Best and Worst Books-to-Movies

Before I begin what is surely to be the most controversial post of the decade, can I just share my joy? I GOT MY COMPUTER BACK ALDJFLSKJds;lfkjjdsl.

Here’s what I did without my computer :

I recorded myself reading books. Out loud. And sent them to my friends. My roommates were initially perplexed but not surprised.

I watched a lot of Angel. I mean….a LOT. And did I squeal like a little girl and hug the tv screen when Willow came in for a crossover episode during season four? You bet your ass I did. There’s no shame in it. And actually, it wasn’t my tv screen that I hugged, but my cell phone screen. And I was on the city bus at the time.

I listened to Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP a supreme amount. It was sort of out of control. It was Matthew’s fault.

Anyway. Let’s do this.

 

THE FIVE WORST BOOK-TO-MOVIE FAILURES EVER ATTEMPTED IN ALL OF TIME

1. The Host, Stephenie Meyer

The-Host-movie

This atrocity is NUMBER ONE on my hit list. First of all, because I really loved the book. I know, I know, I know what you’re thinking – Stephenie Meyer never wrote anything good. I don’t wish to contradict you, but I’m just saying I really loved the Host, and it far outshone the Twilight series in just about every way possible but wasn’t noticed nearly as much because I’M SURROUNDED BY IDIOTS.

So anyway, I followed the development of this movie for over a year. I fan-girled out over it so hard. It reached a level of neurotic obsession unparallelled by anyone or anything. I just couldn’t wait until the movie came out. And even though it wasn’t a huge hollywood whatever, I thought it was going to be GOOD because Saoirse Ronan, am I right? She is a solid actress. So is William Hurt. (At least that’s what I thought.)

And with Andrew Niccol directing, I thought we would all be safe. I mean, In Time was decent. Am I right? Am I the only one that thinks that In Time was a legitimate flick? Was it my love for Justin Timberlake completely overshadowing any shred of competent judgment? (Who cares if it was. If Justin Timberlake is wrong, I don’t want to be right.)

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, this movie sucked. Hard. The acting was terrible, the translation from book to screen did not capture any of the story, and the pacing was TERRIBLE. The movie made it seem like it all happened in a day, and in the book it takes place over the course of a year. I expected at least a montage. WHERE WAS MY FUCKING MONTAGE?!?! There was no chance to get attached to the characters. The plot development was awful. And if you blame this on Stephenie Meyer, you’re stupid, because I’ve found the one thing in the known universe that isn’t Stephenie Meyer’s fault, and this is it.

I suppose the reason why this really burns my toast is because I had such high hopes. “This would be a really cool movie,” I thought. THEY RUINED IT. THEY RUINED IT ALL.

2. Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

the_chronicles_of_narnia_the_voyage_of_the_dawn_treader01

I don’t know what gang of incompetent fools banded together to turn one of the world’s best book series into one of the world’s worst movie chains, but whoever it was, congratulations. You didn’t just fail. You failed spectacularly.

These are the reasons why the Chronicles of Narnia movies (and I am, of course, referring to the recent releases, not the BBC versions) were terrible.

One, Peter never wanted to go home. This happened in the first movie – they portrayed Peter as a whiny little emo brat. NO, you morons. THAT’S EDMUND. In the books, Peter wanted to stay in Narnia as soon as he heard Aslan’s name. But in the movie, Peter keeps whining to go home for 95% of the movie. That’s just…I don’t even have words for that.  They got Peter all wrong.

Two, what was with that stupid ridiculous plot twist in the voyage of the dawn treader that did not exist in the books? I understand taking creative license. I understand scriptwriting is different than writing books. But did any of them think, even just for a second, that whatever they did with the script would be better than whatever C.S. Lewis could write? C.S. LEWIS? WERE THEY HIGH? WERE THE PEOPLE IN THE TEST ROOM HIGH?

Three, they weren’t true to the story. Not in any of the movies. The underlying story got turned into something trivial when they started trying too hard to be evangelical, something that was particularly noticeable in the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was like the Scooby Doo of the religious sector. You know how the characters in Scooby Doo kind of narrate obvious things as they’re happening? I.e. “We’re in a van! We’re driving! We’re being chased by monsters! This water is wet! This hallway is creepy!” This is forgivable in Scooby Doo because it’s Scooby Doo and they can do whatever they fuckin’ want. It works for Scooby. It doesn’t work for Narnia. It will NEVER WORK FOR NARNIA. Unless Narnia starts incorporating a laugh track into their movies. Which, at this point, I’m all for.

