Search This Blog

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 IN REVIEW: The Year In News

It's time for the next edition of the year 2015 in Review, just in time for the final day of the year!



This time, we're going to be taking a look back at the biggest news stories of the year.  It's safe to say that 2015 has been one tumultuous year filled with lots of horror stories and bad news.  But it's important to note that 2015 had its share of feel good tales as well.

Before we get to that, let us pause to remember some of the celebrities we lost in 2015.

January 1 - MARIO CUOMO, 82, politician
January 19 - ANNE KIRKBRIDE, 60, actress



February 16 - LESLEY GORE, 68, singer



February 27 - LEONARD NIMOY, 83, actor/director
March 8 - SAM SIMON, 59, television producer
March 21 - ALBERTA WATSON, 60, actress
April 6 - JAMES BEST, 88, actor
April 7 - GEOFFREY LEWIS, 79, actor



April 14 - PERCY SLEDGE, 74, singer



April 30 - BEN E. KING, 76, singer



May 14 - B.B. KING, 86, singer/guitarist
May 23 - ANNE MEARA, 85, actress/comedienne
May 29 - BETSY PALMER, 89, actress
June 7 - CHRISTOPHER LEE, 93, actor
June 11 - DUSTY RHODES, 69, wrestler



June 23 - DICK VAN PATTEN, 86, actor
July 10 - OMAR SHARIF, 83, actor
July 10 - ROGER REES, 71, actor
July 18 - ALEX ROCCO, 79, actor



July 30 - LYNN ANDERSON, 67, country singer
July 31 - RODDY PIPER, 61, wrestler



August 1 - CILLA BLACK, 72, singer
August 30 - WES CRAVEN, 76, director/writer



September 1 - DEAN JONES, 84, actor
September 13 - MOSES MALONE, 60, basketball player
September 19 - JACKIE COLLINS, 77, author



September 22 - YOGI BERRA, 90, baseball player
October 24 - MAUREEN O'HARA, 95, actress
November 4 - MELISSA MATHISON, 65, screenwriter
November 11 - PHIL TAYLOR, 61, drummer
November 11 - NATHANIEL MARSTON, 40, actor
November 16 - DAVID CANARY, 77, actor



December 3 - SCOTT WEILAND, 48, singer/musician
December 27 - MEADOWLARK LEMON, 83, basketball player



December 28 - LEMMY KILMISTER, 70, singer/guitarist
December 31 - WAYNE ROGERS, 82, actor

Next, we'll take a look at some of the biggest news events of the year.

JANUARY
1 - The Eurasian Economic Union comes into effect



7 - Twelve people are killed by Islamic gunmen inside the offices of Paris based magazine "Charlie Hebdo"

FEBRUARY
10 - NBC News anchor Brian Williams steps down from his position following his misrepresenting himself during an incident in Iraq back in 2003 where he claimed a helicopter he was in was forced to land due to being hit
16 - The Egyptian military starts conducting airstrikes against a branch of militant group ISIL in Libya in retaliation over the group beheading a dozen Egyptian Christians

MARCH



24 - An Airbus A320-211 operated by Germanwings crashes in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board - reports later surface that the plane was deliberately steered into the mountains by the co-pilot

APRIL
2 - The militant terrorist organization Al-Shabaab claim responsibility for a mass shooting at the Garissa University College in Kenya, killing 148 people
25 - Over eight thousand lose their lives when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Nepal
29 - The World Health Organization announces that rubella has been eradicated from the Americas

MAY



2 - Prince William and Princess Kate announce the birth of their daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
12 - Another earthquake strikes Nepal just a couple of weeks after the first one, killing another 153 in the country alone
23 - Ireland votes to legalize same-sex marriage


JUNE



1 - Caitlyn Jenner makes her official debut on the cover of Vanity Fair
2 - FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces his intention of resigning from his post following an FBI-led corruption investigation
15 - NAACP President Rachel Dolezal resigns amid accusations that she was actually a Caucasian



16 - Donald Trump offically announces that he is running for President of the United States of America for the 2016 elections
26 - ISIL claim responsibility for three attacks around the world during Ramadan

