Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, April 21, 2006

What's your favorite book on film?

Over in jolly old England,The Evening Standard has put out a list of the best adaptations of books to film It's a list of about fifty titles,with such obviously good choices such as The Godfather,Pride & Prejudice,One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Remains of the Day. This is not a stuffed shirt selection;other picks include Fight Club,Sin City,American Psycho and Trainspotting. Of course,this is a Brit list so some of the films/books mentioned might not be familar to most folk(I'm a big English Lit gal and even I've never heard of A Kestral For A Knave. Sounds like a good title,tho).

This is a pretty good line up but I would like to submit the following for your approval to be considered as very good cinematic versions of books:

The Accidental Tourist:Anne Tyler is not one of your big drama queens-her stories are small but succinct slices of ordinary people in the day to day lives who decide to wake up and look about at where they are in the world. Hard to get that across onscreen without boring your audience. Fortunately,Lawrence Kasdan and William Hurt chose to team up again(they had worked well together in Body Heat) to put Tyler's novel on film and with a great supporting cast,plus a great script(co-written by Kasdan) made the story sing. It's also notable as the movie that gave Geena Davis a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for playing Muriel,the wacky dog trainer who falls in love with Hurt. A really sweet movie-worth seeing if you haven't already done so.

Cold Comfort Farm: I'm surpised this didn't make the list,given that it's based on a classic English novel featuring one of most eccentric literary families, the Starkadders whose most interesting member is Aunt Ada,who keeps to her room and refuses to let anyone stray from the homestead and whose reply to anything objectionable is"I saw something nasty in the woodshed!" Kate Beckinsale starred in the 1995 film version as Flora,the young low on cash but rich in good natured probelm solving socialite who comes to Cold Comfort to improve the Starkadders' lives and gain some life experience for her future writing career along the way. Ian McKellan is also in the movie and one of my favorite lines is said by his character,a rather zealous preacher type who warns his congregation that "there's no butter in hell!"
So damn funny,if you love english humor,you must see this!

Master And Commander,The Far Side of the World:This is actually a combo of two of Patrick O'Brian's novels in his Aubrey/Mautrin series(hence the really long title). When I saw it in theaters,it felt to me like the first time I had a reading experience in a group setting. The film is what I would image it to be like if one could just walk into the pages of a book and live in that world. Chris Rock was right about Russell Crowe: if you can't get him for a period drama,wait! I wasn't the only one who had that feeling-the whole audience was drawn in and even clapped at the end.

I must confess that I haven't read the O'Brian books(did treat myself to the boxed 5 volume hardcover set a couple of Christmases ago)but will do so,mainly to appreciate this film more and to hope for other adaptations just as well done.

I could go on and on but ,as Judge Judy says,I have other fish to fry today. So,don't be shy-let me know what's your favorite book made into a film and what books would or wouldn't be good movies. Enquiring minds want to know!


Lady M said...

The best book to movie for me was Silence of the Lambs.

Totally caught it all on film. (within reason)

So hopefully your week is going great!

Hugs to ya!

Lady M

lady t said...

Yeah,Silence is an excellant example of what to do when you adapt a book into a film. Too bad you really can't say the same about Hannibal-the movie's fine but it doesn't go as far as the TH novel did(I knew in my heart that they wouldn't). As to Red Dragon and Manhunter,I think MH did a much better job of being true to the intent of the book.

Hugs right back at ya:)