Archive for July, 2007

What Have I Been Doing?

Posted in Harry Potter, humor, life, random with tags , on July 25, 2007 by Paxton

Pick a Number
Pick a Number…

Pick a Color
Pick a Color…

Reading Harry Potter

The little paper thing says to stop bothering me and let me finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

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Book Review: Harry Potter Parts 3-6

Posted in books, Harry Potter, pop culture, reviews with tags , on July 19, 2007 by Paxton

Two days, my friends. Two days and I will have Harry Potter Book 7 in my sweaty little palms. Oh that moment will be sweet. So sweet. Possibly even bittersweet, because I’ll know, that this is it. The end. Now I’m depressed.

Enough of that! Welcome to Part 2 of my Harry Potter book reviews. As you can see below this, I have reviews of Harry Potter books 3 – 6 ready to go. If you missed the first reviews including books 1 – 3 then click right here. If you read those already, then you, my Potter-fied little friend, are ready to move on to the conclusion. Continue below for the 3 books that lead into Saturday’s long awaited adventure.

Harry Potter 4Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Goblet of Fire was released in Spring of 2000. I had preordered the book on Amazon and it arrived, I believe, on the day of release. That makes Goblet of Fire the first book I bought on release day. This was also the first book to really get long. I mean this book was twice as long as Prisoner of Azkaban. Also, this was the first book I remember everyone, including the media, go absolutely crazy for on release day. The popularity for the Harry Potter series literally exploded right before this book and it’s probably because the book before it was so gosh-darn good. I didn’t read it right away because I wanted to savor the flavor a bit, and later that year I would begin reading it. This book was good. It was long, and packed with so much information and action that it’s almost hard to grasp the entire situation, but the book was GOOD. The Tri-Wizard Tournament? The Quidditch World Cup? Mad-Eye Moody? Dragons? Are you kidding me? AWESOME. And the end? The battle in the graveyard? Classic. Completely blown away. I’ve read this book several times and I can’t wait to read it again. This book really ups the ante for our hero and the ending really kick starts everything that happens in the next 2 books. The sheer orgy of action and story that falls forth from this book is almost intoxicating and had me itching for the next chapter. Unfortunately, I didn’t know at the time, that the next book would take a little longer to release.

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Book Review: Harry Potter Parts 1-3

Posted in books, Harry Potter, pop culture, reviews with tags , on July 18, 2007 by Paxton

Time Cover1

Potter-palooza continues!!!!

This is it. This is the home stretch to the last and final Harry Potter book, Year 7: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Will all of our questions be answered? Is Professor Snape good or bad? Is Dumbledore really dead? Will someone else die? Will Voldemort finally be defeated? Will Harry become an Auror? Will he go back to Hogwarts for his seventh year? Who knows? I don’t. I hope at least some of these questions are answered in some form or another. Regardless, there will be no more Harry Potter adventures. I don’t even know if JK Rowling will continue writing books, much less continue stories in the Potter universe. This is a momentous occasion. We are on the brink, and it’s f’n KILLING ME.

Thank goodness I at least had the deliciousness of a new Potter movie (which is FANTASTIC by the way) to tide me over. Now I gotta sit here and wait for Saturday. That should be the theme of this week; Potter-palooza: Waiting for Saturday. In preparation for the momentous occasion on Saturday, I am going to take a look back at the first 6 books in the Potter series. Are you ready? No? Well catch up, people, cause it’s time to roll out.

Harry Potter 1Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – The first book was published in the summer of 1997. It would take a year or so for the word of mouth to really get started. Take a glance at the Time magazine cover at the top of this article. It was published in September 1999. I was flying to/from Tampa and saw this magazine in the airport. I was wondering, “Who the hell is this Harry Potter and how did he make the cover of Time magazine?” Word had really been getting around and I was curious. Having just finished a book and nothing left to read, I wandered into the airport book store and browsed a paperback copy of the first book. By this point in time the second book was already published and the third book was just getting ready to come out the following summer. I decided to buy the first book and see if it was any good. Little did I know that this would start a love of the series that was almost embarrassing. This first book introduces you to the entire universe of Harry Potter. You see Hogwarts, Hagrid, Dumbledore and Harry meets Ron and Hermione on the Hogwarts Express for the first time. It’s all new and shiny. It’s a great underdog story because you see how really badly Harry is treated by his aunt and uncle and how he goes from living in a cupboard under the stairs to being one of the most famous wizards alive. I cry every time I read this book (well, every time I read any of these books). Unbelievable start to one of the best series of books I have ever read. If this had been no good, then I never would have picked up Book 2…

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Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Posted in books, Harry Potter, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , on July 16, 2007 by Paxton

Harry Potter 5I’m going to keep this review quick and simple. I finally got to see this on Saturday night. And it was everything I wanted it to be. The special effects were unbelievable, the story was riveting. I LOVED IT. It’s been several years since I actually read this book, so the vast amounts of subplots and scenes that were cut didn’t affect me as much as I expected. It was every bit as exciting as I wanted it to be. The final showdown with Dumbledore and Voldemort was epic and all of your favorites return. Just awesome.