JULY
1 - Greece becomes the first advanced economy to miss a payment to the International Monetary Fund in the IMF's 71 year history
2 - People around the world are outraged when word breaks that an American dentist has killed Cecil the Lion - a lion from Hwange National Park



7 - Police raid the home of Subway spokesman Jared Fogle on charges of child pornography possession
20 - The United States and Cuba reestablish full diplomatic relations after a period of hostile relations lasting almost five and a half decades
27 - New York Magazine releases a cover that features many of the women who accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault

AUGUST
5 - Debris that washed up along the shores of Reunion Island are confirmed to be from Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, missing since March 2014
17 - Twenty are dead and another 125 are injured following a bombing inside the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand



26 - Viewers in Virginia are shocked when a former employee of a television station interrupts a live broadcast and shoots and kills reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward on the air - the gunman later takes his own life

SEPTEMBER
10 - Scientists announce that they have discovered a previously unknown species of early human in South Africa known as Homo naledi



18 - Volkswagen is accused of worldwide rigging of diesel emissions tests, which affect around eleven million vehicles all over the world
28 - NASA announces that they have discovered liquid water on the surface of Mars
30 - Russia begins air strikes against ISIL in support of Syria, as Syrian refugees seek out shelter in other nations

OCTOBER
10 - A suicide bomb kills 100 at a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey



19 - Justin Trudeau is elected the next Prime Minister of Canada
23 - Hurricane Patricia becomes the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, with winds reaching 200 mph

NOVEMBER
12 - In Lebanon, several suicide bombings take place, killing 43 and injuring over 250.  ISIS takes responsibility for the attacks



13 - ISIS also takes responsibility for several terrorist attacks inside of Paris, France, which sees 130 lose their lives, and which sees France close their borders to outside nations for a while
19 - Jared Fogle is given a fifteen year, eight month sentence for possession of child pornography
30 - The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference is held in Paris, attended by leaders representing 147 different nations

DECEMBER
2 - A mass shooting at a San Bernardino, California holiday party leaves fourteen dead and another 22 injured - the husband and wife shooters later took their own lives
20 - At the Miss Universe Pageant, Steve Harvey accidentally announces the wrong winner, which leads to Miss Colombia awkwardly having to give up the crown to Miss Philippines...which can only lead to a...



Sorry.  I had to go there.
30 - An arrest warrant is issued against Bill Cosby after a woman in Pennsylvania files charges for an alleged sexual assault taking place eleven years earlier

There's obviously a lot more news to share, but I'll wait until we do the blogs for television and music to reveal a little bit more.

Now, let's take a look at how your favourite sports teams did, and we'll see who won what championship.

SUPER BOWL XLIX - New England Patriots
2015 WORLD SERIES - Kansas City Royals
2015 STANLEY CUP - Chicago Blackhawks
2015 FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP - United States

Congratulations to all teams for winning!

Now, to end off this look back on the news...a few of the more...wackier things that went on in the world.



Starting with Super Bowl XLIX where Katy Perry was the halftime performer.  Nothing was wrong with Katy's performance, but viewers noticed that a person in a shark costume on her left hand side was having trouble keeping up with the dance moves.  What?  They don't teach choreography under the sea?



Or, how about an incident that took place on June 4 in an Indiana Walmart where two women made a mockery of themselves as well as the health and beauty section.  The fact that they're fighting in front of a child who seems to egg them on is one thing...but the fact that spectators stood around and filmed it while doing nothing to stop it?  I don't know what to be more appalled by.



Then there was the skateboarding dog named Otto who broke a world record in Peru by skating under the legs of thirty people.  Quite an impressive dog, don't you think?

Finally, how about these wacky unseasonable temps we had during the Christmas season?  Summer like weather on Christmas Eve?  Don't get me wrong, I'll take it.  But given how 2015 has been affected by the phenomenon known as El Nino, this could be the reason why.

So, those are a few of the news stories that shaped our world.  I'm taking a break for New Years' Day (on account of the New Archies), but I'll be back on January 2 to talk about the television moments that had everybody talking.


