Deb Erika thinks Geminis can’t fake it

Erika MarksNow anyone who knows me well knows I can petulant at times, and that no other phrase is bound to get an unfavorable response from me like: “Oh my God, Erika—you have GOT to see this film. You’ll LOVE it.”

Maybe it’s the oppositional Gemini in me (okay, so I don’t know that Geminis are oppositional, but I’m going with it) but as soon as someone tells me I have to like something, I kinda, sorta, automatically don’t.

Case in point: when the film American Beauty came out, it was THE movie to see. So, automatically, I had my guard up. Finally, I gave in and I watched it, but within five minutes, I decided I wasn’t going to like it and I didn’t.*

But wait! Lest you think I’m just generally disagreeable, please know that there’s another side to this killjoy coin. As kneejerk as my trepidation is around the “sure thing,” I am equally reflexive when it comes to rooting for the underdog. I can’t help it.

So when The Blair Witch Project came out, I had heard the buzz, and I happened to be one of those folks who’d heard rumblings of the buzz before the buzz even began buzzing. So I was anxious to see it. But I didn’t get around to it, for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that I had to rent it on VHS, and by then, the naysayers were loud. “It’s all hype,” I kept hearing. “It doesn’t deliver. It’s not scary. I won’t be scary on the small screen. I really don’t know what the big deal was.”

So I watched it—and maybe I was just so darned determined to be scared and impressed before the title sequence even rolled, but I was. I thought it was every bit as chilling and creepy and well-done as I believed it would be.

So where am I going with this confession?

Well, it’s very interesting to now be on the other side of the mirror. Now that I am a published author, I have a new perspective on the power of suggestion, and the power of the push. I am so grateful and so eager for good press about my novel—and I know that many, many readers will come to their next book—which might even be mine, if I’m lucky—because of the recommendation of a friend. And let me tell you: I. Love. This.

And the fact of the matter is that when it comes to books, I am all ears with regards to recommendations. Unlike films, I don’t tend to have that knee-jerk reaction. I heard incredible things about Olive Kitteridge.  I unabashedly loved Olive Kitteridge. The same with Life of Pi. The Kitchen House. The Perfect Storm. Fight Club.

The list goes on and on.

So, all this said, keep those book recommendations coming, my sweet friends, because I will try to employ every one.

But as for the medium of film and TV…

Well. Let’s just say, after an unofficial poll (aka Twitter and FB feeds) I know I am the ONLY person on the planet who was not sucked into Downton Abbey. And I did try. Really, I did.

*Oh, and as proof of my, ahem, maturity, I did watch American Beauty a second time years later and was able to appreciate what a remarkable film it is. This scene, for example, still gets me.


So how about you all? Can you be petulant about these things, (or am I alone in that too?)

27 Replies to “Deb Erika thinks Geminis can’t fake it”

  1. LOL! Must be an Aquarian trait too. I still haven’t seen Titanic. 😉

    BTW, I just saw The Artist yesterday. It was, um, all right (she says nonchalantly). If you ever decide to see it, you may like it. May not. Could be it’s just not your cup of gumbo…

    Okay, okay…I LOVED it. Thought it was the most brilliant film I’ve seen in years.

    Oh, heck. I’ve done it now, haven’t I? Sorry!

    1. Never seen Titanic? Oh, sister–we are indeed cut from the same cloth.

      I think I should have written a disclaimer to this post and mentioned that I am suffering from a ruptured eardrum and may have come across as especially cantankerous. Is it too late to add that?

      And if you can believe it, I haven’t heard TOO much about The Artist and with pickings being so slim in the world of rentals, I suspect I will get around to it. And I VOW to be open-minded (and hopefully by then, open-eared too!)

      1. A ruptured eardrum? Yee-owch! You poor thing. I hope it heals soon.

        Re The Artist: it’s still in theaters, so it might be a while before it’s available on DVD.

        1. Thank you, dear–they say two weeks or so. I think you can understand why I’m looking toward spring. Winter has not been too kind here.

