Archive for December 2020

NEW YEAR’S EVE 2020   1 comment

Please notice the date and time–I just took the cake out of the freezer where it has been hidden from my sight since December 23!! In approximately 6 and a half hours I will be celebrating the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 by demolishing–not daintily eating–the carrot cake that John B gave me.

It is said whatever you are doing at Midnight on New Year’s Eve you will be doing the whole year—I’M READY FOR YOU 2021!

Happy New Year To You!

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Posted December 31, 2020 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS

“A New York Christmas Wedding”–film review   Leave a comment

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I have finally found MY must-see Christmas film every December! “A New York Christmas Wedding” opens with a bright, shining, Manhattan and from there hits every cliche you could ask of a sentimental film with a twist! Based on “Trust your heart. Be Brave” and “You really shouldn’t underestimate the power of love around Christmas” how can one go wrong?

How about a Gay Guardian Angel?? How about a woman having to decide between the life she is currently living or living the life she would have had if she had made a different decision 20 years earlier? Being a Christmas movie there is, of course, a love story but this film has two of them both revolving around the same woman.

Otaja Abit, who directed the film, also wrote the story and the screenplay not to mention playing one of the leads and as in most cases, not all, I find someone who takes on too much in one film usually is lacking in one of the jobs where someone else could have picked up the slack and that happens with the story here. There are too many holes in the story which at times makes it cheesy but still holds your attention.

In spite of that, it very quickly has become one of MY best 10 love stories, reminding me of ‘they don’t make movies like that anymore’ of the 1950s! A happy ending? Of course, it is a Christmas story!

I must add that at about the 50-minute point, Chris Noth–yes, that Chris Noth also known as Mister Big–as Father Kelly, gives a sermon that most “christians’ probably will never watch because of what comes before but Christians will listen, understand and might even open their hearts to what he says.

There is suspense, over the top romance, a feel-good theme, warmth, don’t forget that Gay Guardian Angel and, being a Christmas movie, has a happy ending. There are twist and turns and though not a perfect movie is brings something new to the Christmas holiday library of movies.
Abit told the New York Post that ‘it is gritty, urban, with black and Latino leads and a real romance between two women’. No, that is not a spoiler as the film opens in 1999 but takes place in 2019.

“A New York Christmas Wedding” is a mix of Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix movies and I wasn’t expecting much but I know every Christmas from now on I will spend an hour and twenty-nine minutes watching a movie that I fell in love with Christmas 2020!

Posted December 29, 2020 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS

December 25 & 26, 2020   Leave a comment

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The first 5 pictures tell the whole story–it was a cold Christmas Day and day after–remember this is SOUTH Florida–people come here in Winter to get away from the cold weather! At least we had a beautiful sunset Christmas Day.

ALL the naysayers owe me an apology!! Look at pictures in the middle and lower left–more important look at the dates!! I have had this in my possession 4 days and all I did was look under the wrap and, yes, it is CARROT CAKE and I haven’t touched it–didn’t even take off the wrapper and the cover to smell it!!

I remember many years ago I was told whatever you are doing on New Year’s Eve you will be doing the rest of the year–I plan to be eating this carrot cake at midnight on December 31, 2020 and not until then. (It is now in the freezer which wouldn’t stop me from eating it but it is safer!)

In the 11th picture is the last crop of homegrown peppers that I picked today.In the last picture is a ‘shield’ I was given as a present–I prefer a mask.

Posted December 26, 2020 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS, LIFE

Streaming reviews–week of December 20, 2020   Leave a comment

1) “Let It Snow”–Netflix–American Christmas Film–1 hour & 33 minutes–about a quarter of the way through I was going to give up, then all of a sudden it clicked! Covers all the bases of young adult/teenage love–good Christmas movie!

2) “How to Ruin Christmas: The Wedding”–Netflix–South African series–season 1–3 episodes–2 hours and 24 minutes– it is a Christmas story so we will be kind but I loved the whole South African vibe and the look at love, marriage & Christmas–I saw and learned so many things I never knew–I can’t wait for season 2

3) “Your Name Engraved Herein”–Netflix–Taiwanese Film–1 hour and 54 minutes–is being publicized as ‘the biggest LGBTQ film of 2020’–don’t know how many others were made but…it is boy meets boy, boy loves boy, boy loses boy end of gay romance unlike straight romantic movies where most times there is a ‘happy ever after’–it is a look at the period setting of the 1980s and the country at that time which is the main reason to see it.

