movies are less good but more fun to watch

**This post may have vague, unimportant spoilers about the movie “Revolutionary Road.”

As I get older, I like movies on a whole less, but I enjoy watching them more. Weird? Not really. Most movies are just not all that phenomenal, though there are plenty that I adore. Like, the writing is great, but the rest is so-so; or visually it’s cool but there’s no real story; or it’s awesomely realistic but also boring; or the acting is amazing but the story is just lame or too easy or not well-adapted from the book or just done too, too many times.

Yesterday I watched “Revolutionary Road,” which was a tad disappointing after all that Oscar buzz and all. Not having read the book even, I can guess that it’s probably a bit too dense and that the movie is too simplified, but still. Throughout watching, I could guess everything that was going to happen, and not in a good way. Just in a I’ve-seen-this-in-Closer-and-We-Don’t-Live-Here-Anymore-and-tons-of-other-relationship-movies sort of way. And I “got” the point too easily, I think. Nothing about the story really challenged my thinking in a new way.

The acting, though, was great, and so were the sets and costumes and all. I’m generally more of an actor person than an actress person (though that might just be because I fantasize too often about all the movie stars I’m going to meet someday and marry), but Kate Winslet has always been one of my favorite people in the entire world. I just love her and pretty much everything she does. Just as no one does teen angst like Winona Ryder, no one does sympathetic adulteress like Kate Winslet.

I really like to be able to watch movies now with a bit more of a critical and educated eye as I get older and learn how to read better. Close reading skills and a good English teacher can make you a good movie-watcher without being annoyingly too cerebral about everything. Not that I know all that much technical stuff about film, but I know enough for the average person, I suppose. I love to analyze the stories like you do a book and to be able to gauge good and bad acting better than I could when I was little.

But really, most movies are nothing new. And since movies are stories or statements or essays or lives, as a writer, that scares me. It’s supposed to be the way you tell a story, not the story itself, right? Is that why literature continues to exist and evolve? But what if you tell an old story in a fairly old way? What’s left?


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