Jun 26, 2017

Why the Harry Potter Franchise Continues to Bedazzle 20 Years On

The name Harry Potter in 2017 is inescapable. If you haven't read the books, you know something about his journey to Hogwarts and all of the misadventures that he has gone on. It helps that the movies were so successful that they inspired a spin-off series, which looks to expand the franchise for several more years. Its impact cannot be overstated, as it has changed the cultural zeitgeist in ways that may seem fleeting in a digital era. With over 500 million copies sold, it is the best selling book franchise in history. It's also one of the last truly influential series to hit bookshelves, appealing to young and old while becoming a household name instantaneously. While it seems like it'll never go away, it's hard to realize that it's been around for only 20 years. On this date in 1997, the boy who lived landed on the Dursley's doorstep. History was made, and the world was never the same. 

TV Retrospective: "GLOW" - Season 1

In 1939, the film Babes in Arms showed the struggle of what it meant to put on a show with limited funds but plenty of heart. It's an endearing format that has gone on to reflect the underdog genre, and feels especially prescient when discussing GLOW, or the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. The first season of this new Netflix series is essentially the same plot, but with more girl on girl action, a sleazy manager, and plenty of 80's pastiche. From creator Jenji Kohan (Weeds, Orange is the New Black), the series is a brisk comedy that manages to transcend the limited appeal of female wrestling by being a contemporary Babes in Arms instead. It isn't so much about putting on the show, which is glorious in its absurdity, but it's about what it takes to make a show that you could be proud of, even in the face of adversity.

Why "The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy" Continues to Endure

With Wednesday's release of Baby Driver, it only feels right to look back at the many films of Edgar Wright. Over the next few days, I will look at various aspects of his career and explore what makes him a singular virtuoso of modern film making. Up first is a look at the trilogy that will likely define his career. It goes by many names, but is often referenced as The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy, or The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy. While the series isn't a strict trilogy in the same way that The Godfather or Toy Story, it does show the potential for what a shared tonal universe can have. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End may all have different genres and plots, but they share common themes. In the process, they reflect how innovative and original Wright is while being highly referential. He created the ultimate nerd trilogy for British comedy enthusiasts and gave cinephiles plenty to discuss in the process. 

Jun 23, 2017

Channel Surfing: The Mist - "Pilot'

Scene from The Mist
Welcome to a new column called Channel Surfing, in which I sporadically look at current TV shows and talk about them. These are not ones that I care to write weekly recaps for and are instead reflections either on the episode, the series, or particular moments. This will hopefully help to share personal opinions as well as discover entertainment on the outer pantheon that I feel is well worth checking out, or in some cases, shows that are weird enough to talk about, but should never be seen.

Jun 20, 2017

TV Retrospective: "Better Call Saul" - Season 1

Bob Odenkirk
After three seasons, it's hard to say that Better Call Saul has really gotten anywhere. This spin-off of Breaking Bad had the audacity to spend its first two seasons with limited guest stars that would connect the two series. However, it helped to build something more important to the series, which was the relationships that lead protagonist Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) to go bad and become criminal lawyer Saul Goodman. With season three, the series finally starts to feel familiar as each episode introduces characters both prominent (Giancarlo Esposito's Gus Fring) and minor (Laura Fraser's Lydia Rodart-Quayle) to the larger story. Still, the season focused on the increasing tension between Jimmy and his brother Chuck (Michael McKean). It may still be a far cry from the series that spawned it, but it continues to find heart in this universe by showing just how hard it can sometimes be to do wrong to people you love.