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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Hunger Games (or The Topic Formerly Known As Hunter Games) (Page 3)

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Author Topic: Hunger Games (or The Topic Formerly Known As Hunter Games)
SteveRogers
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We will aspire not to disappoint the children.
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Liz B
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quote:
We will aspire not to disappoint the children.
Always admirable.

Our last day is June 8. But there's always a ton of nonsense going on at the end of the school year that makes actually accomplishing anything problematic.

Two weeks is about right. That's how long I give them to read book club books.

So--beginning of May is reasonable.

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SteveRogers
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What grade will be reading this?
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Lyrhawn
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She said it was a class of fourteen year olds, so, 8th graders? 9th graders?
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SteveRogers
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Oh, alright. Just thought it'd be good to establish an age, so we have a rough idea of what sort of content and themes would be appropriate.
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Liz B
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Yep. Eighth grade. Spec fic book club choices enjoyed so far this year include EG, Ender's Shadow, I Am Number 4, Dr. Franklin's Island, Hunger Games (of course), Uglies, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Jurassic Park, Life As We Knew It--there are others, but that might give you an idea.
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SteveRogers
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If they read Jurassic Park, then that gives us a little breathing room so far as content goes.
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Lyrhawn
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If they read I Am Number Four, and liked it, I don't think we'll have any problems.
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SteveRogers
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You might be putting too much faith in my writing ability. Haha.

[ January 22, 2012, 11:49 AM: Message edited by: SteveRogers ]

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Liz B
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About content--parents in our area don't really get bothered by violence, just by sex and profanity and gay characters. Teen sex is ok (for some/ most) if it's offscreen, non-gratuitous, and has some sort of natural consequence. Profanity is generally no big deal except for the big bad one. And as long as it's approximately the PG-13 rules (rare and not used to mean what it actually means), I haven't had any problems. And as for gay characters--bring it on. [Smile] I go to the mat for that one.

And as for quality--at this age, they really truly are ruled by plot. (Thus the love for books like I Am Number Four.) One of the things I work on with them is seeing beyond it to what makes books powerful and memorable.

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Lyrhawn
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I can guarantee there will be no teen sex. There might be some damns and hells, but probably nothing worse than that (though if we're writing realistic teen dialogue, it probably would have stuff worse than that), but there will probably be a reasonable amount of violence.

Out of curiosity, what do you think it is about IA#4's plot that draws them in so much? It's ridiculously easy to guess (and the thing with the dog made me want to punch the kid in the face it was so obvious). Is it just because a regular looking teen kid ends up with super cool powers, gets the girl, and gets to blow his high school up?

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Stone_Wolf_
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Everyone wants to be special...the choisen one, the one with powers...(note I never saw/read #4) and what could be a better time then in your teens when you are awkward and transitioning into adulthood and all angsty?
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Lyrhawn
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Well I get that much, which is why every popular YA book in the last decade has been about either someone with powers, or someone caught up in supernatural events (and it is in fact a major facet of the book I'll be writing for this), but is there anything about something like IA#4 that draws them in OTHER than that? Or is that really all it takes? I'll leave out the terrible writing and assume teens simply aren't as discerning as adults, what is it about the plot itself?
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Stone_Wolf_
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Having not seen/read it it I can only guess from what I remember of the trailer...an adult group is trying to kill all the super teens...and #4 defies them and wins...so, like Hunger Games, Ender's Game, and a whole lot of others the going up against the powerful, evil authority and proving that all you need is your own skills and spirit might be a major component.

Come on and be like everyone else and defy authority and conformity!

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Lyrhawn
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IA#4 was one of the very few movies where I can honestly say they really, really improved on the book. A lot of the details were changed, so I wouldn't compare the two necessarily, though of course the basics are still the same. I actually enjoyed the movie. The book was comparatively lame. I might buy the second one when it comes out on paperback anyway, just because I'm curious to see where it goes, but I'll hate myself for contributing to the success of such a mediocre series.

