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Do You Have a Rule For Movies & Books?

17 years ago

Here's one of mine:

If, in the first 5 minutes or the first 5 pages, there's gunfire, assault, yellin' & hollerin', arson, or a car chase, I don't watch or read.


wonder if that's why I find myself at the Texas Forum more often than in the middle of a really engrossing book these days...

What are your "rules" for what you watch or read?

Comments (23)

  • 17 years ago

    Whinning/pathetic main characters. Ie..."I'll never get (fill in the blank),nobody loves me think I'll eat a worm".
    There was one movie(Greek Wedding?) that summed it all up. This girl is a frump. She gets a crush on some guy and decides to do something with herself. She does something with herself. He notices her. However, inside she's still a frump. The male character spends the rest of the entire movie shoring up this girl's self-esteem. I wouldn't date someone like that,much less marry them if they magically became the best looking person in the world. Boring!Get a hobby! Shut up!

    Violence that's not really a part of the story gets dull fast too. Same with sexual content. Crappy fighting choreography is retarded(especially Martial Arts!) For example, Jackie Chan movies have a soft plot but that's not the point. He's funny and he and his team are incredible stuntmen and the fight scenes show a really high level of skill.There isn't a lot of gore. Maybe none? Jet Lee only made one movie worth watching. (Fearless) He's a fantastic martial artist and good with choreography, but I hate the violence that's just out there with NO plot and the music is just hideous.
    James bond on the other hand is so out there I see it as a comedy. Still,I want an acceptable "Bond". Sean,Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan.There is no plot in James Bond movie so I'm picky about eye candy.PJ

  • 17 years ago

    "James bond on the other hand is so out there I see it as a comedy."

    pj, you remind me of one of my previous lives:

    I was seeing an older man (he was only about 43! but I was maybe 33).

    He came up with the idea that we read books aloud, & I really enjoyed it.

    But then he started buying these Clive Cussler books:

    The "hero" is named Dirk Pitt.

    Need I say more?

    His father was maybe a senator, I can't exactly remember.

    He was always getting into international plots, & women, all long-legged senators' wives/PHD oceanographers/over-achievers/high-status females of every kind, just couldn't get enough of him.

    I can't remember if he collected antique cars or if he just had the one, but it was a fantasy high-status car, too, something like a Stutz Bearcat.

    We had to stop the reading aloud because I kept laughing out loud; I thought those books were *supposed* to be funny!

    When my date-guy was hurt & offended by my attitude, I realized that those books were written as "men's fantasies", much like romance novels are "women's fantasies":
    Women fantasize about romance & relationships, & men fantasize about status & adventure.

    Thanks for the memory, it still brings a laugh!

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  • 17 years ago

    I don't know that I have any rules, but I don't like books or movies where none of the characters, even the protagonist, is likable. For instance, DH brought a Steve McQueen movie, called "The Getaway," home from the library recently (talk about eye candy!) and since I'm a fan of Steve McQueen, I thought I'd like the movie. Wrong. First of all it turned out to be a heist movie. (I guess that does bring up a possible rule, although I never really thought about rules regarding movies or novels.) I don't like heist movies, since they glorify crime. Even if they're glitzy, glamourous, or an interesting puzzle, I don't like that they make the criminals into heros. This movie sort of does that. But what's worse, the characters really were not very likable. I found myself wishing they'd get caught and thrown in jail and that would end the movie quickly. It was one of those movies that I was glad it was free. Another example would be...what was it won an oscar...American Beauty, I think. Anyway, one of the kids rented it and I tried to watch it, but 5 minutes into it I left the room. Why waste my time?

    I don't like vulgar movies.

    I used to just say no to Adam Sandler movies until I was convinced to watch Spanglish. The people that recommended it were right.

    As for reading, most non-genre bores me to tears. I have no interest in how some fictional character overcame a bad childhood, or rather, didn't overcome a bad childhood.

    If violence bothered me in the first 5 minutes, I would never have read a Dick Francis book. He has the most exciting and creative opening paragraphs of any writer I've read. I would not have seen Indiana Jones or any of the sequels. Well, there's a lot I would have missed out on. I may not be the typical woman, but there's a lot of action adventure movies/books I like and a lot I don't, depending, as someone above pointed out, if it's in keeping with the plot and character. I love James Bond, but there's no James Bond other than Sean Connery. I do love Pierce Brosnen, but you can have Roger Moore.

