Phew. Round 1 was INTENSE, but after much voting, our victor was Isabel Sterling’s THE HUNGER GAMES!
Next? That’s right. It’s Round 2. And it’s HARRY POTTER VS. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.
Marissa Kennerson has magic on her side, but Arvin Ahmadi may just have some tricks up his sleeve yet. Let’s hear from the authors!
First up, Marissa Kennerson defending Harry Potter!
Perks Smack Down
Perks of a Wallflower is an important movie, dealing with profound issues such as suicide, loss, despair and sexual abuse. There’s no getting around that. Respect. Its jaunty dance scene featuring Come on Eileen, will get you as pumped as any makeover montage out there. But, much like Dexy’s Midnight Runners hit song, Perks is a bit of a one-off. Not so, Harry Potter, which is a lifestyle.
Harry Potter paints one of the most imaginative worlds we’ve ever come across as movie-goers. (Star Wars fans, I see you. I got you.) Harry Potter takes what life can throw at all of us (the good and the bad): loneliness, friendship, bullying, figuring out who you are and your place in the world, facing your fears, the importance of perseverance and romance – to name just a few; and wraps it all up in an intoxicating world of magic. You’ve got tailor-made magic wands and spirit animals for protection, jelly beans that let you make animals sounds, a hat that places you with your peeps DAY ONE, a magic marauding map and so much more. So. Much. More.
Harry Potter gave so many people who felt like outsiders, a community of like-minded folk to call home. It showed us there’s a place for us no matter who we are. The movies walk us through the trials and tribulations of growing up, but cloaks our longings, our anxieties, our joys and our hopes, in a wizarding world that makes our imaginations soar with inspiration and delight. In closing, I will also say what a dear friend of mine said to me, “Hermione is the wizard equivalent of Wonder Woman.” Wand drop.
Next up…Arvin Ahmadi defending The Perks of Being a Wallflower!
Socializing is hard. We’ve all been that person in the corner of a party, wishing we were anywhere else but there. We’ve all found ourselves in a conversation wondering, “What the hell am I supposed to do with my hands?” I think that’s why The Perks of Being a Wallflower is such a powerful story: we all relate to the protagonist Charlie. We’ve all been that socially confused teenager. Many of us still are.
There’s a scene in the movie I think about a lot. In it, Charlie is standing by himself against a wall at a school dance. It’s a total Awkward Turtle moment. But then something spectacular happens. A song comes on—“Come on Eileen”—and slowly, Charlie starts moving. He swings his arms. Bops his head a little. And he moves away from the wall and joins his friends on the dance floor—a short-haired Emma Watson and an eccentric Ezra Miller. He comes alive.
It’s not a big moment. It’s not like discovering the Chamber of Secrets, or winning the Hunger Games. But it’s a moment that matters. That’s what I love so much about Perks, and what makes it the perfect YA movie: it cranks the volume up on those little moments.
Maybe I’m just biased because I wish I could be best friends with Emma Watson and Ezra Miller. Maybe I’m a sucker for a good soundtrack. But that school dance scene reminded me of the best kind of growing up moments, the ones where you surprise yourself by taking a leap out of your comfort zone. Those are the moments where you feel truly… infinite.
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