Hollywood Hits & Misses – take 2

I initially wrote this blog for a third party website but, for reasons unknown, it was never posted. I’ve decided to post it on my own blog for your reading pleasure.

I would think almost all of us have read books that were made into movies and just as many of us have probably seen movies that were adapted from books. When I devour a book and find out it’s being turned into a movie, I literally count the days until I can watch the scenes play out on the big screen. (Most recently, I organized an outing for my friends to see The Hunger Games.) Most of the time I do not expect to enjoy the movie as much as the book and most of the time, it works out that way, for example, Bonfire of the Vanities – Loved the book, HATED the movie. But sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.

Listed below are my picks for three best movies that were adapted from books and three worst movies that were adapted from books. My list is limited to books/movies in the chicklit/rom-com genre because that was the “assignment” for the third party blog.

Hits:

1. The Devil Wears Prada – Book by Lauren Weisberger

Although I enjoyed this book, I preferred the film version for several reasons. Most importantly, I liked that Merryl Streep brought vulnerability to the role of Miranda Priestly. I also enjoyed Andrea’s makeover and watching her transform from a somewhat sloppy “plain Jane” to a sophisticated fashionista. And, of course, any film starring Simon Baker is cool with me.

2. Bridget Jone’s Diary – Book by Helen Fielding.

I recall finding the book humorous but, in my opinion, the movie kicked serious ass! The casting was completely on point and I found Renee Zellwegger’s portrayal as a British single woman very authentic. Also, while reading the book, I got bored with the diary entries of how much she weighed, drank, smoked etc., but the narrative during the movie made me laugh. I have watched this movie more times than I can count on my fingers and toes and quite honestly, I can’t wait to watch it again! HIT with a capital H!

3. In Her Shoes – Book by Jennifer Weiner

The movie perfectly captured the complex relationship between two sisters, Rose and Maggie. The casting of Toni Collette and Cameron Diaz, not to mention Shirley Maclaine was spot on. I don’t recall major discrepancies between the book and the movie but if there were any a) they were subtle and b) they worked. I loved the book but I think I might have enjoyed the movie even more.

Misses:

Something Borrowed – Book by Emily Giffin

1. Something Borrowed is probably my favorite chicklit book of all times. It is one of the only books I’ve actually read more than once and I was beyond excited to see the film adaptation. In fact, I actually counted down the months with a friend. Unfortunately, I was unimpressed. For one thing, I didn’t like the casting of Kate Hudson as Darcy Rhone. The character was supposed to be a dark-haired sophisticated head turner and, while obviously an attractive woman, I consider Kate Hudson more of a ham. Her performance actually exceeded my low expectations in that regard, but I HATED what they did to the character of Marcus. In the book, Marcus was a viable contender for Rachel’s affections and made Dex feel somewhat insecure. In the book, he was a complete train wreck, like a court jester. Additionally, the book character of Hilary, Rachel’s work confidante, was completely written out of the movie and much of her advice-giving role was given to Ethan. While I adore John Krasinski, the character of Ethan was in London for the entire book. The movie completely foreshadowed the eventual romance between Ethan and Darcy in the follow-up Something Blue and I just didn’t like it. The one thing I loved about the movie – Colin Eggilsfield was some serious eyecandy! But in sum, I wish the movie had followed the book more closely – why mess with perfection?

2. One Day – Book by David Nicholls

I admit to being torn by the book but the chemistry between the main characters Emma and Dexter was undeniable and I was completely sucked in as I waited to find out if they would eventually find the right timing to be together, as they belonged. Where the movie succeeded in spanning two decades, the movie felt too rushed, the connection between Emma and Dexter seemed forced and I was left thinking “is that all there is?”

3. The Lovely Bones – Book by Alice Sebold

This book will always hold a special place in my heart. I found it hauntingly beautiful. While the violent death of Susie Salmon at such a young age was tragic, the descriptions of her afterlife were magical and I loved being able to imagine what “her” heaven looked like. This novel touched me in such a major way that whenever I see the soft blue cover, I feel the urge to pick up the book and leaf through the pages. The movie adaption, on the other hand, was just too commercial for me and I was majorly disappointed. I also never pictured the parents as good looking as Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz and while I would never complain about watching Mark Walhberg on the big screen, it seemed a bit too hollywood for me and detracted from the magic that exuded from the pages of the book.

And there you have them. Agree? Disagree? Indifferent? What about you? What are your picks? They need not be limited to any particular genre!

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Comments

  1. Natalie Aaron says:

    I could not agree with you more on “Something Borrowed.” I loved the book but the movie enraged me!
    That movie was so screwed up that I ended up rooting for Darcy.

    Also – completely agree about “Bonfire of the Vanities.” If you haven’t read “The Devil’s Candy: The Bonfire of the Vanities Goes to Hollywood” read it – it will make you hate the movie even more!

    P.S. the third party website missed out 🙂

    • Thanks Natalie – not sure I could possibly hate the Bonfire of the Vanities movie anymore than I already do but that book sounds interesting HORRIBLE casting. Melanie Griffith and Tom Hanks? Great actors but totally miscast in this movie.

  2. Kaley @ Books Etc says:

    I enjoyed Something Borrowed but I totally agree with your points. Some things just didn’t flow. I’ve read all but Devil Wears Prada but because I loved the movie so much I don’t feel the urge to read the book. I haven’t seen The Lovely Bones and I’m not in any hurry. I also don’t think I’ll see One Day – really disliked the book, which was disappointing. In a different genre, I have to say I love The Princess Diaries movie more than the books and I think The Help was really well done. The only time I came out of a movie adaptation saying “WTF?” was with Angels and Demons. The strangest things were changed. I also didn’t like that they changed the ending of Dear John. Ok. Novel of a comment is done now 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting Kaley – I recently saw the Dear John movie and enjoyed it but I never read the book – coincidentally, my colleague just told me last week that the ending was changed. I had no idea – they did that in My Sister’s Keeper too. Why do they do that??

  3. Totally agree with you that the movie adaptations were better than the books with both Bridget and Devil. I actually really liked the Something Borrowed movie, but then I never read the book and I find Ginnifer Goodwin incredibly charming. Colin Egglesfield was a bit stiff for me, though. Not quite sure why he had all of these women in love with him.

    • Thanks Tracie – it’s funny, when I see Something Borrowed is on HBO, I always turn it on despite the fact that the book was SO much better. I also like Ginnifer Goodwin. I have to dispute you about Colin Egglesfield – Dex might have been on the boring side but the actor who portrayed him was HOT.

      • To each their own, of course, but Colin reminds me too much of Tom Cruise. And I loathe Tom Cruise. Plus, whenever I see Colin, I think of him playing Erica’s aborted son on All My Children! 🙂

      • Ha! Sadly I remember that AMC story-line. I thought it was ridiculous at the time. And I wasn’t attracted to Colin either but in SOBO, I might have drooled. Don’t like the comparison to Tom Cruise at all! Not a fan!

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