If there was ever a year that contained highs and lows for me, 2019 was that year. My heart was broken losing my best friend and companion Billy in March. Since then there have been good days and bad days. I try to keep myself occupied always as it keeps my mind off things and I’ve decided this was the way I would cope. The Holidays this year will be extra tough and while I appreciate people quick to comment, “Just get another dog, you have so much love to give”, it really isn’t that easy. I am touched by the donations on Billy‘s behalf, the flowers we received, the thoughtful tokens and sentiments. Those helped.
I am in a different place than I was 16 years ago when I first got Billy. Life is much more hectic for me now and I didn’t have to be there as much for my parents as I do now. So to those who are concerned, the day will come when I will open my heart again to the possibility of pet parenting, but it isn’t just yet.
On that note, I also feel that we really don’t do enough to support people mourning pet loss. At work, employees get Bereavement Leave when they lose an immediate human family member and can get accommodations for mental wellness if deemed supported by the employer. But when it comes to a pet whom we love just as deeply and experience just as much pain when they’re gone, there are no formal regulated measures in place. In fact, with that being said, it is easy to feel embarrassed and ashamed for grieving a pet because it is so institutionalized that losing human lives is so much more important than losing an animal life. Pets are dependents and provide affection, support and routine in one’s life. When a pet ails, the heart aches just as much as it does as when a family member or a friend is ill. And when a pet goes, the disruption in one’s flow is dramatic. Just think about that for a sec.
The year while marred by some sadness, contained several happy moments that I will never forget. In addition to celebrating our tenth anniversary as a Blog, we met more heroes than we could’ve dreamed, saw great Films, enjoyed some great Music. These are things that no amount of unhappiness could erase. Thank you to our Readers and Team Mr. Will – Dave, Jonathan, Justin, George, Amanda and Siobhán for all your continued loyalty and all you give so generously.
I always look forward to sharing with you my favourites of the year, and here are my Best-Of 2019.
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Juice – Lizzo
Cruel Summer – Taylor Swift
Old Town Road (Diplo Remix) – Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Lover – Taylor Swift
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi
Good as Hell – Lizzo
Sweet But Psycho – Ava Max
Hey Look Ma, I Made It – Panic! at the Disco
Dancing with a Stranger – Sam Smith ft. Normani
7 Rings – Ariana Grande
I’ll admit it, I know little about Basketball but for that one moment in time that night in June, every Torontonian was a die-hard fan! 2019 was Toronto’s year and no one can ever take that away from us. The City has never been more united and I’m so happy despite it being gruelingly-hot, I was able to skip away from work thanks to my boss, and take-in the 2019 Toronto Raptors Championship Parade. You never forget a moment like that. Eight hours under the scorching sun on University Avenue. Screaming children who didn’t want to be there. People budding ahead of you. But the moment the Raptors came through, none of that mattered.
One unassuming night waiting on a friend arriving on an L.A. flight, I’d cross paths with basically all them Raptors. All of them came passing through the terminal returning back from their exhibition games in Tokyo. I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was like being in one of those rooms with the dollar bills spiraling in the wind around you on a game show. Slam Dunk!🏀
CÉLINE DION Céline not only is a national treasure, she is an Artist I’ve loved for many, many years. While power ballads haven’t always remained in-vogue, her Music has stood the test of time. My Heart Will Go On helped me cope with losing Billy and I like to think of meeting Céline as Billy‘s gift to me from beyond. Seeing her on her Courage World Tour finally for the first time, my heart wept. Only she can make me laugh hysterically and bring a tear to my eye in the span of four minutes. Such a blessing getting to meet my Heroine (the only one I didn’t have a photo-with yet other than Mariah!), even if I waited till 2 AM for it to happen on a frigid night in Toronto! I felt like death shortly after, but I’m alive! See what I did there?
RENÉE ZELLWEGER Bridget Jones’s Diary is the reason I got inspired to Blog. She defined an era in my life as did Renée Zellweger. Seeing her at TIFF ’19 for JUDY was a bright spot in my life and getting to chat with her gorgeousness is something I will never forget. At the risk of being one of those annoying people who see like one movie a year and cry “Oscar!”, I actually mean it and you better be ready for a complete domination this Awards Season. Internet trolls, let’s see who gets the last laugh now!
