Bad movies from good books

What is it with making everything old into something new and “edgy”? A case in point:this is not your father’s whaling book. :rolleyes:

Haven’t seen that one – but the John Huston “Moby Dick” was pretty crummy too.

All Henry James adaptations, except for the adaptation of “The Turn of the Screw” with Deborah Kerr, pretty much suck, as do all Proust adaptations. There are a few OK Prousts – hint, they’re all recent, and French – but none of them make any sense really without knowing the novel.

Ahem. Starship Troopers.

Not updated, and certainly not “edgy,” but John Irving’s great book A Prayer for Owen Meany is barely recognizable as Simon Birch.

It’s still set in the '60s, but the writer/director opted to remove all references to the war in Vietnam, because “people don’t relate to Vietnam anymore, it was such a long time ago.” (This is kind of like re-imagining Moby Dick without any reference to the whale.) Everything else that might be marginally interesting was omitted, and some sugary new stuff was made up, and the end result seemed more like it was adapted from a glurge e-mail than from John Irving.

The writer/director went on to redeem himself somewhat with his infinitely more adept adaptation of Daredevil.*

*May contain faint praise.

“Sheila Levine Is Dead and Living In New York”. Witty, droll, sad book by Gail Parent, about single girls in pre-Sex In The City Days (when the middle class could live there). Movie was made starring Roy Schneider (!), forgot who played ‘Sheila’, had nothing to do with the book. And it stunk. It has sunk like a stone and been long forgotten, and justifiably so.

Memoirs of an Invisible Man. Excelent book, crappy movie.

Uh… yeah.

Seems like the opposite case would be alot harder to think of examples of. The number of poor film renditions of good books is pretty astronomical.

But while the results are mixed, I kinda like when they try and change stuff up from the original story. Watching a by the numbers recreation of a book is kinda boring.

As Simplicio says, too many to count

**Starship Troopers

I, Robot

Memoirs of an Invisible Man

Riverworld** (twice!)

Earthsea (the Syfy version, not the anime one)

Th Lord of the Rings (Ralph Bakshi version)

**This Island Earth

The Andromeda Strain ** (recent TV movie Version)

Bonfire of the Vanities (classic case)

Damnation Alley

From the Earth to the Moon** (verne adaptation, not the HBO series)

The Sea Beast (silent version of Moby Dick)

The Lost World (1960 version)
A lot of Sherlock Holmes movies, including A Study in Scarlet
and too many more. But I’m busy

Has there ever been a good adaptation of a Vonnegut novel? “Who Am I This Time?” gets a pass because A) it was for TV and B) it starred Walken.

I think Mother Night was well-adapted, and Nick Nolte did fine in it.

The film adaptation of The Postman was far better than the original novel by David Brin. Will Patton stole the show. His character, General Bethlehem - one of the greatest film villains ever - wasn’t even in the novel!

This is in the non-fiction category, but Into Thin Air was one of the best books I’ve read in that genre but movie was just awful.

For those of us who haven’t read the Starship Troopers book the film was amazing. :slight_smile:

I hesitate to mention this, because the dear father of a once-dear friend directed it, but the 1967 film adaptation of Joyce’s Ulysses didn’t fare so well among most critics. But those critics were sympathetic; they understood that it was a very tough book to bring to the screen, and that the filmmakers probably did as well as anyone could hope for.

How about Between Time and Timbuktu?
Even though it was made for TV.

…ly bad.

My name is a killing word.


Most adaptions of Agatha Christie mysteries are pretty poor.

I don’t know why Directors thnk that some unknown screenwriter will be able to ‘improve’ the story & plot conceived by one of the best-selling, foremost mystery writers of all time.

The most recent version of Alice in Wonderland was stunningly bad in parts, though people seemed to respond to it. But its biggest crime was that it was neither a literal adaptation nor a film that at least tried to get to the spirit of the text (like Dune). It wasn’t even an attempt to parody the original text (like Starship Troopers).

It was an attempt to shoehorn elements from the book into a by-the-numbers screenplay format. The Mad Hatter has no rhyme nor reason to his behaviour in the book because he is a figure of nonsense, not because he’s in pain after witnessing mass-murder. Inner motivation–a concept usually required of good character development–is totally absent from the book for a very good reason. Screenwriters adapting unusual books need to know when rules must be broken.

Giving characters reasoning behind their actions is so contrary to Carroll’s intent (as is giving the story a “message”) that it was essentially a film bearing no similarity to the book except on the most superficial level.