The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m not apologizing for anything, but my last post was pretty negative. Now that Harry Potter came out and everyone has probably already seen it, we can all move on with our real lives, which includes my favorite holiday Thanksgiving.

Now days it seems like we are almost forgetting about Thanksgiving. Christmas decorations are out in the stores earlier and earlier every year, not to mention the commercials and music creeping into our lives sooner and more frequently. For some people, it’s is nothing but the official start to the Christmas season. Well Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is only about two simple things: food and family. Christmas and Halloween each have a million different aspects: from commercialism to religion and everything in between. Thanksgiving might have some pretty odd roots, but it is the purest holiday we have, and that’s why it’s my favorite.

The Landwehrs always meet for lunch. We’ve had to change the location from Grandma’s house to someone else’s because the family is constantly growing. The menu, however, never ever changes: turkey, mashed potatoes and homemade gravy, stuffing, corn, homemade bread, green beans, homemade jam, and pumpkin pie. After lunch there is a slumber party always involving at least one uncle falling asleep in a recliner. Then we have a conference to decide what movie to attend that night. Such a simple schedule but never dull. After the movie it’s straight to bed because we all have a very, very early morning.

Yes, ladies and gentleman I am talking about Black Friday. I am a 4 year veteran of the madness and I can’t get enough of it. This is one of the best spectacles out there. No matter what, my mind is blown by something. It’s a circus show for me, purely for entertainment. Usually, I don’t even need anything, but I take part because the atmosphere is unlike anything on earth. When else can you see men fighting over dolls, kids dragged by the collar, and a Wal-Mart parking lot overflowing at 4am? All for the deals. I’ve known people who have gone to the outlets at the lake for their opening at midnight after thanksgiving, shop for awhile, then make it back to Jeff City by 4 or 5 am for the deals here. Talk about insanity.

The fact that I am so excited about Black Friday shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me well, because if you do, then you know I am all about the deals (great recent purchases: Kareem Rush authentic Nike Mizzou basketball jersey: $1.50, Larry Bird Dream Team USA Basketball jersey: $10). This year I am more excited about Black Friday than ever, because I am actually looking to buy something in the madness: a surround sound system for my new house in Columbia. I’ve done my research ( I’ve scoped out the surroundings, visiting Best Buy in both Columbia and Jeff City. And I’m ready. I dare anyone to get in my way Friday morning.

Thanksgiving is a great American tradition of food and family. Black Friday is a great American tradition as well. I enjoy throughly both, and it makes for my favorite time of the year having these two spectacularly different, but equally awesome events back to back. Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday everyone. May the gravy be flowing and the prices be dropping.

That is what I think I think.


Hogwarts is Hogwash: Harry Potter is TERRIBLE

Twice a week in my History of Film class I get a countdown to the day update for when Harry Potter is coming out. Don’t know. Don’t care. Let’s get on with class. I’m known in class as “The guy who hates Harry Potter.” No title has ever been truer.

When I was in about 5th grade, these weird books came out called Harry Potter and everybody went crazy. Then one more came out and people went crazy. Then one more, then more and more and more. My friends were going to book releases at midnight, then reading the entire book afterwards. I’d rather sleep, or go to the dentist, or watch a WNBA game.

Hogwarts is the only school where I openly encourage a shooting.

Most of you are probably thinking “Oh, David, you just never got into the books cus you didn’t give them a chance.” Not true. I read half of the first one, and half of the third one. And never had motivation to finish either. I’ve read quite a bit even at my Harry Potter age, including the overwhelmingly better Captain Underpants. I’ve even been to the cafe in Edinburgh, Scotland where J.K. Rowling ruined the world wrote the books. Didn’t do anything for me, so I left and bought a kilt.

This isn’t just a matter of the books and movies being bad. Twilight is bad, but I get the phenomenon there, and therefore I’m not so upset about them. HP is a global cultural phenomenon unlike anything we’ve seen before. Let me humor you with examples of sad, sad things that this trash has spawned.

There is a Quidditch World Cup held anualy in New York. So now, if you have any spare time when your done learning spells you can’t perform, or dreaming of living in a world you can’t live in, you can play a fantasy game made for the air with brooms between your legs that can’t fly (or sweep, mind you). And if you’re good enough at this, not only do you win a trophy for being on the world’s best quidditch team, but also a trophy for being one of history’s most pathetic individuals.

