10 Best Songs of 2017 (So Far)

Hi Guys!

We’re almost half-way through 2017 and already we’ve had a few great radio hits. Here is my list of the 10 best songs of the year so far.

10. Kissing Strangers – DNCE ft. Nicki Minaj

DNCE’s “Cake by the Ocean” was a massive hit last year. “Kissing Strangers” contains all of that summery dance feel with a sweet hook and a great rap from Nicki. It’s pure fluff, but it’s fun fluff.

9. Slow Hands – Niall Horan 

Harry Styles “Sign of the Times” may be the bigger hit with its Beatlesy sound, but I prefer this song by another One Direction alum Niall Horan. It’s great for a weekend drive, so clap along right with the lyrics.

8. Low – Todrick Hall ft. Ru Paul

At #8, I want to give a shout-out to Todrick Hall for his song, “Low.” This is a strong dance number with intelligent, hilarious lyrics surrounding a Wizard of Oz theme. Plus, it features RuPaul!

7. Cloud 9 – Jamiroquai 

Most people know Jam (yes, I’m calling him “Jam”) from his 90s hit “Virtual Insanity.” This upbeat, funky tune is a great showcase for his unique sound and a good song to dance to.

6. I Feel it Coming – Daft Punk ft. The Weeknd

Daft Punk always finds a way to breath life into repetitive dance tunes. They did it again here with The Weeknd. Perfect for a slow-dance under the stars.

5. Bom Bidi Bom – Nick Jonas ft. Nicki Minaj

From the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack, this Nick/Nicki collab is just ripe for shakin’ those hips! It didn’t get released as a single, but this stands as one of the sexiest songs of the year.

4. Rockabye – Clean Bandit ft. Anne-Marie and Sean Paul 

Clean Bandit always offers great music. From their first big hit with “Rather Be”, I’ve seen them spawn strong dance tunes ever since. This one, with its message about the lengths a mother will go to provide for her family, is another solid entry. Anne-Marie’s vocals add a nice touch. Can’t wait to hear more from them!

3. Stay – Zedd and Alessia Cara

Honestly, I don’t like either Zedd’s or Alessia’s music separately. But when they came together, they created this catchy little gem. The chorus is strong, and it captures the direness of the singer’s plea to keep her lover with her. I’m sure this one will “stay” on the charts for awhile.

2. Shape of You Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is probably the biggest hit of the year so far, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s catchy, it’s unique, and it’s by Ed Sheeran. Luckily, this song is only a taste of how great his album “Divide” is. Definitely check it out!

1. Bad Liar – Selena Gomez

And finally, we get to my pick for the best song of the year so far — “Bad Liar” by Selena Gomez. Talk about catchy! If you’re not singing this chorus after hearing it, you must be deaf! It’s so fun, Selena sounds great, and there’s so many twists and turns in this pop gem, it’s worth a few listens. And I ain’t lyin’!

 

What do you think? What’s your favorite song of the year so far? Tell me in the  comments!

 

More fun. . .coming soon!

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My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017 – Part 2

Hey guys,

I know you’ve been waiting all week for it, so here it is — Part 2 of My Top Most Anticipated Films of 2017 list! If you haven’t read part 1, here’s the link:

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017 – Part 1

I’ve had a lot of fun compiling this list and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Without further ado, here are my Top 5!

 

5.) Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Star Wars made a triumphant return with Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now, the intergalactic adventures of Rey, Finn, and Poe continue! I couldn’t be more pumped!

Reasons:

I have been a Star Wars fan for over a decade now. Although I initially didn’t like Episode IV, once I saw Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, I was hooked. They just got better and better after that.

Wait, did I just say they got “better and better”? Yes, I did. Nowadays, I regret saying that I preferred the prequels to the sequels, but at the time, they were fun, visually stunning films that modernized the franchise. The difference in quality is more apparent to me now, but I’m glad those films existed. They brought the franchise into the 21st century and inspired a new generation of fans. If we didn’t have them, maybe we wouldn’t have Episode VII. Food for thought.

