Harry Potter and Me

It’s been more than a week since I’ve seen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 and I still can’t stop thinking about. Not because it was amazing or perfect; actually it was far from it. As I’m sure many other Harry Potter fans will agree, it marked the end of our childhood and the end of an era. Personally, the Harry Potter era truly ended back in 2007 when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” came out and us HP fans realized there were no more books to anxiously look forward to.

However, we always had the movies. They were never as good as the books and never will be, but they gave us something to hold onto. I remember thinking back then that fansites, like mugglenet, were lucky to have the films to report on after the books had finished. It’s not that people would stop checking these websites, but that the sudden end of continuous flow of information and speculation over the books would surely slow down online traffic. For me, this became true. In high school, I would shamelessly hog a school library computer so that I could check in on the latest Harry Potter news. I would pore over the website, reading updates on JK Rowling’s fifth book, then sixth book, and finally, her seventh book. I loved seeing the first photos from the sets of “Goblet of Fire” and “Order of the Phoenix.” My almost daily visits to these HP sites stopped after the last book came out, mostly because there was nothing to read up on. There would be movie news, of course, but I could read and see the pictures anywhere – gossip sites, the front page of yahoo!, facebook. For me, the end of the books signalled the end of the Harry Potter era and, as the last book came out the summer after my high school graduation, my childhood.

So why did I still feel a sense of emptiness and sadness at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 whilst the credits began to roll? Again, it wasn’t because the film was the perfect ending I had envisioned. I think, rather, it was the realization that the films and the excitement over them was finally coming to a close. It was the last time that I would be going to a Harry Potter MIDNIGHT PREMIERE. It was the last time that I would be sitting in the dark with tons of other Harry Potter fans, cheering for our favorite book scenes come to life, waiting for that pivotal moment to occur on the big screen, and yes, crying during the scenes that caused us to close the book for a moment to search for Kleenex. There’s just something about being surrounded by other people who are just as dedicated and passionate as you; I suppose that’s why concerts, festivals, and conventions (like Comic-Con) are so much fun. Perhaps, we sometimes feel alone in our interests and tastes, and only truly feel connected when we are with our like-minded peers. There’s nothing quite like shouting along to your favorite song with 300 sweaty other people or sitting with your fellow fans and admiring all of the homemade character costumes hours before a movie starts.

I think it’s safe to say Harry Potter truly defined a generation. Many people, including myself, grew up with the novels and the films. Each book release marked a different period of my life. “Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Chamber of Secrets,” and “Prisoner of Azkaban” were three of my favorite books in 4th and 5th grade, along with “The Baby-Sitters Club” series. I even did my book report on “Chamber of Secrets” and recommended to book to my class, even if fantasy wasn’t their thing. The summer before 6th grade and middle school was filled with reruns of Unsolved Mysteries, TRL, and repeated readings of “Goblet of Fire,” which to this day, still remains as my favorite of the series. “Order of the Phonexix” was not released until the summer after before high school and coincided with my growing interest in emo/pop-punk/teenage angsty music. So while Harry angsted away all summer at Prive Drive, wishing he knew what was going on in the magical world, I sat at home discovering “angsty” bands like Finch and The Starting Line (LOL), dreaming of the day I could go to Warped Tour. “Half-Blood Prince” came out the summer after sophomore year and I remember how my friends and I all brought our copies to our friend Miranda’s 16th birthday party/sleepover. Yes, we were that nerdy and dedicated. I still remember how I would occasionally look around to see one of my friends just sitting down with the book propped open. Wait, I also remember now that my parents refused to let me sleep over that night…but at least I did get to go to Warped Tour for the first time ever that summer! Win!

“Deathly Hallows” was probably the biggest and most exciting book release for me. It was the summer of 2007 and the book came out a couple of weeks out after the film adaptation of “Order of the Phoenix” so it was a huge Harry Potter filled summer. I recall attempting to reread all of the books before the “Deathly Hallows” release, but eventually giving up and just reading HBP two days before at my college orientation. I was also going to my very first midnight book release for “Deathly Hallows” so as soon as I got back from orientation (where I had met a few people because of our mutual HP love!) I went to Ross to find a Ravenclaw-ish tie as I was going to dress up as Cho Chang, obviously. Because she’s Asian. And I’m Asian.