Happy New Year, everyone.  Party safely.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 IN REVIEW: The Year In Fads

Do any of you remember a show on television called "Dr. Fad"?



I know I certainly do.  It used to air on quite a few television stations in the early 1990s, and it was a game show where kids competed against each other to create wacky new inventions that could potentially become a brand new product.  The show was hosted by Ken Hakuta, who had success as an inventor himself.  If you recall playing with a Wacky Wall Walker during the 1980s, you can thank him for it.  He invented it, and it became one of the biggest fads of that decade.

You know, fads are interesting things.  Sometimes, a fad starts up, and quickly becomes a cultural phenomenon, like "Beatlemania" or Pokemon.  Sometimes they pop up out of nowhere and stick around for a year or two (Skip-Its, Pet Rocks, and those velcro hand shields that allow tennis balls to stick to them).  And sometimes they die out as quickly as they came (and to this day, I'll never understand the appeal of dying your hair with Kool-Aid).



Well, in this retrospective of 2015, I am going to take a look at some of the biggest fads to come out of the toy, book, video game, and fashion scenes to create a list of the biggest trends of the year.  Some of them I could see lasting a long time, while others were starting to become stale by March.

So, what was 2015 the year of?



LEGO DIMENSIONS

You could easily say that Lego has experienced a bit of a renaissance period during the last couple of years.  With the Lego Movie being one of the biggest (pardon the pun) blockbusters over the last couple of years, and Simpsons and Scooby-Doo Lego Playsets being sold on store shelves, Lego has never been cooler (or more expensive)!

So, what happens when you combine the love of Lego with the love of video games?  Well, you get Lego Dimensions, the hottest new toy/video game of the year. 

Released on September 27, 2015, the game (which is available for PlayStation 3/4, XBOX 360, XBOX One, and Nintendo Wii U), allows you to play with your favourite Lego characters in fourteen different Lego themed worlds based off of your favourite films and comic books.  It truly is a game in which you can never get bored, and you can buy additional character pieces you can use to play with in the game.

There is a catch though.  You have to build the characters yourself.  What fun would it be if it came already assembled?



PIE FACE

Would you believe that THIS was the game that everyone wanted this Christmas?  And would you believe that the store I work at could never keep enough of it in stock?  And really, the way you play the game is simple.  You crank some sort of lever that is attached to a pie plate covered in whipped cream (which you have to buy separately, might I add), and the goal is to not get hit in the face with the pie.  Seriously?  You could play the game a lot cheaper by just using the whipped cream.  I bet a year from now, this game will be forgotten about.



PAW PATROL

Okay, so this fad isn't exactly new.  It's a television show that has aired on Nickelodeon since August 2013, and it features a little boy and his team of seven pups who go around Adventure City and use their skills to save the lives of everyone around.  In preparation for this blog entry, I watched a couple of episodes of the show, and I can definitely understand why so many like it.  It also explains why our store was completely devoid of Paw Patrol merchandise the week before Christmas.  It seems like the longer Paw Patrol stays, the more popular it gets.



THE "MAN BUN"

If there is one hairstyle that makes me cringe every time I see it, it's the stupid man bun that celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth and David Beckham have rocked over the years.  2015 seemed to be the year in which the style (hopefully) peaks.  A lot of guys have purposely let their hair grow out so they can pull the hair up in a bun and wear it that way.  You know what, why not just cut the thing out and wear your hair short.  The only people who can rock the bun hairstyle are librarians, food service workers, and possibly Marge Simpson.  Enough with the man bun already!



THE BLACK/BLUE or GOLD/WHITE DRESS

Remember that picture of that dress that nearly broke the Internet earlier this year?  The one that some people argued about for days?  Yeah, that was kind of entertaining for all of a minute.  For what it is worth, the dress is supposed to be black and blue. 



GETTING GREY THE ARTIFICIAL WAY

So, Kelly Osbourne bucked the trend in 2013 when she started wearing her hair in a purplish-grey colour.  At the time, she was a standout.  But now that a lot of A-list talent seem to be going towards the silver hair dye to turn their hair into the same colour as their grandmother's, it's starting to become a little boring.



