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  #101  
Old 05-21-2020, 02:20 PM
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I liked the movie The Mouse that Roared better than the book. I think that it's due to Peter Sellers.
I thought the movie Dune was better than the book because it was easier to understand what was going on.
I enjoyed David Lynch's Dune more than the book as well. The additions were interesting and appropriate, from the Mentat's recitation before drinking the Juice of Sapho, to Baron Harkonnen's awful skin disease.
  #102  
Old 05-21-2020, 02:50 PM
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The kickass sf thriller Limitless is much different from, and IMHO quite a bit better than, the book which inspired it, Alan Glynn's The Dark Fields.

Likewise the excellent Boer War adventure and court-martial drama Breaker Morant, adapted from a book and play.

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The Hunt for Red October. The book is very good but the film is better, omitting a couple of subplots.

It’s too bad The Sum of All Fears was such an awful film, the book is beyond bloated. The movie changed too many things
Agreed. I think the movie of Patriot Games is also much better than the book.

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...Casino Royale – The 1967 movie is both better and worse than Fleming’s novel.
And the 2006 film is better than both.
  #103  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:08 PM
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The Lord of the Rings trilogy

There, I said it.
Well, true if you have a short attention span and no desire to make the effort to at least read the invented languages. The trilogy does not exactly lend itself to dramatization and the result is simply different. Unfortunately, films tend to trivialize, and my feeling is the LOTR is inherently prone to that.

I suppose that it wold not have been possible to have made a decent LOTR more than a few years earlier, given that it requires a large amount of good CGI, but to the more jaundiced you could say that it looked far too much like many another fantasy film and it was being copied before it even came out. In other words, a bad case of deja vu.

You could say the same about Dune, although frankly the film was weird, but then it described a very weird world. Dune is of course full of rather pseudo-Arabic language and references, which the film left out, but I saw the opposite treatment in a made for TV mini-series that covered just the first book in much more detail. After a time, I felt that it was excruciating detail.
  #104  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:10 PM
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A tie


Elmore Leonard's 'Rum Punch' and Tarantino's 'Jackie Brown'. Both sensational.
  #105  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:15 PM
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Dune


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I thought the movie Dune was better than the book because it was easier to understand what was going on.
The movie took (the better) bits from two books and cut the plot down to a simple defeat and revenge story, while using great visuals. The books are lengthy, and probably too verbose for most tastes.
  #106  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:16 PM
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Well, true if you have a short attention span and no desire to make the effort to at least read the invented languages.
I once read an author (S.M. Stirling perhaps) who said that an author working in a fantasy, science fiction, or alternative history setting should develop all of the details about how his world works - and then put them away in a drawer and write the story.
  #107  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:25 PM
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By the word


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And as a kid, I read lots on my own. I tried to read one classic novel in unabridged form. I think it was Robinson Crusoe, but the unabridged version was so long and so dull. We also had to read some Dickens novels in school and it seemed obvious that he was being paid by the word. (Much of his stuff was serialized and he was paid by the word.)
Authors from the 18C, such as Defoe, tend to be very verbose. I think most of us have only read RC in abridged editions, and no wonder.

As for Dickens, many of the 19C authors were paid by the word, and were also expected to crank out x pages for next week for whichever literary magazine was publishing them. This applies to authors such as Trollope, Bennett and Hardy as well, plus there are doubtless many more. Too bad if they wanted to rewrite anything.
  #108  
Old 05-21-2020, 03:33 PM
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I think The Princess Bride is often cited as an example where the movie is better than the book. Goldman was already a successful screenwriter when he wrote the novel, and when he wrote the screenplay he was able to improve upon his earlier work. But I like the novel a lot too.

For a more recent example, I would point to Crazy Rich Asians. The characters and the plot are really deepened and enriched in the movie. In particular, the character played by Michelle Yeoh is much more complex, sympathetic, and interesting than in the book, but that is far from the only improvement.

When a movie based on a short story, comparing the two is probably not going to be a good comparison. The movie just has to do so much more to flesh out its story.

If you think that the movie version of The Lord of the Rings is better than the book, perhaps reading isn't for you. (I refer to it as one book, because that's what Tolkien had in mind, although it was published as a trilogy.) LOTR is one of the great books of the 20th century. Its influence is enormous.
  #109  
Old 05-21-2020, 05:07 PM
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...