Here we are holding the Snitch!

My friend Janet and I with some guy from MuggleNet who we harrassed

The book was the perfect ending to the series and there were many moments that had me laughing and crying. The epilogue, on the other hand, well, I try to pretend that never happened. Overall, I think JK Rowling did an amazing job of crafting seven books that spanned a decade, and accomplishing the impressive feat of getting millions of kids to drop those Gameboys and pick up a 600 page book. She’s an incredible role model, not just because she inspired so many people to embrace literature and writing, but because she managed to pull herself out of a difficult situation and make something of herself. One of the best moments of my life was when I got to visit The Elephant House in Edinburgh, Scotland where she first began writing the series. She is a huge part of my childhood and I will never be able to thank her enough for filling so many years of my life with magic.

Completing the cycle

In front of The Elephant House!

So about those film adaptations. I remember hanging out my cousin’s house sometime in the 5th grade and picking up one of her children’s magazines. They had a blurb about the first Harry Potter movie and how they had casted three small kids as Harry, Ron, and Hermione.

the trio!

I recall looking at this photo and being incredibly jealous because these kids, who were the same age as me, were going to be in the movie versions of my favorite books! I understood I wasn’t English, but surely they could have made an exception for such a big fan, right? My jealousy sprung up again in the 7th grade shortly before the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone when the commercials and billboards were everywhere. My friend and I would talk about how we were going to be Cho Chang once they started casting for the third movie, obviously because we were Asian and they needed an Asian!

My parents, brother, cousins, and I all went to see “Sorcerer’s Stone” at the Alexandria Theater on Geary Street in San Francisco. This theater is also where I went to see my very first movie (in an actual movie theater!), The Indian in the Cupboard, and where I went to see “Chamber of Secrets.” Sadly, the theater has been closed for years now, and just stands empty and without purpose. I think I’ll always associate that theater with some of the best memories from my childhood.

“Prisoner of Azkaban” came out the summer after freshmen year of high school and I remember seeing another favorite movie of mine, “School of Rock,” right afterwards. This was the first time I learned just how easy it was to movie hop at the cineplex. The third movie blew me away. Here, finally, was a worthy film adaptation. Chris Columbus did a decent job with the first two movies, but I had thought they were too literal…and sunny. There was no way it was always that sunny at Hogwarts! Cuaron captured the atmosphere, spirit, and magic of the books and I was thrilled. I know lots of HP fans dislike POA because they changed a few things and the Mauraders are never fully explained, but it was, until “Deathly Hallows Pt 1”, my favorite Harry Potter film. Almost everything about it was perfect and the Time-Turner Scene is so well done.

I still think one of my favorite nights ever was the night my friends and I all went to see “Goblet of Fire.” Prior this, I had always gone to the movie theaters with my parents because they wouldn’t trust me to go with my friends/without parental supervision (they were very, VERY, overprotective). This marked another important moment in my teenage years because I was finally able to go somewhere with my friends…at night! I finally felt like a real teenager at the age of 16. We all had pizza afterwards and discussed our favorite and least favorite parts of the movie.

“Order of the Phoenix” was my first midnight screening ever and it would be my first Harry Potter movie in IMAX 3D! My friends and I got there two hours before and passed the time by playing cards and just goofing off. There were hundreds of other HP fans waiting in line; many had brought their laptops to rewatch the previous films and many more had come costumed. There were girls dressed up as Beauxbaton girls, a few kids as house elves, and of course, lots of people as Hogwarts students (putting those black graduation robes to good use). Finally, midnight rolled around and we all excitedly walked/ran into the theater. My friends and I ended up in the first few rows, sadly, and my neck hurt during most of the movie because of this. I didn’t really enjoy this movie, mostly because SPOILER ALERT Sirius’s death felt so anti-climatic. However, I will always remember the excited cheers that erupted when the little glasses icon started to flash at the bottom of the screen, indicating the start of the 3D scene. It was the first HP film to have 3D and truthfully, it was a nice scene and all, but was not necessary at all.

“Half-Blood Prince” came out the summer before I went to England for study abroad and my friends and I all went to see it together. I don’t remember much about this occasion just because I think I was preoccupied with my forthcoming adventure. I do remember camera whoring with the poster and in the theater. Oh, and when Dumbledore said, “I’m not worried Harry…I’m with you…” I started choking up because I knew what was to come.

