Occasionally, films are better than the fiction they are based on. More commonly, the books are better. This top ten list, the opposite of last week’s, is where the novels are significantly better than the movies they were made into. The list is, of course, limited to the books that I’ve read. And certainly there are more than just ten that could make this list, so feel free to suggest a few extra.
10. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. It’s not that it’s a bad movie exactly (it does a nice job depicting the ’80’s), it just missed the point of the book. I also don’t like when things are moralized beyond recognition.
9. The Shining by Stephen King. It just goes to show you that even a good movie can be a bad adaptation.
8. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (the 2007 adaptation). Were vampires passé by 2007? No…True Blood didn’t start until 2008, so what was wrong with the source material? And the ending? Naturally there will be a sequel, aptly titled I am Legend 2, at least there will be no novel to butcher.
7. Beowulf. Robert Zemeckis claimed “nothing about the original poem appealed to me”. Clearly.
6. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. I’m not a huge Henry Miller fan, but I thought Tropic of Cancer was notable. The film didn’t have anything worth noting. Henry Miller reportedly liked it, which might explain my opinion of Henry Miller.
5. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King. The problem lies in the fact that Dreamcatcher isn’t a good book to begin with. Stephen King and aliens don’t mix. So bad book = worse movie. You’d never guess I am a mathematical genius based on the previous sentence. True statement.
4. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. I’ve made fun of this one before. Nic Cage with a southern accent is bad, but Nic Cage with an Italian accent is just not acceptable on any level. However, I did appreciate it’s dual purpose: advertisement for Greek tourism.
3. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson. Apparently not being Hunter S. Thompson precludes you from making a film that Hunter S. Thompson would appreciate, just ask Bruce Robinson. Did you know HST had his ashes scattered, in Aspen, Colorado (where I currently am), to a Bob Dylan song?
2. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. This one’s personal. I watched this with a guy who, after the film ended, turns to me and says ‘If you could look like someone else, I’d want you to look like Sienna Miller’. Um, thanks? Disregarding the unpleasant association, the film did not resemble the fantastic novel by Michael Chabon and that is a shame.
1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Please let me know if you found this to be any good. Plus, Demi Moore’s accent was something else.Though I think you could make an entire top ten list of movies that were ruined by awkward accents…
Honorable mention: Bag of Bones by Stephen King (miniseries). Instead of a kind, blond, 40-ish man they cast a crotchety, old Pierce Brosnan with an attitude problem. I was properly horrified.
Image found on Just B’s Blog.