Sunday, August 27, 2006

Critical acclaim vs. fan favorites

2 B ReadSeveral years ago my sister-in-law gave me a movie with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell titled Overboard and said, "I don't know why movies like this don't win Academy Awards."

Good observation. I have since watched the movie several times -- as has my son. We love it. It has pathos, romance, and humor. After several watchings, it never fails to coax a giggle. ("I used to be short...AND fat?") I'm not plugging my last (October) book here because it's already long out of print. But the head buyer for a national book chain wrote to tell me my One Golden Ring was the best book she'd read in a very long time. Readers felt the same way. It was one of those "warm fuzzy reads" they read over and over. It did have pathos, romance, and some humor. Most of the reviewers gave it very high ratings, except one prominent one that only gave it 4 stars. It won a few awards. Awards judged mostly by readers.

It did not do especially well in the stringently judged Rita competition scored by my peers, nor did I expect it to. Just like Overboard didn't win any Academy Awards. It wasn't particularly fresh in treatment or innovative in plot.

Does your taste coincide with films/books praised by critics? What are YOUR qualifications for a keeper pile?


Anonymous said...

Great topic, Cheryl!

For me, it depends on the book. Some of the ones on my keeper shelf are the "Oscar winners." Others, like BE BURIED IN THE RAIN by Barbara Michaels, aren't.


JoAnn Ross said...

I'm with Faye in that some of my keepers are blockbuster "Oscar" ones, while others are "indies" that sparkle in some unique way. They cover a huge range of genres and sub-genres, but the one thing they all have in common is that they'll leave me thinking about the characters after I've finished the book. Which is also, thinking about it, what gets me to buy a movie in DVD to watch again.

Nancy Herkness said...

I rarely agree with the critics about movies although occasionally one of my favorite performances will win an Oscar.

My theory is that critics are jaded; they've seen so many movies that anything different interests them even if it's not really a good movie. I can sort of understand their point of view. However, I've gotten so that I read movie reviews strictly for the storyline; I ignore the critics' opinion about the quality of the film almost completely these days.

With books, I'm a bit the same way although the bare summary of the plot often does the book a disservice. I've read some great novels whose basic concept didn't originally appeal to me (ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan comes to mind).

JoAnn hit the nail on the head (as she so often does!) with her comment about characters; that's what drives my engagement with a film or a book. I have to want to spend time with the characters.

When books/movies are sold, it's not the characters who drive the sale: it's the "high concept". Alas, many wonderful stories get lost that way because you can't describe a great quirky character with a statement such as "Godzilla meets Sleeping Beauty".

Margaret Daley said...

I loved Overboard. I laughed and enjoyed the play between the hero and heroine. I think critics look at movies different from the "regular folks."