HBP poster in London's Chinatown!

Platform 9 and 3/4 at King's Cross!!!! This worker actually knew what we were looking for and directed us to it!

“Deathly Hallows Pt 1” opened last November and my friend Caitlin and I went to see it in IMAX together. Strangely, after being friends for all four years of college, it was the first movie we had ever gone together. The theater allowed seats to be chosen before the actual screening so there was virtually no line when we showed up around 11pm. Still there were a few people in costumes, most notably a really scrawny guy dressed up as Hagrid, complete with umbrella wand.

Caramel Digestives, tea, HP shirt...ready for midnight!

“Deathly Hallows Pt 1” was amazing. I had learned over the years to go in to these movies with low expectations because changes would be inevitable and I would never enjoy the films if I expect them the have every single moment or quote from the books. Despite my low expectations, I walked away completely satisfied and excited. I don’t think ever happened before with the other films and I was almost shocked by how true to the book they stayed! Many of the shots were breathtaking and the animation for the Three Brothers scene was glorious. The trio had improved their acting so much and I was very proud of them, even though I don’t actually know them in real life. I’ve watched Dan, Rupert, and Emma grow up on the big screen just as I’ve grown up and it’s really nice to see how they’ve matured as actors and young adults. I think I’ll always feel attached to them because we’re the same age and even though they aren’t the Harry, Ron, and Hermione I see when I read the books, they’ll always be The Trio.

“Deathly Hallows Pt 2” came out last week and sadly, was not as good as Part 1. I don’t know if it’s because they had less material to work with or if it’s because my expectations were too high as a result of Pt 1. The Metreon had 16 screenings, I believe, and the place was packed. The line even had to be moved outside of the building! Pt 2 was as a good send off to the film series and you can bet I shed a couple of tears during certain scenes. I did feel a little bit disappointed that the movie was not as epic as I had hoped, but I did like it. A lot. The epilogue, which I never liked in its book form, wasn’t as bad in the film. I thought it was perfect that they paired John William’s “Leaving Hogwarts,” from the last scene of “Sorcerer’s Stone,” with the image 19 years older Harry, Ron, and Hermione sending off their own kids to Hogwarts. It was then that I began to feel an incredible amount of sadness because it would be the last time the three of them would be on the big screen as their characters. Although I had hoped for a better last film, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

If My Life Were a Movie

…it’d actually be really boring. But isn’t that why we love movies? We watch films to escape for two hours, to travel to another place, to experience something different, to go back in time, or to relive our past. It’s amazing how you can watch a film from your childhood years later and be instantly transported to the first time you sat in wonder and wanted to rewind the VHS tape and then recreate scenes with your friends and siblings. Or you could see a film years later and realize it’s not as good as you thought at the age of 9, but due to sentimental value, IT’S THE BEST MOVIE EVER.

One of the best things I love about films is the usage of music (in fact, the best class/my favorite class I ever took in college was History of Film Music; it also helped that it was the only class in college I ever got an A+ in) A song can completely change the mood of a scene or emphasize it. It can add tension or fill the void of a moment that needed that extra oomph. Most of moments that I remember from my favorite movies have a song playing in the background and I’m sure I’m not the only one who links a great scene’s emotions, actions, or dialogue with a song. I’m definitely one of those losers who wishes their boring, everyday lives had great songs underscoring every pivotal moment. So, I’ve come up with another fabulouuuuus playlist. This time it’s 18 songs that I would want on my own personal soundtrack if my life ever became interesting enough to draw in the crowds at the theater. Enjoy!

