“Dear friend, I’m writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.”First line in The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I’ve had this topic on my mind for a while now, and therefore naturally pondered how I could write a post about it. I’m talking about how I’ve noticed that I don’t like the same kinds of stories in book and movie format, at least not all the time. So I’ve been trying to figure out what the differences in my tastes are and why.
The most glaring difference, and the one that prompted this post, is fight scenes. In books, those are not my favorite thing because I have such a hard time visualizing them. Most often I’m just waiting for them to be over because I’m still very interested in the result of them. Looking at some of my favorite movies, though, half of those are Marvel superhero movies with a ton of fighting in them. And I love those movies so much, not only because of the fight scenes, of course, but I also love those scenes. Naturally, it must be because I don’t have to do any of the visualizing myself. The movie people have done that for me, so I don’t need to think, I only need to watch.
Staying with the Marvel movies, those are obviously based on comics. Do I want to read them? Nope. And I can’t exactly blame the visualization problem again here. Instead, I believe my disinterest in comics, in general, comes from my love of great writing in books. Beautiful, atmospheric writing is one of my favorite things, and experiencing it is partially why I love reading. Not to throw shade at comics, but they don’t exactly provide that kind of writing. That is not their purpose. However, I can then turn it around again and ask myself whether I love the movie equivalents of these well-written books. And just to be clear, I’m not talking about the movies based on books I’ve already read, but the kinds where the movie is my first experience with the story. In my mind, it would be something like Academy Award-nominated movies and movies like that. You know what I’m talking about. And even though I do watch some of those movies and can appreciate them for what they are, they’re never ones I rewatch or consider favorites of mine.
I have to acknowledge that part of the reason why can be that those movies aren’t Fantasy (yes, I love Fantasy in any format) because apparently, it’s basically impossible to make a critically acclaimed Fantasy movie. But still, I do also enjoy standard Literary Fiction books, so the movies shouldn’t need to be Fantasy. When I still don’t love those kinds of movies, I believe it’s because I need more stuff to happen when I’m watching a movie compared to when I’m reading a book. Otherwise, I get distracted, so watching something where people have 10-minutes long conversations is going to bore me, while in a book, that would be my favorite thing. Here on my blog, I’ve often talked about how my books don’t need to have any kind of plot, but I need movies to have a certain pace or I’ll start looking at my phone.
Other types of movies I love to watch include Romantic Comedies, and if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you might have noticed the absence of Romance novels. I do pick up a rom-com read once in a while but we’re talking one or two per year, so I wouldn’t call myself a major fan. However, when I’m with my female friends, rom-coms are the only thing we watch, and some *cough*The Proposal*cough* I’ve seen at least 30 times. Those stories just work better for me on a screen, and I think it could be because I don’t want to know the characters’ thoughts along the way. All the “oh I’m so in love” types of thoughts are so cringey to me that I can’t take it seriously. It also often becomes way too obvious that the character’s entire personality is “being in love” when you’re in their head all the time. Finally, I also think that my love for the darker and more depressing books plays a part here. Like, I can deal with fluff and even love it when I only have to submerge myself in it for an hour and a half by watching a movie, but not for the several days it would take me to finish a book.
Is there anything to conclude from all this? Well, I do find it funny that most of the movies I like can be categorized by that horrible term “guilty pleasures”. They’re pure entertainment for me and not something I want to think about too hard. Then you have my favorite books that I often love because they challenge me and/or teach me something. And I really think there’s an argument here about not judging people for liking something that is considered a “guilty pleasure”. Not everything we do needs to challenge us. It’s okay to have something in your life that will make you turn your brain off whether it be books, movies, or something else entirely. Whatever it is, it will not be the same for everyone. For me, it’s movies. It might be the main reason why my tastes in books and movies differ so much. I need something different from them. And there are still overlaps, of course. I still enjoy great characters in movies, and I don’t enjoy an action movie simply because of the action. I remember watching the movie John Wick and not liking it because that one was just violence for violence’s sake. But still, I do accept my movies to be more meaningless as long as they make me feel good.
That suddenly took a philosophical turn at the end there. But oh well, this was a bit of a personal post about my weird tastes, although I would love to know if anyone else has noticed differences in their taste when it comes to movies and books. I’m assuming it’s pretty common, but you tell me in the comments!