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Today in Nerd History | July 11

Today we explore a diverse mix of entertainment milestones that have left a mark on film, sports entertainment, cult television, and video gaming. July 11th is a date that celebrates magical adventures, innovative sports training, a cult phenomenon in the form of a disaster movie, and the birth of a unique vehicular soccer game. Let’s dive into some “Nerdy Facts” about “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the WWE Performance Center, “Sharknado,” and “Rocket League.”

Inclusion on this list does not imply that the entry is family friendly, only that is was a nerd culture milestone. Parents should, of course, use discernment.

© Warner Bros.

2007: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Theaters)

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth installment in the Harry Potter film series, hit theaters, continuing the adventures of Harry, Hermione, and Ron as they face new threats in a darkening wizarding world.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Directorial Debut: This film marked David Yates’ directorial debut in the Harry Potter series. Yates would go on to direct all subsequent Harry Potter films and the Fantastic Beasts series.
  • IMAX Milestone: “Order of the Phoenix” was the first Harry Potter film to be released in IMAX theaters and included a 3D segment during the climactic battle scenes, enhancing the visual spectacle.
  • Political Undertones: This installment was noted for its exploration of themes such as authority, governance, and rebellion, mirroring some real-world political tensions and resonating deeply with audiences.

© WWE

2013: Sharknado (Syfy)

“Sharknado,” a made-for-TV movie by Syfy, combined sharks with tornadoes to create a wild, over-the-top disaster film that quickly became a cult classic and spawned a surprisingly resilient franchise.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Viral Sensation: Despite its modest beginnings, “Sharknado” gained a massive following on social media, sparking lively discussions and watch parties, largely due to its absurd premise and enthusiastic embrace of B-movie tropes.
  • Franchise Growth: The unexpected popularity of “Sharknado” led to multiple sequels, each escalating the absurdity and scope of the shark-infested disasters.
  • Celebrity Cameos: The series became known for its array of celebrity cameos, including actors, musicians, and even politicians, all eager to join in the campy fun.

© Syfy

1961: Sinestro (Green Lantern Vol. 2 #7)

Sinestro, first appearing in 1961, started as a Green Lantern but later became known as one of the greatest villains in the DC Universe and a frequent adversary of the Green Lantern Corps.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Corps Member Turned Rogue: Originally a mentor to Hal Jordan, Sinestro was exiled for his authoritarian and harsh methods, eventually founding the Sinestro Corps that uses fear instead of willpower.
  • Yellow Power Ring: Sinestro’s use of a yellow power ring, which channels the power of fear, directly counters the green rings of the Green Lantern Corps, reflecting his deep understanding and perversion of his former noble position.
  • Complex Characterization: Sinestro is often portrayed as a complex character with a deep backstory, providing a moral foil to the more straightforward heroism of other Green Lanterns.

© Psyonix

2014: Rocket League (PC/PlayStation 4)

“Rocket League,” a vehicular soccer video game, was released, quickly becoming a hit for its addictive gameplay, blending high-octane car action with the strategic depth of team sports.

 

Nerdy Facts:

  • Cross-Platform Pioneer: “Rocket League” was one of the first games to offer full cross-platform play, allowing PC and console players to compete together, enhancing its popularity and player base.
  • eSports Staple: The game quickly established itself as a popular eSport, with professional leagues and tournaments around the world drawing significant viewership.
  • Community Engagement: Developer Psyonix actively engaged with the community to update the game continually, adding new content and features based on player feedback, which helped maintain the game’s popularity over the years.

July 11th showcases the creative and diverse ways in which entertainment can captivate and inspire, from the magical halls of Hogwarts to the athletic training facilities of WWE, the bizarre encounters of “Sharknado,” and the competitive arenas of “Rocket League.” Happy Nerd History Day to all who find joy in these exciting and imaginative realms!

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Station Manager of LTN Radio and co-host of the "Nerd History Podcast" & the "Two Words Podcast". Matt is a third-generation radio station manager who has done pretty much every job in the radio industry. Matt is the father of two boys and a little girl. It's probably the best thing about him.

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