Regardless, The Force Awakens was stellar. I really liked the new characters, particularly Finn and Poe, and I’m very curious to see how they’ll evolve over these next two installments. Plus, it’ll be fascinating to watch what happens to Kylo Ren as well, being the big, dark enigma of the franchise.

Will it live up to the expectations? No clue. J.J. Abrams isn’t directing Episode VIII, so that could be a bad sign. Still, he didn’t direct Rogue One either and look how successful that was! With two well-received films in the pipe, I, and probably many other fans like me, are confident that this franchise will satisfy audiences for years to come!

 

4. Untitled Disney Live-Action Fairy Tale

This one doesn’t even have a title and I’m excited about it. If you read my 5 Fun Fairy Tales post, you know I’m a big fairy tale fan. We live in an age where Disney live-action fairy tales are all the rage (see: Cinderella, Maleficent, The Jungle Book, and Pete’s Dragon.) With one of them coming out in March (and maybe also coming up on this list?), Disney decided to stake out a date in July for this little question mark. So, why has it made this list?

Reasons:

The mystery! What else? We don’t know anything about it! It’s the possibilities, and the lack of any real information, that make this entry so intriguing. Some of these possibilities include Mulan, Pinocchio, and even Dumbo. /Film has compiled this list of other likely candidates.

While all of them would be interesting, I’m particularly intrigued by Cruella and Maleficent 2.  Maleficent was great and I’m curious about what she’s been up to. As for Cruella, although I always despised the character, she could end up becoming a fascinatingly flawed character. Still, I think it’s going to be harder to make her relatable than it was with Maleficent due to the whole puppies-as-coats thing. Besides them, Genie, Prince Charming, and Rose Red also sound good. And what about the live-action version of The Little Mermaid? And The Lion King, one of my favorite movies of all time? So many possibilities! Looking forward to the announcement. Fingers crossed!

 

3.) Kong: Skull Island

In less than 3 weeks, Kong is going to hit the silver screen. And it’s going to be big! Now I’ve never been a King Kong fan, but Kong: Skull Island looks really cool. Here’s why:

Reasons:

Tom Hiddleston. I’m a huge fan of Tom and I’m particularly interested to see how he’ll do as the lead in a big blockbuster like this. It’ll be some new territory for him and I hope he comes out ruling the cinema (Get it? King Kong. Ruling. Royalty Puns!)

The Trailer. The film’s action and scenery look spectacular! We’re going to get Kong right where we want him, in the jungle along with plenty of other wild creatures fighting for supremacy. Plus, nice use of “Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Are we getting a throwback soundtrack? Maybe?

The only thing I’m not a fan of is the war-vibe the film is giving off. One of its posters is even modeled after Apocalypse Now. I’m not into war films and I only like M.A.S.H. because it’s funny. In other words, don’t give me Ape-pocalypse Now. Just give me the King! Still, the trailers have been explosive, and because of John C. Reilly, a little bit humorous, so maybe it won’t be too dark.

 

2.) Beauty and the Beast

Reread Number 4 on my list. This one should come as no surprise. Beauty and the Beast is one of the most enchanting and lovely fairy tales of all time. Disney is finally giving it a live-action face-lift while still retaining its classic, old-world charm. From the costumes, to the sets, to the special effects, there are many reasons why this film looks like another fantastic entry in Disney’s recent live-action re-imaginings.

Reasons:

The casting. We’ve got Emma Watson as Belle, Josh Gad as Le Fou, Ewan McGregor as Lumiere. PERFECTION! I couldn’t have chosen better myself.

New songs. Turns out, we’re getting new material from composer Alan Menken, who worked on the Disney animated version of Beauty and the Beast back in 1991. One is a brand new song that will be sung by the legend herself, Celine Dion! With the lovely duet of the title song  from Ariana Grande and John Legend already released, I can’t wait for the rest of the soundtrack!

Disney. It’s Disney. Need I say more?

Kong: Skull Island and Beauty and the Beast both come out next month. Looks like March is shaping up to be a pretty good movie month!

