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Pop culture junkie, native of Las Vegas, not really a writer.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

I love these iPod shuffly survey thingees.

So, here's how it works:
1. Open your library (iTunes, Limewire, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits:"Oh Very Young" by Cat Stevens

Waking Up:"The Basts/Spring Landscape" from the "Howards End" Soundtrack

First Day At School:"Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley

Falling In Love:"Soft" by Kings of Leon (this song is about impotence, so that SUCKS!)

Peaceful and/or Fight Song:"Here's Where the Story Ends" by The Sundays

Breaking Up:"Beautiful One" by The Cardigans

Prom:"The Absence of God" by Rilo Kiley

Sex Scene"Revolution" by The Beatles

Life:"It Don't Come Easy" by Ringo Starr (You can say that again!)

Mental Breakdown:"Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison (Nice!)

Driving:"Cut Your Hair" by Pavement (this is an appropriately bouncy song for a drive)

Flashback:"At My Window Sad and Lonely" by Billy Bragg and Wilco

Getting back together:"Free Man in Paris" by Joni Mitchell (Ha! No getting back together for me!)

Wedding:"Days That Are Over" by Sondre Lerche (that's kind of depressing)

Birth of Child:"Atomic" by Blondie (weird)

Final Battle:"Ocean of Noise" by Arcade Fire

Funeral Song:"The Bargain Store" by Dolly Parton

End Credits:"So Long, Marianne" by Leonard Cohen

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - A Spoiler Full Review!

Ok, now it's time for my spoiler-full, positive and negative rant on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Seriously, if you haven't finished the book yet, don't read this! By the way, sometimes in the following rant, I do talk directly to Jo Rowling. I completely understand that she will never read my blog, but it makes me feel better to address her just the same.

I'll start with the positives:

-Good triumphed over Evil! Hooray! And Harry didn't have to die for it to happen. I know that Rowling has gotten some flack over the years for always having some kind of loophole for Harry, but thank God, cause I would have been crushed by his death even though I would have accepted it. Ditto for the survival of Ron, Hermione, Neville, Ginny, and Luna.
-Dumbledore ain't perfect. I loved that Dumbledore was shown to have some major flaws of character. The wizened old wizard, perfect in every way was boring. Selfish, neglectful and glory seeking was more honest, makes him a well rounded character and greater for having overcome those flaws.
-I KNEW SNAPE WAS GOOD! The Borders Books where I bought my copy was handing out stickers that said "Snape is a friend" or "Snape is a foe." This was a huge debate in the fan Universe and I must say: how could you possibly doubt it? Once it was revealed his love for Lily was what turned him to the good side forever, it was like duh, of course, that makes so much sense! Apparently many people figured that out halfway through, but I'm a little slow. I knew he was good, but hadn't even considered it was love for Lily.
-You go Molly! To paraphrase something my friend Tim said: after 6 books spent cooking and making Christmas sweaters, Molly Weasley finally got to kick some ass! "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!" That was fantastic!
-Ron and Hermione finally snogged! Too bad it was in the middle of the biggest battle of their lives. Geez, how long had that been building??? About halfway through this book, I was beginning to despair that Rowling was just teasing us this whole time and was never going to let them consummate their "sexual tension." How freaking awkward is it going to be for Rupert Grint and Emma Watson when they finally have to film it?!
-Rowling is a Tolkien fan. I'm sure there are plenty of other things she stole from like ancient myths and Roald Dahl but I noticed the Lord of the Rings parallels the most. The one locket weighing down the wearer and making everyone mean? The myriad magical creatures coming to the aid of the good side towards the end of the last battle? I almost put this under the negatives, but realized, hell I'm a Tolkien fan myself and this kind of "stealing" happens all the time in literature. Plenty of writers will go on to steal from Rowling.
-Harry is a freaking man! I was monstrously proud of Harry as he walked into the Forbidden Forest all ready to sacrifice his own life for his friends and the world at large. That's a lot of pressure for a 17 year old, even if he is a wizard.

