When I saw the movie White Noise pop up on Netflix a few months ago and realized it had been developed from a book written in 1985 by author Don DeLillo, I put off watching the movie in order to read the book first and immediately went to my online library portal, searched and found the title I was looking for and picked it up the following week from my local library, as it had been shipped from another library to get into my hands.
I love the library… I also love owning books, so it’s a catch-22 really. I think I love the library and books more than I actually enjoy reading. I find that I stare at my books and think about how much I want to be reading while also doing anything and everything else but reading, while wishing I was reading. Also, I enjoy writing notes and folding corners of pages I want to reference in the future, although I rarely, if ever, reference them in the future, but I do enjoy the ritual of it and the notes I take while reading, which I can’t do with a library book and instead take scans in my Notes app on my phone. But as soon as I pick up my phone, chances are I’ll get distracted.
However, the bonus of checking out books from the library, is that I prioritize reading more because I know I have a limited time to read them before they’re due… But also, prioritizing reading, as I’ve mentioned a hundred times before, is still a challenge for me because I prefer to read in natural light, but sitting in the middle of the day to read, feels lazy – even though I know it’s not- and so I put it off and I put it off and I put it off and then it takes me another hundred years to finish a book, and I’ve usually checked out at least 3 more that I’m itching to get into, but don’t.
I researched this author Don DeLillo a bit and decided I wanted to read the book White Noise before watching the movie…
And so I did… well, I started the book what feels like months ago now, but it doesn’t matter. The point is, I started it and immediately loved its sarcastic, witty and dry humor and tone and even as it touched on darker and darker subjects throughout the book, the dialogue and prose were very entertaining to read, mostly.
And then that Toxic Train Derailment happened in Ohio, which paralleled to the book’s “Airborne Toxic Event” also in Ohio, and memes were popping up all over social media hinting at conspiracy theories, but since it was actually written in 1985, also leaned premonitory… I’ll just say the book was ahead of its time and the author did seem to write about many themes that are relevant to what’s happening in modern day society.
Anyway, I continued reading until the first blizzard hit at the end of February and after two days, realized I was pretty much stranded alone with an overwhelming sense of panic and fear of death (which is the book’s overall theme) and I couldn’t seem to focus on any ONE thing and so I put the book down since it was also adding to my growing anxiety.
The point I’m trying to make is that I finally finished the book somewhere in between the end of the blizzard and the beginning of the next storm, which hit sometime in the middle of March. And because I finished the book, I rewarded myself by watching the movie…
Within the first few minutes, just after the opening scene, I had that feeling of knowing exactly what to expect yet having no idea what to expect at all, but with a knowing excitement of having read the book. Does that make sense?
The movie is SPOT ON. I guessed the characters before they even named them. The way they all spoke over each other as a family, matched what resonated as I read the pages in the book. The colors and vibe and retro ’80s hue, all there. The sets, perfectly ’80s, but ENHANCED for visual pleasure. The costumes, makeup and hair, on point. There is only one character who doesn’t live up to the version in my imagination and that is Babette. Without giving anything away, I just expected her a bit older and with different hair. Otherwise. Wow, it’s very very good, if you’re basing it on the book, that is, which I am. So, bravo.
Obviously some things have been changed (there was one scene I didn’t recognize at all), but much of the dialogue is verbatim and it’s brilliant. I think, anyway.. It’s dark… thoughtful, thought-provoking, funny, very real. I know what’s coming but am excited to see how it plays out compared to what I envisioned. The colors and costumes and cinematography and sets were amazing… but it’s so dark and depressing, it’s hard to watch. In fact, I didn’t finish it. Since I knew how it ended, I thought why bother?
So what’s my point? I’m not sure. I’d say read the book over watching the movie, but it will take longer, however, it feels more alive somehow, like you’re a part of it in some way… I dunno. Both are good. One or the other is sufficient, but both was redundant.
I won’t give away any more, but I’ll leave you with this blurb I pulled from under the trailer for the movie White Noise on Youtube because it’s spot on… “At once hilarious and horrifying, lyrical and absurd, ordinary and apocalyptic, White Noise dramatizes a contemporary American family’s attempts to deal with the mundane conflicts of everyday life while grappling with the universal mysteries of love, death, and the possibility of happiness in an uncertain world.”
Have you read the book? Or seen the movie? What are your thoughts?
PS. It’s still snowing here. 🙁
Happy Thursday Lovecats!
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