Tag Archives: music

Harry Potter and Me: Part 4

*From here on out, these posts will be written in first person, as they are more of opinion posts, and aren’t really telling any stories about me personally.*

~Music Makes the Movie~

You hear it. The sounds of violins and other instruments playing a melodious tune that you recognize instantly. The Harry Potter song, or, it’s formal title, “Hedwig’s Theme.” Everyone knows this piece of music. Even those who aren’t fans of the movies. Yet, they know it, because it is the Harry Potter movies’ musical identity. It plays all around the world. I even heard Harry Potter music that was on the radio in a shop in Santorini.

The Harry Potter movies are great, but without the music, like any other movie or TV show, it would be far less interesting. Music evokes emotion; it makes you cry, smile, rock out. A world isn’t complete until music is added to it. The brilliant John Williams, composer and conductor, scored the first three Harry Potter movies. I absolutely love John Williams. John Williams is the MAN! (Reference to youtube video, which I will provide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGYAPr6UKhs) I was actually able to see him conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra last summer in Boston (duh..), and it was absolutely amazing. Although they didn’t perform any Harry Potter songs, they performed songs from ET, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and various America-themed songs. I went with my friend Acacia, who’s also a big Harry Potter fan, and we were geeking out. We also found it funny that we were surrounded by rich people cloaked in Burberry jackets and drinking $15 dollar drinks (a small glass of watter was $3!!!). That’s what we got for getting table seats, but for $100, it was totally worth it.

The other movies were composed by Patrick Doyle (Goblet of Fire), Nicholas Hooper (Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince), and Alexandre Desplat (Deathly Hallows: Part 1 and 2). Each have different styles and takes on the movies and the way they describe them through their scores, making them unique. Yet, all fully embrace and define Harry Potter correctly. Here are samples from each composer:

-John Williams: Harry and Lupin talking on the bridge at Hogwarts…

-Patrick Doyle: Scene of the third task of the Triwizard Tournament, as the champions prepare to enter…

-Nicholas Hooper: Scene where they are all at Fred and George’s shop…

-Alexandre Desplat: Scene where Harry, Hermione, and Ron are running through the courtyard, dodging spiders, trolls, and spells…

I have almost every soundtrack (only missing 2, 3, and 5), and the songs take up at least 1GB on my iPod. When I listen to the songs, I get pretty into it. This probably doesn’t shock you, especially if you have read all of the Harry Potter and Me posts. You should know by now how obsessed I am. Nevertheless, the music puts you in the moment. If you listen to the music, you can picture the scene it was in in your mind. You remember how you felt in that scene. Like I said before, each piece of music evokes emotion. The actors portray their character’s emotion, but the music brings it even further to life. It carries the scene, and moves it along. The music makes the movie.

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Oscar Sunday

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Oscar Sunday came and went, and all that’s left is a bunch of hungover winners and losers (save for Quvenzhané Wallis, obviously). Nevertheless, the night was most certainly a glamorous and amazing one! This year, Seth MacFarlane had his turn as host (and may I say, in my opinion, he did a magnificent job at that). I have been hearing of complaints that the Oscars were boring, too outrageous, etc. But this is from the older crowd, so they don’t count. Well, they do, but really, nowadays, award shows are always trying to get the younger audience. Especially with the Oscars, which is a traditional awards show that has been around for a long time, and not many young people are that interested. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence from the Hunger Games franchise was nominated, but the majority of the Hunger Games fandom, of which are of the younger crowd, would not have seen Silver Linings Playbook (because it’s rated R). Also, many tweens do not know what Oscar-worthy acting is. I would expect many of them wonder why Kristen Stewart hasn’t been nominated (more on that girl later…). This blog post will serve as an opion piece of what I liked the most and what I did not like, so I hope you guys enjoy it!

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The night opened up with Seth MacFarlane being visited by the future Captain Kirk (William Shatner and Star Trek, for those of you who don’t know pop culture) to tell the comedic host that he became the worst host ever. Future Captain Kirk would show Seth what he did wrong, and Seth would do something to try to make the critics’ reviews change. Now, I would put the link to the video here, but I have not found anything on youtube. Anyways, the opening monologue was HILARIOUS. I had always known it would be hilarious with Seth MacFarlane hosting, and he started it off superbly. And all those guest cameos? Channing Tatum (drooling at the moment…)! Charlize Theron! Daniel Radcliffe (wizard in the houseee!!)!! Joseph Gordon-Levitt (drooling again…)! They were dancing and singing and dancing and singing. In other words, it was amazing.

