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"ranney"s Seven is Heaven Cosmic Choices

Each month, as determined by the span of days for each sign of the zodiac, this site will display recommended films, written works, and albums:
Taurus choices - 2018
Flawless - Directed by Michael Radford

Set in 1960, this is a diamond-heist flick. Demi Moore is Laura Quinn, the first female manager at the London Diamond Corporation; Michael Caine is Hobbs, an amicable nighttime janitor at the same business. They reluctantly team up for an inconceivable and seemingly impossible robbery and they take us along for an intimate, insightful, and illuminating ride. This is barbecue!

Good Morning, Vietnam - Directed by Barry Levison

The prototypical American court jester, Robin Williams, plays an irreverant radio dj who keeps up morale amongst the troops while pissing off the military officials during possibly the - excuse my pardoxical lingo - most senseless war of the last century. Uhmmmmmm - yeah! July, 21 1951 - August 11, 2014. RIP, Mr. Williams. We miss you, fool!

Marvel's The Avengers - Directed by Joss Whedon

"Hey Let's do an Avengers movie!"

"Awh man, that's been tried before. It sucked!"

"Yeah, but this time - are you ready? Put Joss Whedon in charge!"

"Whoa! Right up his alley."

"Yeah; and, we'll get the actors who've already proven themselves in the roles of each superhero."

"Smart. What about Nick Fury?"

"Are you kidding me? Samuel L. Jackson."

"Hahahahahaha. Whoahoahoahoa. You're good. Okay. Let's do this."

Mommie Dearest - Directed by Frank Perry

I know, I know, I know. I am aware of the public perception of this movie throughout the years - especially from people in "the biz." I know that it is considered laughable and that Faye Dunaway's performance is recognized as one of the all-time scene chewing portrayals in cinematic history. I don't care. I stand by this: if you have ever seen a handful of Joan Crawford movies and if you have had to deal with an clinically diagnosed bi-polar person, you watch this film without thinking it is over-the-top. There are people and situations in life that actually happen all the time that people would label over-the-top. I've seen many of them in my lifetime and Dunway is right across the plate in her portrayal. Crucial.

Stir Crazy - Directed by Sidney Poitier

Personally, I thought the days of films capitalizing on black and white stereotypes in America were over. Wrong. It is 2017 and these streotypes are still being juxtaposed and justified. Problem is that most of the time it isn't even being done well. So, go back to this flick where it is done with perfection and laugh your un-pc ass off!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Directed by Mark Herman

Damn. Just - damn. This intriguing gem inspired by the novel of the same name is a completely different look at the impact of Nazi Germany. This film was chastised for its point of view. Don't get it twisted: It is not sympathy for the devil; it is chickens come home to roost. So, I say, in this election year: pay attention Americans.

Wall Street - Directed by Oliver Stone

A masterpiece. Like any great artwork, the title and the subject matter is only a welcome mat into our own sense of being, principle, justice, family, morality, and more. Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko = one of my favorite cinematic performaces by a lead actor. Shakespearean.

Written Works
Black Boy - by Richard Wright

Wright's lyrical quasi-autobiography about growing up in a country steered by racism, is still one of the great, towering American novels that anyone can crack open. Truly sensational

History of Shit - by Dominique LaPorte

Metaphorically or literally take in this title. Okay- now go read the book. Bar-be-cue.

Notes From Underground - by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dry humor, existentialism, idealism turned into cycnism...made for me. Join us.

The Graveyard Book - by Neil Gaiman

Nobody Owens, aka Bod,  is a boy being raised in a graveyard by it's inhabitants - including the supernatural. Go read Gaiman's hypnotic storytelling centered around this remarkable character. Go quickly -  before Tim Burton and Johnny Depp turn it into a movie and ruin it forever.

The Salt Roads - by Nalo Hopkinson

Three different women, three different time periods, all connected by the godess of love. Okay - I'm in. Hopkinson's spiritual fantasy is top notched, concrete mysticism. Enjoy. I did.

The Sun also Rises - by Ernest Hemingway

In 1925, on his 26th birthday, Hemingway sat down and began creating this novel about expatriates in 1920s Paris. American prose has not been the same ever since. Pivotal, poignant, and phenomenal. Lock up the neighbors' annoying pitbull, 'cause THIS IS BARBECUE!

Yellow Black Radio Broke-Down - by Ishmael Reed

One of the most poetic and blasphemous, irreverent writers in America. I LOVE ISHMAEL REED!!! The dean of Neo-hoodooism uses satire of the great American western to hold the mirror up to all of our cherished institutions. Holy Smokes and Goodah!!! Unreal.

Brown Sugar - D'Angelo

You know how I love game changers. THIS ONE RIGHT HERE!!! Lovers' lane in soul music had fallen asleep until the b-boy maestro with old-school sensibilites guiding coffeehouse-atmospheric masterpieces pulled up with a sun roof top, diamond in the back...Make that an RC and whiskey sour - this here is BARBECUE!

Dear Science - TV on the Radio

Ahhhhh - there we go. The hybrid-hipsters showed that you can reel it in and tame the genius to give it clarity without losing scope, ambition, or intensity. "Go ahead and put your red dress on..." Holy Smokes and Brie!

Dream Into Action - Howard Jones

Like, Oh my God! Not omg -  but, like, Oh MY GOD! I sooooooooo wanna see a John Hughes film right now. Like gag me with a shrimp fork...okay, enough. Pure blissful 80s Brit-pop at its best. Sure, you'll be in the guilty pleasure of thinking about Molly Ringwald's talent (or lack thereof), but your ears will definitely be pleased.

John Williams - Greatest Hits 1969 - 1999 - John Williams

My favorite film composer is John Barry, but I could never imagine arguing with any Williams fan if they were to claim that he is the best. "Star Wars," "E.T.," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Superman," "Jaws," "The Empire Strikes Back," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Hook," "Saving Private Ryan," "Schindler's List" ...WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???!!!

Shades of Deep Purple - Deep Purple

Hush - and sit back while indulging in this trailblazing compilation from the world of progessive, psychedelic rock. Simply Bananas.

Scott Joplin's Treemonisha - Guthrie Schuller and Houston Grand Opera Orchestra

The plight of sharecroppers in the surrounding ignorance combined with racism of 19 century Arkansas is the focus of this opera by one of the all-time stellar African-American composers. We need this - now.

Water - Gregory Porter

Ya know, when I was a judge at "The American Idol Experience" at Disney's Hollywood Studios (2008 - 2014), I had a blast while taking my job just serious enough. I had a chance to entertain and enlighten all at once. I could be very tough on singers who did what I considered to be too much moving on and around the stage. I believe (with the exception of phenomena like Prince and Michael Jackson) that when a singer is dancing and prancing around - especially during a ballad - it is an attempt (consciously or subconsciously) to divert our attention from the simple fact that they cannot hold our attention with their vocal ability. I never fall for it. I don't fall for it even when they are cultural phenomena instead of being talent phenomena. No need to worry about this with Gregory Porter. Like Vandross, Sinatra, Davis, Green, Connick, Jr, Gaye, etc.  - this dude has come to sing! Pack your aluminum foil; brother is slinging barbecue!


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