Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Book to Movie Adaptations

Before I was a blogger, one of my favorite ways to find good books to read was to peruse the pages of Entertainment Weekly and see what movies were coming out.  And of course I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie, because we all know most of the time, the book really is better.

Which brings us to this week's Top Ten Tuesday!

Here's a list of movies that I think were as good (or better) than the books or at least brought something new to the experience of the story, in no particular order:

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

If you can believe, I read A CLOCKWORK ORANGE at the beach (in Myanmar). I remember having to read the first page about 10 times because it was so strange. Stanley Kubrick was the perfect director to bring this to life.

The Hunger Games (2012)

Ok, so I wasn't on board with some of the casting choices (Peeta), but for the most part I enjoyed the adaptation. At least, every time I rewatch it, it sucks me right back in.

Holes (2003)

This is probably my favorite middle grade book of all time, and though the movie is a different experience than the book, it's still a great one mainly due to the perfect casting.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

I read this specifically because the movie was coming out and I loved the cat and mouse of the book.  The movie glosses over some of the plot, but Matt Damon and Jude Law were great in their roles.

Little Children (2006)

I also read this because of the movie, and I love Kate Winslet in the part of a bored housewife who has an affair.  The production hits all of the dark atmospheric notes perfectly.

The Great Gatsby (1974)

I refuse to see the 2013 version because no one but Robert Redford will ever be Gatsby to me.

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

This probably makes me weird, but this book was my favorite as a kid. When the movie came out, I saw it 8 times in the theatre (a record that still stands, and likely always will).  I mean, those looks between Uncas and Alice. I totally believed in their wordless, unrequited romance.

Thank You For Smoking (2005)

The plot of the movie is less wacky than the plot of the book, but I so enjoyed both versions, because at the time, I had just finished working on a project for a potentially reduced exposure product from a major cigarette producer and everything rang so, so true to my experience. Brilliant.

Life of Pi (2012)

This was one of those books I was always pushing on people so I could discuss it with them, so when I heard Ang Lee was directing a film version, I was super excited. The visuals in this are STUNNING.

Les Miserables (2012)

I was obsessed with the Les Miserables musical in high school (saw a traveling production in Dayton for my 18th birthday), so when the 1998 movie came out, I kinda hated it because they didn't sing. The movie soundtrack won't replace my broadway version, but it works in the context of the movie (yes, even Russell Crowe). And I always cry at the end. Every time.

Additional thoughts

The Lord of the Rings. LOVED the movies but I've only read bits and pieces of the books, so I guess I can't count these.
Cloud Atlas. For this to work, you HAD to have read the book, so that is not such a successful adaptation in my mind. It was very ambitious though, so I'll give it an A for effort.
The Never Ending Story. Ok, so I loved both when I was a kid, but wow, is this movie ever cheesy when I watch it today.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Well, actually Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory (1971) because both book and movie are so wonderfully weird. HATE the remake.


The Time Traveler's Wife. All the pieces seemed to be there, but it just didn't work. Lack of chemistry?
Memoirs of a Geisha. I read this in one sitting until the wee hours of the night, but the movie was boring.
The Road.  One of my favorite books, and the movie didn't do it justice.
A Series of Unfortunate Events. I think Jim Carrey ruined this for me.

Loved the Book, Still need to see the movie
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Where the Wild Things Are

Loved the movie, Still need to read the book
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Children of Men
The Silver Linings Playbook
No Country for Old Men

Ok. Stopping now. For reals.

ETA: Not stopping apparently! Just reminded of The Help and Atonement. Both excellent on page and film.


As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

I like the diversity on your list.

Many of them I agree were good movies but I didn't read the books, so I couldn't compare.

I may be in the minority, but I actually thought that Baz Lurhman's vision of The Great Gatsby was innovative and excellent.

bermudaonion said...

No Warm Bodies? lol

The only one of those I've read and seen is The Hunger Games and I didn't love either one.

I did love Silver Linings Playbook and Perk movies and want to read the books as well.

Amy said...

Cloud Atlas. For this to work, you HAD to have read the book

Interesting...I didn't love the book, but I do think having read the book helped me not be confused in the movie which was thematically very different. I think I said at the time (though probably not on my blog) that they sort of complement each other. So I guess you're right! Still cried buckets during the movie, tho

Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

I was unsure about Peeta's casting too, but once I saw the movie, I felt like he did better than I thought he would!

Love HOLES! :)

Unknown said...

Silver Linings Playbook is such a great book. I highly recommend it. And yeah, I won't see the new Great Gatsby either. Ick.

Anonymous said...

Excellent list! I totally agree with A Series of Unfortunate Series. It's one of my favorite series when I was a child. Casting Jim Carrey as Count Olaf was a big mistake. He didn't feel like Count Olaf. He felt like Jim Carrey trying to play Count Olaf.

Sarah Reads Too Much said...

Hee hee - I'm reading No Country for Old Men right now! I haven't see the movie yet, but I've seen it on at least one list today...

The Cover Contessa said...

Great list. Clockwork Orange was just creepy to me. I am not a fan of clowns and all that make *shivers*!

Sana said...

How could I have forgotten Life of Pi? Eeek!

Ali said...

Great choices (the ones I've seen, that is). I still have yet to see Life of Pi because I refuse to see it before reading the book.

Linda said...

I'm with you on Robert Redford as Gatsby!

Linda said...

Loved The Help, book AND movie!

Christina said...

I either haven't seen, haven't read or both most of these. Also, I couldn't make it through the movie of A Clockwork Orange. You know what movie was great? The Reader. Kate Winslet reminded me. :-p

Miss Scarlet said...

My favorite movie adaptation is Fight Club. I thought the movie was way better than the book and I loved the book!

I hear ya on Robert Redford...but I LOVE RR and really liked Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby:) You should give it a try!