    I like movies and books that have a good story to tell about interesting or quircky characters, and/or that make me laugh. The littler the movie, the more independent, the better "The Station Agent" is a good example. If you haven't seen it, watch it.

    Oh, and I just don't do Romance Novels. I also don't do battle scenes. I don't find war to be entertaining. Although, I do love Science Fiction, which tends to have battle scenes, but they're usually in space ships. Oh, and I did love The Lord of the Rings, but I got awfully tired of all the battle scenes. I guess I'm a walking contradiction. I guess it boils down to a book or a movie must have interesting, likable characters, a good story and plot.


  • 17 years ago

    oops, didn't mean to imply that I think any book with adventure in it is a man's fantasy book.

    I just meant that the Clive Cussler stories that we read were very formulaic, much like romance novels.

    I have a long history of reading adventure stories.

    Long after I was a grown-up person, I was dismayed to read that Walter Farley wrote the Black Stallion series for boys!

    I do love Dick Francis's books.
    I think every single one of them has some sort of connection with the horse racing world, but they're all very different, & he does a lot of very detailed research.

    The last one I read, I think it was called "Shattered", was about a glass blower...who had a journalist friend friend who covered horse races.

    I'll have to see if I still have some of them, & re-read the first few pages:
    I was thinking they usually started out describing the narrator's background, etc.

    Agatha Christie mysteries always have a "murder", but it isn't dwelled upon, there's never any screaming, terror, sadism, etc, there's just "the body in the library" or some such, & then the book is devoted to unravelling the puzzle.

    & I used to love science fiction, especially Isaac Asimov.

    Again, there're bad guys, & there's war & conflict, but it's not glorified, it's the background for the puzzle or problem.

    If I pick up a book at the book store or library, & the first page describes, for instance, the gore on the decomposing body or mentions a "hail of bullets", I put it back. I figure that sets the tone for the entire book.

    (& if I pick up one & I realize that the hero has every status symbol in the world & all the women in his life are tall, red-headed senators' wives with long legs & luscious lips...I know what to expect in the remainder of the book!)

  • 17 years ago

    I admit that I read romance books. Stephanie Plum(Evanovitch) is a riot!I also adore Kinsey Milhone(Sue Grafton) books I've also read all of the Eve Dallas books( JD Robb/Nora Roberts). I read mysteries a lot too. Dick Francis is an incredible writer. He makes everything interesting. Francis books are so descriptive and impossible to second guess. His characters are alway interesting and complicated. Robert B Parker's book also have a lot of violence but are really good. I like his characters even tho I have very little in common with them.They tend towards realism. Tami Hoag writes books that have a lot of history that's facinating too.I could probably go on all day about books. My DH calls me "book worm"! PJ

  • 17 years ago

    Movies have to be interesting enough to keep me awake and usually a comedy or something really scary but not gory. I love to read Stephen King and Dean Koontz, but I get so wrapped up in reading, I get nothing else done.


  • 17 years ago

    I like stories that are true.

    I love murder books.....How they did it, how the cops investigated, got the big break. how they arrested them and tried the ba****ds, and how they were convicted and sent to death row. Or Life.

    Books like 'Blood and Money', 'HelterSkelter'.

    I can't read romance books. I just can't. My Dear Sister reads my share. I like to read, but I want it to have some basis in fact. 'Andersonville' would be a good example of what I like.

    I seldom watch a movie. I much prefer a documentary.

    I would like to see "The Devil wears Prada".

    I wonder, What does that say about me? LOL


  • 17 years ago

    The Devil wears Prada book was kinda draggy. I don't know about the movie. It was about a 20something learning the slow way about boundries at work.PJ

  • 17 years ago

    My rule is simple, most movies aren't worth watching, and books are too time consuming.

    Books, by the way, tend to become escapist venues for those who aren't happy with their lives. Especially romantic novels.

    Movies are also escapist activity for those who have nothing else to do.

    The one movie I had an interest in seeing, my wife found for me on DVD, at half-price books, last month.......which I still haven't found the time to watch. The TV is rarely used for anything but news and weather, with internet being faster and on-demand.

    Soooooooo, I start a new jewelry making class in 2 weeks, and will be occupied with that for 16 weeks after that, in addition to my flute studies. At my age, 2 extra activities is about all I can handle, since I spend 12-12 1/2 hrs. per day, going to and from work.

  • 17 years ago

    Hey! By the end of this marathoning business I'll be able to escape on foot and wont have to watch movies or read! PJ

  • 17 years ago

    Yeah well, you may be young enough to do that, but I ain't!

