#Adulting: Stop Underestimating Us

One of the industries millennials are accused of killing is Movie Theaters. It got so bad at one point that AMC Theaters proposed allowing texting in theaters (then decided against it). The movie industry was convinced millennials simply weren’t interested in movies, because of their attention spans. But the truth was, millennials (and other audiences) weren’t interested in movies, because of the content, i.e. the movies themselves.

If the past year in movies is any consolation, what audiences wanted were people who looked like them, sounded like them, lived like them–new stories about lives that are all too relatable yet often ignored. With one caveat–these stories must be told well.

I bring this up because even with the box-office successes of Marvel’s Black Panther, Disney’s A Wrinkle in TimeLove, Simon, and Ocean’s 8, there were still headlines with implicit surprise at how well Pixar’s The Incredibles 2 did, for an animated short.

(Photo Credit Buzzfeed)

While the previous four films finally touch on human experiences that are constantly ignored in media and politics (i.e. Being black, being a black girl, being LGBT, being a woman, respectively) maybe not flawlessly but still well done, The Incredibles 2, at first glance, doesn’t typically go outside the box in that regard. But it does specifically answer the question of “What would get millennials back to the movie theater?” (this, of course, is assuming millennials had left the theater, which, they didn’t by the way)

Unlike the present climate of reboots, remakes, and revivals, The Incredibles 2 (which picks up right where the first left off) had been originally planned for release a few years after its 2004 original, The Incredibles. But a few years turned into a few more then a few more then even more, until that initial two to three years became fourteen. Even though animated films take a few years to create, fourteen or even more than ten is never the magic number; especially when the same studio was able to create two more Cars films and a previously unplanned Finding Nemo sequel during that same period. The stall in the process was not due to the process itself (as the actors in the clip before the film may suggest), but rather to the company underestimating the level of interest among the key audience at the time (despite the fact that the 2004 had a decent opening at the box office).

It just happens to be coincidental that the key audience (children during 2004) for the first Incredibles film, eagerly waiting and waiting for the sequel, happen to fall within the “millennial” age group now. Not only did millennials show up and show out for the Incredibles sequel fourteen years later, they did so in droves. Why? Because the first movie was incredible (pun intended) is a good guess. But why the surprise at the turn out? Another industry, specifically movies, refused to listen to its consumers–really listen to what they’re clammering for and not just their supposed buying power; another audience was, once again millennials, was underestimated.

According to the Buzzfeed article about its box office numbers for opening weekend, only 28% of the tickets bought were children’s price. This means about 70% (give or take) were adult tickets–maybe millennials by themselves, maybe millennials with kids (the oldest millennial is around thirty-seven years old). The premiere weekend was the most successful animated feature opening in recent American history.

I could hope that this movie is the final nail in the coffin of the “Millennials Are Killing Movie Theaters” accusation (and had noted a similar sentiment in the podcast I produce), the final nail in the “Movie Theaters are dying” argument, that the movie industry will recognize that their only purpose is to release good movies–movies that inspire, movies that display stories audiences haven’t seen before (on the big screen or ever), movies that reflect their audiences back on the screen in front of them. It’s a simple enough job to just create worthwhile, well-told stories…yet I’d be surprised if these trends are enough to persuade the industry. Oh well.

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What I’m Listening To: WBUR/New York Times’s Modern Love. It’s not a typical podcast; each episode is an actor reciting an essay from The New York Times  Modern Love column, then the host asking the writer of the essay for more details or context. My favorite, so far, is Constance Wu reading an essay titled, “Marry A Man Who Loves His Mother.”

What I’m Reading: So many great YA Novel to movie adaptations are coming! In preparation, I just finished Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star. If you’ve read the book, you’ll understand my nervousness for the upcoming movie adaptation (since the book was more angst than romance, in my opinion). But since Yara Shahidi’s in, I may have to bite the bullet.

What I’m Watching: (See post above) Also Freeform’sThe Bold Type is back! I really love this show because it feels like a modern Sex and the City meets The Devil Wears Prada but with LGBT and POC characters as well.