Ok, now time for the negatives:

-The death of Lupin and Tonks. Ok Rowling. I get it. Since you weren't going to kill off any of the main three, you had to find some other beloved characters to bite it. But it really bugs me that you did it to these two just when they had finally resolved all their issues and had a baby!!! What? It continues the whole Godfatherly theme? Fine, but then why did you have to kill them off stage? If they had to die I wanted to SEE IT HAPPEN! Who did they fight? What kind of battle was it? Did they die in each other's arms? Come on!
-The whole Elder Wand thing confused the hell out of me. Just reading 7 was not enough for me to get the Draco connection. I literally had to reread parts in 6 to realize that Draco disarmed Dumbledore before Snape killed him. I think Rowling could have done a better job of making that all clear.
-I missed Hogwarts. Now I know that the story is told from Harry's POV so it has to stay with Harry, but I really missed Hogwarts. Especially once we learn that Neville and Ginny were getting up to all kinds of DA shenanigans during the year. Rowling, you could totally write a whole book that parallels this one from the Hogwarts student's POV. That'd be awesome.
-Gryffindor's sword. This was something that was pointed out to me by Tim and my sister too and I went, "Huh, yeah, you're right!" I think this might be the biggest plot hole in the entire book. If the goblins got the sword back after the Gringotts debacle, how was Neville still able to pull it out of the Sorting Hat at the end to kill Nagini? I guess it just had that much magic associated with it, you know?
-Dragged in the middle. Was it just me or did the story drag a bit in the middle? All that hopping from one forest to the next got old. I was totally ready for some freaking action!
-The Epilogue. Now I am all for epilogues. They usually make me very happy. But this one did not give us enough information. Rowling, if you're going to write an epilogue, then freaking write an epilogue woman! Ok, so Neville's the Herbology professor, but what does Harry do? Did he follow his dreams and become an auror? And what about Luna? Did she by any chance marry Dean Thomas? I had a feeling you were leaning that way. I know I shouldn't complain, but I'm selfish. I wanted more.

Ok, I'm done. I'll think of more I'm sure, but this is plenty for now. All in all I really enjoyed the book and I'm sad that there will be no more Harry Potter. I'd love for Rowling to go back and do a whole series of prequels about the first war, James and Lily, Sirius, Lupin, Arthur and Molly, etc. That would be totally cool. Oh, and I hope Emma Watson gets some serious acting training before they start filming this one, because as Hermione she's going to be in a majority of the scenes and has a big emotional journey to go on. HA! I'm so mean.

Come on all you readers of Harry, what did you all think?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Well, this isn't going to be a serious full blown review, just my thoughts and ideas on it really. First off, I must say that I will be required to see it again do to the incredible rudeness of a woman in my theater who let her two year old child run free and then continually left the theater to get said child more soda, popcorn, and candy and basically was a distracting nightmare throughout. Why didn't I move you ask? Well, the theater was packed so there wasn't anywhere to really go and I was with 4 other people including my 11 year old niece. I feel sometimes like I have bad movie theater karma because it seems like I always get a loser like this sitting near me. It has to be punishment for something.

Anyway on to the movie. This new director David Yates did a great job with the look, tone, and feel. The kids are becoming better and better actors, except for maybe Emma Watson who has a delivery that for some reason just gets on my nerves. Daniel Radclifffe especially is really connected to Harry now so that he can totally get across the angst and vulnerablility of the character. Imelda Staunton was absolutely brilliant as Umbridge. Such evil underneath a perfectly perky demeanor. My favorite touch about her characterization were the precious decorative plates with kittens on them that adorned the walls of her Defense Against the Dark Arts office. So as she is essentially torturing our hero Harry, in the background and coming from the Dolby digital sound system all around you are these little sweet innocent purrs and meows. Awesome. I checked the book and the decorative plates are mentioned but Rowling did not write that the kittens moved and purred and meowed. So, well done on that filmmakers!

Now, of course the movie differentiated A LOT from the book. But granted the book is over 800 pages long so that was totally expected. But there were some things that were left out or changed that really irked me. Here is the short list:

1. They did not make Ron and Hermione prefects.

2. There is no Quidditch, so Ron does not become Keeper and Umbridge does not take it away from the students.

3. The Cho Chang storyline is completely changed in a way that kind of leaves a question mark as to the end of her and Harry's short lived romance.

4. Fred & George Weasley's exit from Hogwarts was kind of lame.

5. The confrontation at the Ministry between the students and the Death Eaters was not done in a way that made it feel like the kids were actually in mortal peril.

6. They let Sirius be all cuddly protective Godfather and did not reveal his reckless, petulant, immature side at all.

7. They did not reveal Neville's connection to the prophecy.

Well, geez, after reading that back to myself it sounds like I didn't like the movie at all but that's not the case. If you have never read the books and just seen the movies, it is a very good movie. And even though I have read the books, I still really enjoyed the movie. I just wish they could have made it six hours long and fit everything in! Is that so much to ask?

I will say though that one of my favorite things about this entire series is that from the lead characters down to the minor characters with the smallest screen time they have kept the same actors in every role throughout. Except of course for Dumbledore, who had to be replaced after Richard Harris' death. But I think that really sets these films apart and makes them completely believable as a world unto itself.
I can't wait for Half Blood Prince in November 2008.