4) “The Wilds”–Amazon Pride–Series–Season 1–10 episodes–8 hours & 42 minutes–would have been more interesting if they hadn’t given a major spoiler in first 2 episodes–sort of a take-off of “Lost” and/or “Lord of the Flies” only here we have 8 young females stranded on an island realizing they have no hope of being rescued–the cliff hanger will make me go back for season 2.

5) “Tiny Pretty Things”–Netflix–Series–Season 1–10 episodes–9 hours & 22 minutes–a young adult thriller, mystery, drama takes place in a ballet company with the politics of adults making life more difficult for the youngsters–good.

6) “Rose Island”–Netflix–Film–1 hour & 58 minutes–based on an incredible true story of a man who builds an island in international waters with his own rules, a new language, own money, post office, flag, etc.–I was surprised that I never heard about it–it is a lot of fun, shaking of the head–doesn’t answer all the questions a viewer might have but a MUST SEE!

7) “Toy Boy”–Netflix–Marbella, Spain Series–13 episodes–14 hours & 46 minutes–a much better, longer mystery series than the movie “Magic Mike”–a lot of camp, a lot of dancing strippers scenes, a Spanish soap opera, two main love stories that will keep you coming back–not a must-see but a fun series with emotional moments.

Posted December 25, 2020 by greatmartin in Streaming

Is Santa testing me–still?!?!?   Leave a comment

One of Santa’s elves (John B) handed the above package to me yesterday–notice date on pictures–important! I sort of have an idea what it is (aside from the card he gives me the same thing every year and I am NOT complaining!!)

As anxious as I am to open it I think Santa is testing me–he wants to see if I’ll be a good boy until he gets here because he knows I have been one all year! (With the epidemic what choice do/did I have?)

It is going to be hard but I am not even opening the wrapping! Just in case it is what I think it is I am putting it in the refrigerator and locking the door!!!Is it Friday yet? Has Santa come yet?

I really am such a good boy!

Posted December 24, 2020 by greatmartin in HOLIDAYS

Odds and Ends pictures 2020   Leave a comment

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An assortment of pictures on my desktop that I want to retire and most one, two or three liners so I decided to just put them all in a post!

Starting with the upper left photo, it was our weather last week–most highs in the 80s or upper 70 while the lows were mainly in the 60s with Friday going down to 56 degrees. We are expecting a ‘cold wave’ on Christmas Day with a high of ‘only’ 68.

The second picture is of how Big Louie’s is doing social distancing–we went for pizza.

The third, fourth and sixth picture is the Holiday Cacti getting ready to bloom on Christmas Eve after discarding all their blooms for Hanukkah.

The fifth and ninth pictures are a present from Santa’s elves Chuck and Terry in Memphis. The chocolate has ‘disappeared somehow but I still have the paper section of the Best of Memphis!

Seven and eight are pictures of the new 27″ computer monitor I bought myself. Having problems with it that I haven’t been able to fix—yet!

The tenth picture is of Ruby–Alfredo and Mike’s dog–last I heard Alfredo is doing okay!I caught a sunset from my window in the eleventh picture.And in the last picture, I was making a record of growing a Van Dyke beard since I wear a mask outside so why bother shaving!?!?

Posted December 22, 2020 by greatmartin in LIFE

Small Axe–5 films by Steve McQueen on Pride Amazon   Leave a comment

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Small Axe is a collection of 5 films created and directed by Steve McQueen now showing on Prime Amazon which can be seen all together or individually. They premiered one every week and that is how I watched them and, it seems to me, makes no difference whether you stream them all at once or watch individually.

Each film is a look at a different part of the life of West Indian immigrants in London.

In the order I watched them:

1) “Mangrove”–2 hours & 4 minutes–a true story which even if you have never heard of the case will know the ending–it is a story of a restaurant owner in Notting Hill–Frank wants a restaurant not a place for drug dealers which eventually brings the discriminatory police and a trial where a Black person doesn’t stand a chance.

2) “Lovers Rock”–1 hour and 10 minutes–a real-time house party in 1980 and all it can entail from romance, dancing for hours, sex, assault, music and, yes, the police.

3) “Red, White and Blue”–1 hour & 21 minutes–a tale of individual action within the Metropolitan Police Force regarding race.

