Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Applause at the End

(No, no, I'm not going anywhere!)

Sorry for my recent absences, and my lack of post yesterday. I was hard at work, finishing my EC Torrid Tarot novel The Eighth Wand. I told my fantastic editor that she'd have it by the end of this week, but hey, I was inspired. (And luckily I'd already edited the rest of it, so had only to write the last scene.) Now let's just hope she likes it.

Also, the sd is here, which means my evenings are taken up with what the hubs and I like to think of as our Summer "Real Film Education" Program. At home it seems she's rarely exposed to such classics as Jaws and Die Hard. (I believe I wrote earlier about the fun of showing her Die Hard for the first time, didn't I?) Anyway. So we watched Jaws on Sunday. I love Jaws. And last night, we watched Speed, another film I love. I love it for its cheesiness, for the cast of stereotypes, for the sheer pleasurable cliche factor ("Pop quiz, hotshot." Yay!)

Sd loved Speed. Which is cool. But it got me thinking, when the movie ended and, as always when that movie ends, I felt like cheering.

When I was a kid, applause at the end of the movie was pretty common. It didn't matter that in suburban St. Louis the chances of anyone actually involved in the making of the film being in the theatre were slim to none; we threw our applause into the air just the same. Because it was fun. Because it made us all feel like we'd been through an experience together. because...well, because that's what we did.

But aside from The Return of the King and the re-release of Star Wars, I can't remember the last time I heard applause at the end of a movie, and I wonder why.

Are movies just not as good anymore? Are we more discriminating? Or are we too blase? Too cool to clap for a bunch of people who can't hear us anyway? And what does that say about how much fun we actually have anymore at the movies?

Sure, maybe I just haven't been seeing the right movies with the right audiences. It's entirely possible. But it still makes me wonder.

Makes me wonder, too, about books. When I finish a book I want to applaud. I want someone to applaud for me; but that (hopefully) happens much later, when the book is actually released.

I have an autographed copy of my favorite novel, The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk. My friend George got it for me for Christmas a few years ago, and it remains one of my most treasured possessions. There's a little dedication over the signature (it's a special edition printed specifically to be autographed) where Wouk basically says (with much more grace) that writing is solitary work, that you don't know if what you're doing is any good or not until it's released and even then you don't really know. But being asked for an autographed edition says something to him: "I take it as the sound of distant applause, and I thank you."

(This is particularly on my mind because I just finished re-reading Marjorie Morningstar for the nth time, and may blog about it this weekend.)

So what books do you applaud for? And if you've had a book released, what sounds like applause to you?


Karen Erickson said...

There are a lot of books I'd like to applaud for! My list would be too long I think...

Ok I'm glad to find someone else in this world who loves Jaws. I love that movie. I love all the characters, I love that cheesy shark, I love it all. And I love Speed too.

And yeah when I was younger we used to applaud for movies too. I don't think movies are that good anymore - they don't even last that long in the theater. Two months later it's on DVD...

BernardL said...

I've only been in a movie theater three times when people actually applauded. The first time was at a screening in a small theater of the 1969 version of Romeo and Juliet. The second time was a screening of John Wayne in Big Jake at the Navy Base, and all the guys started cheering at the very beginning, when he's shown looking down the sights of a winchester rifle. The third time was when my wife and I saw An Officer and a Gentleman.

Stephen King's The Stand is the only book I ever read cover to cover twice in a row. When someone reads your book through once, and then starts it right back over again, that's applause. :)

Demon Hunter said...

I have applauded at the end of very fews movies in my life, but a recent one comes to mind. I remember the entire theater of people got up an applauded at the end of Madea's Family Reunion by Tyler Perry---the man is a genius, by the way! :*) Oh, and I have always loved Jaws! :*)

Anonymous said...

I remember applauding as a kid. I also remember starting to applaud and realizing I was the only one. I'm not sure what movie it was but I was 11 or 12 and at the theatre with friends who looked at me like they'd never seen anyone do anything of the sort before.

I wonder why it stopped. It seems like it happened so suddenly. Was there a memo? An announcement on the evening news?

The Man thinks the lack of applause has made movies seem like somewhat less of an art and more of something to be consumed, gulped down before we dash off to the next disposable treat.

I love sending authors notes about their books. That's part of the reason I love ebooks; the authors seem so much more accessable. I think my first email from a reader will feel like thunderous applause. (Providing I get around to subbing something somewhere)

I applaud Alien Overnight by Robin L Rotham and The Skystone by Jack Whyte.

Rebecca said...

There's about a billion books I'd applaud - but, in particular, I'd like to applaud Cat's Eye, by Margaret Attwood. That book described so perfectly the experience of being bullied at school...

littlebirdblue said...

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Watership Down by Richard Adams, and almost any Georgette Heyer Regency.

December/Stacia said...

That's true about how long movies are in the theatres, Karen! Even when I worked at a theatre (which is why I spell it that way, as the company I worked for spelled it that way, and it stuck) we used to have movies for months and months, and it wasn't THAT long ago. We had Ghost, for example, for like nine months.

I love Jaws. The hubs and I are big into Jaws. We watch it every Thanksgiving (long story.) And Speed...just awesome.

Love The Stand, Bernard. One of my absolute favorites. Hubs and I joke about An Officer... all the time, it's so quoteable. When we were doing lamaze classes when I was pregnant with out first, the teacher mentioned this "Boot Camp" class they had for new Dads. Without missing a beat we both whispered, "I got no place else ta gooooo!" and lost it. The rest of the class must have thought we were high or something.

December/Stacia said...

I've never heard of that one, Demon Hunter, but I will definitely check it out!

Jaws is just...such a classic, so good...sigh.

Lol Seeley. It's terrible to be the only one clapping, isn't it? I've been there. And lol on the memo, too, I wondered the same thing! Sounds to me like your Man has a point. We don't expect to be entertained the way we used to, it seems, or we're not as pleased when we are. Sad.

Robin is awesome, isn't she? Don't know the other one, I'll have to check it out.

December/Stacia said...

You know, Rebecca, I'm ashamed to admit I haven't read any Margaret Atwood. I really should rectify that, shouldn't I.

Haven't read Anansi Boys yet, either, LBB. I have read everything else Neil Gaiman has written, I've seen Neverwhere like a million times, I met Neil and everything, I just haven't gotten to that one yet. What is wrong with me?!

Bernita said...

I have books I I have re-read many, many times.
Does that count as applause?

December/Stacia said...

Sure does! Can you think of a better compliment?

BernardL said...

"Without missing a beat we both whispered, "I got no place else ta gooooo!"


Anonymous said...

I remember seeing Star Wars the first weekend it was released (I was in junior high) and everyone just sit there stunned at the end. No one moved and you could have heard a pin drop for at least 3 minutes. Then the applause came. That was the only time I ever wanted go immediately to the lobby and buy another ticket and watch the movie again. -V95

EA Monroe said...

Oh, I remember applause at the end of the movies. Now it's a mad rush to get out. There's a new Die Hard movie coming out soon. And, Majorie Morningstar! I haven't read that book in ages. I'm going to dig it out. Another old-time favorite of mine is Odor of Sanctity by Frank Yerby.

Thanks for stopping in at the Shadowlands today. I enjoyed your visit and your idea was too cool!~Liz