It Doesn’t Have to Be Great Art for People to Like It

Advice from Hollywood, part 2
Here’s another little tidbit from my former Hollywood life. I used to be a part-time “reader” meaning I read screenplays and wrote “coverage” for the production company to help them make decisions about which scripts to pursue. You have to audition to become a reader for a production company, and I was looking for more gigs so as part of an audition for a major well-known producer, I was given a screenplay for a Western and I had to do “sample coverage.” I thought the script was awful, and I detailed all its problems in the sample coverage I wrote.

For some reason I didn’t get that job! A couple years later, I saw the movie “Wyatt Earp” with Kevin Costner and realized this was the script I’d so roundly condemned. Hmm, no wonder I didn’t pass their test—apparently I had completely different criteria for a “good script” than they did. Incidentally, I felt sort of vindicated when “Wyatt Earp” was nominated for five Golden Raspberry Awards, one for Worst Picture.

Now on to today’s post…

This one’s kind of a no-brainer, but I think it deserves to be said. Many of us appreciate great literature and beautifully written films. We seek entertainment experiences that are also enriching, expanding, and deep. We try not to brag, but yes, we do read Ayn Rand and Dostoevsky, and by the way, Ingmar Bergman is our favorite movie director—didn’t you love how he dissected the female psyche in Cries and Whispers?
Now, I’m all for great books and movies, and I have an appreciation for the finer things.
But dang, Dumb and Dumber is a funny movie.
And you know what? The Twilight novels are not my cup of tea and critics decry the poor quality of the prose, but did those books get the job done or what? The target audience ate it up and Hollywood is complaining about that lousy writing all the way to the bank (along with Stephenie Meyer.)
There are hundreds of channels on TV and nothing to watch—well, except somebody’s watching all that dreck or it wouldn’t be on.
There’s something for everyone, whether we like it or not. Not everyone can be Cormac McCarthy or Marilynne Robinson—and not everyone would want to be.

When it’s about making money, sometimes the smarter way to go is to appeal to people’s more primal instincts—to laugh at silly stuff, to be scared out of their wits, to lose themselves in an other-worldly romance.

So there are plenty of books and movies that do very well financially, but don’t exactly aspire to be great art. Love it or hate it—it’s the way it is.

Over the next couple of days, I’ll share some “Advice from Hollywood” about creating strong stories. When I do, don’t come back at me with complaints that Little Fockers doesn’t adhere to the principles. It doesn’t change the fact that there are principles underlying a great story, and it doesn’t mean we should all stop trying to create a masterpiece.

It just means people are people, and most of us are multi-layered enough that we can enjoy both The King’s Speech and Hot Tub Time Machine.

Um, well, maybe not, but you get what I’m trying to say.

Q4U: Truth time! What are some books and/or movies that wouldn’t necessarily be called “great art” but you love them anyway? I already started the ball rolling with Dumb and Dumber, and Tooth Fairy was pretty funny too. Fess up!

© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  5. Lynda K on February 26, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    >Ohhh.. count another vote for Labyrinth. There's just something about Bowie in that outfit, the "quest" story, and the ballroom scene that all come together despite the dancing orange puppets… *grin*

    When I clean house, though, I have to have something that rocks, so it's Mamma Mia! or Donny Osmond's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Guilty, guilty pleasures.

  6. Catherine Denton on February 25, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    >This post is refreshing! Bourne Identity, The Story of Us, 27 Dresses, What Happens in Vegas and A Lot Like Love.

  7. Janalynne Rogers on February 25, 2011 at 11:31 AM

    >I am a sucker for You've Got Mail and That Thing You Do! Both sweet stories with some quick dialogue. And, now that I think about it, Tom Hanks. My tastes are pretty eclectic though, and I'll watch/read just about anything that catches my eye.

    Oh, and one more vote for Pixar being art.

  8. David A. Todd on February 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    >Dumb and Dumber is a disgusting, vulgar movie, imho.