PINK HAIR IS TRULY OUTRAGEOUS

Another colour that seems to be in for hair colour is pink - likely inspired by the resurgence of Jem and the Holograms for the cartoon's 30th anniversary.  Though, I see the pink hair making more of an impact than the lacklustre movie.



GLITTER BEARDS

Okay, I don't mind the fact that the beard is one of the trends of 2015.  If you can grow one (I can't), I say rock it.  But glitter?  No.  Just no.



NETFLIX AND CHILL

Definition of Netflix:  An online based television and film database that you can watch at your disposal - for about nine bucks a month.

Definition of Chill:  Another word for rest and relaxation.  Sometimes with a special friend, it can mean so much more than that...if you get what I mean.

Therefore, Netflix and Chill means going over to a special friend's house to watch movies and do things that can mean so much more than that...if you get what I mean.



STAR WARS ANYTHING

From lightsabres to action figures to video games to even Star Wars cereal, the release of the seventh Star Wars film certainly has piqued people's interest in grabbing as much Star Wars memorabilia as they possibly can.



MINIONS ANYTHING

2015 is the year of the minion.  Seriously, look around any toy store and you'll see it.

And finally...



ADULT COLOURING BOOKS

I should clarify that I mean adult as in adults can use them, not adult as in "published by Playboy".

No longer are Crayola crayons and colouring books restricted to children any longer.  Several companies have now issued colouring books for adults as a stress-reliever.  The pictures that have to be coloured are a lot more complex than the pictures you might see in a Paw Patrol or Minion colouring book, mainly because the book printers assume that most adults have the motor skills necessary to stay inside the lines.  That said, some of the designs in these books are absolutely beautiful, and it makes me want to buy one of these books so I can relieve my stress.  Which at times can be a lot.

Those are just a few of the fads of 2015.  Are you guilty of taking part in any of them?  Or are there any that I've missed?


Tomorrow, we take a look at the news stories that defined 2015, as well as remembering all the famous faces we lost this past year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 29, 1973

Here it is...the final Tuesday Timeline of 2015!  And, for this entry, I thought we'd add a musical twist to this blog. 

But before we get into the celebration of song, I thought, as always, we should have a look at who's getting older, and what happened on this date in history.

It's December 29.  What happened on this date?

1170 - The Archbishop of Canterbury - Thomas Becket - is assassinated by followers of King Henry II

1778 - Savannah, Georgia is captured by three thousand British soldiers under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Campbell during the American Revolutionary War

1808 - The 17th President of the United States, Andrew Johnson (d. 1875) is born in Raleigh, North Carolina

1845 - The Republic of Texas officially becomes the twenty-eighth state to enter the United States of America

1851 - The first YMCA opens in Boston, Massachusetts

1890 - The Wounded Knee Massacre on Pine Ridge Reservation takes place, which sees 300 Lakota killed by the United States 7th Cavalry Regiment

1911 - Mongolia gains independence from the Qing Dynasty

1916 - James Joyce's first novel "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man" is published

1939 - The first flight of the Consolidated B-24 Liberator takes place

1940 - Two hundred lose their lives in London when the Luftwaffe fire-bombs parts of the city during World War II

1959 - Physicist Richard Feynman delivers his "There's Plenty Of Room At The Bottom" speech

1972 - Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 crashes on approach to Miami, killing 101 passengers aboard the plane

1975 - Eleven people are killed and another 74 are injured following a bomb going off at LaGuardia Airport in New York

1997 - Hong Kong starts to kill the nation's chicken population to stop the spread of a deadly strain of influenza

2001 - A fire erupts inside of a Lima, Peru shopping plaza, killing almost three hundred people

2003 - "Home Improvement" actor Earl Hindman passes away at the age of 61

2013 - At least eighteen people die when a suicide bomber attacks a railway station in Volgograd, Russia