Who wasn’t obsessed with Jennifer Lopez in the early 2000s? Everyone calls Auld Lang Syne their New Year’s song, but sorry! Waiting for Tonight is all about 12/31 to me and always will be! Lorene Scafaria‘s HUSTLERS is the bomb and anyone who thinks otherwise sucks. Itis about women taking back what’s theirs, owning-up to their mistakes and surviving to tell us about the juicy details. If that’s not empowerment, please step aside, I don’t need your negative energy! J-Lo and Constance Wu killed it.
Will never forget meeting J-Lo after hearing her and her Castmates speak at a Panel about the female voice, in support of the Film. Buy and download HUSTLERS now.
It’s okay sister, I got you! I’m not going to go on about how much Constance owned my 2018 with CRAZY RICH ASIANS because that’s so 2018, but meeting her and J-Lo after blessing us with that beautiful performance in HUSTLERS? I was a dummy for not stocking-up on Lotto 6/49 tickets that night!
This time last year I would’ve been, “Who-zzo?!?”. LIZZO slayed my 2019 with her excellence and one-by-one I saw the world become believers. I discovered her Music seeing her performance at Coachella on YouTube and became obsessed. I paid top-dollar for a ticket to her Danforth Music Hall Show which was long sold-out, grabbed that Meet & Greet lanyard and have never booked back. That was money well-spent seeing her twerk all up my face front row 🍑 and collectively with the sold-out crowd, be moved to tears by her inspiring words. I still don’t know how Truth Hurts became a #1 hit before Juice, but okay! CUZ I LUV YOU is essential listening. You. will. not. regret. buying. this. Album.
Never mind that I look like I’m losing control of my bladder in this pic and mysterious age lines that came from nowhere. This man of grace and legendary stature was kind enough to acknowledge me and that is enough. “I’m not going to pose for your Selfie, but I will walk by verrryyyy slowly.”. These are words spoken by Tom to me which I will repeat over and over in my head like a mantra till I die.
Oh how nice, you got a Selfie with Kendall Jenner. Who cares!? This is the Selfie any self-respecting human being wants. LEGEND. ICON. KING MASTERMIND. Yes, I know, blurry as sh*t. Not even Remini could save this, but I got it. That was a night in New York at the Saturday Night Live Afterparty I’ll never forget!
We’ve all criticized some of Scarlett‘s choice of roles. 2019 was the year I’ve decided that Scarlett should be absolved of all casting sins as she more than redeemed herself with a mesmerizing performance in Noah Baumbach‘s MARRIAGE STORY, my personal fave of 2019. I am still traumatized from that fight scene with Adam Driver. I don’t care what Critics say about that part ruining the Movie – it was perfect, it was passion, it was ACTING! And if it weren’t for damn Renée and her brilliance, it would be the Year of Scarlett. She also is a delight in JOJO RABBIT. See both. Scarlett is notoriously-tough on Selfies, but she was amazing to give me a smile and a wave at the New York Film Festival Premiere of MARRIAGE STORY. Close enough!
Okay, this really is pushing it as it doesn’t really count as a Selfie so much as it is her looking the same direction as me, but I’ll take it. but being in Meryl Streep‘s presence at her Premiere for THE LAUNDROMAT was an uplifting experience. We’ve waited so long for her to come to TIFF after having cancelled her last appearance in 2013 for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY and it finally happened. What a goddess!
So humbled we got a bit of face time with screen veteran Danny Devito back in March in support of Disney’s DUMBO. I’ve never had a more giving, gracious interviewee. He was personable, gave us rich and thoughtful responses. So happy our Dave Baldwin and I could share that together!
Totally dating myself, but I spent a lot of my school breaks being entertained on TV by Ron Howard, whether it be The Andy Griffith Show or Happy Days reruns. Okay, sure he’s directed Masterpieces like A BEAUTIFUL MIND, CINDERELLA MAN, SPLASH, APOLLO 13 and FROST/NIXON but in my heart he’ll always be Richie Cunningham and Opie!