    Gardening is more than enough work for me.

  • 17 years ago

    Rick, I have to mostly disagree with you. I do agree that there are people that use the escapism of t.v. or maybe even books to escape from an unhappy life. However, storytelling is an art form that I believe started soon after language was figured out - maybe even before language developed - think hierogliphics. Stories are/can be entertaining, enlightening, provocative, or vapid, mindless escapist entertainment. I believe humans have a need to both tell stories and to listen to, read or watch stories. I don't think whether one is happy with their lives has anything to do with it. Movies and books are fun.

    Sylvia, I wasn't even thinking about what you said about Clive Cussler books when I made my comment about liking action-adventure. I was thinking more along the lines of what the stereotype is, that women like chick flicks and men like action-adventure. DH and I will see an ad for one of those shoot-em-up buddy movies, and joke about all the testosterone in the movie.

    Dick Fancis does go into background pretty early in his books, but his opening sentence and paragraph are almost always exciting or enticing. I'm just finishing his latest novel. Here's the opening paragraph of that novel,

    "Sadly, death at the races is not uncommon. However, three in a single afternoon was sufficiently unusual to raise more than an eyebrow. That only one of the deaths was of a horse was more than enough to bring the local constabulary hotfoot to the track."

    Alas, I don't think this one or the one just previous to it are as good as his earlier works, but he's still a master, and reading his books is like visiting with an old friend.

    I love Evonovitch's Stephanie Plum, even though they sort of skirt the romance genre. They're different, though.

    Oh, and I have put books down just because they start to describe a character as being a bit too tall or too handsome or too beautiful. I tried to read a Magaret Truman mystery, but she actually started describing one of the characters exactly like that. Puh-lease!

    I really hardly ever go to the movies any more We get most of our movies from the library, but when I do visit a video store, I wonder around and around and around trying to find something interesting. It's getting harder to do. I find myself ending up in the foreign section most of the time. There's some really good foreign films being made, and probably it's the best ones that make it onto the shelf at the video store. Some recommendations: the French movie, "Amelie," the German movie "Run Lola Run," which is a very different, intriguing, exciting German movie, Karacter (Character), a Dutch movie, which, as it's name implies, is an interesting character study...I could go on and on with the foreign films. Maybe it's that I like non-Hollywood movies the best.


  • 17 years ago

    Well, Sally, I have read a great many books over the years, but if there was some value in any of them, perhaps it was most apparant in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes" series, in that reading those, will hone the analytical mind.

    I always found it amusing, that the best spy books were not Ian Fleming's, 007 series, in spite of some pretty good movies coming out of them, but rather Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm series, which was made into silly and foolish movies, in comparison to the books. Oh well.....there is a great deal of money to be made, to sell movie rights from books, I suppose.

    As far as story telling......Native Americans have been doing that for centuries, without ever having to write a book. (smile)

  • 17 years ago

    & it's a tradition that's making a comeback:

    Libraries & hospitals love to have storytellers for the little ones!

  • 17 years ago

    Funny, at my house it's the little ones telling the stories! They might want to write it down so they can keep their story straight tho. :^P PJ

  • 17 years ago

    LOL, PJ.

    Rick, to me books, movies, television (well, maybe not these days) plays, are all different forms of stories being told, thus variations of what the ancient people did by storytelling. And yes, actually live storytellers are around and are fun to listen to.

    BTW, I have heard that studies indicate that reading improves brain function, while watching t.v. diminishes it. I don't remember the specifics of the study, though. I guess I watch too much t.v..


  • 17 years ago

    At the moment, my husband is watching a DVD that is tap dancing on my last nerve!
    All the screaming, gunfire, screeching tires...oh, my aching head.

    There's a good rule. If you're watching a movie and the 'good guys' can't hit the broad side of a barn at five feet - move on! This goes double if they're fighting bugs bigger than Buicks and/or they must save Earth. Honestly, if you're supposed to be Earth's only hope (aren't they always) and you can't hit a thirty foot bug with a truck load of ammo - we're doomed. Turn off the DVD.

    Books, books, I LOVE books!!!
    I read loads of non-fiction. Insatiable curiosity ~ good thing I'm not a cat!
    Fiction favorites are Kate Chopin, Guy de Maupassant and good ol' Shakespeare, for their ability to clearly see and write about human nature. Right now I'm reading Thomas Hardy's, Jude the Obscure.