As for celebrity birthdays, the list of people blowing out candles today is quite a long one.  Happy birthday to Dina Merrill, Mary Tyler Moore, Barbara Steele, Jon Voight, Marianne Faithfull, Ted Danson, Jon Polito, Yvonne Elliman, Fred MacAulay, Brad Grey, Paul Rudnick, Patricia Clarkson, Paula Poundstone, Liisa Savijarvi, Ashleigh Banfield, Jennifer Ehle, Glen Phillips, Kevin Weisman, Jude Law, Mekhi Phifer, Shawn Hatosy, Katherine Moennig, LaToya London, Diego Luna, Alison Brie, Jessica Andrews, Alexa Ray Joel, Left Brain, Jane Levy, Ross Lynch, and Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.

Okay, so here's the question.  What year are we going back in time to this week?



Well, according to my calendar, we're going back to the 1970s.  December 29, 1973, that is.

So, what sorts of things happened in 1973?  Well, the energy crisis was still causing people to line up at gas pumps all over the world.  Holly Marie Combs, Tyra Banks, and Seth Meyers were only days old.  And for people who loved the taste of beer but hated the calories it added on, Miller Lite was first produced this year!

But 1973 was also the year in which a rising star in the music world died just as his star was starting to rise.  In fact, it was on December 29, 1973 that he scored his second and final #1 hit - two months after his death.

Let's have a listen to the song in question.  We'll talk about it later.



ARTIST:  Jim Croce
SONG:  Time in a Bottle
ALBUM:  You Don't Mess Around With Jim
DATE RELEASED:  November 1973
PEAK POSITION ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS:  #1 for 2 weeks

This song was definitely a very powerful song, not to mention a bit ironic.  This song wasn't intended to be released as a single at all, but following Jim Croce's death, the single - which was heard at the end of a 1973 television movie entitled "She Lives!" - received a lot of airplay, and demand for a single release increased.  A 7" single was released in November, and by December the song had hit #1, remaining there until it was dethroned by "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band in January 1974.



Here's the interesting part about this single.  Did you know that Jim Croce actually wrote the song three years prior to it becoming a #1 single?  He was inspired to write the song lyrics in December 1970 following the announcement that his wife Ingrid was pregnant with their child.



TRIVIA:  That child happens to be Adrian "A.J." Croce, born on September 28, 1971.  Like his father, he has also pursued a music career, having released nine albums since 1993.

Looking at the lyrics, I can see how a little child could inspire Croce to pen such poignant and emotion-filled poetry.  You could tell that the song was written by a man who was very much looking forward to being a father and spending time with his new son, not realizing the cruel twist of irony that would seal his fate on the evening of September 20, 1973.

In a way, Croce's death almost mirrored that of the rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, a band that saw several of its members lose their lives just one year after Croce.  Croce had just finished playing a concert at Northwestern State University's Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, Louisiana and was set to play another concert the following day in Sherman, Texas.  He was also a day away from officially releasing another single "I Got A Name", and he had just enjoyed the fruits of success when his single "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" topped the charts earlier that summer.  It was a very good time in Croce's life.

But less than an hour after playing the gig at Northwestern, the plane that Croce had boarded crashed after taking off from the runway - allegedly caused by the plane clipping a pecan tree that was right next to the runway.

Croce was dead on impact.  He was just thirty years old.

To say that Croce's death was a tragedy would be an understatement.  Croce had been recording music for several years prior to the plane crash.  He had a wife and a new son in his life.  He was just starting to reap the rewards of perseverance and hard work, and he was finally becoming a music star in his own right.  For him to die at that moment was just not right.

It was almost as if the bottle that Jim Croce had sealed up all of his time in had shattered on the ground, with no way to repair it.

It's been 42 years since Croce died, and yet his music is still heavily played on oldies stations, 1970s stations, and even a couple of soft rock radio stations.  And after Croce's death, a posthumous album entitled "I Got A Name" was released on December 1, 1973, where it reached #2 on the Billboard 200 charts and #2 on the Canadian RPM charts.

