Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When Books Go to Hollywood: The Good and the Bad

The ladies at The Broke and the Bookish have asked us faithful list-loving bookworms to talk about upcoming book-to-movie adaptations we're excited about. But I actually did that back in June (you can see that post here), so I'm putting a bit of a spin on the topic. (Before I digress, I must say that I'm excited about "The Devil in the White City" becoming a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and that Jennifer Lawrence is supposed to star in "The Rosie Project." And Emily Blunt is set to play Rachel in "The Girl on the Train." All good news!)

Movies are hardly ever as good as the books they're based on, but I usually find them to be acceptable representations, especially when I have some distance from the book. Sometimes, though, the movie tragically butchers the book. And other times -- very seldom, but it happens -- I actually find that I enjoy the movie more than I did its literary counterpart. Below are 10 examples:

The movie/show was painful:
1. "Confessions of a Shopaholic" by Sophie Kinsella
2. "Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan
3. "Horns" by Joe Hill
4. "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini
5. "Under the Dome" by Stephen King

Ugh. Just ugh. I was embarrassed to have dragged my husband to see "Percy Jackson" at the theater, and I spent all of "Horns" (which we suffered through on DVD) explaining the plot to him and picking out the many differences. I haven't actually read "Under the Dome," but I somehow stuck with all three (increasingly awful) seasons of the show. I know a few people who've read the book and they assured me that the show (which all of them abandoned) was nothing like the book.

The movie/show was significantly better:
1. "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. "The Casual Vacancy" by J.K. Rowling
3. "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

4. "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" by Stieg Larsson
5. "Sherlock" based on stories by Arthur Conan Doyle

Shocker! Every so often, Hollywood turns a mediocre book into an awesome film. I didn't really like "Eat, Pray, Love," I hated "The Casual Vacancy," I struggled to relate to Hazel and Gus in the book version of "The Fault in Our Stars," I was bored by "The Hound of the Baskervilles" and I couldn't finish "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest." But I liked the first three movies and I loved the Swedish "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest" (really, all of the Swedish Stieg Larsson movies are excellent). And "Sherlock," one of my all-time favorite shows, needs no extra explanation.

Which books do you think Hollywood has butchered? Are there any movies you vastly prefer over the books?


  1. I thought they did a great job with Horns. I definitely agree with you about Under the Dome though. They got way too off track and cuckoo for me lol.

  2. I completely agree with you on Percy Jackson! They really screwed that movie up. I would add Lord of the Rings to "Better movie than book." Love the films, not so crazy about the books. I really like how you did your topic this week!


    1. Good to know about "Lord of the Rings." I really like the movies (I only watched them for the first time a couple years ago) but haven't read the book(s?) yet. Maybe I should just stick with the film version!

  3. I actually enjoyed watching the movie version of Eat, Pray, Love better than reading the book!! Nice list of movies!!

    I realized that I forgot to add The Book Thief to my list this week too as I still have to read this book or watch the movie adaptation.

    Here's a link to my TTT post for this week: http://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2015/11/top-ten-tuesday-ten-book-to-movie.html

    1. I enjoyed both "The Book Thief" book and movie -- but I'd definitely recommend the book more. The way it's written is unique and that really enhanced the story for me.

  4. Percy Jackson was so bad I can't believe they made a 2nd movie! Terrible!

    1. Agreed! The second movie was supposed to be a huge improvement on the first... but I didn't like it either. :(

  5. I wish I could erase watching the Percy Jackson movies from my memory, they were so bad!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/top-ten-tuesday-30/


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