Views on pop culture through my eyes

Posts tagged ‘Dierks Bentley’

Summer Reviews 2018 Vol. 1

So what has been catching my fancy as far as entertainment? Read on for my latest take on movies, DVDs, CDs, TV shows and more.

Movies

Tully
Charlize Theron stars as overwhelmed mom in this comedy-drama from director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody. Theron plays Marlo who is just about to give birth to her third child. She is overworked and overwhelmed like many women are. Her brother suggests they get a night nanny to help them with the baby. In comes Tully, played by Mackenzie Davis. She is a young, free-spirited woman here to help Marlo through the difficult time she is having. Things do get better for awhile… but the movie takes some interesting turns as it comes to its conclusion. It definitely gets a bit weird and strange. Theron is all in — in her performance. Grade: B-

Avengers: Infinity War
The third Avengers movie has the team combating the biggest and most powerful villain yet — Thanos. All of your favorite characters are here: Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Spiderman, Black Panther and more. Plus the Guardians of the Galaxy also are part of the story. Thanos is in search of the Infinity Stones, which are scattered throughout the galaxy. Each stone he gets makes him more powerful. The movie ends on a bit of a sad note, as this is the first of 2 movies. We’ll have to see if everyone survives or not. I enjoyed this more than the last Avengers movie, but the first one, is still my favorite of the 3. Grade: B

RBG
RBG is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice. This is a documentary about her life. It tells of her humble upbringing, and her days as one of the few female law students in school. The movie recounts her pioneering cases in the 70’s that she argued before the Supreme Court — paving the way for women’s rights. Plus her stint on the Supreme Court starting in 1993 under President Clinton. We also find out about her personal life with her husband and children too. It is fascinating look at a woman who fights for what she believes in. Grade: A

Book Club
Four old friends (Jane Fonda, Candace Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Dianne Keaton) in a book club decide to start reading “Fifty Shades of Grey.” This light-hearted romantic comedy shows how it affects the ladies lives and their relationships. There are jokes about getting old and getting laid — not everything hits. But it is still an enjoyable movie. You will want to spend time with these women. Grade: B

DVDs (or streaming)

I am Not Your Negro
This documentary is based on the writings and interviews with James Baldwin. He talks about being a black man in the US and the struggles that come with it. The film also shows all the struggles that we are currently experiencing in this country with race. It is sad how little seems to have changed in the last 50-60 years. Grade: A-

Game of Thrones — Season 2
The Stark family is on a mission to avenge the death of the patriarch in Season 1. Everyone is scattered among the 7 kingdoms, dealing with trying to get by in the age of King Joffery. There are battles and drama a plenty. Plus, we start to see what the dragons are all about too. Grade: A-

It
This is the 2017 version of the Steve King novel. It takes a few cues from “Stranger Things.” You have a bunch of young kids, in the 80’s, this time being hunted by a killer clown versus an alien from the upside down. The kids come together as a bunch of misfits to help rid the town of this menace. There are some nice scares, and special effects. I enjoyed it. Grade: B

Victoria & Abdul
This movie details the extraordinary friendship between Queen Victoria and Abdul, an Indian immigrant who starts as her servant and becomes her mentor as time moves on. Judi Dench plays the Queen. It is an interesting story, with great performances. Grade: B+

Strike a Pose
This documentary catches up with the dancers from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour — 25 years later. They were also featured in the “Truth or Dare” movie that was a behind the scenes look at the tour. Definitely a must see for Madonna fans. It was interesting to see how they have aged and what they are up to now. And to revisit how big a deal it was to see such openness and honesty with being gay back in the 90’s. Grade: A-

GaGa: Five Foot Two
Lady GaGa gives us a behind the scenes glimpse into her life. It covers the period of her recording the “Joanne” album, it’s promotion, as well as more intimate scenes with her family and her doctor visits. It culminates with her headlining the Super Bowl Halftime show in 2017. We see the real person behind the music — warts and all. I loved the topless chat with her stylists by her pool. The little monsters will love it. Grade: B+

