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Thread: Movies from books

  1. #31
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    Great movies don't give a person time to think? Great books (always?) do? Books cannot or do not necessitate repetition the same as movies? Can't slow-moving movies also be watched over and over again, energizing rather than deadening the mind? Thinking about dialogue—is this the thing the great movie has to offer, the thing that keeps us up nights and overshadows the rest of the film? A line?

    With a movie we sit back and empty the head? What the hell?

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus T. Cosmonaut View Post
    Great movies don't give a person time to think? Great books (always?) do? Books cannot or do not necessitate repetition the same as movies? Can't slow-moving movies also be watched over and over again, energizing rather than deadening the mind? Thinking about dialogue—is this the thing the great movie has to offer, the thing that keeps us up nights and overshadows the rest of the film? A line?

    With a movie we sit back and empty the head? What the hell?
    Yeah, it's a bit naive for sure

    One of the thing both mediums have in common is that when a book works, you forget that you're reading a book, and same with the movie, you forget that you're looking at a screen. Their quality is hardly measured by their ability to make you think.

    Not every book aims to be Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and not every movie aims to be Eraserhead... The latter is not really remembered for it's witty dialog BTW, I don't think people are quoting a whole lot from it, or any other Lynch movie (with the exception of "baby wants to fuck" from Blue Velvet)

  3. #33
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    Film envelopes the senses: sight and sound, and, especially at the theater, physically pins you to the spot for the duration, in a dark and controlled environment: even the choice of food is carefully established. You submit, in a passive position, to being emotionally manipulated for two hours or whatever the length.

    I can put a book down whenever I like, or stop after each sentence and think. I have a lot more control over the experience. But who pauses a DVD to stop and think every ten minutes? And why would I want to watch the same movie 20 times?

    I realize my take on movies may be uncommon, but I don't see why we have to accept the film genre uncritically. Without getting too paranoid about things, I do believe that cinema is, has become, a form of social control. Panem et circenses. There is a line in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie about "movies" being all about the illusion of movement: we sit still and don't move at all, merely dreaming that we do. Watching movies is a way of giving people the illusion that they are having all kinds of amazing experiences, and then the next day they passively go back to work to their boring, low-paid jobs.

    Also I prefer books because, though there are editors and various other contributors, it's more of a one-on-one experience. Any Hollywood movie is made by 1000s, if not 10s of 1000s of people: they are collaborative efforts between huge amounts of people. Movies are made by committee, and far more likely to be the compromise of lots of different factors, prerogatives, marketing considerations. Yes, you have the aforementioned Lynches and Kubricks, the tightly-controlling auteurs with a vision, but that's a tiny minority. A book is much closer to one mind speaking to another. There is thus a freedom there that most movies will never offer.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post

    Also I prefer books because, though there are editors and various other contributors, it's more of a one-on-one experience. Any Hollywood movie is made by 1000s, if not 10s of 1000s of people: they are collaborative efforts between huge amounts of people. Movies are made by committee, and far more likely to be the compromise of lots of different factors, prerogatives, marketing considerations. Yes, you have the aforementioned Lynches and Kubricks, the tightly-controlling auteurs with a vision, but that's a tiny minority. A book is much closer to one mind speaking to another. There is thus a freedom there that most movies will never offer.
    I know what you mean, but please walk in to a book store (if there are any big chain ones left in your neighborhood, the better) and tell me that 98% of the books there are not garbage, written by heartless robots of the publishing industry to suck the soul out of people. Books by committee. Even better: google the bestseller lists from 10, 20 years ago. Tell me what percentage of those books have any worth now.

    And I don't know why you pause to think when you read a book. I'm not trying to be an ass, but I honestly don't know why. (before you wonder, I read real books, too) It's not part of my normal reading habit at all. My problem is the opposite, let alone that I don't want to stop, I can't keep turning the pages fast enough!

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post
    even the choice of food is carefully established.
    What do you mean by this?

    But who pauses a DVD to stop and think every ten minutes?
    Being within the experience of the movie should not preclude also thinking about said movie, which is pretty much mandatory for one to be an active and attentive and engaged movie-goer.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post
    Film envelopes the senses: sight and sound, and, especially at the theater, physically pins you to the spot for the duration, in a dark and controlled environment: even the choice of food is carefully established. You submit, in a passive position, to being emotionally manipulated for two hours or whatever the length.

    I can put a book down whenever I like, or stop after each sentence and think. I have a lot more control over the experience. But who pauses a DVD to stop and think every ten minutes? And why would I want to watch the same movie 20 times?
    That is only if you go to a theater to watch it. If you want a more intimate experience, you can watch it by yourself. And if you do so on your computer, you can pause the movie whenever you like with the click of a button. I don't know why you'd want to pause it, though, since that takes you out of the experience. Also, with the advancement of technology, you don't HAVE to commit to watching something from start to finish all in one session. I watch plenty of TV shows where I watch half of it before I need to leave, and when I come back I watch the second half. Often times it doesn't even ruin the experience. I'm sure I don't watch in the same manner as you, but it's fairly easy for me to invest in the story when I want to.