Still, whatever gets kids reading I guess.

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TomDavidson
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(Lyr, consider a library.)
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Lyrhawn
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Oh yeah.

I spend so much time in libraries reading history books that I forget they have a fiction section.

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Liz B
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My guess is this (having not read it)--they are making a key developmental transition at this point when predictability is *not* a drawback or a liability. First, they don't always have the depth of genre knowledge to get when a book is derivative (witness the love they still have for Eragon)--but next, they're just past the level of fluency/ genre familiarity that makes readers want to read book after book in a predictable series. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Black Stallion, Encyclopedia Brown, Animorphs, Sweet Valley High, Goosebumps, The Clique...

Predictability makes books easier to read. And a reader who had a good experience often wants to re-create that experience. Predictability also makes a reader (or viewer) feel *smart.*

I think it's as only we become more experienced and savvy readers that we really value when an author turns tropes on their heads--or does something completely unexpected. (I truly don't think that the trainwreck that is Breaking Dawn counts as unexpected. Mockingjay does, though. And guess which finale pissed off my YA readers?)

None of this is to recommend writing predictable YA. Another one my kids love is American-Born Chinese, which has one of those awesome twists that feels like you totally should have picked up on it while being complete surprising. But it does explain why predictability isn't nearly as tiresome yet for them.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Remember the goal here is mediocre literature.
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Lyrhawn
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lol that's true, Stone_Wolf, but you can't blame a guy for trying. I'm cheating a little bit, in that I'm laying out the ground work somewhat before hand, so the actual writing is only done over four days, though it's actually not cheating that much, it only took me a few hours to roughly sketch out the plot last night.
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SteveRogers
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I'm contributing. A little. [Smile]
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Stone_Wolf_
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I volunteer to edit.
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Lyrhawn
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If you want to get involved, that's fine with me. [Smile] I think we're stretching the rules of the original challenge, but it'll make for a better result, so I think that's fine.

If you'd like to get in on the ground floor I can send you what SteveRogers and I are working on for the plot.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I'm in...my email is listed (my user name AT hotmail)
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Lyrhawn
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On its way to you. Now we have an editor and a pair of co-writers, I think we're all set.
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ZachC
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Create a forum thread and give updates on the storyline and progress.
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Lyrhawn
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Hah, maybe for the sequel, if we actually get that far, we'll write it via crowdsourcing.
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Liz B
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Update:

The kids are looking forward to this. One boy said he didn't think you should be allowed to plan ahead of time, but he was overruled. (Actual quote: "Shut up. This way the book will be better.") Tons of questions. Samples:

When will it be done? How will you get it to us? How long will we have to read it? Do we have to read I Am Number Four to participate? Do we have to keep reading it if it's not any good? Are we the only class doing this? How violent is it going to be? What did you tell him about how edgy it can be? Will we be able to read it on our kindles? Does this count toward our reading for class? Can we discuss it for book club?

I love middle school.

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Lyrhawn
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lol.

The only one of those I can answer is when it will be done. First week of April at the latest. I'm having to take a long break from the planning (though a lot of it is planned out if you want to take a sneak peak at it before the writing). But I'll have the actual writing done during my Spring Break, which I think is the third week of March. SteveRogers is pitching in too, and I believe his portion will be done the following week. Then give me and stone_wolf two days to edit it (I think they'll appreciate that too).

If you want to make the boy who complained about the planning feel better, tell him it's about half done, and I did it all in two three hour sit downs.

I have a question for them: Where'd they get kindles?! I'm in grad school and even I don't have one!

Steve was right, now I'm starting to feel the pressure. I don't want to disappoint!

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Samprimary
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As of this posting, the prerelease screening consensus from critics is 100% fresh at rottentomatoes.

quote:
Rarely does a blockbuster live up to its overheated hype, but The Hunger Games proved to be an exception.
Jennifer Lawrence is, apparently, as perfect a choice as they could have made for the lead role.
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Stone_Wolf_
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She rocked Winter's Bone but total blarg in Xmen 1st Class. I think she does dark better then bubbly.
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Chris Bridges
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Coming in on this late, but personally I don't think The Hunger Games would have been nearly as breakout successful if it hadn't followed Twilight. In many ways it's the Anti-Twilight.

