Tag: fans

We Are Wizards

We Are Wizards (2008)
★★ / ★★★★

“We Are Wizards,” directed by Josh Koury, documents how a group of people’s lives have changed since J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” phenomenon rose in popularity. As a fan of the series, I thought I knew what to expect because I have seen documentaries that focus on certain subcultures. In some ways, this movie surprised me because I never knew about the brothers (Paul DeGeorge, Joe DeGeorge) who formed a garage band whose songs referred to things in the Hogwarts universe, Heather Lawver’s struggle with Warner Bros. as well as her disease, Brad Neely’s very funny comics and voice-overs and a family so embedded in rock and roll and the freedom of self-discovering something. But at the same time, it was disappointing because it never really explored any of their stories deep enough. It kept jumping from one group of people to another and it was frustrating because such jumps happened just when it was about to get interesting. Out of everyone, I wanted to know more about Lawver’s amazing story of challenging a massive company and winning–all of which happened when she was fifteen or sixteen years old. I believe her story is the heart of this documentary because it highlighted the power of the fans; the fact that without them, the “Harry Potter” franchise would not be as popular today and therefore Warner Bros. (and other companies) would not be as successful. I liked that the film also included a woman who believed that the books were brainwashing children into believing or dabbling in the occult. Although I may not agree with her at all, the director convinced me that he was not afraid to include all kinds of people in his film. There were also some nice bits about Melissa Anelli, founder of The Leaky Cauldron, how she found her career through the Potter mania and what it all meant to her. There were times when I thought the movie was about to look down on the obsessed fans but it didn’t. While it did acknowledge that some of the fans became obsessed with the books because it served as an escape, it didn’t quite go down that path. I wish it had because the more personal something gets, the more I get engaged. “We Are Wizards” is not a bad documentary but it’s not that good either. It didn’t quite have that power to make the fandom feel universal despite its (attempted) focus on various quirky individuals.


Straight-Jacket (2004)
★ / ★★★★

Written and directed by Richard Day, “Straight-Jacket” was about a popular 1950s actor named Guy Stone (Matt Letscher) who must hide his homosexuality with the help of his agent (Veronica Cartwright) in order maintain his fans’ adoration. When a jealous fellow actor took a photo of Guy being arrested and was accused of being gay, his agent and the studio head (Victor Raider-Wexler) came up with a plan to keep his name clear by means of marrying an unaware fan/secretary named Sally (Carrie Preston). But things didn’t go quite as planned when Guy met a writer (Adam Greer), someone totally different from his type of “big, dumb and blonde.” I detested this picture’s exaggeration of pretty much everything: the slapstick, the wordplay, the acting, the set, among others. I felt as though it was looking down on me because it didn’t let me try to figure out what’s really going on in the characters’ heads because it was too busy hammering me with “this is funny!” moments. I also found this movie particularly difficult to watch because it had great trouble when it came to finding a consistent tone. With all the craziness that was going on screen, a little stability pertaining to the style of storytelling really would’ve done wonders. I like energy when it comes to the comedy but there’s a vast difference between energy and manic randomness. I found no redeeming factor in “Straight-Jacket” but I really have to mention one thing that deeply bothered me while I was watching it. The characters talked about having different kinds of homosexuals out there in the world, yet the film only focused one kind of a homosexual male: good-looking in the face, a built body, with snappy comebacks readily spit out. They’re in Hollywood, for goodness’ sake! Where are the lipstick lesbians, the drag queens, and stout effiminate directors? For a story that touches upon the glamour of Hollywood, this one simply lacked color and diversity. And I guess that’s why I hated this film: it’s unaware that it’s one-dimensional. There are a plethora of bad LGBT movies out there and this one, unfortunately, belongs in that category. What a waste of a hundred minutes.