          I did know that about The Artist, so I thinking maybe The Blair Witch Project effect might kick in–seeing something after the hype can really mellow my, um, petulant tendencies. 😉

          1. Okay, here’s where I admit I’ve never seen The Blair Witch Project, either. I was afraid it would give me nightmares. I’m such a wimp.

  2. I hate hype – it almost always ruins things for me – books and movies. I didn’t like Pulp Fiction and the hype around that baffled me. Blair Witch – I thought it was okay, but there was one part I thought could have been done better. It took me a long time to see The Fighter because of the hype, but, in this one instance, I found it lived up to it.
    But, uh, can someone explain The Tree of Life to me? We rented it on the weekend and got 15 minutes in before I just couldn’t take it anymore and had to turn it off.

    1. Oh, good. *wipes head in relief* I’m glad to read I’m not the only one thinking this way…

      Tree of Life looked to me like one of those “rough” movies that wrings you dry emotionally and leaves you in the fetal position for a week and frankly, Joanne, I haven’t been up for one of those for years (didn’t we love them in our teen/college angst years, though?) so I appreciate your fair warning. I had been on the fence about it, but now…

      Another one I put off forever was Slumdog Millionaire for all the hype, but I was so moved by it when I finally saw it.

  3. I don’t really get what Tree of Life was supposed to be. It was like 10 minutes of weirdness at the beginning, sort of like this dreamy flashback that went on and on and on. Then it turned to present day, but still had that dreamy feel to it and I just couldn’t get into it. It’s not that it was overly emotional – quite the opposite – it felt like it was trying too hard to be emotional and it missed the mark for me. Not for everyone, I guess.
    I’ve never watched Slumdog nor *gasp* Schindler’s List because of the hype around both movies…

    1. Oh, Joanne, I still haven’t seen Schindler’s List either. Talk about one that would leave me in the fetal position. I know my heart couldn’t take it. But I have no doubt it’s a masterpiece. I keep imaging one say I’ll be strong enough to watch it, feeling as if I SHOULD, you know?

  4. I used to be ornery about things everyone was crazy for – now I think I’m just cautious. Hype can be such an enemy, because it raises our expectations. I try to either read books the moment I hear about them, or long after, to avoid being disappointed – not by the work, but by the buzz!

    1. Ornery! I love that word! See, there’s lots of us. Whew! Cautious is a good middle-ground. And I agree (as you read) that there can be a benefit to letting the buzz dust settle out and then the expectation mellows, leaving just the work to speak for itself.

      And since you’re here, Eleanor dear, we can send out a hearty official Deb shout out cheer for today’s paperback publication of THE WEIRD SISTERS!!!!!

  5. Ornery is a great word. How about “contrary”? That’s my personal favorite. Has an intellectual ring to it–as if I actually ponder deeply before turning up my nose at hyped movies.

    Frankly, I’m starting to wonder if “The Descendants” is going to be my contrarian movie for the year. I know it’s supposed to be great and all that, but…hmm…I almost rejected “Bridesmaids” last year, but that was honest-to-god hilarious.

    As for Downton Abbey. Yes, I am hooked. The funny thing about that is that last year (season 1), I thought I’d discovered a little unsung gem–that I was oh-so-special for this very reason. Until last month, I had no clue that it won a bunch of Emmys! I’m just one of bleating masses, after all, alas.

    1. Lisa, I’m with you on The Descendants. My mom didn’t have a great review and I should add that Sideways is one of my top 5 movies of all times–I LOVED that movie, so it’s not that I don’t love Alexander Payne and don’t think he’s a genius, but frankly I’m kind of wary of George Clooney’s newly-acquired befuddled older man schtick. Call me contrary, but…;)

  6. Hah! That’s funny…I was always a contrarian when it came to good ol’ George. He’s a fine actor, but, meh. In fact, when it comes to a pretty-boy actors in general, meh. I guess that makes certifiably contrarian. Ben Affleck versus Matt Damon? Damon all the way.