 

Before we get to the Number 1 on my list, here are a few honorable mentions:

Wonder Woman – Sleek trailer. I like the casting of Chris Pine as Steve Trevor. However, D.C.’s not doing too well right now, so we’ll see how it fares.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – Not a huge Pirates fan, but I have enjoyed some of the films in the series. Javier Bardem looks perfectly dark and creepy as a ghostly pirate. Yet the quality of the Pirates franchise has waned a bit since the original, so I’m not sure if this film will go over too well with audiences.

The Mummy – I really liked The Mummy with Brendan Fraser. It was a fun action/adventure film, perfect for a Saturday morning. I think that’s why I’m looking forward to this film with Tom Cruise. I keep hoping it’s going to have some of the fun of the Brendan Fraser film, but if not, it’ll help launch a really cool Universal Monster film franchise, so there’s that.

 

And now, my Number 1 pick. . .

1.) Thor: Ragnarok

The third installment of the Thor franchise is my Number 1, Most Anticipated Film of 2017. Why? One word. LOKI! Okay, well he’s the main reason, but I’m happy to say there are a few more reasons why I think this Thor is going to be something really special.

Reasons:

The Director. Taika Waititi is the director of the indie films What We Do in the Shadows and Eagle Vs. Shark (both funny, strange films that I recommend.) A sense of humor is something the Thor franchise is in desperate need of. While Thor: The Dark World had some funny moments thanks to Loki, once he *Spoiler Alert* “died”, there wasn’t much left to chuckle over. With Waititi at the helm, this could be the most surprising entry of the Marvel Universe.

Hulk vs. Thor. Who doesn’t want to see Hulk and Thor in a gladiator match to the death? We’re going to get to visit of planet of Hulks too? AWESOME!

Jeff Goldblum as The Grandmaster. A genius with a pension for games, crafting all kinds of challenges to conquer his opponents. C’mon, who doesn’t love to see Jeff Goldblum playing a charismatic genius? MORE AWESOME!

Finally, the mystery. Just like my 4th entry, there’s so very little information about this film and that’s makes it all the more exciting. We’ll hopefully get a trailer at San Diego Comic Con this year, but in the meantime, it’s fun to think about the potential of this one. Bring on the trailer, people! I want to see this puppy in action. November 3 can’t come soon enough!

Oh, and tell me you haven’t at least once substituted “Ragnarok” in the theme song to “Fraggle Rock.” Well, you’re about to. . .

 

That’s it! My picks for 2017. Will they be successful? Will they be good? What do you think? What movies are you looking forward to this year? Tell me in the comments.

See you again, same Grinch time, same Grinch channel!

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2017 – Part 1

Hey everyone!

Today I’m giving you my top 10 most anticipated films of 2017! It may be a tad late, but as none of these films have released yet, my picks are still good. I have to admit it was unusually hard coming up with 10 films that I really wanted to see this year. Unlike in past years, I found the slate of films very limited. However, there are a few I simply can’t wait for. There’s so much to say about these films, so I’ve split this post into 2 parts. Here are numbers 10-6. . .

10.) Justice League

To kick off this list, we have the most recognizable super-heroes in the world in the epic team-up, Justice League. Just knowing that we’re going to see Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg in the same film boggles the mind! That’s more than enough to deserve a spot on this list.

So why is Justice League so low on the totem pole? Two words. Zack Synder. Sorry, but neither Man of Steel nor Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was very good, in my opinion. I don’t have much faith in Zack after these 2, primarily because of their tone. They’re too dark. Where’s the fun? Where’s the humor? Marvel has Tony Stark. Who does D.C. have?

Well, possibly, The Flash. The one bright spot in the Justice League trailer is Ezra Miller as the Scarlet Speedster. If you’ve seen the first trailer for Justice League, you can see that he is (hopefully) going to be the film’s comic relief. In these movies, we desperately need someone funny, and I think Ezra’s the one to do that. He may be the only thing that’s good about this super-hero team-up.

