We open on a woman, who reads too many books in a year…

I watched the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Movie today. First, kudos to Martin Freeman, who I am convinced can do no wrong. I have not (ironically enough) seen him in the role that made him a household name, the original version of The Office, but have loved him in everything I have seen him in, especially my beloved PBS Sherlock reboot (with the equally wonderful – and pleasingly-named – Benedict Cumberbatch.) Also, wonderful voice-casting of Alan Rickman as Marvin the paranoid android. Rickman’s haunting, deadpan voice was perfect there.

However – the entire middle of the movie? I have no idea what happened. It wasn’t from the book. Maybe it was from a book further on in the series? I’ll admit I only read the first book. If so, why would you do that? The book is excellent as-is. There is no need for that. A friend told me that the author liked to tweak the movies to see how upset the viewers would get – if that’s the case, kind of adorable. But it was awful. (Also, the special effects weren’t great, and the movie was only 6 years old.)

I had a discussion with a friend about Hollywood versions of beloved books. She said she never watched them, because she’d learned from experience that Hollywood ruins excellent books. So today I did some thinking: I love watching movies based on my favorite books, and find that most of the time, the results are good, but sometimes…no. Some that came to mind today:

Movie better than book (but the book was still excellent)
Stand by Me
Brokeback Mountain
The Color Purple
Clueless (I know, I’m a Philistine)
Forrest Gump (actually, the book this is based on? Not so great.)
The House of Sand and Fog
The Natural
A River Runs Through It
True Blood (I know it’s a TV show, but it counts, and it’s brilliant. The books are fun; the show is amazing.)

Both book and movie equally amazing
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original – love Johnny Depp, but didn’t care for the reboot)
Cold Mountain 
Fight Club
The entire Harry Potter series (they’ve stuck to the magic of the books, and the movies have paid off)
The Ice Storm
In Her Shoes
The Outsiders
The Princess Bride (however, this is a trick, because the movie and book were written at the same time)
Mean Girls
The Shawshank Redemption
The Shining (Jack Nicholson version)
Field of Dreams
The Virgin Suicides
The World According to Garp
Wonder Boys
The Social Network
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and the sequels) (the foreign films were brilliant)

Bastard out of Carolina
The Deep End of the Ocean
Bridge to Terebithia
Cider House Rules (had to leave out so much to make the two-hour mark that it broke my heart)
Like Water for Chocolate (the book is pure poetry; the movie doesn’t quite hit the mark)
Lolita (the original film version)
Pet Semetary (ok, it’s not high cinema – but if you didn’t cringe when “Gage wants to play with YOUUU” cuts that Achilles tendon, you’re a liar)
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants
A Slipping-Down Life
Where the Heart Is
Door in the Floor (too much was left out of the Irving book to even count this one, almost)
Of Mice and Men (of course the book is better – but the John Malkovich movie is very good)

Flat-out terrible, and I want my money back
Dreamcatcher (this is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in the theater in my life – my friend and I had the giggles so badly we almost had to leave as we were disturbing people)
Flowers in the Attic (the book was awful to start, but strangely compelling. The movie was just awful)
The Golden Compass (I don’t really want my money back, but there’s no way the movie could live up to the book, and it didn’t even come close)
The Haunting (why would you do something like this to Shirley Jackson’s lovely little book? Speaking of which…)
The Lottery (this was a TV movie. Starring, if I remember correctly, Steven Weber of Wings. And it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen)
Hotel New Hampshire (dated if you watch it now, and the book was great and stands the test of time)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version, of course – nightmare-inducing)
Lolita (the remake with Jeremy Irons – unneccessary and pervy rather than poetic)
Simon Birch (worst thing ever, in the history of ever, with a side dish of what the hell were you smoking?)
The Shining (Steven Weber version, I sense a pattern)
Stardust (aka, “what did you do to one of my favorite books, you bastards?” This was blasphemous)
The Time Traveller’s Wife (no. Didn’t retain the love or magic of the book at all)
Wuthering Heights (the MTV musical version – did anyone other than me see this? It’s the worst thing ever)

In a league of their own
The Twilight books and movies (hate both so much for what they are and what they represent I can’t even categorize them with everything else because they will poison the rest of the list with their evil)

In looking this over, I actually like more than I don’t (and I know there are some missing – if I hadn’t seen the movie and read the book, and didn’t have strong feelings about both, I didn’t put it on the list.)

I am excited about the HBO miniseries of American Gods, The Help, the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and The Hunger Games. I’m an optimist, I guess. Or I just crave seeing what I’ve seen in my head on a screen. It’s like meeting an internet friend in person for the first time. Will they live up to expectations?

About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

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