    Tom Clancy's novels are widely panned for poor writing, but the story telling is wonderful. I read The Hunt For Red October when in Kuwait, in a reading desert, and found it to be an exceptional story. I haven't read every thing Clancy's published, but everything of his I've read has been great.

  9. Emily Wenstrom on February 23, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    >I have a definite soft spot for cool monsters, superheroes, special effects and Sandra Bullock, landing Miss Congeniality, Spiderman and True Blood among my absolute favorite things to watch right next to my more intellectual picks.

    I think even entertainment geared toward those “primal instincts” can still be great art – but just like a romance or a thriller, you have to judge it on what it is trying to be. Comparing Ayn Rand to say, Charlaine Harris is comparing apples to oranges. Then you get that rare piece that satisfies both sides – to me, Tarantino is the master of hitting that sweet spot between the low and high arts.

  10. Jessica Thomas on February 23, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    >Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

    It borders on art though so I'm not sure if it counts.

  11. Andrea Strong on February 23, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    >My guilty pleasure for years has been 10 Things I Hate About You. I love Shakespeare, and Taming of the Shrew is my favorite comedy, but I'm not such a purist that I can't appreciate the dumbed down versions too. It was the first time I ever saw Julia Stiles or Heath Ledger, and I fell in love with both of them right away. They both went on to do much more "literary" movies – Mona Lisa Smile, Four Feathers – for example. Apparently the actors can be just as versatile as their audiences.

    I'm actually ashamed to admit it, but my husband recently stumbled across Fired Up, the movie about two football jocks who go to cheerleading camp to pick up girls. It's just this side of indecent in spots, but those two actors are so quick and funny. We dvr-ed it the next time it was on and now hubby turns it on every now and again.

  12. Cathy Messecar on February 23, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    >Great series on Hollywood and its wordage. We care for four aging parents in various stages of decline, who live nearby (a blessing). Our friends are in the same canoe. We had seen "Old Dogs,"(Robin Williams, John Travolta) so we bought it and watched together to forget the everyday for one evening.

    My preferences in my Netflix queue lean toward Masterpiece Theater, but when life needs a dose of humor, I satisfy that appetite with funny and funnier.

    What about the slow humor in "Napolean Dynamite"?

  13. Anonymous on February 23, 2011 at 5:48 AM

    >I'll certainly go with the vacation movies, especially Christmas, but all are great.

    Wish Chevy would make another as the grandpa. Could be hilarious.

  14. Anna Zagar on February 22, 2011 at 11:44 PM

    >Helloooo? What about The Jerk with Steve Martin? And Night at the Roxbury? And True Lies with Arnold Schwarza-something and Jamie Lee Curtis? And You've Got Mail?

  15. Gwen Stewart on February 22, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    >First, Rachelle, this is an excellent series! I can't wait to read each post.

    Second, I enjoy "high art" but have little tolerance for what people call "art appreciation". I hobnobbed with Puccini-singing divas in college who didn't love opera but thought it was "important". (I sang and studied Puccini too, then went back to my dorm to belt Duran Duran. HA!) I don't think art should be about importance, but resonance–a totally different thing IMO.

    My secret indulgence in movies is "Enchanted" with Amy Adams. It's satire, and the romance is waaaay over the top, but not too much for me. Give me the fairy tale, I tells ya! The same goes for books. I still reread passages of "Anne of Green Gables" when I can smuggle them from my daughter's bookshelf. What can I say? Gilbert is every girl's dream. 😉

  16. Benjamin Gorman on February 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    >Sorry, startupwriter, but Pixar movies don't count as guilty pleasures. They're just too good. I commend your excellent taste.

    For me, for every Children of Men there's a Kung Pow: Enter the Fist that makes me feel guilty with every guffaw.