Princess Cyd
This movie tells the story of Cyd — a teenager who goes to live with her aunt for a summer. While there she finds out about her mother, and falls for a local girl that works at a coffee house. What I found refreshing about it was how the aunt just let Cyd find her way, and did not judge her. It also touched on the power of the written word as the aunt was a writer and so were many of her friends. It was a refreshing take on a coming of age story. Grade: A-

Barbra — The Music… The Mem’ries… The Magic!
Available for streaming on Netflix, this video is the last concert tour for Barbra Streisand. It was filmed in December 2016 in Miami. She delivers a set that is strong on memories from her 6 decade career. It includes a duet with Jamie Foxx on “Climb Every Mountain” as well as “Jingle Bells” from her first Christmas album. Her voice is not as strong as it once was, but she is still a compelling performer. Grade: B-

CDs

Tim McGraw — Emotional Traffic
Tim is in fine form on his 11th studio album. He always seems to find a good mix of party tunes and ballads. It includes a duet with his wife on “One Part, Two Part” as well as duet with Ne-Yo. Stand-out tracks include: “Felt Good on My Lips” and “Right Back Atcha Babe.” I do wish he would mix it up sometime — but that doesn’t happen here. It safe, and enjoyable. Grade: B

Pentatonix — PTX Presents: Top Pop, Vol. 1
The latest from the a capella group finds them covering a bunch of today’s top hits including “Despecito” (Justin Beiber, Daddy Yankee and Luis Fonsi), “Perfect” (Ed Sheeran), “New Rules” (Dua Lipa) and more. The arrangements are nice, if not ground-breaking. Likeable, and forgettable at the same time. Grade: C+

Keith Urban — Graffiti U
Keith is continuing to push the boundaries with country and pop on his latest album. It includes the first single and timely anthem, “Female”, as well as his collaboration with Julia Michaels on “Coming Home.” He explores reggae sounds on “My Wave” as well as some EDM sounds on “Drop Top.” I could have done without the little 2 song intros. They don’t add anything to the mix. Same goes for the outro on “Steal My Thunder.” Overall, though, it is a solid effort. Grade: B

Jennifer Hudson — JHUD
This is Jennifer’s third album. This time she mixes it up. It is mostly R&B tinged dance music. Special guest include: TI, Iggy Azalea, Timbaland and R. Kelly. Her voice is amazing as always. I’m not so sure she has found her direction yet with her recording career. Grade: B-

Kylie Minogue — Golden
Kylie’s 14th album has a little bit of a country vibe going on — on several tracks including the first single “Dancing.” But it is still Kylie doing what Kylie does best — which is dance pop. Enjoyable, if not ground-breaking. Grade: B+

Dierks Bentley — The Mountain
This is Dierks’ 9th album. It features duets with Brothers Osbourne (who are touring with him this year) and Brandi Carlile. The sound is a mix of bluegrass and country rock. Thankfully it is a bit of a step forward for him. The last few projects it felt as if he was coasting to me. It includes the first single “Woman, Amen” — a tribute to the woman in his life. Grade: A-

Imagine Dragons — Night Visions
Their third album won me over. So now I am going back and getting some of their older work. This is the first album and features the hits: Radioactive, It’s Time and Demons. This one I would label more alternative than the third one. I got the Deluxe version and at 18 songs, it is a little on the long side. But overall it is a good collection and shows promise. Grade: B

TV

Champions
From Mindy Kaling, comes a new comedy on NBC. It concerns a little Indian boy, who dreams of being a Broadway star. He ends up living with his biological dad and his uncle in New York. So you have the culture clash between white and Indian. Add in the fact that the kid is gay too. And that the brothers work in a gym named “Champions.” I tried the first couple of episodes, and it was just OK at best. I wouldn’t bet on it to last. Grade: C

