Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Question For Cinephiles

Have you seen and enjoyed any movies during which you’re rooting for the underdog hero for the whole film, and then at the end you learn the hero is actually the bad guy?

Trying to figure out the difference between wowing the audience with a cool twist of an ending and pissing off the audience by pulling the rug out from under them…

Friday, January 09, 2009

Haruki & Me

I’m reading the memoir of novelist Haruki Murakami – What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I’ve only read one of his novels, but I liked it a lot (his writing, in After Dark anyway, is the type that appears very simple but is actually, or maybe also, very complex – I love that), and I’m really digging this memoir. My wife got it for me at the library – not knowing I’d read his stuff, just thinking that, because of the title, I’d be interested. She’s good, that one.

It’s been really interesting how similar our thinking, and even experience, is in some ways – despite enormous differences. I mean, it’s easy to substitute screenplay for novel, and cycling for running, so those differences aren’t too tough to get beyond. And then there’s the fact that he’s a wildly successful writer with a dozen novels translated into 42 languages… and he’s Japanese.

But a lot of what he’s writing in his memoir feels like it could have been lifted from my own journal, blogs and annoying self-indulgent conversations with family and friends.

Here’s one bit I read today at lunch that felt spot-on. He wrote his first couple of novels while running a bar he owned in Tokyo. Of that, he writes:

With the first two, I basically enjoyed the process of writing, but there were parts I wasn’t too pleased with. With these first two novels I was only able to write in spurts, snatching bits of time here and there – a half hour here, an hour there – and because I was always tired and felt like I was competing against the clock as I wrote, I was never able to concentrate. With this kind of scattered approach I was able to write some interesting, fresh things, but… a natural desire sprang up to take it as far as I could… and after giving it a lot of thought, I decided to close the business for a while and concentrate solely on writing.

Hmmm. If only I had a bar to sell…