Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Books vs Movies

LynnE Header
As an author I sometimes go missing - from the virtual world. So please don’t be offended because I haven’t commented on articles here at NS. It’s nothing personal, nor is it a commentary on your post. I was finishing a book. Need I say more?

Now that I’m coming up for air, I’m doing what I normally do when celebrating another book finished. Feeding my addiction for movies and great television. Sadly the only series that has me scheduling my writing and social life around it is Fringe. The last time I was this hooked, I was watching Torchwood. I've also been bingeing on Netflix movies. And all that got to me thinking about the movies that lived up to or were better than the books, and those that fell flat with me.

Here is my list and score card (not by any means a complete list of all I’ve seen):
  • The Godfather – I couldn’t put the book down . I was delighted that movie was just as riveting. (The movie sequels were hit and miss).
  • The Exorcist – I was up all night reading this book. Seriously, I would not go to bed. Then I was scared out of my mind for a week. The movie was awful. I laughed like it was a comedy. Please don’t judge this book based on the movie. Please.
  • A Gathering of Old Men – How I loved this book. The movie wasn’t bad, but it definitely wasn’t as good as the book in terms of pacing, sly humor and compelling characters.
  • The Women of Brewster’s Place – Okay, so this was a television series but the same holds. The book is fabulous. The series episodes no less. Each episode left me wanting more.
  • Waiting To Exhale – movie was just “okay”, not a keeper by any means. The book caused me to hurt myself howling with laughter and screaming, “Girl, yes! I’ve thought that, too!”
  • The Green Mile – The books blew me away. I waited until they were all published as one big compilation. The movie was stunningly good. I had a pile of soggy tissues in my lap at the end.
  • There Eyes Were Watching God – Put the book down at the end and went, “Wow.” I disagree with a lot of critics. Halle was stunning, the movie was fab.u.lous.
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – I read all three books in a week. Need I say more? I just watched the movie finally. If I hadn’t read the book, the movie would have confused the heck out of me. Overall it was “okay”. But the actress that played Lisbeth was scary good. Daniel Craig just has to show up and I’m happy. Okay, call me superficial.
The challenge of turning a book into a movie is that books have such an advantage. So much more can go into the book that has to be left out of movies (unless they do a miniseries, but even then they have to cut). So I empathize when a movie just doesn’t pack the same punch. I’m even more loud in my praise when it does, because that takes wonderful writing and directing (and acting of course). I learn so much watching shows like Lost Girl, Fringe, Torchwood and great movies. I think it has improved my writing. Some of those scriptwriters/directors create episodes that leave me speechless, and while the credits rolls I bow and say, “Your Highness!” LOL

So what books-to-movies have blown you away? Which have made you say, “You should have left it alone, dude!”? Do you think your writing has been changed after seeing a good, or bad, movie/series?

(P.S. I didn’t mention After All, my book made into a movie of the same name. I thought the movie was okay, but I thought of all kinds of ways it could have been done with more “oomph”. But hey, it has 4 1/2 stars on Amazon!)



MrsTDJ said...

I really like the movie that was made from the "Joy Luck Club" book, and "Fried Green Tomatoes". I think those they both translated well to the big screen. I was very disappointed with "Disappearing Acts" as a movie because I had loved the book so much.

Lynn Emery said...

Thanks for commenting, MrsTDJ. Actually I didn't think the Disappearing Acts movie was all that bad. The book was better though, I agree.

Liane Spicer said...

Ditto on Waiting to Exhale. If I laughed at all it was on account of the awful acting. Havent seen Their Eyes Were Watching because I was afraid it wouldn't live up to the book which was wonderful.

Books-to-movies that blew me away? The English Patient. Hands down winner. BETTER than the book, and that's saying a lot.

Joanne said...

I agree with MrsTDJ about Disappearing Acts, my favourite McMillan book. The performances weren't bad but the casting and as a result the chemistry never felt right to me I think, not like it did in the book. I guess that's what happens when you read and create an idea of the characters in your head. Re your list Lynn, I agree 100 percent about The Godfather (and the sequels) the first Godfather epic, the book epic... Roots and Lonesome Dove come to mind as well. Oh, and Bridget Jones' Diary, and Chocolat, Interview with the Vampire, The Prince of Tides, ...didn't prefer them to the book but enjoyed them just the same. Their Eyes were Watching God meanwhile is one of my fav books of all time, the movie was so-so by comparison but I actually think Halle was one of the stronger elements in it. That's all I can think of for now.

Lynn Emery said...

Liane, about Waiting to Exhale; I was being kind. I had the same reaction to the bad acting (I loved Whitney, but in that movie... Uh-uh. Bad.)

Joanne, you came up with a good list. Interview with A Vampire was pretty good, not like the book. I haven't seen Chocolat. Bridget Jones' Diary was quite funny. Thanks for stopping by to weigh in!

G. B. Miller said...

I've only read two books connected to movies/mini-series that I can truly offer an opinion on.

1} Lonesome Dove: saw the mini-series and I thought it was okay, but the book was a lot more exciting.

2) Greased Lightening: This one was a bit strange, as apparently I read the novelization of the movie that featured Richard Pryor.

The movie was okay, the novelization pretty much matched the movie, but after reading the biography about Wendall Scott, I realized that the movie and the novelization was pretty much a bad fictionalized account of Wendall Scott's early life in NASCAR racing.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Like you, I enjoyed "Waiting to Exhale" the book... the movie sucked in comparison.

Another book to movie is "A time to Kill" by John Grisham. The movie was great. The book was extremely longwinded. The movie was definitely an improvement of the book.

James Patterson's Alex Cross series, though the movies were excellent, I preferred the books. I just thought that Morgan Freeman, no matter how great an actor he is, was too old for the part of Alex Cross.

Dan Brown's "DaVinci Code" and "Lost Symbol" were great movies, but I much prefer the books. The suspense built in the book is just better than that invoked by the movies.

Lynn Emery said...

Amethyst, I definitely agree about DaVinci Code the movie, the book was much better. I was bored with the movie.

I never cared for the Alex Cross series of books, and the one movie I watched, Kiss the Girls, was a snoozer IMO.

A Time To Kill is one of the few movies I watched twice. More soggy tissues, like with The Green Mile.