View Full Version : Standards for Books vs. TV/Movies

Clair Dickson
08-10-2008, 06:11 AM
Are your standards different for books compared to movies/TV shows? Usually sex and violence are the ones most often mentioned as turn-offs in reading, but what about profanity, plot, and characters?

I tolerate pretty much all levels of sex and violence in storytelling-- so long as there is a decent plot and decent characters, I'm pretty content. Though, I admit, more than once I've rooted for the bad guy to just END the movie.

Most of the R rated movies that I watch are pretty graphic, usually in violence. Far more graphic than most books I've read. But I'm only comparing a relatively small sample size, and I admit that. Though, it seems that far more movies are R rated than anything else.

What about the rest of you? Do you put up with more or less violence/ sex/ etc. on screen than you would in a book? And I'd love to know why. =)

Thanks! Curiousity has yet to kill the Clair. =)

08-10-2008, 06:14 AM
I like action, spectacle an intrigue on all fronts. I read the same things that I like to watch.
I don't read literary fiction unless I have to, and I don't watch heart-warming movies unless held hostage.

Danger Jane
08-10-2008, 06:54 AM
I tend to prefer visual action to written action...I tend to watch mindless comfort movies, not read mindless comfort books...other than that, it's about the same, I'd say. Literary fiction is good to me, "literary film" as well...I would say my taste in one corresponds to my taste in the other. Like if you looked at my top ten movies and my top ten books, you wouldn't be shocked.

In TV, I look for plot chiefly (think Law and Order: SVU). In movies and books, I look for character/story chiefly.

08-10-2008, 06:55 AM
I like action, spectacle an intrigue on all fronts. I read the same things that I like to watch.
I don't read literary fiction unless I have to, and I don't watch heart-warming movies unless held hostage.
C.bronco and I were separated at birth.

08-10-2008, 07:32 AM
Hmmm, this is a good question. I think I tolerate a lot more "sloppiness" in movies/tv than I do in my reading. For example, I can let a lot of plot holes or inconsistencies by in a movie or television program than I would be able to in a book. Now the question is why that is....
Maybe because a book requires much more effort, and so I dont like the idea of my time/effort being wasted. Dunno, its an interesting question though

Good Post

08-10-2008, 07:44 AM
Good question. I think my television preferences reflect my reading style. Shows like Buffy or LOST, with sprawling continuities, sit better with me than one-episode stints like Law and Order or CSI. Likewise, I enjoy books with a deep plotline, whether it's a series or not.

I shy away from most women's literature and the same goes for "chick flick"-type movies. Oddly enough, though, I can only remember watching mysteries or thrillers as movies. I don't normally read that genre and I pretty much refuse to watch crime dramas (which is my best estimate of what counts as a mystery on tv these days).

08-10-2008, 07:47 AM
I watch all kinds of movies, but I only read a few types of novels. I'm much more picky when it comes to books because I'm not very patient -- it takes me a lot of effort to get into a book and a long time to finish one (if I actually finish reading it). So it's a huge investment on my part. Movies -- I can finish it in less than 2 hours and if I don't like it, I can turn it off and no big deal.

Movies are also more passive. I just sit there and get involved for about 2 hours with the director's vision and interpretation. With books, it's more active and I need to use my imagination. It's a lot of work to get involved. So I tend to be much more picky about what I read.

As far as content: sex, drugs, violence, etc. -- they don't bother me either way. I tend to avoid overtly and gratuitously violent and sexual material. I've walked out on a few movies. And if the book turns me off, I wouldn't finish it.

08-10-2008, 08:01 AM
I tend to read very critically -- it comes with the many territories I occupy -- so I tend to view most movies and tv shows as sheer escapism, diversions to wash over me, entertainments that I don't have to scrawl marginalia within. As a result, I tend to be very forgiving of movies and tv -- usually my wife will point out plot holes and inconsistencies that I didn't even notice.

08-10-2008, 12:18 PM
I think a lot of movies veer towards the mindless entertainment style compared to novels. For example, if you look at Bond movies then read Ian Fleming's books there is a world of difference. I prefer the books, which make my mind work.

08-10-2008, 12:24 PM
I wouldn't call the latest Bond films with Daniel Craig mindless entertainment. And then there are thought-provoking, intelligent and cinematically superb movies -- unfortunately, not many people see them, and I don't know why. I guess people do want mindless entertainment when it comes to movies...

08-10-2008, 01:17 PM
I'm thinking of the earlier ones as I have only seen these in recent years, on TV.
As for TV - we have adverts on Irish TV which are translated or badly dubbed from another language. Spelling mistakes, poor grammar and out of synch lip movements are the norm.
Very frustrating.

Susan Gable
08-10-2008, 05:56 PM
I can read horror, but don't like to watch it. I can read more "graphic" things than I can watch, including violence and blood and gore.

Because when I READ something, *I'm* in control of what I see. <G> And I can censure and tone-down the visuals in my head in relation to a book.

If I'm watching it, I'm forced to close/cover my eyes. :) And I do. <G>

Susan G.

Linda Adams
08-10-2008, 07:13 PM
An interesting topic, considering that I've been doing research for my WIP about Hollywood and how they make movies. There are some fundamental differences between the books and movies, and I'm always getting on people who try to write a movie as a novel. I don't think a lot of people realize how different the two mediums are.

Movies and TV often rely heavily on cliche, particularly with characterizations. If an actor has a certain look, he ends up typecast. The film has a limited time to get a point across, so it's easy to go for the cliches. A prime example is a bad guy or a thug.

In a book, the writer could use the narrative to convey a description in a couple of sentences, but in a film, if the bad guy didn't resemble one, they would end up spending valuable minutes establishing it.

It's interesting that if a movie's story is good, I don't mind the cliches, but if I saw the same cliches in a book, I think I would not read past the same cliches. It feels more lazy in the book, like the writer didn't make the effort. In a movie, things are moving pretty fast, so it fits in better.

08-10-2008, 08:09 PM
I have pretty high standards for both film and fiction. I'm a little more lenient about somethings in film, because--like maestro said--it's a lot less effort to watch a screen for two hours than to engage a novel with my imagination and time. But that doesn't mean I'll watch anything. I like some art films, but not too many--I don't like mindless entertainment, but I do expect entertainment. Even when I'm in the mood for mindless entertainment, I have standards...e.g., I won't pop in The Matrix when I can watch Equilibrium. In most cases, I watch what I read...I like literary fiction, so I watch, I guess, "literary" film. (But trust me, it's not heart-warming.)