If you think that the movie version of The Lord of the Rings is better than the book, perhaps reading isn't for you. (I refer to it as one book, because that's what Tolkien had in mind, although it was published as a trilogy.) LOTR is one of the great books of the 20th century. Its influence is enormous.
True, but the film is also fantastic. Mind you, I think the book is better, but when they are both A++, the edge can be counted as personal preference.
  #110  
Old 05-21-2020, 05:56 PM
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If you think that the movie version of The Lord of the Rings is better than the book, perhaps reading isn't for you. (I refer to it as one book, because that's what Tolkien had in mind, although it was published as a trilogy.) LOTR is one of the great books of the 20th century. Its influence is enormous.
But you must admit that Troy is a lot more exciting than that dull old Iliad, and Man of La Mancha improves enormously on Don Quixote.
  #111  
Old 05-21-2020, 06:17 PM
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If you think that the movie version of The Lord of the Rings is better than the book, perhaps reading isn't for you. (I refer to it as one book, because that's what Tolkien had in mind, although it was published as a trilogy.) LOTR is one of the great books of the 20th century. Its influence is enormous.
I preferred the movie version of The Lord of the Rings over the books. And I have read the books. Or attempted to read them I should say. I don't doubt they are great or that they have had great literary influence. The books really aren't an easy read so it's not hard to see why people would prefer the movies to them. I think the books were written on level above all but the most serious readers could enjoy.

Last edited by dorvann; 05-21-2020 at 06:18 PM.
  #112  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:54 PM
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See, this is why trying to engage Ringheads is a waste of time. If you don't absolute adore their Precious as much as they do, you are immediately called names and insulted as to your intelligence, attention span and general reading ability.

For the record: I hold 4 Secondary Teaching Credentials, including one in English. I also have GATE and CLEP certifications and 33 years experience teaching at the high school level. So any random schmo out there who thinks I don't have either the attention span, brains or anything else it would take to read LotR can stuff it.
  #113  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:56 PM
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See, this is why trying to engage Ringheads is a waste of time. If you don't absolute adore their Precious as much as they do, you are immediately called names and insulted as to your intelligence, attention span and general reading ability.

For the record: I hold 4 Secondary Teaching Credentials, including one in English. I also have GATE and CLEP certifications and 33 years experience teaching at the high school level. So any random schmo out there who thinks I don't have either the attention span, brains or anything else it would take to read LotR can stuff it.
I still liked the books and found the movies boring.
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  #114  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:03 PM
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I still liked the books and found the movies boring.
And I respect your opinion. It is one shared by a large number of people.



Just not me.
  #115  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:24 PM
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See, this is why trying to engage Ringheads is a waste of time. If you don't absolute adore their Precious as much as they do, you are immediately called names and insulted as to your intelligence, attention span and general reading ability.

For the record: I hold 4 Secondary Teaching Credentials, including one in English. I also have GATE and CLEP certifications and 33 years experience teaching at the high school level. So any random schmo out there who thinks I don't have either the attention span, brains or anything else it would take to read LotR can stuff it.
Sorry, silenus, I couldn't resist the cheap shot. Obviously LOTR, like most classics, appeals to some but not others, and there are some very literate people who don't care for it.

In terms of comparing the book to the movies, though, I think they're like the movie adaptation of Moby-Dick: The movies are excellent, and the source book is one that many people find boring, just as I find Moby-Dick boring. But I have to admit that the book is a classic with enormous richness and that many people have found deeply satisfying, and that it's unlikely that the movie adaptation has the same stature. I would argue that LOTR is similar.
  #116  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:37 PM
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I read As You Wish by Cary Elwes a few months ago. His first-person story of what it was like to make the film. (No spoiler here) It's a really good little book. Fun to read.
I read As You Wish last year and really enjoyed it; on seeing how much Cary Elwes liked the Goodman novel, decided that it was worth looking at. I didn't expect to be as disappointed as I was.


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I agree. I read this a couple of months ago, too.

I wish Elwes had gotten a few better roles. He was good as Dudley in the virtually unknown Lady Jane Grey, and he was the perfect tool for sending up Robin Hood in Mel Brook's film, but everything else he was in -- not his performance -- was second-rate.
Yes, he strikes me as a case of sadly underutilized talent. I've heard that he's good in Glory, but it wasn't that big a role.

Last edited by gkster; 05-21-2020 at 10:39 PM.
  #117  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:47 PM
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No way! The movie was fabulous, but the book was even better. I've read/seen both many, many times.
You actually enjoyed the Lucy Mancini subplot?
  #118  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:49 PM
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You actually enjoyed the Lucy Mancini subplot?
I did.
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  #119  
Old 05-22-2020, 01:57 PM
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See, this is why trying to engage Ringheads is a waste of time. If you don't absolute adore their Precious as much as they do, you are immediately called names and insulted as to your intelligence, attention span and general reading ability.
Oh come now. You started out by saying "There I said it," indicating that you were fishing for that kind of response. And you never actually engaged, you just kept goading and goading by repeatedly saying they were boring without adding anything of value to your response. And you weren't "immediately called names," it took almost 100 posts and five days before someone really did that.

