Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Resist the Urge to Watch the Latest Book-Turned-Movie Hit

So, a couple of nights ago I finally gave in. I watched "New Moon", based on Stephanie Meyers Twilight series. Why? It wasn't because I was dying to see it. It was because New Moon was the only book in the series I can honestly say I've read more than once without feeling guilty about admitting it.

Obsessing over the Twilight books is, in my mind, kind of like admitting you got drunk and toilet papered city hall before barfing Cheez Whiz on the front steps. It's awesome when you're sixteen. It might even be acceptable when you're a twenty-something. By the time you're pushing thirty, you ought to know better!

That being said, I really liked New Moon. I suspect it had something to do with the notable absence of everyone's favorite vampire and the fact that someone came along, wiped some of the drool off Bella's chin and gave her something to do besides trip over her own feet for a while. So, I used and abused the power of Netflix and picked up "New Moon".

I was shocked to discover I actually enjoyed it. See, I'm that person. The one that sits in the back row of a movie theatre quietly but explicitly hating on any movie that's based on a book. I hated the "Harry Potter" movies (I've only seen 2) and threw popcorn at the screen when I realized they'd bastardized the end of "Hannibal" to appease Hollywood movie goers. I refused to watch "Memoirs of a Geisha", and I'm still kicking myself for actually spending money to rent the original "Twilight".

Yes, that's right, I'm that person. And I'm here to tell all of you other haters out there, you're not alone. They always screw up the book. It's never as good. To everyone who's ever dragged themselves to see a movie based on a book and walked away bitterly disappointed, I'm here to tell you that you don't have to do it. You can resist peer pressure, turn away from crappy movies and enjoy the untainted memory of a good story in its purest form!

Here's how.

First, resist the urge to read the reviews. Somewhere inside us is a sick, twisted need to have our opinions on books-turned-movies validated by hearing critics say it sucked. When they rave about how incredible it is, you start to wonder if you were wrong. So even though you hate yourself for it, you cave.

Step away from temptation. It will all go away.

Always check to make sure there's another movie you want to see when you go out with your friends. That way you don't get dragged to the literary flavor of the week. If you argue hard enough about Hollywood's inability to effectively transpose long, emotional, internal monologue into a decent film format, you'll convince them to wait until it comes out on DVD-or at least to wait until you're not with them so they don't have to spend the entire movie telling you to shut up while you rave about how much better the book was!

Speaking of books, let's move on to phase 3: Avoiding the family get-together. You know the routine. You're settling in for an evening with friends, and somebody pulls it out of the case. At this point, you have four options. You can fake a life threatening, fatal disease with bodily fluids spewing everywhere. You can beg your host to reconsider. Or, you can whip a book out of your pocket and curl up on the sofa, sneaking occasional, unnoticeable glances at the film between paragraphs to satisfy your curiosity. You might have to watch the movie, but at least no one will see you when you get sucked in.

What-ho? That's only 3 options, you say? You're right. That's because the 4th option is to launch into a stirring dialogue about how Hollywood always gets it wrong, how they inaccurately portray great characters, cut huge sections out of the book to suit time constraints and change the details any way they see fit. Resistance is futile. Your friends and family will pat you on the head, your host will assure you that this one is different, and the show will go on.

It was too depressing to contemplate.

1 comment:

  1. I have 2 more options that have worked for me in the past-
    1. Postpone reading the book until after you've seen the movies. This worked very well for the Bourne series and (forgive me) the Lord of the Rings trilogy- the movies are great in and of themselves. If I'd read the books first, it would have ruined all of the fun.

    2. Only see these movies with others of the same mindset. Anyone who pops one of these movies in the player knows that they're going to hear what was different from the book and what I think of that. This is why most of my friends stay up way too late and make sure I'm good and inebriated before movie time comes along. The others and I, however, used to specifically throw movie parties- it's a bit like AA members throwing their own kegger, but without the guilt.