I avoided news on this movie like the plague. I didn’t want to know anything. As a matter of fact, here is how much I didn’t know about this movie: I didn’t realize Helena Bonham Carter was cast as Bellatrix LeStrange. That blew me away. It was truly inspired casting as she looked exactly how I see her in my head when I read. That character figures heavily into the next book and possibly the final book also. I also loved the scene where Dumbledore escapes being sent to Azkaban by Fudge. That was a cornerstone scene I remember from reading the book and I was very happy with how that turned out.

After all of that schoolgirl gushing, was there anything I didn’t like? Well, yes. As my friend, Jen, points out at her review, things seem a bit rushed. There is so much information flying about that the filmmakers have to get across to you that you can’t get a full appreciation for all the wonderful characters in this story. There are maybe two scenes with Aurors Kingsley Shacklebolt and Nymphora Tonks. They are 2 very cool characters that are much more fleshed out in the book, but, sadly, there’s no room for them here. Same with the house elf, Kreacher. He’s a darkly funny character you see in the Black home that gets maybe two scenes in this movie but you get to learn more about him in the books. Once again, this a problem not really with the movie, but with the format of film. In order to faithfully make the book, the movie would need to be 4 hours long.

I think the filmmakers stayed true to the gist of the story and gave you all the pertinent information to move you successfully into the next movie. And in the process, gave us a ton of eye candy to enjoy the ride. That’s pretty much all you can ask. For anything else, you should just READ THE BOOK.

This installment is almost tied with Prisoner of Azkaban as my favorite. Look to the right, you’ll see I gave it 4 stars. It easily earns this and my highest recommendation.

Stay tuned as Potter-palooza parties on with reviews of Harry Potter books 1-6 as I endure the agonizing wait for Book 7.

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Potter-palooza: Harry Potter franchise movie reviews

Posted in Harry Potter, movies, pop culture, reviews with tags , on July 13, 2007 by Paxton

I am totally stoked for the release of the fifth Harry Potter movie this weekend. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has the potential to be the best one yet, and that’s saying something since these movies have consistently gotten better and better.

In preparation, my wife and I had what I dubbed “Potter-palooza” this week. We watched a marathon of all the movies that have been released up until now. Did I still enjoy them? Do they hold up? Let’s find out…

Harry Potter 1Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – Wow, this movie was released in 2001 — six years ago. It’s unbelievable how young the kids look in this compared to Goblet of Fire. They were so adorable (well, they still are). Watching it this week, it’s easy to remember why I loved this movie (and the book) so much in 2001. The whole beginning where Harry is mistreated by the Dursleys and Hagrid comes to take him to Hogwarts had me crying like that 12-year old Sanjaya fan on American Idol. It’s such an underdog story and I forgot how irritating Hermione is in the beginning of this movie (but she ceases to be by the mid-point). Many of the other characters are very well defined too; the Weasley twins, Fred and George, coach of the Quidditch team Oliver Wood, Snape. It’s just such a good movie with good characters that are all based on an unbelievably rich universe. Amazing. Also, the special effects are jaw dropping, still. The Quidditch match, now six years later, still doesn’t look outdated. Bravo to ILM for getting it done. All in all a great movie and a wonderful starting point for the franchise. It followed the book very well, even though some say too well. Whatever. If a movie differs from the book people bitch. If a movie is too much like the book, people bitch. WTF?! You can’t win for losing. I loved this movie and all the actors in it. They became how I see the characters in my head when I read the book. That is the ultimate test for me and this passes with flying colors.

