Two things are happening right now. 1. More popular books than ever are being turned into movies* and 2. I’ve been reading a lot of books. Now, when I say I’m “reading” of course that assumes listening to the audiobooks during my commute is reading. Since this conversation is pretty much one-sided and I’m the one-side, we’re going to accept that assumption.
Since these two things are undoubtedly both happening, I’ve, of course, been in that mindset, and uttered the infamous phrase, “Oooh! I want to see that, but I want to read the book first!”
My friends, I’m here today to tell you why I’ve been mistaken in that way of thinking all these years.
“But Ryan, that’s stupid. You’re stupid. I’m going to stop reading right now.” Fair enough, but only if you’re holding off on this post until the movie is released.
So to begin, I’ll present some fair counterpoints to my argument, just so we’ve got everything out on the table. The way I see it, there are two good reasons that you might want to read the book first. Well, I see two decent reasons and then something else. The first decent reason is that there may be a really terrible adaption of a book to movie that just turns you off of all the characters completely. As they say, “Never judge a book by its movie.” That’s fair. I guess I need to specify that this post is applicable mostly only when you’ve heard good things about the book and the movie. The other good point is that as the reader, you want to read the book first and visualize everything for yourself instead of seeing some filmmaker’s adaptation of it. Again, fair point, and I don’t really have a counter-counterpoint. I guess that’s a roll of the dice. The last something else is if you really aren’t interested in the storytelling – only the story. If that’s the case, why bother with the book at all? Just watch the movie and be done with it. This argument isn’t for you.
Now that those are out on the table, let’s talk reasons you should watch the movie first. In almost all cases, the book is better than the movie. Straight up. There is no way most movies can tell a story as well as a book. One of the reasons for this is the sheer amount of time you spend caring (or not caring) about the characters. Luckily, at this point, my experience with audiobooks comes in handy and lets me compare apples and oranges as far as running time goes. Over the last 2 or so years, I count 14 books that I’ve read that also have movies based (very loosely in some circumstances) on them. Below I’ve listed those books, along with their audiobook times.
Hunger Games 11 hours 14 minutes
1984 11 hours 26 minutes
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 16 hours 19 minutes
The Girl Who Played with Fire 18 hours 38 minutes
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest 20 hours 20 minutes
Casino Royale (James Bond) 4 hours 39 minutes
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5 hours 51 minutes
LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring 19 hours 11 minutes
LOTR: The Two Towers 16 hours 40 minutes
LOTR: The Return of the King 18 hours 18 minutes
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 3 hours 49 minutes
The Count of Monte Cristo 47 hours
Jurassic Park 15 hours 19 minutes
The Lost World 15 hours 19 minutes
I’m not going to bother looking up the runtimes of these movies. I’m pretty sure you get the point without me doing that. There is no way you can watch a 2 hour movie and have as much invested in a character as you would if you metaphorically watch a well-developed character for 20 hours. That argument aside, you don’t have the time to cram in the entire 20 hour long storyline, and some parts will invariably get cut. I know some of the meat of books comes from details that can be visually represented much more quickly in a movie, but my point still stands. You’re just not going to be able to represent all the plot nuances of a good book in a 2 or 3 hour movie. Why lead with the good one and then be let down? Work your way up from a thinned-out script to the behemoth of a storyline in a book, with all its nuance.
So why kid yourself? If you read the book first, sure it’s a treat to see all the things you envisioned come to life, but you will almost certainly end up sitting there through the entire movie thinking to yourself, “well that’s not what REALLY happened.” If you’re anything like me, you might even corner some poor sap (or spouse) to tell them all the things the movie did differently.
The major disadvantage to reading the book first is that you already know all the plot twists and turns. However, if you’re planning to both read the book and watch the movie anyway, knowing the plot twists and turns is so much less a big deal in a book than in a movie, at least for me. When watching a movie, the experience is generally about telling a fairly straightforward story. When reading a book, you’ve got a lot more time to think about the events that may or may not happen, and most authors include a fair amount of foreshadowing.
