Rants, Raves, and Reviews – Ford v Ferrari

ford-v-ferrari-onesheet-1-1559568904First off, let me make it clear that I’m not a motorhead or even a car buff. I rarely watch car racing events on television. Having said that I have to admit I’ve enjoyed some movies that have covered the sport in the past. Leery of the mixed reviews for the Mr. Rogers movie, Cathryn and I took a chance on Ford v Ferrari. I say that because the trailers made the movie look goofy.

They say not to judge a book by it’s cover and the same holds true for movie titles. “They” were definitely right in this case. The story was easy to fall into with catchy tunes and upbeat music that brought more to life than roaring engines and squealing tires. The characters did seem a bit odd, but they were real people that had a profound impact on the production and racing of automobiles.

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Rants, Raves & Reviews – In Defense of Offensive

imagesAre you confused by the above diagram, depicting and labelling the players on two opposing football teams? Most are. Actually, it’s not as complicated as it looks…an offensive position starts with an O and defense with a D. The numbers on jerseys give you further clues and so do the players names on the back.

If only it was that simple in real life. A friend just posted on Twitter, apologizing for using a racial slur, after using the word Eskimo in a song that was written that way. Call me ignorant, stupid, or a racist, but that’s a new one on me. Am I the only one having a hard time with this? Are blacks now people of color after being Negro, brown, African-American and black?

Does everyone know what LGBTQQIP2SAA stands for? I lost track after the first five letters. Can’t we just call each other they or them? Don’t ask Don Cherry. At 82 years of age, Billy D. Williams publicly announced he was gender fluid. Two days later he said he wasn’t sure what exactly that meant. Where does all this stop?

Maybe we should adopt the football mentality and number everyone…or better yet, have everyone where name tags. If everyone wants to be treated as equals than why do they want to be labelled or classified as something specific or different? I consider myself informed, but I can’t keep up. Can you? Should we have to…what ever happened to our right to free speech or opinion?

Rants, Raves & Reviews – Getting Off (the Don Tait Story) by Veronique Mandal

38084558._SY475_The play on words in the title of this book, Getting Off, tells a lot more than the story of A Criminal Lawyer’s Road to Redemption. Windsor author Veronique Perrier Mandal not only shares the life story of our city’s most storied lawyer, Don Tait, but her personal interactions with the notorious legal eagle. This is a rags to riches roller coaster story that boldy tells all.

More than just a journalist, professor, RN, actor and playwright, Mandal examines her own spirituality while learning everything there was to know about a simple man whose demons came in all forms of addictions – power, money, sex, drugs, and booze to name a few. A local census would prove that Tait was loved and hated equally by friend and foe. They came in the form of reporters, cops, lawyers, judges, and even bikers and drug dealers.

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Rants, Raves & Reviews – The Irishman

imagesAt three and a half hours, I”m glad we watched this movie on Netflix at home and not at the movie theatre – I would have needed at least two bathroom breaks. Honestly, there’s no reason to see this flick on the big screen. There’s no special cinematography to gawk at, but if you’re into seeing blood spatter left by the guy who paints houses, then go for it.

Being a fan of gangster films, and hearing of the star-studded cast and special aging effects, I was a bit hyped and looked forward to seeing this movie. For me, it was a let-down. Granted, the cast and acting was top-notch but the plot steered us toward certain events in history and then left us hanging. Millennials and those unaware of politics and history will be totally lost.

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Rants, Raves & Reviews – Capone’s Grill & Pasta Shop

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Cathryn and I don’t get out for dinner much these days, mostly because many restaurants aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Who wants to pay forty bucks for a steak that’s not cooked to your liking or eat frozen veggies. Maybe it helps in our case that we both like to cook, and cook the way we like.

Not to say there aren’t any great restaurants in Windsor. Take the little Italian grill and pasta shop called, Capone’s on Wyandotte Street, in old Riverside. Owner John Fuerth is the restaurant’s first reason for success. He openly admits that he mimicked his favorite Italian restaurant, the Cook Shop, when he created Capone’s.

dinnerCathryn and I have eaten in both places and John hasn’t missed a beat. We were able to get a table on Friday night without reservations and were welcomed as if we were extended family. We started with the scallop appetizer special. They were plump, seared to perfection and served with a tasty reduction and veggie slivers.

Cathryn had the Chateau Briand and I ordered the carbonara with pancetta, asking for it to be on the creamy side. The wait wasn’t long and our meals were served piping hot from the kitchen that was only a few feet away (a very cozy place for the cooking staff). C’s filet was cooked exactly how she asked. I received a damn good sized bowl of pasta – easily the best carbonara I’ve had in many years.

desertFor dessert we had cheesecake that was made inhouse. It was not your normal triangle slab cut from a pie tin. It resembled a large scoop of ice cream, light and creamy, with no gram crust, and topped with blueberry sauce. OMG good.