Here’s another great example of hogwash in Hogwarts. Check out the excerpt from an article I found.”The Israeli town of Ramle is happy that Harry Potter, a British soldier who died there in 1939, is buried in the local British military cemetery. Pvt. Potter was killed in battle at age 18, and sure, ‘there is no connection with the Harry Potter we know from literature, but the name sells, the name is marketable,’ says local tour guide Ron Peled. Ramle started promoting the tombstone at the beginning of the year, and Israeli tourists have responded in flocks.” Now people are making money off of dead soldiers who died for country because of this Harry Potter bull. I don’t know what’s worse, that this guy is selling a dead soldier’s honorable name or that people are buying it.

And I thought cocaine could ruin your life. Check out this loser – another great example of Harry Potter garbage.

I wonder if Hermione is his imaginary girlfriend. Lord knows he could never get a real one.

The books suck, but the movies are even worse. None of the main actors are going anywhere with their careers at all, and for good reason. I’ve seen most of the movies because my friends dragged me there, but there is absolutely no way I am seeing either part of the final series. That’s another thing: People are going nuts for the FIRST PART of the final movie. “OMG Let’s stand outside for hours and go to a midnight showing only to see half of a shitty movie!” I might dig a hole and hibernate when the second part of the movie comes out.

AND here’s a lil’ nugget of info for you HP lovers out there: Someone in my film class said they screwed up the ending of the first part by pulling and pushing stuff back and forth between the two films to create a climactic ending, er, break, er, intermission, er, whatever. Spoiler altert? GOOD. Sorry I’m not sorry.

There is one good part to all of this: IT’S FINALLY ALMOST OVER.

I know you don’t agree with this one, but this is what I think I think.

Movie Review: Winter’s Bone

I decided to abandon the 4th part of my 90’s music extravaganza. It’s just been too much. You all get the point.

However, I do need to reveal that my personal favorite song of the 90’s is Nine Days – Story of a Girl. I remember jamming to it on the way to the public pool. Great all around song, and pretty much a one hit wonder for Nine Days, but still as good as they come.

Now onto my post-90’s music life, if there is one: Winter’s Bone. Wow. I’m probably going to use the word chilling about a million times to describe this movie because that’s exactly what it is. Here’s the short IMDb plot summary (don’t worry, I would never spoil endings):

“An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact.”

The cool thing about this movie is that it is set and shot in South Missouri. It might has well have been shot on mars, because I have never experienced anything this hick ever in my life. And a lot of people (especially my St. Louis friends) consider Jeff City to be very very redneck.

The story revealed a meth-dominated Missouri society that I have never experienced. Sure, you hear from plenty of people that we are the meth capital of the country, and others say we are inbred and yada yada yada. Never hit home to me at all. But this movie is a window into that world, and it’s a scary, scary world indeed.

This movie has critics changing their undies. Grand Jury (best picture) Prize at Sundance, 7.7/10 on IMDb, 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and it was USA Today’s top indie film pick for an Oscar nomination for best picture. That wouldn’t surprise me at all, because of the 10 movie nominations for best picture implemented last year. It seems that this movie is going to be the token indie film that everybody loves and talks about. There is one every single year. Last year it was The Hurt Locker, then years prior it was Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Juno (2007), Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Capote (2005), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). All of which either won best picture or got a nomination.

The aspect of this movie that puts it over the top is the acting. Don’t be surprised to find Jennifer Lawrence in the running for best actress… as a 20-year-old. She plays the lead role of 17-year-old Ree Dolly beautifully. Name me one movie in which the lead character is a 17-year-old girl that isn’t a chick flick. I can’t think of one. All around there is great acting in this movie, including John Hawkes as Teardrop. He could be an underdog for best supporting actor come this spring. I never know whether I’m on Teardrop’s side or not, which is an amazing added dimension.

Overall, I give this chilling tale a 9/10. I don’t know whether I’m proud that it’s set and filmed in Missouri or not, but what I do know is YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS MOVIE. This will definitely be my first DVD purchase since getting Netflix (which is awesome). Top 3 movies of the year so far.

We’ll see where that stands once Coen Brothers’ True Grit comes out in December. Can’t wait!

Agree or not (you probably don’t), this is what I think I think.