‘Captain Marvel’ Brings On the Girl Power

It only seems right that Captain Marvel is being released on 2019’s International Women's Day. Since 2008’s Iron-Man, Marvel has presented a good chain, albeit a bit short, of strong women characters starting with Pepper Potts. Black Widow became the first Marvel female superhero to grace the screens in Iron-Man 2 followed by Scarlet Witch, Gamora, Mantis, The Wasp, Okoye and Shuri. But today, Brie Larson heads the first female-driven superhero movie for Marvel Studios.

Let’s just get this out of the way – this movie packs a “girl power” punch without putting men down in the process. While their intentions are good, too many films try to present a message of female empowerment while emasculating men in the process. Sure, the opposite has been true for many years, but this is no way to move on with injustice and certainly isn’t a message that today’s girls need to here.

Marvel Studios has toyed with an “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude between its men and…

The Best and Worst of 2016

In the blink of an eye, another year has come and gone but before we move on to our New Year’s resolutions, let’s take a moment or two to acknowledge the best and worst that past year gave us:

Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher died in 2016

WORST: Celebrity Deaths
2016 was a banner year for losing many famous faces including (but not limited to): Debbie Reynolds, Prince, David Bowie, John Glen, Jose Fernandez, Nancy Reagan, Arnold Palmer, George Michael, Alan Thicke, Florence Henderson, Garry Shandling, Gene Wilder, Patty Duke, Harper Lee, Joe Garagiola, Abe Vigoda, George Kennedy, Garry Marshall, Robert Vaughn, Doris Roberts, Ron Glass, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Merle Haggard, John Saunders, Carrie Fisher, Morely Safer, Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin.

"Finding Dory" was the most successful movie of 2016
BEST: The Most Successful Movie
It’s pretty amazing that of the top 10 most successful films of 2016, six of them were by or were associated with Disney and while some are trying to persuade us to embrace “R” rated films like Deadpool (which made $783.1 million worldwide) it was blown out of the water by Finding Dory which brought in $1.15 billion worldwide. (See the full list here.)

WORST: The Least Successful Movie 
And with every silver lining there is a gloomy dark cloud nearby. At the other end of the spectrum, the MGM remake of its own movie, Ben-Hur, is considered to be the least successful movie of 2016 according to Heavy. Bringing in just $94.1 million worldwide, the total doesn’t even come close to the $100,000,000 that went into making the film. (See the full list)

Norm of the North
BEST: Animated Movie
While there were a lot of contenders this year including Zootopia and The Secret Life of Pets, the Disney/Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, is pretty hard to beat. Personally, I liked it better than the original Finding Nemo.

WORST: Animated Movie
While I haven’t see it, Norm of the North is said to be just as bland as its title. It received only a 9% critic’s review score on Rotten Tomatoes with only a 22% approval from audiences.

BEST: Faith-Based Movie
Give Jennifer Garner a pass for starring in Nine Lives and take time to watch Miracles from Heaven if you haven’t already seen it. While the film has some saccharine moments that so famously show up in faith-based movies Garner effectively raises the bar on what to expect when watching a faith-based movie.

Desiginated Survivor
BEST: New TV Show
If it was up to me, TV would create more shows like Designated Survivor, and given its success, we just might get them. The ABC drama is political thriller that is easy to understand with characters you want to root for. Unlike other shows, the “new” president and first lady are a great example of two professional adults whose marriage isn’t perfect, but is solid.

WORST: New TV Show
Unfortunately, ABC also created Notorious and Conviction, two stinkers that are on the cusp of cancellation in the near future. Both feature over-the-top storylines and characters with questionable morals. And though the two are completely different, it is easy to confuse the two or state which show is worse.

BEST: Most Watched TV Show
With just six episodes to its revival, 14 years after the original episodes aired on Fox, The X-Files has made the list for most watch TV show of 2016 according to Cinemablend. It was the 7th most-watch series overall with 13.59 million viewers weekly. Number two belongs to NBC’s Little Big Shots hosted by Steve Harvey. 12.39 million people watched each week.

WORST: Presidential election
I’m not a fan of election time anyway, but this year’s race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was the worst ever. The two parties’ childhood antics toward each other was atrocious, but worse yet, the American public proved once and for all that character no longer matters.

BEST: Most Admired Person
Though you may disagree, President Obama wins title for "Most Admired Person" for 2016 according to Gallup's poll of 1,000 people. He beat out Donald Trump, Pope Francis, Bernie Sanders and the Rev. Billy Graham. Incidentally, Graham has been featured in the top ten list of Most Admired people since 1962.

BEST: Most Popular YouTube Video
After hundreds of independent videos were produced this year for YouTube, the one video which rose to the top for being the most popular according to Time belongs to Adele’s Carpool Karaoke appearance with James Corden. It has receive 135.8 million views so far. Go figure.

WORST: Least Favorite Song
While I find the tune quite catchy, Time has rated Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” as the worst song released in 2016 describing the song as an “insipid earworm.” Of course, it doesn’t help that the song was also used to promote the animated hit movie, Trolls.

Lauren Daigle was the top Christian artist for 2016
BEST: Top Music Artist of the Year
Is it any wonder that Adele won the spot for Top Music Artist of the year according to Billboard? Imagine just how popular she would be if she found a way to share “happy” tunes.

BEST: Top Christian Music Artist of the Year
According to Billboard, Lauren Daigle is the top when comparing Christian music artists. She currently has two albums listed in the top ten: Behold: A Christmas Collection and How Can It Be.

WORST: Least Desired Job
According to Careercast, being a firefighter is one of the worst jobs you can have. “Potentially life-threatening hazards are the daily norm for firefighters, which contributes to high stress in this vital, albeit challenging job,” states the website.

Arkansas is the least desired state to live in 2016
WORST: Least Desirable State to Live In
While most would consider “denial” to be the least desirable state to live in, Arkansas made top of CNBC’s list. With a “quality of life” score of 68 out of a possible 326, Arkansas’ weaknesses include a large crime rate, bad air quality and poor health overall. The strengths of the state listed: none. At
least its score is higher this year. Last year it only received 44.

WORST: Nonsensical Baby Name
Would you believe that the worst baby name of 2016 according to Reddit was “Baby?”

BEST: The Best-Selling Book
According to Money Talks, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was the #1 best-selling book of 2016 selling 4,129,000 copies of the tale through the end of November 2016.

BEST: Most Popular Commercial Viewed on YouTube
Arnold Schwarzenegger may be the new boss on The New Celebrity Apprentice, but he is also the spokesperson for the online game, Mobile Strike. The Super Bowl TV commercial has received 103 million views on YouTube making it the #1 most viewed commercial seen there.

Pie Face was the top game in 2016
BEST: Board Game
While it may not technically be a board game, Hasbro’s Pie Face is the top pick of the top ten board games of 2016 according to Top 10 Store. “But you should totally prepare for gameplay by investing in a few cans of whipped cream,” says the website.

BEST: Highest Paid Celebrity
Forbes has crowned Taylor Swift as the highest paid celebrity of 2016.

WORST: Most Overpaid Actor
Poor Johnny Depp, he’s topped Forbe’s list of overpaid actors for two years in a row. According to them, for every $1 paid at the box office, the studio receives approximately $2.80.

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