For the People
This drama from Shonda Rhimes, use her formula of pretty people in the workplace — this time focusing on lawyers. The show is set in NY, and features people both on the defense and the prosecution. So 1-2 stories are told each episode, from both sides of the equation. Racial diverse casting, with mostly newcomers — with some TV vets (Hope Davis, Ben Rappaport) in plum roles. Grade: B

Roseanne
She is back, and so is the rest of the cast too. Say what you want about Roseanne Barr, but Roseanne Connor is very relatable. And the show is still funny too. Struggles with paying bills, healthcare, and raising kids — are all universal themes. And then she is adding in some hot button topics like gender non-conforming kids, and Muslim neighbors too. I am enjoying the reboot. Grade: A- (Editor’s Note: This review was written before the show was cancelled).

Pose
The latest drama from Ryan Murphy details the ball scene of the late 80’s and 90’s in NYC. This is the scene where LGBT people of color came together to compete as “houses” (groups) of dancers. This is the scene where Madonna’s “Vogue” came out of. There are many transgendered performers in the cast. It is interesting to see how these people often came from nothing and made their lights shine once they were in the spotlight. Grade: B

Books

13 Reasons Why (Jay Asher)
I had to check this out, as I really enjoyed the Netflix series. The book is just as good. The story details the 13 reasons why teenager Hannah killed herself. It is told to Clay (a classmate and potential love interest) through a series of cassette tapes that Hannah made. It touches on topics such as self-esteem, rape culture, body shaming and more. It definitely makes you think about your actions. I highly recommend it. Grade: A

Arcade (Drew Nellins Smith)
Mr. Smith writes about growing up gay in the 1990’s. It’s billed as fiction, but it was inspired by his real life. He becomes obsessed with going to an adult arcade on the edge of town. That’s the place you can buy DVDs, sex toys and watch porn movies on monitors in little rooms. He describes the people and situations he encounters there. I liked it at first, but then got tired of it. The man in the story didn’t learn or grow — he was doing the same thing over the course of the entire novel. And it doesn’t really have much of a story structure — just 1-4 page antidotes — for each “chapter.” Grade: C-

Plays

West Side Story
We saw this at a local production on Mother’s Day weekend. The story and songs still hold up. There were a few contemporary touches added to the show: gun violence and migration were touched upon. The male lead was not as strong as the female lead. I can’t complain too much, I enjoyed it. Grade: B

School of Rock
From Andrew Lloyd Webber comes the Broadway adaptation of the Jack Black-starring movie. So you have a lovable loser, who fakes his way into being a teacher at a high-end kid’s school. There he teaches his kids how to rock — with his end game being for them to perform as his back-up band in a battle of the bands. The kids were amazing and played their own instruments as well as sang their own vocals. There were a few stand-out numbers including “Stick it to the Man”. I had fun. Grade: B

Thanks for reading. Please sound off in the comments — if you agree or disagree with my views. I would love to hear from you.

KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

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Country Hunks

I am a country music fan. I started out liking the women first: the Judds, Dolly Parton. But as I heard more and more from the guys, I got into them too. The things I like about country music, are the stories they tell, the way the melodies get stuck in your head, and how relatable the songs are to so many people. Not to mention the fact that a lot of the hottest stars in country are pretty darn good–looking. Here is a list of my favorite country hunks and their essential albums/singles:

Keith Urban
I first heard him described as country music for people that don’t like country. His music is very rock oriented. And the songs are so catchy, you will be singing along to them after the first listen. Essential albums: “Be Here” and “Golden Road.” Songs: “Once in a Lifetime” and “Making Memories of Us.”

Dierks Bentley
The frat boy from Arizona has hit the big time. He’s got beautiful curly hair, but he looks good with it cut too. When he sings “Come a Little Closer,” you can feel the sexual tension. Essential albums: “Modern Day Drifter” and “Long Trip Alone.” Songs: “So So Long” and “Sideways.”

Kenny Chesney
OK, so he was married to Rene Zellweger for like 15 minutes. And he is hiding a bald head under his cowboy hat. He still has a hot body and puts on a great live show. Essential albums: “When the Sun Goes Down” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” Songs: “Live Those Songs Again” and “The Good Stuff.”

