Saturday, April 18, 2015

When the movie is better than the book

Movies based on books is so hit or miss. Sometimes an author's work makes it to the big screen and is a wild success. Other times our beloved books are huge disappointments in theaters.

But what about the opposite? What about when the movie is better than the book? It happens. I might be in the minority when it comes to this but I have had it happen. I'll give you an example, but remember these are just my opinions so don't shoot the messenger, 'kay? Also, for those who have never seen these movies or read these books there are spoilers below so look away!


I like the movie, Under The Tuscan Sun.  You know the one where Diane Lane's character goes through a bitter divorce and she takes a trip to Tuscany and impulsively buys a villa? She also cooks up these fantastically delicious looking meals that make me wish for my own personal Italian chef.

Anyway, as I was saying, I really enjoyed this movie so I was happy to find the book in my local library. It was a major bummer and I returned it after only making it halfway through the book. It was Nothing like the movie. In the book, Frances is happily married with kids and she and her husband buy the Italian villa together and spend time remodeling it. For those with wanderlust and a love of all things Italy this book is for you. I'm sorry to say I just wanted to revisit the characters and romance from the movie.

I do wonder - if I had read the book first and then seen the movie, would I have been equally as disappointed? Or pleasantly surprised? Or planning a trip to Italy? Olive Garden?

I just finished reading another book after having seen the movie first (and absolutely loving it!). This time I actually finished the entire book which means I wasn't completely discouraged when it ended up being different from the movie.

The book/movie I'm referring to is That Night written by Alice McDermott. The movie starred Juliette Lewis (Audrey in Christmas Vacation) and C. Thomas Howell (Ponyboy in The Outsiders).

The book itself was well-written and I might have enjoyed it more if I had read it first. But once again, I wanted to spend time with the characters from the movie. In this instance the movie kept true to some of the book but not enough for me. I guess Hollywood took some liberties. Not that I'm complaining.

By contrast, I've been reading the James Bond novels. I have seen all the movies, numerous times and I can honestly say the books are just as entertaining. Sure the movies are a feast for the eyes what with all the scenery and non-stop action but the books are exciting in their own right.

In the end, I guess sometimes an author's work is adapted and Hollywood hits it out of the park further than they initially intended. And sometimes you have a quirky fan like me.

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