When I was younger, I LOVED going to the movies. I went often, and I especially loved Disney movies and the iconic teen movies that came out at that time (10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, Say Anything…, Heathers, Can’t Buy Me Love, Sixteen Candles, She’s All That, etc.).
As I got older, my movie watching habit slowed WAY down. A lot of it just had to do with how much it cost—it always seemed like there were better ways to spend that money, and we’d occasionally rent something but it got harder and harder to find movies that everyone wanted to see (or even that my husband and I were both really interested in). When my kids were little, we often went to see the newest animated features, but other than that, my movie excursions were rare.
Lately, I’ve started watching more movies again. It started because of all the book-to-movie adaptations that have been happening. I wanted to see some of my favorite books onscreen. Then I was also trying to rent some other popular movies that I’ve seen people talking about.
Only problem is, I’m finding that I don’t love movies the way I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I still like them, but I just don’t love them. For instance, I just recently watched A Star Is Born, The Miseducation of Cameron Post and Captain Marvel. They were all really good. I liked them; I didn’t love any of them. And that’s been pretty par for the course lately.
I started to wonder why. When watching Miseducation, I remembered that it was based on a book. I haven’t read it, but I found myself thinking that it probably worked much better in that format. The film is about a girl who’s sent to a Christian conversion camp when she’s found with another girl. That has the potential to be a heartbreaking movie, right? But the plot is slim and the methods used by the staff at the camp are (for the most part) subtly unsettling rather than blatantly abusive. The story really focuses on the emotional journey that Cameron goes on. See, and this is where I’ve been spoiled by books: In a book, I’d be able to intimately know all of the main character’s thoughts and feelings. I would have felt Cameron’s pain right along with her. Even though I thought that Chloë Grace Moretz did a fine job with her role, I still missed knowing exactly what was going on in the character’s mind. I wanted to know how her experiences were affecting her (and those around her), and I feel like I only got a hint of that. In fact, when the big dramatic moment happens near the end of the movie (I won’t spoil what that is), I was a bit blindsided because I hadn’t really felt enough tension along the way to get us there.
This is often true with books that are turned into movies. I definitely enjoy them more if I’ve read the book first because I can fill in the emotional journey in my head since I’ve already experienced it. But even with movies that aren’t based on books, I’m wondering if this missing connection to the inner workings of the characters is what holds me back from truly loving them. I think I’m used to going on that inner journey with a character, and two hours just isn’t long enough to really replicate that in movie form. TV series are much more successful for me because I have a lot longer to get to know the characters and grow attached to them.
I’m not sure if this is truly why I don’t enjoy movies quite as much as I used to, but this is my suspicion.
Does this theory make any sense? Do you think that reading a lot can make watching movies less enjoyable? Do you have any recs for absolutely fabulous movies that will make me change my mind? I want to know!
Linked to the Book Blog Discussion Challenge