Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Fictional Characters I’d Invite to Christmas Dinner

books, Christmas, comic books, Disney, Eddie Redmayne, ghostbusters, Gilmore Girls, Harry Potter, Kate McKinnon, list, Marvel, Melissa McCarthy, superhero, Top 10, Will Ferrell

It’s so close to Christmas it’s unreal. In 10 days it’ll be Christmas Eve. I think I’ve just about got my presents all sorted but who really knows. I’m not a fan of last minute shopping but I tend to need little stocking fillers as I go through the month. Still, I’m mostly there. As it’s a time of celebration I’m adding a few additional posts this month. Each year I’ve released a Christmas top 10: My Essential Christmas films and My Least Favourite Christmas films. So I’m planning on keeping them as festive as possible but I’m likely to run out of ideas by next week. We’ll see how it goes. For now, I decided to delve into the world of fantasy dinner party and decide who I’d invite to my ultimate Christmas celebration.
Ten: Brienne of Tarth

My main reasoning for including Brienne on this list is simply because it’s kind of a habit to include her on all of fictional character based lists. It’s no secret that she’s my favourite character in both the book and the show. It’s also no secret that I adore Gwendoline Christie. If Brienne came to my Christmas dinner then I’d spend most of the time just starring at her the way Torumund did at Castle Black.

Nine: Belle

Now I’m not talking about the Belle from the upcoming, unnecessary live action Beauty and the Beast as played by the annoying Emma Watson. Nor am I talking about the Belle on the show I’ve tried so hard to enjoy Once Upon a Time. No, I’m talking classic, animated Belle. She’s always been my favourite Disney princess because she loves books as much as I do. There’s nothing I enjoy more than talking about books and it’s something I don’t really get to do too often. So, I’d love nothing more than sitting in a post-Turkey daze and discussing my favourite novels with Belle. Unlike friends, she might appreciate the Romantic era fiction that I recommend to her. Of course, being so fucking cynical, I’d find her hopeless romantic thing quite annoying but it would be something we could happily debate on.

Eight: Holtzmann

Another of my latest character obsessions. Jillian Holtzmann is the greatest thing to come out of the Ghostbusters reboot and Kate McKinnon is such a fantastic performer. I’d love the chance to meet the Holtz but worry that she would make dinner a little awkward. Not that I don’t love awkward moments but, as a perfect host, I’d have to think about my guests. Still, I love her so she’s coming.

 Seven: Rob Fleming (High Fidelity)

High Fidelity is one of my favourite books and films. I love it. You may remember Rob was featured on my list of Top 5 Fictional Husbands. As such, I’d love to invite Rob to my Christmas dinner. I mean we both a predilection for making Top 5/10 lists so we could definitely turn it into an amusing dinner table game. He’d also know the best tunes to play before, during, and after dinner to keep us all in the party mood.

 Six: Leslie Knope

Re-watching Parks and Rec recently gave me an all new appreciation of Leslie Knope and what a great person she is. She champions women, loves her friends, and won’t back down in an argument. She’s the kind of person I pretend to be but much nicer and much more successful. I’d love to sit next to her at Christmas dinner because, not only would we have a great in-depth discussion about all things, I think she’d share my childish love of the holiday.

Five: Thor

Thor is my favourite superhero. I love all of the Norse mythology and his Shakespearean qualities. He’s so dramatic and literal about everything. I have to admit it would be kind of cool to have him at my Christmas dinner just so I could say there was a real-life God there. Kinda cool, no? Plus, the arms are always a plus. He also seems that he’d be fun to have at a party. Asgardians are basically Vikings and they were kind of up for a good time. Also, how great an after dinner game would it be to try and lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir? You’ve had all the turkey so now let’s find out whose worthy.

Four: Buddy the Elf

I don’t know about you guys but I always feel that Christmas Day is kind of let down after the endless weeks of lead up. I’m not saying I’ve ever had a terrible Christmas Day but we’re always just so exhausted we end up eating and lounging for the entire day. What we really need is an injection of Christmas spirit. And who has the largest supply of that round here? Buddy’s love for the holiday is contagious and he’d have no trouble getting everyone up around the piano for a sing song. With Buddy at your house, every Christmas can be like the ones you see in every American sitcom’s Christmas special. Plus, you know, the candy.

Three: Tyrion Lannister

Despite everything the Bible tries to tell us, Christmas is basically about excess and over-indulgence. It’s about spending too much money, stuffing your face, drinking too much, and basically letting go. Who embraces these ideas more than anyone? Yes, the self-titled “God of tits and wine”. To re-appropriate Ke$ha for a second, the party don’t start til he walks in.

Two: Newt Scamander

Not only would the addition of Newt to the party mean guaranteed Eddie Redmayne but it would also mean some fantastic stories. Newt has travelled all over the wizarding world and met some of the most amazing creatures. He’d be able to fill the time with so many exciting tales. There’s always a boring lull on Christmas Day when you’re eaten too much but there’s a few hours before Doctor Who is on. Newt would be the perfect person to fill the silence. Hell, if we’re lucky he might even get his Niffler out… which, as I’m writing it down, definitely sounds like a euphemism you might come across in the wizard world. Hey, Newt, how’s about you let my play with your Niffler.

One: Sookie St. James

This is the second time this month that Sookie has been in the number 1 spot of my top 10 list. Maybe she’ll be the new Brienne? Anyway, I think Sookie would be a great person to invite to dinner. Not only would she definitely bring something scrumptious to eat but she’s just such lovely human being. Why would you want to spend this holiday with people who were anything but nice? My only doubt would be the fact that she would clearly be silently judging everything that was being cooked for her. It would take about five seconds of her being in the house before she was “fixing” everything that was being made in the kitchen. Still, what a meal we’d get in the end.

