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All the Books Show: Episode 98 – Harry Potter and the Podcaster’s Spotlight

Harry Potter turned twenty or hadn’t you heard? He’s so old now and so are you. Once, you were young, reading Harry Potter as a ten year old. Now, you’re thirty and you have to wonder if this what life is about, if Logan wasn’t one of the most poignant films you’ll ever see, if…okay, time to get of this magical train and get to the real topic at hand. Aging wizards.

I tend to be harsh on the whole Harry Potter world. I loved the first and third book when I was a kid but the long wait between installments caused me to drift away. The fandom also annoyed me and I didn’t want to be classified as whatever the millions of them were.

hpsorcstoneAs I’ve gotten older, I’ve also grown annoyed that it seems like the Harry Potter series didn’t really create readers, so much as Harry Potter fans. While in college, and specifically writing classes, it seemed to me that most people loved the books/movies but never ventured far from home. I’d be much happier if it seemed like those that liked Harry Potter let it lead them to different books and life-long reading. Other urban fantasy or what-not. Or just the habit of reading the popular titles would be enough, as long as their holding a book. I’m not a fan of “I only read these books, nothing else.” Maybe it works for some, but I don’t like it.

I think we talked about other stuff this episode, but the majority of it is Harry Potter. We’re joined by super fan Sarah Badger, who is as super fan as they come. Seriously, it’s in her blood. And I’m not being funny. Medical science somehow found a way to transfer Harry Potter lore into her blood stream and now her heart pumps the stuff.

You can follow us on SoundcloudYoutube or iTunes and even Twitter! I’m sure there’s another, cool platform I’m forgetting but you can follow us on that too!

See you next week, podcats!

Baby Driver – A Review

baby-driver-posterWho the heck is Ansel Elgort and why is he so entertaining? Because I don’t think I knew he existed until Baby Driver but that’s just one of many reason why I’m glad Baby Driver exists.

The movie is fast. It opens just as a bank robbery is starting and then immediately hits us in the face with the concept; crazy car chases set to an eclectic playlist of music. The first chase might be the best, but that’s not a knock against the the ones to come, just a comment on how the film starts at 90mph and doesn’t slow down.

It’s in this opening that Elgort’s starts with the charm as Baby, singing his favorite tune while waiting for the hired guns to do their work in the bank. It’s a wacky couple of minutes, with him throwing a personal dance party in the front seat of the car, but it’s delightful nonetheless.

From there, we meet the people that make up Baby’s world. The deadpan Kevin Spacey, Baby’s stepfather (grandfather? I don’t think I picked up on it), the adorable waitress Debora who finds Baby’s strangeness appealing, and a assortment of ne’er do wells who rob while Baby drives.

baby-driver-1It’s a fun movie with a lot of heart. The action is violent and R-rated, sure, but Baby has a conscience and it’s getting to him. He’d rather just leave with Debora and never look back, but he’s the best driver Kevin Spacey’s Doc can find, so it’s not so easy to get out of the business. In the midst of all the action and car chases, Baby tries to keep the body count low, sometimes to his own detriment.

I don’t want to spoil too many of the twists, though their fairly basic. Plot-wise, Baby Driver doesn’t bring much new to the genre. And that’s because it’s all in the execution. The car chases are choreographed like dances and I was constantly amazed by how much of it felt too chaotic to have been planned.

And there’s a shootout or two that have the same style. That shouldn’t be surprising for anyone who’s watched Edgar Wright’s The World’s End or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Both had crazy fist fights that felt more like dances than anything else. And while Baby Driver scales back the absurdness, it doesn’t skimp on the fun.

baby-driver

Jon Hamm is good as a semi-father figure, semi-tragic crook but Jamie Foxx steals the spotlight whenever he’s on screen. He’s an intense figure and everyone else seems in danger by just being around him. There’s some scenery chewing, but Foxx uses it to great affect. You don’t trust his character, but you like him anyway. Spacey, on the other hand, uses his low-key, monotone take to steal small moments left and right. He has one of the best jokes in the film and it’s so quick you might not even realize how great it was.

So, to summarize and not break the spirit of Baby Driver by dragging on, the movie is great. It’s fast, fun and is reminiscent of the thrill that was Mad Max: Fury Road. I won’t be surprised when it’s on everyone’s Best of the Year lists come December. I also won’t be surprised when Edgar Wright’s next film is fantastic as well, since I can’t think of a bad movie he’s directed. So, go see the movie, tell your friends and lets keep this guy working.