If not, may the movie be like him and speed to the credits!

9.) Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets/ The Greatest Showman

Now I know I’m cheating here, but these two films are about even on my anticipation scale. One interested me because it looked cool, the other because it sounded cool. Likewise, I know very little about both of them so I’m tentative to rank them any higher.

First: Valerian. This sci-fi film is based off a French comic book series published from 1967-2010. Valerian, and his partner Laureline, travel through time with a dose of humor and politics thrown into the mix. I’ve never read the comic books myself, so my official introduction to the series was really through the trailer. If you haven’t seen the trailer, please do. It’s stunning! The Beatles’ song “Because” plays in the background, delivering a hazy, stoner-vibe to the sci-fi action. Plus, hey, there’s Rihanna!

Overall, the special effects look fantastic and I love knowing that there’s an original sci-fi summer blockbuster to get excited about this year. The fact that it’s directed by Luc Besson, who directed The Fifth Element is a definite plus. Let’s hope Valerian is more that and less Jupiter Ascending.

Now let me introduce to you. . .The Greatest Showman! Starring Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum, this musical centers on P.T.’s rise to fame and the subsequent creation of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. Talk about weird timing! The circus is officially closing this year after 146 years in business. What a coincidence! Hopefully, the film will be a fitting tribute to the circus’s monumental impact as well as to its creator.

The reason I’m intrigued? It’s a musical, that’s why! This could have just been a regular biopic and it still would have been worth a watch, but the fact that it’s a musical greatly enhances its appeal. Hugh has a solid background in musicals, from his days performing The Boy from Oz on Broadway and then, more recently, in the film Les Miserables. Combined with a circus aesthetic, this could be the kind of visually-arresting showstopper that Moulin Rouge and Chicago were back in the early 2000s.

A mind-blowing sci-fi flick and a big-top musical. Which do you think is going to rule the cinema?

8.) Despicable Me 3

Despicable Me is a warm-hearted, funny, charming animated film that introduced the world (and me) to the lovable, goofy Gru. After a sequel and a prequel, Gru is back in Despicable Me 3, facing off against a new foe — Benjamin Bratt. Oh, wait no, sorry! I mean, Balthazar Bratt, an 80s child star who seeks WORLD DOMINATION! Not only that, Gru discovers he has a long-lost twin brother. . .Dru! Plus, the minions will be getting into some shenanigans as well.

PHEW! That’s a lot to digest! I love Gru, but even I think the film’s already a little top-heavy. However, the real problem I have is something that’s stemmed from the beginning of the series. You know how they say Marvel has a villain problem? The people love Loki, as do I, but they find Marvel’s other antagonists unremarkable. Outside of Gru, that’s how I feel about Despicable Me‘s villains. They’re kind of loony, without being overtly funny. I mean, I like Vector, but was he memorable? What about Scarlet Overkill? Or El Macho? The truth is I actually had to look up their names because I couldn’t remember them. That’s how little they stuck with me.

Maybe Balthazar Bratt will break the curse. Either way, as long as Gru’s there, I’m happy. Cue Pharrell!

7.) Let It Snow

No, this is not a Hallmark movie, although there is one that shares the same title. This Let it Snow is a film based on the popular YA novel of the same name. It focuses on 3 different stories, all centered around teens in love during the holidays. I read this book back in 2009 and I really liked it. Granted, the first story was the best, but I think it’d be fun to see all three stories weaved together into a feature film. Another Christmas film to add to my wintery collection!

Unfortunately, there is no poster or trailer yet, so it’s hard to judge a film like this. There’s not even a cast listed on IMDB yet! And it’s coming out in November! It makes me a little wary, but it should be a fun, romantic holiday treat regardless.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Another group of superheroes hits the big screen this year, this time, for a second round of hijinks. The Guardians of the Galaxy are back, and if you’ve seen the trailer, they look better than ever! More Laughs! More Action! More Baby Groot! It looks like a rollicking good time and I’m super-stoked for the next killer soundtrack. The first one was so good, I’ve listened to it many times. I can’t wait for more 70s classics!

