Arguments – they’re part of life. We’re all competitive beasts, never wanting to admit fault or defeat, and will go to great lengths when defending our honor when challenged or threatened. Arguments have started wars, shattered relationships, broken families, declared victors, but have also awarded respect. A win will always be a win, but longstanding respect and admitted defeat are far greater trophies than another tally mark on a record sheet somewhere. That’s where our story begins for this group of alcohol swigging, loud mouthed master-debaters (had to make that joke once, c’mon!), connected by our love of whiskey, which is only overpowered by our love for all things pop culture – cinema, music, television, gaming, you name it. Inebriation and verbal assaulting, how could this go wrong?!
Needless to say, all we do now is argue about pop culture and hot topics of the day. Despite sounding like the grunts and groans of a pack of psychopaths, we decided to translate our debates into a readable affair. This means that every few weeks or so, we will be posting our thoughts on upcoming releases and pop culture in general. Since agreeing is for peace-loving hippies, our arguments will be broken up into two sides, and the winner is decided by the readers. Yes, our fates are in your hands!
Before we begin though, allow us to introduce ourselves.
Christian: A nearly retired cop with nothing left to lose, Christian turned to bath salts and cat urine to deal with losing three wives and up to seven stepchildren (they were gingers though, does that even count?). Although it is true that he is extremely opinionated, Christian only pushes his opinions on those he loves most (especially you, dear reader). Famous for his last stand at the Alamo and ability to produce children with a single look, this is a man who should by no means be considered harmless. Aside from devilish good looks and cologne that doesn’t come in an aluminum can, his knowledge of everything pop-culture will leave wives crying for divorce and daughters breaking the locks their fathers rightfully installed on their chastity belts. Debating isn’t exactly his strong suit, but he did once defeat a whole debate team using only the power of a flamethrower, so maybe that counts.
Gem: Gem has lived the secluded life of an academic, dedicated to a better understanding of critical analysis. Emerging from five years struggling to insert page numbers into Word, Gem indulged in the world of film to satiate her creative side – from which burst the need to obliterate those who do not agree with her inane, profane ranting. Her most critically acclaimed debate was executed at this year’s Comic Con when she swayed a crowd of riotous nerds into agreeing that yes, a coat rack could defeat Wolverine. The opposition doesn’t stand a chance.
Nato: Traveling back in time from a dystopian universe where pop culture debates are a game of life and death, Nato (formerly Natobombious Kick-Assious) continues to extend his unbeaten streak against the competition he now sees in three (barely) functioning alcoholics who devour useless entertainment factoids like the bottles of Jack taped to their hands. Matt can make a case for anything, but enjoys the new challenge of debate through writing, disabling his hypnotically enchanting “hair-flip” closing visual, typically bringing competition to their knees with one swiftly punctuated “swoosh.” Who needs a closing argument when you have great hair? You’re about to witness the great lengths he’s willing to go and mighty stretches he’s willing to make, abandoning all notions of self-respect just to deliver the most convincing arguments conceivable. A pop-culture chameleon, Nato can do it all. We promise we’ll do our best to contain him, but it might be too late already…
Alex: Formed from the recovered DNA of Stephen A. Douglas, Ben Franklin, and Socrates, Alex is an unstoppable force in an argument. Basically every epic speech in every courtroom movie/TV show ever was copied verbatim from arguments Alex has made. If the world listened to his points on abortion, gay marriage, or America’s healthcare system, all people would finally be in agreement. But why waste his talents on such minutia? It’s the world of the media that sparks the fiercest debates, and thus his fiercest opinions. But just because he’s such an eloquent debater in person doesn’t mean that doesn’t translate into his writing. Some argue the pen is mightier than the sword. Well Alex doesn’t write with a pen, he uses a sword to slice paper into the words that crush those who disagree. Whoever opposes him ought to fear for not only their dignity, but their safety as well.
Today’s Argument: Which Cinematic Witch Casts The Most Enchanting Spell?
There have been a ridiculous number of witches in the media ranging from the silly (Sabrina) to the downright evil (the original Wicked Witch of the West). With Oz The Great And Powerful in theaters, we’re faced with another few witches to add to the ranks of cinematic sorceresses. The question that the Throwdown team decided to tackle this week is which witch is the most memorable. Ranging from absolute infatuation to the most scarring of fears, there are different reasons why these witches stand out, but only one can truly be the best!Next
Alex – Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter Franchise)
When I heard that we would be arguing the best witch ever this week, it took me a grand total of half a breath to instantly call dibs on Hermione. Had someone else insisted on arguing her case, I would’ve instantly quit the Throwdown team, packed my bags, and started writing for some Harry Potter fan blog.
