Land of Make Believe

Books and Movies

A few posts back I wrote about our love for good movies and their relationship, for better and for worse, to good books. On the one hand, imagination can be kickstarted by a great book, while on the other, imagination can be diminished by a great movie. I’m not a book snob about this relationship – remember we love movies and good books turned into good movies. Still, the whole idea of a movie version of a book can too easily take away some of the imaginative qualities that books possess simply by what they are – words on pages that sometimes include just enough illustrations to get the reader thinking about those words and dreaming of a world all their own.

But there is an element to turning the written word into a movie that I had not considered until now. I recently listened to an interview with the incredibly versatile actor and musician Jeff Bridges. He spoke about his decades-long history of working in the movie business and was asked how the industry had changed over the years. I was really surprised by his excited answer. He said that movie-making is far more (that’s right, he said “more”) primitive for an actor today because there is so much technology, green and blue screens, and computer animation that require a great deal of imagining on the part of the actor.

And from where does this award-winning actor trace the strong roots of his imagination? When Jeff was around eleven years old, his father, Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998), often asked him to join him on the television series “Sea Hunt” (1958-1961). Jeff loved it because it allowed him to use his imagination WITH his dad as he played his part in the show!

Today, in movies like “Tron” or the upcoming “Seventh Son”, Bridges uses that vast imagination to tell us such interesting stories.

We can offer the same to our kids – to join us somewhere in our imaginations and theirs. Sure there is a place for imaginative movies and video games, but there is at first an unequaled place for imaginative kids and dads.

Let’s find ways to give them their place.