Sunday, February 7, 2010

Inglourious Nights In Cookie Booths

by Caren Crane

I did two of my favorite things on Saturday: worked a Girl Scout cookie booth and watched a movie. These things may seem to have nothing in common and at least one of them may seem a in its entertainment value. I contend they are but two sides of the same coin. The coin being, of course, human nature.

First, the cookie booth. Setting: the sidewalk next to the entrance to a popular grocery store chain catering to people who like to spend (in my opinion) too much money for food. The clientele here tends to be more upscale, picky and - I'll be honest - unsociable than at other area grocery stores. However, we tend to sell lots of cookies at these stores, so the cookie booth spaces are much in demand and we were thrilled to be there. Saturday, the high was about 36 degrees F, but it felt about 10 degrees colder. Our booth was in the late afternoon/early evening, so it was about 33 degrees and felt about 24 degrees. It was COLD.

Cold is good when you're selling cookies. So is rain and high wind. People feel sorry for the girls and you get more sympathy buys. IF the people will make eye contact. Most do, some don't. Some pretend not to speak English. Some said they already had plenty at home, which is nice...except the cookies haven't come in yet. We got some early for Super Bowl weekend, but they won't be delivered to folks who ordered until next week. Yes, friends, these people lied to our faces. We expect that, because we hear the same things every year. I always find it fascinating to watch people react - or try hard not to - when confronted with lovely young women peddling a product they don't care to buy. What to do? Avoid eye contact? Feign no knowledge of English? Lie? As a writer, I study these reactions and file away the facial expressions, the body language, for future use. Oh, yes, it will appear in a book someday. *g*

Next, the movie. Actually, this is a two-parter. On Friday, we got Nights In Rodanthe from Netflix. I'm not going to start a Nicholas Sparks fight, but let's just say I found it more than a tad ridiculous from a got-things-in-the-Outerbanks-all-wrong perspective and hilariously over-the-top from a let's-randomly-kill-off-a-major-character perspective. I loathed it. My younger daughter loathed it. My husband disliked it. I may have indulged in a bit of a rant about my displeasure with the film. My husband witnessed this.

On Saturday, we watched Inglourious Basterds, a Quentin Tarantino film. It was completely ridiculous from a got-things-completely-all-wrong perspective and hilariously over-the-top from a let's-kill-everyone-off perspective. I loved it. My older daughter loved it. My husband LOATHED it. Further, he took exception to the fact that we enjoyed it so much and indulged in a prolonged rant about it.

So, if both films were ridiculous and over-the-top, why did I love one and loathe the other? I think it's because when I sit down to watch a Quentin Tarantino film, I expect it to be ridiculous, hilarious, bloody and most certainly over-the-top. I enjoy that ride and expect Tarantino to take me there. My assumption, because it's my point of view (the only one I know) is that most people would enjoy that ride, but I know some people don't.

When I sit down to watch a movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel, I expect it to have an incredibly sappy storyline and I expect him to kill off a major character at the end for no apparent reason whatsoever. That is the ride Nicholas Sparks takes people on. I HATE that ride. But, as my husband pointed out, apparently many people enjoy that ride and keep signing up for it. Let it be known that my younger daughter put that movie in HER Netflix queue and it was not, in any way, a selection of mine.

I am fascinated by the fact that people love that ride. I don't understand that love, but I know it exists. I want to interview some people who enjoy the sappy set-up followed by crushing heartache and ask them why that's fun. I've heard people say, "Well, that's more realistic." Maybe for them, but not for me. I have never fallen in love with a man who said all the right things and was incredibly noble to boot. I also have never had the one true love I knew for four days (or two weeks) die tragically before we ever got to spend any time together. So...maybe I'm missing the entertainment part.

In Caren world: Tarantino - ridiculous and fun; Sparks - ridiculous and depressing.

My husband is still angry with me for not agreeing that I should loathe Tarantino and his ridiculous handling of WWII in the way I loathe Sparks and his ridiculous inclusion of wild ponies in Rodanthe. The difference is, Tarantino knows that everyone knows Hitler did not die in a cinema in Paris. But I think Sparks just figures 99 percent of people reading his books or watching the movie won't know there are no wild ponies in Rodanthe. They are on Shackleford Banks (an island) and Ocracoke Island and I don't think the ponies took a ferry over and trotted up Highway 12!

So, human nature. Are you able to forgive the ridiculous and over-the-top and simply enjoy it when the creator is in on the joke? Can you enjoy it when you feel the creator is simply hoping you don't know any better? Do you make excuses instead of simply saying, "No, thank you" to people selling things? Do you feel guilty for saying no? I am an avid student of human nature, and I want to know what makes you tick!


limecello said...

