Pop Rocks

Pop Rocks: It's Nerd Throwdown Time - Twilight vs. Harry Potter And 9 Other Contests Of Geekery

Anyone watch the MTV Movie Awards? Anyone?

I didn't think so, mostly because I suspect the majority of Hair Balls/Art Attack readers are over the age of 12. And while I have no intention of revisiting the whole "'Music?"Television line of jokes, I did find it interesting that the network was trying to pit two upcoming soon-to-be-blockbusters against each other. It may have been nothing more than a promo puff piece speculating about whether one of the Twilight dudes would beat Daniel Radcliffe for Best Male Performance (I can only assume one of them did) but it did introduce me to the very real world of Potterheads vs. Twi'ileks...or whatever they call themselves.

This sort of nerdery is as old as entertainment itself (I bet if I looked hard enough I could find turn-of-the-century dorks arguing over whether the Selenites from Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon could beat up D.W. Griffith's Klansmen from Birth of a Nation). The Twilight vs. Potter debate just has the added value of incorporating large numbers of pre-adolescents, which mines previously uncharted depths of comedy gold. It's a matter of much import among individuals who doubtless would otherwise be participating in student government and team athletics.

This is the kind of thing we dorks thrive on. Many were the dateless evenings spent with my friends arguing the relative merits of Chuck Norris vs. Sho Kosugi or whether or not a Wookiee could pull a T-101's arms out of its sockets. Come to think of it, it's been a while since I went down that road. And so, to paraphrase another great American: "It's Wednesday night, I have no date (wife's asleep), a two-liter bottle of Shasta (Stone IPA), and my all-Rush mixtape (Signals on iTunes)...let's rock!"

Oh, and I should point out that my brand of dorkness doesn't include anime or MMORPGs or Warhammer, but relies heavily on 90s-era video games, bad movies, and worse TV shows. And as T'Pau once said, "this battle is to the death."

Twilight vs. Harry Potter

I'm surprised this "contest" is taken as seriously as it is. Does anyone honestly think Twilight is better? I mean sure, Harold Bloom hates Harry Potter, but I think that's only because he's never read Breaking Dawn.

The vampires and werewolves in the Twilight universe share most chracteristics traditionally ascribed to them in folklore, so they're reasonably powerful (the ability to go out in daylight is a big plus for vamps). That said, they'd probably be so wrapped up in gazing longingly into each others' eyes and wandering the rain-soaked woods they'd never hear the Order of the Phoenix walk up and drop a few dozen Avada Kedavras on their mopey asses.

Do J.K. Rowling's stories of adolescent wizards and Dementors and what-not actually instill a lifelong love of reading in children? Arguable. Of less uncertainty is the assertion that the only thing Stephenie Meyer's series is good for is for kindling the corpse fires after the zombie apocalypse forces us all back to the caves.

Gilligan's Island vs Lost

Clearly, the former crew and passengers of the S.S. Minnow possessed greater ingenuity and resourcefulness than the survivors of Oceanic flight 815. Look how well-coiffed and nattily dressed they were compared to those other disheveled bums. And could Hurley make a radio out of a coconut? I think not.

And Gilligan's Island churned out 98 episodes in only three seasons, escaping the island a couple times in the process. It took Lost twice that to reach a paltry 121 episodes. Only to let us know they were dead all along. *sarcastic clap*

And they never even got to meet the Harlem Globetrotters!

The Road Warrior vs. The Road

When did the end times become such a downer? I know, I know...even in the Rockatansky-verse, fuel is scarce, fallout is prevalent, and life is brutal, but compared to the 2009 film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's bummer, it might as well be South Beach. Maybe "The Man" and "The Boy" could have lifted their spirits with some leather ass-less chaps and a jaunty mohawk.

And if you got your hands on the last of the V-8 Interceptors (or a Pappagallo's sweet custom job with the twin Ford 351s) you'd be sitting in the proverbial catbird's seat, post-apocalyptically speaking.

The Chicago Blackhawks in Sega NHL '94 vs. the Dallas Cowboys in Madden 1994

My roommates and I played NHL '94 like we were getting paid overtime by the Teamsters for it, and I ended up with Chicago as my team of choice (a happy accident, as we all picked teams based on the city of our favorite NFL franchise...I'm a Bears fan). Jeremy Roenick was possibly the most feared player in the game; he could skate up on a breakaway, juke left, and shoot right, and 99 times out of 100 he'd score. And while Roenick was indeed nigh unstoppable, a lot of people seem to forget that Ed Belfour, the Blackhawks' goalie, was a freaking 98 out of 100. We had to limit game periods to 5 minutes so Chicago wouldn't beat the Whale 22-0 every time.

The '94 Cowboys, on the other hand, had Emmitt Smith; the most feared video game football player since Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. I-formation. Sweep right. Repeat. Tough call.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar