films, list, top 5

Top 5 Friday – 5 Reasons Why The Crimes of Grindelwald is a Bad Film

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There probably won’t be many people out there who still remember the days when I tried to write a Top 10 list every week. Yep, in the not too distant past, I struggled to come up with a coherent list of 10 things related to a specific book or film related top 10. I did it every Wednesday cause, you know, I fucking love to make things rhyme and it always stressed me out. I could never think of a topic and I could never pick 10 things. I think I threw about 6 fake dinner parties for fictional characters in the space of 4 months and the guests were pretty much the same every time. I don’t know what I was thinking. But, I’m obviously a glutton for punishment as I’ve been thinking about starting a new weekly series on a Friday. I’m already struggling because my journey home tonight took me over 3 fucking hours so I’m too tired and pissed off to be writing anything. But, I’m still really angry about this film so this has to happen somehow. I guess it can’t be that bad… and it’s not as if it’s got anything to do with dinner parties. Yet, anyway. So, without further stalling for time, I present the top 5 things I think made The Crimes of Grindelwald a bad film. These don’t include the changes to the canon that I mentioned in my post on Wednesday. Nor do they mention, though it took all of my strength not to, Jude Law’s annoying and laughable Irish moments. I get that he was paying homage to Michael Gambon but who seriously heard him speak his lines and said “yep, that’s exactly how he should say that”? It’s so distracting!

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books, films, J K Rowling, rants

Spoiler Filled Bookish Post – Rant-tastic Beasts – Canon Fodder

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Yesterday I posted my spoiler free review of The Crimes of Grindelwald which probably ended up being one of the longer posts I’ve written lately. And there was definitely more I wanted to say. Despite coming out of the film feeling fairly positive, in the week since I watched it I’ve become more and more angry about certain things. Driving home on the evening I was bemoaning the changes in timeline and it’s something that hasn’t stopped since. So, I’ve done the unthinkable and purposefully broken my book review streak in order to get some stuff off my chest. I have a history, on this blog, of ranting about J.K. Rowling and this year has been a good year for angry content about her. That was mainly concerned with the fact that Johnny Depp continues to star in the blockbuster franchise despite his worrying personal life. Not only the possibility that he is a domestic abuser but also has a constant struggle with drugs and alcohol. I found it sad that a writer who wrote a series about not letting entitled bullies get their own way would allow an actor to get away with such troubling behaviour and still get paid a shit-ton of money. But, let’s be honest, he pulls in the viewing numbers and, these days, that’s all that seems to matter.

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films, J K Rowling, reviews

Tuesday Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)

fantastic_beasts_-_the_crimes_of_grindelwald_poster5_star_rating_system_2_and_a_half_stars You know that thing where you’ve been saying something for years and then everyone jumps on the bandwagon? I feel like that about JK Rowling. I’ve been ranting about that woman and the damage she’s causing the Harry Potter series for years and now, all of a sudden, it seems that people are finally catching up with me. It was way back in 2012 that I first started complaining about her ability to fuck shit up. Then, with every passing year and every new revelation, I’ve continually begged her to just leave the series alone. I was definitely in the minority back in those days. Now? Now I’m reading articles in The Guardian saying exactly what I’ve been saying. It’s really infuriating. But also good, I guess. It helps to know that I’m not just being petty. That I’m not just targeting a famous and successful writer to make myself feel important. I’m just a fan who is sick of this dead horse being flogged for everything it’s worth. A fan who went into the new Fantastic Beasts film expecting to come out in an absolute rage because I’d already reached my limit thanks to the Nagini and McGonagall news. Plus, you know, Johnny Depp.

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books, films, Harry Potter, J K Rowling, rant

Bookish Post – Fantastic Beasts 2 Cast 2 Furious

C-c-c-combo breaker!

5aa7fcf3f375f624008b45a8-750-563So this is the official end of my run of book reviews. I was doing so well and now I’ve lost it again. It’s been a super hectic week and I’ve not had much time to read. Plus, I’ve been trying to get ahead with my posts and stuff before I go on holiday. I think I can just about manage it but it does mean I’ve had to put aside reading to get things done. I’ll definitely make up for it whilst I’m away but it does mean my next two Wednesday posts will be kind of bullshit. Well, hopefully not bullshit but not what they could have been. I even started reading The Hate That U Give in the hope that I could finish it in time. I didn’t. But I hopefully will soon. I’m enjoying it much more than I expected but that’s mainly just due to my general mistrust of YA fiction. Something that I could go into now but I have bigger fish to fry. Bigger fish like Johnny Depp… again. After all, the second Fantastic Beasts trailer was released a matter of days ago. And, unsurprisingly, I had a lot of thoughts about it.

