from 5 to 10 was to make more room for popular films like SpiderMan to get some recognition and maybe attract more viewers to watch the annual shindig. Instead, Academy voters now just fill all 10 slots with art-house cinema that few people have (or will) see. The most popular nominee this year is Dune which earned just under $100 million at the box office which seems to be the Academy's cutoff point. Any film making over $100 million is only eligible for the Best Visual Effects trophy. 

Dune is also the only nominated film that I have seen so far. I may get around to seeing a few others at some point like King Richard, Don't Look Up and Nightmare Alley. But most of the other films just aren't all that appealing. They are not "popcorn" films that you would want to see again and again. They are more like "eat your vegetables" films. You know they are good for you, but you still don't like it. I've seen a lot of Oscar-winning films that are like that - where the reaction is 'Yes, this was a very good film. Please don't make me watch it again."


Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Rock Hall of Fame nominees 2022

And here are the 17 nominees....

-Beck
-Pat Benatar
-Kate Bush
-DEVO
-Duran Duran
-Eminem
-Eurythmics
-Judas Priest
-Fela Kuti
-MC5
-New York Dolls
-Dolly Parton
-Rage Against The Machine
-Lionel Richie
-Carly Simon
-A Tribe Called Quest
-Dionne Warwick 

I should just accept that all of my favorite rock bands are never going to make it into the Rock Hall of Fame.

I'm sure you could make an argument that each of the 17 nominated artists this year deserve induction, but none of them would have made my personal top 5.
I bought albums by Devo and Duran Duran when I was in high school. I bought CDs by Beck and Rage Against the Machine post-college. Pat Benatar and Eurythmics were MTV staples. And Lionel Richie was everywhere when I was in college. And, of course, who doesn't love Dolly Parton? I would be happy to see any or all of them in the Hall of Fame. Even Eminem, who I came to appreciate later on.
I don't have anything against the others on the list, just indifferent. I am least familiar with the music of Kate Bush and A Tribe Called Quest. I know who Carly Simon and Dionne Warwick are, but I don't listen to their music enough to have a fair opinion of it. Same with Fela Kuti, MC5 and New York Dolls. And I was never a big metal fan so I am kind of indifferent to Judas Priest.
I would rather listen to albums by Boston, Foreigner, J. Geils Band, Los Lobos and Peter Frampton. And what about Styx, Bachman Turner Overdrive, REO Speedwagon, Kansas and B-52s? I would also like to go back further and honor some great passed-over artists like The Monkees and Paul Revere and The Raiders.
Maybe some day....

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

2021 Movies

Movies I have seen this year... 

 Black Widow
 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
 F9: The Fast Saga
 Free Guy
 Jungle Cruise
 Dune
 Cruella
 The Suicide Squad
 Raya and the Last Dragon
 In the Heights
 The Croods: A New Age
 Wonder Woman 1984
 House of Gucci
 Luca
 Soul
 Red Notice
 Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street 
No Time To Die
Encanto
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Being the Ricardos
Coming 2 America
The Matrix Resurrections
The Mitchells vs The Machines
Spider Man No Way Home
Tom Clancy's Without Remorse
Suicide Squad


 Movies I still want to see... 
 
 Eternals
 Ghostbusters: Afterlife
 Addams Family 2
 Respect 
 The French Dispatch
 Chaos Walking
 News of the World
 King Richard
 Spencer
Belfast
Don't Look Up
Cyrano
The King's Man
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
Respect
Ron's Gone Wrong
Sing 2
Space Jam A New Legacy
Summer of Soul
The Tender Bar
Tick Tick Boom!
The Tomorrow War
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Women in the Rock Hall of Fame