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For the record: I hold 4 Secondary Teaching Credentials, including one in English. I also have GATE and CLEP certifications and 33 years experience teaching at the high school level. So any random schmo out there who thinks I don't have either the attention span, brains or anything else it would take to read LotR can stuff it.
As a teacher, I'm surprise that you've done what you've done here: denigrate a work merely because you personally find it boring. How much sympathy do you have for students who insist something is "bad" just because they find it boring?
  #120  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:01 PM
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Where did I ever say the books were "bad?" Please quote me, because I don't recall ever posting that. I said I found the movies to be better than the books. You are the one that immediately jumped to the conclusion that I thought the books were "bad."

Last edited by silenus; 05-22-2020 at 02:03 PM.
  #121  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:03 PM
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Let the Right One In.

The book isn't bad, but the movie is a lot leaner and more compelling. I would recommend seeing the movie first, and if you're interested then read the book to fill in details and answer questions.
  #122  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:30 PM
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I said I found the movies to be better than the books. You are the one that immediately jumped to the conclusion that I thought the books were "bad."
Yes, but the only reason you cited was that you, personally, found the books boring. You never attempted to engage on any other level than that, and you did it over and over. I would expect something a little more cogent from an English teacher.
  #123  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:33 PM
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Let the Right One In.

The book isn't bad, but the movie is a lot leaner and more compelling. I would recommend seeing the movie first, and if you're interested then read the book to fill in details and answer questions.
Agreed. I had the same experience with Cold Mountain. Better to see the movie before turning to the book, although both are quite good.
  #124  
Old 05-22-2020, 02:36 PM
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Yes, but the only reason you cited was that you, personally, found the books boring. You never attempted to engage on any other level than that, and you did it over and over. I would expect something a little more cogent from an English teacher.
Nice dodge. Quote me or retract the statement. In a forum that is opinion-based to its very core, I expressed an opinion. You decided that opinion was somehow a blanket, objective judgment.

I'm waiting.

Last edited by silenus; 05-22-2020 at 02:38 PM.
  #125  
Old 05-22-2020, 10:22 PM
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One thing you guys need to add to your comments: which one did you read/watch first? My guess is that a vast majority of the time we like the one we encounter first better. That is certainly true of me. The few instances where I like the movie better are all cases where I saw the movie first:

The Princess Bride
Blade Runner

Blade Runner is interesting for me because after I saw it I decided to read most of PK Dick's books. After that, I thought every movie based on his stories was worse than the book.
  #126  
Old 05-23-2020, 12:54 AM
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One thing you guys need to add to your comments: which one did you read/watch first?
That seems to be generally true with me, although there are exceptions.

Arena: Saw the TV show first. Liked the TV show better.
Blade Runner: Read the book first. Liked both the book and movie.
Dune: Read the book first. Liked the book better. (This was the 1984 movie. I haven't seen the 2000 miniseries.)
The Godfather: Read the book first. Liked the movie better.
The Hobbit: Read the book first. Liked the book better.
The Hunt for Red October: Read the book first. Liked the book better.
Lord of the Rings: Read the book first. Liked the movies better.
Princess Bride: Read the book first. Liked both the book and movie.
Roger Rabbit: Saw the movie first. Liked the movie first.
Watchmen: Read the book first. Liked the book better.
Wizard of Oz: Saw the movie first. Liked the book better.
  #127  
Old 05-23-2020, 12:46 PM
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Let the Right One In.

The book isn't bad, but the movie is a lot leaner and more compelling. I would recommend seeing the movie first, and if you're interested then read the book to fill in details and answer questions.
Which movie?
  #128  
Old 05-23-2020, 12:58 PM
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Ice Station Zebra -- The movie's completely different from Maclean's novel, and better for it.
Disagree.

Perhaps not better, but certainly as good as:
The Sand Pebbles
The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (based on The Off-Islanders)
  #129  
Old 05-23-2020, 01:03 PM
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One thing you guys need to add to your comments: which one did you read/watch first? My guess is that a vast majority of the time we like the one we encounter first better.
Yes, but the question, as originally posed, was about movies that were better than the book, not movies that we liked better than the book.

