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Author Topic: Bad books that have/would make good movies
Occasional
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I was just thinking because of the other post about good books making bad movies about the opposite. As an example, I hated reading Wurthering Hights. It was the only book in college where I read the Clifts Notes to avoid reading.

On the other hand, the black and white classic movie adaption (is there any others?) was a great watch. It had wonderful acting and the story was edited down where the book dragged. This, by the way, didn't have to do with victorian writing as I have read and finished others of the same genre and time period.

Anyway, any other thoughts?

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Amanecer
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These aren't movies, but I've rather enjoyed the Showtime series Dexter and the HBO series True Blood. Good as the series are, both of the books that they're based on are incredibly sub par.
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Raia
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Twilight.

...wait.

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Dagonee
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Forrest Gump.
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PSI Teleport
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While I don't think Jane Austen's books are bad, I definitely think they have the potential for better movies. Austen's prose is very interesting, but some of the rambling, side-plots, and unimportant characters can be cut, focusing on the best parts.

I watched "Pride & Prejudice" with Keira Knightly before reading the book, and I was shocked at how much time I spent waiting for something to happen while reading.

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Lisa
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M*A*S*H.
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AirLightTimeSpace
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
These aren't movies, but I've rather enjoyed the Showtime series Dexter and the HBO series True Blood. Good as the series are, both of the books that they're based on are incredibly sub par.

I would say that Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Season 1 are about neck and neck for the 1 spot. Season 2, while on some shaky ground, was exciting. Dearly Devoted was dull, however, and I don't even want to talk about Dexter in the Dark.
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Christine
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These books weren't exactly bad since I loved them as a child, but when I reread them as an adult I found that they talked down to me and were very tell-y and anyway, I just finished watching Prince Caspian last night and I realized that I have been enjoying the new Chronicles of Narnia movies more than the books. They've actually managed to bring more characterization into it, which is saying something for a movie to be able to do that better than a book!
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Amanecer
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quote:
I would say that Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Season 1 are about neck and neck for the 1 spot.
I just couldn't get in to the books because Dexter is so unfeeling and inhuman in them. It just alienated me. They claim he's that in the tv show, but he's clearly not- he cares about his sister, Rita, the kids, and he even his co-workers.
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Puffy Treat
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I find it unfortunate that C.S. Lewis died before a planned revision of the series could be written. I can't help but wonder what he'd have changed. Prince Caspian (The book) is definitely one of the weaker books in the series.

(Have you ever tried his adult novels? Till We Have Faces is very good.)

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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Raia:
Twilight.

...wait.

"See this skin? This is the skin of a KILLER!"
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PSI Teleport
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Yeah, that one was actually added in . I read that the screenwriter, Rosenberg, tried to edit the cheese out of the "sick, masochistic lion" line, but Meyer put her foot down. At least Rosenberg made the "as long as I'm going to hell" line sound funny.
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Orincoro
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Can't believe no one has mentioned these:

The Bourne Trilogy.

:::Possible Spoilers::: but nothing to get you in a twist if you've seen the movies:

Robert Ludlum's Bourne Identity starts off really well, with some interesting intrigue and characterization that don't actually happen in the movie, so that about 50 pages of the book deal with what the movie did in only 5 minutes or so. But then, the action in the book grinds to a halt, and Ludlum spends literally 5 pages at a time talking about minute aspects of banking policies and wire transfers and finances... it's honestly surreal. That, and Ludlum's idea of suspense is to have Bourne talking to someone, and then in the middle of the conversation, the person is shot by some unseen assailant... this seems to happen over and over again in his novels. I couldn't continue after about 100 pages of Bourne Identity.


I'll add a controversial pick, that few will agree on. Lord of the Rings.

I find the prospect of wading through the shoulder high muck and leaden dialogue of these books repulsive. I got over a hundred pages into Fellowship before I cast it aside in disgust.

On the topic of great books that can't be made into good films, any work of H.G. Wells, who proves that writing always was, and always will be the greatest domain of science fiction.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Puffy Treat:
I find it unfortunate that C.S. Lewis died before a planned revision of the series could be written. I can't help but wonder what he'd have changed. Prince Caspian (The book) is definitely one of the weaker books in the series.