Inductees

Aretha Franklin
Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson (The Supremes)
LaVerne Baker
Tina Turner (Ike and Tina Turner)
Ruth Brown
Etta James
Cynthia Robinson and Rosie Stone (Sly and the Family Stone)
Janis Joplin
Rosalind Ashford, Annette Beard, Betty Kelly, Lois Reeves and Martha Reeves (Martha and the Vandellas)
Gladys Knight (Gladys Knight and the Pips)
Grace Slick (Jefferson Airplane)
Shirley Alston Reeves, Addie Harris, Doris Kenner-Jackson and Beverly Lee (The Shirelles)
Maureen Tucker (The Velvet Underground)
Joni Mitchell
Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac)
Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips (The Mamas & the Papas)
Dusty Springfield
Cleotha Staples, Mavis Staples and Yvonne Staples (The Staple Singers)
Bonnie Raitt
Brenda Lee
Tina Weymouth (The Talking Heads)
Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders)
Debbie Harry (Blondie)
Estelle Bennett, Ronnie Spector and Nedra Talley (The Ronettes)
Patti Smith
Madonna
Agnetha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (ABBA)
Darlene Love
Laura Nyro
Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson (Heart)
Donna Summer
Linda Ronstadt
Joan Jett (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts)
Joan Baez
Nina Simone
Janet Jackson
Stevie Nicks
Whitney Houston
Charlotte Caffey, Belinda Carlisle, Gina Schock, Kathy Valentine and Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s)
Carole King
Tina Turner

2022 Inductees

Pat Benatar
Carly Simon
Dolly Parton
Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)

Early Influencers

Bessie Smith
Ma Rainey
Dinah Washington
Mahalia Jackson
Billie Holiday
Wanda Jackson
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Elizabeth Cotten

Non-Performers

Carole King
Ellie Greenwich
Cynthia Well
Sylvia Robinson

Award for Musical Excellence

Pattie Scialfa (E Street Band)

Singles

The Chantels
The Shangri-Las
Irma Thomas

Nominated but not Inducted

Mary J. Blige
Kate Bush
The Chantels
Chaka Khan
The Marvelettes
Esther Phillips
Dionne Warwick
Mary Wells

Friday, July 24, 2020

2020 Movies (COVID pandemic)


I only saw two 2020 movies in the theater before everything shut down due to COVID-19:

Bad Boys for Life
Bloodshot

Since then, I have seen the following movies at home via various streaming services like Vudu, Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max and Amazon Prime:

Onward
Dolittle
Spies in Disguise
Sonic the Hedgehog
Trolls World Tour
Scoob
Emma
Artemis Fowl
Hamilton
The Old Guard
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
Enola Holmes
Bill and Ted Face the Music
The Current War
Roald Dahl's The Witches


TV Series

Stranger Things
The Crown
The Mandalorian 
The Umbrella Academy
His Dark Materials


Binge Watching

The West Wing
The Great British Bake Off
Grace and Frankie
Star Trek (OS)
Bones
The Good Place




Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 Movies

Seen

*Avengers: Endgame
*Toy Story 4
*Captain Marvel
*Frozen II
*Spider Man Far From Home
*Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker
*Aladdin
*Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
*How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
*Pokemon Detective Pikachu
*Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
*Shazam!
*Dumbo
*Rocketman
*Men in Black International
*Yesterday
*Wonder Park
Playing With Fire
Harriet
The Good Liar
*Missing Link
*Joker
*The LEGO Movie 2
*The Addams Family
*Knives Out
*Abominable
*Gemini Man
Parasite
*Ford vs Ferrari
*Zombieland: Double Tap
*Little Women
*Charlie's Angels
*Motherless Brooklyn
*Dark Waters
The Two Popes

Need to See

*The Lion King
*Jumanji: Next Level
*John Wick Chapter 3
*The Secret Life of Pets 2
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil
*Terminator: Dark Fate
*A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
*1917
Ad Astra
Rambo: Last Blood
Uncut Gems
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
*Bombshell
*Blinded By the Light
*Apollo 11



Friday, November 22, 2019

Impeachment witnesses

List of witnesses who have testified so far in the Impeachment of Donald Trump

Gordon Sondland
William Taylor
Marie Yovanovitch
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
Fiona Hill
Laura Cooper
George Kent
Jeniffer Williams
David Hale
Tim Morrison
David Holmes


And a list of people who have so far refused or been blocked from testifying...