:P can't resist!

limecello said...

Caren, this is a post after my very own heart! I (think) I've mentioned this before, here, there, elsewhere...
I refuse to read/watch anything Nicholas Sparks. Purely on sap. But now that I know he always kills off a major character? Um, no. Does not want. And the sap and love and "romance novel" label he gets? Ugh. No.

Tarantino ... yes. Outrageous, ridiculous, and everyone knows. I'm much more ok with that. I can't wait to see Inglorious Bastards!

As for cookies... hm, I sometimes see Girl Scout cookies in grocery stores or Target. Who knows how people get them... but I can totally see people rushing away/avoiding eye contact/lying. :D

(Heh. And plz to protect me from Anna, kay? We can't let her know I have the GR. Am convinced he's here just because I opened a pack of Tim Tams today. Well... yesterday now.)

Anna Campbell said...

LIME!!!! You just can't resist, can you?

Caren, what a fascinating post and it got me thinking - yeah, I know, a first time for everything. It's weird - some of my favorite films are completely over the top crazy ridiculous and some of my least favorite films are completely over the top crazy ridiculous. So where's the difference? I'm not sure. I was crazy about gladiator films when I was a kid and a few years ago, our multicultural channel here had a season of them in the original Italian rather than dubbed. Now, these things are COMPLETELY OVER THE TOP! It's like opera on speed - and let's face it, opera's high drama on speed. So we have a double dose of speed. I think one of the secrets for me is that the good sword and sandal epics just dive into that sea of drama and emotion and don't come up for air until the end. There's an amazing integrity to these movies, silly as they are. They accept the mythological basis, they accept that people will be impossibly beautiful or impossibly noble or impossibly evil. And they run with it. And somehow it all works! Hmm, speaking of a rant, I seem to have made one! Sorrrrrrryyyy! I'll have to ask Hercules and the Seven Against Thebes to shut me up next time!

Jane said...

I do feel bad when trying to avoid people handing out pamphlets on the street. I know they're just doing their jobs, but sometimes I don't want to be hassled. Most of the time I do tell them "No, thanks" and they move on to the next passerby.

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren -

First off, we have thin mints on order - I'm just saying...

Actually, I try not to buy the cookies from the scouts at the store because I know I'll sit down and eat the whole bloody box(es) of them in one sitting. Usually, I'm in the throes of a weight loss regime in March and the cookies are like evil wrapped in chocolate. When the thin mints do arrive, my daughter will hide them in the freezer and I'll do my best not to ever open that door. When I see the girls at the grocery, I smile and shake my head. I'm an ex-scout leader so I do want them to succeed, or I want to succeed health wise as well.

As to the movies - I haven't seen the ones you referenced. No desire to see Nicholas Sparks. I want to see Inglorious Basterds because I heard it was hilarious. I wouldn't want to see it otherwise as I'm not fond of violent, bloody flicks. So I guess I'm with you on the expectation bit. I know up front that the story is nonsense when i watch the movie so the "couldn't happen" factor really doesn't matter.

Helen said...

Well done Limecello although I do think it is too hard to hide from Anna keep those Tim Tams away from him

Caren a very thoughtful post as you all know I don't watch a lot of movies and when I do I either like them love them or don't like them I don't think about whether things are correct in them of not I watch them for enjoyment.

As for lying about not wanting something I will always say no thanks if I really don't want the biscuits or pamphlets but unless I really had no money in my purse I always buy biscuits and chocolates from the neighbourhood kids. And yes I have stood on many a cake stand and sold Girl Guide biscuits over the years and know how you feel when they lie to you.

I hope my opinion helps

Have Fun

Caren Crane said...

Lime, so glad he's in good hands! *g*
Just make sure you HIDE the Tim Tams. He is a scammer!

I really try to save my Sparks rants for home, because his fans are quite rabid and will defend him to the (untimely) death! But it was kind of a revelation to me that I LOVE the sort of thing he does when it's tongue-in-cheek and everyone is in on the joke and just not when it's supposed to be serious.

Yes, I've discussed chain-yanking before and he is guilty of that, but I think it's that he defends his work as "serious" that kills me. Be like Quentin and embrace it!

