Q&A with a ChicagoNow blogger: Julie Hammerle, Hammervision

If you look around ChicagoNow today, you will see dozens of bloggers interviewing one another.  It's a site-wide event.  I signed up for the project blind, but ended up THE LUCKIEST.  The person who interviewed me is the first blogger I met at CN- Nicole Knepper, super-famous lady-voice of Moms Who Drink and Swear.  Check out her writeup!  Buy her book!!

The SECOND person I met at ChicagoNow was, well, actually two people.  Julie and John Hammerle are the stellar movie-reviewing, TV-recapping couple behind Hammervision.  I read every single word in their blog.  So, it was an honor to interview Julie in her Edison Park home.

Julie and I chatted about Game of Thrones, Frozen, and other media hotness.  I hope you enjoy our conversation, and read more of Hammervision afterward.  Julie does all of the geeky media coverage I wish I could.



Julie (and John!) Hammerle

Geek Girl Chicago: "For my readers who have never read Hammervision before, please tell me what you write about."

Julie Hammerle: "My husband John and I started this blog four years ago, I think.  We're both really into TV and movies.  It's kind of the thing that brought us together when we met.  He tends to see every movie that comes out, so he writes about that, and I watch more of the TV stuff.  Although, we'll review movies together when we see them together.  ...but that doesn't happen that often anymore."

GGC: "Didn't you guys just go last night?"

JH: "We did!  We saw The Fault in Our Stars.  Now that the kids are getting bigger, I feel like we're getting out more, too."

GGC: "So you do reviews, I've seen some recaps... what are some other types of posts that you publish?"

JH: "Sometimes [John] will do lists... I'll write about lifestyle stuff.  I'm a stay at home mom, so if something occurs to me parent-wise I'll write about that. TV recaps are kind of my standard thing."

GGC: "Speaking of those, I've seen you do Game of Thrones recaps.  However, you also have GoT 'Winners and Losers,' which is more of a comedy-type thing.  What inspired you to have both?"

JH: "Oh, good question!  First of all, I write the recaps so quickly... It's such a race to get them up first."

GGC: "Right, because you're not the only person doing them."

JH: "It's so over-saturated.  So, I just kind of vomit out a recap on Sunday night, and then... I thought the 'Winners and Losers' thing was kind of fun, because it changes on a dime with that show.  Somebody's doing really well, then all of a sudden they're dead!"

GGC: (laughs)

JH: "I've read the books, so...  I know what's coming.  I know that these people who are on top now will not be on top at the end of it... It does give me a chance to get my opinions in there a little bit more than the recap.  It gives me a few minutes to think about what actually happened in the episode, and what it means to the season as a whole."

GGC: "Do you think George R. R. Martin is going to finish the series, now that a potential eighth book is on the table?"

JH: "I think he will be dead before he gets to the end of it... He's not a healthy-looking man!"

GGC: "Yea, I thought maybe we'd get seven, but if he needs it to be eight books, I don't think he's gonna-"

JH: "Nobody knows how he works!  His editor- I think she was kind of covering for him- did a little interview where she talked about his process.  Like a year ago, she saw 150 pages of the next book, and that's all she's seen.  I'm hoping maybe he's doing what he did for the fourth and fifth books, and just spewing out all the stuff...  Or, if he doesn't make it, I hope somebody has good notes."

GGC: "Over three months ago, I watched the movie Mulan 2 on Netflix.  It was just the worst.  I don't normally write about movies, but I composed this terrible review.  To this day, I swear- several times a week Mulan 2 fanatics are finding this thing and just blasting it.  What are some of the most memorable comments- negative or positive- you've received on your blog?"

JH: "I used to blog for another website about American Idol.  It was actually around the time Dreamgirls came out, and Diana Ross- I don't remember if she was actually on Idol, or if they were just doing Diana Ross songs.  I made a comment that she had said herself- that she wasn't the best singer in The Supremes.  The Diana Ross Fan Club found me.  There were like 200 comments of just, "[You] know nothing!"  That was kind of a turning point, too.  I was like, "I can't care. They are going to find this."