IN THE MOVIES

http://8tracks.com/mixes/356428/player_v3

CLICK THE DIRECT LINK: http://8tracks.com/rainbowtomatoe/in-the-movies

1. Be My Baby – The Ronettes (“Mean Streets”)
2. 80s Celebration – The Reduction Agents (“Eagle vs Shark”)
3. Naive – Lily Allen (“Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging”)
4. Miserlou – Dick Dale (“Pulp Fiction”)
5. Solar Sailor – Daft Punk (“Tron Legacy”)
6. Star Wars Theme – John Williams (“Star Wars”)
7. Black Sheep – Metric (“Scott Pilgrim vs the World”)
8. L’Arena – Ennio Morricone (“Il mercenario”/”Kill Bil Vol 2”)
9. Molossus – Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard (“Batman Begins”/”The Dark Knight”)
10. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap [“(500) Days of Summer”]
11. The Winner Is – DeVotchKa (“Little Miss Sunshine”)
12. Moon River – Audrey Hepburn (“Breakfast At Tiffany’s”)
13. Sea of Love – Cat Power (“Juno”)
14. Just Like Honey – The Jesus and Mary Chain (“Lost in Translation”)
15. Married Life – Michael Giacchino (“Up”)
16. Pull Shapes – The Pipettes (“Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging”)
17. This is the One – The Stone Roses (“Eagle vs Shark”)
18. Leaving Hogwarts – John Williams (“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”)

Also, I just wanted to add this bit in. Amy Winehouse passed away today, sadly. She was clearly very ill and it’s a shame that someone with so much talent passed away so young. I wasn’t the biggest fan of hers but I’ve always thought her voice was amazing. I think the A.V Club did a really nice write up on her life and career, which you can read over here.

I don’t think song was on any soundtrack, but I’d definitely want it on my own soundtrack. Really great performance. RIP Amy Winehouse.

LAST MINUTE COMIC-CON TIPS!

If you weren’t aware, it’s July; specifically the 21st of July. For most pop culture enthusiasts, fanboys/fangirls, comic book fans, cosplayers, video gamers, nerds, tv fanatics, and yes, even Twilight Moms, this means only one thing: COMIC-CON! The massive event is held annually for one weekend in July at the San Diego Convention Center and for anyone with any sort of interest in media or pop culture, it’s a huge deal and often the highlight of the year.

Unfortunately, I won’t be there this year and will have to watch and read all the updates from home, but I have been lucky enough to experience this crazy weekend twice, both in 2008 and 2010. I’m here to offer some of my own tips and tidbits as someone who isn’t the biggest comic book fan, but is a television geek (sort of), and a broke ass college student. So here we go!

1. Ralph’s will be your savior. One of the best and worst things about SDCC is the fact that they do not clear out rooms after the panels. The good thing is that you do not have to get back in line to see another panel in the same room; the bad thing is you’ll more than likely be stuck in the same room for hours to see the panel you want. Although it’s nice to get a glimpse of a movie or television show you may not have been interested in before, it’s horrible not being able to leave the room in fear of losing your seat. This is why prepared snacks and meals are a MUST. The convention center does offer food, but I really don’t think anyone is up for paying high prices for greasy pizza. Ralph’s is only a few blocks from the con and you can stock up on all of your snacks, sandwiches, and of course water! In the past I’ve bought a few of their wraps (not bad), granola bars, and SmartWater bottles (those bottles are huge and can definitely be reused throughout the weekend). Another smart thing to do would be to buy a gallon of water and refill your bottle before each day. Oh, one last thing – the employees at the store get really into the entire Comic-Con theme and last year were all sporting superhero themed t-shirts!

2. If you need to go out and eat/drink/dance, Yelp is your best friend. The first year my friends and I went, we researched the restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter and shared the places that fit within our budget and sounded delicious. Many Yelp’ers have created lists specifically geared towards con goers so do a quick search on the website before heading out. For those hoping to save a few bucks, a few restaurants this year are offering discounts to SDCC attendees who also present their badges. You can find the list here.

3. Hold on to that badge like it’s your child. Trust me, this is the key to all panels, the convention floor, and many other SDCC activities. I mean, as I mentioned above, it’s the key to discounts at restaurants now too! Seriously though, make sure you have your badge with you the entire time you’re at the con. SDCC provides a nice lanyard for you to clip your badge onto, but accidents do happen and it’s possible for that little hook to slip off that safety pin on the back. So while there will be times when you’re sprinting over to Hall H or through the throngs on the convention floor to get to an autograph booth, try to remember to continually check that the badge is still with you, whether its on the lanyard or safety pinned to your body.

