Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The List - Books and Movies

Books or movies? Movies or books? Sometimes I'm not sure which I love more. Books, yes, it's books. But movies are a close second. I'd far rather sit down and watch a movie than television (if I had my druthers and that's an argument I've long ago given up on!).

Here are some lists that combine the two:

My favorite movies adapted from books I've read:
1. "My Fair Lady" adapted from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion. Hands down my favorite. Okay, granted, it's a play and not a novel. Still. Audrey Hepburn and all of those great costumes!

2. Franco Zefferelli's 1968 adaptation of William Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet." Actual young people playing the leads. Beautiful young people, great costumes, tragic love story. Are you getting tired of me talking about this movie yet?

3. "Little Women" adapted from Louisa May Alcott's book of the same name, the 1984 version starring Winona Ryder. I want to love the 1949 version starring Elizabeth Taylor and the 1933 version starring Katherine Hepburn but the actors just look too old. These are supposed to be very young girls, after all.

4.  "The Age of Innocence" adapted from the Edith Wharton book of the same name. It's very much a toss up which I like better, the book or the movie. The movie brings the book to life with the best background narration I've ever heard in a movie.

Whoopi Goldberg as Celie in
The Color Purple
5. "The Color Purple" adapted from Alice Hoffman's book by the same name. Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey were surprisingly good and the movie did a wonderful job of staying true to the book.

6. "To Kill A Mockingbird" adapted from Harper Lee's iconic novel. Because Gregory Peck. And a really wonderful job of bringing the book to life.

7. "Fried Green Tomatoes" adapted from Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe. I can never decide which is my favorite character. All I know is that some days, you just need to yell "Tawanda!"

My favorite movies adapted from books I want to read:
1. "The Princess Bride", book by William Goldman. Oh god, how I love this movie! I now have the book in print and on my Nook and, by golly, I'm going to read it soon. And then I'm going to pick up Cary Elwes' book about the making of the movie, As You Wish".

2. "Silver Linings Playbook" book by Matthew Quick. I wonder if the book really could be as good as Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Goodwin were in the movie adaptation?

3. "Breakfast At Tiffany's" book by Truman Capote although I'm aware that this collection of stories is quite different from the movie. And, of course, no Audrey Hepburn in the book.

4. "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" book by Jonathan Safran Froer. This has been on my nightstand but I know it's going to make me cry so I just haven't been able to make myself pick it up. I just bought the audiobook. Picture me sobbing throughout my daily commute.

5. "The Descendents" book by Kaui Hart Hemmings. If the book is half as good as the movie at blending humor, sadness, and anger, I'll be a very happy girl.

6. "The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis. A happily-ever-after movie about a family who saves a young man who grows up to play football. You all know how much I love family and football!

My favorite books that have been adapted into movies I still need to see:
1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I'm told the movie isn't as good as the book and I did wonder about some of the casting but this book has stuck with me and I really want to see what they made of it.

2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I had every intention of seeing this as soon as it came out. It doesn't seem to have done well in the theaters but I'm still anxious to see it.

3. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Oh, this book. I'm literally frightened to see this movie.

4. Serena by Ron Rash. The movie re-pairs Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Goodwin; not necessarily who I would have chosen but I think they are both very capable of handling the leads. Can. Not. Wait!

5. Still Alice by Lisa Genova. Have any of you seen this yet? I'm not sure it could quite capture the gut checks that  I had while reading the book but Julianna Moore won the Oscar for it so there's that.

Books that are better than the movie:

Most readers will agree that the book is almost always better than the movie but these particularly stand out for me. I've included only one Stephen King book adaptation but almost any of the movie adaptations of his work could be included.

1. The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket. The movie makers were stupid. It's a series of books that could easily have been made into a series of movies. But they lumped several into one movie and then put Jim Carrey in the lead role, effectively killing a potential movie franchise.

2. Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil by John Berendt. The movie was okay but the characters (and they were characters in every sense of the word) were mostly flat. These are real people that Berendt made jump off the page.

3. Cujo by Stephen King. You'd think seeing a giant rabid dog terrifying a woman and her child would be scarier than reading about it. You'd be very wrong. This book had me so on edge that my neighbors' dogs barking made me so jittery I had to stop reading. Of course, most of King's books are better read than watched.

4. Beloved by Toni Morrison. Morrison's writing is just so incredible that there's almost no way to adapt any of her books into movies and do it well. Even Oprah Winfrey couldn't make this movie work.

Now my question for you is this: which books that you've loved do you think might make great movies?

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