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#3560 - 11/04/00 06:36 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
Kivrin Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 4604
Loc: Santa Cruz, CA, USA

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My gut feeling about this subject is that I wish no movies were made from books, and especially of good books that I have read. It just feels wrong to force a performance from something not intended as such. Does that make sense? There have been some good adaptations though. Let's see. Um.

Well, The English Patient perhaps.
The problem I had with The English Patient is that after I read the book, and saw the film, I then read In The Skin Of A Lion, which introduces us to Caravaggio, and all I could see in my mind was Willem Dafoe as Caravaggio. Well, that's not too terrible I suppose.

I'm torn. Who really wants to see Jim Carrey as The Grinch though? It's sacrilege.

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#3561 - 11/04/00 06:50 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
sisabet
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 09/29/00
Posts: 16

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Kivrin, maybe it's because I am a story addict. There is something so personal about a book - and if a film is done well it can have that feeling for me. This is how the director saw it, felt about it, and this is how he/she is expressing it. I also love those director commentaries on DVD and behind the scenes footage, so maybe getting my hands on the book the film is based upon is just more of the same, only rawer. Sometimes I don't see how an adaptation can be done, usually I am disappointed but sometimes...

Oh, yeah I fell asleep during The English Patient when it came out a few years ago so I never bothered with reading the book - which is terrible to judge a book based on the movie and I promise to do penance as soon as I finish "White Teeth" which has to be back at the library Monday.

I enjoyed The Shawshank Redemption more than the Stephen King short novella it was based upon


[This message has been edited by sisabet (edited November 04, 2000).]

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#3562 - 11/04/00 07:38 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
Lady Agnew
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 528
Loc: San Francisco, CA USA

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I think that making a movie out of a book is all right as long as you try not to judge one on the other, which is so very hard when a book you love is going to be filmed. Like The House of Mirth, a novel I love and that has just been filmed. I'm not going to see the movie, unless it is just short of amazing as I don't like to whimper in pain while watching a movie. Great books usually don't translate to great movies. Strangely enough, there are some horrid books that have made great movies. Godfather, for one. Psycho.

One great movie based on great source material: The Innocents, based on a novella by Henry James. Wonderful film.

Books that I loved that were translated onto the screen, with indifferent to good results (I just thought of them):

Tales of the City, better book but pretty grooving miniseries.

Searching for Bobby Fischer the movie was sweet and mostly watchable, but the book is a fascinating intro into the world of competitive chess and a father-son story, a personal, real-life account of a father whose son turns out to be a chess prodigy. Realistic, and it asks interesting questions about the duty of a parent and the nature of genius.

Little Big Man: an uneven film, even despite my Dustin Hoffman complex, based on a crackling, funny revisionist Western -- and this from a person who loathes Westerns and vowed never to read one. Thomas Berger's best book. The sequel is pretty good too, funnier and more romantic. (Though in the first book the hero is married to four women, three of them at the same time, he finds his soulmate in the second.)

Homicide: A Year on the Streets, by David Simon is a great non-fiction look of the homicide unit in Baltimore, and it is somewhat scary, because it looks as policework in wide angle view: bureaucracy, personality, integrity, comradery, race-relations, drugs, the legal system. Quite bizarre if you consider what a homicide detective's role is: to work within a highly structured system trying to decipher the reason behind a violent death. The TV show was my favorite before it ended.

As for me, I like picking up books that have been made into movies because I love movies, and the way they're made. I read some film crit, and it's just interesting to me the type of books that attract moviemaker's eyes. Not famous books, which are always used for the 'known' factor (classics into movies), but just everyday books, that are charming and usually have good character development. It's because of my love of movies and just plain curiosity.

[This message has been edited by Lady Agnew (edited November 04, 2000).]

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#3563 - 11/04/00 07:46 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
Orlando
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 335
Loc: Australia

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I think I tend to like movies adapted from books more if it's a book I didn't particularly enjoy. An example of this is the recent movie of Mansfield Park, my least favourite Jane Austen book. The whole slavery question was introduced and Fanny(who is definitely Austen's most boring, priggish heroine) became a sort of composite of the young Jane Austen and Elizabeth Bennett. Despite this, I liked the movie - whereas if they had taken such liberties with Pride and Prejudice or Emma I would be absolutely livid.
Sometimes when movie images fit my vision of the book, it's wonderful - like the glass church floating down the river in Oscar and Lucinda. Unfortunately, this happens very rarely.
All of this doesn't stop me going to movies made from books, but as I said in my previous post, I have to have read the book first.
Some film versions that I have liked(but never more than the book) are:
Oscar and Lucinda
The Wings of a Dove
The Age of Innocence
The English Patient



[This message has been edited by Orlando (edited November 04, 2000).]