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books, Harry Potter, J K Rowling, rant, rants

Battle of Hogwarts Anniversary – I apologise for not caring about your apology

DSCN7638 (Edited)Anyone out there who is a fan of Harry Potter, so most of the reading population of planet Earth, will know that today marks the fictional anniversary of the fictional Battle of Hogwarts. On this day of fictional commemoration the real author J K Rowling takes to Twitter to apologise to her fans for killing one of their favourite characters. This year she said sorry to her social media followers for the death of fan favourite Dobby, Harry Potter’s faithful House Elf friend. In the past she has made similar public apologies for killing characters such as Severus Snape, Remus Lupin, and Fred Weasley. And, as I sit here desperately wanting to go to bed but needing to write something for today’s post, I can’t but wonder why the fuck she bothers. I mean if it bothers her that much why kill them in the first place? It’s just more of her pathetic pandering to her fans to ensure that the Harry Potter gravy train she’s riding for the rest of her life never stops. And, really, every year I lose a little more respect for her as a writer.

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30booksformy30th, books, J K Rowling, rants

30 Books For My 30th – Number 24

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dscn7325Dear J K Rowling,

I’ll try to make sure that this letter isn’t too long. I think that in the years I’ve been writing this blog I’ve presented my feelings towards you quite clearly. But, after writing my letter to the Harry Potter books earlier this month, my sense of disappointment is even stronger right now.  Also, earlier this month you caused yet another stir by liking a tweet that has been considered as transphobic. I just find myself sitting here and wondering “what has happened to the author of one of my most loved series?”

This next comparison is, admittedly, a little extreme and I’m a little reticent to carry on with it but we’ve come this far. These days you’re most know for your political statements on Twitter. Particularly against US President, Donald Trump. Now, I’m sure you’ve come across the idea that people who are too similar are always going to risk butting heads. Of course, I’d never say you were anywhere near Trump’s league of disgraceful and immoral behaviour but, you have to see, there are some similarities. You both attack people using your social media to a vast following (for very different purposes mind), you both routinely ignore and block critics of your viewpoints, and you rewrite the narrative to work in your favour.

By that last one I’m referring to your constant supply of tweets from fans explaining how you saved them from depression. Now, I’m absolutely positive that you have helped people. And I’m glad that people have found comfort in your writing and think it’s great that you helped so many people. You are a genuinely good person. However, there are just as many people out there who are not satisfied with some of your recent decisions. Where are their retweets? Where are their answers? You’re writing your own narrative to further your image. Between your political, professional, and charity related tweets, your feed is just a long supply of retweets of people fawning all over you. You continue to feed this idea that you are the hero who changed her own life and the lives of so many people, which, whilst true, is not the full story.

It’s probably not your fault but there are times when it feels as though you’re suffering from the same thing Harry Potter himself was in the final 3 books: the Chosen One complex. If enough people have, basically, canonised you over the years then I imagine you might feel untouchable. But that doesn’t mean you can do anything. With this latest Twitter scandal, your response wasn’t the first-hand account of what happened. No, you got your assistant to make a statement on your behalf that blamed middle-age. Whilst I’m not convinced of the excuse anyway (you know if you mistakenly like a tweet or not), the fact that it didn’t come from you directly is just another example of how removed you are from your fans these days.

When people were outraged about the casting of Johnny Depp after accusations of his domestic abuse you brushed them off by essentially saying “he’s always been nice to me”. When people were annoyed by the announcement that Dumbledore would remain in the closet for Fantastic Beasts 2 you remained silent. You’re continually praised for reaching out to your fans but, unless it’s a good PR opportunity, you mostly remain suspiciously quiet. I’d go so far as to say that your attitude towards the fandom nowadays is pretty casual. As is your attitude towards adding to the canon. Incidentally, a thing you continually promised you wouldn’t do. You just don’t seem to care anymore. As if you know the majority of fans won’t say anything against you and you’ll ignore the ones that do.

Look at The Cursed Child: what we must now consider to be the 8th book in the series. Something you were so proud to create. Yeah, so proud that you had pretty much no involvement. Never has anything reeked more of money-grabbing than the 2 part fanfiction-esque play that many of your fans would never be able to see for various reasons. The ones that can’t make it to London? Who cares. The ones that can’t afford it? You don’t need them anyway. You just care about the people willing to hand over their cash, right? The people who will visit the theme parks and the studio tour. People who will watch a series of 5 films based on the smallest book in the fucking world. The people who will buy the accompanying screenplay of the film for god know’s what reason. This is a franchise that knows its fans will spend and continually manipulates them for it. Which, I should point out, isn’t your decision per se. However, there is a level of complicity at play.

You are often compared to George Lucas when it comes to your creation. Both of you, people will say, don’t know when to stop and are risking their fans’ loyalty in doing so. I’d say you were worse than George Lucas. He, at least, was changing Star Wars because he wanted to make them as good as he could. He was blinded by the improving technology in graphics and went a bit mad. The films were his children and he wanted to help them grow up. You? As far as I can see you just want to stay relevant. Everyone wants to continue making money and making sure people remember the series. The thing is, people would remember anyway. Your fans, your true fans, don’t need constant updates on Pottermore. They don’t need tweets every year saying you regret killing people. We were happy with the books.