4. Plan and schedule for all of your must see panels, autograph sessions, screenings, and off-site activities before hand. As I mentioned above, one of the best/worst things about Comic-Con is the fact that they don’t clear out the rooms. That means if you want to see a panel and you know it’s going to be popular, you may have to start lining up hours beforehand. Case in point, last year, one of the main reasons why I headed down to San Diego was the Scott Pilgrim vs the World panel. Like I mentioned in my Attack the Block review, I’m a huge fan of Edgar Wright and I loved following the filming process for the movie. The entire cast was going to be there and I knew I COULD NOT miss the panel. Unfortunately, it happened to be the very last panel of the day and I knew that I would have to spend the majority of the day in Hall H. If I had left the room anytime before the panel, I would have had to get back in the massive line and try to get into Hall H in time. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but this line is CRAZZZZZZZY . So yes, definitely make plans hours ahead to see a popular panel. As for autograph sessions, check the SDCC website to see who has their own booth and who will have scheduled signings. For the more popular/scheduled signings, fans will have to either get their early and obtain a wristband or attempt to draw out a stamped ticket. For the wristband signings, many booths, such as Fox, will give them away very early in the day so make sure to drop by the day before and ask when specifically they’ll be giving out wristbands. For the stamped ticket signings, more often then not, they’ll be in the Autograph Area. Look for the line of people waiting for what looks like nothing. Once you spot them sticking their hands into a bag, you’ll know you’re in the right place. And finally, many networks, movie studios, books, whatever will be promoting their goods throughout the Gaslamp Quarter. Last year’s Scott Pilgrim experience was definitely a highlight as fans could check out the video game and receive free SP-related tshirts! I remember Machete also had a huge block party with music, food, and freebies. The best place to view all of the off-site events is the SDCC Blog’s Off-Site Events page.

Scott Pilgrim Experience!

Okay, so I didn't make it to the IASIP signing (learn from my mistake) but I got this photo of Charlie Day and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Ellis! I cried inside when this happened.

5. Don’t go crazy with freebies. This is a hard one, especially if you’ve spent all that money making the trip to the greatest pop culture convention in the world. Everyone will be shoving their postcards, posters, pins, bags, and more into your hands and it’ll be hard to say no. Everything just looks so cool, so sleek, so shiny, so free. However, you know that many of the items you’re grabbing won’t be of any use to you at home. Sure, that comic book that you got from that random guy crossing the street at the same time as you, looks cool, but are you really going to read it? And you know all those postcards for that cheaply made zombie film aren’t going up on your wall anytime soon. Learn to say ‘no’ and take only the things you’d be willing to possibly pay for and/or carry home. If you still have trouble parting with your freebies and are stuck with them months later, look around to see who might want them. Maybe someone who couldn’t make it to SDCC will be more than happy to take them off your hands.

Crossing the street back to the Gaslamp Quarter. You'll notice litter everywhere because people just toss their flyers/postcards/whatever!

6. Your camera should be with you at all times! It’s a given that you’ll want to snap tons of photos during the celebrity packed panels, but there will also be fantastically dressed up cosplayers roaming the convention, as well as moments you won’t see anywhere else. Maybe it’s a random celebrity spotting outside the convention center or it’s your own friends sleeping on the grass outside Hall H at 7:30am as you guys wait to get in for the Harry Potter panel (actually happened). One of the best things about Comic-Con weekend is the insane amount of things happening all at once. There will be thousands of people dressed up, celebrities presenting their movies or tv shows, artists showing off their work, fans trying out video games, and so much more. There’s so much to experience at SDCC that you can’t anywhere else. It’s important that you have something to document all of those special moments (mostly, to shut up all those “pics or it didn’t happen” folks).

Why your camera needs to be with you at all times! Surprise Q&A appearance by Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, and Aziz Ansari at the 'Pineapple Express' panel in 2008

7. Rest up and be nice! I combined these twos because I believe they’re related to one another. Days at Comic Con are long and tiring. Despite the fact that you’ll be sitting down for the panels, there will be long periods of time where you’re standing in line or running to get to another place. Try to sleep the night before so you’re not exhausted, physically and mentally. You’ll hate yourself if you accidentally doze off during the panel you most wanted to see. And of course, sleeping means there’ll be a smaller chance of you being cranky. Putting yourself in a densely populated area and amongst other people who are just as passionate and dedicated as you are will create situations in which you’ll want to roll your eyes, shout at someone, or in an extremely rare case, stab someone with a pen. Try to brush off the smaller stuff and just think about how lucky you are to be at Comic-Con. Seriously, do you know how many people are seething with jealousy because they aren’ there?! People spend thousands of dollars trying to get a badge after the event sells out! And so I will end this long post with probably the most important tip: Have fun and enjoy every moment of the best weekend of the year.

