Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Once again, I follow in The Broke and Bookish's footsteps with Top Ten Tuesday.  This week is all about movie adaptations of novels. This is a particularly touchy topic for book lovers. The movies never live up to expectations, but for many reasons they simply can not.

Books have the ability to be whatever length they want because the reader can always put it down and pick it right back up. Movies you sit through in one sitting (typically). Most people can't sit through a 5 hour movie. Also, books have the ability to get into the mind of any character the author wants. In order for a movie to do this, a character must say everything they are thinking, do a voice-over to imply thinking, or express it in the non-verbal way.

For these reasons and many more, books are a better media for detail, emotions, and elapsed time. Movies are better for action.

Creating this list was rather difficult for me. I tend not to watch the movie adaptations of books I have read. If I liked the book, than the movie just doesn't do it justice.  If I hated the book....well then why would I watch the movie? 

So here is my list which only includes movies I have seen and books I have read.Some are good, some are not great, and some are awful!

The Good:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird: This is one of my all time favorite books. I am that weird person who has even gone as far as to collect multiple editions of the book. I just really really enjoyed it. That being said, I was very hard on the movie when I first saw it because I did not think it had a chance to live up to my expectations. I couldn't have been more wrong.  Now I always picture Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch.

2. Silver Linings Playbook:  I wasn't too sure about this book when I first picked it up, but I LOVED IT! Matthew Quick wrote an excellent book about a young man and his struggle to deal with the real world after spending some time in a mental hospital. His characters were so real and bold. I was reluctant to see the movie version, but finally decided to try it out. In order to make the story work on the different medium, they changed quite few major points (most of which I did not like), but for the most part, it worked!  The two main characters, Pat and Tiffany, were still very true to the book. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence were perfect choices to make the characters come to life. It was an excellent adaptation, even though their were some big differences.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower:   When I first started reading The Perks of Being A Wallflower, I wasn't too sure about it.  But about halfway through the book, I actually starting to connect with not only the main character, but his two best friends. The book dealt with some deep issues and I wasn't sure how the movie version would handle it.  But surprisingly, I loved the movie. The casting was fantastic and the three main characters from the books were clearly evident on the screen. The emotions and chaos of the deep issues came though well.  It was a very enjoyable movie.

The Bad:
4. The DiVinci Code:  You can also count Angels and Demons into this one. I avoided The Da Vinci Code because of all the hype. (I am not a big fan of reading what is popular).  But I was given the prequel, Angels and Demons, for my birthday so I decided to read it. I was hooked and have read The Da Vinci Code since. When they announced the movie, it had been a few years since I had read the book. I started thinking of who I wanted to play Robert Langdon; the athletic, attractive, college professor. My list included people like Daniel Craig, Tom Hiddleston, and Clive Owen.  You know the type; the smoldering sexy type, the kind that female students would drool over, which is how he's portrayed in the book.  And then came the announcement.......Tom Hanks?   Seriously, Tom Hanks? Now, don't get me wrong, I love Tom Hanks, but not in a smoldering sexy kinda way.  But I tried it anyway.  It wasn't HORRIBLE, but it definitely wasn't good. I WANTED to like it.  I WANTED to like Tom Hanks as Langdon.  But I didn't.  And no matter how many movies they make, he will never be Robert Langdon to me.  Sorry Tom.

5. The Chronicles of Narnia:  I have seen several versions of The Chronicles of Narnia throughout my life.  And because of these movies, I never wanted to read the books. The kids were so annoying! The plot was so ridiculously cheesy and I just couldn't get into it.  But I finally caved and read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Seriously, THIS is what you guys were trying to create?  You missed. Other than Peter on occasion, the kids are not completely and totally irritating, like the movies suggest.  The movies do follow the plot pretty accurately, but it was my lack of compassion for the kids that ruined even the plot for me.  Is it how the kids were written or the cast?  I don't know the answer.  At the end of the day, they weren't AWFUL movies, but they were awful kids.

6. Catch Me If You Can:   I saw this movie and really enjoyed it.  It was a great little caper based on a true story.  I was so interested in the real story, that I decided to read the book. The book was a thousand times better!!!  After reading the book, I felt like the two main characters and the main plot were completely misrepresented.  It was like they took a few stories about Frank Abagnale and applied them to a different person.  The movie not compared to the book is not bad at all, but the when you read the book, you feel like they ruined the movie.  It could have been so much better!

The Ugly:
7. How The Grinch Stole Christmas: How do you ruin a kid's book that has illustrations to guide you???  It's completely spelled out how this is supposed to go.  How do you screw it up???  Ask Jim Carrey and Ron Howard. I saw it once and was so appalled at how far off track and terrible it was.  Seriously, I am so glad Dr. Suess was not alive to see this train-wreck.

8. The Scarlett Letter:  Ok, seriously, before you make a movie based on a book, someone should probably READ THE BOOK!  Now I was not a fan of this book at all, but the movie barely followed the basic story.  Ugh!   Just avoid this one.

9. Sleepy Hollow: Remember what I just said about reading the book?  Yep, this movie forgot to do that as well.  And Ichabod Crane was a geek, a nerd....definitely NOT Johnny Depp.  You should definitely have called this "A Ghost Story With Some Slight Similarities to The Legend of Sleepy Hallow and Major Liberties Taken". 

10.  Romeo and Juliet:  I don't even know how to address this one.  It was bad.  Really really bad. If you want to do a modern day Romeo and Juliet, you DEFINITELY need to change the dialogue, not twist the story to try and make it work.  And you should DEFINITELY not ruin Mercutio! He is hands down my favorite character.  He's the only one that gets it before everyone else.  And they RUINED him.  

So that rounds out my list. Thanks for reading!


  1. I really liked the movie Catch Me if You Can, but never read the book. I liked Silver Linings the movie, but was shocked at how much they changed. They were like two completely different entities. Great list! Thanks for stopping by mine!
    -Natalie @Natflix&Books

    1. I highly recommend the book Catch Me If You Can. It's an autobiography (I think) and it was great.

  2. Oh the Grinch! I did not even both seeing the Jim Carrey one (I like the animated one with Boris Karloff narrating) - and I like Jim Carrey! But the live action one just looked so dumb (same for Cat in the Hat). I agree with your assessment of Sleepy Hollow, too. Another one where I stick to the animated (Disney) version :-)

    Great list!

    1. Good plan not seeing that movie It was terrible. Ha ha ha ha.

  3. To Kill a Mockingbird is so good. Atticus Finch will always look like Gregory Peck in my head.

  4. Good list, I didn't even think to include How to Grinch Stole Christmas. I kind of like the Jim Carey version, but as a completely separate entity from the book. And after seeing Catch Me If You Can on your list I kind of want to read the book. I love that movie and now I'm curious what the differences are.

    Great list!

  5. I still need to see AND read Silver Lining's Playbook. Love Matthew Quick!

  6. I want to see/read Silver Linings Playbook! Haven't had a chance yet... I really liked Perks of a Wallflower so I'm going to have to check out the movie soon.

  7. Great list! I really want to read/watch Silver Linings Playbook now. Glad to see some love towards Perks. I'll keep quiet about your #1 pick. :P

    Ha, I couldn't agree more with The Da Vinci Code. It was an entertaining read but the movie was just godawful. Tom Hank's haircut was so distracting lol.

    Same with The Grinch Stole Christmas, ugh. Dr. Seuss is rolling in his grave.

    Hmmm...I actually though the film "Catch Me if You Can" was pretty great but its surprising that the book is even better. I may have to check it out now.