    As for TV, I have reached a new low. I watch V every week and hate it. I hate this stupid show. The acting is terrible. The pacing is all off. I hardly watch any TV anymore, and I'm not a TV snob. I just can't find the time. But I keep coming back to this crappy program. If you put a gun to my head, I couldn't possibly tell you why I keep coming back. But I do. Arg!

  17. Amber Argyle on February 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    >Tommy Boy. I hate that movie. But it's still hugely popular.

  18. kathy taylor on February 22, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    >When I started reading you post, Dumb and Dumber came immediately to mind. I didn't want to like it, but I had bronchitis and HBO was showing it. Any thought that I might own dignity or sophistication went out the window. I didn't like the Wyatt Earp movie, so I'm in agreement with you here. Hollywood? I never knew.

  19. Tracey M. Lewis-Giggetts on February 22, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    >I have to admit that my hubbie and I laughed so hard…and loudly when we "accidentally" saw Hot Tub Time Machine. ***can't believe I just admitted that***

    In spite of my critique of them when I have on "reviewer hat," I also get a kick out of Tyler Perry's Madea Movies. Ouch! 🙂

  20. Sarah Thomas on February 22, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    >All those sappy, happily-ever-after romance movies. Hugh Grant seems to show up regularly along with Sandra Bullock. Marisa Tomei used to be in them. I have to go watch them in the bedroom so as not to annoy my husband.

    As for books, I read dozens of Louis L'Amour books when I was a teen–talk about formula writing! The reading that really embarrases me, though, is People Magazine. They have them where I get my oil changed and I can usually plow through two copies in 20 minutes. I always feel like I just ate an entire bag of Doritos.

  21. Sandy Parker on February 22, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    >How 'bout "What about Bob?" Amazing how such silly humor makes us laugh so much!

  22. Nichole Giles on February 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    >Okay, so I haven't read all the comments (cuz, there are lots) but two of my favorite movies are The Hangover and Due Date. Oh, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. So many improbabilities, but funny for their very randomness.

    Not great art, as you said, but fantastic entertainment.

  23. Miss Fitz on February 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    >i'm a fan of silly 80s movies. Give me Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse any day. That movie would just never fly now, but its so awesome. So is Miss Congeniality. But I counter balance that with Deepa Mehta's Water, and Crash. So I feel entirely justified.

  24. Anonymous on February 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    >I'm with the Twilight vote. I like well-crafted sentences in my reading material, but for a compelling story I'll give a little. Her writing is responsible for an innovative twist on an old mythology, endearing characters, a veracious taste ('scuse the pun) of young love, and a good bit of humor. So I don't say it's all bad. It's all feminine, to be sure, but not all bad. And the "pack life" element was quite clever.

    But even a mediocre editor could have scrapped a few of those "chagrins".

    Lea Garner

  25. Matthew R. Merrick on February 22, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    >I'm going to have to go with Labrynth.

    David Bowie, big hair, shiny make-up, a dwarf named Hoggle, David Bowie, a lot of muppets, and some of Bowies finest music: Dance Magic Dance. It doesn't get much better than that.

  26. Anonymous on February 22, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    >Accepted, Clueless, Pump up the Volume, Legally Blonde, Die Hard, Speed, Love Actually, The Last Holiday—I'm a sucker for a happy ending. 🙂 The good guy wins, the girl gets the guy and nothing.

    As for books, I love a good romance. 🙂 Jennifer Weiner and JR Ward anyone? Besides JR Ward is an excellent world builder. Her books have layers and depth. 🙂

  27. iheartya on February 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    >Guilty confession: The DaVinci Code (the book, not the movie). Horrible writing, but I loved the plot. 🙂

  28. iheartya on February 22, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    >Guilty confession: The DaVinci Code (the book, not the movie). Horrible writing, but I loved the plot. LOL. 🙂

  29. Chazley Dotson on February 22, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    >Yes! That reminds me of Stephen King's "On Writing," when he talks about the kind of writer that he always thought he should be vs. the kind of story he enjoyed. It's something I've struggled with too, as I devour his books (and once devoured Sweet Valley High) and try to make myself slog through Annie Proulx.