4) “Education”–1 hour and 3 minutes–a 12-year-old West Indies boy is sent to a ‘sub-normal’ school because he is Black and has a small deficiency in reading.

5) “Alex Wheatle”–1 hour and 6 minutes–Alex Wheatle is a successful author that started with his journals as a teenager in abusive foster care and jail. He eventually becomes an activist-artist.

Of the 5 movies, I can only remember “Education” but on the whole, you won’t waste time watching any of them while, on the other hand, you won’t miss anything not seeing them.

For the record professional critics think more of the series than I do.

Posted December 20, 2020 by greatmartin in Streaming

Streaming reviews–week of December 13, 2020–3 MUST SEES!   Leave a comment

In no particular order, the first 3 movies are MUST SEES!
1) “The Prom”–Netflix–Movie–2 hours & 11 minutes–if you are familiar with Ryan Murphy you know most of his productions are fun, full of camp, big-name stars, glitter, glitter and more glitter. Just sit back and enjoy. (I am concerned about what he will do with a series based on “A Chorus Line”!)

2) “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”--Netflix–Movie–1 hour and 34 minutes–it is very rare that a film will hit me expectedly with where it is going near the end especially when 30 of the first 35 minutes was a hard section to hear but it ties up with the latter piece–Chadwick Boseman deserves all the praise he is getting while Glyn Turman is not praised enough–I am a big Viola Davis and here she plays it BIG as Ma Rainey and I didn’t quite buy her in the role but this is an August Wilson play that Denzel Washington has brought to the screen as he has other of Wilson’s 10 play epic of Black life.

3) “The Ride”--Netflix–Movie–1 hour & 38 minutes–based on a true story dealing with racism, inter-racial marriage and adoption, violence plus the chemistry between Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges as the stepfather and Shane Graham as the adopted son, a sport, add a Hollywood ‘Rocky’feel good ending all add up to an unheard film to see.

And then there was:

4) “I’m Your Woman”–Netflix–Movie–2 hours–a run of the mill road and crime movie.

5)”Lila & Eve”–Netflix–Movie–1 hour & 33 minutes–the story has a thousand holes in but Viola Davis and Jenifer Lopez fun to watch as 2 mothers getting revenge for their children’s murder.

6) “The Mess You Leave Behind”–Netflix–Spanish psychological thriller series–8 episodes- -6 hours–with twists that will keep you guessing until the last episode–filmed entirely in Galicia, Spain.7) “Virgin River”—Netflix–series–10 episodes–14 hours & 22 minutes–good old fashioned TV series soap opera style.

Posted December 18, 2020 by greatmartin in Streaming

Santa’s elves did an advance trip!   1 comment

The usual gift for kids for Hanukkah are chocolate coins wrapped in ‘gold’–see below for the story–but Santa’s elves (their names are Chuck & Terry) in Memphis did better than that by stopping here at Gateway in Fort Lauderdale and, via UPS, sent me a package of various chocolates, mainly dark chocolate which, as we all know, is healthy for you!

They are in various forms from a tree to bells not to forget a Santa lollipop! My favorite is the 3rd one in the picture –a dark chocolate pig!!

Oh yes, coming from Memphis how can there not be TWO Elvis bars–one milk chocolate and the other dark chocolate!The elves think I am going to blame them for any weight gain I have in December but I know all these chocolate treats are non-caloric!!

A bonus was the wrappings in the package which was “The Best of Memphis–2020” from the newspaper. Granted it has been 41 years since I lived in Memphis BUT I didn’t know a single place except for the Memphis Zoo!!

Now I can’t wait to see what Santa is bringing me–guess it pays to be a good boy!! Truthfully the epidemic has more to do with that than my not being able to misbehave!

Posted December 16, 2020 by greatmartin in FOOD, FRIENDS, GIFTS

Holiday Cactus right on schedule!   Leave a comment

The ‘mother’ plant was all abloom for Hanukkah  and now it is all bare except for a few buds meaning it is getting ready for Christmas–never misses a holiday!

In the upper right is a branch I had cut off 2 years ago and it has been blooming all year!

On the lower left the photograph is of new ‘new’ plants I started in September and it is now showing buds for Santa!

In the bottom right are the buds starting to come in getting ready to be in bloom by the 20th.What was originally a “Christmas Cactus” has now become an all-holiday plant including every 4 years it blooms on February 29th!

Mother Nature always amazes me!!

Posted December 14, 2020 by greatmartin in MOTHER NATURE

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