Why not just treat the movie as the bare-bones scaffolding of the plot and turn to the book to put some meat on those bones? (Books love mixed metaphors*) If you watch the movie first, you’ll almost certainly be watching a stripped-down version of the book, and how could that make any book-lover happy?
Plus, you’ll be less likely to be the unhappy jerk in the theater scowling when you watch the film, thinking about how they’re leaving out a detail that’s going to screw up a plot point later. You can just notice it to yourself as you’re reading alone, and think wistfully about how stupid those moviemakers were who forgot this plot point. Silly, stupid moviemakers.
Anyway, that’s my 2 cents. I think I’ve successfully taken a question that was never directly asked of me, and written more on the issue than most people care to read. I think my job for the evening is done!
*I can’t back this up, and it’s likely not true.
It’s an election year. I can’t just put on blinders and pretend like it’s not. That’d be un-American. So without further adieu, I need to get on to the biggest hot-button issue that neither of the candidates has the, um, fortitude to tackle. In fact, none of the journalists I’ve seen even has the, um, fortitude to ask about it. And no, I’m not talking about immigration reform, or the long-term sustainability of social security (protip: contribute to your retirement fund). I’m, of course, talking about how each man would handle the imminent zombie apocalypse.
So, without further further adieu, I’d like to speculate blindly about how either of the candidates would fare in the BATTLE FOR BRAINZ. No. I don’t like that title. I’m going to speculate blindly about how either of the candidates would fare in Zombie Apocalypse-gate (if it’s a political situation, you know it’s bad when they add ‘gate’ to the end). Actually, that’s still no good. How about something about a candidate who cares not only about Wall Street, but also about Main Stre-OH MY GOD IT’S ZOMBIES!. No. Okay, let’s move on. I’m sure inspiration will come to me later.
Of course there are going to be a few factors to take into account as far as both of these men’s individual survival is concerned. The first, and probably most important is going to be location. However, since either would be in the White House if he were to win, this is kind of a non-starter. Secondly, the people around them are an incredibly important factor. Of course, regardless of which man is elected, he will probably be mostly surrounded by the Secret Service.
Actually, come to think of it, the “big picture” kind of thinking that is well-suited for Presidency is not the same attitude that will help you survive during the end of days (zombie style). If either of the candidates had served active military duty, I’d probably give that person the edge right off the bat. Neither wins that, though.
Since Obama’s 51 to Romney’s 65, and Obama has a reputation for playing basketball, I’ve got to give the quickness edge to Obama. However, I also see Romney is being more accepting of the idea that you must destroy the brain to defeat a zombie, a concept which all zombie movie victims have trouble with at first.
There are so many unknown factors here (like where the outbreak starts, how much warning everyone has, the speed of the zombies, how the zombies deal with water, and whether or not they can they open doors) that I really can’t guess who would be the best leader.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I just want the Presidential candidates to soothe us with sweet sweet lies about how they’d deal with zombies. Toss it into your stump speeches. The CDC is already prepared. For realz.
PS – Do you think bites are covered by ZombamaCare?
PPS – Zombie Policy would actually probably be called something really boring like “The Extermination Plan for the Pulse-Impaired” with journalists dubbing it something stupid like, “ZombieWatch 2013”
I guess it’s that time again. Time to write in this thing. This is 2012 now, right? I’m sorry to have left you all wanting more from me for the last two years, but I’ve been preoccupied. I’ve been travelling in a time machine – forward – at regular speed. It’s more of a box than a time machine, I guess. Anyway, It’s good to see the sun again at any rate. I imagine anyone who reads this has felt lost for the last two years without my clever posts, diverse vocabulary, and, um, lists of 3 things. I think it would only be proper for me to update you loyal readers on the goings on of the world from April 13, 2010 to today.
April 14, 2010 – I got in that cardboard box.
April 15, 2010 – October 24, 2012 – How the hell should I know? I was in that damn box!
You folks are lucky. I very nearly did a juxtaposition of popular trends from 2010 compared to 2012. I’m better than that. You’re better than that. Plus, I actually started doing it, and it felt dated by the time I finished typing it. Now you don’t have to hate and judge me as I make thinly veiled observations about how Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong were both sponsored by Nike. Or about how Facebook sort of sucks nowadays.