I've read both series. I read Twilight specifically so I could write a convincing parody and kept going out of dogged disbelief that it could keep getting worse (it did).

Where the protagonist in Twilight barely does enough to be considered a protagonist at all -- Bella is written in first-person-useless -- Katniss charges forward nonstop. She's feeding her family, she's sacrificing herself. The men in her life might save her but she does the same for them, multiple times. They're both emotionally stunted, but at least Katniss has a reason. Both have love triangle issues and neither handle theirs well, but I don't see Katniss going comatose because her boyfriend disappeared.

I think the second HG book was the weakest but it was necessary to get to the third. Personally, I'd have preferred to see one big, three-act book, but YA doesn't seem to like those 'cause, you know, kids don't read.

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Bella Bee
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I've just started reading the book today. The movie doesn't come out in Spain until the middle of April, so I'm aiming to get through at least the first one novel by then (it's the translation, so it'll take me a little longer to read). So far, it's hooked me.
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Bokonon
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
I tend to finish books that I start. Often, they don't hit their stride until late into the novel.

The first Dune book, for example, kind of sucks until about 2/3 of the way in. Also, Arthur C. Clark is like this.

Some books are rather boring to read, and the enjoyment really doesn't occur until you've finished it. You may not have enjoyed it, but you're glad to have read it. Some Hemingway and Dickens is like this for me.

In either case, you're losing a lot by putting the book down. In the end, if you didn't like it you know to avoid that author in the future.

My wife, on the other hand, will stop reading after two or three pages. She just stopped reading Slaughterhouse-Five because she "didn't like the way (Vonnegut) writes". <Facepalm>

Complete off-topic revisiting of a comment...

Can I mention how much I loathe whoever decided that Slaughterhouse-Five ought to be the entry into Vonnegut/the one book you have to read? Depending on temperament and taste, I'd recommend Cat's Cradle, Mother Night, and Player Piano before Slaughterhouse-Five.

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Bokonon
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Oh, and on topic:

I just finished the series yesterday. I have a different take than most (I think) of the ending. I liked the first book, and currently really like the ending of the last book.

:: mild spoiler ::

I don't consider the ending to be a particularly "happy" one at all. It may be colored by having a grandfather who lived 50+ as a PTSD sufferer.

[ March 20, 2012, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Bokonon ]

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scholarette
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Spoilerish but written to minimize


One problem with the PTSD is ever since Lord of the Rings, that is kinda the default sad ending. There has to be a cost and a not completely happy ending so the author leaves the character damaged. This might be true before Lord of the Rings too, but its the first chronologically I can think of.

I thought at the end having Katniss witness the death she did was a bit manipulative of the writer. It was fairly far fetched for it to occur at all and then add k witnessing it and my main response was, the writer is trying to manipulate me and make me feel bad- which kinda ruins the emotion the writer was trying for. Also, I thought that if K had had the exact same response to the event she witnessed without the personal connection, it would have been a stronger story. What happened was tragic enough without that death and by including that death, in a way, it minimized just how awful what happened was. So, I would have left the ending and everything exactly the same, but left that one person alive. Let the tragedy that befell unknown people lead to the end and response because frankly, that tragedy was bad enough to justify it.

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Stone_Wolf_
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I honestly found the last chapters of the third book to be chaotic and poorly written (not just accurately describing a chaotic time). In the first book, I really felt a connection to the plight of Katniss, I felt I understood the settings, the actions, etc, like I was there. The exact opposite is true for the end of the last book.
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Lyrhawn
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I just finished the first book last night and probably won't be continuing on.

I'm not sure I get what the fuss is about. The writing is clunky, of so-so quality. The first person present tense narrative is an interesting idea that I think sort of falls flat because the writing is just to amateurish to pull it off. But it's a good idea.