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Another moment I particularly enjoyed during the telecast was, well, every time winners spoke too long and the “play-off” music came on. Normally, this wouldn’t be something to be enjoyed, but for God’s sakes, it was the Jaws theme! Who wouldn’t enjoy that?! By the way, this was a music-in-movies-themed Oscars, which I was very delighted about. Especially since all the performances were amazing. My favorites? I loved the movie musical performances with Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago), Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), and the Les Miserables cast. Oh my, the Les Miserables cast. I seriously started tearing up hearing them sing “One Day More.” There’s just so much emotion in that song, and it was clearly emphasized with their completely-in-character performance! I also loved Adele, because, well, she’s Adele. Although, I had trouble hearing her voice at some points. Maybe it was the mic, or her being nervous (as my mother suggested). But I don’t think Adele would be THAT nervous. She’s too Britishly cool to be nervous around a bunch of actors. Oh, and we can’t forget Barbra Streisand. She rarely performs live, especially for live television, but this was a wonderful exception.

Of course, Seth MacFarlane’s jokes were insanely innapropriate, button pushing, and offensive. Like I said, of course. That is the type of comedian he is, and there’s examples of that every Sunday night on FOX. He made a joke about Chris Brown and Rihanna. He made a joke (or a song) about boobs. The list goes on. However, I found them funny. Because he makes hilarious jokes. He’s a hilarious guy! For those who are complaining, there’s really no one else you can blame except for the person that hired him. Obviously the person who hired him to host knew his reputation.

Now, I’m going to talk about the girl. Yeah, that girl. The pale one with one facial expression who doesn’t brush her hair when she goes out in the public. Don’t know who I’m talking about yet? Kristen Stewart. I don’t even want to start my disgust when I saw her at the red carpet, or my extreme disgust when she walked on to the Oscar stage. This is the “actress” who just won a bunch of Razzies (awards show celebrating the WORST movies/actors of the year). She won a Razzie for Worst Actress. She didn’t even attend the event. But she attended the Oscars? And she presented? With DANIEL RADCLIFFE?! First of all, I know that Daniel Radcliffe isn’t the best actor out there, but at least he has acting skills! He was qualified to walk on that stage, but Kristen Stewart…she was not. If you saw the telecast last night, you could tell her mind was somewhere else. She wasn’t even paying attention to the teleprompter so she knew when to speak. I swear, her face looked EXACTLY the same as it did in Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, Breaking Dawn: Part 2, Snow White and the Huntsman, and all the other movies she managed to get a part in. Since I’ve dedicated a whole paragraph on this one presenter, you have probably figured out how much I dislike her. Seriously, what did she have to do to get on that stage?? Even when she was sitting in the audience, her face just said: uninterested. unemotional. what’s going on? where am I? All in all, she did not seem in the right frame of mind. But, then again, is she ever? Oh, and if any of you are avid Twilight fans who absolutely love everything Twilight and think it is the best movie EVER and the best thing on this planet, please feel free to comment so I can  shut you down with an argument that will have 100x more emotion than your prescious Bella…and you can’t even see my face while I’m writing it!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system (sorry to those who really don’t care)….

On to the awards! I ended up watching a lot of the major movies nominated this year, and they were all really good. I was so happy when Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress (which was a given), and I liked how she ended with how she hopes there won’t be women like Fantine for long in this world. True that! Best Supporting Actor went to Cristoph Waltz, who was really funny in Django Unchained. I reccomend watching that movie. I’m just going to add in a link for a clip from the movie. One of the funniest scenes, in fact– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLwjCvxp8AQ

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Best Director went to Ang Lee. I had no opinion on his win, as I have not seen Life of Pi. I want to though! I was hoping for Steven Spielberg, since he is the MAN. I wish the Academy had nominated Ben Affleck…they messed up there. Speaking of Ben Affleck, he and his team won Best Picture for Argo (Yayy!!). It was well deserved, and I couldn’t help but let out an “awwwww” at Ben Affleck, who you could tell was completely in shock and about to breakdown crying. Argo was a brilliant movie, and I definitely recommend seeing it. Other movies that were nominated but won a couple to none awards I suggest are Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, 5 Broken Cameras (documentary), How to Survive a Plague (documentary), and ParaNorman.

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Best Actor went to Daniel Day-Lewis, which wasn’t surprising at all. LIke a wonderful gentleman he is, he gave an eloquent speech that was so darn adorable! My favorite win of the night, other than Argo winning Best Picture, had to be Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) for Best Actress. Holy hell was she amazing in that movie. She’s amazing in general! And yes, she did fall on her way to accept the award, but man did she recover from that! Only someone with her personality and grace could recover so smoothly from that.