(Have you ever tried his adult novels? Till We Have Faces is very good.)

I didn't realized he'd planned a revision. That might have been interesting. Agreed about Prince Caspian...the book was the weakest of the lot. I'm excited for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I really hope they finish the series in movie form. My favorite book was actually 5 -- A Horse and His Boy -- but for reasons that might not make it the best on the screen.

I've read most of his adult novels, but I don't think "Till We Have Faces" was one of them.

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Cashew
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Have to agree on the Bourne movies/books. I sort of enjoyed the first book, so bought the other two on the strength of the movies, and sat dazed, waiting for something vaguely interesting to happen. Haven't even bothered with the third book - anyone want to buy a copy..?
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Corwin
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I'll add a controversial pick, that few will agree on. Lord of the Rings.

Drat. I thought I'd be the first one to say it. Although the movies still dragged at times, and they still kept a never-ending ending, although a bit less never-ending than in the book. But yeah, I got to practice my diagonal reading with those books! [Smile] I did finish them as there were enough parts that I liked, and I don't usually let a book unfinished.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Corwin:
quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
I'll add a controversial pick, that few will agree on. Lord of the Rings.

Drat. I thought I'd be the first one to say it. Although the movies still dragged at times, and they still kept a never-ending ending, although a bit less never-ending than in the book. But yeah, I got to practice my diagonal reading with those books! [Smile] I did finish them as there were enough parts that I liked, and I don't usually let a book unfinished.
How about an even more controversial viewpoint...

The books were all right and I appreciated them from a certain historical point of view.

The movies sucked. The best thing I can say for them is that if I ever have trouble sleeping, they'd work better than any pill!

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Lisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Cashew:
Have to agree on the Bourne movies/books. I sort of enjoyed the first book, so bought the other two on the strength of the movies, and sat dazed, waiting for something vaguely interesting to happen. Haven't even bothered with the third book - anyone want to buy a copy..?

What about the fourth and fifth ones? Nowadays, dying doesn't get in the way, much.
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Scott R
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Eragon should have been a great movie. It was a terrible book, though, and in this case, they didn't have anyone more competent composing the movie than the person composing the book.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Lisa:
quote:
Originally posted by Cashew:
Have to agree on the Bourne movies/books. I sort of enjoyed the first book, so bought the other two on the strength of the movies, and sat dazed, waiting for something vaguely interesting to happen. Haven't even bothered with the third book - anyone want to buy a copy..?

What about the fourth and fifth ones? Nowadays, dying doesn't get in the way, much.
Well, the 4th and 5th (and coming 6th) were licensed adaptions by Eric Van Lustbader, and though I fail to find a word in my literary lexis that tops "abysmal," I can provide you with a choice quote I memorized from the 4th, The Bourne Legacy: "Kahn felt as if his brain would explode, he was shaken to his very foundation."

Take that for what you will.

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Orincoro
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This next suggestion may be blasphemy on this board, but what about Empire?

:Spoilers:

Of course, nothing about the novel works even remotely well in the context of a film, but all of the pieces for a good film are there. Small town guy who speaks Farsi and is an Iraq war veteran, plots to take over the country, big media involvement, minor acts of heroism, and a megalomaniacal ring leader.

Nix all the heavy handed dialogue and stuff about liberals v. conservatives and preachy family values, and throw out the cheesy mechs, and you have the makings of a decent thriller. I would say one thing it has going for it is a story about the thirst for power and conflict actually having a real effect on *most* of America, which most movies simply avoid by setting the action in some distant place, and then whining about how unsympathetic and insulated Americans can be.

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Architraz Warden
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I don't really think it's a bad book, but I think Jennifer Government might fit in this category. While the book is most certainly tounge-in-cheek and sarcastic to an extreme, it could be made to a enjoyable, over the top, and possibly even smart film in the right hands.

I really have no clue who those right hands might belong to though...

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Puffy Treat
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Eragon should have been a great movie. It was a terrible book, though, and in this case, they didn't have anyone more competent composing the movie than the person composing the book.

