Thank Your Teachers

Today one of my all-time favorite teachers passed away from a heart attack.  I hope my regular readers will excuse this brief interruption in my typical movie/tv related ramblings, but I have thoughts that I need to get out.  Boyd Johnston was my middle school band teacher, as well as my advisor.  He taught me in band class every day for three years, and was the assistant band teacher for four years of high school.  He had an unbridled enthusiasm for music, played a large variety of instruments extremely well, and genuinely cared about both his subject and his students.  He was all anyone could possibly want from a teacher and he’ll be sorely missed.

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How do you write about something you love?

Harry Potter is an obsession of mine, but it’s something I have a hard time writing about.  The depth of feeling I have about the books keeps me from being able to explain myself in a coherent way, because the emotional experience is so raw and personal that it overwhelms me, and I can’t find the words to express it.  I listen to the audiobooks constantly (because I have more time to listen to audiobooks than to read, lately), getting to the end of Deathly Hallows and starting over again with Sorcerer’s Stone.  It’s pretty much constantly on my mind, and even if I’m not actively thinking about it, it’s always nearby.  (The only piece of jewelry I wear other than my wedding ring is a ring I designed which has 7 symbols on it, one of which is the sign of the Deathly Hallows.)  I may proselytize about the church of Joss Whedon, but Harry Potter means more to me than anything Joss has created, though I rarely talk about it due to its personal nature.  I find myself disappointed and heartbroken whenever I try and fail, so I often just keep my mouth shut.

This puts me in an odd position with regards to the Harry Potter movies.   Continue reading

How do we deal with Orson Scott Card and the Ender’s Game movie?

The discussion about Ender’s Game has reached a head in the last several days, with new statements from Orson Scott Card, Lionsgate and now with the film appearing at Comic-con, so I thought I’d give my two cents worth.  For those of you who don’t know, Ender’s Game is a science fiction book from 1985 written by Card, which has a movie adaptation of it coming out on November 1st.  I remember reading the book repeatedly in middle school; at the time it was one of my favorites, though I never read any of its sequels.  It wasn’t until later that I learned the truth about Orson Scott Card.

You see, Card is the worst sort of homophobe.   Continue reading

Analysis: Jurassic Park, Our Generation’s Star Wars

Before our recent IMAX 3D viewing of Oz the Great and Powerful we were treated to a preview for the 3D re-release of Jurassic Park on April 5th (coincidentally, exactly 50 years before First Contact between humans and Vulcans, according to Star Trek).  This preview was in the form of a 3 or 4 minute clip, slightly edited to make it “suitable for all audiences”, from the T. rex attack on the tour vehicles.  Despite the volume being at levels that could do permanent hearing damage, my biggest recurring complaint about our local IMAX screen, and my general negative feelings about 2D-3D converted films, as opposed to movies filmed with 3D cameras, the scene was still absolutely captivating.  And while I wish they would just re-release Jurassic Park in 2D IMAX like they did with Raiders of the Lost Ark, and even considering that I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen at our local 1920s Fox Theatre, I’m still now officially excited for April 5th.

I still have vivid memories of first seeing Jurassic Park, almost 20 years ago. Continue reading

The end of a decade!

In just a few short weeks we will start a new decade. This of course has everyone looking back on the previous decade, the 2000s. 10 years ago I was 15, a sophomore in high school. Now I’m 25, a college graduate, married, and I have a beard. I could easily write about the events in my life over the past 10 years, but that’s a pretty straightforward story. I could write about the many events of the past 10 years; 9/11, two new wars, Katrina, 4/16/2007, eight years of the worst president this country’s ever seen, the splintering of America along any number of lines (political, religious, racial, social, economic) and the general loss of civility, and any other number of fascinating moments of the past decade. Continue reading

What he means to me…

There are many people out there who don’t understand what the big deal is about Michael Jackson. Some acknowledge his talent, his philanthropy, and his influence on entertainment over the years, but miss the point by labeling him (singer, dancer, entertainer, etc…). Some can’t comprehend his importance because he wasn’t part of their lives, and are merely frustrated with the seemingly “excessive” coverage of his death. And some, the disgusting, vulgar, and relentlessly stupid but highly vocal few, find it fun or even the right thing to do to degrade and spit on a good man with lies and hatred, and label all those who love him as messed up, gay, or psychotic. So in the face of all those who just don’t understand, I submit this, so that it might help you see how much a part of me he is. Continue reading

Connections (Obsessions?)

I have a tendency in my life to form deeply personal connections to things.  Sometimes it’s to people, sometimes books, movies, thoughts, ideas, it could be anything.  It brings me great joy to feel that connection.  Some of them last a lifetime, some of them just for a short time. Continue reading

I had to post something, this is all I could come up with ::sniffs::

 The world feels a little darker, a little colder today. A genius, a humanitarian, a revolutionary, an inspiration and an entertainer has left us. I’m completely devastated by today’s news. It’s especially hard for me with my birthday being tomorrow. Michael Jackson was 50 years old when he died today. When I was born, he was the same age I was now, “Thriller” was the number one album that year. His music has always been a part of my life, and a source of comfort, inspiration and beauty. I hope and I pray that he is remembered for his amazing contributions to this world, and not for the eccentricities of his life. The media did their best to destroy the man, and the American public cheered them on, relishing in every oddity and humiliation, and some trying to take advantage of his fame by hurting him the worst ways possible. I endured countless ridicule for defending and supporting him, but I’ve done it my whole life and will never stop. He was a good man, and so much more. I’m sure people will roll their eyes and hold on to their prejudices and their entertaining presumptions of the man, because as much as people love a hero and a success, they get more entertainment from watching the destruction of that hero, and the media is happy to oblige. Continue reading

Hairspray

(Without love life is)
Like a week that’s only Mondays
Only ice cream, never sundaes
Like a circle with no center
Like a door marked “Do Not Enter”
Darling I’ll be yours forever cause I never want to be without love.