Does that sound overly dramatic? Yes, it probably does. Is it an exaggeration? If you think so, convince one of the other three to test me next time there’s a chance to argue for Hermione. Also, just to give you fair warning, I’m probably going to carry on a bit longer than I usually do with this argument, and things could get a bit weird, but that’s because I’m writing from the heart here (aww). This argument is partially about Emma Watson as the character, but it is just as much a autobiographical account of Alexander Lowe.
Hermione was the first literary character I fell in love with. I’m not kidding. Head over heels in love. Ask any of my ex-girlfriends, the reason we didn’t work out probably stems from them not measuring up to the standard J.K. Rowling set with the wonderful character she created.
I read The Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets in quick succession in the late ’90s, before any of the films had been made. I honestly didn’t find my love for Hermione until Chamber of Secrets. In the first book she really isn’t set up as a character for everyone to love. She spends most of her time being a whiny, know-it-all. While she does become a bit more likable by the end of the novel, it isn’t until the second book that she really comes into her own. I think what really won me over was her willingness to make the Polyjuice Potion. This was the first real indication that she could indeed be a badass trouble-maker, not just a teacher’s pet. And there is nothing sexier than a smart, trouble-maker. (Yes I realize I just said sexy in reference to a girl who was 12 in the book, I was 10 when I read it. Relax.)
As the book series carried on, Hermione did more and more to quickly become my greatest literary love, but something important happened after I read the second book, the series’ films began their way into production. So we now were going to have a living, breathing person playing a character which previously was just words on a page and the wonders of my imagination. And that scared the crap out of me. A miscast (pun intended) of Hermione would be the ultimate move to cement the Harry Potter films as the worst adaptations of all time, before one was even made. I mean anyone can play a boy who is the only one to survive a killing curse, and anyone can play the greatest wizard of all time and the only one that the Dark Lord fears, but playing Hermione? Well that’s a task that I simply didn’t think could be done. Especially by an 11-year-old child. This actress was going to have to become the character for the next decade of her life, and try to embody a mere speck of the magic that Rowling wrote. It was surely a hopeless cause.
But then, one of the most fateful casting decisions in cinematic history was made. A little wide-eyed, bushy-haired girl named Emma Watson won the role, and instantly destroyed any image I had created of the character in my mind. In fact, thinking back I can’t even picture what I thought Hermione looked like. All I can remember is Emma Watson in her first year at Hogwarts, perfectly capturing everything there was to love about the character.
Watson actually was able to do the unimaginable. She made the character more incredible on film than she was in the books. Yes, that’s another very bold statement, but I stand by it. The Hermione in the Harry Potter films is better than the one in the book. Not significantly mind you, but better nonetheless.
But this isn’t an argument about whether Watson properly played Hermione (you’d be a fool to say no), it’s about which witch is the best witch ever. The reasons why Hermione is the best are just about endless. I could open the dictionary to any adjective and write 10,000 words about how she embodies that trait better than any other witch, but I’m going to try to concisely run through the reasons why she is the premier spell-caster ever to grace the big screen with her presence.
The first reason that she’s the best witch ever is the fact that she’s as clever as possible. Clever is actually an understatement, she’s absolutely brilliant. She’s top of her class, and anytime anyone needs an answer about anything she’s able to provide it. All her essays are overlong (kind of like this one) and she is spotless with her spell-casting. She also knows where to find answers, constantly dashing to the library for days until she finds the correct passage from some obscure book to support her theory. Not only does she use that brilliance for things like school, but she also manages to use it for little things like defeating the evilest wizard to ever live. She comes up with clever lies to get exactly where she needs to, and uses that ability to always help others. If she wanted to do something malicious, no one would be able to stop her, however she’s always good. She may have cared a bit too much about school at times, (“I hope you’re pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed – or worse, expelled”), but it paid off as she became the smartest one at Hogwarts. It’s also incredibly impressive that she’s as smart as she is when she didn’t even grow up in the wizarding world.
That’s right, she wasn’t born into a wizarding family. Both her parents are dentists, yet she’s able to become such a brilliant witch. She’s persecuted by magic purists, and she still is able to prevail and succeed in the wizarding world. Her story is one that everyone can relate to on some level, and it makes for just another reason to love the girl. If you kept a dry eye while watching her wipe herself from her parents’ memories in order to protect them, I have to wonder how many times you split your own soul.