I felt so sorry for the dude cast as Eragon. Here he was, doing his best to give a sincere (even sweet) performance with atrocious material. Everyone else was phoning it in or hamming it up.
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Sachiko
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Robert Aspirin's Myth series would make a fun, adequate miniseries.
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rivka
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Are you calling them bad books? *GLARE*
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Vadon
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I think Jennifer Government would make a pretty good movie in the right hands.
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Sterling
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Yeah, I'd third Jennifer Government. Get someone on the line, will ya?

I thought the Myth books were great, up until Asprin's (IRS induced?) hiatus. When he came back to it, it felt like he had forgotten a lot about what made the characters who they were.

(Hmm... I wonder who you could get to do Aahz, in voice or person? Richard Moll? Ving Rhames?)

quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
The movies sucked. The best thing I can say for them is that if I ever have trouble sleeping, they'd work better than any pill!

Ooh, blasphemy. You're gonna burn in Mordor for that. [Wink]

quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Eragon should have been a great movie. It was a terrible book, though, and in this case, they didn't have anyone more competent composing the movie than the person composing the book.

It was almost, but not quite, worth seeing for the sheer enjoyment of ragging on it's badness. How they clearly spent all their budget on dragon CGI and A-list actors in supporting roles, and had none left for fight choreography or making their generic-brand Orcs look like something other than dirty humans. How Malkovich appeared to have done his bit on a sound stage and never come into contact with most of the other actors in the movie. How the bad guys made such a habit of harming and killing their minions who came back to them with bad news that one began to wonder why they bothered coming back at all. About a hundred pages of book reduced to, "Here, let's set you uncle's house on fire." And so on...
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Eragon should have been a great movie. It was a terrible book, though, and in this case, they didn't have anyone more competent composing the movie than the person composing the book.

It could have been a good movie. The plot is just Star Wars 2.0 with some LOTR seasoning. And people seem to like those movies well enough.

Might have been better if they hadn't picked a ridiculously awful actor to actually play Eragon.

On a guilty pleasure level, I actually don't mind the books. I haven't gotten to the most recent one yet, and don't really plan to anytime soon, but I am curious to see how it ends, and whether or not it involves Ewoks at any point. His word usage is really weird, like he was sitting with a thesaurus next to him, and judging from the variety of words he used, many of which didn't quite fit, I'm guessing it's a pretty well worn book. If you don't go in expecting some masterpiece (I think it's quality has been overblown in its rise to popularity), then it's a fun read.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
I thought the Myth books were great, up until Asprin's (IRS induced?) hiatus. When he came back to it, it felt like he had forgotten a lot about what made the characters who they were.

That's fair.
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AirLightTimeSpace
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quote:
Originally posted by Amanecer:
quote:
I would say that Darkly Dreaming Dexter and Season 1 are about neck and neck for the 1 spot.
I just couldn't get in to the books because Dexter is so unfeeling and inhuman in them. It just alienated me. They claim he's that in the tv show, but he's clearly not- he cares about his sister, Rita, the kids, and he even his co-workers.
I agree entirely, except that was the reason I preferred the book to the series. It didn't waffle (at least not yet) with Dexter's sociopathy. I want me some grade-A effed up.
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scifibum
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"They claim he's that in the tv show, but he's clearly not- he cares about his sister, Rita, the kids, and he even his co-workers."

True, there are glimmers of decency. However, he doesn't care enough about any of them to avoid doing things that are likely - almost guaranteed - to cause them a great deal of pain as soon as he gets caught.

I actually enjoyed how he was reaching for human decency in the 2nd season - and he keeps doing it in a different way in the 3rd season, with his attempts to make a real friend - but so far the TV Dexter hasn't shown that he can put any relationship or ideal above his compulsions.

I'm hoping the season finale isn't too much of a cliffhanger.

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Olivet
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Angels and Demons?

It's only bad stylistically and in its uncommon harshness with the Catholic Church. The pacing is really good if you can muscle past the clunky prose. The sentences hit you like pea gravel thrown up by the speeding car of the plot.

What?!? They're making that movie now? Why, no, I had no idea.

*sigh* Okay, I lied.

Yes, I only suggested it because it will have Ewan McGregor in it. In a CASSOCK. *swoon*

Yes, he hasn't made a really good movie in forever. I haven't even bothered seeing the last three. But, but... [whine] he'll be in a CASSOCK!!!

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