Friday, November 22, 2013

Rotten Tomatoes? Sour Grapes?

The weather here in La La Land has turned overcast and drizzly and cool. It is exactly the kind of weather that makes me want to curl up with a fuzzy throw blanket and watch movies, read books, and eat soup. And maybe bake things. You think that’s a good idea, right? The baking?

At any rate, I am relieved to announce that while it appeared that my not-quite-two-years-old Kindle had recently kicked the bucket, following some Internet research I was able to do a hard reboot and my baby has revived. This was a huge relief because had it died, I certainly did not want to have to purchase a new one. And it had not only lots of books and subscriptions on it, but also my very favorite Flight of the Conchords video clips, which I watch when I am feeling blue. Not to mention my Sudoku app! I am such a huge geek that I can complete a Sudoku in under four minutes. Not to mention my Netflix app! It is a little ridiculous how bereft I would be if I had to go without it.

So when I began this post, I was going to write about books, and how I find the books I think I want to read. I collect lists of books I want to read, but I realize I also collect lists of movies I want to watch, and I realize that what I look for in both of these things are very similar.

(I should stop here and say that despite my love of the written word, and my appreciation for a well-made movie, there are huge gaps in my literary and film education. At the same time, I realize there is a finite number of days in my life, so I am not going to waste time with slogging through books or movies I don’t like. It is rather liberating. When I was younger, I could so easily put myself in the writer’s shoes of having bravely put their guts out into the world to be read by the public that I would dutifully continue reading through hundreds of pages just to give the author a chance, even if the book wasn’t grabbing me. I felt obligated to finish! Well, no more.)

What I look for is: something that will make me laugh or make me examine what I truly think. Something that will take me on a journey, with all the little side trips and mis-steps that journeys have. Something that will make me feel different when I am done.

Well, this is hard to know at the outset as you are looking at things. I tend to like independent films, quirky films, and books that take me to unexpected places. I absolutely cannot deal with stories where violence toward women and/or children, or come to think of it, animals, is portrayed. It took me forever to see The Accused and I could not watch it all in one sitting. I still don’t think I have ever seen it all the way through. Same with Precious. These are “good” movies, they tell important stories, but I can’t deal.  

At this point, I don’t look for movies that I know will depress me. I am therefore surprised, and sometimes pleasantly, by movies like The Descendants, which I thought would be a quirky family comedy but ended up being, yes, sad, but also deeply moving.

As the weekend is fast approaching, tell me: (1) what do you look for in movies and/or books? And (2) what would you recommend?


Disclaimer: I may or may not read or watch your recommendations. I’m annoying quirky like that.


Bridget said...

I'm with you. I can't stand anything too heavy anymore. Currently I'm reading Elizabeth Gilbert's new novel, "The Signature of All Things." So far it's good.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Ooh, I have heard good things about that book. Thanks for the reminder/ recommendation!

Nerd Girl said...

I'm not much of a movie watcher, so I've got nothing there.

I read a book's description, and if it sounds good to me (oh, you wanted specifics?) I'll give it a try. I just finished "The Donzerly Light." Very strange book. But it intrigued me enough to finish it.

I just checked Jesmyn Ward's "Salvage the Bones" out from the library...we shall see how it goes.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

Nerd Girl, I will check it out. Thanks for the rec! Let me know how the other book goes!