I had somehow always avoided the Harry Potter phenomenon; I'd never read any of the books, I'd seen parts of the first film in French (which I don't speak), and the final film in theaters for reasons of fellowship (not understanding a single thing that took place, nor why Ralph Fiennes had no nose). Last week, equipped with a bottle of wine and every film in the series, I decided to endure the "potentially historic" blizzard with a marathon of the movies. My life, as you can imagine, has changed considerably.
When Harry finally grabs one letter of the literal hundreds raining into the house, and you're like JUST TEAR IT OPEN AND READ IT ALREADY, COME ON!
When you realize that this moment is actually more depressing than when you cry listening to Akon's "Lonely"*:
*Other people do that too, right?
When you get to Hogwarts and you're just like, "damn, is anybody more fabulous than Maggie Smith?"
The confusion you feel when the guy you've totally had the dirtiest thoughts about from HTGAWM is just a child now:
When you begin to understand that Hermione is better than you in literally every way:
That feeling of shock that someone can suck as much as Malfoy does, and the pure rage that follows literally everything he says:
The first time I saw Oliver Wood:
The moment you realize you would literally sell your soul to You-Know-Who just for some alone time with this hunk:
The glee you feel when Gryffindor beats Slytherin in quidditch, but you're playing it cool because you're embarrassed to be 23 and genuinely really excited about a fictional sporting event:
The first time you see that absolute monster named Fluffy:
When Hermione is talking about libraries, but you still want to pretend it's something nerdy and naughty:
When you realize that all you want is a strong sweater game and some chocolate, therefore you're Ron:
When Harry discovers the trippy Mirror of Erised, and you feel like maybe he's been drankin', too:
Trying to decide whether you'd have sex with the minotaur (like, probably not, but who knows, right? RIGHT?):
When they get trapped in the Devil's Snare and you feel like you should worry but don't because Hermione is there, and you know she'll handle things like only she and Olivia Pope could:
Realizing that drinking unicorn blood is probably better than Botox:
When Quirrell starts to take off his turban and you're like "OMG IS IT A SNAKE? PLEASE NO"
Then the actual terror you feel when it turns out Quirrell is growing a human out of the back of his head:
Even though you're terrified, you still become slightly impressed that he was eccentric enough of a dresser that his turban went unquestioned:
If I wore a turban, people would be like "obvi, you're just growing the evil leader of the Death Eaters under that."
But wait, can someone please explain to me, is Harry fire?
Ohhh, I see, Dumbledore. Harry is fire, because his mom. Right. Natch. What a stupid question.
The joy you feel when Neville gets the House Cup for Gryffindor (and really, you're not as happy for Harry & Co. as you are that Malfoy is piffed; eat dirt, Malfoy):
Veteran R&B group New Edition's former managers are suing the singers for outstanding fees amounting to over $500,000 (£295,082). The founders of Benchmark Entertainment filed documents in Manhattan Supreme Court on Tuesday (29Jul14), alleging their former clients refused to pay up after firing them last month (Jun14), according to the New York Daily News.
Originally hired in 2012, Benchmark's founders Steven Greener, Kevin Gasser and John Hammond claim they masterminded a New Edition reunion tour, which is set to kick off later this year (14).
However, after band members Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins cut ties with them, the Benchmark bosses claim the group refused to pay them for the work they did securing the upcoming tour.
The management company founders claim they are owed at least $500,000 for setting up radio interviews and photo shoots, organising merchandising deals, securing venues and hiring a publicist,.
Benchmark's founders have also served as managers for artists such as Will Smith, Erykah Badu, Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins.
The lawsuit is the latest blow for the band - Bobby Brown bowed out of an ongoing U.S. tour due to medical reasons earlier this month (Jun14).
The singer struggled to bounce back from "an intrusive medical procedure" and found himself exhausted and fatigued onstage. The 45 year old, who was placed under doctors' care, returned to the spotlight in Detroit, Michigan on Friday night (25Jul14) but still appeared to be struggling to keep up with his bandmates.
Reports suggest Brown had difficulty with the demanding choreography and frequently walked to the end of the stage to pause and break from dance routines.
New Edition's current tour wraps up in Los Angeles on 3 August (14).
Actor/director Kevin Smith broke down in tears during a visit to the set of the new Star Wars movie in Britain.
The funnyman jetted to London this week (beg30Jun14) to perform a number of shows with comedy partner Ralph Garman, and he took time out from the Jay & Silent Bob's Hollywood Babble-On Tour to visit director J.J. Abrams on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII.
