Popcorn with Spiders

It’s been a hard week as I write this.

We’ve had days of blackouts, no water (wells don’t pump without electric), and 105 degree weather.  The food in my fridge and freezer is gone, my bathrooms smell, and the grocery stores still are pretty bare.

To cope, I’ve been hanging out at the movie theaters, enjoying the chill, living on popcorn and bad chicken fingers, and getting angry.  This time it has nothing to do with my power company.  What on earth is going on with Hollywood?  Why are so many films “remakes?”  It is bad enough when you redo a nearly perfect film like Total Recall from 1990, or even more horrifically, Back to the Future from 1985 – a mere blink of an eye for me.   But Spiderman?  Yes, the new movie is better, but why rehash a film that came out just a few years ago?

Did Tobey Maguire somehow damage the franchise, making it impossible to continue the film from where he left off?  I was told they were “relaunching” the series.  That meant sitting through hours of (spoiler alert — aw who am I kidding?) Peter Parker getting bitten by a spider, his uncle dying, tons of spidey-angst, and his mentor becoming a monster all over again.  Okay, his girlfriend was different, but not by much.  Even had it been done by Shakespearean caliber actors (and Sally Fields is no slouch) a rerun is a rerun and how many times can you see the same thing? Especially at twenty bucks for two tickets, plus another twenty for food that went straight to my hips.  I should have watched TV at home.

But I didn’t have power.

Perhaps I’m biased.  I live in a world where my creative friends — award-winning novelists and screenwriters — find it hard to catch a break.  A vast number of plots get rejected because they cross genres, are something too new, or never before tried.  In these manuscripts, I’ve  found wonderful writing and fresh ideas.  Yet, New York, much like Hollywood, seems to be searching for the same old thing again and again.

Publishers often say they are looking for something new, but what they really seem to mean is, we want the same thing, but with a new twist, a new voice.  They worry where books will fit on bookshelves, in a book selling scenario where fewer and fewer people buy books from shelves.  In the online world, it is possible, and indeed free, to list a fairytale romantic suspense where Sleeping Beauty tracks down the bad fairy (and kicks her butt), before going off and finding her own Prince Charming, as “supernatural,” “fantasy,” “historical,” “romance,” and “suspense,” all at once.

Maybe one day we’ll get to live in a new world where half of Hollywood’s releases aren’t remakes of old flicks, where each book is judged on its own merit, and ground breaking fiction gets a chance.  But for now, I’m spending my blackouts at the indy theater where  small release films, and foreign subtitled imports, seem to be the only things that are new.  If you get a chance, why don’t you join me?  I’ll even share my popcorn.

Hugs,                                                                                                                           Diana Belchase


Do you have a book that can’t sell because it crosses genres?  Do you have pet peeves about  movies and books?  Please share your story below.      

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