I guess my main beef is that I had the entire plot figured out in the first fifty or so pages. There was never any real mystery, and what tension or suspense she managed to come up with, like Foxface's cleverness and surprising behavior, had incredibly unsatisfying endings. Maybe it's just the problem of YA. But it needed to be at least 100 pages longer, and she needed to do SOMETHING to keep it from being so laughably predictable. I had the ending more or less figured out from the start, and as soon as they found the berries I knew exactly how it would end.

I give a lot of points for creativity and imagination. I like how complex they made Katniss (though she was really the ONLY complex character in the book), and I liked the attempts to futz with identity issues, though they were extremely clumsy in their execution. Again, maybe that's the problem with YA fic.

All in all, meh.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, I don't get the Hunger Games love, either. I think it's one of those things, like the whole "The Girl Who...." phenomena, that appeal to people who don't generally read much.
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Corwin
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Looking at Goodreads votes I'd say that's not true.
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Raymond Arnold
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You can enjoy a story for reasons OTHER than not-knowing-the-plot.

I agree the writing is kinda amatuerish. But what I get from the novels that I like is the worldbuilding, and the way it looks at mass media packaging. (This is further expounded upon in the followup books from different perspectives). It's never really *brilliant* - it didn't make me thinking of something truly new - but it did get me think, and somewhat examine my role as an artist.

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Parkour
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Hunger games is not a book for book snobs. Not syaing there's anything wrong with being a book snob, its just in that category of accessable light enough ya that I know who is going to turn their nose up at it.
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Jeff C.
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The movie is out now and so far it has an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Not too shabby. I'm definitely going to see it this weekend.
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kmbboots
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I get to take my 12 year old nephew to see it tomorrow night.
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Stone_Wolf_
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I want to see it...not sure if I will be able to catch it on the big screen or not...hope so.
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Carrie
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Disclaimer: I've never read the books. I'll probably read them (heck, I read Twilight) eventually.

I saw the movie this afternoon, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It wasn't the best movie ever made, nor was the plot terribly surprising (as mentioned above, it was easy to see what was coming). But if I take it for what it is - a fun flick - I liked it.

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Corwin
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The best quality of the books was keeping you from putting them down. Even when you guessed exactly what was going to happen. I wonder if that translates well into the movie...
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Dan_Frank
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What is the movie analogue for a hard-to-put-down book?

A movie that's hard to walk out of? That's a much lower bar.

A movie that's hard to take a bathroom break during? Maybe, depending on the strength of your bladder.

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Lyrhawn
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Now I've seen the movie. I'm not sure if they really portrayed Katniss as well as they could have. That's the trick with first person narratives. It all happens in her head, so making it play out on screen is really hard. The actor playing Katniss did a great job. I even got a little misty at the stuff with Rue and District 11, that was a nice moment, and I didn't even mind the change they made there. I suppose it's setting something up for the future.

Now that I've thought about it more, I can see why the comparisons to Twilight are so much fun, where it seems like Twilight (which I've never read) is all about Bella's boy troubles, and almost none of the Hunger Games is REALLY about romance, at least, not from the female lead's POV. They swapped out gender roles. She's the hunter, provider who has no interest in romantic entanglements and he's the lovesick mostly useless hindrance who can't live without her. It would have been more imaginative if instead of merely swapping gender stereotypes, she'd defied them completely and made NEITHER of them conform to something, but I certainly see the appeal.

I guess I've changed my mind a little in the last day. I still don't think it's as good, perhaps, as its popularity would suggest, but it's not terrible. Maybe what bugs me most is that it has a lot of lost potential.

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Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
What is the movie analogue for a hard-to-put-down book?

A movie that's hard to walk out of? That's a much lower bar.

A movie that's hard to take a bathroom break during? Maybe, depending on the strength of your bladder.

A movie in which you forget to breathe until the end. Unfortunately none of the movies that have this quality made it to the testing on human subjects phase.
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