Harry Potter 2Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – In the second movie, you can noticeably tell the kids are older. This is a good thing. It helps the viewer feel they are growing up with these characters (which is part of the appeal of the books). It’s also easy to see why this movie is the one most forgotten. It drags — slightly — in the middle. You get a lot of information here, too. Much of this information is called back in Books 5 and 6. Once again, as in the first movie, the movie makers stay true to the gist of the book and give you most of the information you need while only cutting out the unnecessary side stories. This is more apparent in the next two movies, but you have to make cuts somewhere otherwise these movies would be 4 hours long. So, while this is probably my least favorite of the current four, this is still a strong entry in the series. Also, is it just me, or does Godric Gryffindor’s sword in this movie look a little gay? Silver with rubies? It even LOOKS like a toy. Thin and plastic like. Always drove me crazy.

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Harry Potter Book & Movie Countdown

Posted in books, Elvis, Harry Potter, movies, pop culture with tags on July 9, 2007 by Paxton

Harry Potter 5I am a huge dork for the Harry Potter series. I love both the books and the movies. Well, this week is the home stretch to the premier of the fifth Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I absolutely can’t wait. The movies have been coming along with the same high quality as the books so I’m very happy to see them continue. There was a scare after the first two movies that they were going to replace the 3 main characters because they were getting “too old”. Absolutely stupid and I probably would have stopped watching the movies. However, Warner Bros has gratefully decided to keep the main 3 actors and are continuing with the series unabated. I think Daniel Radcliffe as Harry has signed on for the final 2 films. Very exciting. I also have enjoyed the practice of switching directors every movie as it keeps things fresh (although 1 and 2 were directed by the same man, Chris Columbus). I’m stoked to see this 5th installment this weekend.

Harry Potter 7That makes this week Harry Potter Week here on my blog. On Wednesday or Thursday I’ll have a review of the first 4 Harry Potter movies. Also, since the seventh and final book is released NEXT Saturday, that would make next week Harry Potter week also. Which means next Wednesday or Thursday I’ll have reviews of the first 6 books up in anticipation of the final chapter in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (UK cover shown to the left). I normally wait a few weeks or months to read a new Harry Potter book, but since this is the last one I plan on beginning reading it the moment I buy it. I can’t risk reading spoilers on the internet. It’s just too risky.

Anywho, hope everyone else is as excited for these two weeks as I am. I’m fit to burst, man.

Click here for reviews of the Harry Potter movie franchise

Oh, here’s something having absolutely nothing to do with Harry Potter. I found this at Walgreens the other day. Reese’s “King” Size Big Cups with peanut butter and banana creme. And there’s a picture of Elvis on it! Haha, get it, cause Elvis liked Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches. Awesome. Well, the candy is okay, probably not something I’d eat everyday, but not bad. I love the packaging though, obviously.

Elvis Reeses

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7-11 and The Simpsons: A “Kwik-E” Update

Posted in 7-11, movies, pop culture, Simpsons, TV shows with tags , , , on July 3, 2007 by Paxton

Movie LogoOn July 27 the long awaited (10 years in the making) Simpsons Movie will hit your local theaters. I haven’t watched the show in a few years but I am still pretty excited about seeing the movie. Some of the older shows are just classics. Anyway, this morning I was reading a few of my favorite pop culture blogs and I found out that, over this past weekend, ten 7-11 stores were converted into real, honest-to-goodness Kwik-E-Marts. Yes, if you live in one of the 10 designated cities you too can walk into a Kwik-E-Mart and buy Simpsons branded products while plastic standees of Simpsons characters stare at you….judging you. How cool is that?

Kwik-E-MartWhy only ten stores? Good question, but I think 7-11 is footing the bill for converting the stores for what looks to be the greatest movie promotion in the history of movie promotions. Not only are the 7-11s getting a facial, they are also going to sell products that are found in the Simpsons show. You’ll find the famous donuts with pink icing and sprinkles, cans of Buzz Cola, Raidoactive Man comics and boxes of Frosted Krusty-Os cereal. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of Simpsons goodness.

The closest store to me is in Orlando, FL. It’s about 2.5-3 hours away. I really have to search inside myself to decide if a 3 hour trip (one-way) is worth it to buy a box of Krusty-Os or a Squishee. It’s really close to a yes, though. It’s hard to fathom that I am about 3 hours away from bathing my naked body in blue Squishee and gorging myself sick on pink-icing donuts with sprinkles (do-o-o-o-o-o-o-nuts). It’s too much for my pop culture addicted brain.

Aha! I do notice that one of the 7-11s is in Dallas, TX. It might be more efficient to have my in-laws drive to it and grab me a few things. Dan & Kathi, you hear me? Do you mind? 🙂

Very, very cool. Here are some pictures I found of blogs who have already been to one of these (click the pics for links to those articles). Enjoy, and if one is near you, go check it out.

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Squishee1

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