Honestly, I think the only worry I have is the worry that everybody has about a sequel. Will it live up to its predecessor? But, hey, even if it doesn’t, a few great songs, some one-liners, and a couple of awesome superhero clashes in space will be enough. Just seeing these guys again is enough for me. As long as they stay true to who they are, it’s going to be great.

Summer officially begins May 5!

 

Next week, I’ll have my part 2 to this list. See you then!

 

My Top 10 Movie Soundtracks

Hi everyone. I know it’s been a while since my last post. I apologize for the wait. I thought you should be rewarded for the time-off with My Top 10 Movie Soundtracks. In my opinion, soundtracks have some of the best songs to listen to, even if they didn’t become massive hits. For my list, I’ve included musical soundtracks, but no scores. So sorry Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, but you didn’t make the cut. I hope you find some surprise soundtracks you may not have even considered (or realize existed) on this list.

10. 13 Going on 30

13_Going_on_30_(album).jpg

To start things off, I present the 80s pop/dance confection that is the 13 Going on 30 soundtrack. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably already have a strong desire to sing Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” with your girlfriends or fall in love after hearing Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody.” Luckily for you, this soundtrack gives you those great songs from the film so you can have the feels over and over again. Sadly, it’s missing Michael Jackson’s, “Thriller“, which marks the most memorable moment in the film.

9. Earth Girls are Easy

Earth Girls Are Easy Soundtrack

Continuing with the 80s trend, this is the soundtrack to the silly 80s Sci-Fi comedy Earth Girls are Easy. The movie’s an enjoyable romp and the soundtrack highlights all the fun, cheesy goodness. My favorite song on the album,”Baby Gonna Shake“, always gets me moving. Then there’s the humorous songs “Brand New Girl” and “‘Cause I’m a Blonde” by Julie Brown which emphasize the film’s absurdity. However, I prefer Geena Davis’ version of “The Ground You Walk On” from the film rather than the Jill Jones’ version on the album.

8. A Lot Like Love

A Lot Like Love Soundtrack.jpg

We leave the 80s and go headlong into the 90s. Here’s something you may not know about me — I’m a huge 90s music fan. You’ll find me listening to Best of the 90s CDs all the time. What I love about the A Lot Like Love soundtrack is it gives you some of the 90s high-points including my favorite Smash Mouth song “Walking on the Sun“, Third Eye Blind’s classic “Semi-Charmed Life” and Eagle-Eye Cherry’s “Save Tonight.” In addition, it provides songs from the 2000s including “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne. There’s even the 70s hit “If You Leave Me Now” by Chicago. Really, it’s just a musical mish-mash of various decades, but an enjoyable one nonetheless.

7. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days 

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Soundtrack

The rom-com has produced many a soundtrack over the years (see numbers 10, 8 and 4 on this list), but what I like about the How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days soundtrack is the consistency of the tracks. The songs are easy-listening  and the replay value is high. I love “Good Day” by Tom Luce and the inclusion of the 90s staples “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer and “Follow You Down” by Gin Blossoms. It’s a feel-good album that never gets old.

6. Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1

Guardians Mixtape Soundtrack

The 70s is in fully swing on this soundtrack. “Hooked on a Feeling” hooked me when it was introduced in the trailer while other songs in the film like “Come and Get Your Love” and “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” only add to this album’s greatness.  If you can’t wait for Awesome Mix Vol. 2., check out Cosmic Mix Vol. 1. with 70s hits featured in the animated show.

5. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

Austin Powers 2 Soundtrack

We’ve gone from the 2000s, to the 90s, the 80s, the 70s, and now the 60s! And who better than Austin Powers. I love the movies, the music, the whole groovy package! The second film/soundtrack combination, though, is the best. We get Madonna’s “Beautiful Stranger” alongside Lenny Kravitz’s cover of “American Woman“, and, best of all, “Just The Two Of Us” sung by Dr. Evil. While it’s sequel More Music From The Motion Picture Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me has my preferred version of “Time of the Season“, this soundtrack has my preferred version of everything else. Next time you feel like you’ve lost your mojo, listen to this, and I swear, you’ll get it back in an instant!

