Thursday, July 12, 2007

Everything little thing she does is magic

The Harry Potter movies are such an oddity in book-to-screen cinema. In my opinion, at least, when you go to see a movie adaptation of a novel, you want the basic themes to say true, the high points to get hit and the ending to be close to the same. Whether both book and movie are awesome yet slightly different (Jurassic Park, The Godfather), the movie better than the book (Big Fish, Thank You For Smoking, Jaws) or the book better than the movie (a great majority), you’re not expecting a blow-by-blow reenactment of the printed word. With Harry Potter, it seems like the goal is to see how well you can translate a storyline everyone knows – and most likely loves – to the big screen.

It’s not a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, and everyone who saw it without reading the books first loved it, but it just seemed like all of my favorite parts from the book were either changed or cut, such as:

1) The Fred and George exit scene. That’s one of my favorite passages from any of the book, with the punishment closing in and the summoning of the brooms. The film version was still fun, but didn’t have quite the build-up or any dialogue for the twins

2) The entire section with Rita Skeeter being forced to write Harry’s side of the story for The Quibbler, which leads to Harry’s vindication among the students and his break-up with Cho.

3) The golden statues in the fountain coming alive during the final Voldermort/Dumbledore battle. The glass attack was pretty sweet, though.

4) The singing of “Weasley is Our King”, which would have added a lot more in as far as plotlines, but would have been more than worth it.

Imelda Staunton was a dream as Undersecretrary/High Inquisitor/Defense of Dark Arts Teacher/Headmaster Dolores Umbridge as all the reviews said, and both she and Maggie Smith will be added to “Best Supporting Actress in a Summer Movie”. Also, I really don’t think JK would have killed off Sirius Black if she knew Gary Oldman was going to play him as the sweetest, most bad-ass wizard of all-time. Oldman is on the “BS Actor iaSM” list. One tiny quibble that I’m unaware anyone has brought up: the kid who plays Draco Malfoy is not a good actor. He delivers all of his lines like he’s in a school play or something.

A tasty little appetizer for next Saturday’s release of Deathly Hallows, which I still need to plan how I’m going to read while traveling about Chicago and South Bend. I was going to say it would be impossible to follow without reading the book, but everyone who didn’t read the book followed it perfectly and enjoyed it considerably, so in this case, ignorance is certainly bliss.

Regardless of how it was, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix made that cash.


I’m not sure if you remember the various dust-ups we had with Penn State football blogs here before moving over to Rakes, but they’ve finally started. There are a lot of delusional fans on the internet for all things, but I think Nittany Lion fans might be the worst. As Rob just aptly put it to me, “It’s like they weren’t hugged enough as children, and they’re all screaming ‘I’m important, too!’”. Penn State likes to think of themselves as this pillar of the college football world, yet they’re really just a random team that’s finished better than fourth in the Big Ten exactly once since 2000 and has no rival, so they both teams with real rivals, like Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame, into trying to care about them. Also, their fans are generally dicks.

(That relative thesis is going to be extrapolated in a Rakes post that will make the blue and white nation very angry. I’m very excited.)


Big thanks to Dan Q, my roommate down in DC, television and movie aficionado and collegiate advisor to Senator Chuck Schumer, for sending this picture over to me. I don’t know what it is, but sometimes Kristen Bell just doesn’t photograph well. Then there’s most of the time, where she’s absolutely adorable, and the other times where she looks like an angel descended down upon this earth from heaven. This is one of those times:


I linked this over on the side, but it really is a great discussion about television theme songs, and to a lesser degree, Psych. I love Psych and look forward to its new season starting tomorrow, and its theme song is truly one of the best. It’s absolutely perfect for the show and never fails to bring me considerable cheer every time I hear it. Some of Psych’s plots are absolutely awful, hard to follow and really don’t make any sense, but you find yourself enjoying the characters and ride so much that you don’t particularly care. It’s perfect summer television, and in a summer where I’ve spent very little time (comparatively) in front of the TV, I can’t wait to crank up the AC, sprawl on the couch and watch a quirky little show that doesn’t take itself too seriously.


I’ve read quite a bit this summer – about presidential assassinations, the Leno/Letterman feud after Carson’s retirement, Harry Potter, zombie outbreaks, corrupt bond brokers, how the brain perceives happiness, spies playing baccarat and somehow making it seem interesting, presidential campaigns – but a third of the way through, I can’t imagine any book being more entertaining and enlightening than Live From New York. It was always near the top of my Amazon wishlist, but I didn’t pull the trigger until after the SNL 90’s special in early May and Rob recommending it whole-heartedly.

I used to love Saturday Night Live, watching the new episodes and all of the repeats on Comedy Central, so this book is just a treasure trove of information that makes me wish you could still tune in nightly at 6:00 for a quality repeat. People immediately dismiss the show as being awful, but this season they made considerable progress, finding success with hosts such as Alec Baldwin, Hugh Laurie, J-Tim, Zach Braff, and surprisingly enough, Peyton Manning. The more you look at the history of SNL, the more you realize that during the majority of its now 32-year run, people were dismissing the current product as awful and saying it needed canceled. I wish they’d release more than just the first season on DVD, or in perhaps one of the greatest ideas ever conceived by man, go with Bill Simmons’ suggestion that you be able to put together your own personal DVD of however many sketches, which you could then buy from NBC.

The book’s going for $5.99 on Amazon right now, so if you are or have ever been a fan of SNL, I highly suggest picking it up.

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