So, that is my opinion post about the 2013 Oscars. I hope you all enjoyed reading it, and if you want to add your comments about the telecast (your favorite/least favorite moments, favorite performances, favorite winner, speech, etc…), feel free to!

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Hands in, aca-bitches.

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If you do not know what this post will be about in reference to the title, then you need to go to the nearest Redbox, store, etc and get the movie Pitch Perfect. Like seriously. If you’ve never seen it, stop reading this and watch it. I am not kidding. If I had to choose between watching that movie and reading a blog post, I would most definitely choose Pitch Perfect. Hands down. Now that I’ve stressed how IMPORTANT it is for you to WATCH Pitch Perfect, I will move along with my post. If you choose to ignore my advise, then you stink, and you will be left out of the wonderful things I will be saying about one of the best things that came out of 2012. But hopefully, if my begging didn’t do anything, this post will make you want to see it ASAP.

Pitch Perfect, directed by Jason Moore and written by Kay Cannon (30 Rock) stars Acadamy Award-nominated Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air, 50/50), Anna Camp (The Help, True Blood), Brittany Snow (Hairspray), Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids), and Skylar Astin (Spring Awakening–Broadway). What a cast, right?! (I’ll make sure to mention many characters, because I am a nerd like that)

Pitch-Perfect-img-07The movie follows Beca (Kendrick), a college freshman attending Barden University. Her dream in life is to go to LA and become a DJ, much to her father’s dismay (who is a professor at BU). However, he makes a deal with her. If she interacts and gets involved with groups around campus, and takes her classes seriously, he will allow her to drop out after one year and go to the City of Angels. Beca joins the Barden Bellas, an all-woman a-capella group who notoriously made a distasteful impact at last year’s championship. The Barden Bellas’ two seniors, Aubrey (Camp) and Chloe (Snow) have to lead a new crop of Bellas: an Australian who likes to be called Fat Amy (Wilson), the stereotypical slut Stacie (Alexis Knapp), incredibely inaudible Lilly (Hana Mae Lee), closeted lesbian Cynthia Rose (Esther Dean), and a few others whose characters are more minor. Throughout the movie the Bellas face off the Treblemakers, the other BU a-capella group, which is all male. Bumper (Adam DeVine) leads the pack of cocky guys, and are a strict no-no for the Bellas. However, a new member, Jesse (Astin), kindles a friendship with Beca, the probability of it leading to something more. Benji, a fellow freshman, magician, and quirky, Star Wars-loving nerd, is roommates with Jesse, and is a guy you feel sad for the whole movie because of his “weirdness” preventing him from getting on the Treblemakers.

Okay, well that was a really long summarization of the movie…Anyways, this movie has awesome songs that you will absolutely love. I do. I listen to the album every day. I get so into it, that I start doing some of the dance moves from the movie. Everyone in this movie is a natural singer. The biggest surprise? Anna Kendrick. That girl can SING! And after finding out that her first job in the biz was on Broadway, where she earned a Tony nomination at age 12, it just solidified my love of her voice even more. Here are three links that show her pre-Pitch Perfect, during Pitch Perfect, and post-Pitch Perfect. *Side note: In the first link, isn’t she so darn cute?!*

1. Performing at Carnegie Hall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0l3WemmIjI

2. On David Letterman for Pitch Perfect promotion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_9i9Q7KIrU

3. Performance at the Trevor Project Benefit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhBHMZqg8YE (excuse the voices, this is someone’s self-made video)

Now, of course, everyone else is amazing. Of the guys, Skylar Astin’s voice just makes every girl’s heart melt (or guy’s heart…I won’t leave you fellas out!). All of the actors in this film had a reharsal program before filming to train in singing a-capella and dancing. Although everyone could sing, they needed to learn the specificities of a-capella, as you are using your voice to make different instruments. I found a video on Youtube that is a behind-the-scenes look at their “a-capella boot camp.” Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUZNxvxgsNE

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This movie is very Mean Girls-esque, as the characters and lingo in it become legends, if you will. Fat Amy will go down in history. Aubrey’s many “aca” phrases will be used in normal conversation. Which brings us to my post title. “Hands in, aca-bitches” is one of the many variations Aubrey, among other characters, uses for “aca.” Aca-scuse me? Aca-awesome. Aca-believe it. Aca-awkward. The list could go on, because you could use it for anything. For example, some that weren’t in the movie that anyone could formulate: aca-disgusting, aca-what?, aca-sexy

