a few weeks ago i watched the fault in our stars with a friend. it was... an experience. it was the first time i had ever been in a situation with so many teen fangirls in one place without being a teen fangirl myself. (because, yes, we went to a ya book's movie adaptation on the saturday night of its opening weekend and were then surprised that we were outsiders in the theater.) i can only assume that it was the feeling you would have gotten going to a harry potter midnight book release if you liked the books, sure, but were the type of fan that did not have every character and their house and patronus memorized. the type of fan that didn't own nor particularly care to own any potter-world merchandise outside of the books. it was awful because at the point where the plot turns sad and the tears started building up, the entire theater burst into sobs, and my friend and i completely lost it. it was hilarious. and also completely distracting. the girl sitting in front of us had a little bun on the top of her head that bobbed up and down as she sniffled non-stop through half of the movie. the girls to the left had a frantic passing out of tissues moment when the lights went down. a girl behind us got up, said "i can't stay here," and ran out of the theater crying. one of the boys in her group, after asking the rest of the group if she was okay, went out to bring her back in and she spent the last ten minutes or so of the movie just sobbing. loudly. heart-wrenching-i-just-saw-my-entire-family-murdered-in-front-of-me sobs. it was completely over the top. (oh, and they clapped after every. single. scene.) i was biting my lip so hard to keep from laughing out loud that i'm surprised i didn't go right through it. my friend and i were shaking with silent laughter, because obviously we couldn't risk being killed by a theater full of over-emotional fangirls for having the wrong emotions. it was bad.
but we made it through, and after leaving the theater and laughing for fifteen minutes straight, we started to discuss the movie. my friend, who hadn't read the book, thought the plot was pretty predictable. if you haven't read/watched it, you may want to just skip down to the next paragraph. you know it's a sad movie so you're expecting something bad to happen. the movie starts with hazel "dying" and then things just continue to get worse for her so you kind of assume that she's going to make it out okay, because there's no way it could be that obvious. gus, on the other hand, seems to have everything going for him, so you figure that he's screwed. it's just the way of books and movies and whatever. so when he dies, it's really sad, but it was also a bit expected.
anyway, i told her that it was less obvious in the book. but something i just read online made me realize that i was wrong. it wasn't just about reading the book vs watching the movie, it was more about when you read the book. i read the book before it exploded into something popular enough to warrant a movie. and i think that made all the difference in the world. because now, everyone knows that the book, and by extension the movie, is Sad with a capital s. you're in that mindset from the beginning, subconsciously preparing yourself for grief from the minute you start it. and when i read it, i had no idea that it was a Sad book. i knew it was about cancer kids, so i kind of thought that it would have a sad ending, but it was touted so much as Not a Cancer Book that i wasn't entirely sure. there was still that little thought that, "this might actually turn out good. there may be a happy ending after all of this." when you know that a book is Sad, there is no hope of a happy ending which makes it less sad then when that hope is crushed and spit on and then run over by a car. twice.
and that's why i like to read books before the hype. that's what gets me. it's not about that weird hipster-real-fan mentality that is running rampant around the internet. (if i hear one more person tell me that they're a real fan of whatever book because they liked it before the movie, i will scream.) it's about the expecting. and i'm not talking about expectations not being met because it was overhyped or whatever, i'm talking about going into it with a particular mindset. i'd rather someone tell me that something was good/bad than sad/scary/happy. when you go in with a clean slate, everything is sharper. i like to have my feelings crushed and spit on and then run over by a car. twice. i like the feeling of realizing something is laugh out loud funny when i had no idea it would be. it's always funnier than when you expect it to be funny. i like that feeling when you have to pause reading to take a deep breath because this is totally not what you expected. i think that's why i'm having so much trouble getting myself to read any of the books that are becoming movies soon, despite actually wanting to read them. (well, that and the fact that i am in a serious reading slump still and oh my gosh i can't read anything these days.)
*Smile - Lily Allen