Oh, and you absolutely must try Thin Mints if you like dark chocolate and mint. Heaven! Remember, if the girls ask you and you don't care for any, just say no. No excuses necessary. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Ooh, Anna, I loved those sword-and-sandals epics, too. Still do! "Sinbad and the Eye Of the Tiger" came out when I was 12. It was love at first sight! Of course, I had seen the old "The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad" about 30 times on rerums on TV, so my Sinbad pump was primed. *g*

Second favorite: the 1963 "Jason and the Argonauts". Anything with mythical creatures and OTT drama. Tie a virgin to a rock as a sacrifice and I am THERE!

Again, though, it was commonly-acknowledged that these films in no way represented "history" so we could just enjoy them. My poor husbad, the history geek, has a real problem with movies like "300" and "Troy". I have no idea why, since they are purely fictional. He seems to lack an appreciation for that sort of camp.

However, he thoroughly enjoyed "Zombieland" (me too). *shrug*

Caren Crane said...

Jane, saying "No thanks" in NYC probably qualifies you for a medal of some sort. *g* Btw, I do that when I'm there, too, but I figured I can get away with it because I'm a tourist.

I have trouble saying "No" to the homeless people who camp at the off ramps to the interstate on my commute home. I know many of them could be off the street if they would go for help. We have LOTS of homeless people here and great programs to help them get back into society. But the reasons for homelessness are myriad (don't get me started on the lack of mental health care!) so I assume people have their reasons and try not to judge.

When I have something with, I offer them food. Some take it, some don't.

Caren Crane said...

Donna, as an ex-leader you know the drill. I try to tell all the little ones they're doing a great job. It makes them so happy! In better economic times, I try to buy an extra box (usually Thin Mints or Trefoils) when I can from the booths. Around here, there is always a mouth ready to eat them. *g*

I think you'll like Inglourious Basterds, though it is REALLY violent. It's also hilarious, which somehow makes it easier to take. I also enjoyed "Kill Bill" and "Jackie Brown" and "Pulp Fiction" so I'm quite the Tarantino devotee. Brad Pitt was hilarious!

Caren Crane said...

Helen, I'm so glad someone else can lose themselves in the entertainment. Apparently, my poor husband cannot turn off the Spock brain and simply immerse himself in the story. At one point, there was a plot hole so big you could drive a truck through it, but I just shrugged it off. I'm sure he will still be thinking about it today. *g*

Still, the wild horses running down the beach (in RODANTHE!) slayed me. One simple Google search will prove that could never, ever happen. Crazy!

Helen, I know you and Donna and I are not alone in our history of hawking the cookies/biscuits. I do think the direct selling experience has been good for the girls over the years. I keep telling them, it's a popular product that many people love so it's not like you're having to hard sell. *g* If someone says no, just thank them and move along.

Um...I also buy one of whatever is being peddled from the kids if I can. I wish the economic outlook were better this year!

Marnee said...

Caren, I love this post, as much as I love Caramel Delights. (Read: a LOT).

I admit I've read a few Nicholas Sparks books. I read a Walk to Remember and the Guardian, the first because someone recommended it and the second just to see if he was still as bad.

I'm not so opposed to killing off a main character if the story's well-written, though when an author uses it as his personal writerly calling card, that is a bit depressing. What I hate is that I can pick out who's going to die in the first few chapters. Nothing's worse than knowing the poor character is going to be offed forand just waiting for the inevitable fall of the gavel.

That said, I love Tarantino too. It is ridiculous, but the ride's always a ball. I'll take him over Sparks any day.

Joan said...

Sommersby....enough said.

Oh, ok...I'll talk some more :-)

I don't watch Nicholas Sparks because of what I've been TOLD always happens...somebody dies.

I can't stand to even LOOK at Quentin Taratino much less watch his movies. I don't get the over top and I abhor gratuitous violence.

As to Girl Scouts, I sometimes will buy, sometimes say "Thanks sweetie but I'm fat" and go on into the store. Sadly, that's not lying.

But I have special soft spot for these little girls as when I was selling cookies, I had to schlep them from door to door knocking like a Fuller Brush salesman. Be 10 years old and have the door slammed in your face. Ouch!

Kate Carlisle said...

Oh Caren, what a wonderful post. I loved you before, but now I love you more than ever! Why? Because I HATE Nicholas Sparks with a passion that knows no end!!! I HATE his books! I HATE his movies! And I especially HATE that people think he writes romances. UGH!!!

Really, I'm famous for hating Nicholas Sparks! I have good friends who think it's funny to say things to me like, "Oh, I just bought the new Nicholas Sparks novel." And then they stand back and giggle as my eyes bug out of my head and smoke pours out of my ears. It's true.

Whew. Thanks for letting me share! LOL.

