So here we are.

Some of us have been here since the beginning, and some of you are joining us for the first time. Either way, we’re all in this together now.

At the time of writing this, I am 22 years old. When Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone came out 9 ¾ years ago (gee, isn’t 9 ¾ that platform at King’s Cross where we begin and end our journey with Harry?) I was twelve years old, just a year older than Mr. Potter himself.

I remember sitting in my cushy red theater seat and watching the shiny golden Warner Brothers logo pass me by for the very first time. I remember that I had to wait until my mom got off work so that she could drive me to the theater and that my cousin Matt had somehow persuaded me to put mustard on my popcorn. Very vividly, I remember the feeling I got deep in the recesses of my childhood when the first frame of the entire series was projected on the screen.

It was an owl, illuminated by the moonlight, perched on a sign that read “Privet Drive”.

I inhaled sharply with all the fervent expectation that a twelve year old boy could possibly muster, fully knowing that I was about to watch the film that I had been waiting for ever since I read the last sentence of Sorceror’s Stone.

I remember laughing every time that Hagrid muttered “I shouldn’t have told yeh that”, and I remember being terrified when Harry, Ron and Hermione encountered Fluffy, the vicious three-headed dog. More than anything though, I remember what I was thinking.

This was made for me.

Being a clueless (and admittedly weird) twelve year old boy, this was a particularly powerful notion. I knew nothing of marketing, films, or the four quadrants of audiences.

All I knew was that for years, the Harry Potter books had been a source of escape for me. I would get lost for hours at a time in Harry’s world, wishing that Hogwarts had existed and telling myself over and over again that my letter had simply gotten lost in the mail.

When I was pulled from grade school and moved to an unfamiliar junior high school, (in hindsight, this is a very cruel practice that is still happening in some parts of the world today) Hogwarts was the place where I sought stability. While other kids made new friends, started going to parties and began their rebellion against their parents, I made friends with the librarian and spent my lunches with Harry.

How funny was it then that as Harry grew, met horrible teachers, had his first kiss, and got average grades, there I was alongside him doing the same. Harry’s last year at Hogwarts coincided with my graduation from high school, and although I did not defeat a Dark Lord, I did manage a 3.3 grade point average.

That’s the thing though. I absorbed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows as an adult with the same ferocity with which I absorbed Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone as a child. In retrospect, the tones of both novels appear to be meant for different people.

I realize only now that it was because they are meant for different people.

The kid inside me that finds troll bogies to be uproariously funny is not the same adult that was able to appreciate Harry’s psychological victory over Voldemort. The boy that delighted in the bright tones and golden atmosphere of the Chris Columbus films isn’t the same man that is moved by the darker tones and adult subject matter that has slowly encompassed Harry’s life.

When I was a kid, I thought that Sorceror’s Stone was made for me, and that’s because it was. It was made for the kid who read books in the library all day, the kid who was the youngest in his family, and the kid who felt like he didn’t fit into this world and had to commandeer another. I found pieces of myself in Hermione, Ron and Harry, so to me, their journey was real.

I am older now and they are still so real to me. They aren’t like my other obsessions which have slowly faded in and out of attention. Harry Potter has stayed with me until the very end and I intend to do the same.

Even in this world of fiction that Harry lives in, moments sometimes ring so harshly true and I have to remind myself that these aren’t my real childhood buddies, they are Jo’s imaginary friends.

A particularly striking scene for me is the moment in Half Blood Prince when Harry hits Draco with the Sectumsempra curse. You may remember from Chamber of Secrets that this is not Harry’s first duel with Malfoy. In the book, they spring tickling charms and slightly more violent (but still relatively un-lethal) spells at each-other. In Half Blood Prince when Harry sends his mysterious Sectumsempra curse at Malfoy, it slashes him across the chest, splattering blood on the floor. If not for moaning Myrtle, Harry would have murdered Malfoy.

I still remember reading that part of the book and having to physically set it down at that point. The characters were so real to me, and until this point Malfoy was one of the main antagonists whom Harry (and by association, me) hated with a fervor. Why then was his almost death so striking to me? Why was it more shocking than say, Sirius or Cedric’s death? It was because like Harry, I grew up with Draco. He was real to me.

For those following along with my own personal and less thrilling story, the sixth book came out when I was sixteen. I was the same age as Harry when he accidentally mortally wounded the fellow teenager that his childhood had naively labeled as his enemy.

Now, as I buy my advance tickets to a midnight showing of Harry Potter for the last time, I mourn the end of the masterful series of films that I unfairly once labeled as my enemy.

I know what you are about to say. “The film series is GARBAGE compared to the books!” “Daniel Radcliffe can’t act and he ruined it!” “The film-makers should be JAILED for not including [insert favorite moment from the book here]!” In some ways you’re right, but to me the Harry Potter films have been about more than just satisfying me. The beautiful thing about these movies is that just like the books, I grew up with them and they grew up with me.

I remain convinced that fifty years from now, students studying film will learn about the Harry Potter series as a work of art. You might disagree with me, but you must admit that no series of films have grown up with an audience the way this one has. For years, people will look at those films and envy the generation that got to grow up with Harry Potter.

For the rest of my life, I will watch those films and remember my childhood. I will remember growing up with Harry as no generation has ever grown up with a fictional character before.

As Harry discovered his world, I slowly discovered mine. As Harry learned about cruelty, racism, greed and corruption, so did I. As Harry gained friends that he would readily give his life for, so did I. As Harry eventually discovered that the world isn’t conveniently  labeled or separated by good and evil, so did I.

