Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Novel Films Blogfest Part Two

In parts two and three of the Novel Films Blogfest Madeleine Maddocks has asked us to review the book and film pairings we listed yesterday, and list which books we've read that we want to see made into films.

I've decided to break this down into The Good, The Bad, and The Books I'd Like To See Made Into A Movie. In the interests of brevity, I will only review my top three good and bad films. Afterwards, I'll list which books I'm desperate to see made into films.

Please note for a film to have made it into my good list it did not have to be a faithful line by line re-telling of the book. I've also given the date of the film or television series where I know there has been more than one made, but I may have missed one or two.

The Good

2001 & 2010
The Andromeda Strain (1971 version)
Bladerunner (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dune (1984)
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1981 television series)
Jurassic Park
Little Women (all three versions - 1933, 1949, 1994)
New Moon
Postcards from the Edge
Pride and Prejudice
Raise the Titanic
Silence of the Lambs
The 39 Steps (1935)
To Kill A Mockingbird
We Were Soldiers (We Were Soldiers Once . . .And Young)
The World According to Garp
The Green Mile
The Running Man
Shawshank Redemption
The Shining
Stand By Me

Eleven of the 27 books were read before seeing the film, so, perhaps not unsurprisingly, I went on to read 16 of the books the films I liked were based on.

My top three are:

I wish that I had read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? before seeing Bladerunner, just to be able to compare the image of the futuristic world with the one my own mind would have conjured from reading the book. The plot of Bladerunner is a lot different from Philp K. Dick's novella, but the film captured the essence of the world he portrayed. And who can forget Batty's closing lines?

I read Fannie Flagg's book before seeing the film, and fell in love with it. So much so, that I even have a copy of the accompanying cookbook. Fortunately, the film did not disappoint in anyway. If you have not read the book or seen the film, make sure you do both - there is a lot more to the plot than fried green tomatoes. Mystery. Murder. Friendship. Love. All the right ingredients. Excuse the pun.

Another film I saw before reading the book. In my opinion, this is a masterpiece in film making, and one that belongs in the Stephen King Finest Adaptations category. Films or television series based on King stories seem to fit into two groups - brilliant or awful. This is a film that is both funny and sad, and it's emotional punch will stay with you long after it has finished.

(narrowly missing out were The Shining and Silence of the Lambs)

The Bad

Alice in Wonderland (any version) (sorry, I hate these types of films)
Animal Farm (any version)
A Perfect Storm
The Bicentennial Man
Bridges of Madison County
The Hotel New Hampshire
The Lovely Bones

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
The Perfect Storm
The Pilot's Wife
My Sister’s Keeper
Starship Troopers

Yes Man 

Pet Cemetery
Salem's Lot

Only five of the seventeen films were seen after reading the book, because generally I don't like watching movies based on books.

My worst three are:

I think maybe it's just me but I did not like this film, especially after reading the book by Issac Asimov. I found it long, mawkish, and too sentimental.

I have to be honest here - I only watched the film out of a kind of morbid fascination after reading the book. I really dislike Eastwood in these kinds of roles. I also only read the book because in On Writing Stephen King cites it has an example of bad writing. I think no one told the author Robert James Waller about show not tell. Anyway, I'd better stop there before I offend anyone. But if you see a copy read through the first few pages and let me know what you think.

I love Piccoult novels. The effortless way she handles several viewpoint characters and tackles issues many other writers would avoid has always impressed me. Having said that, I don't think her books translate well into films. The multiple viewpoints get lost in the process some how. My Sister's Keeper was no exception, and what irritated me more than anything was that I saw it before reading the book, and overheard the person behind me in the cinema telling her friend it had a different ending. Thankfully, I was able to escape before I heard the rest.

(narrowly missing out were all the other Stephen King films and The Hotel New Hampshire)

The Forgotten

Marley and Me

The Books I'd Like To See Made Into A Movie

I think it is safe to say this list could go on forever, so I'm going to list my top ten favourite novels, novellas, and short stories I want to see made into movies. In no particular order they are:

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness.
Across the Universe by  Beth Revis
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Under the Dome by Stephen King
All the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde
Marley and Me by John Grogan (this would be a remake; the first film is awful)
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

And just to be really cheeky:

Why Do Aliens Love Iowa? by Ellie Garratt (starring William Shatner)
Night of the Therapist by Ellie Garratt (starring Ben Stiller)

So, do you agree or disagree with any of my choices?


  1. Why Do Aliens Love Iowa? by Ellie Garratt (staring William Shatner)

    Is that as in Ellie Garratt staring at William Shatner?

    Dave Wrote This

  2. Dave - Do you think that was a Freudian Slip?

  3. Blad Runner was awesome in movie form. They really messed up The Perfect Storm, though.

  4. I'm with you on STAND BY ME. I'd also put MISERY and SHAWSHANK right up there with the SK Finest Adaptation category. (And although I wouldn't put THE STAND miniseries in this category, I would say a lot of the acting in that was good, esp Gary Sinise as Stu and Jamie Sheridan as Flagg.)

    I love Piccoult novels, too, but I refused to see MY SISTER'S KEEPER, mostly because it is my favorite of hers and I knew I wouldn't be able to stand it if it was ruined. :)

  5. Aren't they making a movie of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

    I want to see Blade Runner; though I think I might try reading the book first!

  6. My top 3: Bladerunner; Stand by Me; IT
    All but Stand by Me are subject to change depending on mood.

  7. Loved Fried Green Tomatoes - but, I haven't read the book. That seems wrong... :) I definitely need to. You've got a great list here!