  30. Natalie on February 22, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    >I love The Proposal, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Chuck (ok it's not a movie..), Bill & Ted, and Yogi Bear.

    One thing you're never going to catch me re-watching is Hercules In New York (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

    As far as books go, I'm a sucker for The Saddle Club, and anything by Jodi Picoult.

  31. Katherine Hyde on February 22, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    >I pretty much avoid movies that I can guess will be dreck, so my choice here is definitely not one for the Raspberries. However, I have heard people disparage it as soppy, sloppy, and who knows what else, but it's still one of my all-time favorite romances: Somewhere in Time.

  32. Katy McKenna on February 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    >Here's one my 28-year-old daughter turned me on to back in the day and we had MORE fun howling over it together: Romy & Michele's High School Reunion. Kind of the female version of Dumb and Dumber.

  33. Michelle DeRusha@Graceful on February 22, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    >So am I going to be completely ostracized from the Christian publishing community if I admit I like low-brow (okay crass) humor…like Wedding Crashers? I completely blame it on my husband…I was much more high-brow before I met him. Just to keep it interesting, I balance out crass humor with cheezy romantic comedy — "Love Actually" anyone? –and action/thriller: The Bourne Ultimatum.

    I loved, loved "The King's Speech" though, so maybe I'm not a total lost cause?

  34. South Loop Connection on February 22, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    >I have too many guilty pleasures to mention as far as movies go. But I do like movies with a beginning, middle, and end, which draws me to classic Hollywood. Those are the movies I find most enjoyable. From the late-1940s, there's a Ida Lupino movie called "Road House," not to be confused with the Patrick Swayze movie by the same name (which might be someone's guilty movie pleasure)is a hoot. I love watching it for the production and the great cast that includes Cornel Wilde, Celeste Holm, and Richard Widmark at his craziest. It's good melodrama that is directed with good pacing. The cast is having a good time and it shows. Great fun, but not on anyone's top-ten list, except maybe my own.

  35. Timothy Fish on February 22, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    I’ve seen The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, but I’m not going to marry you. My favorite Don Knotts movie is actually The Shakiest Gun in the West.

  36. Rick Barry on February 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    >I'm chiming in with Princess Bride. Not quite high-brow literature, but it's rife with one-liners worthy of sprinkling into conversation with almost any age group from YA and up.

    "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

  37. Debbie on February 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    >The Cutting Edge. Every time that movie's on television, I have to stop and watch it from whatever point I came in. I finally broke down and bought my own copy.

  38. Julie Musil on February 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    >I confess: The Proposal is one of my favorite movies. Sometimes it's nice to just be entertained.

  39. Rosslyn on February 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    >So funny! Rachelle, I also once had an "audition" to be a script reader, and, like you, I also trashed the script, which was horrible. (Nothing worse than a comedy that's not funny.) Later, I found out that the production company in question had alreday optioned that script! I didn't get that job either, but I feel vindicated that the movie was never even made. Apparently someone else must have had qualms.

  40. john on February 22, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    >I thought about this post all day, It struck a chord with me as I have been struggling to keep faith with my writing these last few days. I write within the genre of historical fiction and I felt my MA course was trying to produce literary writers and was not really designed for folks like me. I'm not going be a innovative genius. I need reminding sometimes that simple entertainment can be good.

  41. Loree Huebner on February 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    >Love the Princess Bride, Contact, Dave, and the Vacation movies.

    Great Post!

  42. mystwood on February 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    >The Waterboy with Adam Sandler always makes me laugh, because I love football and Kathy Bates both! Click also ranks high on my list, because Christopher Walken is great, and the ending always makes me cry. Talladega Nights, The Mummy and Groundhog Day are other favorites. I can watch all of these over and over because they make me laugh.