If I were being personal, I would tell you that I finished graduate school, am working a good job, married a wonderful girl, and bought a house. That’s not what this is about, though! It’s about me slowly inching my way out of retirement and trying to help ya’ll waste away time online that’s not on Facebook (because it sort of sucks nowadays).
Don’t call it a comeback.
Today I’m here simply to follow up my previous post. My fellow Americans, today marks a huge victory for those of us who want universal health care reform t-shirts. We have fought long and hard for this day, and it wasn’t easy, but victory is finally ours. That’s right, the Obama website announced that they will officially be printing and selling the “Health Reform is BFD” t-shirts (technically giving away for free if you happen to donate $25 to Organizing for America). So if you want to order yours, mosey on over to this website. They’re also good for haters – they make great shop rags or paintball testing targets.
I, as the conveyer of all things important, must also include part of the item description to you:
There are things that are a big deal — birthdays, anniversaries, the NCAA Championship game. And then there are things that are a BFD, like delivering health insurance to 32 million Americans. We worked hard together to make health reform a reality, and now you can celebrate this historic victory with this shirt.
Again, for good measure, I’m including a video about Joe Biden, that suave son of a bitch, from The Onion.
Edit: If videos aren’t for you, read this story about Biden from The Onion as well.
I’m going to get some hateful comments for even mentioning the health care reform act, but a young John Wayne once told me a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, and I’m the kind of guy who listens to young John Wayne.
So this post doesn’t have anything to do with the health reform substantively, but the response. I know. I’m throwing you a change-up. I think you can handle it. Prepare yourself though. I’m not even going to address the tea party response or general negative sentiment that dominates some’s opinion of the current administration (beyond that sentence). Instead, I’m going to address the ol’ VP’s response. In introducing President ‘Bama, Joey B. “accidentally” said into the hot mic, “This is a big f*cking deal” in an off the cuff aside to the President. Don’t believe me? ROLL FILM.
You may have to turn it up a bit, but someone on youtube thoughtfully plastered it across the video at the appropriate time.
Anyway, the thing that I think is funny is that the Obama website is having a vote on which t-shirt should be the official commemorative health care reform t-shirt. Of course it’s a huge trick to get you to donate money, but one of the choices is this:
For good measure, here’s a video from The Onion about Biden.
It’s my duty (and pleasure) as someone whose sporadic writing you read sporadically, to inform the general public of the scary scams on the internet. That being said, today I received a legitimate email disguised as a scam. I’ll attach a picture of it, but don’t bother reading the whole thing. From what I gather, I have the opportunity to get a chunk of Saddam Hussein’s secret $26,000,000 that the US government doesn’t know about.
I’ve got to be honest with you; she sold me. I was just about ready to send her digital copies of my credit card, social security card, and birth certificate until I reread the subject of the email. I knew at that point that I was not who she was looking for. I replied and I hope she’s still interested in doing business, but it seems less likely than I originally hoped. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
Original Offer (Click to enlarge):
Fingers crossed for a reply. I’ll keep you updated.
So to this point I’ve successfully refrained from commenting or caring about the Tiger Woods scandal. I don’t plan on that changing. However, today I was at the Target in Springfield, IL and something caught my eye. As I walked out of the restroom, I noticed an old ad. The ad encompassed an entire wall (near the restrooms of course). It included pictures of celebrities accompanied by youth. Next to the pictures were inspirational or encouraging words. With the improved information we now have about one celebrity’s sexual liaisons, perhaps this one should be changed. It’s just a suggestion. Do what you will, Target.
Update: After a quick Google search, I’ve learned that in 2001, Target and Tiger coupled their efforts to help improve life for the youth of the world. I’m sure there’s a more specific purpose to the organization, but I don’t really care what it is.
Oh my! So much has happened since I last turned my cathexis to addressing the people in Internet world. I apologize for the use of the word “cathexis” but I just learned it and I want to look smart. So much has happened. For example, Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift at MTV’s VMAs, insisting that Beyonce should have won the award for Best Video instead of her. Then there was a huge public outcry and everyone hated Kanye West. Now Taylor Swift won a bunch of awards at the CMAs and some people are pissed off about it, suggesting perhaps she didn’t deserve it.