Even with a decent bottle of  wine, our bill barely broke a hundred dollars. The same meal would have cost us almost double at the Cook Shop. John told us Lino recently retired and sold the downtown landmark. Not a problem for us since we’ve found our new favorite Italian eatery. Both C and I give Capone’s a 10 out of 10, and I think that’s the first time ever.

Rants, Raves & Reviews – ‘Having Faith’

Finding Hope Author Edmond GagnonThey say having faith keeps you positively motivated, with a great outlook on life. For me, ‘Having Faith’, means my next book, the sequel to ‘Finding Hope.’ Norm Strom fans and readers have pondered the open ending of Hope and asked what happens next, and if there would ever be a sequel.

Finding Hope has been my best-selling novel so far, with Border City Chronicles closing in fast for second place, catching quickly up to Rat. So, for all you murder, mystery, and serial killer fans out there, this next one’s for you. I’m happy to announce I’ve just cracked the 10,000 word mark and am on a roll.

In this story Norm will be joined by the hot black homicide detective from Detroit, Abigail Brown, who was the main character in ‘Knock-Out’, the last story in Border City Chronicles. She will take the reigns again, on her home turf, in the gritty bowels of downtown Detroit, hunting a serial killer. Who will it be this time?

 

Rants, Raves & Reviews – Midway

imagesBeing a lover of war movies, I had to see the new ‘Midway’ movie on the big screen. And since the genre’s not Cathryn’s favorite I brought a buddy. The previews looked amazing, especially with today’s CGI technology and special effects. I knew the battle scenes would be explosive, literally. I was also anxious to see how the new movie stacked up to the 1976 version.

Unlike many American-made war films this story is told and viewed from both sides, the United States and Japan. It’s about the battle of Midway, which turned the tide of war in the South Pacific during WWII. As in the earlier version, the movie starts with the attack on Pearl Harbour – the decisive blow that forced the U.S. into the war.

The story was a bit choppy. It covered a lot of material and tried to focus on the personal lives of certain soldiers, along with naval strategies behind the scenes. There was plenty of action and battle scenes to carry the movie past the two hour mark. It didn’t drag on but definitely outlasted my popcorn.

The acting was good but there were only a few recognizable faces in the cast – unlike the ’76 version with its star-studded ensemble. That version also used actual battle footage which brought a sense of realism to the movie. In this new installment viewers get a look at director John Ford on the island of Midway, while he films the 1942 publicity documentary of the same name.

Overall the movie was good, but it felt lacking and got a 7 out of 10 from both my bro-friend and I.

Rant, Raves & Reviews – Jack Ryan

p17351835_b_v8_acWho doesn’t like Jack Ryan, the loveable CIA Analyst played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and now John Krasinski? Even though he routinely gets out from behind his desk to save the world, he seems more like the guy next door than that famous British spy.

Cathryn and I have taken the next step in home entertainment by streaming movies and shows through the internet and on our television. We thoroughly enjoyed the first season of Jack Ryan and I was excited to hear that Prime Video was releasing the second season a day early.

Guess how we spent Halloween night? Instead of coaxing costumed munchkins to our front door with the promise of candy, we hid in the dark and binged on season two of Jack Ryan. I felt like a junkie craving one more fix when the eighth and final episode concluded. What the hell, a season is only eight episodes now?

Anyway, the new series was a bit more explosive as the first, with scenes in places like Moscow and Caracas, Venezuela. So be sure to check out Amazon Prime if you have it, but I’m sure it will make its way to Crave or Netflix too. Be sure to listen for the reference to a Canadian institution – CIA boss Jim Greer poses as a Canadian coffee businessman by the name of Timothy Horton.

Rants, Raves & Reviews: Judy

imagesWhere were the new movie releases this past summer? And I don’t mean the remakes of superhero flicks. I’m talking about good drama or even action movies – blockbusters that used to debut in July or August, or even September. Are they saving all the good movies for November, just in time for Oscar nominations perhaps? It would seem so with the list of releases set for this winter season.

Cathryn and I couldn’t remember the last time we went to a movie so we were happy to get out and see Judy, with Renee Zellweger portraying the famous singer Judy Garland. The previews looked enticing and the reviews raved about Renee and the story.

I didn’t know much about Garland prior to the movie, other than her performance in the Wizard of Oz. The film is about her life during and after Oz, and it taught me a lot. Considering what the movie executives did to the young actress, it was no surprise that she died at the age of 47.

The story was bleak at times, but many hollywood biographies usually are. As she was in real life, the movie Garland was likeable and easy to root for. Zellweger nailed the part and will surely win some awards for her performance. I felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster following this woman’s life. The ending was heart-warming and a tear-jerker.

Cathryn and I both enjoyed the movie. She gave it a 10. I gave it an 8.