You all should know by now that I am obsessed with the movie. Well, I am, and I’m proud of it! I’m proud that I have seen it multiple times in one day. I’m proud that I have seen the movie with commentary. I’m proud that I learned the rap to “No Diggity” and rap along in the movie and soundtrack. I’m proud that I’ve seen basically every interview with members of the cast. I’m proud that since seeing the movie, I formed a girl crush on Anna Kendrick. Seriously, what girl wouldn’t have a girl crush on her? She’s one of the coolest people on this planet. Just look at her tweets or instagram pictures. She’s the epitimy of cool. I’m proud that as I write this blog post, I am listening to the soundtrack. Really, I am.

If this didn’t convince those of you who haven’t seen the movie to see the movie, than I don’t know what will. Your loss, really. Your life will just be less awesome. Until I write to you wonderful readers again, tada aca-bitches!

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I Spy….(Insert celebrity name)

Last weekend, my two friends and I went to New York City, and we had the best time there. It wasn’t that cold out, but there was a bit of overcast and fog. But we didn’t let the lack of sunshine to ruin our weekend! We left Jan. 11 in the morning via Megabus (definitely use this when traveling…it’s CHEAP), and spent four hours listening to music and goofing off. I am confident and proud to say that my friend Sam and I totally rocked out to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack. We’re cool like that. We arrived to Brooklyn, where we were staying, around 5pm, and relaxed a bit before going back out to the city to see a play.

We went to see Golden Boy, with Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck, Dexter), Seth Numrich, and Tony Shaloub (Monk) at the Belasco Theatre. First things first, it was really good. The acting was amazing. Before the play started, and we were waiting in the lobby, my friend Acacia recognized someone, or as she said, “the girl from National Treasure.” Yes, Diane Kruger. I was the one who knew her name, like a TV/movie fanatic should, DUH. After getting into the theatre, and taking our seats, Sam went to the bathroom (yes, tmi, but it is important to the outcome of the story), and on her way, saw Diane Kruger at the bar with a couple friends. When she came back, we all decided to go down to the bar to ask her for a picture. After arguing who should go up and speak to her, I gave in and said I would. Because I am so smart and creative in my methods of introducing myself to a celebrity, I went up to her and said, “Sorry to bother you, but you look a lot like Diane Kruger.” I know, I’m so classy. We ended up getting a picture with her, which was taken by her boyfriend Joshua Jackson (actor from Fringe, Dawson’s Creek). We didn’t recognize Joshua Jackson at first, but I knew him from somewhere. Later in the night, I realized who he was. We felt so stupid, not realizing that he was also famous.

Acacia, Sam, and I were in the fifth row, dead in the center. Great view. Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson ended up having their seats three rows infront of ours. After the play ended, and we went outside to wait beside the stage door, it was nearly midnight. The actress I was completely excited to meet, Yvonne Strahovski, came out just before midnight, and I was able to get a picture with her and her autograph on my Chuck Season 5 DVD. I was completely starstruck, as she is one of my favorite actresses.

The next day, we started off by going down to the World Trade Center. We went in St. Paul’s Chapel, the church that stood its ground and suffered no casualties from 9/11. I had been there before, but it still brings tears to your eyes, knowing what people went through. After spending some time there, we walked nearly four miles up to the area where the Empire State Building is. We visited the Strand Bookstore, which is a bookworm’s ultimate fantasy. We then took a subway to Times Square, where we went to the Harry Potter Exhibition in the Discovery Center with the family we were staying with. I could LIVE in that place. I had gone to the exhibition in Boston, but it was even better the second time around. After going to the exhibition, we walked around Times Square a bit, where we saw Nick Cannon filming for Nickelodeon, and then headed up to Carmines on the Upper West Side. Carmines is an Italian restaurant that is meant for a large group of people because when you order something, it is served in a big, family sized platter. Let me just say, I approve. Or, in HIMYM terms, I put my stamp of approval. I suggest getting the fried calamari and tiramisu if you go there, because they are both really good. After eating at Carmines, my friends and I went to Columbus Circle and walked along Central Park South, and then walked down Fifth Ave to Rockefeller Center and Times Square.

