Books-to-Movies: Hit or Miss?

Trisha at eclectic / eccentric has a really fun post, Adaptations Lists and Giveaways, where she’s listed 5 books that she wishes were movies, and 5 books that she wishes never were.  I have to agree with her on Eragon, one of the worst travesties done to a book EVER, but not on a few of the others.  I enjoyed reading hers so much, I wanted to play to :-)  So here’s my 5 and 5.

FIVE books that I’d trade a body part to be movies:

  1. Nation by Terry Pratchett ~ It was fantastic, funny, had a great message, and it just lent itself to visualization.  AND it’d have gorgeous South Pacific scenery that would be breath-taking on a big screen.  I think that’d be worth a spleen, at least… I mean, what does that thing do, anyway?
  2. The Stephanie Plum Novels by Janet Evanovich ~ I’d trade a kidney for a TV series of this.  Grandma Mazur, in my living room, every week.  Oh, that would almost make up for the end of LOST!
  3. Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng ~ It’d be worth a lung lobe just to watch a gummy Miss Adderstone use her false teeth like castanets.  And I think they could do a lot of fun stuff visually with the hypnotism.  Oh, any movie can be improved by throwing a pug dog in the story :-)
  4. Goblins! An UnderEarth Adventure by Royce Buckingham ~ Goblins.  SNOT. and it’s all underground.  It’d be a good cult classic.  Ok, so I LOVE movies like A Gnome Named Gnorm… and am apparently alone in that given it’s 4 out of 10 stars rating, Super Mario Bros, and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, and I think this one could be a cool movie.
  5. Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper ~  Okay, I’d trade a cornea for this one.  El Mochito, the Daredevil, the blind Wonder Cat who defends his mom from the burglar, and whose heart is so big that he enraptures everyone who ever meets him… well, except for Lawrence.  He was too smitten with Vashti.  It’d be way better than that Marley & Me movie, and BEST OF ALL, the cat would still be alive at the end.  Gawd, I hated the end of Marley.  I don’t want to think about my pets dying.  I know it’ll happen, but don’t put it in my “feel-good” movie.  Marley & Me was like being a manic/depressive for 110 minutes… and I still gave it 5 stars at Netflix. 

There should be a special place in HELL for the people who made thes FIVE books into movies:

  1. The Inheritance Cycle (or the movie Eragon) by Christopher Paolini, obviously.  A place in Hell where they’re forced to sit in front of a movie screen and endure inane details of a random person’s life, but NEVER get anything good or inspiring or accurate.  Every good part was cut from the books and then they watered down the surface story, left even more out, and called it a movie.  First off, ERAGON is the name of ONE book, and yet they made the whole book series in this one movie.  Nasuada is one of my favorite characters, and she’s an important character, but she’s no where in the movie.  What about Eragon’s training with the Elves?  and where’s Solombum, the were-cat?  Grr… horrible rendering.
  2. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards ~ That movie sucked so bad, I actually dropped my rating on the book after watching it.  The book was complex and had depth, but the movie was just weak.  Whoever made THAT drivel should be stripped of their sense of smell, have their taste buds seared off, be stricken color-blind and then spend eternity seated at a table loaded with all their favorite foods.
  3. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King ~ You know, the sad thing about this one is, SK himself approved the script.  The book itself has 2 novella stories to it, one centered around playing Hearts at college, and the second where the guy’s an alien hiding out and other aliens come looking for him.   But the movie has NONE of the Hearts to it, and what’s left of the Atlantis part is stripped of all the magic that made me love it.  In the end, it’s just another lousy Stephen King book-to-movie.
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ~ Honestly, it’s not the movie makers fault that it was a bad book-to-movie.  There was NO WAY for them to translate all that goes on inside the narrator’s head, the nuances of the people, and the sense of fear/doom/loss/inadequacy that made up this book.  It wasn’t JUST about him not standing up for his friend and allowing him to be hurt, but it’s about how that one moment was the still point that his whole life and identity grew out of.  I think it’s fair to give the movie people a pardon on this one.
  5. The Hours by Michael Cunningham ~ Okay, I’ve never read the book, so I can’t say whether they did a bad job of making the movie, but here is what I can say:  After watching that movie, I would NEVER read the book.  What’s more, I don’t want to go near a Virgina Woolfe book because of it.  It gave me the impression that her books are very depressing and I’d want to kill myself after reading it.  I might’ve read one of her books before that, I think I even have Mrs. Dalloway somewhere, but every time I think about her books, I think about drowning myself in the bathtub and it’s all because of that movie.