Donald Trump
Mike Pence
Mike Pompeo
Rudy Giuliani
Rick Perry
Mick Mulvaney
John Bolton
Don McGahn
Michael Atkinson
T. Ulrich Brechbuhl
Lev Parnas
Igor Fruman
Sam Kislin
Russell Vought
Mark Esper



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Musical Acts I Have Seen Perform Live

General
Alabama
Janie Fricke
Cheap Trick
Night Ranger
Itzhak Perlman
Kirk Whalum
The Fifth Dimension
Brave Combo
Dixie Chicks
Tanya Tucker
TransSiberian Orchestra
Blue Man Group
Axiom Quartet
Robert Earl Keen
Kingston Trio (new)
Lyle Lovett
Weird Al Yankovic

Kerrville Folk Festival
Chuck Pyle
Tish Hinojosa
Peter Yarrow
Dar Williams
Ellis Paul
Vance Gilbert
Austin Lounge Lizards
Trout Fishing in America
Dana Cooper
Jimmy Dale Gilmore
Butch Hancock
Sara Hickman
Tom Prasado-Rao
Tom Kimmel
Jimmy LaFave
Chris Chandler
Michael McNevin
Bill Staines
Susan Werner
Cheryl Wheeler
Mike Williams
Bill and Bonnie Hearne
David Wilcox
John Gorka
Buddy Mondlock
Bernice Lewis
Mumbo Jumbo
Limpopo
Don Walser
L.J. Booth
Andrew Calhoun
Kat Eggleston
Chenille Sisters
Jack Hardy
Crow Johnson
Ani Difranco
The Crane Wives
The Honey Dewdrops
The Warren Hood Band
Jeff Black
Beat Root Revival
The Jerry Douglas Band

Houston Livestock Show
Michael Martin Murphy
Leann Rimes
Barry Manilow
Kenny Rogers
The Gatlin Brothers
Joe Diffie
Brooks and Dunn
Asleep at the Wheel
Angela Peterson


Broadway Shows
Cats
Into the Woods
Miss Saigon
Phantom of the Opera
Evita
Ragtime
Chicago
Les Miserables
Hello Dolly
The Book of Mormon


Thursday, June 20, 2019

New Testament Order

One thing I have learned from studying the Bible is that there are better ways that it could be put together - especially the New Testament.
We all learned early on that the four gospels are

Matthew,
Mark,
Luke and
John.

But as it turns out, that is not the order in which they were written, according to most biblical scholars. Rather, it seems that Mark was written first and was then used as source material for both Matthew and Luke, both of which quote from Mark extensively. And John was written later.
So a more reasonable order to list them would appear to be...

Mark
Matthew
Luke
John

But then, you find out as well that Acts of the Apostles or Acts is believed to have been written by the same author as Luke, thus making it almost like a Luke Part 2. So then maybe the order should be ...

Mark
Matthew
Luke
Acts
John

And then we come to the Letters of Paul. There are 13 of them, but only seven are undisputed as having been written by Paul while there is debate about the other six with some scholars arguing that they were likely written later by followers of Paul due to sharp differences in grammar, style and content. Scholars have also dated the letters according to when they think they may have been written. But in the Bible, for reasons that are not entirely clear, they are listed in order of length with Romans being first because it is the longest and so forth.
But if we were to list them in chronological order starting with the seven undisputed letters it would look like this...

First Thessalonians
Galatians
First Corinthians
Philippians
Philemon
Second Corinthians
Romans

And we could follow that with the disputed letters ...

Colossians
Ephesians
Second Thessalonians
First Timothy
Second Timothy
Titus

Hebrews could come next. It was once attributed to Paul, but practically no one today claims it was written by Paul.

And then the rest of the letters, all of which are disputed as to their authorship...

James
First Peter
Second Peter
First John
Second John
Third John
Jude

Revelation

The author of Revelation identifies himself as John of Patmos and church tradition has long taught that this is the same John who was a disciple of Jesus and the author of John's gospel. But this is disputed by many scholars who believe John of Patmos to be an entirely different person.




Tuesday, December 11, 2018

2018 Movies

Seen
Black Panther
Avengers: Infinity War
Incredibles 2
Deadpool 2
Ant Man and The Wasp
Solo: A Star Wars Story
A Star is Born
Bohemian Rhapsody
Ready Player One
A Wrinkle in Time
Smallfoot
BlacKkKlansman
Sherlock Gnomes
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Paul, Apostle of Christ
RBG
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Ralph Breaks the Internet
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Green Book
Eighth Grade
Into the Spiderverse
Aquaman
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of GrindewaldGirl in a Spiders Web

Want to See

The House With a Clock in the Walls
First Man
Paddington 2
Widows
The Commuter
Isle of Dogs
Teen Titans Go To the Movies
Bad Times at El Royale
Old Man and The Gun
Early Man
Mary Poppins Returns
Mortal Engines
Stan and Ollie
Vice
On the Basis of Sex