“Hey, you want to watch something?”
“No, thanks. I’m watching book.”
Books are ruining TV and movies for me. Whenever I turn on the TV and start flipping through channels, I have a hard time finding anything that holds my attention for more than a few minutes. It is not an attention span thing because I am perfectly fine sitting for hours with a good book, only surfacing long enough to grab a snack.
The same holds true for movies. I was talking to some friends about the recent summer releases. Both of them were talking about the movies they liked, and I found myself repeatedly saying some variation of, “I didn’t really like that.” I would usually throw out something about the story being weak or nonexistent. When talk turned to Jurassic World, I pointed out that the story was full of holes so big that a whole herd of Indominus Rex could run through. I loved Michael Crichton’s original books in the franchise. To see how his story evolved into a vehicle that existed for the sole purpose of special effects was disappointing. One of my friends simply said, “Yeah, but the dinosaurs were awesome.” Hey, I’m not going to argue with that. They really were.
But, I am not content just to sit and enjoy the spectacle of special effects when there is no story to back them up. I do not need a deep, complex story to hold my interest, but I do need something to hold onto and follow as dinosaurs and explosions flash up on the screen. This is exactly why I liked the recent installment in the Mad Max franchise, Fury Road. It had just the right combination of action and story. The story was not terribly complex and could be enjoyed simply as a good action movie while also offering enough to think about for those who wanted to go deeper with the story.
Unfortunately, there are more movies and TV shows like Jurassic World and less like Fury Road. As much as I enjoy reading, I sometimes want to enjoy a good TV show or movie, but I am finding that harder and harder to do. While some of it can be blamed on the quality of what’s on, I think more of it has to do with the way a story evolves in a book. I suppose it really is not a bad problem to have. I quite enjoy my time in the book world.
My mom used to tell me she liked action movies because sometimes she just wanted to watch something where she didn’t have to think, and perhaps this accounts for the large success of things like Jurassic World and the Real Housewives. In the end, we just want an escape from the stresses of life. For some of us, that may mean TV and movies, but for me, that will mostly be the book world until another show like Parks and Recreation or Arrested Development comes along.
Readers, what are your thoughts? Do you find that reading has raised your expectations of TV and movies?