  7. I totally used to be in your camp, Erika, but now I just assume that if everyone else liked it, I probably will as well. Exception: Nicholas Sparks novels. And Disneyworld. And Family Guy.

    1. I like how you think, dear. I need to take a cue from you.

      (But I’m with you on all of the above. Or at least, the last two. I haven’t yet read Mr. Sparks. But I’ve been told I will LOVE him.)

  8. Ok, we are SO much alike in this. I WILL NOT watch a movie that is hyped. That said, I’ve never watched movies like Jaws, Blair Witch, American Beauty, Forrest Gump, Slumdog Millionare. Same (usually) with a book. Although I absolutely LOVED The Notebook –the book — so much (even though everyone teased me about its sappiness) that I patently refused to watch the movie when it became my daughter’s favorite movie ever, apparently the iconic love story of her generation… UNTIL about a week ago. After I watched Crazy Stupid Love (that I loved btw). And I LOVED The Notebook. Did I cry? Heck yes. But honestly, one of THE most romantic movies ever. (And my husband — who also hates hyped movies — loved it too!)

  9. p.s. forgot to say. No you are NOT the only one who didn’t get sucked in. I don’t like Downton Abby either, I’m a little ashamed to admit but will now that I see you admitted it first 😉 I tried too…. (Oh, and I’ve never seen The Titanic…)

    1. Oh, Julia, I am SO relieved!! Finally, someone else who didn’t swoon for Downton Abbey. I was so worried when I put it out there first on Twitter that my followers would dwindle but so far, I’m holding steady. 😉

      And yes, that’s part of the problem right there! They don’t spell Abbey correctly! 😉

  10. I’m the same way. I do not like to watch hyped up films or read hyped up books. However, if there is a lot of negative hype about something I must read it to see if people are over-reacting (e.g., Dan Brown’s books–and I loved those–did not agree with the church on that one).

    It took an English friend (with a wonderful English accent) giving me his “Proper English” copies of Harry Potter before I even considered. I think I began reading them when the first 4 were already out. I’m glad he convinced me to “give it a go”.

    Hope your cold is better. I’ve had it for 13 days. I drink thera-flu. No hangovers!

    1. Hi Missy! Now if I’d had the “proper English” versions of Harry Potter, I don’t doubt I’d have been hooked from the start–that’s so cool!

      I’m with you too on if it’s a particularly inflammatory response to a work, then I am intrigued and can’t help myself.

      Thanks for the Thera-flu advice! Unfortunately my cold turned into a sinus infection and then a ruptured eardrum so I’m now on the really hard stuff–ugh. It’s brutal. A hangover sounds good right about now;)

  11. TITANIC!!!! I saw it after the girls in my grade (I was a high school sophomore) had seen it three times and wouldn’t stop talking about it. They’d all seen it three times and I saw it was like “oh. it was good. ish. i guess.”

    I’m usually the one that defends the movies that everyone else hates. I always find myself saying “I didn’t think it was that bad…” I too am always rooting for the underdog…

    1. Titanic is one I had very little expectation for, I’ll admit. I saw it on a whim and while I felt the casting was a bit off (don’t get me wrong, I love both actors but felt it was a poor match–maybe Kate seemed too old for Leo, even if they are the same age, she just came off as so much more mature than he did) but by the end I was a sobbing mess like everyone else and now it’s a guilty pleasure, so what does that say about me? 😉

      But my husband and I always joke that somehow when we go into a movie with really low expectations (because of poor reviews, for examples) we somehow manage to find it better than expected–basic human psychology, I’m sure, but hey! It works!

  12. Erika! I wrote today’s blog post before the holidays and then I revised it to publish today and it covers this same subject!

    I love giving book recommendations but then I always cross my fingers hoping they feel the same way about the book. Too much hype ruins things for me as well, especially movies. However, if you tell me that James Horner or John Barry has written the movie soundtrack scores, I am so there.


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