Book Nook: movie adaptations of epic movies...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I don't know about the rest of y'all but I am totally getting pumped up for the release of The Hunger Games this Thursday!  (Thursday you say?!? That's right friends, in one of the first awesome moves that Boston University has made since I graduated, they are having a early showing at 7:30 for alumni here in Boston.  Just a small penance for the obnoxious amount of tuition I paid them.... I digress.)  I've been hearing nothing but great things about the movie, with many saying that it's one of the best film interpretations of a book people have seen. 

Generally when a studio announces that they will be making a film from a novel I can be heard grumbling for months... Hollywood just doesn't always do the best for novels, (I'm talking to you writers for Water for Elephants.  I hate you.)  In a time where Hollywood seems to be grasping at straws for new film ideas, (hello, Battleship the movie? Kill me) it's inevitable that they will eventually turn to our favorite novels for inspiration.  This really got me thinking about some of my favorite film interpretations of various novels, so I figured I'd share just a few of my favorites with you!  Now I have to tell you all, this in no way means that you shouldn't read the book first, it's ALWAYS better, (with the exception for Twilight, just go see the movie,) but if you're just not the reading type, then these movies do a pretty legit job of telling an already wonderful story.

10. Interview with a Vampire
I recently had a friend recommend that I read the novel by author Anne Rice to cleanse my mind of awfulness of the aforementioned Twilight debacle, and I'm so glad she did.  I originally saw the film starring Brad Pitt & Tom Cruise YEARS ago, and it continues to be one of my favorites.  Now having read the novel, the movie did a (surprisingly) excellent job of capturing a darker (and completely sparkling) vampire life.
9. Trainspotting
Both the book, (by author Irvine Welsh) AND the movie are not for the weak of heart.  Danny Boyle's  adaptation of the creepy and often hilarious novel, featuring an incredibly frank portrayal of drug abuse (particularly heroine,) was actually on the list for the 1993 Booker Prize, eventually being rejected because it "offended the sensibilities of two female judges."  Sold. 
 8. Bridget Jones' Diary
Helen Fielding's hilarious novel about the eternally single Bridget Jones was really brought to life by Renee Zellweger's pitch perfect comedic performance.  (And, I would argue, one of her best bits of acting in quite some time.)  With the help of dreamboats like Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, it's one of my favorite guilty pleasures.
7. The Road
I won't lie that at first, Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road wasn't the easiest book for me to start, (it's kinda depressing,) but was one that I became more and more engrossed in page by page.  The 2009 adaptation was not only excellent, (and Viggo Mortensen was perfection,) but really captured the bleak and grimy landscape of the novel.  (Also an honorable mention should go out to No Country for Old Men, which was equally AWESOME.) 
6. Jurassic Park
 As a general rule, I feel that Michael Crichton books just lend themselves to movie adaptations (um, hello...Sphere), but the Jurassic Park franchise was definitely his pinnacle achievement.  I actually read this book after seeing the movie, (at far too young an age might I add, I had nightmares about raptors for weeks,) and was immediately drawn right back into the story.  Any who doesn't love dinosaurs!?!
5. To Kill A Mockingbird
Gregory Peck IS Atticus Finch plain and simple.  I really have no more words.  (Oh yeah, and this book is AWESOME.)  There.
4. High Fidelity
So I was only recently introduced to this book and film by my good friend Kaston, but let me tell you it's such a winner.  Adapted from the novel of the same name by author Nick Hornby and starring the always adorable John Cusack (and Jack Black, exemplifying that he is actually hilarious, Year One be damned,) whose loves lists and records...there's no wonder why I was in love with this adaptation. 
3. Fight Club
I'm a total Chuck Palaniuk superFAN, so naturally I had to include his most recognizable book to film, (adapted by David Fincher.)   I'm not even going to pretend that nearly everyone reading this blog hasn't seen this movie, but this is me urging you to go back, read the book if you haven't then see it again.  Not only was it perfectly cast with Pitt and Norton, (and MEATLOAF, who was surprisingly excellent,) but it came out at the perfect time for my angsty teen heart to devour. 
2. Stand by Me
I'm just going to start by saying that Stephen King is a genius, which is why I simply can't overlook the fact that I could have made a list PURELY out of Stephen King book adaptations.   I chose Stand by Me, adapted from King's novella The Body, simply because it was one of the most moving and beautiful coming of age stories I have ever read/seen.  AND it started my massive childhood crush on the late River Phoenix.  I'm totally going home to watch it again tonight. 
1. The Shawshank Redemption
 Shawshank is the best movie ever.  EVER.  I will fight you on this.  Also adapted from one of King's stories, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, this film proves that perhaps King's strengths really lie not with his more well known horror writing, but instead in the more free-to-adaptation short story.  If you haven't seen it, do yourself the greatest favor of your life and go see it immediately.  You'll be spewing Morgan Freeman quotes in no time. 

Honorable Mentions:  Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Godfather, The Green Mile, The Shining, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, The Help, Memoirs of a Geisha

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