Okay, enough time has passed where I can admit that I just didn’t love BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. For one, it irks me how key things in Freddie Mercury‘s life like his sexuality were muted, when that was actually a big part of his life and persona. That being said, none can be detracted from Rami‘s flawless Oscar-winning performance. This Snap was taken at Chateau Marmont just one night before he took the gold. Don’t let others fool you, it gets cold in L.A. at night!
KRISTEN STEWART OMG. I almost died when she said “yes” to the Selfie. I have been obsessed with K-Stew forever. Let me make it clear, I never fully got TWILIGHT, but it is her body of work including PERSONAL SHOPPER, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, PANIC ROOM, ON THE ROAD, THE RUNAWAYS and even more recently CHARLIE’S ANGELS, that I love. I’m sure many have wanted her to disappear but she’s not going nowhere, babe! She just keeps churning-out some outstanding work.
I could’ve swore it was Glenn‘s year at the Oscars. So lovely meeting this brilliant Thespian receiving her final award of last Awards Season for THE WIFE and the Independent Spirit Awards. Her adorable Havanese baby Pip was with her to receive the honour!
I have loved Paul Rudd for years now and knowing he never comes to Toronto, New York Comic Con was that rare chance finally to see him! Love that he’s looking like himself and he’s every bit as friendly as you’d think! But then again, this was a paid Photo Op…
I am one of those people who freaks out every time there is a Spice Girls reunion rumour circulating on Twitter and then go frowny-faced when I realize it’s only “the four of them”. Victoria was in Toronto doing good for Camp Oochigeas and giving her beauty line a plug. It was beyond cold, but so goddamn worth it. Is that a smile I see? 😊 That’s the magic of Mr. Will!
EDDIE MURPHY Umm. So I won’t repeat what Victoria thinks about Eddie Murphy (Google it), but this does not erase how I feel about him as an Entertainer. Thrilled to see Eddie make his resurgence with DOLEMITE IS MY NAME and a triumphant return to the stage on Saturday Night Live this Holiday season. Hedelivered me many age-inappropriate thrills in my younger days with BEVERLY HILLS COP, COMING TO AMERICA and BOOMERANG. But it was DREAMGIRLS that made me truly appreciate his artistry.
TIFFANY x DEBBIE GIBSON
Seriously, ten-year-old me is still freaking-out. Former Teen Pop Idol rivals Tiffany and Debbie Gibson rocked my world as a kid. To see them join forces in this Photo Op as part of NKOTB‘s Mixtape Tour, was epic! Who’d ever have known just a few months later I’d get invited to introduced Tiffany on-stage at her show at Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts? I’m so busy running through life sometimes that I forget to appreciate things like this.
This Funnyman came out of nowhere to steal the show. Bowen is the best thing to happen to Saturday Night Live in quite some time! Better yet, he has the distinction of being the first American-Asian Cast member in the star-making Program! Cheers to diversity!
Our airwaves continue to be dominated by PANIC! AT THE DISCO and we are so stoked we got this Snap with the Band’s Frontman Brendon Urie in New York this October! It was a complete surprise! It wasn’t easy but he posed and made sure I got it. If you haven’t heard their contribution to the FROZEN 2 Soundtrack, INTO THE UNKNOWN, you must. Mind-blowingly-powerful vocals from Urie!
And while we’re on the topic of FROZEN 2, we were so delighted Toronto got its own Fan Event for the Film in November! We deserved it! On Cloud Nine we got to chat with star Kristen Bell, nabbing a signature Team Mr. Will Selfie with Anna herself!
It’s okay, Ja! We know Fyre Festival wasn’t your fault. You’re forgiven. The things we’ve all done for a bit of cash 🙄… doo-doo-doo… Don’t look at me like you’ve never “taken one for the team”! That’s right, move along now!
So yeah, it’s super-awkward when you’re at the office pouring some water into your bottle and someone’s like “Oh! I saw on BlogTO you met Sting!“. Well, thank you Toronto for thinking my Selfies are culturally-relevant. You’re welcome!