  43. Mark H. on February 22, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    >Great post! Dumb and Dumber is a classic in our home as well. I'm also a sucker for Indiana Jones, Christmas Vacation, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.

    Great art is a noble goal, but sometimes I think I get way too much angst, depression and Big Issues in real life. If I'm lucky enough to find a babysitter and get a rare night at the movies with my wife, I want to have fun! Same with books–sometimes, you just want a fun story.

    And I think comedies are very underrated. People don't understand how hard it is to make a large audience laugh, and do it consistently.

  44. Angela Mackey on February 22, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    >Better off Dead, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the funny movie not the TV series), Clueless.

    Reading…I like some historical fiction (bonnet haters don't throw things at me).

  45. nightwriter on February 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    >I loved "Bullets Over Broadway"–though I'm not a big Woody Allen buff, this one was fantastic with the period setting, the costumes, the dialogue. "Dead Again" was so well done and mysterious. And I loved all the "Thin Man" movies–so much fun. Of course, you can't beat Casablanca…I think these all combine art with great plot and dialogue and still manage to be fun and fast-paced.

  46. Jill on February 22, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    >I've seen Gentlemen Broncos more times than I care to admit. It's a writer's fantasy movie, in which the protag gets famous off the back of a well-known author who plagiarizes his work. If only!! Plus it has a totally awesome soundtrack.

  47. Jaime on February 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    >Well, I always think "While You Were Sleeping" was a masterpiece but it didn't even make MSNBC's top 10 list for great romances. Oh well. I'll still sigh through the whole movie. 🙂

  48. gunther on February 22, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    >The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (Don Knotts, 1960's).

    I once mentioned it on a date and the woman laughed and recited a line. The only person I ever met who knew the movie. We ended up getting married . . .

  49. Nairam on February 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    >Mine would have to be Errol Flynn's Robin Hood. Yep, the one from 1938. It's all cheese, but it's fun and nails lots of what Robin Hood is about, so I love it all the same.

  50. Cory on February 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    >I can't talk on this subject since I can't tell the difference between good art and bad art. I always find that the ones the critics rave are so great, when I sit down to watch them I fall a sleep.

    Is Wyatt Earp really that bad? I liked that movie.

  51. Lori Benton on February 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    >This one's easy. NBC's CHUCK on Monday nights.

  52. MJR on February 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    >I loved THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA (book and movie) and I watch LEGALLY BLONDE whenever it's on…and THE PARENT TRAP, too…

  53. Erika Robuck on February 22, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    >Twilight. There, I said it. I loved every second of those books and read all four in a week.

  54. Anna on February 22, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    >So glad alwayscoffee brought up Empire Records-what a fabulous movie! Every time I watch it, I want to dance. My other favorite quilty pleasure? The Spice Girls Movie, SpiceWorld. Hysterical! "It must be so hard for you, Victoria. Having to decide between the little Gucci dress, the little Gucci dress, or … the little Gucci dress." "Exactly."

  55. Rachelle on February 22, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    >Heather – "So you're sayin' there's a chance…." is one of the most frequently quoted lines in our house! Every time that movie is on and we happen to see it while flipping through channels, the whole family is hooked and we all crack up over and over and over again.

  56. Durango Writer on February 22, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    >I love Jerry Bruckheimer films like ConAir and Armageddon — slow-mo walking scenes while stuff explodes in the background, cheesy patriotic Air Force fly-bys, memorable lines like:
    "Pretty much all the worse parts of the bible." — Armageddon
    "Put the bunny back in the box." –ConAir

  57. alwayscoffee on February 22, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    >This post is full of truth. I really enjoyed reading it.

    As far as your question, I really adore Some Kind of Wonderful, Empire Records, and pretty much anything Drew Barrymore has been in (Never Been Kissed comes to mind). These aren't going to win awards, but they're fun! 🙂 ~Ali

  58. Sandra Rose Hughes on February 22, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    >What a great post. My guilty pleasure: Bill and Ted. I just love them. I can read Ovid and Dostoevsky and all those peeps, but just give me a DVD with Bill and Ted and I'm happy. Also, Wayne's World.

