Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Unexpected Side Effects
My husband and I decided to catch up on actual movie-going since the kids are in Germany this month. When we were young and poor graduate students and living in Germany ourselves, every Wednesday night was movie night because the theaters had half-price tickets. There was hardly ever a lack of things to see. Sure, there were lulls, but for the most part, Wednesday night was a night away from reality in someone else's enchanting story.
This last week has not been as enchanting. We went to see Killers with Katherine Heigl and Ashton Kutscher, Sex and the City 2, and Letters to Juliet. You can guess who was picking the movies. But even if my husband had had more of a say, the only one we'd have added to the mix is Iron Man 2. Without having seen the last one, still, of the other three, the only one that held my attention was Letters to Juliet. I knew Sex and the City 2 would be a walk down memory lane, but I was actually checking my watch during the movie! Me. A diehard Sex and the City fan. During Killers, I checked my watch, too. I have never checked my watch in a movie. What is wrong with me? Have I studied plot so much that now I cannot get lost even a little bit in a mediocre film?
I think maybe.
The upside is that I've seen Letters to Juliet twice, and would see it a third time. The writing is smart, the acting good, the storyline plausible, with good A and B arc-ing stories. But why is there only one such movie out there at the height of summer? Granted, I'm waiting for the kids to come back before I go see Karate Kid, but that's got to be good. The original was already super and the new actors should spice up the latest version. I do not think there will be any watch checking.
However, if there is any truth to the adage that there are no new stories, only new ways of telling them, then I am worried about the movies. Of the movies listed above, only 2 are originals. Of those, I only got caught up in one. I know the movie industry is suffering, but there is good writing out there. Remakes are fun, but the real rush (and dollars) comes from fresh, innovative, exciting writing combined with sharp acting.
Now if I can just apply what I've learned to my own writing!