And when I pass a Girl Scouts table at the market, and six darling little girls yell in unison, "Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" I say, "I would love to, sweetie, but I'm too fat." If one of the girls says, "No you're not, you're pretty," I'll buy six boxes. Hee hee hee. :-)

P.S. As you might expect, I love Q. Tarantino!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I don't watch bloody, gory or potentially unhappy endings. Period. To me entertainment is something that makes me happy, all of the above does not make me happy. To quote Joan "Sommersby" I was angry for months and still get angry when I think about it.

Heaven help me, girl scout cookie time and the peeps at work have all got a piece of my pay check. I am not much of a sweet person but Thin Mints and Do-Si-
Dos will be filling my kitchen cabinets soon. There are three GS mothers in my office. Multiply by 3 carry the one, ummmmmm yeah, that will be 18 boxes of cookies to face down come delivery day. The little sweeties selling them on the street see me coming honey, oh no, MORE girl scout cookies! Oh Lord, I am so weak....... My son loves it, I on the other hand am broke.

What was the question?? I have visions of GS cookies dancing in my head and the sugar induced coma that will come after delivery.

Kate Carlisle said...

Hey, Joanie stole my girl scout cookie line!

And like Dianna, I have three or four people at work who sell their kids' cookies for them. But every year, one of the guys brings his two little girls into the office, all dressed up in their uniforms, and he walks around with them while they go from person to person, asking if we'd like to buy cookies. We're all suckers for those two little cuties. I always buy a couple of boxes from each of them. :-)

Which is why, when I go to the market, I can say with conviction to the little girls there, "I'm fat!!"

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Caren, I had no idea you and I shared a guilty pleasure in these epics! Actually one of my favorites when I was a kid I've never seen since. It starred a very gorgeous Louis Jourdan as a barbarian invader (hmm, I'm ready for my invasion, Mr. De Mille) and it was called Girl Gladiators. I think one of the things I loved about it was that it was a bit tongue in cheek and there was a really cute romance between LJ and the leader of the girl gladiators played by gamine English actress Sylvia Sim. LJ was kind of a slakcer - you know, he kept saying why bother with all this honor and nobility and trying to save Rome? Why not join him on his apple farm and make babies? It was exceedingly cute!

Caren Crane said...

Marnee, my sister in GS cookie love! I read "The Notebook" and I thought it was a good book. I think it was his first. And yes, it's sad and people die, but it totally works in a book about old people where one has Alzheimer's . You figure death is in there. But let's take, oh, "Message In a Bottle". Completely random hero death there! "Nights In Rodanthe" - same thing!

Of course, he's also not afraid to have the heroine be a 'ho. "A Walk To Remember" had an adulterous heroine, as did "Nights". There may be others, but those are the ones I've been exposed to. I tend not to enjoy adulterous heroines much, even if they were unhappy in their marriages. Get clear of the marriage, then go have a good time, you know?

Anyway, it seems that Sparks has made "the weepie" his calling card. I really want to know WHY this is so popular. I have enjoyed some stories that ended badly, but as you said, only if they are VERY well-written. I adore, for instance, most all of John Irving's books and they are MAJOR DOWNERS. But that man can seriously write!

Caren Crane said...

Ah, JT, I knew you were out there! The woman who detests OTT in all forms. I completely get that! It's easy for me to look at the total cheeseball that is Tarantino and understand why people despise his work (though I love it) than it is for me to understand buying the OTT that is supposed to be "serious".

I appreciate being told "this is OTT cheese - enjoy at your own risk" than being told "this is how life is" and being sold a ball of cheese. I consume the Tarantino cheese (like I do, say, Chevy Chase or Bill Murray cheese) with my eyes wide open and taste buds primed. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, and JT? I loathed "Sommersby" as well. I felt completely betrayed! Couldn't they have saved him somehow? I feel certain they could!

And I feel terrible for little Joanie having the door slammed in her face! Little Caren hated to sell ANYTHING. Pecan logs, anyone? *shudder* Fortunately, I now have no shame AT ALL and have been able to teach many of my Girl Scouts to have none. It was a life skill hard learned, this lack of shame. *g*

Suzanne Welsh said...

Girl Scout cookies...I've managed not to order any this year. I'll probably be buying them from the cute girls outside my Krogers once they arrive. But only one box of thin mints....I swear!

Nicholas thank you. I have spent too much time explaining to people that killing off the hero or heroine makes his book fiction only, NOT A FREAKING ROMANCE. There's enough depression in the world, I don't want it in my books. (Same reason I don't read ANYTHING on Oprah's booklist.)