  59. Cheryl Barker on February 22, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    >I love the Father of the Bride movies, but then again, I have girls and can so totally identify. They offer lots of laughs along with sweet sentiment, but no, I don't think they'd be classified as great art 🙂

    Also love Christmas with the Kranks. Relatively new, but it has quickly become a must-see for me at Christmas. Again, I identify with the characters — having kids away from home and going totally crazy when they call and come home, etc. 🙂

  60. on February 22, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    >My family quotes Rocket Man all the time. It's got to be one of the dumbest movies ever made, but it sure does put us in a good mood. And it's something we all agree on, which is unusual.

  61. Sherri on February 22, 2011 at 8:31 AM

    >Any movie with Will Ferrell, which I think is the definition of stupid.

    But you know what? There is an art to making a dumb yet entertaining movie, too.

  62. Heather Sunseri on February 22, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    >"So, you're saying there's a chance…" for those of us who don't write literary?

  63. Ishta Mercurio on February 22, 2011 at 8:23 AM

    >Great post! I loved National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. And I'm a sucker for superhero movies.

  64. Becky Taylor on February 22, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    >"National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation!"

    I laugh every year.

  65. Wendy Paine Miller on February 22, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    >I find I tolerate this more with movies than with books. For some reason my husband and I always laugh hard while watching the Rush Hour movies. And Tana named a good one with Vacation (the Christmas one is my favorite). Now that I think about just about every movie made in the 80s might qualify.

    Proud of Joy for mentioning Austin. 😉 And Katie, "Pretty bird. Pretty bird." (No idea how I know that line when I've never watched the movie from start to finish.)

    ~ Wendy

  66. Jana Dean on February 22, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    >"Mind candy" a must-have. Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways, Bottle Shock–

  67. Joy Nicholas on February 22, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    >I'd have to say that the funny/ cheesy ones are best. "Dumb and Dumber" is one of the most oft-quoted movies for my husband and I. (i.e."Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?") I also love the Austin Power movies since I could never take spy movies/ James Bonds seriously anyway. And, of course, "Napoleon Dynamite." Having a good laugh at something, even if it is kinda stupid, does a world of good.

  68. Ellen Painter Dollar on February 22, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    >Oh, and the Harry Potter movies (and books) are my ultimate comfort food. I have spent much of the last four months, while undergoing cancer treatment, dwelling in the land of wizards and dragons. But I also think the HP stories are actually examples of really really great storytelling.

  69. Ellen Painter Dollar on February 22, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    >I could watch most Judd Apatow movies (especially Knocked Up) and most Will Ferrell movies (especially Blades of Glory and Talladega Nights) over and over and over again. Actually, I do watch them over and over again. And laugh at all the same lines every time.

  70. Timothy Fish on February 22, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    >Truth be told, that’s why I haven’t given up on writing altogether. I know I’m not going to receive accolades for what great art my writing is. I’m sure some of the writing snobs turn their noses up a little higher when they see my work. I would be shocked if anyone ever said that one of my books was the best book they had ever read. If the goal is to write the best book out there or have the most sales, I might as well quit, but the fact is that I get a few laughs; I get a few people who enjoy my books; I get a few people who sit around discussing my novels. I may never be considered a great writer by many people, but that doesn’t keep some people from enjoying my books.

  71. Sue Harrison on February 22, 2011 at 7:30 AM

    >Sleepless in Seattle and Red!

  72. Lisa Tawn Bergren on February 22, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    >Love it. Thanks for vindicating those of us who have eclectic taste. I adore a good, introspective read with language that makes me reread and underline sentences and thoughts I admire. But I also love the take-me-away, give-me-a-break-from-my-normal-chaos variety of entertainment too. Anything romantic does it for me, as does suspense. Twilight, I Am Number Four (just read it in 2 days), Romancing the Stone, Reds, Sahara…enjoyed 'em all. And more I can't think of right now. But isn't that the point? They don't weigh so heavily on our already burdened brains!