  8. Terrible confession: I've never seen Blade Runner. Must put that on my Netflix list. Bad, bad me.

    Love Stand By Me and Fried Green Tomatoes. Excellent choices.

  9. I have to admit I didn't quite buy Clint Eastwood as romantic photographer of Bridges of Madison County but Meryl Streep was such a tour de force that she made me believe Mr Eastwood was Robert Kincaid! I am still traumatised by that ending when Francesca is on the verge of leaving her life for Kincaid while she's in the truck stuck with her husband and traffic!

    Oh why didn't she do it!??! LOL!

    OH but Hotel New Hampshire the film was awful! LOL!

    Yay for your fab list, take care!

  10. A great list of likes and dislikes,you have really done your homework. Good luck.


  11. Overall you nailed these pretty well. I'll have to admit I haven't read most of the source material on these, but I believe you.

    P,P & Zombies is being filmed. I'm looking forward to a film version of Under the Dome--it's gotta be done. The Marley and Me movie literally made my wife and I angry--that dog was so annoying and I can't understand anyone would tolerate such disruption to their life.

    Good lists.

    Tossing It Out

  12. Oh gosh, The Bridges of Madison County. I am with you on that one! I think I deliberately blocked it from my memory when I composed my list :-)

  13. great synopsis!
    i need to read divergent & under the dome!

  14. I'd definitely go to see Why Do Aliens Love Iowa with good ol' Bill! :)

    I haven't watched all that many movies based on books - I'm always scared they'll ruin it. I did enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird though! :)

  15. I totally agree on the Ellie books to movies. I would absolutely love to see them. I also agree about The Perfect Storm. Awful.

    Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is being made into a film with Natalie Portman as Elizabeth Bennett.

  16. I didn't mind Starship Troopers. It was interesting the changes they made to the movie (I read the book after seeing the movie).

  17. I agree with you about The Andromeda Strain. It was well done. We'll have to agree to disagree about the 1984 version of Dune. *gag*

    Across the Universe would be interesting, though for a YA book some scenes would need to be toned down to keep it PG13 (U.S. rating). Some of those scenes during "the season" were ... ew.

    I'm glad Card has held out to keep Enders Game true to the book. They keep wanting to make it with older teens and have sex. The book's about little kids. Card mentioned how difficult it would be to make because so much of what happens is inside Ender's head. But the newest approach, I understand, is to combine Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow and tell both the Ender and Bean stories together.

  18. Oh, and I loved Fried Green Tomatoes and the book is sitting on my nightstand waiting to be read.

  19. I LOVE this post. If I had chosen the worst, we would have agreed on two of the three, Bridges and My Sister's Keeper, and I haven't read Bicentennial Man but I thought the movie was a bit disappointing.

    We also agree on Stand By Me. Wonderful.

  20. Hello, Ellie. I'm going to astound you by saying I loved the movie Starship Troopers. Every time I watch it, I see something new to admire.
    Is it different from the book? Yes. But remember the old days, before audiences expected great faithfulness in movie adaptations. Starship Troopers (the movie) combines together minor character and scenes into a satisfying parody. Yes, it's a parody of war, and I believe Heinlein's novel was also meant to be a parody. So the movie is true to the spirit. And I love that music.

  21. Hi Ellie .. I can't keep up - but your note on Fried Green Tomatoes was interesting ..and one day I'll get to watch that ..

    Enjoy the Novel Film blogfest continuation .. cheers Hilary

  22. Yay for all those Stephen King movies making your list! I totally agree - they either turn out brilliant or awful, with no in between. Stand By Me, The Green Mile, and Shawkshank Redemption are on my top 10 list.

  23. Fabulous lists Ellie. Very interesting reading all your comments about them too, Will have to talk more about this next week :O)

  24. I hated Garp. Book and film. (and I'm an Irving fan) I just disliked the character and couldn't get over it.

    I've not read Bicentennial Man- only seen the film - and I hated that so much I didn't WANT to read the book.

    (I don't do horror these days so that cuts out a lot of the others in your Bad list)

    Thursday Next.

  25. PS. Whoever made that awful version of Contact should be banned from the movie business for eternity. I mean.... how can you miss the WHOLE POINT of the book like that?

    Poor Carl Sagan must be turning in his grave!

  26. PPS. And as for "long, mawkish, and too sentimental" did you ever see A.I.? Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

    Right. I'm going now. Prmise.

  27. Impressive post but... Dune was not one of my 'good' choices, but after all, ten hours of film cut down to two and a half, I don't suppose any movie would turn out too good with that much editing.
    Raising the Titanic was unfortunately spoiled for most people by the discovery of the real Titanic not too long after the release of that movie and was found to be broken up and all in pieces.

  28. Stand By Me. Bladerunner. Great films!

  29. I watched almost all these movies. I loved Stand By Me, and I will agree with you about Bicentannial Man. I love Robin Williams, but I expected more from the movie...and it lasted forever. Have a great day!

  30. I would love to see your stories as movies. :)

    I loved Blade Runner & Fried Green Tomatoes.

    What was that movie with the boy robot? Oh, AI. I don't know if it was based off a book, but that movie still makes me shudder. Could have been more depressing? Probably, but I don't ever want to see somebody try.

  31. Thanks for reminding me about "The 39 Steps". I only read the book last year, such a great adventure story. The Hitchcock adaptation is a great fun ride too.

    I suppose it's the foundation for "North By Northwest" as well.


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