Sunday, June 03, 2012

What Book Do You Love Too Much?



What book to you love too much to see made into a movie.

Laura Lippman and Megan talk about their problems with the the recent HBO Mildred Pierce mini-series here.

What book would you cringe at seeing turned into a movie? Of course, Gatsby comes right to mind and they are doing it again. But one I dreaded and it turned out well was WINTER'S BONE.


CATCHER IN THE RYE could never be done well though--too interior. What title would you hate to see on a marque? What could only do harm to the book?



23 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was a great piece by Megan and Laura. I thought Winslet, who I like a lot, was miscast as well, and so was Evan Rachel Wood.

I don't think your final question works, as no movie - however bad - can "harm" a book. The book will always be there as it was.

There have been horrible adaptations - I know you've cited BONFIRE OF THE VANITIES, for example - but it doesn't "ruin" the book.

Jeff M.

Copper Jennings said...

A Confederacy of Dunces. I suppose someday it will get made. But I'm in the camp that doesn't want it to happen.

By the way Patti, I'm new to your writing. After reading your story in Beat to a Pulp Hardboiled, I had to check out more. I just finished Monkey Justice and loved it.

George said...

Any of John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels. The casting would be wrong, and Hollywood would want to change the plots.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks so much, Copper! It is so nice to hear that from someone new to me.
Think about joining in on Friday's Forgotten Books some week. We are always looking for new reviewers.
I hope Confederacy will not be made. Poor man has suffered enough even if he's beyond it.
Oh, it is too late for Travis, I think. That swaggering unabashed masculinity wouldn't work well with the male actors now.
I loved the book Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. I would never read it now after that movie. Movies can emphasize all the wrong things and make your reconsider, I think.

Naomi Johnson said...

I think I'm very lucky in that Disney has never stumbled over my childhood favorite, 'Cinnabar, the One O'Clock Fox.'

pattinase (abbott) said...

Somehow I missed that one, Naomi.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Steve Oerkfitz

Blood Meridian. Nick Cave was asked to do a screenplay but refused considering it impossible to pull off.

Ron Scheer said...

I hate to see any book I like made into a movie. I learned that as a kid with Raintree County.

But as Jeff says, while a bad movie can't harm a good book, a really good one has this way of taking the place of the book, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Brokeback Mountain would be an example.

George said...

I'm with Steve on BLOOD MERIDIAN, too. It's one of the most violent books I've ever read. Someone dies on almost every page.

Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting question. I never thought about this before. I'd have to say The Snow Leopard for nonfiction. I'd have to give fiction a bit of thought.

Richard R. said...

I would fear any attempt at making a movie out of the Pern novels of Anne McCaffrey. I'm not sure any Hollywood studio could capture both the seriousness and the emotions and humor of those books, and they would just turn whatever one they choose into a dragons-and-battles special effects effort.

Kent Morgan said...

There actually were two movies made of JDM's Travis McGee novels. Rod Taylor played McGee in Darker Than Amber (1970) and Sam Elliott in a TV movie of The Empty Copper Sea (1983). Taylor I can see as McGee, but not Elliott. A couple of years ago there was talk that Leonardo DiCaprio was going to play McGee in a movie based on The Deep Blue Good-by. Glad that never happened. About the only current actor I could picture as McGee is Tom Selleck.

Deb said...

Back when it was first published, there was talk that DUNCES would be made with John Candy and Richard Pryor (as Ignatius and Burma, respectively). Instead, Candy & Prior starred in a re-make of "Brewster's Millions." Steven Soderberg has supposedly been going to make the movie for years, but instead has made a movie about male strippers.

Perhaps it's better that way.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Been a while since I read it but I cannot imagine any director or actors doing it justice. Although I would have said that with TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, WINTER'S BONE, and others.

Anonymous said...

Deb, I heard that Belushi was going to star in DUNCES at one point, which I can actually see as a possibility. Better than Candy, anyway.

Most of the things I've really liked that have been filmed have been done well, like the miniseries of SHOGUN, which was excellent.

Jeff M.

Loren Eaton said...

I loved Neil Gaiman's Stardust too much for it to have been made into the movie that it was. Somehow, Hollywood stripped all the magic out of that beautiful book.

Todd Mason said...

The only problem I ever see is when someone pretends that the fiction is unnecessary once the adaptation has been released...I don't have the problem I think you, Patti, and several others have, of not being able to shake the film when dealing with the fiction.

For me, of course, the problem with a film of A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES is that the novel strikes me as pitched at the Jerry Lewis level of unsubtlety and dullness, so that any film of it is unlikely to catch my attention.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

Films are inherently third person. Most first-person novels don't convert well to film, and of course any novel that is largely interior.

Patti said...

Too true. Amazing when they do work well given that constraint. The more plot driven, the better. Probably why crime, western and science fiction translate better. You need action to move it along.

Todd Mason said...

Actually, sf usually doesn't translate well. Because it isn't so dependent on plot as setting and ingenuity...neither of which translate nearly as well as frequently as character study when well-handled.

Todd Mason said...

And so we're back to misconstruction of "genre" vs. "literary" again.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Okay, here's the question.
I ask someone what type of book they might like for a present. They say a mystery. How can I not see that as expressing a genre preference? I may not like classifications either but it may be a failing of us to think it connotes an inferior book somehow. Perhaps we are playing into it by seeing genre as a negative thing.

Todd Mason said...

No...I've been saying that there is no fiction that escapes genre. So by trying to pretend only crime fiction, or only crime, fantastic, adventure, historical, erotic, romance, etc. (you see what large stacks we start piling up) are parts of genres, and that there is another sort of fiction somehow sui generis, one is perpetuating a fallacy that is only proposed by those who want to pretend that one kind of fiction or another is Necessarily worse. I don't think that crime fiction is a single genre (except to the weak extent that all of it has some sort of crime relevant to its events), so much as a collection of genres, and that's true of all of the so-called "genres" when (mis)used as they usually are. If someone likes crime fiction, they like crime fiction...which can mean CRIME AND PUNISHMENT and can mean H. S. Keeler, and can mean the very "literary" Jerome Charyn or Daniel Woodrell or the very technically focused John Dickson Carr or the louche "Carter Brown" novels. None of these is "more" or "less" "genre" than another (though I will admit the Browns are rather generic in the proper sense).