Monday, May 13, 2013

Thoughts on Andy Warhol, Books, and Movies




I’ve heard Andy Warhol quoted as saying “I never read, I just look at pictures.”  From what I can tell Andy Warhol was quite an… shall we say “interesting”… person, but I have to say I like this quote.  As a proclaimed avid reader, and someone who writes a blog about reading it might at first seem a little counterintuitive to think that I would not only like, but agree with this quote.  You might think something like this would offend me, after all I do spend much of my life buried in books.  Here’s where I think maybe I interpret this a little deeper than he meant it (after all he also claimed to be a “…deeply superficial person.”)  

When I read it’s not as though I look at words on a page.  I can, within a sentence or two become immersed in another world.  I read, but what I’m really seeing is not words but pictures.  It plays out like a movie in my head.  What’s really great about this movie is that I decide how it looks.  I can either listen to the author’s descriptive words or not.  I can choose to ignore those parts I don’t deem worth my time.  I can completely make up my own look to the world in which I am, for the moment, living. 

This is probably why TV and movies hold less interest to me than books.  When watching a movie you must accept the reality presented to you in the fashion it was intended.  In other words you can’t imagine away Keira Knightley’s small stature in favor of a taller, more regal Elizabeth Bennett as I did while reading the book.  You can’t make Kristen Stewart smile all the time, like she should have when Bella Swan was so happy just to be with Edward.  In other words you’re stuck.  You are stuck with who the producers cast, with how they designed the set and costumes.  Basically your imagination is taken away and you are left with what “they” spoon-feed you.  Bleck!

I’m not saying I never like movies.  I mean Lord of the Rings as a movie was way better than trying to read through hundreds of pages of description on what Middle Earth looked like.  (I swear Tolkien could spend 10 pages describing a rock!)  And then Sense and Sensibility, they honestly took all the best parts of that book and made them come alive.  To me Emma Thompson IS Elinor Dashwoom, and who could ever fault Allen Rickman as Colonel Brandon *swoon*.

But then there are some things that movie producers have done that are just unforgivable… like Harry Potter without green eyes (I know, Daniel Radcliff’s eyes had a bad reaction to green contacts, but still… that’s why they inventing CG, people).  Or Noah and Allie fighting in The Notebook… hello, did you even read the book?  They would have never yelled at each other like that!

I guess to come back to the point… I prefer the movie in my head.  My imagination nearly always rises above what I see on the screen.  And more importantly, I like knowing what people are thinking.  This goes back to character development: again, my favorite part.  

So did I miss any good adaptations?  Are there some really great films just crying out for me to take a peek at?  If so please enlighten me!  I would love to hear about the movies you love to hate, too.

***UPDATE***

Someone mentioned Interview With a Vampire recently.  I would have to say that even though that movie scared the hee-bee-gee-bees out of me, it was better than the book.  Scarier and more sinister than the book, but much less depressing.

Maybe there are more good movies out there than I give credit.

1 comment:

  1. The most immediate one that comes to mind is Sphere - excellent book, gripping, suspenseful, memorable. Dustin Hoffman played a great role in the movie and it was a good adaptation. The huge squid was cheezy but it was made before good CG existed - check it out and see if you agree my dear :)

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