Tim McGraw
Mr. Faith Hill is a superstar in his own right. More often seen with his hat on, he is a real man who treats his lady well. I can see why some girl grabbed his crotch in concert. Essential albums: “Set This Circus Down” and “Let It Go.” Songs: “Live Like You Were Dying” and “Over and Over.”

Josh Turner
Before Scotty McCreery made us fall in love with him singing “Your Man,” the song belonged to this hunk with the beautiful bass voice. Plus he also includes one spiritually themed song per CD. Essential albums: “Your Man” and “Everything is Fine.” Songs: “Would You Go with Me” and “Why Don’t We Just Dance.”

Big & Rich
Country never met a duo like Big & Rich. They love to mix up genres, and add rock, funk and hip hop to their sound. Essential albums: “Horse of a Different Color” and “Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace.” Songs: “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and “Lost in This Moment.”

Darius Rucker
The former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish has made a name for himself in the country world. He brings soul and rock n’ roll to his songs. He has a great duet with Jill Scott on her “Collaborations” CD. Essential albums: “Learn to Live” and “Charleston, SC 1966.” Songs: “Alright” and “This.”

Billy Currington
One of the hottest bodies in country music (See the video for “Why, Why Why”), and another hunk with beautiful curly brown hair. Essential albums: “Doin’ Something Right” and “Little Bit of Everything.” Songs: “Good Directions” and “Don’t.”

Blake Shelton
Now mentoring new singers on “The Voice,” this hunk is married to tough country chick Miranda Lambert. I became a fan when I saw him open for Rascal Flatts: Essential albums: “Barn and Grill” and “Pure BS.” Songs: “Cotton Pickin Time” and “Honey Bee.”

Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum)
The key to this group’s popularity is in the vocal interplay between Charles and Hilary Scott. They are not a couple, but they sure sound like one. Charles is tall, handsome and bearded. Essential albums: “Lady Antebellum” and “Need You Now.” Songs: “Lookin’ for a Good Time” and “Just a Kiss.”

So who are your favorite country hunks? I hope you check out their music… they don’t just look good, they sound good too.

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including the Real Men Wear Kilts line. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.

Dierks Bentley: Good Songs, Underwhelming Show

Dierks Bentley in Concert
Friday, April 13, 2012
Nokia Theatre LA Live

Special guests: Will Hoge, Eli Young Band

Country and Cold Cans Tour 2012

Songs performed: Tip It on Back, Feel That Fire, Am I the Only One, Lots of Leavin’ Left to Do, Trying to Stop Your Leaving, 5-1-5-0, Settle for a Slowdown, Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go), Up On The Ridge, Come A Little Closer, How Am I Doin’, Home, (Graham Parker cover), (Foo Fighters cover), Garrett Hedlund song, Country and Cold Cans, Sideways, What Was I Thinkin’

Comments: Country hunk Dierks Bentley proved to be more of a bar singer than the headliner he should be in his latest tour. And that’s too bad, because he is a good singer and performer.

This was my third time seeing Mr. Bentley. He really won me over with his second album “Modern Day Drifter.” I first saw him as a opening act for Kenny Chesney, then in his own tour in support of his 3rd album. His current tour is in support of his 6th album “Home.”

So what was the issue? I enjoyed myself, but I really think he had a hard time making a connection with the crowd. Why is it that other country acts I have seen that came out around the same time (Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton), have gone on to greater success and acclaim, while he is still in the middle of the pack so to speak. It’s not like he is not still getting airplay on country radio, because he is.

He’s a good looking guy, but he tends to downplay his looks with a scruffy beard. Play up your sex appeal, tighter clothes, cleaner appearance. And why not, have more of a spectacle? Video screens, different backdrops and dramatic lighting. You are playing a venue that seats 7,000, yet I got the feeling that you could have done the same show in a much smaller venue like the House of Blues. He couldn’t even sell out the venue… and he has kept prices down too.

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