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#3564 - 11/05/00 10:24 AM Re: Books that Become Movies
Kethrai
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 145
Loc: NH

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I was truly happy that they made "Interview With A Vampire" into a movie, because then it was only a 2-hour movie that seemed like four instead of a four-hour book that went on FOREVER.

But I like reading the books of movies....if they seem good....but I'm still irritated with what they did with the Tom Clancy novels. First book and first movie good. After that...eh.

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#3565 - 11/14/00 02:38 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
deeds
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 49
Loc: AZ

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I have mixed emotions about book being made into movies. On one hand, I never would have read some of my favorite books- The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern for one. I have read that book 2-3 times and laugh every time. The movie was a great satire, even if it didn't follow the book exactly, the essence waas there. Other movies/books where the book was different but the movie was good are Forrest Gump by Winston Groom, The Rocket Boys by Homer Hickum, Jr. (movie-October Sky)and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey.

On the flip side, some movies have been terrible (my opinion)such as Snow Falling on Ceders by David Guterson. Good book, terrible movie.

I too will find the book if I notice a movie is based on a book.

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#3566 - 11/15/00 11:07 AM Re: Books that Become Movies
deeds
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 49
Loc: AZ

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An addendum to my previous post. The Princess Bride was abrigded by William Goldman, so if you look for it at the library it is listed under Goldman. Another thought brought to my attention, is there really an S. Morganstern or is this a tale within a tale??????
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#3567 - 11/15/00 12:41 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
Bear
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 1954
Loc: Dublin, Ireland

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I'm pretty sure there is no S. Morgenstern - well, I assumed that from the book. Come on, did you really think William Goldman would write about his family like that if that were true?

I tend to dislike filmic adaptations of books I love - they never match my own imaginings, and then when I read the book again, I find myself thinking of the characters as the actors who played them. It's all very annoyings.

But here are some adaptations I thought treated their source material well...
A Room with a View
The Virgin Suicides
High Fidelity (which, despite misgivings about the location change, I preferred to the book -less 'oh, saintly, sensible women, they don't understand our foolish love of music...' nonsense)
The BBC Pride and Prejudice
The Ice Storm
A Handful of Dust

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#3568 - 11/15/00 02:27 PM Re: Books that Become Movies
cordelia
Gráinne ni Mhaille


Registered: 11/15/00
Posts: 4
Loc: San Francisco, CA

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First off, huuuuuge word on Demi Moore's "The Scarlet Letter" being the worst adaptation ever. I knew it was going to be bad when in the opening credits it said "loosely based" on the novel. That thing was "Last of the Mohicans," "The Crucible," and "The Scarlet Letter" all rolled into one!

When I was in high school, I wanted to believe that S. Morgenstern was real, but I don't think it was. Did anyone ever read the sequel?

I am very very afraid of the Matt Damon/Penelope Cruz/Billy Bob Thornton version of "All the Pretty Horses" which is supposedly being released soon. They're going to completely destroy the book. And then we'll have to put up with Matt Damon on its cover.

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#3569 - 11/18/00 12:48 AM Re: Books that Become Movies
cat
Ching Shih


Registered: 06/02/00
Posts: 1754
Loc: Northern California

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Bear, you're right on about A Room With a View. I liked the book fine, but it was an acquired taste--had to read it a few times and develop an appreciation of it, whereas the movie was instantaneous, passionate love. Of course, I saw it at a vulnerable age--I was fourteen, desperately wishing for a George (or a Freddy), and it played at the only art-house movie theater in my dusty little town, so obviously I was overcome with the beauty of it all (er, and the naked, splashing men, the vicar excepted). I don't know--I like Forster, but he's so mannered that his stuff can feel a bit uptight. (And when you look uptight next to Merchant-Ivory films, well...)

Perhaps when my husband is away in a couple of weeks, I'll re-rent the movie--he nurses a passionate hatred of Helena Bonham-Carter. Anyone up for a slumber party?

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