Like most others, when I first meet people I tend to hold back some of the more less favorable facts about myself. Like that I enjoy peanut butter and turkey bacon sandwiches, or that I’ve watched nearly every episode of Who Wants to Be the Next Food Network Star? (I’m still trying to catch up from the half-season I missed while moving across the country). And although I know it’s enjoying a surge of immense popularity, I hate red velvet cake and have never much cared for cream cheese frosting, either.
Maybe the most damning is the fact that I don’t really like movies. Sure, there are some that capture my heart enough that I’ll watch them again and again. Miracle, Grumpy Old Men, Wild America, and 27 Dresses all make the list of favorites. But I tend to be very hesitant to try new movies. Halfway through, I’ll find myself looking at the clock, trying to figure out how much longer it will last. You might blame this on a short attention span caused by the instantaneous Internet Age, but I can watch episode after episode of a television show without losing interest. There’s just something about movies that makes most of them drag for me.
I have a special affection for this one after my own cross-country road trip.
But this week I made a discovery bound to entirely shape my vision of cinematic possibilities. I made a visit to one of the last, and undoubtedly the best, video rental stores: Scarecrow Video. Every obscure movie I have ever watched or wanted to watch, they have available. The way they’ve organized their titles made this budding librarian swoon; movies within the adventure section are also subcategorized by type – jungle, knights, swashbucklers. A large selection of foreign films arranged by country. And a whole section devoted to British films, British comedy television, British dramatic television series, and so on.
Wait a second, you might be saying. Isn’t this blog called Book Endeavors? What are you harping on about movies for? (You are probably not actually saying this, dear reader. You are likely far smarter than the rhetorical straw man reader I frequently converse with. But I digress.) Some of my other favorite movies are based upon books. I use the 1980s Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea movies as a frequent point of reference for life. I adore the Richard Harris/Jim Caviezel The Count of Monte Cristo. And one of my favorite movies of all time, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, is based on a novel (which I haven’t read, but the story is fantastic). Sadly, as an independent movie, Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont has been difficult to find, but luckily Scarecrow Video has it. It has all of these.
Seriously, if you can find it, watch it. Especially if a) you’re a writer, or b) have ever worked in a retirement home setting.
Even better, the store has a room dedicated to movies based on books and plays. Movies about authors’ lives. Documentaries and biopics about authors, and movies explaining theories and criticism about literary works and worlds. Interviews with authors, and compilations of poets’ readings. Shelves of Jane Austen and Dickens adaptations. Every movie exploring Narnia you could think of. And then in the children’s section they have all of the television series devoted to exploring L. M. Montgomery’s books – Emily of New Moon and The Road to Avonlea (a combination of Avonlea and Story Girl books).
It’s basically an English and Creative Writing B.A.’s dreams incarnated in a video store. Which is not the first place I would’ve looked for enlightenment. Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont was checked out when I went there yesterday, but I’ll be back for it. In the meantime, I rented Vitus – a Swiss movie I watched during college in pursuit of German 200 Culture and Communication Points – and The Way We Were. I have to thank my friend Paige for the latter; if anyone has helped me expand my horizons when it comes to films, she has. Before we became friends, I honestly thought Robert Redford was a fictional character.
What’s your favorite movie based on a book? Let me know in comments.