    I realize my take on movies may be uncommon, but I don't see why we have to accept the film genre uncritically. Without getting too paranoid about things, I do believe that cinema is, has become, a form of social control. Panem et circenses. There is a line in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie about "movies" being all about the illusion of movement: we sit still and don't move at all, merely dreaming that we do. Watching movies is a way of giving people the illusion that they are having all kinds of amazing experiences, and then the next day they passively go back to work to their boring, low-paid jobs.
    I'm not saying you have to watch movies in the same manner as me (or anyone else), but to completely dismiss the merits of cinema over books seems a bit much. You are referring to one very specific way to watch a movie (in a theater) and using it as the standard for all viewing experiences. You also seem to only be referring to fantastical, adventure type movies. Sure, I am not a superhero, so watching those kinds of movie presents thrills I'll never experience. You're completely ignoring so many other types of films whose goal isn't just to wow the crowd. I just watched Shame and based on the way it's presented on film, I'd be willing to bet it's more powerful as a film than it would be as a novel. Stories are much more moving to me when I can actually see human representation of the character(s) experiencing the events. When I was reading TGWTDT, the part where Lisbeth finds her guardian near death had little impact on me because you don't have much to go on in terms of their relationship to each other. In the Fincher film, however, you can see in her actions exactly how concerned she is, and it shows that she actually has human qualities, giving me a better sense of who she is than the novel did.

  7. #37
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    But the ways in which you're comparing the method of delivery are unfair Aggro. You're reducing the effectiveness of film as a medium based on the way you receive it. Yes, reading is usually a more meditative experience than watching a movie, but besides the fact that they both frequently deliver a narrative (hence the reason for this topic of discussion), the experience is completely different.

    To say that film fails in a way that books succeed is almost like saying that paintings fail in a way that songs succeed. It's a different method of delivering the artistic product, even if there are similarities in the subject matter.
    Last edited by Jinsai; 05-09-2012 at 04:15 AM.

  8. #38
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    Fair enough, but I prefer songs to paintings. Also, film in the US has become a very ritualistic event. Yes, technology is changing the mode of reception, but the format of the movie (two hours, one unified story, etc) hasn't changed that much. I am not really saying that film fails and books succeed, I am merely saying that film is a much more passive medium, which gives you much less room for your own thought and creativity. A movie pretty much does everything for you, all you need to do is sit and watch. A book, you have to actually work with, you have to put something of yours in there. You have to meet a book half-way, and collaborate with the book to produce the desired effect. So it is in this extra work that the book offers you more freedom to get out of it what you want or need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus T. Cosmonaut View Post
    What do you mean by this?
    Popcorn.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post
    I am merely saying that film is a much more passive medium, which gives you much less room for your own thought and creativity.
    I think it also depends on HOW you read. For instance, I have a friend who reads a lot, but she speed-reads and I sometimes question if she really READS; she boasts that she read War and Peace in two days. It took me MONTHS to read Anna Karenina because I'm a slow reader; I slowly digest and ponder and sometimes re-read paragraphs or footnotes.

    With film, I do the same thing by repeatedly watching a film. Each time I see some films, I get new things out of them.

    Back on topic: I have not yet seen any film version of Anna Karenina but I hear they all suck.
    Last edited by allegro; 05-09-2012 at 11:24 PM.

  10. #40
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    I had never heard of the book Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, nor its film adaptation, Stalker, by Andrei Tarkovsky, until today when I saw an article on io9 about its new translation. It's also the inspiration for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. video game series.

    After reading the description, I'm rather inclined to pick up the book, and then watch the film after.

    http://io9.com/5908702/a-new-transla...tely-must-read

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggroculture View Post
    Popcorn.
    ...is entirely a matter of commerce and tradition, and in some other countries is not a staple of the movie-going experience.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corvus T. Cosmonaut View Post
    Great movies don't give a person time to think? Great books (always?) do? Books cannot or do not necessitate repetition the same as movies? Can't slow-moving movies also be watched over and over again, energizing rather than deadening the mind? Thinking about dialogue—is this the thing the great movie has to offer, the thing that keeps us up nights and overshadows the rest of the film? A line?

    With a movie we sit back and empty the head? What the hell?
    No, I don't think dialogue is all a movie has going for it, but many of my favorite films have lines that I still think about to this day because they're so clever. Another reason I love 30 Rock - the dialogue is so good that I actually have trouble keeping up when I watch because I'm still digesting it by the time they've cleared through two or three more amazing lines.

    And yeah, with the majority of popular TV and movies released these days, you do empty your head when you sit down to watch. I like that sometimes, though - an escape hatch into a world willed with heroic, muscular people walking in/around explosions for an hour and a half. My biggest guilty pleasure is the Resident Evil movie franchise, a series notorious for punishing your brain if you expect to get any logic out of it beyond Rule of Cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpenoctem View Post
    with the majority of popular TV and movies released these days, you do empty your head when you sit down to watch.
    Well, you do.

  14. #44
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    Since I hardly go to the theaters, I saw a poster advertising a movie for "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel. I remember reading this book during a round of ETS's Book of the Month, I absolutely loved it and I'm a little wary of the movie judging from the poster...has anyone seen the previews for it and does it actually look like it's everything the book was? I doubt it...
    Last edited by halloween; 11-05-2012 at 05:46 PM.

  15. #45
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    Advance reviews say it's wonderful.

    From the trailer, the CGI and cinematography look terrible, to me, but they're also drawing accolades from those giving the movie positive reviews, so we'll see. I haven't read the book.

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