(Photo Credit Wikipedia)

#Adulting: One Step At a Time

Since my last post in November, I have

  • quit my part-time job as a barista
  • completed my internship
  • moved to a new city
  • started a new job

And in case you’re wondering what place finally took me on…

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Onslaught of Book to Movie: Review of “The Spectacular Now”

"The Spectacular Now" by Tim Tharp (2008) Photo Source

“The Spectacular Now” by Tim Tharp (2008) Photo Source

Tried and true, I read the book version of The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp (2008)before watching its movie counterpart. Unlike most of the books I review, I had high hopes for the movie version to be different for one simple reason: I absolutely detested the book.

If you read last week’s Monty’s Mayhem, my sentiment should come as no surprise. As an English major, I am often confronted with the question–“Did you really hate the book or was it the narrator?” For Invisible Man (1952), it was the narrator. For The Spectacular Now (2008), it was a bit of both. If you’ve actually read it (or are feeling gutsy enough to peruse a copy), you’ll find that the narrator, Sutter Keely, is not too much of a bad guy. He enjoys a good time, likes to tell stories and make people laugh, and he hates math. Seems like a typical, non-threatening teenager, right?

Well, what bugged me the most about Sutter is that he is drunk. All. the. time. He drinks first thing in the morning, he drinks before going to work and school and his sister’s fancy dinner party, and he drinks behind the wheel. Let’s ignore the fact that he is underage and try to assume that his boss, classmates, and family actually like the “buzzed” Sutter. Let’s, for the sake of argument, try.

Despite all of that, he is still driving under the influence and with the influence. Not only is this incredibly irresponsible in terms of his own health (he adamantly denies that he is an alcoholic), but also dangerously reckless with the lives of anyone near him or riding with him. I suppose that is where my main problem with Sutter stems from.

I can handle him being so unmotivated that he flunks math and misses graduation. I can handle him being so lost that he lies about where his father is yet jumps at the chance to see him. I can even handle (albeit barely) him messing with Amy, when it’s obvious her feelings overpower his (and don’t even get me started on her). I can handle what he inflicts on himself and on those who choose to be around him, but subjecting strangers to the aftermath of your actions is sickening.

“The Spectacular Now” Starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller (yes, they were both in “Divergent” as well) (2013) Secondary Photo Source

If you’re wondering how the movie (2013) differs, I make two time-saving suggestions to you. You can read the book, then skip the first eighty-six minutes of the movie and be caught up. The other option is to watch the movie all the way through (this way you can avoid reading the book) and realize the main difference between the movie and book occur after the eighty-six minute mark. Obviously, there are some major differences throughout the course of the film, such as

  • Sutter’s stepfather does not exist
  • The friendship between Ray and Sutter is less pronounced
  • Amy’s sister is located in Philadelphia instead of New Mexico
  • Sutter and Amy don’t go to the prom after-party

However, for the most part, the book and movie coincide very closely. Usually in book-to-movie adaptations, this is a good thing. I was just really hoping the screenplay would pull a Percy Jackson and not be like the book at all.

So what happens after the eighty-six minute mark? Unlike Book Sutter, Movie Sutter realizes the error of his ways. He works to get his well-to-do sister and mother reunited. Instead of just leaving Amy high and dry in Philadelphia alone (after he promised to go with her then bailed “for her own good”), Sutter goes there to surprise her and the film ends with Amy looking surprised but pleased. Considering that Sutter is the reason Amy became a heavy vodka drinker, had to get a cast on her arm (after she got clipped by a car on highway after he told her to get out of his car), and he abandoned her, I’m not sure if this ending is much of an improvement (for Amy at least).

Of course, almost anything is an improvement over Book Sutter going to get drunk, drive in swerves, fade into oblivion, and calling his life “spectacular.” Please, oh goodness, do not read this book and don’t see the movie. If you feel differently, please defend your position in the comments. I’m very curious to read your argument.