Smith took a picture of himself during his visit to Pinewood Studios with a single tear rolling down his cheek, and he told fans he would not be able to share any further details about his emotional day out because he signed a non-disclosure agreement.
He posted the snap on Instagram.com with the message, "Visited JJ and his EP VII set. I signed the NDA (non-disclosure agreement) so all I can share are this old Bantha-Tracks (Star Wars Fan Club Newsletter) subscriber's tears and snotty nose of joy. The Force is WITH this movie. Holy Sith..."
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
A familiar face will be cruising through Marvel's cinematic galaxy come this August. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has confirmed that the one and only Nathan Fillion will appear in the upcoming space adventure in a "very small fun cameo." While earlier rumors suggested that Fillion might play a bigger role in the film, Gunn set the record straight via his Twitter account last night. With Fillion's addition the cast, Guardians of the Galaxy is looking like it might be the most geek-friendly film of the decade. In light of the good news, we've decided to assess to geek cred of every major cast member in the film.
Relevant Projects: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible's Ding-Along Blog, Justice League Unlimited, that one episode of Lost Geek Cred: Through his frequent collaborations with nerd Jesus Joss Whedon, including a guest-stint on the last season of Buffy and a leading role in the cult sci-fi western Firefly, Fillion has built up an incredibly loyal legion of fans. Even 10 years after it's cancelation, some of the more deluded browncoats out there still believe there's a chance Firefly can somehow become un-cancelled. Now, there's some credibility for you.Rating: 5 out of 5
Chris PrattRelevant Projects: Jennifer's Body, Wanted Geek Cred: Pratt doesn't have a whole lot of nerd fodder to his name, but appearances in the comic book film Wanted and the underappreciated horror comedy Jennifer's Body to give him a decent boost. Rating: 3 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Avatar, The LosersGeek Cred: Saldana has a prominent role in the newest chain of Star Trek film, though that might boost or diminish her cred, depending on who you talk to. There are similarly mixed feelings about her other two genre pictures, Avatar and The Losers.Rating: 3 out of 5
Relevant Projects: The Man with the Iron Firsts, RiddickGeek Cred: Batista has spent more time wrestling than appearing in movies so most geeks probably aren't familiar with their new Drax the Destroyer. He did have a role in the latest Riddick sequel, but was overshadowed by Vin Diesel. (More on him later)Rating: 2 out of 5
Relevant Projects: AliasGeek Cred: Unfortunately, Bradley Cooper doesn't have the most geek friendly filmography as of yet, but his role as Rocket Raccoon should change that quite soon. Geeks might remember him in Alias, but even in the J.J. Abrams show, he wasn't the one doing the cool spy stuff.Rating: 2 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Doctor Who, Outcast, OculusGeek Cred: Huge! Gillan three-year stint on the British import Doctor Who was almost perfectly timed with the show's explosion in popularity in the states.Rating: 4 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Stargate, Alias, EragonGeek Cred: Not very high. Hounsou has enjoyed small roles in things like Stargate, Alias, and Eragon, but noting really major for geeks to really get to know the actor.Rating: 2 out of 5
John C. Reilly
Relevant Projects: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Wreck-it Ralph, everything Tim and EricGeek Cred: Reilly doesn't have a huge backlog of geeky things on his resume, but Wreck-It Ralph and his work in the absurdly wonderful world of Tim and Eric does give him some clout to work with.Rating: 3 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Mars Attacks!Geek Cred: Despite being a A-lister in Hollywood, Close has mostly steered clear of genre pictures, though her appearance in Mars Attacks! does give her something.Rating: 1 out of 5
Relevant Projects: The 6th Day, Slither, Stargate SG-1, Chuck, The Walking DeadGeek Cred: Rooker's cred skyrocketed with his role as Merle on The Walking Dead, but the longtime character actor has stealthily built up quite the geeky filmography over the years with appeareances in shows like Chuck and Archer.Rating: 4 out of 5
Benicio Del Toro
Relevant Projects: Sin City, The Wolfman, Thor: The Dark WorldGeek Cred: Fans recieved a snapshot of Del Toro's "The Collector" character in the end credits stinger for Thor: The Dark World, but beyond that, the actor's geek cred is pretty slim.Rating: 2 out of 5
Relevant Projects: All the Riddick moviesGeek Cred: Huge. Even outside of his career, Diesel is a well-documented geek and enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons on his off-time. He has also developed a good relationship with fans, appearing in video game adaptations of his Riddick films, and even putting up his own money to fund the 2013's Riddick.Rating: 5 out of 5
Relevant Projects: The Fall, the Hobbit moviesGeek Cred: Pace has impressed in the last two Hobbit films, but he doesn't quite have the same history as some of his cast members.Rating: 2 out of 5
Sahara filmmaker Breck Eisner is set to direct the Karate Kid sequel. Eisner is taking over from Harald Zwart, who directed 2010's film The Karate Kid, which starred Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan.