Sunday was our predetermined shopping day. We started by going to Chinatown, and shopped around there, and had lunch at Nice Green Bo. We then made our way up to the Upper East Side, where we went to Dylan’s Candy Bar on 3rd Ave and 60th St. We stopped by the New York Palace Hotel and then went to Fifth Ave, and shopped our way down to Times Square. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, which although is a bit pricy, has great food. We got back to Brooklyn in time to relax and watch the Golden Globes. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were AMAZING hosts. Everyone has already said this, but they should seriously host everything. I was happy for Jennifer Lawrence, the Les Mis cast, Ben Affleck, and Jessica Chastain. TV, I didn’t really care about, but I cheered when Lena Dunham won, because after seeing her ad for President Obama, I have wanted to start watching her TV show.

Monday, unfortunately, was our last day. Extreme sad face. We slept in, and had breakfast in Brooklyn. At the subway station, I was pretty confident that I saw the actress Mammie Gummer (sp?..from Emily Owens M.D. and The Ward). We then went to Columbus Circle, where the film, Winter’s Tale was filming (I have a website for filming locations).We were a bit early, so we walked around Central Park, and took some pictures. After seeing people begin to crowd around the corner of Central Park and Columbus Circle, we went over, where we saw that they were finishing setting up to film. We ended up seeing Jennifer Connelly, and were probably in one of the scenes they filmed before us and many others were moved, since we weren’t official extras or background actors. Oh how  I wish I was.

That was the end of our trip, and we headed back to Rhode Island on a long bus ride, where we took shifts charging our phones since only a few of the outlets on the bus worked. Acacia, Sam, and I had a great time there, and we definitely want to go back! Maybe in the summer though, when it is warm and sunny! The weather was a bit dreary when we were there. Nevertheless, New York City is truly a wonderful city, and I love going there. I want to live there at some point…I am a big city person. I hope everyone has had a good start to the new year, and will continue to!

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Last night at URI I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt for his Hit RECord Mini-Tour. I wan’t able to meet him (sad face) but it was still awesome to be so close to him. He may not be your stereotypical hot actor (like Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling, the like…), but to me, he is HOT.

He talked about his website, http://www.hitrecord.org, which is where people can post songs, movies, photos, stories, etc. that they’ve created, and even callaborate with other users on the site. We were able to see many things that users have created, and I’ve got to say, all of them were amazing. So, here are some photos (which aren’t that good…the iPhone 3 camera sucks), but, nevertheless, it’s freaking JOSEPH-GORDON-LEVITT, so who cares?

Link to Video 1:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zpCgFVDdsc

Link to Video 2:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsT9uog-eUQ

Link to Video 3:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=708DEyVcb6w

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Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do!

Other than my title being part of a wonderful song from the The Sound of Music, it also stands for my love of music. Now, to clear this up, I like to sing along to songs, but I am not a natural born singer. However, I am very good with music, and have a very good ear–therefore I can stay on tune, or play the melody of a song on the piano by memory. I get my musical talent and appreciation from my mother, who is a former opera singer. Nevertheless, I am not building a career out of music. I am an aspiring author, but, you never know…I could end up also writing song lyrics sometime in my life.

I like a whole slew of different kinds of music. The only “music” I can’t stand at all is metal/screamo. It gives me a headache, and screaming is not “music” in my mind. I DO like country, rock, pop, rap, R&B, jazz, classical, acapella, latin, and many more genres. My favorites, however, are country and rock.

Tomorrow, I am going to see Carrie Underwood with a friend in Hartford, CT (my second time seeing her live!), and I am extremely excited. Carrie Underwood is my favorite country artist, as well as my favorite singer. I did not watch American Idol when she was on it, but when she released her first few singles after winning, I became an instant fan. Ever since listening to Carrie Underwood, I have loved country music. Beforehand, I wasn’t a fan. I used to not be fans of a lot of kinds of music, but now I have a much wider taste of music. In Rhode Island, where I live, country isn’t a popular genre. Many people dislike it, which I think is absurd. Other favorites of mine in the country genre are Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean…I could go on forever, really. But I won’t.

My other favorite genre, rock, is also something I’ve been warming up to. I used to only listen to rock from the most recent years: Green Day, Muse, and Coldplay. Now, I listen to rock bands from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s. My taste of music actually goes back to the 1920s (with Frank Sinatra). I listen to The Beatles, Queen, Journey, Aerosmith, Poison, Joan Jett, and much more.

New bands and singers I have gotten into are One Night Only (indie rock band from the UK), Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, and more.

Here is my playlist on Spotify, if you would like to listen to it! The majority of the songs are those that aren’t on my iPod, but I want them to be. I only have an 8GB iPhone right now, and it doesn’t fit as much as I’d like! I will be getting an upgrade early next year though…I can’t wait to have more space!

If anyone wants to comment with songs or artists you think I’d like, feel free to! I love to be introduced to new music!

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