This guy was sitting in front of me! His shirt was hilarious.

Bonus picture - me and Pickachu having fun at Comic-Con! Its arms are waving in joy!

Review: Horrible Bosses

If you’re an Arrested Development fan like me, then you have been waiting for what seems like forever for the movie. At this point, I won’t believe it until I’m sitting in the theater with a bag of kettle corn. For now, AD fans can get their share of Michael Bluth by watching Horrible Bosses starring Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis.

Bateman stars as Nick, a variation of his Arrested Development character, who is determined to get a promotion at work, but must first deal with his boss, played by Kevin Spacey. Spacey’s character is, to put it bluntly, an asshole. He tricks Nick into drinking at 8am in the morning and threatens to fire another employee until Nick admits to being a whole TWO minutes late. Much like the character of Michael Bluth, Nick is, for the most part, the “straight man” throughout the film. Most of the characters around him have their own outrageous and hilarious moments, whereas Bateman’s reactions to everything are where the hilarity of his scenes derives from. It’s in this way I continually saw Michael Bluth on screen, instead of Nick. Some may point this as a negative and a sign that Bateman is only good as one character, but as a fan of AD I loved it. The scene in which Nick loses his coveted promotion reminded me of the scene in which Michael loses the promotion to his mother Lucille. Quite simply, Jason Bateman’s portrayal of Nick was the closest to seeing Michael Bluth on the big screen as AD fans are going to get, for now at least.

Nick’s two friends, Dale, played by Charlie Day (my soulmate tbh), and Kurt, played by Jason Sudeikis are also having trouble at the workplace. Dale is working as a dental assistant and must deal with a boss who constantly sexually harasses him. Jennifer Aniston takes a break from the romantic comedy genre and takes her turn as a woman determined to make her employee as uncomfortable as possible. Due being on the list of Registered Sex Offenders (don’t worry, the reason is actually hilarious), Dale has no choice but to suffer everyday as his boss blackmails and pursues him in the worst way possible. Kurt, on the other hand, begins the movie with a boss who loves him and views him as a surrogate son. His biological son, Bobby, played by Collin Farrell, is a slacker who is also a coke addict. Kurt’s original boss dies within the first 15 minutes, leaving the Pellitt company in the unqualified hands of Bobby.

From there the story starts rolling as the three leads begin to plot the murders of the three bosses. It’s a very funny movie, filled with quotables and hilarious moments. Sudeikis and Day are particularly good in their roles, while Bateman continues to deliver gif-worthy reactions and expressions. Spacey and Aniston were great in their roles, but I do wish there was more screen time devoted towards Farrell. Kurt constantly stated that his boss was a coke head and there were scenes in which he, uh, engaged in unprofessional activity at the workplace, but the audience never really gets the chance to develop a reason to hate Bobby. We watched Julia and Harken torment Dale and Nick, respectively, so we definitely began rooting for their demise. If the movie had had more scenes featuring Bobby and reasons as to why he was so “horrible” the film would have felt complete.

Still, the three leads are absolutely great and have amazing chemistry. If I wasn’t such a huge “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fan, I would definitely ask for more movies or tv shows featuring the trio. Jamie Foxx is also great in his role as a – SPOILER!!! – “murder consultant” and the scenes where the guys meet him for the first time and the last time are too funny. The reference to one of my favorite high school books, “Snow Falling on Cedars” almost killed me.

Bottom Line: If you’re a fan of Arrested Development or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia , go see this movie ASAP. Jason Bateman and Charlie Day essentially play their tv characters on the big screen and it’s comedy heaven. Jason Sudeikis, who I’ve always enjoyed on SNL, is also very funny. You don’t want to be the last one to get all of the quotes and jokes that are sure to spread into everyday culture so be sure to see what might be the funniest movie of the summer.