4. My Best Friend’s Wedding

My Best Friend's Wedding Soundtrack

I grew up listening to this soundtrack with my mom. It’s very close to my heart. Diana King’s reggae-tinged cover of “I Say a Little Prayer” is pure perfection – one of my favorite soundtrack songs of all time. The rest of the album has great songs like “Wishin’ and Hopin‘” by Ani Difranco and “You Don’t Know Me” by Jann Arden. Of course, for a good laugh, listen to “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul.

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Christmas_Vacation_15000

If you can get your hands on this soundtrack, never let it go! It shines just as bright as Clark Griswold’s house when he finally gets those darn lights to work. The title song, sung by Mavis Staples, really puts me in the holiday spirit, but what really makes this album special is that the film’s dialogue is interspersed with the songs. We get Cousin Eddie’s iconic “S****er’s Full” line as well as Clark’s memorable pissed-off rant. Of course, some of the actual music, including Ray Charles’ “The Spirit of Christmas” and the Vacation standard “Holiday Road” all make this a must-have for the holiday season.

2. Anastasia

Anastasia_CD

Disney is known for providing beautiful accompaniment to their animated pictures. How Anastasia is not made by Disney is absolutely shocking. It’s intro song “Rumor in St. Petersburg” is like “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast, giving you information about the main protagonist as well as supplying the eclectic voices of an entire town. Meanwhile, the villain’s song “In the Dark of the Night” is basically the films “Be Prepared” from The Lion King. It colors the antagonist and mentions his nefarious plan. But the whole movie is hinged on the epic “Once Upon a December.”  Lovely and wistful. Looking forward to the Broadway adaptation coming in 2017.

Before I reveal my number 1 choice, here are some. . .

Honorable Mentions:

Xanadu

Xanadu Soundtrack.jpg

Stand-Out songs: “Xanadu” – Olivia Newton-John, “The Fall” – Electric Light Orchestra, “Magic” – Olivia Newton-John

Shrek 2

Shrek 2 Soundtrack.jpg

Stand-Out songs: “Accidentally in Love” – Counting Crows, “Holding out for a Hero” – Frou Frou, “Changes” – Butterfly Boucher feat. David Bowie

The Hot Chick

Hot Chick Sountrack

Stand-Out Songs: “Starlight” – Zed, “That’s What Girls Do” – No Secrets. Unfortunately, it’s missing my favorite song from the film “AM to PM” by Christina Milian.

A Night At the Roxbury

A Night at the Roxbury Soundtrack

Stand-Out Songs: What is Love (7′ Mix) – Haddaway, This is Your Night – Amber, Be My Love (Club Mix) – La Bouche

Chicken Little

Chickenlittlesoundtrack

Stand-Out songs: “Stir it Up” – Joss Stone, “One Little Slip” – Barenaked Ladies

Miss Congeniality

Miss Congeliaty Soundtrack

Stand-Out Songs: “One in a Million” – Bosson, “Get Ya Party On” – Baha Men. “None of Your Business” – Salt N’ Pepa

And now, for my favorite movie soundtrack ever. . .

 

  1. Moulin Rouge

220px-Moulin_Rouge_AlternateCover

The cream of the musical crop! The Moulin Rouge soundtrack is everything. It’s a flamboyant musical festival, with tunes ranging from the energizing dance cover of DeBarge’s “Rhythm of the Night” to the decadent duet “Come What May” to the exciting musical mash-up contained in the “Elephant Love Medley.” No musical soundtrack beats this elegant selection. It perfectly captures both the film’s beauty and its often break-neck pace. While it is missing “The Pitch (Spectacular Spectacular)” found on the second soundtrack, it more than makes up for this loss in its scope. I love any album that has both fun dance tunes and gorgeous ballads, and this one’s got them.