If we're saying something about the movies and books themselves, and not about our personal reactions to them, then, theoretically at least, it shouldn't matter which we saw first.
  #130  
Old 05-23-2020, 01:30 PM
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[duplicate post]

Last edited by SCAdian; 05-23-2020 at 01:31 PM.
  #131  
Old 05-23-2020, 01:36 PM
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The Natural -- I haven't read Bernard Malamud's novel, but from all accounts the movie's much more satisfying.
Yes, it is much happier, for sure, but the book is more engaging. Roy is much more of a goody two shoes in the movie, and the changes really don't make a lot of sense. For example, in the movie, why did Roy go into exile for 16 years because of what happened with the crazy shooter? Why was he beating himself up so much? Because he thought of fornicating?

The book tells a pretty compelling story of someone who has extraordinary "Natural" talents but has a difficult and ultimately impossible task of overcoming his inherent personality flaws.

A couple of quotes in the movie, like Roy's father saying "You've got a great gift, son, but it's not enough" and Roy's "Some mistakes you never stop paying for" make so little sense in the movie, but fit nicely into the book.

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Shutter Island, where the part that makes the movie great isn't in the book.
SPOILER:
See I thought (and many disagree) that the ending was ambiguous as to whether Leonard DiCaprio was really crazy or that he was really onto the Nazi medical experiments on the island so they made him think he was crazy.
  #132  
Old 05-23-2020, 02:29 PM
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Which movie?
The Swedish one. Never saw the American remake, which (IIRC) was called Let Me In.
  #133  
Old 05-23-2020, 02:51 PM
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The Swedish one. Never saw the American remake, which (IIRC) was called Let Me In.
I've seen both, and both are very good, but I'd give a slight edge to the remake.
  #134  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:03 AM
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I'll bring up the two I always mention in these threads: After Hours (turned into Carlito's Way) and To Live and Die in L.A.

After Hours/Carlito's Way seemed to be a written as part of an experiment that never quite succeeded. It alternated between first and third person in a confusing way that took me out of the story, and while the characters were compelling, the movie made them far more interesting. For example, in the movie, Carlito Brigante was a tormented soul caught between two worlds and genuinely trying to do the right thing to live straight. In the book, he's an unrepentant hood, who doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself except to the extent they can help him escape his present situation.

To Live and Die in L.A. is easily my favorite movie from the 80s. It actually defined the 80s for me (Hell, it got sued by the makers of Miami Vice for copying them too closely for the love of Dog). The characters are complex, conflicted, and realistic in terms of reacting physically and morally to rapidly changing situations, and I don't think a better car chase exists anywhere on screen--and the best part is that even after the car chase, there's a huge chunk of the movie left, and it just keeps getting better and better until the uncompromising conclusion.

Well, after seeing that movie, I had to read the book, and . . . it was awful. There wasn't even a car chase, you stop giving a shit about any of the characters halfway through the book, and at the end, the story just . . . ends. I've read ingredient lists with more poignant endings. I had to watch the movie twice to get the book's taste out of my head. It was boring and stupid and a good object lesson as to how secret service skills don't translate very well to compelling prose.
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Last edited by Linty Fresh; 05-24-2020 at 09:06 AM.
  #135  
Old 05-24-2020, 12:35 PM
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The Swedish one. Never saw the American remake, which (IIRC) was called Let Me In.
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I've seen both, and both are very good, but I'd give a slight edge to the remake.
I prefer the Swedish, but yes, both were good.
  #136  
Old 05-24-2020, 12:44 PM
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I'll bring up the two I always mention in these threads: After Hours (turned into Carlito's Way) and To Live and Die in L.A.
I liked Martin Scorsese's After Hours. At least I remember enjoying it; haven't watched it in a while.
  #137  
Old 05-24-2020, 06:57 PM
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I liked Martin Scorsese's After Hours. At least I remember enjoying it; haven't watched it in a while.
Scorsese's film was not based on Edwin Torres' novel. It was instead based on a spoken word monologue by Joe Frank which he performed on NPR. But Joseph Minion, who wrote the script, did not credit Frank and Frank had to sue for payment.
  #138  
Old 05-24-2020, 08:31 PM
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Arthur Halley's novel Airport was hundreds of pages of extensive detail of the inner workings of an airport, spiced up with extramarital affairs by two of the major characters, a nervous breakdown by a third, and a rather long section with a protest by angry neighbors. The movie mercifully concentrated on a desperate man with a bomb and the effort to land the plane.
  #139  
Old 05-25-2020, 06:39 AM
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I remember being so sad the day I finished the LOTR. My mom was worried about me because I couldn’t explain why I was in tears over finishing a book. Thankfully I had Bored of the Rings nearby- I have no idea why, given the time when there was not anything like today’s media - and a stupid parody was enough to pull me out of the depths of my despair over not being able to live in the Shire any more.
  #140  
Old 05-28-2020, 02:06 PM
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If we include tv series, the Star Trek episode "Arena" is better than Fredric Brown's short story.

