30 Day Film Challenge: Day 5

A Film That Reminds You of Someone

The Godfather always reminds me of my family. This isn’t because we are overwhelmingly Italian-American family. The Real Housewives of New Jersey are more Italian than us. I’ve never even been in a Catholic church.

But The Godfather has this powerful hold over Italian-American families because of the immigrant culture it represents. In that sense, the Corleones are similar to my own family .

There are smaller things that have happened to me related to The Godfather. My mom says that when she first met my grandfather in 70s, she immediately thought that his deep, raspy voice makes him sound just like Vito Corleone. (This is very true.) When I was studying film in college, the first thing some of my family members said to me was, “So, you’re going to make the next Godfather, right?” And for some time, Nino Rota’s score was the ringtone when my father called me.

I couldn’t resist picking two movies for this category. The Harry Potter franchise has not only defined my childhood but also many of my movie-watching experiences. A main reason for that is because of who I see these movies with. (And I’ve seen every Harry Potter movie more times than I can count.)

My sister and I always managed to see the first five movies in the theaters together, even when she was living in Haiti. (She actually introduced me to the books and bought me the first two movies on DVD for my birthday one year.) In college, my friends and I always seemed to settle on Harry Potter for a lazy movie night. When the final installment is released next month, I will most likely be at a midnight showing (despite how much I hate doing that) just because I should see the last movie with good friends.

I Am Harry Potter!

Daniel Radcliffe has realized something now that the Harry Potter films are coming to a close. He is not an actor playing Harry Potter; he IS Harry Potter playing Daniel Radcliffe.

Judd Apatow has directed this hilarious short “interview” with Radcliffe about his experiences playing the boy wizard for over a decade.

What else has Dan, er, Harry do now that he’s defeated everybody? Kind of chills out a lot and talks to women and tells them he’s Harry. He also has plans to take up quidditch professionally. (But will it be muggle quidditch?)

The video is embedded below. You’ll never think of broom burn in the same way again.

Nine and Three-Fourths Years Later

June 12 was the last day for principal photography for the Harry Potter series…ever.

Isn’t that an odd thought? Unlike the Twilight series, which has been rushed into production and most people cannot wait to end, the now very imminent end of the Harry Potter films still seems so unlikely.

Even though I know that the films are coming to an end, I still can’t fathom a time when a Harry Potter film is not in production or about to be released. This is because the Harry Potter film franchise began in October 2000. The filming of the entire series took approximately nine and three-fourths years. I’ll take that as a sign that good things are going to come of Harry Potter, the series and its stars once Deathly Hallows is released.

Up Close And Personal With Harry Potter’s Magic Wand

Harry Potter: The Exhibition

There are moments when we just have to embrace our inner geek. Considering that this is Mount Holyoke, where many of us have quirks and hang ups about the strangest things, this is something not unusual. I had one of those moments when my inner film nerd came out in full force this weekend. There I was, standing in front of the Mecca of all film set props: Harry Potter’s magic wand…and broom…and everything else from the Harry Potter movies you can imagine.

Harry Potter™: The Exhibition is a new exhibit that opened at Boston’s Museum of Science on Oct. 25. Here more than 200 props, costumes and creatures from the six Harry Potter movies are on display, transporting fans into the wizarding world. The props are displayed in settings inspired by the film sets: Hagrid’s hut, the Dark Forest, the Great Hall and many more.

The exhibit begins with a sorting. Several lucky members from the tour group are chosen from the crowd (I suggest you jump like a maniac in the back row, like my friend Ruth did, if you want to be selected), are placed under the sorting hat and learn their Hogwarts house. From there you enter into a screening room where clips from the films are shown, setting the mood for the experience you are about to have.

Once the doors open, you are led past the Hogwarts Express and down a corridor filled with magical paintings. You walk through the Fat Lady’s portrait and into the Gryffindor common room. Now the real adventure has begun. As you stroll past endless props and costumes, you are transported into Harry Potter’s world. There is Harry’s admission letter to Hogwarts from Sorcerer’s Stone; the Basilisk from Chamber of Secrets; the Time Turner and Marauder’s Map from Prisoner of Azkaban; Hermione’s Yule Bal gown and Triwizard Cup from Goblet of Fire, Dolores Umbridge’s office from Order of Phoenix; and the potions book from Half-Blood Prince.

These props and costumes are a part of elaborate film set recreations. Everything from Ron Weasley’s dorm room to the Divination classroom to the Great Hall have been splendidly recreated. Throughout the exhibit, you can participate in essential wizarding world activities toss a Quaffle, pull a screeching Mandrake and sit in Hagrid’s chair. All that is missing is the chance to ride Buckbeak the Hippogriff or duel a Hungarian Horntail dragon.

While at Harry Potter: The Exhibition, I was reminded of the significance that Harry Potter has had in my life. They certainly are not the first books I remember reading as a child, but are among my childhood favorites. This exhibition is a wonderful reminder of why I love the Harry Potter films. Most of all, it is a reminder of how Harry Potter has affected not only my life but will influence a whole new generation of fans. Throughout the exhibit, I kept stumbling over a little boy who was no more than 10 years old dressed like Harry Potter. While his costume was not as elaborate as the couple dressed as Dumbledore and Trelawney (it was Harry Potter), this little boy perfectly encompasses what the Harry Potter franchise truly represents. J.K. Rowling created a world that offers the perfect escape from reality, and there is no doubt it will continue to influence and delight in the years to come.

The flying car from the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter: The Exhibition will be on display at Boston’s Museum of Science until February 12, 2010.

Published: November 5, 2009
The Mount Holyoke News

Lost on the Black Pearl with Harry Potter and Darth Vader

There was a time when I watched Lost. Then I realized that wasting my time trying to figure out what 48 15 whatever means is a waste of time.

I still enjoy these occassional Lost parody, probably because I hate the actual series.