The two actors will reprise their roles as Dre Parker and Mr. Han, respectively, according to Deadline.com.
The new series of films serve as a reboot of the original franchise starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita.
Director Kevin Smith is in talks to host his own talk show on America's AMC network. The Clerks star could soon add another title to his resume with a new project titled Hollywood Babble-On, a series based on his popular podcast with co-host Ralph Garman.
The pair has been hosting the podcast since 2010, covering the week's celebrity and movie news.
Smith already has a history with AMC, as his reality TV series, Comic Book Men, featuring Smith at his comic book shop in New Jersey, has been on air since 2012.
Network executives are also working with Smith on yet another docu-series which would feature Comic Book Men regular Robert Bruce and other comic book experts as they scour the U.S. to find rare collectibles for their clients.
When David Mamet's play Sexual Pervesity in Chicago was adapted into the 1986 movie About Last Night, the self-absorbed Chicago twenty-somethings were played by Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Jim Belushi, and Elizabeth Perkins. In the 2014 remake, those parts are now being played by Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Kevin Hart, and Regina Hall and nothing about that seems unusual. It isn't that Mamet's play has changed much in the 40 years since he first wrote it, it's that some of the audience's preconceived notions of who can play what role have.Just as it happened with the reworked The Karate Kid that featured Jaden Smith in the title role made famous by Ralph Macchio, About Last Night takes a '80s story and adds some ethnic diversity to come up with something new. Well, there's a whole lot more movies from the '80s that are just sitting there waiting for just such a redo. Here are five stories that would work just as well in a more coloful version.
Molly Ringwald playing the forgotten girl on her birthday, in love with an older boy and tormented by geeks in the John Hughes classic. Everything about the story still works, including the Chicago suburban setting that was ultra-white in the '80s. Disney Channel stalwart Coco Jones is the right age to play the teenager in love, and Zoe Kravitz would make a fine addition as her attention-hogging older sister. So what if Jones and Kravitz don't look alike? Ringwald looked nothing like her onscreen family in the original. In the all-important older guy role, someone like 90210's Tristan Wilds could provide the smolder. The only real issue would be what to do with the original's exchange student, The Donger. That was a role so racially regrettable that it doesn't exactly have a place in today's world.
In Mike Nichols' film, Melanie Griffith played the secretary that secretly takes over for her out-of-commission boss (Sigourney Weaver), proves a capable business woman, and wins the affection of Harrison Ford. The Griffith character would have to be called an assistant now, but otherwise there isn't much about the story that needs to change. Use someone like Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries) or Tika Sumpter (Ride Along) as the underling trying to get ahead, maybe Halle Berry or even Gabrielle Union as the obnoxious boss and Taye Diggs as the love interest, and update the setting from a generic New York investment bank to the entertainment idustry. What Hollywood assistant doesn't want to push the boss out of the way and take over?
Sure, people remember the soundtrack but how many people remember the story? A steel-worker by day who dances in a bar by night, all while dreaming of making it as a legitimate professional dancer, and is pursued by her rich boss. Back then she wasn't really a stripper, but now she would have to be and she'd be trying to break into something hipper than ballet. The role could also be played this time by someone that can legitimately dance, since Jennifer Beals, the original star, was famously replaced by a body double. Someone like That Awkward Feeling's Jessica Lucas would work, or else there's got to be a Janelle Monáe back-up dancer that's ready to break out.
Tiger Woods broke on the scene nearly 20 years ago, so a golf comedy set at a country club and featuring a diverse cast shouldn’t be any big deal. It's near sacrilege to many to consider remaking such a beloved classic, but a new version would be shooting for a whole new audience. After all, golfers of all colors are tired of reciting the same tired lines from the original. Start with Hart taking on the Rodney Dangerfield role of the rich guy that doesn't like the country club set. Imagine letting Hart riff on a bunch of rich people while dressed in ugly golf garb, throw in Saturday Night Live's Jay Pharoah as the wacky grounds keeper, and it just flows from there. You could have a who's who of comedy going... Godfrey, Chris Rock, Mike Epps, Katt Williams, Faizon Love… there would be a part for just about everyone. Heck, even Eddie Murphy might be convinced to do the Judge Smails role that Ted Knight made famous. That would be top notch.