Still...it's hard to know what might have been had Jim Croce survived past 1973.  Would he have continued his momentum and become just as famous as say Neil Young or John Mellencamp?  Or would he have abandoned music to pursue another goal?  The sad thing is that we'll never know, but at least his son has followed in his father's footsteps.

And, really, let "Time in a Bottle" serve as a song that best fits the upcoming new year.  2016 is a year that offers much promise and much anticipation, but it also represents a lot of uncertainty.  For some of us, 2016 could be the last year we have, and none of us know when our time filled bottles will run out or expire.  That's why we have to make sure that no matter how much time we have left, we make the most of it.

After all...Jim Croce did.

Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 IN REVIEW - The Year In Movies

Today is the day we begin our look back at the year that has almost gone by.

It's hard to believe that 2015 is nearly over.  With just a few days left in the year, 2016 seems like a year of great promise and joy.

And, like I've done the last few years in this blog, it's time to look back on some of things that made 2015 a year to stand out.



First up in this retrospective is our look back on the silver screen - 2015 style.

You know, I have to say that after the disappointing year of movies that 2014 brought us, 2015 seemed a little bit better in comparison.  Sure, there were some turkeys, and an awful lot of sequels...but at the very least, these sequels were just as great as their parent movies, and even a few of the original productions were creative and well-received.

So, what were the top 10 movies of the year?  Well, this is the list as of December 27, 2015, so it could be subject to change as we get closer to the new year...but as of now, this is the list.

1.  JURASSIC WORLD - $1,668,984,926
2.  FURIOUS 7 - $1,515,047,671
3.  AVENGERS:  AGE OF ULTRON - $1,405,035,767
4.  MINIONS - $1,157,275,017
5.  STAR WARS:  THE FORCE AWAKENS - $1,090,573,329
6.  INSIDE OUT - $851,633,930
7.  SPECTRE - $850,149,955
8.  MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION - $682,330,139
9.  THE HUNGER GAMES - MOCKINGJAY Pt. 2 - $616,803,061
10.  THE MARTIAN - $593,913,224

Okay, so we have six of the ten films being sequels to original films, one a prequel, one a continuation of a long running film series, and only two original films.  And yet, this is one list that I can't disagree with. 



Obviously, the Minions and Star Wars were quite dominant this year.  It seemed almost impossible to escape those little yellow guys speaking gibberish and eating bananas.  2015 seemed to definitely be the year of the minion.



But how about the seventh Star Wars film becoming the fifth most successful film of 2015?  Amazing, given that it debuted worldwide just TEN DAYS AGO!  Goes to show you that the appeal of Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker is still evident some thirty-eight years after the original film was released.



I'm also not surprised that Furious 7 did so well on the big screen.  It is the last film to feature Paul Walker, who was killed in a car accident two years ago, so the film did offer up a nice farewell to the actor, along with a memorable piece of music (which I'll talk more about in the music portion of the retrospective). 



And Chris Pratt continues to be a high demand actor.  With The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy being huge box office bonanzas for him in 2014, Pratt's performance in 2015's Jurassic World has seemed to make him a high demand actor for years to come.



Kudos to Inside Out and The Martian for bucking the trend, and coming up with creative and original plots to stand out in a year of sequels and remakes.  I especially want to single out Inside Out for continuing to make the Pixar-Disney collaborative team just as strong as they were when they made Toy Story some twenty years ago.  And, that scene with Bing Bong still breaks my heart today.

Okay, so now that you know what the top grossing movies of the year were, we should also find out what movies were considered the best of the year.  Unfortunately, this year's Academy Awards aren't slated to air until February 28, so it's hard to say what films will take the honours this year. 

But I do have the list of winners for the previous year, for the ceremony that aired on February 22, 2015.  Let's have a look at some of the more notable categories, shall we?



BEST PICTURE:  Birdman
BEST DIRECTOR:  Alejandro G. Innaritu - Birdman
BEST ACTOR:  Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
BEST ACTRESS:  Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:  Big Hero 6
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:  "Glory" from Selma



Again, no real surprises.  In fact, there are a couple of these awards that I feel were well deserved.  For one, even though it was sad to see Michael Keaton lose the award (which he had written an acceptance speech for), I have to say that Eddie Redmayne absolutely deserved the award.  He really brought Stephen Hawking to life, and the movie itself was phenomenal.