Quentin moderation. I tend to have this weird/stuid high tolerance/understanding level. Anything weird or stupid takes multiple viewings in order for me to first "get it" and second actually find it funny or entertaining. Please picture me watching the first viewing, and all other viewings until I "get it", with my head cocked sideways, as if that will somehow make things clearer.

The best part of Inglorious Basterds for me was Brad Pitt actually keeping that gawdy southern/bad guy accent throughout the whole movie. Good job! I knew Hilter and his henchmen didn't die in the theater, but hey, I did like the idea! Kill Bill both volumes took me three viewings to go...oooooooookay, I get it. The fourth viewing was while my daughter was in labor...odd choice, but highly distracting!

Caren Crane said...

Kate, my soul sister! I hestitate to bring up Nicholas Sparks because we had a really ugly Sparks-induced row some years ago in our RWA chapter. It began innocently enough with someone rhapsodizing about meeting Sparks at a book signing and how charming he was and went downhill fast.

I really enjoy a well-crafted tragic story. Again, John Irving! But if it's just random tragedy for random tragedy's sake, it's REALLY hard to swallow.

And the little Girl Scouts weren't just blowing smoke, Kate darling. You really are gorgeous and you totally deserve some Thin Mints!

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, honey, I and GS leaders everywhere adore you! Of course, I adore you for many more reasons than just your cookie purchases. Mwah!

I totally get your desire for happiness in your entertainment. Life is tough enough and we can be unhappy any old time. All I have to do is peek at the old bank balance for that. *g*

I have since I was a little girl, though, that I am a person who deeply enjoys a good bout of melancholia. I have no idea why, but I do. And when I want to indulge in a good cry, I love to pop in a great, tragic movie. "The English Patient" is a great one for a sad ending. A more recent great cry was "Marley and Me". My family greatly enjoyed "Seven Pounds". All well-done and all really, really sad. I love a good cry!

I think "Simon Birch" was based on "A Prayer For Owen Meany". I didn't see the movie so I have no idea how it was, but ADORED the book (again - John Irving!).

Then again, I also love a happy, uplifting ending when I'm the mood for that. I recently saw "Up", which is a sad story as well, but it had an uplifting ending I really appreciated.

But I love me some Quentin Tarantino. I had no desire to see the "Grindhouse" movie he did, but I adored "Inglourious Basterds". Who doesn't love to see a bunch of Nazis get what-for? *g*

Caren Crane said...

Oh, wow, Kate, you get the little girls in person? Hard to say no to that! Of course, the girls in my troop are all in high school, so they have lost the "little and cute" part. These days, I encourage them to smile big, stand up straight and toss their glossy hair. *g* They are all 14 - 16 and gorgeous. Yes, it is evil, but hey, use it if you've got it, I say!

catslady said...

As to the movies you saw - I thought they were okay - didn't hate them or love them. I truly think Tarintino is a bit insane lol. As to saying no - I'm inconsistent. Sometimes I feel guilty and buy what I don't want and once in a while I can actually say no lol.

Caren Crane said...

Ooh, Anna, Girl Gladiators sounds like my kind of a good time! I always had a real soft spot for Louis Jourdan, who seemed like the kind of guy who would totally abandon a military campaign to run off with a willing woman. *g*

If you haven't seen Zombieland and you love camp, I cannot recommend it highly enough. I would encourage people not to compare it to Sean Of the Dead (a real zombie camp classic) but just let it be what it is. LOVE IT!

Caren Crane said...

Suzanne, you're not the first person to tell me that it takes multiple viewings to "get" some of the campy stuff. I have a co-worker who watched "Napolean Dynamite" and thought it was the biggest waste of time EVER in the history of her life.

My kids and I found it to be the single most hysterical movie in the history of the world. We quote it all the time. Hysterical! But I realize my co-worker is very literal. She likes slapstick comedy because it's very obvious to her it's supposed to be funny. She doesn't like something like ND, where it seems as if it's supposed to be serious, there is no laugh track and there are no obvious yucks to be had.

I admire your perseverance in multiple watchings of the movies to get them. I enjoyed the Kill Bill movies, but they weren't necessarily my favorites. Then again, I'm not a big ninja movie person. *g*

I'm also not a huge Brad Pitt fan, but he was AWESOME with his awesomely bad accent. Especially when he was on about how great his Eye-talian was!

Caren Crane said...

Catslady, I think Quentin Tarantino is a complete loon! His mind is a very warped and twisted place, no doubt about it. I guess that's part of the fun. Things almost never turn out like you expect. *g*

I'm surprised to hear you had no big reaction to the Sparks movie, though. People seem to love or hate them. Interesting, indeed!