Three Men and a Baby
Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg were three well-off bachelors sharing a fabulous midtown Manhattan apartment that have their lives interrupted by a baby being dropped off at their doorstep. The idea of guys taking care of babies continues to be played for laughs, most recently in the sitcom Guys with Kids. What has been missing since Three Men is the angle of the guys being rich, Type A personalities. Take Jesse L. Martin, Tyler Perry and Damon Wayans Jr., move the setting to Hollywood, make them all successful and sharing a Charlie Sheen-type playpen, and then let a baby screw up their lives. It's comedy gold.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Bill Murray must have taken a lot of phone calls as of late. The actor, who has famously done away with the standard Hollywood agent model, and instead created a 1-800 number where people can call and pitch their scripts to an answering machine, has a ton of projects lined up for 2014. From another adventure with Wes Anderson, to a secretive Cameron Crowe fantasy film, and even a television show, the actor has certainly kept himself busy. Here's the list of Murray's projects that are scheduled to come out in 2014, and the reasons we're excited about them.
The Grand Budapest HotelPlot: Ralph Fiennes plays a concierge who is framed for the muder of an elderly guest at his hotel.Why We Want to See It? - It's another chapter in the classic Wes Anderson/Bill Murray teamup - This movie somehow looks more...Wes Anderson-y than Moonrise Kingdom. - The cast offers a ton of great actors for Murray to bounce off of.
Olive KitteredgePlot: In this upcoming HBO miniseries, Frances McDormand plays a school teacher living in a costal Maine town filled with secrets.Why We Want to See It? - Bill Murray has never done a TV show so this is huge. It's a weekly dose of Bill Murray. - It's based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel. - The cast includes McDormand, who had great chemistry with Murray in Moonrise Kingdom.
The Monuments MenPlot: A group of unlikely soldiers must rescue priceless pieces art from the Nazis before they are destroyed, and return them to their owners.Why We Want to See It? - It's Bill Murray vs. Nazis - It's like a mini Ocean's Eleven reunion, and Bill Murray decided to crash the party and no one bothered to stop him. - This is the closest you're going to get to a Bill Murray action movie so soak it up.
St. Vincent de Van NuysPlot: In this dramedy, Murray plays a grumpy misanthropic retiree who befriends a 12 year old boy.Why We Want to See It? - The cast is full of great comedians - Bill Murray plays a character named St. Vincent de Van Nuys and that's just ridiculous - The actor gets to play cranky and cantankerous old person, which is always something he does well.
Cameron Crowe's Comedy ProjectPlot: Bradley Cooper plays a defense contractor who's assigned to oversee the launch of a weapons satellite in Hawaii , but he falls for an Air Force pilot (Emma Stone) and decides to stop the launch of the satellite with the help of mystical forces.Why We Want to See It? - Because of the mystery. Cameron Crowe is keeping his cards close to his chest on this one, so we cant wait to see how it all unfolds. - Emma Stone and Bill Murray already shared some screen time in 2009's Zombieland. - What little of a plot summary we have sounds completely insane.
Orion Pictures Corporation via Everett Collection
It's 2014 and I was looking back at the movies that came out in 1984. I was blown away by the number of good movies that came out that year. I was then moved to tears that they are now 30 years old ... which means I'm getting older, since I saw most of, if not nearly all 10 of these in the theater.
Conan The Barbarian had put Arnold Schwarzenegger on the map, but this was the one that made him an A-list action superstar. The funny thing? He originally was supposed to play the role of the good guy, but he decided to be the unstoppable killing machine instead. Somewhere, in an alternate universe, some puny wimp is uttering "I'll be back ..." and their movie world is much poorer for it.
Molly Ringwald and John Hughes formed such a perfect tag team in the '80s Teen Movie genre that they could have probably won the WWF (it was called that in the '80s) Championship. Anthony Michael Hall also owes SUCH a huge debt of gratitude to this movie. There's also a very strong chance that the character of Long Duk Dong would probably not exist if this movie was made today.
Beverly Hills Cop
This was another star-making vehicle, this time with Eddie Murphy driving it. The former Saturday Night Live actor played wisecracking Detroit detective Axel Foley to perfection. Add Jonathan Banks as a dead-eyed hitman and Judge Reinhold as a hapless Beverly Hills Detective and it's no wonder this movie stayed in the theaters as long as it did.
Admit it - when you saw this movie, you SO wanted a Mogwai. Gizmo was SO cute and it was very sad that he was really a mechanical creature. The Gremlins, though. They scared the living daylights out of me. But Phoebe Cates ... mmm. Yes. Phoebe Cates.
