Hmm... I know when I first heard about the movies being made, that was what finally motivated me to read the books. Everyone of my college friends had read them. I had gotten through most of Babylon 5 (and read Straczynski's online rantings) without reading them. But on hearing about the films, I finally realized I no longer wanted to not be in the know. And then SW The Phantom Menace turned out to be a huge disappointment, and all the talk was LOTR on the horizon. So I read them. And mostly enjoyed them. Even though some parts of the middle book stretched on and on.
The excitement of the movies made me wish I could have avoided reading the books, however there's no way to say what my reaction then would've been. As it was, each film was slightly disappointing compared to the film previous, because more and more details that seemed to make sense in the books no longer made sense. Like Arwen wasting away in mortal jeopardy because her fate was tied to the Ring or whatever. Or Samwise being tricked by Gollumn into leaving Frodo. Yeah, those things never happened kids.
I also firmly believe that the theatrical cuts are the 'truer' versions of those films, as Peter Jackson made clear when he was producing the Extended version of Fellowship. He said that he rejected the term 'director's cut' because it implies that the director-approved version isn't the one that you saw. Which in his case, isn't the case. The theatrical versions are the director's cuts; the Extended Editions are literally just that, extended editions (The terms do get confused by too many people; for example James Cameron labels his longer versions as Special Editions even though he seems to want you to regard them as director's cuts). There are advantages to the extended versions, such as being able to easily split each movie over two nights. And there are details that are conveniently missing from the theatrical versions that get referred back to with the expectation that you will have seen the extended versions (inspiring critics to gripe "we just saw these parts released on DVD a month ago"). But in general, you're watching a fan-obsessive version of each film rather than Jackson's preferred version.
Other than that I wouldn't know what to say. After last year I lost all interest in the Avengers until it actually came out and people were raving about it. And when the bloody Disney/Lucasfilm merger was announced I lost interest in ST (I think mostly because there just hadn't been any news on the ST front). A lot of critics have panned the LOTR films, and even sweeping the Academy Awards will not protect you from that. They may just not be everybody's thing.