I understand the inconsistency, believe me. Man, the homeless people get to me. I have given them money before and also avoided eye contact. It's tough. At least I feel confident in my cookie denials, since I can honestly say I have tons at home. *g* The worst part is wanting to buy/help/donate and seriously having no money. Total bummer!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Caren and Kate, HUGS to my Sisters of the HEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I too HATE HATE!! HATE!!! Nicholas Sparks!!!!!!! I'm been known to shout out, "Nicholas Sparks SUX!!!" at inappropriate moments (like the check out line in the bookstore). Everytime someone says he writes romance, I go ballistic. I think the fact that he considers himself oh-so literary is what sets me off. He is waaay too good for mere genre fiction (and I hope he drowns in a rainstorm, which he will if he forgets his umbrella). UGH!!!

Tarantino on the other hand, I ADORE! Probably because he NEVER takes himself too seriously. ;-) I remember how SCANDALIZED my two sisters-in-law were when I said Pulp Fiction was one of my fave movies of all time. They mumbled in bug-eyed horror, "Isn't that film full of violence, bigotry and cursing?" Me, "Um, yes, but it's also the most creatively original films every made." Them: COLD HORRIFIED SILENCE.

Oh, and I thought Inglorious Basterds was a RIOT!


Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren, my sister! I loathe Nicholas Sparks in general for just what you described. Not to mention that he disdainfully eschews anything connected with "Romance" instead, insisting that his work is Drrrrrrrrrama.

Schlock. (My name for it) No more realism than purple unicorns. (Pink ones exist, of course, but not purple!)

On Tarantino, you've hit it dead on. You expect it to be over the top and if it isn't THEN you're disappointed. My fav line? John Travolta in Pulp Fiction: "Why am I on Brain Detail?"

This gets utilized in our house a lot. Thankfully, the children don't know where it's from, but they have been known to quote it to one another as well.


BTW, love me some girl scout cookies and can always be counted upon to both make eye contact and buy. Thin Mints. YUMMMM!

Louisa Cornell said...

Uh oh, Lime! You are in TROUBLE !!

Great post, Caren!! And the girls who set up in front of our Wal-Mart every year know me by NAME !! They come running over and hug me and then lead me to the slaughter, I mean the cookie stand. I am at least 50 pounds overweight and 49 pounds of it is probably GS Cookies! So, needless to say I buy entirely too many boxes of cookies and then try to ration them to myself. I am much-loved by the local Girl Scouts! Darn their mercenary little souls!

That said, anyone else who approaches me to sell something is going to get eye contact and a firm "No thank you." After that I am done. I move on.

I LOATHE Nicholas Sparks - the books and the films. I LIVE in reality. I don't need it masquerading as education, erudition or entertainment. As a woman who has lost a husband to a sudden senseless death and who lives with the consequences of that death every day I don't need to read about it and I can't see why anyone would inflict that sort of pain on themselves deliberately. His books are an effort to buy into that train wreck mentality - it's awful, but you can't look away. It sells books. Period.

Now Quentin Taratino I expect a wild ride that is funny, makes no sense and blows me away. And with him I usually get it. Sometimes you just want something inane that goes boom. I love Pulp Fiction and I really want to see Inglorious Bastards.

And hey, La Campbell, those old sword and sandal flicks are great! Mindless entertainment and lots of pretty abs to look at. What's not to love??

Anna Campbell said...

Ha ha, Louisa, I should have known another opera fan would love the sword and sandal epics. Actually I really like the 'serious' ones too like Spartacus and Ben-Hur and Gladiator. One of the things I love about those movies is that music is equally over the top and dramatic. Fab stuff! And honestly, those Italians are BEAUTIFUL!!!!

Nancy said...

Limecello, congrats on the rooster!

Caren, one of my favorite Girl Scout film moments is in Vin Diesel's The Pacifier when he teaches some scout-ish girls to kick the butts of some boys who're horning in on their cookie territory.

As for over the top, I'm fine with that. Historical error, not so much. I figure that if I know what's right, with nothing more than an undergraduate degree and an ongoing interest, then getting it wrong in a movie is just lazy. Obscure facts are one thing--more basic, general information--no excuse! Isn't there some room in the mega-million budget to pay an expert?

I don't go to Sparks movies or read his novels because I generally prefer HEA to a "love story" with an unhappy ending. Don't go to Tarantino films because they're so often so very violent.