  73. Linda Jackson on February 22, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    >Great post. Thanks.

  74. Nicole L Rivera on February 22, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    >Hello, my names Nicole and I'm a huge Twilight fan. I've read the books more than once (even though I wince at all the adverbs) and still love the story. Yes, even the sparkly Vampire. And I love Nicholas Sparks, whom I think is a great writer, but my Intro to Creative Writing teacher thought otherwise. If she could have failed me for bringing the book into her classroom, she would have.
    Great post 🙂

  75. Laura Pauling on February 22, 2011 at 6:56 AM

    >I'll take a great story and emotion any day over a literary masterpiece. Now combine great literary writing and high concept and I'm a fan.

  76. Ramona Richards on February 22, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    >Oh, yes, I love art films, and I have a shelf full of books that will make your soul soar and your brain hurt. But I LOVE guilty pleasure books and movies that make you laugh and lust. For me, it's just about any pirate movie, no matter how bad (Tommy Lee Jones in a red pirate shirt could save me any time…), The Princess Bride (a fine film indeed) and, um, Speed. And I'd love to live next door to Elvis Cole.

  77. Kat B. on February 22, 2011 at 6:25 AM

    >Has anyone seen Strange Brew? I still fall off the couch laughing. Dumb and Dumber comes in second with no one in my family behind me on that one. My son recently discovered Strange Brew and thought he'd introduce it to me. I could practically recite the lines. Sometimes we just need to watch something silly.

  78. Maria Papadopoulou on February 22, 2011 at 6:15 AM

    >My all time favorite movie was Sweet November-hands down.
    Poetry Blog:

    Author of Poetry Book: Poetry: From Hell With Love

  79. Maria Papadopoulou on February 22, 2011 at 6:13 AM

    >I like books where characters drive the stories and not vice versa. It pisses me off to no end, when i see authors essentially destroying their characters for the sake of shock and awe.
    Maria Papadopoulou
    Poetry Blog:
    Author of Poetry Book: Poetry: From Hell With Love

  80. Patsy on February 22, 2011 at 6:07 AM

    >I like James Bond films. They don't follow the books very closely, have huge plot holes and aren't at all convincing, but still I like them.

  81. Katie Ganshert on February 22, 2011 at 6:05 AM

    >"Look at the butt on that!"


    One of my friends and I STILL quote Dumb and Dumber lines at each other. I laughed out loud when you threw that one out there. Oh, and Tommy Boy.

    I will gladly admit to being a Twilight fan. I'm also slightly obsessed with Vampire Diaries. Yep. Yep I am.

    Great post, Rachelle!

    Oh – and Katy. I'm going to have to say that The Princess Bride is potentially one of the finer movies ever made. 🙂

  82. Katy McKenna on February 22, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    >Billy Crystal may be a bit too artistic for what you have in mind, but Throw Momma From the Train is Fun and Funner, IMO. The Princess Bride, Waking Ned Devine, I Married An Ax Murderer, and ANYTHING directed by Rob Reiner–all are alphabetized on the shelf right alongside the classics. And THAT makes me happy. 🙂

  83. Rosemary Gemmell on February 22, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    >Love this post, Rachelle, and your insights into Hollywood! My grown-up daughter has quite a different taste in books and movies from me – she'll read far more 'beautiful writing' and is really into meaningful films, taking note of great direction etc.

    I like the meaningful stuff up to a point, but I'm more concerned with the story, characters and the way a book or film makes me feel at the end (even if I'm just deep in thought). But the funny, and lovely, thing is we both love the Twilight books and films and have great discussions on why Bella is not a submissive wimp as some people suggest.