Let’s see. I think that’s probably about all that’s happened over the last month or so. There were some shootings and something to do with the health care bill, but as someone whose primary news source is facebook news feed (Not really. Don’t castrate me), I think the first paragraph covered the topics we as a country feel most passionately about. I would suggest that Twitter would be a better source for news, but I hate it, and as far as I can tell it’s mostly used for daughters of former presidential candidates pissing off conservative people and governors showing their breakfast to the world.
So, back to the lecture at hand (perfection is perfected so I’ma let ‘em understand), we’re going to talk about Kanye West and Taylor Swift. This is a conflict that seems like it needs a resolution and since I don’t see these names as real people but as performers whose names go next to songs, I think the fairest way to settle this is to have a song battle.
When I typed “Taylor Swift” into iTunes, her top 3 most popular songs were “You Belong With Me,” “Love Story,” and “Our Song.” Kanye’s top 3 were “Heartless,” “Stronger,” and “Gold Digger.” I originally planned on doing top 5, but I don’t know Taylor’s #4 song and I’m not a thorough enough investigator to listen to something new.
First up: “You Belong With Me” vs. “Heartless.” Both of these songs are pretty whiney. The difference is that Kanye has given up and is jaded against his girl while Taylor is (naively) still hopeful that the boy of her dreams will break up with his girlfriend and come date her. This one is a tie because they’re both complaining too hard for me to think straight.
Next up: “Love Story” vs. “Stronger.” This is a tough comparison. It’s like comparing apples and… detergent. Love story is, well, a love story. As far as I can tell, Stronger is sort of about pursuing a girl, although it kind of switches a lot and the hook doesn’t seem to relate to the rest of the song. Although Stronger is badass, point Taylor for being cute and mostly consistent.
Lastly: “Our Song” vs. “Gold Digger.” I’ve got to give this matchup to Kanye just because of the line “We want prenup” (yeaaah).
But wait, some might say – doesn’t that make it a tie? The score is 1-1. As the official scorekeeper, the tie goes to Kanye because he runs this town (feat. Jay-Z (hovi, baby) and Rihanna) so everyone has to stop hating on him, admit that he’s living the good life, start his new workout plan, and keep your love locked down (or you lose).
Of course this could all change if Taylor comes out with a new better song some time soon. Good luck.
I have been reminded that Taylor Swift is cooler than I gave her credit for. Please see the following video as evidence:
Of course this bumps her into a slight lead over Kanye. Kanye’s rebuttal? A big tall glass of crazy:
I know it may seem like the deck is stacked, but I’ve got to give this one back to Kanye. He’s the model of consistency and he gets bonus points for the reaction he elicited from Mike Myers.
I’ve been watching a fair amount of TV on Hulu lately and it’s a fantastic service but they keep playing one commercial in particular over and over again and it creeps me out a little each time. Open your eyes to Juvederm.
Sorry about the funky 10 second countdown to the beginning. It’s to build a sense of drama.
Anyway, I like how they use the airbrush filter on the camera lens so she doesn’t have any wrinkles anyway. The part that always makes me cringe, though, is at about 18 seconds when it pops up “injectable gel.” Injectable gel?!? Is this episode of Psych really being sponsored by brand name Botox?
I realize growing older in today’s society isn’t easy. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but I think when you get to the crossroads in your life when you really feel you have to choose between having laugh lines and injecting your face with shit to get rid of them, I think it’s probably okay to have the laugh lines.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to be at my weekly meeting with my plastic surgeon.
This post brought to you by Juvederm, Kanye West, and the letter R.
I don’t have much to say today but there is a little something I want to share with you. I generally just skim over ads. I see them as a necessary evil. They pay for the online content, but I have no real interest in them. However, if you pay attention, you see a lot of interesting ads online.
I’m going to stop beating around the bush so much. I stumbled across a weird ad yesterday and I want to share it. Enjoy.