My other favorite book based on a movie is actually an entire collection—basically every movie based on a Stephen King novel or short story. My two favorites are probably Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption, which are both based on short stories by King. (The Body and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) Those are two of my overall favorite movies and I watch them both all the time. The number of King’s works that have been adapted to film is huge: Misery (screenplay by William Goldman!), Carrie, The Shining, Pet Sematary, It, Firestarter, Apt Pupil, The Green Mile, Secret Window—that isn’t even half of them.
If you haven’t seen all three of these movies, you need to remedy that situation. I can’t wait to read/reread the books and stories and evaluate how true the films are to their literary counterparts. Honorable mentions go to: Silence of the Lambs, Charlotte's Web (1973), and the 1940 version of Pride & Prejudice.
I've been wracking my brain to think of movie adaptations of books that I didn't enjoy and I've come up with a few, the most recent of which is Confessions of a Shopaholic. The books were fluffy and fun and I could fly through the awkward moments. I love Hugh Dancy and Isla Fisher but the movie was entirely too over the top. All I have to do is think of that awful scene with the dancing and the fans and I want to vomit all over the floor. Another one that did nothing for me was Jumper. I read the book last fall and it seems like Hollywood just took the idea, like the bare bones of an outline of the first half of the book, then tossed the rest out the window. I didn't love the book (it was ruined by the second half) nor did I love the movie--but at least the book had some redeeming qualities. And three movies I have a hard time watching mostly because of casting decisions: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Moaning Myrtle is my own personal nightmare), The Golden Compass (I didn't love Frankie from Skins as Lyra or Nicole Kidman), and the Narnia movies (Ugh, Lucy). But even when movies are awful, I'll still watch them. Sometimes, I'll watch them even more than the good ones.
And then I saw the film. It starts out okay – with poor “Jason Bourne” waking to find himself in the middle of the frigid ocean with no memories. But then, and I seriously cannot even write about this to this day (ten years later!) without getting pissed off, they took arguably one of the best spy/thriller plots ever written and just shat all over it. My poor husband had to sit through my infuriated mutterings for the entire film. I almost stormed out of the theater! Marie isn’t some crunchy granola, wandering backpacker! She’s a high-powered, Canadian economist! She’s brilliant! Jason Bourne was never a real assassin!!! And guess what? HIS NAME ISN’T EVEN JASON BOURNE. They didn't even get the main character's name right.
I am taking the most gratuitous and shallow route with this one - Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen!
You can try to argue with me until you turn red about how unfaithful this movie adaptation is, that Mr. Darcy (aka Mr. Hottie McHaughty Pants) would never be strutting with his shirt open in a morning field (neither would he be doing the 19th century wet T-shirt contest interpretation, might I add, for Colin Firth's fans), that the dresses are all wrong, etc., etc, etc. I do not care. (Do not ruin my favorite fantasy, OK?)
I just love Matthew's take on Darcy, that he is all prideful and stand-offish, but also shy and reserved, and with a lot of passion hidden under that haughty exterior (or so I love to imagine).
I can watch this particular scene a million times and it makes me giddy and all fluttery each and every time:
I read Dune a couple of years ago. And although it was a very complicated book and required quite a bit of brain power to totally get into and understand the mythology, overall I thought it was a great work of science fiction. The whole universe of the almost waterless planet of Dune, genetics manipulating nuns and highly logical Mentats, political Houses fighting for power and resources of Dune, was very, very intriguing.
And then I decided to watch the movie version of it.
What an incoherent, almost psychedelic, gross mess!
(From The Princess Bride, by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner in 1987)
This is a very special rating that's reserved only for those movies that surpass the very books that they're based on. Inconceivable, for the most part but every once in a while it happens! We've probably already quoted these movies in reviews several times.
Thanks for joining us today and make sure to tune in THIS FRIDAY (all caps!) for a very very special episode of Book vs. Movie. And I don't mean that we'll be discussing school bullying and teen pregnancy. *wink*