2019 was low-key The Boss‘ year. He had his Western Stars album and Documentary arrive and also BLINDED BY THE LIGHT was a love letter to his amazingness. Although I loved him as a kid, this was a year I was reminded once again to appreciate his amazing catalog of Music. Born to Run, Born in the USA, Dancing in the Dark, Lonely Hearts, Glory Days. Timeless. Seeing him at TIFF ’19 was great and he was so amazing going down the line, leaning-in for pictures and waves. So happy I had the video rolling and caught this!
Till next year! Stay tuned next week for Team Mr. Will‘s Best-Of 2019 Lists! Happy Holidays to all of you and your family! May all the stars come your way! Looking forward to killing the game once again in 2020!
We weren’t planning to visit New York City for a bit but temptation got to us. We really should be resting after a draining TIFF and what seemed like an endless series of weddings. Rest can always wait as NYC was the place to be this weekend with New York Comic Con, Paley Fest, New York Film Fest, Taylor Swift on Saturday Night Live and more going on in tandem. We don’t know how New Yorkers even function with all that excitement going on!
We came with no real agenda but came out exceedingly-pleased about our weekend! It was beyond amazing. We keep doting on it, but 2019 will go down as our best year yet.
Wait till you see our sightings!
We, like the rest of Toronto, cannot wait for the arrival of EATALY, an upscale Italian grocer/eatery and all-around Foodie Heaven. New Yorkers are blessed with two locations and it was a joy having our morning coffee and pastries there.
This was our first visit ever to New York Comic Con, held at Jacob Javits Center, which was endless energy… it was amazing seeing how precise some of the Cosplay was! We are overjoyed finally to meet Marvel Cinematic Universe stars and acting veterans, Paul Rudd and Benedict Wong! They were beyond nice and we love seeing Rudd back with his signature hair again.
This year marks the 57th edition of the New York Film Festival and while many of the films screening there had done the rounds at TIFF ’19, it was so cool see New Yorkers get excited about them too. Films like Marriage Story and Parasite came out with raves just like in Toronto and they were lucky to see some Cast we didn’t get to see last month. Our highlight was getting to see ScarJo and having her throw you guys a wave! 👋 So cool Greta Gerwig came too to support Baumbach! We have a feeling this power couple will have competing Oscar contenders this Award season, she with Little Women. Just a reminder, these embedded albums can be scrolled-through by hovering right them and tapping on the arrow.
It isn’t a New York visit without Saturday Night Live and this weekend’s taping was extra special with a star-studded list of guests seeing Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge host with musical guest, Taylor Swift! You won’t believe who came out to watch!
We couldn’t resist a visit to scenic Belmont Park! We are so happy to have found a gap in our day to see their star-studded card of racing including the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Champagne Stakes too!
To celebrate TIFF’s forthcoming retrospective on the cinema of Spielberg, a group of Cinephiles were invited to an evening of trivia and celluloid magic. Despite being familiar with the works of Steven Spielberg, being quizzed on his accomplishments was no easy feat. Luckily, sitting back to enjoy an original 35MM print of Jurassic Park was.
And for anyone in Toronto from December 21st – January 10th, TIFF will be screening 28 films from the incomparable director’s catalog. From Jaws to Amistad there is a bevy of beautiful films being exhumed from the archives and showcased on the silver screen. So be sure to stop by the TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre for a holiday dosage of nostalgia ultra. After all, nothing says Christmas like the movies.
More on TIFF‘s Close Encounters: The Cinema of Steven Spielberg Retrospective here.
Already having worked with some of the greatest Directors of our day including Jeff Nichols, Terrence Malick, Bryan Singer and now Steven Spielberg, 21-year-old Tye Sheridan is bound for great things. The X-Men Franchise star is front and center in Spielberg‘s latest effort READY PLAYER ONE and he was in Toronto to promote the new Film, opening in theatres end of March.
While he didn’t get much sleep last night due to flight delays , Sheridan still made the most of his day having to cancel a few interviews, but doing Press including a taping of Global‘s The Morning Show.
See our Snap with him and a young fan and her mom. He was a true gentleman, shaking hands and introducing himself to everyone individually!
See the Trailer for Ready Player One:
Huge things are expected of this. Will you be seeing READY PLAYER ONE?