A couple books being made into movies that I’m reserving space on my WORST movie adaptations EVER mental list are:

  • The Giver by Lois Lowry ~ right now, it’s set to come out 2011, but that’ll probably get pushed back.  It’s suppose to be done by the director who did the last few Harry Potter movies, so they’ve had to wait for those to wrap up. I just can’t see how this book could work as a movie for the same reasons The Kite Runner was a miss.  There’s so much going on mentally, how can they show that on the screen?
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy ~ Viggo Mortensen as the man… big, big plus.  It could really be another Mad Max or Blade Runner and be a raging success, but it could just as easily tank hard.  It’s another one of those mental books, though the scenery could be amazing.  They HAVE to have the cellar scene in it, though, or it’ll be a deal breaker.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ~ The book was perfection.  A movie will screw it up.  There’s NO WAY it can be done.

Oh, and by the way… Don’t forget to Trisha’s having a contest for this:

Giveaway:

If you make a post about this topic and leave a link in the comments section, I will 1) add you to the list below and 2) enter you into a giveaway for one of the following books:

1.  It’s Easy Being Green by Crissy Trask
2.  No Touch Monkey by Ayun Halliday
3.  Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
4.  The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

The contest closes at midnight January 17.

So what books do you think would be a hit or were a miss?

Viral Video Wednesday and 19th Wife Winner!

Happy hump day everyone :-)  First thing’s first:  As promised, today’s the day I announced the winner of The 19th Wife giveaway.  Despite her misgivings at being the first entrant, because Mr. Random Number doesn’t like the number 1, rhapsodyinbooks is our winner!  Congrats to ya!  If you’ll send me your address, I’ll be happy to forward it to David Ebershoff so he can get that in the mail to ya ;-)

And now on for Viral Video Wednesday :-)

This week’s topic is DINOSAURS.  You can post any vid that deals in any way, shape or form with Dinosaurs, whether they be extinct reptiles or crotchety old men, or even obsolete technology.  And you know me, mine will be weird and wacky or funny.  So, on with the vids!

 

This first video is one of our absolute favorite at our house.  To give you a glimpse of our family dynamics, I’ll just tell you that, after the first time we watched it, we identified who each of them were.  The T-rex in here is Sam (my oldest, who is 16), then the middle character is Maggie (my youngest, age 10), and the non-dinosaur character is  Gwen (who is 15 today, Happy Birthday to her!). 

Maggie, btw, is physically incapable of belching… seriously, you can imagine the colic as a baby… so all gas is converted to the outboard motor, if ya knowwhaddamean.  She is proud of the fact she can fart on command, and actually takes the stance this little dino does… which is why that is her character.

And now, the real reason dinosaurs are extinct!

One of the first video game-to-movies was Super Mario Brothers.  We have the VHS of it, and watch it on a regular basis.  It’s one of our favorite movies, especially since John Leguizamo is in it and the Princess is played by Samantha  Mathis (my oldest daughter’s name is Sam, remember?).  I love the song Walk the Dinosaur originally by Was (Not Was), which was used in the movie. 

Here’s the music video from the Super Mario Brothers movie, with scenes from the movie and performed by George Clinton and the Goombas.

While watching the Walk the Dinosaur video, Sam came home from summer school and started going on about the movie, which always leads back to the best scene in the movie:  Mario and Luigi’s escape from the elevator-full of goombas. 

Dancing and music are primal, and Luigi takes advantage of that fact in this next vid clip:(the song, btw, is Somewhere My Love)

And one of my favorite TV from when I was a teen was The Dinosaurs. The Sinclairs was your typical 80′s family… 60,000,080s BC, that is.  The dad, Earl, worked for the Wesayso Corporation pushing down trees, while Fran, his wife, stayed home and took care of the baby.  Robbie and Charlene, the Sinclair teens, went to school and had typical teen concerns and attitudes.  It was a wonderfully fun show that ran from 1991 to 1994 (not long enough, IMHO)… Next stop for me is Netflix.  I’ve gotta put this one in my queue!

By request, Maggie wants next week’s VVW topic to be:  Mash-ups!  For those of you who don’t know, mash-ups are videos made with parts of two or more movies and are made to seem like one show.  Like Harry Potter video with South Park audio track, or like Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?‘s recent post of Buffy vs. Edward (which is what made Mags ask me to do mash-ups next week.)

So now it’s your turn… Share your favorite Dinosaur vids!

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