Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why jumping on the bandwagon for books, movies, and television is a mixed bag

I’m usually in front of most bandwagons. When I fall behind, though, it generally takes me forever to catch up.

I guess that’s why I didn’t read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl until this past weekend. And, before you ask, it’s not so I can go and see the movie. I will eventually see the movie – but probably not until it’s out on Blu-Ray or On Demand.

Anyway, back to the book. I kept hearing how well it was written and how amazing the “twist” was, and I figured it sounded interesting. So, I finally sat down and read it.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the fact that it was overwritten. I mean way overwritten. I don’t think everything has to be written in simplistic sentences – and I love the Terry Brooks and Stephen King prose forms – but the inner-monologues (especially when it comes to Nick) just go on and on – repeating things until I thought: I just can’t hear this one more time.

And I get why we’re not supposed to warm up to Nick at first. He’s a suspect in his wife’s disappearance. There’s supposed to be something “odd” about him. When I finally did get to the twist, it wasn’t a big surprise. I was expecting more actually – which is why word-of-mouth phenomenon can backfire on readers and viewers.

And, while I don’t want to get into a debate about the ending because I don’t want to ruin it for people, since I found the vast majority of people in this book to be unlikeable, I will say I was fine with the ending.

While I didn’t dislike Gone Girl, I certainly didn’t think it was amazing either. It did get me thinking about the nature of a bandwagon, however.

Sometimes, when you come to the party late, you find you love what you’ve been missing. That happened to me with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Harry Potter, and The Hunger Games. I didn’t start watching Buffy until late in the second season (and then never missed an episode). I didn’t start reading Harry Potter until the fourth book hit shelves. And all three of The Hunger Games books were out – and on top of best sellers lists for years – before I finally took the plunge.

Oh, and I came to the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sensation late – and I absolutely loved all three of those books.

On the flip side, when I caved to the Twilight pressure I wanted to smack someone I hated the books (and especially Bella) so much. When I sampled Divergent, I wanted to smack someone again (talk about a terrible ending – The Village meets The Truman Show anyone?) and this time I wanted to smack them with the Sears Tower in Chicago. And, when I finally check out the television show Grimm I wanted to laugh (and not in a good way) because I found it to be so poorly done.

Everyone has different tastes. I know that. Sometimes the buildup helps a show or book, and
sometimes it hurts.

I have a feeling it hurt where Gone Girl is concerned. It is an interesting twist. I think the writing was decent – although obviously padded – and I have real trouble believing anyone writes in their journal with the amount of detail Amy used in the book (even a rampant narcissist and sociopath).

I just don’t think it was the be all and end all of modern fiction like some people are suggesting. It was merely “interesting” to me. It was a decent character study.

I will, however, check out the movie down the line.

What do you think? What bandwagon have you jumped on that you wish you could jump off?


Blogger Jacob Reed said...

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November 6, 2014 at 8:29 PM 

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