The other one- and I don't remember specific quotes- but I did a Breaking Bad recap of the train episode that everyone loved.  People were just raving about it.  I kind of had a couple glasses of wine, and fell asleep a little bit during the episode. I still went with it, and put something up.  I kind of talked about how I wasn't into that episode, and people were really angry about it.  "You're an idiot!  You write like you're an eighth grade girl!!"  ...and I did own up to it.  This [was] not my best work. I know that.  Now, I make sure I stay on the ball.

 GGC: "You write with your husband, but family, in general, seeps into your writing.  Tell me about your kids."

JH: "We've got two kids- a five-year-old boy [six soon!] and a three-and-a-half-year-old girl.  It's hard not to write about them.  I'm with them all day long."

GGC: "Do they know that you're writing about them?  Are they aware of this stuff popping up on the Internet?"

JH: "My son- he'll see if we have Google Anayltics open.  He'll say, like, 'There are 30 people looking at it right now!' [or] 'Dad's winning!'  ...Oh, thanks."

GGC: "For a while, your children's Frozen kick was big in Hammervision.  Tell me about Frozen."

JH: "My daughter- her birthday is right before Christmas.  So, we really bought up a lot of the Frozen stuff before her birthday.  I know that a lot of parents were looking for Elsa stuff [at Christmas] and couldn't find it, but we bought, like, all of it.

We saw the movie right when it came out, and all four of us... we weren't too into it.  Then, she and I got the song.  The song.  Let it Go.  We started listening to it constantly, then we went to see the movie again.  It was good.  We've seen it four times in the theatre...  It just became a part of our lives.  I used Elsa to get her to eat her broccoli!  'Elsa would eat her broccoli...'

My son, he has geek tendencies that we are very excited about.  He's watching all of the old Godzilla movies.  We're reading Harry Potter as well... John has already introduced him to Star Wars... that has been fun.  I've definitely written some kids stuff- oh, the songs- the annoying songs that get stuck in your head when you have PBS on all day!"

GGC: "I remember that one!  What are some of the posts, in general, that you are most proud of?"

JH: "The first one I ever did that went 'viral' was in support of the equality avatars on Facebook.  It was really a one-off thing, where it did really well and now nobody really looks at it anymore.  I was proud of writing that.  Something touched a nerve.  Somebody had said something about how 'stupid' those were, so I wrote a post about it.  I heard from a lot of friends who are gay that they were so happy that so many people were supporting them.

...Then, everything else sucked. (laughs)

I'm proud of my recaps, generally.  It's something I really enjoy doing.  I don't know if they're always good or not...  I love recapping shows that are not great, but could be.  The Walking Dead- True Blood was another one I used to do, like, 'I kind of hate this show, but I see where it could be really good!!'

GGC: "Hope."

JH: "Yea."

GGC: "Lastly, because you are a pop-culture expert, I came up with a couple of 'versus' questions."

JH: "Okay!"

GGC: "Who was the best James Bond?"

JH: "I think maybe it's because I grew up in the 80s, but I always liked Pierce Brosnan."

GGC: "Who was the best Batman?"

JH: "I would go with Christian Bale."

GGC: "If all of the Avengers got in a fight, who would come out on top?"

JH: "Oh, the Hulk."

GGC: "On sort of the opposite end of the physical strength spectrum- Homer Simpson vs. Peter Griffin?"

JH: "I feel like Homer would win on accident."

GGC: "Robocop vs. Terminator?"

JH: "Terminator."

GGC: "3-way battle.  Godzilla vs. King Kong vs. your Pacific Rim kaiju of choice."

JH: "I gotta go with Godzilla."

GGC: "Classic!  Finally, who's the biggest jerk in jerk town?  Is it Draco Malfoy, Prince Hans, or Joffrey Baratheon?"



At this point, Julie and I discussed our policies on spoilers, which resulted in some spoileriffic Game of Thrones talk that would probably upset many readers.  I'll end the interview here, but READ A BOOK, YOU GUYS!!

...I mean... my thanks to Julie Hammerle for the time.  For more TV and movie commentary, visit Hammervision.  You won't regret it- unless you're spoiler-phobic. ;)


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