Friday, August 30, 2013

Yes, Sometimes The Movie is Better than the Book

As much as it pains me to say so, yes sometimes the movie is better than the book. Hollywood seems to love books, except for everything inside of them as I have noticed for example the Harry Potter series. But sometimes, when the stars are in an agreement, Mercury is not in retrograde and the directors happen to have a brain in their head (peers at Joss Whedon), the movie is done correctly.

With that being said, here are seven movies where the movie is better than the book.

1. The Princess Bride by William Golden
No wonder in the movie the grandfather waited until the child was sick to read him this story. Here is the book description: Anyone who lived through the 1980s may find it impossible—inconceivable, even—to equate The Princess Bride with anything other than the sweet, celluloid romance of Westley and Buttercup, but the film is only a fraction of the ingenious storytelling you'll find in these pages. Rich in character and satire, the novel is set in 1941 and framed cleverly as an “abridged” retelling of a centuries-old tale set in the fabled country of Florin that's home to “Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passions.”

If only this was true. The story dragged and dragged and sometimes to a point with either too much detail that was not needed or too little detail that made you go"what?" I prefer books to movies as many as you know. In this case, I prefer the movie. I tried very hard to like this book. Very hard. And I honestly was able to make it through 100 pages which I give any book before throwing in the towel and considering it a lost cause. The writing was excellent, the humor quite dry and witty... but it wasn't what I'd thought I'd be reading. I picked it up thinking it would be a fun, action packed, fantasy adventure. What I read was the whining and moaning of a middle aged yuppie from the 80's interspersed with brief bursts of actual plot. Do not read. Stick with the movie. Peter Lenkov
Yes this is a graphic novel/comic book and usually the comic book is better than the movie especially in DC Comics sense but this book simply had too many questions and plot holes. Here is the book description just in case: Welcome to the Rest In Peace Department - the devoted, yet dead, officers of divine law enforcement "patrolling the deadbeat...reporting to one boss." Yep - THAT boss. Nick Cruz was gunned down in the line of duty at the height of his personal and professional life. Now he's traded a hundred years of service to the R.I.P.D. in exchange for a shot at solving his own murder. Unfortunately, his search will take him to Hell and back - literally! Don't miss the post mortem mayhem, soon to be a major motion picture starring Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, and Kevin Bacon!

The movie, on the other hand, had a plot and action that was easy to follow as well as entertaining. It is a shame it bombed in the theater.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I am talking just the first book, not the entire series as I have not read books two or three yet. The first book had this dragging feeling to it, the movie was more straight to the point of what was happening and going to happen next. You could feel what the characters feel in the movie, but for some strange reason I could not do that with the book. Granted the character of Katniss is an excellent role model for young women and it is great that this trilogy, much like the Twilight Saga, put a resurgence of reading among the young adult set but you can skip the book for this movie.

4. Jaws by Peter Benchley
I'd heard that the novel was a lot different than the iconic movie that I grew up with so of course I had to give it a try. I couldn't believe how totally unsympathetic and shallow the characters of Ellen Brody and Matt Hooper were. Good grief! Chief Brody came across as rather dim-witted. And Quint? Quite a dull character when compared with the one in the movie -- and, in my opinion, introduced way too late in the book. I found the Hooper-Ellen Brody affair completely gratuitous. I think it really detracted the novel, as did the antagonism between Chief Brody and Hooper. Thank goodness Speilberg had the good sense to leave that and lots of other ridiculous things (like the Mafia connection) out of the movie, and concentrate on the shark. Usually, as we are aware through my famous tag line, books are better than the movies based on them. In this case, though, quite the opposite is true. I really believe that if the movie had closely paralleled the book, it would have been a big flop.While reading, I started to wonder why the title was "Jaws." The shark seemed to be part of a minor sub-plot, overshadowed by Ellen Brody's whining, Matt Hooper's posturing as a leering know-it-all, lust, adultery, stupidity, and everyone wondering who the Mayor's "partners" were. I kept wondering where the shark was! If you love the movie, do not even bother reading this book.

5. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
Time to admit something -- I am a sucker for a good memoir, especially ones dealing with drug addiction or the "working girl". When I first saw this book I was ecstatic and then I started to read it. I still do not know what all the fuss was about this book. I read it and forced myself to finish it despite the overwhelming dullness present in this book. Funny parts? One. Cruelty the author is subject to? Being forced to take pills. Maybe this book would be more interesting to a psychology student or such, but to an average reader, which I will admit I am not, it's a 160 page essay on mental illness. Boring, overinflated and melodramatic was how this book came through to me. When the film was released in 1999 I, like many others, went to see it. I didn't think there was anything compelling about the Susanna Kaysen character in the least. Other characters WERE compelling: Lisa, Torch and Valerie--but I think that what gave them their spark was a screenplay that had to be written by someone else, and talented actors. Susanna Kaysen was boring as hell. She very well could have offed herself and I wouldn't have cared, BECAUSE her character was not interesting. She was not any more interesting in the novel itself, and the novel really was a bore. IT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE. Therefore if you saw the movie and loved it, do not pick up this book.

6. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Michell
This book falls into the category of neither the movie or book is better than the other, but not by much; the movie is still better than the book in this case. Another time to admit something-- Even though I am in love with all things Southern and my heart belongs in New Orleans and Atlanta, I still do not get all of the fuss over the movie Gone with the Wind. But, in an effort to be fair, I decided to read the book. I thought maybe it was something about the production that I didn't like. But, no, the book has many of the same problems. 1)It's endless for one, just like the movie. Over a thousand pages and a large bit of it is completely unnecessary. 2) Rhett - I don't care what anyone says, he wasn't handsome, he wasn't romantic, and there wasn't much to like about him. 3) Scarlett - I've never seen a more annoying female lead. And everyone says, "oh she grows up in the end! she stops being selfish!" She doesn't. 4) If you don't like the two main characters, what's the point? Needless to say, it was a waste of money for me. I guess this is one book you either love or hate, so I recommend that you check a volume out of the library and read a chapter or two.

7. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Just in case you do not know this book, here is the description: THE INSPIRATION FOR BLADERUNNER. . .Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time. By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn't afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans. Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn't want to be identified, they just blended in. Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

This book may have spawned Blade Runner, but in itself is on the weird side of Sci-Fi and had me constantly wondering what Dick was smoking as he wrote this story. It is a very poorly executed dystopian novel and it's all due to the soullessness of PKD's writing. The mass extinction of animals, the decay of all matter into "kibble," and the abandonment of Earth by a majority of humans to off-world colonies all underscore the bleakness of the future. Do not read. Just watch Blade Runner. To repeat, it was just a little too weird for my tastes. I'm more of a traditional Heinlein, Asimov, H.G Wells fan and I just didn't get it. I know it is a popular book, I just simply can not understand why. This was the only Philip K. Dick novel that I have read simply because of the spawning and inspiration to Blade Runner. Maybe someone can recommend a different one?

What do you think? What movie was better than the book?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Things I Love Thursday -- July 2013 Edition

Summer is in full swing and you know that means....


Here is what I have been in love with for the month of July.

--Setting a reading goal for the month of July.

--Being a volunteer for Major League Baseball All Star Summer.

--Despicable Me 2! Love me some minions! I need to get one of my own.
**This is not me guys. This is the awesome Meghan also known as Strawburry17. She is AMAZING and a total inspiration.***

--The fact that I can in a chair, bend forward, and kiss my knees. Thats right KISS MY KNEES. Have not had that ability in a long long time.

--This article from Veronica Varlow which rings very true: 3 Ways to Know if Someone is Great in Bed All Before the Dessert Arrives

--All of the support from my family and friends that I have received lately due to something that I should have done a long long time ago. You ladies and gents are the best!

--Receiving the New Beauty Test Tube for Summer and loving all of the products.

--That my favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, will have its own documentary!:

--Having a friend of mine make this for me when the royal baby was born:

--Is it November yet?:

--Having the ability to still work a room even though I have not attended a mixer/mingling thing in a long long time.

--Feeling amazing and walking without my cane for the first time in MONTHS.

--This sandwich: Nine flavour combinations in one sandwich! Well I would have to change the strawberry jam to grape but still...awesome!

--The Netflix show Orange is the New Black. Truly amazing!

--Still enjoying dark brooding AJ Styles on TNA Wrestling.

What have you been in love with for the month of July?