Tuesday’s Reviews – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)

books, Eddie Redmayne, exceeds expectations, films, fucking sweet, Harry Potter, J K Rowling, Johnny Depp, rant, review

Yesterday I finally saw the next stage in JK Rowling’s plan to dominate the word of literature and film. I mean I have nothing against the woman but everything about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has just screamed of “how can we squeeze more cash out of our loyal fans?” I mean the decision to release the screenplay may be no-nonsense from a financial standpoint but it just seems like a shameless tactic to earn more cash. It kind of feels as though Rowling and her backers just see the Harry Potter fandom as bags of cash and are doing everything in their power to exploit them for continued financial gain. You know me by now; I think Harry Potter should have ended at the final book. It was complete and it was satisfactory. Rowling herself once said she wouldn’t revisit the world again but has continued to prove that was a huge fucking lie. Yes, she gives loads to charity and helps people and I admire her for that. However, her constant flip-flopping on this and inability to leave well alone just makes me lose respect for her. She’s like the literary world’s George Lucas. So I wasn’t exactly convinced I’d come out of Fantastic Beasts feeling much love… especially when the Rogue One trailer showing beforehand gave me literal tingles. I mean my legs actually went numb. I haven’t felt that kind of emotional response to anything Harry Potter related for years. I’ll always be a fan but I’ve been over it for a while now. At least Disney don’t try and pretend that you’re anything but bags of cash in their eyes.

I’ve had a bit of a tough relationship with JK Rowling over the years because of her constant need to present herself in a way that just feels false. She tries to act as though she’s all about her art but she’s still really driven by cash and fame. It’s why we’ll never see and end to her Harry Potter writings and why she’ll continue to allow Warner Bros. to release films in the franchise. She had a huge idea a few years ago and she’s trying to cling onto that high. I get it but I don’t respect it. You need to know when to quit. Before he started getting super annoying and twattish, I really respected Ricky Gervais for knowing when to let go of an idea. He let The Office and Extras go when they were at a high and people love them even more because they never went shit. Harry Potter is in danger of outstaying his welcome.
Still, I love Eddie Redmayne with all my heart so I was quite excited to see him front Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The first film in the quintet introduces us to Newt Scamander, the who will go on to publish a textbook familiar from Harry Potter’s school days. Set in the mid 1920s, Newt (Redmayne) is visiting New York City on an errand. Whilst there his magical suitcase, full of magical beasts, finds itself in the hands of a No-Maj (the American version of muggle), Jacob (Dan Fogler), and some of the contents escape into the city. Before Newt can track down his missing menagerie he is apprehended by ex-auror Tina Goldestein (Katherine Waterston). Tina plans to take Newt and Jacob to her bosses at the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA) to help revive her reputation. Unfortunately for the trio, a magical related No-Maj death could derail all of their plans and land Newt and his creatures into even hotter water.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them takes it’s name from a small book that was released by JK Rowling to raise funds for Comic Relief in 2001. It contained information about the various magical creatures that inhabited the world of Harry Potter. Obviously, the film is not an adaptation, per se, but takes us to the time before Newt began writing his magnum opus. To say that I went in with lowered expectations I actually found the film to be an incredibly welcome entry into Harry Potter canon. Especially after the disgustingly bad Cursed Child. It is helped by a fantastic cast, which to my surprise included Colin Farrell as auror Percival Graves. Eddie Redmayne perfectly encapsulates the character of Newt and is completely believable as the animal lover.  Katherine Waterston manages to do what I felt Emma Watson never quite managed to pull off in her 7 films and provided us with a worthy, young heroine who can hold her own against all those wizards. Tina is fabulous and I want to be her with every fibre of my being. And Ben Fogler is the perhaps the greatest part of the trio as the lovable and clueless Jacob. You bond with him instantly and stay with him as you both learn more about this mysterious wizarding world.
The film is exciting and dark but has the inherent British charm and humour that comes with all of the Harry Potter films. It manages to breathe new life into the franchise by being primarily new and different but with enough similarities that you feel at home. The snippets of the old score coming through or familiar references and in-jokes will give a tug on your heartstrings whilst you’re exploring American wizarding customs. No longer focusing on students, the magic is more powerful and the special effects more exhilarating. There’s a lot going on but director David Yates just about manages to keep control. There are things that characters and plot lines that feel a tad underdeveloped and the whole thing could probably have been a bit shorter but that’s just me nitpicking.
Ultimately, this film made me feel good. It’s the closest I’ve been in years to feeling the same excitement I felt when I was a young Potterhead. It’s sweet, unassuming and just fun. There is a lot in Fantastic Beasts to show that it could be a great addition to the franchise but I can’t help remember The Hobbit. People were up-in-arms about the fact that a short children’s book was being adapted into 3 movies. Now an even smaller book has spurned 5 films and nobody gives a shit. I worry that after a couple more things will be starting to stretch a little. I know Dumbledore avoided fighting Grindlewald for a long time but 5 fucking movies worth? Come on! Plus, I have major issues with the casting Johnny Depp as a key character. I’m really dubious about his abilities these days. He’s too repetitive with his character choices and each of his eccentric characters are just the same person with a different wig. Still, having JK Rowling in charge of the script could actually mean that these films stay on the right course and keep the Potter spirit alive. This film certainly gives me hope.