Hello dear readers,
Since I’m down and out with a cold, I’m in the mood for something lighter today.
The general consensus is that the book is always better than the movie version, but there’s exceptions to every rule.
Here is my top ten list of movies that were either better than–or just as good–as their written counterpart. Can you add to the list? Do you agree or disagree with mine?
1) The Shawshank Redemption (based on Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption). King’s story about freedom, dignity and friendship was beautifully adapted for the screen, and stayed true to the original work. It starred Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. Can’t do much better than that!
2) Stand By Me (based on Stephen King’s novella The Body). If anything, the movie is even better than the story, as its ending is a little more optimistic. Powerful performances by River Phoenix, Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman, and Kiefer Sutherland also lend weight to the movie version.
3) The Joy Luck Club. This is one case where I liked the movie better. The talented cast did a great job of bringing heart to Amy Tan’s grim tale of Chinese mothers and daughters.
4) The Color Purple. Based on Alice Walker’s best-seller, the movie was protested for its bleak portrayal of black men in the early 20th century. Although all the actors were fantastic, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey stole the show.
5) Out of Africa. This epic is a compilation of Isak Dinesen’s memoirs about her experiences running a coffee farm in Kenya. The film does a terrific job of telling her story, and stars Meryl Streep and Robert Redford.
6) The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It’s unfair to pit the English translation of this novel against the Swedish film, as I suspect much of Stieg Larsson’s writing style was lost when converting his work to English. However, the movie really shines, and does away with the technical information that slows down the story.
7) Capote. Philip Seymour Hoffman does a phenomenal job of portraying the superficial, self-centered author. While the biography by Gerald Clarke is still a good read if you want more detail, the movie is far more powerful.
8) What’s Love Got to Do With It. Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne are incredible as Ike and Tina Turner. I was surprised to find that the movie was more riveting and touching than the book it is based on–Tina’s memoir I, Tina.
9) The Lovely Bones. Many people complained about the film, but I’m not sure why. I thought it did Alice Sebold’s beautiful book justice. The movie is heart-wrenching, and brings Susie Salmon to life (and death).
10) Beloved. I loved the film for making sense of a lot I didn’t understand in Toni Morrison’s book. It was widely panned and a huge flop, but I still liked it better than the book. It’s highly creepy and disturbing.