She has the best heart of any witch ever. Her and Harry are hiding out in the countryside, starving half to death, in order to save the entire world from enslavement and sure doom. They steal a couple of eggs from a local farm, in order to survive, and Hermione feels so bad that she insists on leaving money for the farmers. They’re working to save that farmer’s life, with not a thanks to be heard, and she wants to leave money? My heart’s so warm just thinking about it that it may well break. That is just one minor example of the goodwill of this girl. She also starts S.P.E.W. because she feels horrible about the treatment of House Elves, a treatment which has gone unquestioned for centuries. She punches Malfoy in the face when he mocks the execution of the Hippogriff. I could go on and on with all the sweet things that this girl does, but I think you get the picture.
On the note of punching Malfoy, she isn’t afraid to get dirty, or physical. She probably shows the least fear in the forbidden forest or in dark situations of anyone. She’s willing to live on the run with Harry and Ron for a whole year, all for the greater good. She shows no hesitancy when it comes to digging into some nasty potions, and she drinks the Polyjuice potion like it’s nothing.
She also stands up for what she believes in. She isn’t afraid to walk out of Divination Class when she realizes it’s an utter load of crap. Like I already mentioned, she stands up for House Elves, and she was willing to punch Malfoy when he was being a git. She’s strong-willed and confident in her believes, an incredibly attractive set of traits.
Another excellent thing about Hermione is she doesn’t fall for the hero. Sure, Ron is a hero in his own right, but she’s able to stay good friends with the titular character and avoid creating another cliche romance. Some may say that the fact she falls for Ron instead of Harry means there’s obviously something wrong with her, but we all need our good friends, and the friendship between Harry and Hermione is wonderful, as is her romance with Ron. Teenage love at its finest.
Her beauty is unrivaled in the ranks of witches. I know there have been some gorgeous witches, and Mila Kunis certainly is up there on the list, but Emma Watson’s Hermoine is in a league of her own. It was first apparent at the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire, but by the seventh film she was stunningly beautiful even when covered in mud and grime from months without a proper bath.
I could go on for pages and pages, but I think I’ve made my case quite clear. Hermoine is the best witch ever, and there’s no sense in arguing it.Previous Next
Nato – Elvira (Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark)
Being the horror freak I am, picking my favorite witch is a damn hard decision. So many sexy spell-casting seductresses have been brewing up magical potions and tormenting normal humans over the years, but a few have proved much worthier broom-riders than others. With that said, there is one super easy pick that no one in the history of horror can argue (completely not true) – Elvira.
Yes, how do you go any farther than one of the most tantalizing female icons in horror, the Mistress of Darkness herself. I mean how can you get past that gigantic 80s hairstyle, pasty-pale vampire-esque skin, voluptuous lips, slamming body, monstrous…umm…”eyes.
Sure, she isn’t a conventional witch like Sabrina or Hermione, but hell, a long-time horror hostess who thinks a dark book of spells is actually a cook book still counts as witchcraft to me, right? Who cares if she doesn’t even realize it until she mistakenly makes a creature for dinner when trying to impress her cinematic crush, she still made the damn monster out of a mystical recipe!
Yes, while Elvira: Mistress of the Dark isn’t exactly the best horror comedy you’ll ever see, it is pretty damn fun. Not like classy fun, more like trashy ’80s horror comedy fun with plenty of perverted humor and some cool monsters to give the whole thing a cheesy horror edge. That’s what’s great about the ’80s and Elvira though, the whole unapologetic and exploitative nature of the material which absolutely acknowledges the type of garbage entertainment it’s aiming for while completely achieving the right amount of schlock and stupidity to bring it all together.
Elvira herself embodies every bit of the above mentioned personality herself, being the bloodline and heartbeat of the movie, and again exists as the perfect perpetuation of a unique set of horror ideals. She’s overly sexual and flaunts nothing but man-eating power with her skimpy clothes, delivers this cringe-worth one-liners you just can’t help but chuckle at, plays a wonderful hostess part, and works magnificently with others. Oh yeah, then there’s the whole witchcraft, demon summoning side of her which makes her even hotter because hey, who isn’t attracted to that freaky goth chick type girl? There’s something dangerous about liking a female who can seemingly end your life in a matter of words, curious at the pleasure you can both achieve as well.
Sorry, you can keep your pre-pubescent wizard school attendees and kiddie movie star witches, I’ll take the full-bodied vixen who stole the hearts of America – and then ate them for dinner.Previous Next
Christian – The Sanderson Sisters (Hocus Pocus)
Witches have been a mainstay in American lore ever since we started burning each other over a few innocent curses. Luckily, the outlook on this group has changed over the course of the years, either remaining deadly adversaries or sexy spellcasters that look great in black. But which witch is the witch which we wish to watch?