To steal a line from a random Tumblr user, when my grandchildren see me compulsively re-reading the books and re-watching the movies, they might ask “Really? After all this time?” to which I will smile and respond with “Always.”

The phrase ‘end of an era’ has been tossed around plenty lately, but no one will understand what that means more than our generation. We got to live the magic. We got to watch as our childhood friends made their way to the big screen, and we have watched them laugh, play, kiss, dance and die. No other generation can say this. It was us. We were the chosen ones.

Now we have the task of saying goodbye. The series that was made for us is coming to a close, and for many of us, this also means saying goodbye to our childhoods. Before you start tearing up, let me remind you of some words said by the wisest man any of us had the privilege of growing up with.

“It isn’t really goodbye after all.”

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In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Read full article

In interesting but potentially brilliant casting news, comedian Amy Schumer will be taking on the role of Barbie for a live-action film.

Take a moment to soak in the news. Now revel in the idea. This could be awesome.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Amy Schumer is not only leading the project on screen, but she’ll also have an influence on the script.

Last year, Sony had their pick of three complete scripts for a live-action Barbie movie. Of those three, they chose Hilary Winston’s. Now that Schumer is on board, THR says to expect her and her sister, Kim Caramele, to rewrite Winston’s original idea.

The plot, given that Schumer doesn’t change the major details, “begins in a perfect land of Barbies where one woman slowly awakens to the fact that she doesn’t fit it. She is expelled from the idealistic land and journeys to the real world, where she discovers that being unique is an asset.”

The outlet also addresses the fact that Mattel has had to deal with plenty of criticism regarding body image and race when it comes to the Barbie toys. Schumer’s casting is a great way to speak to some of those issues, and will hopefully provide a positive and uplifting message by the movie’s end.

There will be, of course, some hesitation given Schumer’s previous work. One only has to look as far as Trainwreck and Inside Amy Schumer to see her comedy is often brutally honest and raunchy. Barbie would be shocked.

But Schumer is an actress, after all, and a brilliant comedian. For this “contemporary spin on beauty, feminism and identity,” she seems like just the right fit.

What do you think of Amy Schumer as Barbie?

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Read full article

It’s arguably the biggest day for Hamilton fans since the release of the original Broadway recording: The Hamilton Mixtape has arrived!

Following years of development, the Hamilton Mixtape was released around the world on Friday, December 2. Mixtape features, well, remixes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton hits, sung by artists both big and small from various genres.

To celebrate the album’s release, a special #Ham4Ham was hosted at the Richard Rodgers Theater on Thursday night, where names like Ashanti, Ja Rule, Regina Spektor, and Andra Day performed their songs from Mixtape:

Stream ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’:

Spotify users can easily stream The Hamilton Mixtape below. You can also listen here via Apple Music.:

And you can purchase a physical copy from Amazon here (you know all the Hamilton fans in your life will want a physical copy):

Hamilton Mixtape tracklist

1. No John Trumbull (Intro) – The Roots
2. My Shot (feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess) [Rise Up Remix] – The Roots
3. Wrote My Way Out – Nas, Dave East, Lin-Manuel Miranda & Aloe Blacc
4. Wait For It – Usher
5. An Open Letter (feat. Shockwave) [Interlude] – Watsky
6. Satisfied (feat. Miguel & Queen Latifah) – Sia
7. Dear Theodosia (feat. Ben Folds) – Regina Spektor
8. Valley Forge (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
9. It’s Quiet Uptown – Kelly Clarkson
10. That Would Be Enough – Alicia Keys
11. Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) – K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente
12. You’ll Be Back – Jimmy Fallon & The Roots
13. Helpless (feat. Ja Rule) – Ashanti
14. Take A Break (Interlude) – !llmind
15. Say Yes To This – Jill Scott
16. Congratulations – Dessa
17. Burn – Andra Day
18. Stay Alive (Interlude) – J.PERIOD & Stro Elliot
19. Slavery Battle (Demo) – Lin-Manuel Miranda
20. Washington’s By Your Side – Wiz Khalifa
21. History Has Its Eyes On You – John Legend
22. Who Tells Your Story (feat. Common & Ingrid Michaelson) – The Roots
23. Dear Theodosia (Reprise) – Chance The Rapper & Francis and The Lights

What are our favorite performances on ‘The Hamilton Mixtape’?

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

Read full article

Chris Pratt is currently on a press tour for Passengers. Jennifer Lawrence may or may not be there too.

Passengers, the new sci-fi epic starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, comes out later this month. The promo tour has kicked off in Europe, with the two stars on hand to answer all our questions.

To entertain himself (and his fans!), Chris Pratt has been updating his Instagram with funny photos and captions from the tour.

There’s some real gold in there, but the best part is when he realizes that fans really want to see some pictures of Jennifer Lawrence — who doesn’t have her own social media accounts — and proceeds to very decidedly not include her!

Update: He did it again.


See some of the hilarious posts from Chris Pratt below:

Finally got that selfie with Jen y'all wanted. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Just hanging with my bestie Jen. #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here Jen and I pose with @elrubiuswtf

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Here's an extremely artistic and meaningful video I made in which Jen is heavily featured. #passengersmovie

A video posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Another day down with me and my best buddy Jen. #London #passengersmovie

A photo posted by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Not going to lie — we’re almost as excited for the press interview videos as we are for the movie itself!

‘Passengers’ hits cinemas on December 21