#49 – Adaptations, or Books v. Movies

It’s Friday night.  The wife is on the couch watching some silly vampire show on the TV.  The kid is sleeping (silly girl never is asleep this early, especially on a Friday night.  She’s been helping her Auntie with her cleaning service the past week for some$$.  Poor kid is not used to manual labor.  It wiped her out!).

I’m sitting here typing this.

Middle age is exciting.  Off the hook!

But at this age this is a perfectly fine Friday.  It’s a long week, and more often than not hanging back at the end of the week is not too bad.

I’ve been discussing reading and writing and creativity a bit now, both here and on my Facebook Page, which you can check out here – I’d love for you to join the discussions there.

And because of those discussions and thoughts I went to this site Goodreads.  I’m aware of it but never tried it.  It was recommended by fellow blogger and book reviewer Maxxesbooktopia.

It’s a good site.  I don’t know too many people who read regularly.  I’m not really part of a reading community anymore, if that is a thing, and don’t always know where to hear about good contemporary books or authors to read.  I used to be (you can read about my bookselling adventures in #46 – A Working Life, or on Writing2) and back then it was easier to come by new books or book recommendations.  There are probably other sites like it for books, just like there are sties that can recommend anything based on your likes of movies or anything else you may have interest in.

I was looking it through it and made note of many books and authors I’m interested in reading.  But what really struck me was the number of books that have been adapted into movies.  Many I knew, but so other books I only knew as movies and did not even realize they had been made into films.  It was almost as if they’ve run out of people to write original movies.

Writers are rockstars!

Movies, especially at my advanced age, are good for a Friday.  Watching a movie on a Friday night, even from the comfort of your couch, can make you feel like you are doing something, even when you are really not.  There’s something about movies, right?

I’m not even doing that though.  What I am doing is what I always do, which is thinking, and then writing down the things I’m thinking about.

It got me to thinking about the book v. movie dynamic.  I feel like books and “literature” are valued more as an art form more than a film.  I suppose that is up to the individual.  Books can be a challenge to adapt.  Except for a narrative voice over, it’s difficult for a movie to portray characters inner dialogue the way a work of written fiction can.

I know too that people have strong feelings about their favorite books being adapted for visual media.  It’s not just movies anymore, as many television shows, especially those on non-network media (cable, streaming) have taken written works and made them long running television series.  This can be advantageous, over a movie adaptation, especially if the work is a series of books like Game of  Thrones, for example.  It can also make the adaptation challenging.  If you checked out the recently completed Hulu series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ you’ll know that they pretty much have used up the source material, so if they plan on having a second season it will be ‘inspired’ by the book and nothing else.

I know too that there is nothing worse for some readers than having a favorite book, one that you loved dearly, and finding out it is going to be made into a movie.  I know when that happens to books I’ve enjoyed I get excited and the anticipation builds as I read about the movie and see trailers for it.  But there is also the dread of the movie not being everything I want it to be and living up to the expectations I have for it.

I don’t always mind if my favorite work is made into a movie and the result is not an exact replica of the book.  I think  that is an unrealistic expectation, yet I also know that people are passionate about their favorites and are very protective of them.

But film is different, and as long as it’s a good movie and doesn’t take too many liberties I’m ok with some changes.  Sometimes before the movie comes out I will worry about it, but it’s not that big of a deal at the end of the day.

It also got me wondering about what people like better – to read a book before and then see a movie after, or to see a movie and then read the book (I’m asking.  Tell me).  Sometimes, like when I was looking though Goodreads, I don’t even realize a movie was a book until after I’ve seen the movie.  I can go either way.  When you see a movie first you don’t have preconceived notions of what you think the characters should look like or don’t notice every little difference between the movie and the book.  The disadvantage, of course, is that you will know the ending.

Invariably, a book will be better than a movie, just because it can have more detail.  It has no time constraints.  It can explore more fully and more richly characters inner dialogue.  But I don’t think that that is always the case, and sometimes they can stand equally on their own merits.

Off the top of my head some of my favorite book to movie adaptations (only books that I’ve read and not just seen the movie):

  • The Godfather (I really think the movie is significantly better than the book)
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • No Country for Old Men
  • LA Confidential
  • The Silence of the Lambs
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Short Cuts

There’s more, always more.  I’ll forget some, and curse myself later.

Even going thought lists on the internet it’s amazing how many movies I’ve seen and loved and had no idea they were books.  There are a lot of lists out there.  I know that Goodreads has one, and it wouldn’t be that hard for you to find one.

If anything, thinking about movies and books gives me more movies to watch, and more books to read.

What are some of your favorites either way?  What are your feelings about your favorite books being adapted into movies?  I want to know!  It’ll be more things to do on a Friday night!

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For more check out the archives!

 

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1 thought on “#49 – Adaptations, or Books v. Movies”

  1. Usually I don’t like movie adaptations of books I love, so I prefer to see a movie first and THEN read the book. Often, though, that doesn’t work in “real life time” so I do see movies after reading the books and am often disappointed. More frequently than not, I won’t even go to a movie adaptation of a book I love because I assume I won’t like it – especially if the reviews are not that great. But I don’t read a lot of sci fi and I imagine those movies would be even better than the books if done well.
    Many of the titles you listed for movies that you thought were as good as the book, I didn’t even know they were books originally and have only seen the movie. I’ll have to check out some of those books – or maybe not if the movie was just as good. R-

    Liked by 1 person

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