Besides, if your ‘improvements’ were so important then why not include them first time round? If it was so vital to point out that Dumbledore was gay then why keep it hidden? Why continue to deny it? On the one hand, you celebrate casting a black woman as Hermione whilst, on the other, you fail to definitely state race in your books. You want to seem like you represent everyone but you do so by not adequately representing anyone. You have always played it safe. Creating works that never challenge the status quo too much but that channel an idea of hope and rebellion. Your characters are fighting an evil power that threatens the right’s of a section of society. Yet you refuse to openly represent the under-represented in your major roles. It’s sad.

Once upon a time, you were such an important person in my life. Your books gave me so much and made me feel like I was part of something. I felt connected to so many other people in the world because of my love of these books. As I’ve grown up, I’ve not only seen that the books themselves are flawed but that you and the community you have created is. I’ll always respect you as a human being and a writer. You achieved a great deal and have done a lot to help people. You are, when it comes down to it, a genuinely fantastic person and a wonderful figure in the world. But, still, I find myself pulling away from you. I guess it’s just difficult when the people you idolised growing up turn out to be as flawed as the rest of us. Just a bit sad.

To hurt is as human as to breathe,
Laura

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30booksformy30th, best books, book, book blogger, book blogging, Harry Potter

30 Books For My 30th – Number 2

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dscn6968Dear Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,

To borrow some words from Christina Rossetti (a woman with more command of language than I could ever hope for) “I wish I could remember that first day,/ first hour, first moment of your meeting me”. Yes, that’s more than a little melodramatic for a blog barely anyone reads but the sentiment rings true enough. I don’t recollect all of the circumstances of how you came into my life and it doesn’t seem right. You were a gift from my father, that much I do know, but I don’t know what prompted it. Was it a special occasion? Was it simply a consequence of everyone being Potter mad? Whatever the reason, one year after your initial release a copy with the adult cover was placed into my hands and an unbreakable connection was made.

I wrote my name in you because that’s what we did then. I took you to school and read you during reading time. I have a vivid memory of my form teacher rolling her eyes when she saw what I was reading and saying “not another one”. I was embarrassed. I felt like I’d got a question wrong even though I didn’t really know I was taking a test. Looking back now I’m just embarrassed for her. Yes, I was a 10 year old jumping on the bandwagon but I was passionate about reading. I’d always read as a child but you awoke something in me. You turned me from casual reader to book lover. You started me down the path that I’m still following to this day. The path of Bookstagram, buying more than I’m reading, and owning multiple editions of books I’ve not read for years. I’m stuck in a world full of things I need to read and cursed to live a life without the necessary years to finish the job. And it was you who created me.

You were the one. The Frankenstein to my bookish monster. I loved you. I consumed you. I lived you. This was the first time I’d experienced real, true book obsession. I read and reread you. I knew you inside and out. I craved the next instalment and I over-analysed ever detail in between. I discussed you non-stop with my friends and looked up theories on the internet. I read terrible fanfiction. I wrote terrible fanfiction. I loved your characters and I hated them. I loved you and I hated you. I needed you. You filled me with joy and you broke my heart. You pulled me in and never let me go. I’d never been through something like this before and, if I’m honest, no fandom has compared to this since.

But the course of true love never did run smooth. There’s no point pretending our relationship has alway been successful. As the years went by I grew up, as human beings are wont to do. But you, my dear Philospher’s Stone, remained as youthful as ever. You’re Peter Pan but I, my love, am Wendy. My memories of Neverland will never fade but, unfortunately, I cannot make repeated journeys back. In recent years, I’ve fully read you only once. I’m sorry but I can’t do it. You were never an example of groundbreaking and beautiful writing and that is more obvious now I’ve discovered examples of genuinely breathtaking prose. You are painfully naive and childish (and I’m saying this as a 30 year old who still plays with plastic swords). I can’t reread you as I once did. I’m sorry.

Don’t despair, though. You were never popular because of what you were but because of what you represented. You are a great story full of great characters. You are the feeling of being included and being part of something greater. You show us that no matter how bleak the outlook, there is always hope. There is always love. There is always you. I might never reread you or your siblings again but that doesn’t matter. I know that the person I was is still inside me. I solemnly swear that I’m still up to no good. I know the memory of our time together is still resides within. I’ll always shed a tear when I remember the pointlessness of Lupin’s death. I’ll always be angry about the way Snape ended up. I’ll always hate the fucking epilogue and The Cursed Child. I’ll always care.

I wish I could remember the moment we first met. That I could go back now and savour that moment when my life changed. But that’s the problem with significant moments: they’re only noticeably significant after the fact. For the sake of symmetry, let’s turn back to Christina Rossetti: “It seemed to mean so little, meant so much,/if only now I could recall that touch,/ first touch of hand in hand – did one but know!” It’s been quite a journey Philosopher’s Stone and, I’d like think, it’s not over yet.

Always,
Laura

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