Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Sunday Salon --Challenges, and a Books to Movies Rant

Okay, it's true that I'm just about the worst challenge host ever. But having said that, since everyone is posting about their challenges right about now, I'd like to say that I plan on hosting the LOST Books challenge again next year, starting as soon as season 5 is over. Hopefully, we'll even have a few new titles to add to the list. But I'll be setting up a separate blog for it, and we can all just add our reviews in as they happen. It will be cool to have a collective place of book blogger reviews of LOST books. We're a special bunch. That's not to say you have to be a book blogger to join in. The more the merrier.

I also plan to host the Read One Book challenge again, modifying it slightly to buy one book and read it. I really really hope we can spread the word to non-bookish folk and get them interested in reading a book.

I've also been considering another one, but we'll see how it goes.

Did anyone watch Flirting with Forty? I did! And while I enjoyed the gorgeousness that is Robert Buckley, having just finished the book I couldn't help but be slightly disappointed in it. I guess I just really loved the book and part of what was so important was the internal dialogue of Jackie which obviously you can't have in a movie, however, I'd love to hear your impressions.

Also, you know how we always say the book is better than the movie? I was thinking about that hard it is to divorce the experience of reading the book from watching a movie. Like, I felt half the Flirting with Forty story was lost and were people really getting it when they watched? I also sometimes wonder that with Harry Potter...I think do you even understand this if you haven't read the books?
And don't even get me started on The Other Boleyn Girl!

It's so funny, though, because it's always exciting to read that a beloved book will be made into a movie and then it inevitably disappoints. What could possibly be done to make a movie satisfying to lovers of the book?

I think part of the problem is that the people making the film think they have to make it have broad appeal. So they alter things and change bits of the storyline to what they think will work better, but in so doing they disrespect the very nature of the story that made it so loved. Prince Caspian anyone?

Sometimes there are successful adaptations or adaptations that stand on their own. Big Fish is an example I think of....while it was certainly different from the book, but the film was strong in its own right. What are your favorite book to film adaptations? Or has there ever been a time when you hated the book but loved the movie?


Julie P. said...

I didn't enjoy the Flirting with Forty near as much as the book. I thought they let some major things out of it like the friendship issues (and then resolution.) I also thought the book kept you in suspense about their relationship while the movie made him almost over the top for Jackie.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think the movie lived up to the book either.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read (or seen) Flirting With Forty, but I agree with you in general re: book-to-movies. I just watched the Twilight movie (for the second time) last night, and another person in my group hadn't read the book and really didn't get it. But that wasn't the greatest book to begin with, so that might not be the best example. :) I think Stardust is a good one; the book is amazing, and I loved the movie just as much, even though it was different. Comic books and graphic novel do the best job of remaining faithful to their source material, I think, especially the newer movies based on Frank Miller's work - Sin City, 300, and we'll see about The Spirit.

Vasilly said...

My favorite adaption was Big Fish. It was such a great movie. I ended up liking it better than the book.I can't wait for the One Book Challenge. I enjoyed it this year.Have a great week, Amy!

Anonymous said...

Youre not the worst challenge host ever. Also thanks for doing the COUCH POTATO CHALLENGE '08! I am assuming since part of its tile was a year that we will will be able to take the challenge again. Always a good reason to sit on the couch and enjoy some good movies that we have missed.

Anonymous said...

This is a large part of why, when possible, I like to watch the movie first before I read the book, particularly if I care to enjoy the movie. This worked great for Stardust, several Harry Potters, and others. I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it works for me. Clearly this isn't always possible (I read Narnia when I was a child), but there are work-arounds. Instead of reading the books again before seeing the film(s), go watch the film and then indulge in re-reading the book. This allows me to appreciate both works, respectively.

Deborah said...

Pride and Prejudice (the A&E version) is simply magnificent in capturing almost everything in the book. The Keira Knightley version while leaving stuff out and changing it around a bit, is also wonderfully shot and very good too.

I think the 94 version of Little Women is great and the LOTR trilogy as well.

Dani In NC said...

I watched Flirting with Forty last night, but I haven't read the book. I expected it to be special because several book bloggers were looking forward to it. Instead, I thought it was the average Lifetime movie. My husband felt the same way when he saw the first Harry Potter movie. He hadn't read the book and didn't understand what all the fuss was about.

The best movie adaptation I've seen is The Color Purple. I couldn't think of anything that was left out of the movie.

Nise' said...

Did not watch the movie last night. I am in agreement with Deborah re Pride and Prejudice.