However, it's okay with me to make a movie about a guy with an adamantium skeleton, thanks to a govt. program, who has amnesia and grudgingly finds friends among a group of young people who use their X-traordinary ability to crusade for peace and justice. That's fine by me. My disbelief is suspended.

And I think that's the difference. Once a movie or book gets me to suspend my disbelief, I'll go a long way down that road before something yanks me back. If we're in "my" world, past or present, then I expect the movie to conform to it.

I know. I'm geeky that way. *sigh*

Nancy said...

JT, I watched Sommersby and even thought it was good. But I'll never watch it again.

OTOH, I watch Terminator at least once a year, and it isn't exactly HEA, either.

Louisa Cornell said...

Oh I know, La Campbell! The musical scores to those are amazing! Gladiator's score is so deliciously dramatic and full of such pathos. I LOVE it!

Caren Crane said...

Oh, AC, we love you on the dark side! *g* Really, though, I think it's not so much that I dislike NS, I simply lost respect for him.

I thought "The Notebook" was a well-written and moving story. I really liked it and the movie version, too. As long as it makes sense for a character to die, I have no problem with it.

It's the random death to keep a book from being branded a romance that I despise. I'm afraid that's what he did to keep from getting lumped in with romance writers. It's his niche now and he owns it. As far as I'm concerned, he can keep it!

It doesn't surprise me that you adore QT! I think "Pulp Fiction" was the first of his films I saw. What an introduction! Once I recognized it was all zany fun and violence, I loved it! The adrenaline to the heart still makes me wince, though. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, my sister! Schlock is fair. Drrrrama, indeed!

I love it that your guys are quoting "Pulp Fiction" and don't even know it. Of course, my kids were quoting lots of things they picked up from us and were always astonished when they found out the sources. *g*

Thin Mints totally rock. Sadly, we took four cases to our booth yesterday and sold every box. Not even ONE left for us to buy! Our regular orders aren't in until next Saturday. *sigh* I really want a Thin Mint...

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, it does not surprise me that you have won over the Girl Scouts who have booths at your Wal-Mart. You are like Cinderella with the little animals. *g* We all love you, too! Mwah!

I thought of you when I was writing about the random tragedies, actually. I know you've said before that life is sad and hard enough and you prefer to read happy endings. That's why I'm baffled by the people who enjoy a story that feels exactly like it should have a happy ending...and then it's snatched away.

My beloved (stubborn) husband said he felt that way about "The Last American Virgin". I can see his point!

Glad to add you to the QT list. He is such great fun!!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Suz said: I have spent too much time explaining to people that killing off the hero or heroine makes his book fiction only, NOT A FREAKING ROMANCE. There's enough depression in the world, I don't want it in my books. (Same reason I don't read ANYTHING on Oprah's booklist.)

Amen! Sister, preach it! *waving hankie*

You, me and Kate can form the NSPARKS IS NOT ROMANCE club on Facebook. Snork.

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, I want you to watch "Inglourious Basterds" and see what you think. Yes, there is lots of gratuitous violence, but somehow it is really fun! And the historical inaccuracies are incredibly intentional and also great fun! I'd love to get a history geek's perspective besides my husband's. *g*

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I'm awaiting my order, Caren, from the cuties down the street. Alas, no GS Cookies for Super Bowl...which I now must go watch...

Lurrrrrrve me some FOOTBALL!

Go Saints!

MsHellion said...

No, I'm like your husband I think and don't like either circumstance. (I get really annoyed with historical romances that read like rejected plots for 90210.) I loathe both Sparks and Tarantino, though if I had to forgive, neither. I'm not a forgiving sort. Sorry.

And I'm one of those people who feigns blindness and the inability to speak English when confronted with pathetic girl scouts. My lie would probably be "I'm allergic to gluten." I don't think the Girl Scouts sell any gluten free products yet. But you'd know I was lying because I look like a complete twitch.

Nancy said...

Caren, thin mints are my favorite.

I'm sorry, bandita, but not even for you will I watch Inglourious Bastards. The trailer scene where they were about to knock the guy's head off with a baseball bat is just way too far out there for me. I deal better with over the top bullets (or explosions) than bludgeoning.

And the movie does not have Clive Owen, Pierce Brosnan, or Hugh Jackman, for whom I will slightly expand my gore tolerance.

But you go ahead and enjoy it. Just 'cause it's not for me doesn't mean other people shouldn't find something in it to like.

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne and Suz, the funny thing is that Sparks himself denies the "romance" tag vehemently - it's readers who want to call it that. I'm not sure quite what it is, since it certainly isn't "literature" of any quality.