I'm amazed that I'm at the fifth movie and am JUST getting to Ghostbusters. Who can forget Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Harold Ramis as they tracked down supernatural ghosts. Dean and Sam Winchester would have learned a thing or two from these guys, like answering Yes if someone asks if you are a god. Ooh. I think I hear a doggie that someone left outside.
The Karate Kid
Forget the Jackie Chan/Jaden Smith remake: this is the best Karate Kid. Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita gave us an unforgettable film, and it also helped keep Billy Zabka in the spotlight, with his recent guest appearances on How I Met Your Mother. Wax on, Wax off, indeed. Also, I had SUCH a huge crush on Elizabeth Shue back then.
Another classic that blows the horrible remake away. Sorry, C. Thomas Howell, Lea Thompson, Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen's combined starpower incinerate the cast of the 2012 version. Also, that opening scene with the Russians parachuting to the ground gave me nightmares for MONTHS.
Kevin Bacon's version didn't even NEED a remake. I don't understand what the powers-that-be were thinking when they greenlit the new film. As cheesy and corny as it is, it's also awesome, what with John Lithgow and Lori Singer turning in some fine performances. Also ... Kenny Loggins, man. Kenny Loggins. That is all I have to say.
A Nightmare On Elm Street
This is the only movie that I didn't see in the theater, because I am a huge wimp and I do NOT like seeing gory horror movies. This was such an innovation though, what with the genre being populated by the silent Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers. Freddy Krueger and his persona were such a huge change. That was before it devolved into silly sequels before the remake tried to breathe new life in the franchise.
This Is Spinal Tap
This is the mockumentary to end all mockumentaries. It's hilarious from the get-go. Who can forget Harry Shearer getting stuck in the chrysalis? One word: Stonehenge. Also, despite the dangers that this movie espoused, I am a drummer to this very day. I can proudly say that I have yet to spontaneously comb
You expect a bit of schmaltz from a movie about the making of Mary Poppins. But schmaltz doesn't entail a sentiment lathered so thickly that it's feels like an anti-depressant commercial, or material so broad that it's insulting to believe that audiences above the age of five can relate to the emotionality onscreen. Saving Mr. Banks takes for granted that its viewers are fans of traditional Disney, seeming to confuse Disney fans for Disney characters, and insinuating that we bear the intellectual sophistication thereof.
The real victim, of course, is the character of P.L. Travers (Emma Roberts, charming as she can be with this material), who incurs a fraction of a storyline about overcoming (or learning to live with?) her latent childhood traumas. As a young girl in Australia (as we learn in intermittent flashbacks — by and large the dullest part of the movie, but such a hefty piece of it), young Travers adored her merry, whimsical alcoholic father (Colin Farrell, playing a character that feels as grounded in reality as Dick Van Dyke's penguin-trotting screever Bert), enchanting in his Neverland mannerisms while her chronically depressed mother watched the family crumble into squalor.
Forty-odd years later, the themes of Travers' childhood inform (sometimes directly, right down to presciently repeated phrases) her resistence to allow her novel Mary Poppins to take form as a Disney movie. In the absence of a reason for why she might have a sudden change of heart about a feeling to which she has apparently held so strongly for two decades, Travers opts to fly out to California to meet Walt Disney (Tom Hanks, wading through the script without any of the energy we know he has in his back pocket) and discuss the adaptation process.
When it's not insisting upon clunky "melting the ice queen" devices — like nuzzling Travers up to an oversized stuffed Mickey Mouse to show that, hey, she's starting to like this place! — the stubborn author's time in the Disney writer's room is the best part of the movie. Working with (or against) an increasingly agitated creative team made up of Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, and B.J. Novak, Travers protests minor details about setting and character, driving her colleagues mad in the process. It is to the credit of the comic talents of Whitford and Schwartzman (who play reserved agitation well beside Novak's outright hostility — he's doing mid-series Ryan in this movie, FYI) that these scenes offer a scoop of charm. But Travers' gradual defrosting poses a consistent problem, as it is experienced over the slow reveal of her disjointed backstories in a fashion that suggests the two are connected... but we have no reason to believe that they are.
The implications of the characters' stories — depression, child abuse, alcoholism, handicaps, and PTSD — are big, and worthy of monumental material. But the characters are so thin that the assignment of such issues to them does a disservice to the emotionality and pain inherent therein. A good story might have been found in the making of Mary Poppins, and in the life and work of P.L. Travers. Unfortunately, Saving Mr. Banks is too compelled to turn that arc into a Disney cartoon. And much like Travers herself, we simply cannot abide that.
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