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Movie Review: Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World

Mike Finkelstein is terrified about the end of the world. He’s wondering how things will work out if we all knew that everything was going to end. However, instead of watching some Michael Bay movies to brush up on the subject (Bruce Willis got out of the oil drilling business years ago), he decided to aim for something a little more…human. Here is his review of “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”.



Mike Finkelstein is terrified about the end of the world.  He’s wondering how things will work out if we all knew that everything was going to end.  However, instead of watching some Michael Bay movies to brush up on the subject (Bruce Willis got out of the oil drilling business years ago), he decided to aim for something a little more…human.  Here is his review of “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”.

PLOT: When it is announced that an asteroid is going to hit Earth in three weeks time, a newly single Dodge (Steve Carell) decides to tempt his fate and seek out an old, lost love to spend the rest of his days with.  With the help of Penny (Kiera Knightley), a young, free spirited neighbor who is also trying to get back to her family, Dodge sets out on his cross country journey, and the two soon come to find that what they are both looking for may be a lot closer than they think.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  The world is ending in three weeks.  What do you do?  It’s a hell of a question to think about…how would you react when you realize that everything you worked for, everything you dreamed of, everything you saved and hoped and wanted and did means absolutely nothing anymore, because you and all the rest of the planet will be gone in the same moment in 21 days?  SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD answers that question, and gives us a beautiful, poignant, and most importantly, human story in the process.

When we first meet Dodge (Steve Carell), he and his wife, Linda, are sitting in their car on the side of the road.  They’ve just heard the news of their impending doom, and Linda, without as much as a peep, gets out of the car and runs away.   There is no joke or punch line.  She just bolts like nothing else matters anymore.  That first moment sets the pace for what ends up being a hell of a study on the human condition.

Instead of watching the same old Michael Bay action epic about the group trying to save the world, we get the other side of the coin.  Yes, we see the expected groups panicking and rioting and (shockingly) leaping to their early deaths, but as there is in any situation (even the apocalypse), we also see the comedy, the drama, and the heart.  There is no regret because everything is out of these characters’ control.  There is no jealousy because everyone is going out together.  And with that comes many different characters with so many different priorities that it reads almost like the ultimate bucket list: find love (long lost or new), see family, go about your daily routine, party and screw day and night, be in charge of your own destiny, survive.  Some hopes/goals are subtle, some are extreme, some are outright mad.  All are human.

What makes the pairing of Carell’s Dodge and Kiera Knightley’s Penny so beautiful within this whole array of feelings is their innocence and sincerity.  Dodge wants to find his long lost love.  Penny wants to get to her family.  What starts out as a hell of an unlikely pairing between two very injured souls becomes a beautiful story of two people who genuinely, out of the goodness of their hearts, want to help each other reach their final goals.  And while we know as an audience that romance will probably (obviously) brew between the two, we’re still okay with going along for the ride.

Carell may usually be the comedian and Knightley the period piece dramatist, but in this world, the roles have seemingly switched.  Just like DAN IN REAL LIFE and LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE before this, Carell has proven once again that he is a wonderful dramatic actor.  He plays Dodge with a sense of tragedy, but not without some first-rate, subtle comedy mixed in.  Taking his usually place is Knightley, who has more than enough moments to warm our hearts with her quirks and eccentricity, yet still has enough soul to put a lump in our throat when she talks about her family and being a romantic.  Backing these two up is an equally talented supporting cast, including Patton Oswalt, Rob Corddry, Connie Britton, Martin Sheen, Derek Luke, and an absolutely hysterical group of hippies at Friendsys, and thanks to Lorene Scafaria’s script, all of them have their moment to shine.

If there would be one major complaint I’d have about SEEKING A FRIEND, however, it would have to be with Scafaria’s apparent fear of heading into darkness.  I have no problem with the love story or the road trip aspect, but as we get closer to the end of the world, it almost seems as if those plot points are being used to shield us from the devastation.  At the same time, however (and this goes back to the whole human condition study), the movie isn’t about the actual asteroid or destruction.  It’s about being content with your life and yourself when everything comes to an end.  When you think about it like that, despite the fact that we still crave seeing the devastation (we’re humans…we like watching car wrecks), we realize that maybe it just isn’t necessary this time… 

For years, we have seen the one side of the coin when it comes to Armageddon: how do we save the world in an extraordinary way?  With SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, we finally get a chance to see the more human, soulful side from the group accepting their fate.   Being one of the first writer/directors to really examine such a concept, Lorene Scafaria, has given us a touching, heartfelt story that may not go too deep into the tragedy, but does more than enough to really make us think over the next few weeks about how would we react in the same situation.    


Mike’s LIKES:

1) STEVE CARELL AND KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: Despite their differences in age, Carell and Knightley are absolutely adorable together.  The two bounce off each other like a ying and a yang, especially considering how Carell is suddenly the serious actor and Knightley is the comedienne.