    For sheer escapist entertainment, my husband and I used to love the James Bond films. Until the most recent with Daniel Craig – sorry, but they've just got too violent and so much of what we enjoyed is now missing.

  84. Michael K. Reynolds on February 22, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    >I fear my snobbery knows no bounds. The genre doesn't matter, nor does star power but the writing and acting do. I particulary don't care for movies where a bad story is given the lipstick on the pig of car chases, dramatic fight scenes or extravagant special effects. It just makes me even more upset that so much was spent on so little.

    But I'm not one to pine endlessly for the days of Casablanca. I'd say Hollywood continues to produce some amazing films with compelling stories each year. I'll be thrilled when they produce mine.

  85. startupwriter on February 22, 2011 at 3:28 AM

    >Alright you got me I'm a sucker for Pixar movies. I can recite all the lines from Up. I also curled up into a ball when I thought Woody and the gang were not going to make it out alive. But I did enjoy Black swan and Like Water for Chocolate is a great film but I enjoyed the book more.

  86. Rachel Searles on February 22, 2011 at 2:51 AM

    >Broken Lizard movies are awful, but so funny–at least Super Troopers and Beerfest. Nothing wrong with a little lighter fare now and then!

  87. Corrie on February 22, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    >I'm a sucker for the blockbuster romantic comedies. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Date Night, Knight and Day…particularly the ones where the couple is already married! I know they're fluff…but hey, fluff is bouncy and soft and fun. 🙂

  88. Aimee L Salter on February 22, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    >*cough* *Cough* the-entire-twilight-series *ahem*

    I love Castle. It's poorly written, badly acted by the 'heroine', and generally COMPLETELY inaccurate in the crime investigation stakes… but I can't take my eyes off it.

    And proud.

  89. ARJules on February 22, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    >I'm with Cat on the J.R. Ward Brotherhood series. I just finished the Karen Marie Moning Fever series. So good!

    As far as movies, the ones that come to mind are campy 80's flicks. I'm not talking John Hughes. Things like "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "The Allnighter." I know. ha ha ha

  90. Tana Adams on February 22, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    >Twenty years ago I read, Less than Zero, and recently I read the follow up, Imperial Bedrooms.

    I’ve read every book Jen Lancaster and Sophie Kinsella have written, and thoroughly enjoyed them.

    My favorite movie of all time is Groundhogs day. I also have a special place in my heart for all three Vacation movies.

  91. Bonnie R. Paulson on February 22, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    >I'm a sucker for Twilight, not so much the second two but the first had me. Napoleon Dynamite, Cry Baby (yep, I said it). Grease II (better than the first one – come on, Michelle Pfeifer!) Tombstone, I am Legend, Hancock, and of course, The Notebook.

    But I don't have anything to hide.

    Oh, and Monsters Inc!

  92. Cat on February 22, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    >Love this post! How true it is. I love great nonfiction but I'll fess up. I refer to it as my brain crack but I love JR Ward and Jeaniene Frost. They both bring the bad girl side of me out in the safety of pulp. As for movies I'm with you…it doesn't get any better than Dumb and Dumber. Thanks for helping us keep it real.

  93. Kate Larkindale on February 22, 2011 at 12:33 AM

    >I run an art house cinema, and I watch a lot of 'quality' movies that few people bother coming to see. And I'm the first to admit I have very specific tastes and the films I love tend to be ones other people just don't get. But I still love the multiplex fare too. Sometimes it's fun to just sit back and not have to think too much, just laugh or get caught up in in darn good story.

    It's the same with books….

  94. Reina on February 22, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    >Oh my, so many! I think your post also points to the subjectivity of Hollywood and publishing. I used to not read romance novels (believing they were all bodice rippers), but now I read and write them. As for movies, pretty much anything with Kurt Russell-"Escape From LA," "Tango and Cash"-or Sean Bean, Rutger Hauer, Rufus Sewell…why do so many of my favorite actors make such not so great movies? Thanks for the laugh. 🙂