    I have tried genre jumping to give romance, science fiction, westerns and techno-thrillers a chance. I usually can't bring myself to care enough about the characters to enjoy the book. Not always, thankfully there are brilliant surprises!

    Verbal storytelling is family tradition, we ARE Southern after all!

  • 17 years ago

    Well, Sally, I have one observation about books improving brain function. I have a relative (by marriage) that reportedly reads all the time, who once sent us a letter, that clearly demonstrated illiteracy. So......not sure reading is a clear indicator of learning. Of course....I don't know what books she read.

    Verbally, you wouldn't notice the lack of skills demonstrated in her letter, because she doesn't talk a lot, and when she does it is usually just casual conversation.

  • 17 years ago

    Most everybody can read at a higher level than we can write (otherwise nobody could enjoy Shakespeare!)

    I always like to see that people are reading, whatever it is.

    I figure we all function at our own levels, & if we're reading, we're improving ourselves at that level, whatever it is.

    I'd much rather see someone reading *anything* than not reading at all.

  • 17 years ago

    My boss is an avid reader, and also likes to write, but he can't spell worth a darn, (or any other phrase.) His excuse is that English is his second language. It is one of the more difficult languages to spell.


  • 17 years ago

    As an adult, I have never been a movie or TV enthusiast.

    I read all the time. Stephenie Plum series are good escape books. Never any romance.
    Back in May the home health nurse told me NOT to watch TV. Because you don't have to use your brain. She said to read or do crossword puzzles.
    The strange thing when I first came home from the hospital was that it really bothered me to read about any violence. Now I can read most types of mysteries.

  • 17 years ago

    Languages can always be an issue. I know a little of several, and not a lot of any except English. I find that spelling and pronunciation are both troublesome, in any secondary language, myself.

    For now, suffice it to say, that Cherokee is no easy language to learn, either, nor is Navajo. German and French, I have dealt with long enough to at least have some idea of how to pronounce and / or spell in, even if I can't speak those languages all that well.

    It is interesting, that a Taiwanese born friend, had a lot of trouble translating Chinese into English from a CD, for me, and in fact, didn't even get close to the actual song titles on some of the more well-known songs, being sung in Chinese and Japanese. Maybe English is more difficult for non-English speaking people than we realize.

  • 17 years ago

    I love history books, bios on people I admire and instructional books on garening, DIY of just about any kind.
    Humor has to be my absolute favorite tho, even if they are corny
    Here's a reading list my son in law sent me a few months ago and I've read them all a few times, lol

    "The Lion Attacked", by Claude Yarmoff.

    "How to Write Big Books", by Warren Peace.

    "The Art of Archery", by Beau N. Arrow.

    "Songs for Children", by Barbara Blacksheep.

    "Irish Heart Surgery", by Angie O'Plasty.

    "Split Personalities", by Jacqueline Hyde.

    "Under the Bleachers", by Seymour Butts.

    "Desert Crossing", by I. Rhoda Camel.

    "School Truancy", by Marcus Absent.

    "I Was a Cloakroom Attendant", by Mahatma Coate.

    "I Lost My Balance", by Eileen Dover and Phil Down.

    "Mystery in the Barnyard", by Hu Flung Dung.

    "Positive Reinforcement", by Wade Ago.

    "Shhh!", by Danielle Soloud.

    "The Philippine Post Office", by Imelda Letter.

    "Things to Do at a Party", by Bob Frapples.

    "Stop Arguing", by Xavier Breath.

    "Come on In!", by Doris Open.

    "The German Bank Robbery", by Hans Zupp.

    "I Hate the Sun", by Gladys Knight.

    "Prison Security", by Barb Dweyer.

    "Irish First Aid", by R.U. O'Kaye.

    "My Career As a Clown", by Abe Ozo.

    "The World's Deadliest Joke", by Theophilus Punoval.

    "Here's Pus in Your Eye", Lance Boyle.

    "My Life on Skid Row", Titus A. Drum.

    "I Didn't Do It!", by Ivan Alibi.

    "Why I Eat at McDonalds", by Tommy Ayk.

    "I Hit the Wall", by Isadore There.

    "The Bruce Lee Story", by Marsh Larts.

    "Take This Job and Shove It", by Ike Witt.

    "Rapunzel Rapunzel", by Harris Long.

    "How I Won the Maraton", by Randy Hoelway.

    "Songs from South Pacific", by Sam and Janet Evening

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