Friday, September 5, 2008

Sort of a Mystery?

I'm trying to come up with a way today's post will tie in to mysteries and/or food. So here's my premise: Sometimes books and movies can be akin to "comfort food." Let me explain. Last night I was lying in bed feeling miserable with a cold. Naturally, my thoughts turned to Cary Grant. . . and Deborah Kerr. . . and even Bruce Willis as I wondered why I still cry at the end of movies I've seen over and over.

Take "An Affair to Remember," when Cary Grant opens that door, sees the painting and realization dawns on his face. Oh, man. Powerful stuff. Or how about "The Sixth Sense" when realization dawns on your face. And the little boy talks with his mother. I cry for a good ten to fifteen minutes, even though I've seen this movie several times. Audrey Hepburn breaks our hearts at the end of "Breakfast at Tiffany's" when we realize she's so afraid of being abandoned that she won't even name the cat she's searching for in the rain. What about these movies strikes a chord within our hearts?

The same holds true for books. The best books are those you can't wait to finish but hate to have come to an end. Books, too, tap into something deeper within us. For example, when I read "Rebecca" by Daphne DuMaurier, as a teenager, I wanted to be "Rebecca" rather than the unnamed mousy heroine. Not the trashy dead Rebecca, mind you, but the one who had style and flair and who everyone appeared to admire.

And those opening lines you never seem to forget: "Last night I dreamt of Manderly." "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times."

As I lay in bed feeling lousy and oh-s0-pitiful, I thought how cool it would be for someone to quote one of my first lines. . . or to read and reread my books. And then it dawned on me: someone has read "Murder Takes the Cake" over and over! My agent read it and reread it, and my editor did, too! And so did I! It's a hit! And it hasn't even been released yet!

So what if it was fever-induced delirium? I'll take it. ;-)

What books and/or movies do you like to experience over and over? And why?


Marian Allen said...

Movies I watch over and over:
Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon--great writing, great acting, great atmosphere. The Pirates of Penzance--funny and Kevin Kline with windblown curls...'nuff said. Adventures in Babysitting--best narrative flow in any movie ever, plus a cameo by Vincent D'Onofrio at his peak of beauty. Fight Club, The Wonder Boys--brilliant movies.

Books I read over and over:
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome--funny, informative, moving; the book I would choose if I could only read one book for the rest of my life. Terry Pratchett's Discworld series; the witch ones, the Death ones and the Watch mysteries, not so much the wizard ones, but any of them with Gaspode in. The Gormenghast trilogy, especially books one and two; there is nothing else in print quite like them, but Terry Pratchett has obviously read them with love.

Mysteries by Michael Z. Lewin, the Nero Wolfe mysteries by Rex Stout (not the posthumous attempts by Goldsborough). The Hamish MacBeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries by M. C. Beaton. The Freddy the Pig books. All with interesting plots but, more important, strong characters and a feel of BEING THERE.

Jenn said...

I love movies that make me laugh. Mel Brookes classics like Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles.

Books-Stephen King, The cat who series I can read these over again. I know they aren't literary masterpieces but they make me feel cozy.

David Fitzgerald said...

Gone With the Wind is my personal fave... and the opening line: Scarlett O'Hara wasn't beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charms as the Tarleton twins were.'

And tons of food in there too...

Movies? Sadly, Dawn of the Dead. We won't go down the path of what the main food is in that movie... :-)

Donis Casey said...

Oh, man, I can watch anything I like a dozen times and enjoy it just as much as the first time. A good movie is like a good book - you get something different out of it every time you see it. And it surprises even me which movies I love the most - Casablanca, Gladiator, The Godfather, any Shakespearean play, esp. Hamlet - Die Hard... Rambo...

zhadi said...

Btw, David Fitzgerald is really me (Dana), but sometimes when I sign on, his Gmail is up and I forget t sign out...