I kind of like Jeanne's "schlock" title. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Jeanne, thank you for ordering! We had special dispensation to get some cookies early for Super Bowl weekend booth sales. Awesome for us and for people who can't wait another week for Thin Mints.

Sadly, no Thin Mints for me. I should have stashed away a box early on! Hey, maybe I can get our cookie manager to bring me a box to our meeting Tuesday...I've got cookie connections you know. Bwahaha...

Caren Crane said...

Ms. Hellion, is it the need for reality that bothers you or the sheer ridiculousness of the over-the-topness? I'm insanely curious about it.

I get people who don't care for sappiness or unhappiness or violence, but I think there is probably a knee-jerk for some people when things are melodramatic or campy. Is that you, do you think?

As to the feigning foreign blindness *g* - any port in a storm. I think people who do this are mainly those who can't say no after making eye contact without feeling terrible about it. Perhaps you are simply a sensitive soul!

Caren Crane said...

Gosh, Nancy, you're not being any fun at all! To set your mind at rest, there are plenty of snipers and machine guns and explosions and fires. Okay, there is also some scalping and beatings and whatnot, but it's all in good fun. And they're Nazis, so...

Anyway, I may have to get you liquored up and pop it in the DVD player one of these days. Beware!

jo robertson said...

Caren, this was a great post, and I'm so sorry I was late getting here today. Long story.

Just let me say, "Amen, Sistah!" I agree with everything you said. It's all about expectations, isn't it? You know what you're getting with Tarantino. OTOH, I know what I'm going to get with Sparks, but I still watch those cheesy movies. Don't like them, but watch them. Sigh.

Caren Crane said...

Jo, is it like watching a train wreck? I think that's what Louisa said, you just can't look away. I keep thinking maybe I'll be surprised one day and everyone will live. Nah! If they don't die ('A Walk To Remember') they are still parted by circumstances - like the adulterous wife deciding her perfectly nice husband isn't so bad after all. Gah!

Oh, and I'll bet you buy GS cookies, too. My powers of divination tell me something about Dr. Big with the Samoas in the conservatory. *g*

MsHellion said...

Well, it's not like I don't like my share of questionable movies. And I'll almost always sign up for a regular rom-com.

Tarantino is too gratuitously violent for me. And I don't find him particularly funny (though understandably this is subjective--I love Talladega Night, you know.) Mel Brooks is over the top funny--and I can't stop laughing whenever he does World History that never happened in a thousand years. "It's a Miracle!" But he's not gratuitously violent.

Sometimes when writers/directors do things that we all know are "wrong", I get the feeling they're being a bit too precious, too cute. Like they think they're so funny and so smart and ha-ha, don't we think they're adorable, you know, like a toddler who keeps singing the same song over and over, with the same smug look and expectation of adoration. Personally I don't like toddlers. Especially smug ones. *LOL*

I also don't like most "smart comedies" because I don't think they're smart or comical. Like The Office, or Seinfeld, or the movies like The Royal Tenebaums. I think the reason I don't like them is because the characters are so reprehensible. I don't like watching shows where I don't like the characters.

I think that's the difference for me between Tarantino and Sparks. I hate Tarantino's version of a character; they aren't likable (for me). Sparks' version of a character is VERY likable (and doesn't exist in nature). So the reason I hate Sparks isn't that I hate his characters; it's that I hate the fact he can't let a HEA exist.

Anna Sugden said...

Sorry I'm late to the party, but I've had dodgy internet (actually no internet, but that's another story!)

I'm with you on Nicholas Sparks - can't stand his dismissive attitude to romance (at least James Patterson manned up!) and I don't like gratuitous misery in my movies. (I can get enough of that watching some of my favourite sports teams play!)

Oh and I'll insert a rant here about Danielle Steele - lady, we don't care if you don't think you write romance - we wouldn't want you in our playground anyway!

As for Tarantino - I never saw Reservoir Dogs, but the rest of his stuff seems to appeal to my sense of humour. I can't wait to see Inglorious Basterds! I don't know that I love him, but I'd watch one of his films over gratuitous misery any day.

As to being inaccurate -if it's deliberate, or done to be funny, I don't mind. If it's lazy or 'done for the movie/book to look better' it drives me insane!

As for Girl Scout cookies - I'm all for supporting the kids you get out there and work to earn the money for a cause. Whether they're bagging in the supermarket for a trip somewhere or selling stuff to get new kit. Sometimes, I'll give them the money, even if I don't want the product. I do that with Big Issue sellers who aren't rude too.

But, the rest of the folks - I say no thank you to! And if they're insistent, I lie!