Amy said...'re so right. They really did leave out a lot of important stuff and did anyone else laugh when Kai(ler) said "I looike you." Ugh! He didn't say the l word til the end of the book!

Jessi, I just saw Twilight today and thought it was a decent adaptation. I haven't seen or read Stardust..I'll have to!

N. Vassillis--you're too kind. :) I love Big Fish the movie more than the book, too, though I like the book.

KHA---will you participate if I do the couch potato challenge again? I had such low participation last time, I wasn't sure if I should do it again.

wordlily--I wish I could do that, but if any of the plot is spoiled I'm less likely to read the book.

Deborah--I haven't read Pride and Prejudice. But you're right about Little Women.

Dani--it was pretty average huh? I haven't read or seen The Color Purple didn't miss too much. Except for Robert Buckley of course. ;)

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed in the movie because I was looking forward to it. Why did they change so many facts from the book? Kyle? Huh? Colorado? Why? I wanted to see Christmas tree shopping in the rain and the tree falling on her son. And, the dinner party scene didn't anywhere match up to the book. And, her friend's Grandma breaking her hip? Part of what made Jackie's friends so crappy was the stupid stuff they pulled on her... like her friend being controlled by her husband on that matter.

I'm happy for Jane Porter that her book was turned into a movie with a big star in it. But, she deserved better from the screenplay.

ALSO... what I really wanted to see was Kai calling her "girl" throughout the movie and being a true wanderlust surfer dude. This actor didn't portray Kai the way that I envisioned him in my head.

Wow... guess I had a lot to say about that!

Wendi said...

You know, you are right! The movie almost never lives up to the book. Knowing that, I tried to just enjoy it. I liked Flirting with Forty a lot on it's own, but LOVED the book!

I was very disappointed that they moved her from Seattle (that was one of the things that I could really relate to!!!) to Denver. They tweaked the ending. Ummm - yes - we missed out on all the internal dialogue that was so wonderful in the book!

But overall, I DID enjoy the movie - not as much as the book - but I did enjoy it.

Yikes!! I haven't seen the Other Boleyn Girl yet - afraid it would disappoint. . . but I do have it.

:) Wendi

Anonymous said...

Little Children is one of the better book-to-movie translations I've seen, probably because Tom Perrotta, the author of the book, co-wrote the screenplay with Todd Fields, the director of the movie.

Anonymous said...

I can not committ at this time. -KHA

Amy said...

Sheri...I totally agree girl! I think they wrote Kai(le) differently than he is in the book. And the whole business thing drove me completely nutty, and disregarded the whole point of who Kai was and the element of freedom he brought into Jackie's life.

Wendi...if you loved the book The Other Boleyn Girl (which I did) I really don't think you will like the movie at all. I wish FWF had stayed in Seattle as well.

Stephen...once again, I haven't read or seen that though I do think I have the book. Having the author on board would definitely help!

Stephen said...

Tom Perrota is one of my favorite fiction authors. His newest book, The Abstinence Teacher was one of my favorite novels of last year.

Unknown said...

I haven't seen or read Flirting w/ Forty but my experience in most cases with book-movie is the movie doesn't live up to the book experience in some way or other. Usually something stupid they change that makes it not the same or just plain doesn't work. I can't watch the movie then read the book either in most cases if I do both at all I have to read the book first because the movie ruins the book otherwise.

As for Prince Caspian it fits into that something stupid they change or in this case added that didn't work. If you've read the books and seen it (I saw the movie in July I think and am still upset by one little two minute tack on in it). I thought like the first movie in general it was well done but that one scene that wasn't from the book with no lead up or preparation of the audience didn't work it was almost like switching channels or flipping to a commercial instead of feeling like it belonged to the movie.

Artistic license is one thing but ruining the story with something that didn't fit and wasn't needed is just plain WRONG - IMO.

Sorry about that Amy but you did ask about Caspian so I had to vent on that one.


Stacie said...

I also like the Little Children book and felt the movie was excellent as well. A recent book to movie one that I loved was The Secret Life of Bees. I thought the movie was very well done and highlighted the key points of the book. I also thought the characters were very well portrayed. There are also Jodi Picoult's books like Plain Truth that have been made into decent movies.

Anonymous said...

I actually did see a movie at some point in the last couple years where I thought the movie was better than the book- but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. And it's frustrating me that I can't remember! Hm, maybe it wasn't that I saw a movie. I do remember thinking that Imagine Me & You by Billy Mernit would work better as a movie than it did a book. Maybe that's what I'm thinking of.

For the most part, though, I think there are just some things in books that can't be translated into film.

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