In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 20, 2011 / 18 Tamuz, 5771

Good riddance, Harry Potter

By Barry Koltnow

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Am I the only one who's happy to see the Harry Potter movies come to an end?

After eight movies, including the latest – "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2," which opens Friday, I have grown so tired of feigning interest in the boy wizard.

You might ask why I don't simply ignore the phenomenon like other reasonable adults who shun all things Potter? Well, that's the curse of the entertainment reporter. Yes, we occasionally get to eat lunch with a hot young actress who wouldn't have talked to us in high school, but the price of that access is that we have to see every movie that comes out, and we can't even walk out of the bad ones.

In the case of a successful film franchise like "Harry Potter," which has made more than $2 billion at the worldwide box office, I definitely can't miss a single movie because over the last decade, I have interviewed various cast members, directors and producers.

It's considered tacky to be uninformed in an interview, and there's nothing worse than mentioning the Romulans in a conversation with Daniel Radcliffe.

I want to emphasize that I am not a Harry hater.

In fact, I salute author J.K. Rowling for inspiring millions of kids to read. People who read have always been important to people who write because they used to grow up to become newspaper buyers. I'm not so sure about that anymore.

I am not one of those people who read Harry Potter books. To be honest, I have never read one Harry Potter book. But the millions of people who do are loyal readers. They count down the days until the publication of each book, and then line up like they were waiting for Lady Gaga concert tickets to go on sale.

Not reading the books was a defensible position on my part because I believe that movies based on books should stand on their own. The movies should not be an inside joke for a closed society of book-readers. The best comic-book movies are the ones that appeal to a wide audience that stretches beyond the average fan-boy.

And that in a nutshell explains my problem with the Harry Potter movies. True, the movies looked wonderful, with spectacular production values, and they seemed to be innocent fun. Other than that, I found nothing remarkable or memorable about any of the movies.

There, I've said it out loud.

Two days after seeing any Harry Potter movie, I forgot the movie completely. It did not resonate with me at all. As stand-alone movies, I found them completely unsatisfying, particularly the last one, which was a total rip-off (the studio split the final book into two movies for financial reasons). I felt cheated because it was only half a movie. Advance reviews on the new movie have been very good, but that's only because the previous one was so frustrating.

I have found it interesting to watch actors Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint grow up on the big screen, but it wasn't as if I held my breath to see what might happen to their characters in their next adventure. Most of the people who flocked to these movies already read the books, so they knew exactly what was going to happen. I never understood how the book readers could enjoy watching the movies when they knew what to expect.

As for the secondary characters – including Voldemort, Dumbledore and whoever Alan Rickman plays – they will not live on as great cinematic characters. I couldn't tell them apart on a bet.

I feel bad about this confession because it might be hurtful to my niece Mercedes. She and her mother Laurie are true Potter fans (books and movies), and they always called me to find out if I had seen an early screening of the newest movie.

I think she knew that I didn't read the books, but I always raved about the movies because I could tell that the fan base would like them.

Clearly, I was not the fan base, but I'm not the fan base for a lot of movies that I enjoy because they are well-made films with universal themes and characters I recognize.

Still, the Harry Potter film franchise is quite an achievement, and my position will not be a popular one.

The books and movies have legions of fans, and by the very definition of the word "fan," those fans are obligated to love these movies unconditionally. At the same time, they will condemn me for not falling into line.

But this is a big week for both of us – they're excited because the final Harry Potter film will hit theaters, and I'm excited because the final Harry Potter film will hit theaters.

Harry Potter fans and I have a lot in common.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Barry Koltnow's column by clicking here.


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