Though, I don't feel too bad for Keaton...the movie he starred in won Best Picture.  Not bad for a guy who spent part of the film in his underwear!



It was really awesome to see Julianne Moore finally win an Academy Award.  This brilliant actress had been overlooked so many times, I would have thought she was in line to be the Susan Lucci of the Oscars.  But this former soap star never gave up and was finally rewarded for her stellar performance in Still Alice.



And hooray to Big Hero 6 for winning best animated feature!  Big Hero 6 is my second favourite Disney film of all time (first being Aladdin), and the entire film from start to finish is pure eye candy.  Absolutely recommend this one if you haven't seen it yet.

On the flipside, the Golden Raspberry Awards were held on February 21, 2015, honouring the worst of film...and here are the results from that ceremony.

WORST PICTURE:  Saving Christmas
WORST ACTOR:  Kirk Cameron (Saving Christmas)
WORST ACTRESS:  Cameron Diaz (Sex Tape)
WORST SUPPORTING ACTOR:  Kelsey Grammer (Expendables 3)
WORST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:  Megan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
WORST PREQUEL/REMAKE:  Annie
WORST DIRECTOR:  Michael Bay (Transformers:  Age of Extinction)
RAZZIE REDEEMER AWARD:  Ben Affleck



Are we really surprised that a uber-religious film starring Kirk Cameron of the Growing Pains/Growing Ego movement did so badly in both the box office and in public view?  It is easily one of the worst movies of 2015 (if not the entire 2010s decade overall), and it's easy to see why it won four Razzies.  Oh, and on Rotten Tomatoes...it's one of the few films to have a 0% Fresh rating!  Ouch!  Of course, Kirk blamed atheists for purposely posting fake reviews.  Yeah, sure, Kirk.  Keep telling yourself that.  That lie is so bad, even Julie McCullough is laughing at you.



Not surprised that Megan Fox won for Worst Supporting Actress...it's an award she was nominated for during her Transformers years.  Though it was the only Razzie that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot won.  Truth be told, I kind of liked the remake of the Turtles.  Not as good as the 1990 film, but I can sit through it anyway.



And, really...Expendables 3?  They should have stopped at Expendables 1.  Expendables became predictable long ago, and frankly they bore me to tears.

Some other miscellaneous notes.



Pixels was one of those movies that started out with a good idea, but ended up being a complete disaster.  Granted, I will single out Josh Gad for at least trying his best to save the picture, but barring him dressing up like Olaf and singing "In Summer", I don't think anything he did would have helped.  And to think that this movie was directed by the same man who brought us Home Alone and the first few Harry Potter movies!  For shame, Chris Columbus!



One movie I'm surprised to see not make the top 10 list is Pitch Perfect 2.  The original film became a surprise hit, and the sequel was just as fantastic.  It was such a hit that nobody really cared that Rebel Wilson revealed that she was really closer to 35 instead of 30!



You will also likely see Amy Schumer a lot more in 2016.  This comedienne has exploded in 2015, and her film Trainwreck was a huge hit at the box office, cementing her as one of the newest "it girls" that we should keep looking for.



You want to know what WAS a trainwreck though?  The film version of the book Fifty Shades of Grey.  While most women seemed to drool over the film, it actually wasn't that good.  In fact, many would say that the film version was a huge disappointment.

Though, I suppose they would also say the same thing about Magic Mike XXL.



Finally, if there is one movie that I feel should be worth getting an Oscar nomination or two, it's the film Spotlight.  It's the movie that took a look at the Boston Globe and how they were the first newspaper to out the scandals of the Catholic Church.  While Kirk Cameron probably wouldn't endorse this film, I am.  Seriously, check it out.  It is very powerful indeed.

Well, as they say in the movie business, that's a wrap for today.  I'll be doing a Tuesday Timeline for the next entry, but come back on Wednesday where I will have a look at some of the fads that made 2015 a year to remember!