In this case, it’s not one witch, but three. The Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus take the cake in a landslide for their obsessive lust of remaining young. In a risqué move for Disney to take, the witches keep their youth by stealing the souls of young children. Before they’re hung for their evil deeds, their spell book somehow casts a spell that makes it possible for them to come back to life if a virgin lights their black candle on Halloween.
Of course this oddly specific turn of events occurs, and the witches spend the rest of the film chasing the virgin and her friends in hopes of getting their spellbook back. It’s a bit strange, and the whole virgin motif is strange for Disney, but what really matters is how awesome these witches are.
The three sisters Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) are all murderous witches, leaving behind lame cauldrons and curses for straight up murder, specifically of innocent children. When they discover that they’ve only been resurrected for Halloween, they vow to kill even more children than they’re chasing. It’s perfectly sick and twisted, and rightfully traumatized me when I was young.
Seriously, these witches are terrifying because they’re put in the context of a freaking Disney movie, shown on Halloween every year for children to watch. Children who are at risk of being murdered by witches that they have no beef with. Children who are being chased by zombies that the witches raised from the dead, because they can totally do that. Children who could be turned into cats if they ever speak of what they’ve seen the witches do.
Oh, did I forget to mention they make a kid watch his sister’s life get taken in front of his eyes? And if that weren’t enough, they turn him into a black cat who will live forever with the memories of what he has seen, along with the torment of never forgetting that he couldn’t save his sister.
So forget the sexy witches, green witches or crushed under a house witches, because the Sanderson Sisters are the most purely evil of the bunch. Nobody loves a dead child like these three, and my six-year-old self will never forget that.Previous Next
Gem – The Grand High Witch (The Witches)
As a child, the well-worn caution of “don’t take sweets from strangers” often felt like a mood dampener for the sake of being denied yet another Curly Wurly. After viewing the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches that can soon change as fear replaces frustration, because it’s actually hook-nosed witches trying to end you.
Sat at the top of the hierarchy of bitches, encouraging witches around the globe to indulge in a light spot of child murder is cinema’s finest broom-rider, The Grand High Witch. Forget your PVC-clad, eyeliner-wearing, cleavage-wobblin’ witches who get what they want by thrusting their fun bags around, this witch makes no bones about it: she’s got a face like a mouldy bag of walnuts. And when one is faced (no, don’t pardon the pun) with a visage which makes passers-by want to get a nutcracker out, it makes sense to steal Anjelica Huston’s face for public outings.
In a similar way that celebrities opt to use only a first name, The Grand High Witch chooses to wield further power and fear in her name-as-descriptor. She’s far more terrifying without a normal first name, which was probably something benign like Brenda. We know this to be effective as every character who has a geyser of exposition for Neo in The Matrix is often called what they are (The Architect, The Oracle, The Washing Machine Repair Man.)
We know The Grand High Witch is ugly, no-named and wants to wipe out children across the planet. But what of her plans, you say? You cannot evaluate a witch’s cinematic presence without the summation of her evil entirety: her dreams and ambitions. The Grand High Witch doesn’t scrimp on the bonkers or on the scale of her crazy. Setting up a conference for witches worldwide, under the banner of the RSPCC (The Royal Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Children – oh, the hilarity) she reveals her plan.
As is announced early on in the film, children emit a pungent odour only detected by witches which sets their gag reflexes into overdrive and can also make their eyes roll back (very attractive) – so needless to say, The Grand High Witch wants to eradicate all children by essentially drugging them. No friggin’ wonder parents popped in a VHS of this flick when their kiddies’ tantrums flared up. It’s a genius sign of Roald Dahl’s genuine love for children in which he makes it clear that while strangers may appear nice, they most likely want to drug you with choccy bars, turn you into a rodent and stomp on you.
Which, is her plan. Summoning all of the witches to the conference room in the hotel, she demonstrates how her poison works after luring a boy with the promise of a Mars bar and turns him into a mouse. This is where TGHW shines. She’s bonkers. She’s got the leanings of an unhinged criminal mastermind as well as adhering to general witch lore. Why on earth would you opt to turn the children into mice once you’ve poisoned them? Wouldn’t it be easier to just have them vanish in a puff of childlike smoke? No. Not good enough for TGHW, she’s got to embellish and let her imaginative flare have room to be stroked like a black cat with an ego problem.
The Grand High Witch is the epitome of an evil cauldron stirrer: she’s wily, uglier than an ocean of sin and madder than a giraffe trying to pretend it’s a coat rack.
The arguments have been made! Now it’s your turn, head to the comments section and weigh-in on which witch you like the best.
And if you liked this Throwdown, maybe you’d like to check out one of our past arguments, such as Movie Sidekicks With The Most Negative InfluencePrevious