FOR MY AD/IASIP FANS! VARIOUS REFERENCES TO AD/IASIP??? SPOILERS AHEAD!
– already mentioned lost promotion scene (AD)
– Dale making chicken noises (AD)
– Dale asking if Danny DeVito was in a movie (IASIP)
– Dale and Nick accidentally snorting coke (IASIP)
– Dale being called a “hamster” (IASIP – CHARLIE WAS CALLED A MUNCHKIN)
– Dale’s freak-out at being locked out of the car was very Charlie like! (IASIP)

These are the ones I could think of off the top of my head and I may be reaching, but who cares! Let me know if you can think of some more!

Review : Attack the Block

A British import is creating a lot of buzz this summer. No I’m not talking about that British goddess Cheryl Cole, sadly (“Fight for this Love” is my jam). It’s a little film about aliens attacking a South London, or “Soufh Lawndun,” apartment building, better known as a “block,” and the gang of kids who try to survive and fight against the aliens.

I first heard about Attack the Block on Twitter after various movie sites started claiming that the film was one of the best of the year. A few clicks on Google and IMDB led me to the trailer and information stating that it was written and directed by Joe Cornish (!), starred Nick Frost (!!!), and produced by Edgar Wright (!!!!!!). Seeing those names was enough to get me excited. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see a release date for the US so the only way I could see it was through one of the preview screenings put on my various websites. Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t the only one who was curious about Attack the Block and missed out on watching it the first time due to being late and the screening filling up. I finally saw it two weeks ago and was not disappointed.

The film starts right off with our gang of South London kids terrorizing and mugging a young woman named Sam. The gang’s success is cut short, though, by an alien crashing down from the sky. Moses, the gang’s leader, decides to investigate and soon receives his first alien attack. Fueled by anger and embarrassment, Moses stomps off and successfully kills the alien. This puts the story into motion as our gang tries to fight against the aliens on their own, grabbing whatever weapons they have lying at home – baseball bats, swords, and fireworks. Along the way, we meet Brewis and Ron, the former a young man whose quest for weed escalates into an eventual “I’m too high for this” adventure and the latter, your “friendly, neighborhood weed man” who wants just wants to tend to his, um, herbs. I’m going to stop there because I don’t want to give too much away as the movie is a short, snappy 88 minutes.

I really enjoyed this film, not just because it involved some of my favorite Brits (I don’t know how they’re marketing this in Europe/UK/wherever, but here in America they seem to be pushing that “FROM THE PRODUCERS OF ‘SHAUN OF THE DEAD’ AND ‘HOT FUZZ'” thing a lot), but because it didn’t try to be anything other than what it claims to be. I went in expecting a film about some kids trying to stop alien attacks and that’s what I got. It went straight into the action and wrapped things up quite nicely. The cast is great and I loved that it was a bunch of real teenage kids. Often times, movies employ actors who are clearly a good 10 years older than 15/16/17 and it can really take the viewer out of the film. Attack the Block introduces us to some very talented kids who do a great job in their first film. John Boyega, who plays Moses, is a great lead and I would not be surprised if he continues to work in films. Really though, all of the kids are charming and I went from disliking them for mugging Sam to cheering for them whenever they managed to escape potential attacks. I also panicked whenever they were close to danger. As a fellow glasses-wearer, I particularly felt for Jerome in his scene; being vision impaired is no fun.

Bottom Line: Attack the Block is lots of fun and a perfect summer movie. Joe Cornish manages to answer the question of “What would happen if aliens suddenly landed in the inner city?” with humor, fright, and heart. Although the teens seem like the kids you would want to avoid on your walk back from work, you will eventually find yourself cheering for them. Go see this movie when it hits theaters on July 29, bruv.

Review: Simon Pegg’s “Nerd Do Well”

“I didn’t realise it at the time but I was quit possibly at a metaphorical fork in the road. One path led away to easy superficial fun – all bright lights, loud noise and sugar – the other led to the movies. Now I know “Raiders of the Lost Ark” isn’t Fellini but, crucially for me, it represented choosing substance over stimulation, mental interaction over a more fleeting sensory gratification.”

