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May 28th, 2023

hocus pocus 2 spotlight pageSarah Jessica Parker, Bette Midler and Kathy Najimy return as the Sanderson sisters in a scene from “Hocus Pocus 2.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Nearly 30 years ago, audiences were introduced to the Sanderson sisters through the Disney film “Hocus Pocus,” which has taken its spot as a cult classic for the Halloween season thanks to multiple showings on TV throughout October. 

It was one I enjoyed watching when I was growing up, and when I heard earlier this year of a sequel officially happening and being released on Disney+, my first thought was “This could be either halfway decent or a complete trainwreck.” And ultimately, I ended up being right on both counts. 

Set 29 years after the events of the original film, “Hocus Pocus 2” follows friends Becca (Whitney Peak), Izzy (Belissa Escobedo) and Cassie (Lilia Buckingham) and other allies as they fight to keep Salem safe from the Sanderson sisters, Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy) and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker).

The chemistry between Midler, Najimy and Parker is still there, and there was definitely an air of excitement from all three of them to have the chance to step back into their witchy roles from nearly three decades ago. The trio is still able to play off of each other, and there are multiple moments of great comedic timing seen between them as the movie goes on, including a pair of catchy musical numbers. Throughout the years, the three have expressed an interest in returning for a sequel story at some point, and I thought it was great to see them back together. In some ways, it was almost like watching a family reunion. In that spirit, I really liked the opening scene that showed the trio as youngsters, and I thought the younger actresses did a great job capturing their older counterparts’ mannerisms and chemistry, particularly Taylor Paige Henderson as young Winifred. After I finished the movie, in fact, part of me wished there had been more time spent on the Sandersons’ early years, because I feel like there’s a lot to explore there. 

dont worry darling spotlightHarry Styles and Florence Pugh in a scene from the film “Don’t Worry Darling.” The movie is expected to be a big box office draw for the upcoming fall movie season. Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Those looking for some entertainment this fall and winter will certainly have no shortage of choices when it comes to movie selections at the theaters. 

According to Mitchell Theaters Owner Brian Mitchell, theaters are excited to be transitioning from summer blockbuster season to the fall season. Overall, Mitchell said, he was very pleased with what he saw this summer. 

“Our summer season started off huge with 'Top Gun: Maverick,' and we had that playing for quite a long time, and there wasn't really another move that touched that as far as box office numbers. Right after that, we had 'Elvis,' 'Jurassic World: Dominion' and a few other movies that really helped with our box office recovery, no doubt about that,” Mitchell said. “We had several of our locations that were back to full capacity, so we were really pleased with that, and I think a lot of that has to do with part of the last batch of COVID-19-related delayed movies finally being released, so people had been waiting for quite some time for those particular movies. We'll see some more of those delayed projects throughout the fall and winter like 'Black Adam,' the next 'Mission: Impossible' film and others, so we're ready to see how all of those end up doing. We started the summer out with a bang, ended with a bit of a lull, and we're gearing up for what we hope is a strong fall season. 'Top Gun: Maverick' was easily our biggest summer release this year, and I know there had been a lot of people waiting for that to come out after COVID-19 calmed down. 'Minions: The Rise of Gru' also did really well, and so did 'League of Super Pets,' so we were overall pretty happy with how the season turned out.”

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the storyteller spotlight pageELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Dave Grohl has been rocking out and entertaining fans for many years, and with several groups, most notably Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. With entertainment venues canceling shows due to lockdowns throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Grohl had quite a bit of time to tell his story and how he came to this point of his life. 

And Grohl certainly delivers with his memoir, “The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music,” which was released in October 2021. I picked the book up at the library rather recently, and I went into it mostly blind since I’d had mostly only a passing experience with his music. Ultimately, I ended up being glad I picked up the book. 

The first thing I noticed is how Grohl is actually an extremely good storyteller throughout and knows exactly what he wants to say and how he wants to say it. Grohl’s overall tone of the book is very straightforward and he’s not afraid to throw in some depreciating humor and the occasional curse word. My favorite stories come from the parts where he describes growing up and the famous (or infamous) hijinks he got into as a child, especially the various injuries he suffered due to those hijinks. After my initial thought of “How could one boy be THAT injury-prone?!” there were a few parts that reminded me of some of the foolish things I did when I was young, making for some good laughs. 

Grohl also does a great job at painting a picture for readers when describing his childhood home and different performance venues, among many other places. He has a great gift for description and I could almost see in my mind’s eye exactly what he was describing, from the number of people in the crowds at the performance venues to the old and decrepit van used to transport him and his band when he was starting out as a musician. There are also several photos sprinkled throughout the book to help fill in some of those details, and it was a wonderful blast into the past. It also goes to show how even some of the biggest rock stars in the world have rather humble beginnings and aren’t necessarily born with a guitar or a set of drumsticks in their hands. 

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