Episode 90 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Borings

November 26, 2010


Let’s be honest. The film’s a bit shit. From missed oportunities to pacing issues, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 is probably the sloppiest of the series.

The polyjuice transformation you’re cheated out of actually seeing happen.

In this episode of Nerd Hurdles we spoiler the hell out of the HP7 as we try to get to the meat of where it fails. So if you haven’t seen the film, or at least read the book, heed that caveat before you listen. Heed this caveat as well, the list below contains spoilers for the podcast episode as well as the film. We’ve gone spoiler crazy at the hurdle hut apparently.

6 reasons why Harry Patter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 wasn’t a good film.

1. Ralph Fiennes’ performance as Voldemort in the previous films had me impressed with his shedding of the Ralph Fiennes persona and perhaps actually doing some acting. But apparently that was only achieved by the fact he had two, maybe three, lines in each of those films. Given a sizable scene Ralphie falls back on his wet-noodle impersonation. It’s tough being the Dark Lord, apparently. First your wand doesn’t work anymore and then nobody understands what you’re going through. At least that’s what I got from the few words I was able to make out of the stream of whingy blubbering he was doing under his breath.

2. When you read Deathly Hallows, during the Bathilda Bagshot/ Nagini scene didn’t you just think to yourself, “Self, this is going to be freakin’ HARDCOAR in the movie.” But no. Instead of a giant snake bursting out the mouth of an old lady, you get Obi Wan Kenobi’s empty robes falling to the floor. The scene also made no sense to people who hadn’t read the book. I know because I asked them. They had no idea Hermione found Bathilda’s actual mutilated remains while Harry was upstairs. For a scene that should have been creepy, suspenseful and eerie, it made almost no impact.

3. Also lacking impact was the fumbling of the whole horcrux pendant episode. The teenaged trio wander aimlessly through the woods, sharing the load, and trying to evade the Snatchers. Who, by the way, aren’t really explained at all in the film. They seem more like random bandits than a nationwide terror. Nor is the significance of the underground radio station explained.

Anyway, I’m not griping about that, I’m griping about the horcrux right now. As we know, the horcrux makes the trio progressively more despondent and paranoid as they take turns wearing it to keep it secret, keep it safe. You know, just like Ring and Frodo. We know this because we read the book. From watching the film, you’d probably only get a vague idea of what was going on. And then only because you’d seen or read Lord of the Rings.

So of course Ron comes to believe there’s something romantic going on between Harry and Herminione and takes off in a huff. But unlike in the book, it seems to come out of nowhere since we barely see him wearing the thing. It also seems to happen after about fifteen minutes and not the slow burning tension in the book. Which might have actually been interesting to watch.

Instead it just felt like another scene marked off on a checklist. Which is what the whole film felt like, really. There was no time to give the appropriate treatment to scenes that needed a little breathing room because scenes that could have been cut (or drastically shortened) weren’t. As Mandi said, “Nothing happens but it felt rushed.”

4. Harry and Herminione slow dance (to Nick Cave of all things) in the tent after Ron takes off. Which does two things wrong. First, it suggests Ron was right to be jealous and it wasn’t all the horcrux’s fault. Second, there was no point to it if there isn’t something going on between them. And it also kind of sullies the whole Harry/Ginny thing.

5. The motivations of the Malfoys makes no sense. If you hadn’t read the book you might have actually been better off because I was trying to remember exactly why Lucius was suddenly hating on Voldemort and if they’d touched on that in the previous film. A little expository dialogue would have been nice.

6. The animated sequence when Hermione takes time (they can’t really spare) to read Harry and Ron the story of the Deathly Hallows from the Tales of Beadle the Bard was the best part of the film. It’s a bad sign when an entirely out-of-place vignette is the best part of your film.

Episode 89 – A Whole LOTR Lovin

November 20, 2010

It’s not an episode about Lord of the Rings slash specifically, but it’s the best image for the shownotes we could find.

There was a time when being a Tolkien fan—and that pretty much means being a Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fan—was the mark of true nerdery. There were no films (other than the mediocre animated attempts) and no abudance of movie tie-in geekanalia. If you had a poster, it was probably a painting of Gandalf.

Of course, once the movies came out that all changed. It became more likely to see Orlando or Viggo adorning the walls of fans. Arguably fans of Orlando and Viggo more than Lord of the Rings.

Also fans of Sean Astin:

Nerd of the Month: September and October 2010

November 17, 2010

NOTM September 2010: Carol Fowler, who is crusading for stricter breeding guidelines for King Charles Cavaliers. The dogs suffer from occipital hypoplasia and syringomyelia (a condition whereby fluid filled cavities develop within the spinal cord) caused by breeding practices.

We think her devotion and drive for something so specialized qualifies her for NOTM. I especially appreciate her fighting the man and the women.

Her dog’s story can be read here.

The bit about her from the BBC doc:

NOTM October 2010: Sir Terry Pratchett. We had a rule that Nerd of the Month nominees could not be “professional nerds”. Having sold 65 million copies of his Discworld novels, I’d say that qualifies Pratchett as a pro-nerd. So much so that he was knighted for it.

But what makes him a NOTM is he celbrated by making a “highly magical” sword out of meteorites. Read more about it here.

“It annoys me that knights aren’t allowed to carry their swords. That would be knife crime.” ~ Sir Terry Pratchett

Episode 88 – Diets

November 12, 2010


Garfield once said “Diet is just DIE with a T.”

But what’s the nerd perspective on diets? Eating a lot of “gamer goo” while playing 36 straight hours of WoW? That might not be the best weight-loss strategy.

It’s a timely topic since it’s time for NOvember™*, our annual post-Sugar Fest (aka Halloween) diet. It’s an easy diet to follow. Simply say NO to the following nasty foods.

  • NO refined sugar
  • NO dairy
  • NO processed meat
  • NO processed soy products
  • NO deep-fried foods
  • NO yeast
  • NO gluten
  • NO alcohol
  • NO caffeine

It’s actually not as hard as you might think to cut these foods out of your diet. Well, except for the last item (and this year we’ve been eating gluten in the form of wraps, but no other breads).

Another NO you might want to add is eggs. There isn’t on the list since I don’t eat eggs anyway (it’s a completely horrific concept), and the diet was designed to cut out the nasty foods I do eat.

I think next year I might go the full monty. Actually I should probably put salt on that list but let’s be reasonable. You have to draw the line somewhere and I’m drawing it at food still having flavour.

*Not to be confused with Movember, which is also a good thing to do.

Episode 87 – They Call Him Bruce

November 5, 2010


Sometimes they call him Brisco. Sometimes they call him Autolycus. Sometimes they call him Ash. But mostly people call Bruce Campbell campy, though that has nothing to do with his surname.

Kathie (from our episode on Internet Dating) joins us to talk about the man, the myth… the chin.

Coming To Terms: Shocktober Stats

November 4, 2010

Mandi and Jakob in the Hurdle Hut on Halloween 2010

Traditionally (two years counts as a tradition, right?),  most of our hits in October are related to Halloween costumes. Actually, people are searching for “how to dress like a nerd” pretty much all year. If these guys had gone as nerds instead of a KKK member leading around a “slave” in blackface, they’d have saved themselves some trouble. Though probably not have won first place in costume contest at the Windsor Legion.

At any rate, the Internet was looking for a few other things as well.

bengal cat costume: I was really hoping someone (after my own heart) wanted to dress up like a Bengal Cat. But I suspect they were looking for this bullshit instead.

wierdest costume ever: This year we got a lot of hits for “Milla Jovovich costume”. It was second to “how to dress like a nerd for Halloween”. A Milla Jovovich-dressed-like-a-nerd-for-Halloween costume might be kind of weird, but you’d probably have to explain it all night. To see real life weird costumes, go here instead.

+how to make a turd costume: Plus, anyone who wants to dress as a turd probably doesn’t need a costume.

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