Category Archives: Movies

Reading Series #6 – The Normal Heart


Happy MLK Day readers!  We have frigid cold temperatures here in Massachusetts after yesterdays snowstorm.  What was supposed to be nearly a foot of snow ended up becoming a sleet and rain mix.  Halfway through January and the first snowstorm of 2019 finally arrived.

For the record, it has been very cold these past few weeks.  I have been hunkering down in warmer spots indoors to escape the brutal cold.  It definitely helped to have a riveting play in my hands, which is the topic for the latest Reading Series.

Today’s episode is about a play.  It revolves around a tragic health PR nightmare around New York City during the 1980s.  One man fights for his partners life, as well as his friends around him, in a time of darkness.  This is Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart.

20190120_125902[1]

The Normal Heart is an autobiographical play by Larry Kramer about the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City from 1981 to 1984.  It takes us through the mind of Ned Weeks, a writer/activist who established the prominent HIV activist group.  Weeks preferred the loud, public confrontations over the latter; this causes various memorable arguments among the characters.  One of those supporters is Felix Turner, who becomes Ned Weeks’s love life.

20190120_1259181.jpg

Reading The Normal Heart was truly an emotional journey.  Ned Weeks’s violent confrontations with both his enemies and friends truly showcased his passion throughout the play.  He wanted to solve the cure for AIDS so badly that he was willing to go any lengths to get to it.

20190120_1301011.jpg

20190120_130123[1]

20190120_1303141.jpg

20190120_130322[1]

It wasn’t just about finding the cure for AIDS – Ned Weeks was looking to become the true savior to all the gay men in the country.  He wanted all of them to keeping living the life they truly wanted.  This widespread germ warfare only dampened their lives even further.  Getting this information out to the public would be the first step in eradicating the disease.

Image result for The Normal Heart Movie

Image result for The Normal Heart Movie

Interestingly enough, I saw the film version of The Normal Heart by Ryan Murphy back in 2014.  The film starred Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Julia Roberts, Joe Mantello, Alfred Molina, and Jonathan Groff.  I thought the film version was amazing, even though I watched it BEFORE I read the play.

20190120_125905[1]

In the end, The Normal Heart was truly an emotional, yet amazing play.  Ned Weeks fought tooth and nail to solve the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City.  He couldn’t stand to see any more of his friends dies from this horrific disease.

Definitely check out The Normal Heart this year.

 

Advertisements

Cheech & Chong’s JOINT Oscars Venture


Image result for Kevin Hart Tweet

Image result for Kevin Hart Tweet

It has been weeks after Kevin Hart was booted from hosting the Academy Awards this year.  After his troubling stint with using gay slurs on social media, Kevin Hart resigned his position as host for show.  Ever since then, Hollywood has had a tough time finding their new replacement.

Image result for The Avengers

Multiple celebrities were up for discussion these past few weeks.  There was even talk that cast members of The Avengers would fill in as hosts.  But the best choice comes from the infamous comedic stoner duo Cheech and Chong (Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin).

Image result for Cheech and Chong Oscars

Cheech and Chong recently announced a plan that would say, ‘light up’ the Oscars this year.  Chong shared a short clip of him and Cheech Marin offering their services to be this year’s host for the Oscars.  Users took to Twitter with the best pot puns imaginable.  It certainly would bring much HIGHER quality to the 91st Academy Awards.

Image result for Cheech and Chong Oscars

Image result for Cheech and Chong Oscars

This is a great publicity stunt that took a tragic PR nightmare and recycled it into a humorous joke.  The award shows have gone ‘Up in Smoke’ these past few years, so Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin could be the hosts we needed in life.  With cannabis legalization looming around the nation, it wouldn’t hurt to have two infamous stoners host this year.  Better yet, it would push the legal agenda even further!

Image result for Cheech and Chong Oscars

Since we can’t find any trending stars to help host this year’s Academy Awards, Cheech and Chong could be our best bet.  They have already flipped a PR nightmare into a series of pot puns all around Twitter.  Since they generated positive buzz around social media, they would certainly keep the show ‘lit’ for the year.

Image result for Cheech and Chong Oscars

With that, here’s to hoping Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin become the fill-in for the 91st Academy Awards.  It’ s definitely HIGH time to make this happen.

Streaming Services for Niche Audiences


Image result for Netflix

Image result for Netflix

As you know, Netflix is where I go to watch amazing series these days.  With thousands upon thousands of TV series and movies to choose from, there is always something entertaining to watch.  Even with new Netflix originals being released each month, I always find some hidden gold within the digital library.  Whatever the case may be, I can always count on Netflix for better content.

Image result for Hulu

Image result for Amazon Prime

Still, Netflix is only one of many unique streaming services you can find online.  Other than the typical streaming services out there like or Hulu or Amazon Prime, there are streaming services catered for a niche audience.  Some services offer horror films that aren’t playing in theaters while others provide lots of mind-blowing documentaries.  Whatever the case may be, the digital library grows larger as time goes on.

Here are some unique streaming services around the internet these days:

CuriosityStream

Image result for CuriosityStream

Image result for CuriosityStream

CuriosityStream is known for showcasing award-winning documentaries.  Choose from over 2,000+ shows within the digital library.  Prepare to have your mind blown as you surf through countless numbers of topics.  From food to the internet, every type of documentary can be found on CuriosityStream.  This is the streaming service you’ll need if you want to be blown away by the mere workings of science.

Dekkoo

Image result for Dekkoo

Image result for Dekkoo

Dekkoo is the premiere streaming service for gay men.  Browse through thousands of gay films to choose from.  Categories include action adventure, bad romance, biopic, drama, drag, and many others.  Netflix does provide TV series/movies for the LGBTQ community, but Dekkoo comes with much edgier content.  Better yet, Dekkoo even comes with an ‘Erotica’ category as well.