Although the connection between the story and the script is muddled. Gene Coon wrote the script for the show in 1967 and some people noticed it was similar to the story that Brown had written in 1944. To avoid possible legal problems, the studio bought the rights to Brown's story and gave him a credit.
If we include TV series Game of Thrones was better than the book.
  #141  
Old 05-31-2020, 03:45 AM
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If we include TV series Game of Thrones was better than the book.
I strongly disagree with that, much as I liked the series.
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  #142  
Old 05-31-2020, 09:31 AM
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I’ve always preferred the movies based on Tom Clancy’s novels to his books, mostly because I just don’t like his writing style which is really more of a personal quirk on my part than anything else.
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:54 PM
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Ever tried to read Forrest Gump or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?? I have no idea how they distilled the movies they did from those books.
  #144  
Old 05-31-2020, 01:00 PM
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If we include TV series Game of Thrones was better than the book.
There's no way I will find that out one way or another because I'm not going to read the books. The names in the TV series can be annoying enough, at least the ones that are supposed to vaguely echo an Olde English version of a real name. But the ones that are pronounced like a real name are usually spylled wyth randym lyttyrs changyd, and sometimes nouns other than names gyt thys exotyc trytment too. I don't think I could stand it through an entire book.
  #145  
Old 05-31-2020, 02:25 PM
Linty Fresh is online now
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Originally Posted by DummyGladHands View Post
Ever tried to read Forrest Gump or One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?? I have no idea how they distilled the movies they did from those books.
I agree with you about Forrest Gump, but I loved One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It was classic Beat. The narrative was disjointed and stream of consciousness, because the narrator was suffering from schizophrenia. Now I loved the film, too, but I think the book went into great detail, especially with what made Randall tick.

I feel the same way about the movie and the book with another work I see mentioned in this kind of thread, A Clockwork Orange. Now Kubrick's movie was fine. I don't have a complaint with it, but it changed a few things from the book and left a few important things out (and not just the original ending). Malcolm McDowell played Alex very differently from how Alex came off in the book. Book Alex was not as charming or as good-looking as he was in the movie. The movie Alex seduced two consenting grown women with his patter; the book Alex raped two ten-year-olds after getting them drunk.

Also, except for his love of music (gone into more detail in the novel), book Alex was not as intelligent as he was portrayed in the movie. Book Alex had problems with analogy and abstract thought, which is one of the reasons he kept finding himself in those fucked-up criminal situations and the equally fucked-up rehabilitation situations. Book Alex couldn't see six inches in front of his face. Book Alex was your typical dumbfuck delinquent with a genetic wrinkle that allowed him to appreciate Beethoven and other great composers. Malcolm McDowell's Alex was just a liiiiiiittle too smart and glib.

It was that very stupidity in the book, apparent in the agonizing of Alex trying to make sense of youth, predestination, and his own limited place in the grand scheme of things according to his own dim lights, that produced some of the best prose and best insights that I've ever come across in a modern novel--once I got past the nadsat slang. Reading Alex's thoughts actually helped me come to grips with some of the things I had to face growing up.

To be fair, most of that could never be put on screen, and I think Kubrick did his best with what he had, especially as he probably did not have access to the book's final chapter, but the book was extremely compelling. And Burgess didn't even like it. Huh . . . just goes to show . . .
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Last edited by Linty Fresh; 05-31-2020 at 02:26 PM.
  #146  
Old 05-31-2020, 04:09 PM
Jane Elliot is online now
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The Scarlet Pimpernel. I've seen at least 3 adaptations of the book and enjoyed every one. The book is terrible. I never finished it because it infuriated me. All the big action scenes were told in flashback instead of in the middle of the action. Drove me crazy, so I threw it against a wall.
  #147  
Old 05-31-2020, 04:23 PM
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I'll go wit the 1964 film Fail-Safe. The book was excellent but the performances of the actors - especially Henry Fonda made it a masterpiece ... along with the scene of the ambassador's phone melting.
  #148  
Old Yesterday, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CalMeacham View Post
I agree with most of the above, and will add:

Goldfinger -- this one's practically obligatory in these threads. The movie observed the logical shortciomings in the book (Goldfinger really DID want to steal the gold from Fort Knox) and fixed it.

I've given Fleming's Bond books and short stories several chances, but have nearly universally found the film adaptations more enjoyable and entertaining than the source material.
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