Four, bad acting. Not all the time, and not horribly so, but I can recall one particularly funny-not-trying-to-be-funny line in the first movie – when Aslan orders Lucy to leave her side and she goes, “BUT ASLAN I CAAAAAAN’T.” In fact, this one line turned out to be a running joke between Kayte and I – whenever faced with something we didn’t relish doing, that was our go-to movie quote.

3. Great Expectations

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The only group of movie-making people that will ever be able to do Charles Dickens justice are the Muppets. If you aren’t the Muppets, do us all a favour and don’t try.

4. The Shining, Stephen King

the-shining-original

Bet ya weren’t expecting THIS!!!!!

I am not saying that the movie in and of itself sucked. Because OF COURSE it didn’t. The reason this book is on my list is because I didn’t feel the book-to-movie translation was….awesome. I didn’t feel it was awesome because when I read the book, I felt that Stephen King’s original intent with the character of Jack Torrance was sort of changed by the direction Stanley Kubrick took it in. Which is fine, he can do that – I just liked what Stephen King did with it better. It was way better in the book. What Stanley Kubrick did with it was….sub-par. Not the movie, the movie wasn’t sub-par, and neither was Jack Nicholson’s acting, I just felt that vision and intent of the character of Jack Torrance was changed in a disappointing way.

When I watched it after I read the book, I felt disappointed and empty inside. And creeped out, because the Shining is fucking creepy. Also – and this is neither here nor there – Stanley Kubrick is just kind of a dick. Which isn’t to say he’s not talented or anything like that, I just thought I’d throw that out there.

5. The Cat In The Hat, Dr. Seuss

291

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

JUST DO NOT EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THIS.

The Cat in the Hat would NEVER make jokes about how hot somebody’s mom was. The Cat in the Hat doesn’t care about hot moms. MIKE MYERS, YOU RUIN EVERYTHING.

UGH. I just thank God that Dr. Seuss wasn’t alive to see the horror and shame of it all.

 

BEST EVER BOOK-TO-MOVIE SUCCESSES

1. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens

Muppet_christmas_carol

YES. FIST PUMP. THAT IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT.

An instant classic turned into an instant classic. I just…I applaud you. Well done, World. Well done. Good job, everyone! GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!

2. Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

LOTR Trilogy

I love it. GET WITH ME. I see what you did there, Peter Jackson.

Although – just as a side note – all the love scenes with Aragorn and whatsherface DID get to be a little on the overkill side. But I say that lovingly. As a constructive criticism.

3. Some, but not all, of the Harry Potters, J.K. Rowling

Fred_george_weasley

Be still my beating heart.

I felt that the Harry Potter movies aged like a fine wine, much like the dude who played Neville Longbottom.

I think we've all seen this, AMIRITE

I think we’ve all seen this, AMIRITE

The one problem I had with them was that they made the character of Dumbledore too serious. Dumbledore always has a twinkle in his eye and I imagine him  being kind of like that charismatic old man whom you always feel like you’re sharing an inside joke with, even though you don’t know what that joke might be. But besides that one note, you can count me in for a Harry-Potter-thon whenever you damn well please.

4. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

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I cannot stress this enough, so listen up – THIS IS THE ONLY VERSION OF JANE EYRE THAT IS ACCEPTABLE TO WATCH. If you aren’t watching the BBC version, then I will literally light my hair on fire and punch myself in the face. I am not melodramatic, I’m just enthusiastic.

5. Girl Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen

-Lisa-girl-interrupted-34262086-500-258

I loved this movie for so many reasons, not the least of which was Angelina Jolie’s riveting performance as a sociopath. A long time after that, I imagined that that was what Angelina Jolie was really like, and you couldn’t convince me otherwise. I was in junior high. I could do as I liked.

A few years later, I finally picked up the book on which the movie was based, and it was nothing like the movie.  Which was why the movie was so awesome – it changed the book in a way that wasn’t disappointing. Not many book-to-movie translations can do that, particularly if the book is beloved.

winona-ryder-girl-interrupted

I could go on and on. Maybe I will go on and on. Later.

Opinions? Thoughts? Did I miss anything? Do you disagree with me? You do, don’t you? I’m not even mad.

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2 Responses to Best and Worst Books-to-Movies

  1. Rae Weniger says:

    It just ain’t Christmas without the Muppets Christmas Carol!

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