Warner Bros. Pictures Canada release READY PLAYER ONE on Friday, March 29, 2018.
(Photo/video credit: Warner Bros. Pictures Canada/Mr. Will Wong)
Spielberg + Streep + Hanks together at last! 20th Century Fox release the new Trailer for THE POST. We’re unsure how we lived this long without seeing these three legends together!
SYNOPSIS: Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post‘s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers – and their very freedom – to help bring long-buried truths to light.
Cast: Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, Sarah Paulson, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Michael Stuhlbarg, Bradley Whitford, Zach Woods
See the Trailer:
20th Century Fox release THE POST in select cities Friday, December 22, 2017 and wide Friday, January 12, 2018.
DreamWorks Pictures + Mr. Will want you to win a copy of acclaimed BRIDE OF SPIES on Digital HD + Blu-ray Combo Pack! As the Cold War Drama makes a splash this Awards Season, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your own home!
A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 Pictures’ “Bridge of Spies” is the story of James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.
BRIDGE OF SPIES stars Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan and Alan Alda; Steven Spielberg directs.
See the Trailer:
To enter to win, simply click “like” on this Post at Mr. Will on Facebook. Click “share” from there for an extra chance. Canadian Readers only, please.
DreamWorks Pictures release BRIDGE OF SPIES on Digital HD + Blu-ray Combo PackTuesday, February 2, 2016.
The official Canadian Trailer for BRIDGE OF SPIES finally surfaced today, and while this Oscar Contender won’t be hitting theatres till this Fall, here’s good two-and-a-half-minute look at this latest effort from three-time Academy Award Winner Steven Spielberg.
A dramatic thriller set against the backdrop of a series of historic events, DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 Pictures’ “Bridge of Spies” is the story of James Donovan, a Brooklyn lawyer who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible task to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot. Screenwriters Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen have woven this remarkable experience in Donovan’s life into a story inspired by true events that captures the essence of a man who risked everything and vividly brings his personal journey to life.
BRIDGE OF SPIES stars: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch and Alan Alda.
See the Trailer:
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada release BRIDGE OF SPIES on Friday, October 16, 2015.
(Photo/video credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
One of 2015’s most buzzed Films comes this October in Steven Spielberg‘s Cold War Thriller, BRIDGE OF SPIES and here’s your first look! The timing would be perfect for a TIFF ’15 Premiere, no?
American attorney and U.S. Navy Reserve Commander James Donovan (Tom Hanks) finds himself in the middle of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on a near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of captured American U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers with the Soviet government.
See the brand new Trailer:
DreamWorks Pictures release BRIDGE OF SPIES on Friday, October 18, 2015.
Filming has begun for Steven Spielberg‘s new as-yet-untitled Drama starring Tom Hanks! The Coen Brothers are responsible for penning its Screenplay, with Production set to take place between Berlin and New York City.
The film is the true story of James Donovan, an attorney who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.
They’re here! After word broke out that a Poltergeist Remake was in development, many of us had our opinions about the matter. Being a Critical and Box Office success earning $121 million, which back in 1982 was a huge deal, the Horror also is not without its share of controversy, with Child Actor Heather O’Rourke who starred in the iconic role of Carol Anne Freeling, having passed away under sudden circumstances at the age of 12. It will be interesting to see who will be brave enough to take on her role, with a dark cloud of intrigue surrounding it. In total, the famed “Poltergeist Curse” took the lives of four Cast members during the six years it took to complete the Trilogy.
Originally produced by Steven Spielberg, Sam Raimi will be taking the reins this time around as Poltergeist films in Toronto between September through December. Gil Kenan (Monster House) directs, while David Lindsay-Abaire (Oz The Great and Powerful) writes the Screenplay. It is said the Story will go through several modernizations and instead of the role Medium Tangina (Zelda Rubinstein) reprised, a team of Supernatural Experts instead will be introduced in this Remake. Filming is set to take place at Pinewood Studios in Toronto.
Just writing this Post absolutely terrifies me, Poltergeist being one of the few Films I absolutely cannot watch alone!
20th Century Fox will be distributing the Remake, set to be released in 2014. Casting details to come…