Thursday, April 12, 2007

Critically Acclaimed?

Okay, it has been a long time since I laughed out loud at a blog entry and read parts of it out loud to my husband. But I did both when I read this entry by Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Godderich Literary Management. The man is hilarious . . . or maybe he was just having a good day. Either way, I laughed my head off.

But he makes a good point. Do you read the books that are critically acclaimed? Do you like them despite being critically acclaimed? Because they are critically acclaimed? Or do you loathe them for the same reason?

Jim mentioned some movies as examples and I'm going to follow suit. (Mostly because I have submissions in too many big houses to bash any of their books, so I'll stay away from books entirely. See, I know PR.;))So first up on my list, the movie The Notebook. Totally snoozed through the whole thing. (I can definitely see how it would be a great book, but the movie just didn't do it for me.) I think I disliked it for two very definite reasons. The first was that I had heard so much hype on it that I expected it to be this incredible, phenomenal movie. Maybe I would have liked it more if my expectations were not so high. And, of course, I saw Fifty First Dates the night before. Incredible movie! Absolutely riveting and endearing. And because both movies deal with memory issues (albeit very different kinds) I couldn't help but feel like Fifty First Dates had done so much better of a job portraying the devastation of forgotten love and the never ending hope involved than The Notebook. It just seemed lesser in my eyes. So between not living up to the hype and the coincidence of a thematically similar movie, The Notebook just crashed and burned for me.

Movies that have lived up to the hype in my opinion: Moulin Rouge, The Kill Bills, the new Phantom of the Opera, the third Lord of the Rings, Chicago (I love musicals, so shoot me;)), The Shawshank Redemption, and the Hours.

Movies that just didn't cut it for me: The Notebook, Forrest Gump, the third Harry Potter movie, the new Star Wars (yeah, everyone groan with me), Down With Love, and strangely enough, Cheaper by the Dozen (now there's a disturbing movie. Trust me, disturbing.)

I don't think that hype makes a whole lot of difference for me. If I'm going to like it, I'm going to like it. I think the effect comes when it is a movie I would have been lukewarm about. If there was a ton of hype and I just wasn't a fan, the hype can make me dislike the movie because I really expected to like it.

So how about you? What are some movies that did or did not live up to the hype? And for those of you whose MS is not out on submission, feel free to name books as well.



Mark said...

I saw your question over at Absolute Write, someone in the thread had linked to my blog Imagine seeing my agent as your topic. Weird right? Anyway, good luck with your manuscript.

I actually met with the editor at a conference prior to her reading three chapters, so she was primed. But didn't actually hear back from her for a month after I delivered the chapters. Email response is best, usually good news. A letter. Eh!

Anonymous said...

It totally depends on the movie, book, music, etc. I have certain people that i get their opinions on it and others that if they didn't like it, I probably will, and if the do, I probably won't. :) I like what I like and don't really care if others disagree. Although, I have to say, I don't think I can ever watch 'Cheaper by the Dozen' again. Thanks. ;)

Levi Nunnink said...

Well I just saw "007: Casino Royal", which everyone said was "awesome" but I was really lukewarm over it. It just confirmed to me that I will never be a fan of suave british agents running around killing people like there's no tomorrow and bedding anorexic women. Who knew there was a market for such a thing?

One movie that I loved recently was Flushed Away. And I'd heard close to nothing about it before I watched it.

Anonymous said...

Acually, some of the movies that were hyped up that I found dissapointing were Monster's ball (Halle won an Oscar for it, and the movie -to me- stunk), and one from your list of movies you loved; Chicago.

Ok, the dancing was great, the acting was great, the costumes were great, the directing was great, the singing was great, the cinematography was great...basically everything about Chicago was great.

Except the story itself. I hated it.

The Writers' Group said...

I dislike Disney children's movies -- all the mothers are dead or killed -- and Moulin Rouge.

Love, love, love Shawshank Redemption.


ORION said...

I'm a musical fan!
BTW I just saw WIcked on Broadway on Wednesday.
That immediacy of something right in front of you is unbeatable.

Anonymous said...

Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies ever! I just watched it again like last week. It is a movie that me and my family can agree on to watch because we all love it.

John Elder Robison said...

Just so you know . . . big brother is everywhere. All those big publishing houses are owned by giant conglomerates that own the movie production and distribution, too. And the magazines. And the newspapers and radio

It's almost scary.

So if you don't want risk offending one, just say nothing

cyn said...

no, i tend to stay away from "popular" books. other than recently, when i began reading fantasy since that is what i am writing. altho, the recent pride and prejudice film with knightley prompted me to read my first austen book. other than that, i read LOTR before it was made into a film. those are the only examples i can think of. ah, i read gone with the wind as a teen after seeing the movie, too. =)

and i want to read ian flemings first bond book after drooling over the new blonde bond. =p~

usually, i prefer reading dead authors and more "classic" books, cause i got all snooty in college about it.