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Page to screen

Oscar weekend is upon us, which has me thinking, as it inevitably does, about book-to-film adaptations, so I polled the office on this dreary winter day about their favorites (excluding DGLM titles, because that’s just cheating).

Sharon went for literary classics: Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby, the recent musical film of Les Miserables, and Jane Campion’s take on Sense & Sensibility.  (For Baz Luhrmann adaptations of literature starring Leonardo DiCaprio, I’m personally much more partial to Romeo + Juliet, but I’ll allow that maybe you had to be a certain age when that came out to actually have found it appealing.)

Mike Hoogland will vouch for Fight Club, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Sniper.  I definitely have feelings about all of those choices, so I guess those movies are doing something right!

Rachel’s more up my alley, though: The Virgin Suicides, The Commitments (seconded by me!), and Bridget Jones’s Diary.

Jim and I also both picked good old Bridget Jones.  In fact, my taste in book-to-film adaptations overwhelmingly runs toward the contemporary update of literary classics: the Brit Lit curriculum makes great fodder for high school comedies.  For example, Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You are two of my favorite movies.  I prefer Clueless to Emma, but Taming of the Shrew is among my preferred Shakespeare plays (and I also love, love, love it in musical form in Kiss Me, Kate).

WakingthedeadMy all-time favorite book-to-film adaptation is Scott Spencer’s Waking the Dead starring Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly.  I love the book and I love the movie, which is pretty rare for me.  I even love the soundtrack.  I think the movie is criminally underrated and the book should have been read more widely.

Jim was on a roll though, so he picked many more, most of which I heartily agree with: Adaptation, American Psycho, Apocalypse Now, Rebecca, The Godfather, Silence of the Lambs, Leaving Las Vegas, Election, Precious, and Children of Men.

I could name so many more, too: Jurassic Park, Stand By Me, Trainspotting, Brokeback Mountain, The Princess Bride…Basically, if you’re looking for a memorable movie with strong characters and a compelling story to tell, it probably started life as a book.

And now I have to head home for the weekend, because writing this post has made me want to build the Netflix queue to end all Netflix queues and stay curled up in doors away from the arctic chill of February till Monday.

What are your favorites?  Least favorites?

5 Responses to Page to screen

  1. I would have to go with Les Miserables, The Help, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

  2. Joelle says:

    As a big fan of Harry Potter, I have to say that Movie #4 was much better than the book because it left out all the boring stuff (about three hundred pages worth). That’s the only book I can’t read in the series, but the movie works great.

    I also love Sherman Alexie’s Smoke Signals which was comes from the book Tonto and the Loan Ranger Fistfight in Heaven (I think…I might be mixing titles up).

    And one that’s always been interesting to me is Ella Enchanted. The movie and the book are like two totally different stories, but both fabulous. I don’t even really see how you can call it an adaptation, but I loved them both.

    • Lauren says:

      It’s always strange when a movie’s better than the book, isn’t it? Sometimes the visual adaptation is just what it needs.

      Yes, I think Smoke Signals is based on one of the stories in that book. It’s one I’ve been meaning to check out. I should bump it up the list.

      I’ve actually never seen or read Ella Enchanted, but that’s interesting that they’re that different.

  3. Nike Farida says:

    My favourites are: Bergman’s Fanny and Alexander ( a book and a film just brilliant) and The Pianist. Both films earned Oscars.

    I was personally disappointed with Girl with a Pearl Earring – a hilarious book and a very average film. I am so happy with Ida and looking forward to reading the book.

    And am going to have on my “short shelve” Emma Enchanted and Waking the Dead.

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