Simon Pegg’s memoir is a great read for fans of the actor himself and for anyone who enjoys the “nerd” subculture. He is best known for his work in Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Star Trek (the 2009 J.J Abrams film version…also known for launching the bromance between Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto…also known as Pinto, but that’s another story). I am a massive fan of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright and these three hilarious Brits have been behind some of my favorite movies and television shows (if you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and check out Spaced IMMEDIATELY). Naturally, Pegg’s book was a summer must read after its American release; the man did a huge press tour for the release, dropping by talk shows and doing signings in book stores. Sadly, I was unable to go to the book signings, but you bet I drooled in front of my computer and television watching him chat with Jimmy Fallon and my beloved Conan O’Brien.

Pegg starts off by mentioning his unease with detailing his private life, but eventually delves into moments that shaped his future path as an actor, comedian, and writer. He describes his parents who provided an artistic environment at home, teachers who fostered a love for writing and zombies, and of course, the friendships and relationships that started, continued and deepened on the ride to stardom.

We all know I’m a Pegg fangirl, but even I can’t say that the book was absolutely perfect. There were some chapters where I got a little frustrated because he would drift off into musings about technology or current trends, and my mind would scream things like “THIS CHAPTER IS ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD! WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS?!” Still, I don’t blame him. I learned in my Communication 135 Nonverbal Class that people who hold conversations tend to drift off into other topics, but it doesn’t confuse the other conversational partner because we tend to organize conversations linearly. We may diverge and/or repeat a previous topic but our minds recall the topics in order. Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent wasn’t it? I mean to say that while this is fine in conversations, reading it on a page is a lot harder.

However, Nerd Do Well gives the reader great insight into Pegg’s passion for comedy, film, television, and more. My favorite chapters were the ones about his Star Wars obsession (particularly the pages devoted to his crush on Carrie Fisher), admiring certain comedians/actors and then working with them later on (like SPOCK!), and of course, his friendships with Nick Frost, Jessica Hynes, Edgar Wright, Michael Smiley, and more. I also loved that he broke the monotony of an autobiography with a short story featuring a fictionalized, smooth, James Bond-like version of himself who goes on a mission, along with his trusty robot companion Canterbury, to find the Scarlet Panther. That short story itself should be a film! Pegg and Canterbury definitely had me laughing out loud, but real Pegg had me laughing, thinking, and sighing (I was going to put “aww-ing” but that sounds awful! Again, you get the picture).

Bottom Line: Nerd Do Well is a must read for Simon Pegg fans and anyone who has even a slight interest in his films will enjoy this book. It’s a light, entertaining read that will have you smiling and laughing. Simon Pegg, is not just a talented screenwriter, but a great writer in general.

I shall end this post with one of my favorite quotes from the book that have ended up in my favorite quotes of all time.


“We might not know we are seeking people who best enrich our lives, but somehow on a deep, subconscious level we absolutely are. Whether the bond is temporary or permanent, whether it succeeds or fails, fate is simply a conflagration of choices that combine with others to shape the relationships that surround us. We cannot choose our family but we can choose our friends, and we do, sometimes, before we even met them.”

Triple Digit Weather

I’ve been bouncing back and forth between San Francisco and Davis this summer so far and really, it hasn’t been too bad. Actually, the only bad thing about this arrangement would be the insanely hot weather in Davis. At home in San Francisco, summers feel more like winters, with foggy skies, drizzle, and cool temperatures. In Davis, taking a step outside is like taking a step into your oven. I can’t walk or bike too far without sweating like that girl on True Life who claimed her excessive sweating problem was an embarrassing medical condition (it was nothing compared to the girl who has Tourette’s and just screamed of “#whitegirlproblems.”) I come back after internship most days and all I want to do is crank up the box fan and lie on my bed. Hence, I have created this playlist for those who feel the same way…when it is just TOO HOT to do anything but be a lazy bum. Enjoy!

http://8tracks.com/mixes/346982/player_v3

Direct link here: trust [in] me, it’s too hot to do anything but lie in bed

1. Teenage Kicks – Nouvelle Vogue
2. Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want – She & Him
3. One and Only – Adele
4. Jingle Jangle – Hot Hot Heat
5. Prescilla – Bat for Lashes
6. Face to Face – Daft Punk
7. My Love – Justin Timberlake (ft T.I)
8. Who Needs Love – Razorlight
9. My Boy Builds Coffins – Florence + the Machine
10. Trust In Me – Etta James