Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: movies

Picky media consumer

I am not a picky eater. At least, I wouldn’t be if it weren’t for my sensitivities. There are only a few things I don’t like, and the list includes kiwi, water chestnuts (I LOVE regular chestnuts, though), and coconut. I like coconut curries, but coconut itself? Not so much. Other than that, I’m pretty much a fan more or less of food. When it comes to the media I consume, however, it’s a much different story.

I once flummoxed a professor in my grad program ((Writing & Consciousness) by saying I didn’t like movies. She said that was like saying I don’t like sandwiches or soups–both of which I like, thank you very much. Part of the problem is that at the time, there weren’t many movies that reflected me. Taiwanese American bisexual fat woman? Yeah, good luck finding something with that, mate! In addition, I’m always conscious that I’m watching a movie. When I read a book, I disappear into the pages and am absorbed in the world. With a good book, I completely forget that I exist. With movies, I’m always removed from the action except on very rare occasions. My three favorite movies, Once, The Station Agent, and Japanese Story, are all movies I actually lost myself in, even if it weren’t for the whole time. Another difference is that I can read my favorite books a million times, but I don’t often feel compelled to watch a movie more than once.

I find movies limiting. When I read books, my mind provides the details that the book doesn’t give. With movies, it’s all on the screen, and I find it a much more passive way of ingesting media. I think there’s less room for error, too, because continuity can be a problem. I remember watching a movie (don’t remember the movie now) that was so bad, I noticed that the color of a shirt wasn’t consistent in what was supposed to be the same scene. I’m not that detail-oriented, so the fact that I noticed meant I was not into the movie at all.

Another problem with movies for me is that my brain can’t always differentiate between reality and fabrication, so horrific images in movies stay with me a long time in the way horrific scenes in books don’t. I know that seems counter to what I said earlier, but I never said my brain was consistent. There’s a suicide scene in Girl, Interrupted, that stayed with me for years afterwards. Any time I thought of it, I would feel as if someone had actually died. With books, the whole experience may stay with me, but I’m less likely to remember horrible scenes with such a vivid reaction.


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5 Popular Movies I Hate

nom nom nom.
I do like the popcorn, though.

I’m not a big fan of movies. It’s not something I say very often because I know how it sounds. I once said it to my writing teacher, and she looked at me as if I had two heads. What kind of person says that she asked me, and I didn’t really have a good answer for her back then. Or one I was willing to say out loud.

I have an answer now, though it may still not be a good one. I learned to read when I was very young, and even before that, I pretended I could read. My mom tells a story of how when I was two, I would hold the newspaper in my hand and study it as if I were reading–but it was upside down. Even then, I knew the world of words was for me, and I wanted in. I taught myself to read so by the time I was in grade school, I was reading with ease. It was my escapism, and I loved opening a book and being transported into another world. I could go anywhere and do anything without leaving my house, and I was all in from the moment I could put a sentence together.

I never wanted to go out and play–I would rather read a book. I read the dictionary in my spare time, and I tackled War and Peace when I was ten because it was the biggest book I could think of. I gave up after five hundred words because I couldn’t keep track of all the nicknames and who was doing what to whom, but I did give it a solid try. I read The Scarlet Letter around the same time, and even then I thought it was bullshit that Hester bore the brunt of the punishment for the ‘sin’ of committing adultery.

I read all the Little House on the Prairie books, Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden (I loved mysteries, even then), and whatever else I could get my hands on. Some of it was age appropriate, but much of it was not. I loved Bridge to Terabithia, A Wrinkle in Time, Pippi Longstocking, and all the trashy teenage romances I could gobble up.

In contrast, Superman was the first movie I saw when I was about seven, and it gave me nightmares for months after I saw it. I saw and hated Star Wars when I was a kid, and I never really cared for the Star Trek movies. ET was OK, but not really my jam. I didn’t see many movies when I was a kid, and I was fine with it. I found movies to be limiting, to be honest. Books allowed my imagination to run wild, whereas movies dictated what I saw and heard. When I write, I don’t do much description at all, and I know it’s a shortcoming on my part, but it’s because I always skip long descriptions whenever I read. I’d rather imagine the visuals myself than be told in excruciating detail what I should be seeing. You can see why this would be an issue for me when I watch a movie.

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Movies: I Can Take Or Leave Them

I hate movies*.

I said that to a professor in my MA program once, and she looked at me as if I had committed the biggest social faux pas ever–which I probably did. She couldn’t understand how I could hate movies because they were so wondrous to her. I couldn’t really put into words why I had said that, but I’ve given it plenty of thought since then and have come up with a few reasons why I’m so disinterested in movies.

One, I’m an avid book lover. One of my mom’s favorite embarrassing stories to tell about me is that when I was two, I’d hold the newspaper in front of my face and pretend to read it–upside down. When I started school at age six, I could already read. I had taught myself how between age two and age six. By the time I was seven, I was reading everything I could get my hands on. It’s all I wanted to do in my spare time. We didn’t watch much TV when I was a kid, and we never went to the movies. I hated Superman and Star Wars when I saw them, and I didn’t much care about ET, either. I still get lifted eyebrows when I say I hate Star Wars, which I don’t mention often for that very reason.

Side note: I don’t like the Beatles, Taxi Driver, or Seinfeld, either. You may all shut down your browsers in disgust now.

Reading was my escape, and I liked books that had sparse descriptions because then I could create the worlds in my own mind. Even as a writer, I struggle to describe things because it’s not something I enjoy reading. If there are paragraphs of scenery, I skip right over it. When I talk about my characters, I use very limited and basic vocabulary. “Her black hair reaches her waist, and her dark brown eyes are often sad.” It’s not one of my strong points, and I’ve accepted that when it comes to description, I’m a minimalist. I like to write dialogue, however; that’s where I really shine. I also enjoy writing about the feelings, emotions, and characters’ inner lives. As a former psych major, I’m fascinated by motivations and intricate, complicated relationships, so that’s what I focus on in my writing.


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