Sorry, that is by far my favorite quote from Hairspray.  And, oddly enough, I’m way more excited about it than I ever imagined I’d be.  In the days before it was a musical, I saw John Waters’ original 1988 film, and was unimpressed.  Ricki Lake’s acting was stiff and the tone of the movie seemed off.  I later came to realize that’s how all of Waters’ films are, and I have done my best to avoid them ever since.  So back in the days when my parents and I would go to New York City every year for Thanksgiving, my dad and I were surprised when my mother suggested we see the new Broadway musical version of Hairspray as one of the typically 3 plays we would see each trip.  I knew it had garnered acclaim, and at that point it had probably won it’s massive amount of incredibly well deserved Tony Awards, but I wasn’t thrilled by the prospect.

So here I am, years later, finding it hard to sleep in anticipation for the new film adaptation.  I’ve seen it twice on stage (the original Broadway cast and the touring version), and I have my midnight screening ticket sitting on my desk.  I’ve been listening to the soundtrack constantly for months (both the stage and new screen versions).  I’ve almost been in at least one wreck from becoming too involved while singing in my car (not kidding).  Never did I think that something would match my Harry Potter enthusiasm, but Hairspray is coming mighty close.

For those who don’t know much about Hairspray, here’s what it’s about.  Music, big hair, optimism, segregation, prejudice, love, tolerance, sex, and dance.  And that’s just the obvious bits.  You take all of that, and you wrap it up in the most enjoyable package ever created, with by far the greatest final number of any musical I’ve ever seen in any media.  This is something with great messages, and a great story, that is deep but not ponderous, fun but not silly, heartfelt but not sappy or cheesy, and positive but not preachy.  This is something even the most hardened, cynical pessimist (or conspiracy theorist 🙂 ) can enjoy.  If there ever was a movie that everyone can enjoy, it is this.  It might have the greatest casting of all time, I can vouch for the music being top notch (especially Zac Efron, Nikki Blonsky, Amanda Bynes and Elijah Kelly), and is coming at the perfect time.

Now, it may sound like I’ve already made up my mind on this film, and that I’m making assumptions and am pitching something as a fan and not a critic.  That may be partly true, but it’s also partly 100% wrong.  This all adds up to me having the highest expectations of any film this year.  I can say that the music is perfect on the soundtrack, and that is one of the biggest indicators that I have as to the quality of the film.  And since I doubt I’ll get to write a review since I’ll be trying to get some sleep before Harry Potter (see my last post) this is more of a pre-review.  But it’s also a plea.

PLEASE GO SEE HAIRSPRAY THIS WEEKEND!  Go with your friends, your parents, your significant other, your children, and anyone you can grab off the street.  This is what movie musicals are supposed to be: entertainment.  And if we go out in droves and show them that this sells, as it should, even better than the Dreamgirls and Chicago type movies then we can bring back one of the greatest film genres of all time (Westerns are next) in a way that the makers of Moulin Rouge! never even dreamed would happen.  (I’m hoping that all the kids who know Zac Efron from High School Musical will drag everyone they know along just to see Zac Efron, and then realize that it wasn’t the high school drama part of HSM that they liked but the musical part (if you’ve seen it, “Stick to the Status Quo” is like something that could be directly out of Hairspray).)

So if you can’t tell, I’m kind of loopy, I’m so excited about the next few days (less than 48 hours!) and about the wedding and the honeymoon and being married that I really can’t sleep.  I’m also running on 2 hours of sleep from last night because my air conditioner was broken and it was too hot to sleep.  Stupid desert!  I hope before I leave to write my long overdue reviews of Transformers and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix but I have lots to do.  Anyways, if you do go see Hairspray, leave me a comment or send me a message and let me know what you thought.  And if you don’t come out with a smile on your face, then I will be very surprised.

Help!

Hey y’all, I need some help.  I have something of a dilemma for what to do on Friday and Saturday.  You see, at midnight on Friday night, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out, and I have a preordered copy from FYE which will be opening at midnight.  However, I am leaving a scant six hours later to fly back home for the wedding (YAY! way cooler than Harry Potter).  It’s obvious I will get no sleep between getting the book and the flight, and I’m planning on reading from the instant I get the book until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer (which will most likely be on Sunday some time).  Adding to that is the fact that Hairspray has a midnight showing Thursday night that I want to go to.  I’ve been looking forward to Hairspray more than any other movie this year.  So basically I need help finding sleeping time.  Would it be best to go to sleep as soon as I get back from Hairspray and sleep late (assuming all my packing and pre-trip stuff is done) and wake up some time in the afternoon to finalize everything and prepare for HP?  Or, do I get back from Hairspray and stay up until the late morning or early afternoon and sleep then, storing up my sleep so that as soon as I wake up I can get my book and start crying (oh, you know I will)?  Any suggestions?  Am I crazy?  Am I weird?

In other news, I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE WEDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I’m tired and my AC isn’t working in here.)