2) FRIENDSYS: This scene completely stole the entire film.  Imagine your neighborhood Applebees filled with some of the craziest employees you could find.  All are completely accepting that the world is going to end, and are almost happy about it!  It’s like watching a group of hippies cheering as their boat is going down…brilliant

2) PATTON OSWALT: Hearing this man rant as he is drunk about all the women he’s had since the world was ending is absolutely hysterical.  I can’t imagine this poor bastard doing anything that he said, but if he is, then more power to him.

3) ADAM BRODY: I remember when Brody was the biggest thing because of “The O.C.”.  He may not be at the heartthrob level he once was, but the guy is showing he could really act by doing parts like this.  As Knightley’s can’t-take-a-hint ex, Owen, Brody reminds us wonderfully just how stupid certain people can really be.

4) WRAPPING IT ALL UP: When you know the world is ending, there are only so many things one could do.  To see the majority of these characters doing something substantial for someone they love is absolutely beautiful and thought provoking.  The real question you leave the theater with is would YOU do the same?

5) ENDING: For a long time, this was on my DISLIKES list, but I could not find an explanation as to why.  And then I realized that while I would have liked to see more, the story being told up to this point didn’t need anything else to fulfill it.  For now, this was the only real ending that I could see fitting on such a film, and for such an artistic ending, I applaud Ms. Scafaria.


1) BACKING AWAY FROM THE DARKNESS: While Lorene Scafaria tells a wonderful little tale of two people trying to fulfill their dreams before the world ends, I feel like there could have been moments that went a little darker.  But then again, this peeve can really go either way, depending on how you take the rest of the story.


1) Steve Carell’s wife in the film, Linda, is played by his real life wife, Nancy.  The two shot their scene together on their anniversary.

2) Lorene Scafaria’s directorial debut.  She previously wrote the screenplay to NICK AND NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST.

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VIDEO:Rolled Ice Cream, Cheetos Bagels And Grasshoppers Are Just Some Of The Unusual Things Brian Balthazar Has Eaten On ‘The Wendy Williams Show’



You’ve seen pop culture expert, Brian Balthazar, appear on The Wendy Williams Show quite a bit over the last few years. He even co-hosted the show on three separate occasions. It wasn’t until his last visit where he and Jason Biggs chowed down on a KFC Cheetos Chicken Sandwich that it hit me: Being on the daytime talk show makes Brian Balthazar hungry!

The proof is in the pudding…pun definitely intended. Carla Hall made sure to bring some snacks for Brian when they cohosted together.

Sure, Wendy is known for telling us to “grab a snack and come on back”…

But you’d have to be absolutely famished to want to eat fish sliders at 10am.

He’s gotten so hungry he resorted to eating GRASSHOPPER TACOS on the show!

Could it be that Brian isn’t actually hungry though? Could he just be a brave soul willing to be the taste tester so we don’t have to? Could my theory be flawed?!

I suddenly feel like maybe we owe Brian a big thanks…

Either way, it’s fun to watch! Click below to take a look at a compilation of all the fun stuff Brian Balthazar has eaten on The Wendy Williams Show!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign



As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!


Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!



Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!


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Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!


So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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The Pentagon Has Released Official UFO Videos Because 2020 Is The Absolute Worst



Aren’t swarms of locusts supposed to be the next installment of this plague?!

Can we finally declare 2020 as the worst year ever? In January there were fears of a third World War. In February the coronavirus began its rapid spread. In March the world essentially shut down due to social distancing and quarantining. And now in April…with only two days left in the month…we have official government footage of unidentified flying objects. I’m sorry but Milton Bradley’s game of “Life” never prepared me for any of this!

The Pentagon has confirmed the authenticity of three videos that have been circulating the web but didn’t really answer what is visible in them. In the videos, now declassified by the Department of Defense, navy pilots capture “unidentified aerial phenomena” aka unidentified flying objects aka UFOs! Pentagon officials were sure to state that the videos do not show “any sensitive capabilities or systems,” meaning we probably won’t be seeing any little green men any time soon.

The first video dates back to November 2004 and the other two from January 2015. Of the Pentagon’s confirmation of authenticity, Pentagon spokesperson Sue Gough said the videos were released “in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real, or whether or not there is more to the videos.”

So great. We now know that these strange videos are real but what exactly are we looking at? Well, the Department of Defense says it has no concrete answer as to what might be floating around the skies and has classified the phenomena as “unidentified.” And…just like that I suddenly feel less defended.

Social media is having a field day with this revelation of course. The #AliensAreReal has been trending high on Twitter since the news broke. One user referenced Independence Day and said the aliens are “getting ready for July 4th.” Of the bad timing, another wrote “Et tu aliens?” And finally one user couldn’t help avoid sarcasm and wrote”Where’s the space force when you need it?”

Well 2020, you have worked your awful black magic once again. What’s next, cat videos get banned from the internet?! You’ve taken everything else from us!

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