BritBox

Image result for BritBox

Image result for Monty Python Flying Circus

Image result for Midsomer Murders

Tally-ho!  The BritBox is the biggest streaming collection of British television.  Owned by BBC Studios and ITV plc, BritBox focuses on British Television series.  It features both past and current series to choose from.  Get a bit silly with Monty Python’s Flying Circus or solve some crimes with Detective Barnaby in Midsomer Murders.

If British television is more your thing, definitely look into the BritBox.

Shudder

Image result for Shudder

Image result for Shudder

For those who celebrate Halloween every day, Shudder is the premiere streaming service for all things horror.  Shudder showcases thousands of titles filled with horror, thriller, and suspense.  What makes Shudder so popular is that many films are deemed too gruesome for theaters.  All horror movie buffs should look into Shudder to find those spine-tingling titles you crave every day.

PureFlix

Image result for Pureflix

PureFlix streams the latest wholesome Christian films and tv series.  With PureFlix, its all about the three F’s – faith, family, and fun.  They provide that feelgood experience for the entire family that is entertaining, fun, inspirational, and educational.

Netflix’s Bird Box


With a new year means new media being released every day.  New books, TV series, movies, music, video games, and others will be coming out as time goes on.  That certainly goes for streaming services like Netflix.

Even as we already rung in the new year, one title from 2018 is still sparking popularity around Netflix these days.  It’s the infamous post-apocalyptic title about a woman who makes it through a forest and river all while blindfolded.  This is Bird Box.

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

Bird Box features Sandra Bullock as Malorie Hayes, a tense mother who takes a dangerous trip down a river by boat.  He brings along his kids, Boy and Girl, along for the treacherous journey.  To make matters worse, Malorie and her kids are trekking through the river… while BLINDFOLDED.

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

The film takes us back five years ago where mass suicides were occurring throughout Europe and Russia.  After discovering a woman bashing her head repeatedly into a glass panel, Malorie realizes that the epidemic is hitting the United States.  The epidemic even took Malorie’s sister Jessica (played by Sarah Paulson!) as well.  It’s a crazy post-apocalyptic thriller film that showcases Malorie’s dangerous adventure all while taking us back to the horrific events five years ago.

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

Throughout the film, there are a few birds that are kept inside a small box (hence the name, Bird Box).  This imagery represents the human beings being kept out of the dark from the beautiful world around them.  They are shut out from the outside world because the supernatural entities are causing them to commit suicide.

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

Image result for Netflix Bird Box Meme

Overall, Bird Box was really interesting to watch.  After viewing many internet memes, I figured it was time to check out the film on Netflix.  Needless to say, it definitely lived up to its name.  Some of the other notable actors in the film include John Malkovich and Machine Gun Kelly.

Image result for Netflix Bird Box Meme

If you already miss 2018, Bird Box is definitely worth viewing on Netflix.  Sandra Bullock pulls off her most dangerous adventure as she paddles through the long river while blindfolded.  It’s a popular thriller that lives up to its hype.

Image result for Netflix Bird Box

            Check out Bird Box on Netflix today.

2018 Year in Perspective


Image result for Never ending road

Image result for Never ending road

Here we are on the LAST day ever of 2018.  2019 is quickly approaching, bringing in a whole new year of adventures.  We may traverse back to familiar places or even discover new destinations we haven’t even reached yet.  So many noteworthy events happened on this very blog here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.

Image result for Never ending road

Image result for Never ending road

We kicked off the year with the recreational cannabis countdown in the wake of recreational dispensaries becoming legalized in July.  It actually wasn’t until NOVEMBER that the shops actually opened.  Then again, it’s better late than never.  In the meantime, Vermont passed a law to make cannabis legal this year.  Over time, famous figures like Bill Nye the Science Guy and the so-called ‘weed moms’ started to branch out into the ever-growing cannabis industry as well.

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

While consuming such cannabis products on the side, we got to look at the bizarre, trippy anime series Devilman Crybaby as well as a teaser for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace (which was also discussed numerous times!).  But it wouldn’t be a cannabis kickoff without HBO’s High Maintenance.

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

But in the midst of viewing TV series, we went deep into the rabbit hole with some philosophy on products.  Speaking of products, I’m still dreaming of sleeping in the Harambed every now and then.

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

PR nightmares, miracles, and other bizarre tales made their way every now and then.  Hollywood is in the midst of their biggest scandal yet, which sparked lots of bad publicity among the area.  Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Hart were some of many that are caught within their own PR nightmares.

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

And yet, there were still other great TV series and movies to watch.  Every now and then, we had some exciting video game titles that were out this year.  Some of the great games include PUBG, Kingdom Hearts III, and Fortnite.

            In retrospect, all forms of media played their parts over the year.  During the slow summer season, I found some of the most magnificent novels to read.  Even as I create this blog now, I am finishing up another mind-blowing book (which you will find out about in 2019!).

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

Like the past few years on MakeSandcastlesNotWar, it wouldn’t be Halloween without American Horror StoryAmerican Horror Story: Apocalypse was quite an eruptive chapter this season, bringing together both old and new characters from the AHS universe.  The season was SO good that each episode had to be discussed every week.  Here’s to hoping the next chapter becomes even better.

Image result for Never ending road Sunset

With that, MakeSandcastlesNotWar looks forward to what 2019 brings to the world.  Whether it’s a random TV Criss-Cross or another horrendous PR nightmare, any topic can be featured for the week.  During the weekend, there will sure to be even more quotes up to ponder about.  The journey to 2019 is sure to begin.  All that and so much more is sure to come in the new year.

See you all in 2019.