Monday, August 1, 2011

Novel Film Blogfest - Day 1

I guess it's technically Night 1. Er...sorry for the delay with this post! I am blogging as part of Scribble and Edit's Novel Film Blogfest...

I warn you. My list of titles that I have both seen and read is not long. I established a rule a few years ago not to read the book after I see the movie. Election is one of my favorite movies. It's also one of the best movies of the past 20 years, but that's another blog post for another time. I had decided to read the book, since I loved the movie so much. And much to my dismay, the two are very dissimilar. The premise is the same, but not much else. The Tracy and Mr. M in the book didn't sound at all like Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. In short, I hated the book. I found it dull.

The best part about reading a book is using your imagination to fill in the gaps - visualizing a character in your head, picturing the setting. But a movie does that for you. Tracy in the book was not like Tracy in the movie, among other differences, and that made it difficult for me to enjoy the novel on its own terms. So from then on, I would not let myself go back and read books if I'd already seen the movie. Currently, I am actually breaking that rule. I picked up The First Wives Club at a thrift store en route to the beach because it was the only book they had that seemed interesting. Even though I'm picturing the actresses in the 3 main roles, I'm working hard to not think of the movie and remembering that the two are separate entities.

Without further ado, my small list of books and movies I have both read (and there's probably a few I may be forgetting):

The Devil Wears Prada
Along Came a Spider
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
The Time Machine
Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightley version)
The Bonfire of the Vanities
I Know What You Did Last Summer
Gossip Girl (this is a TV show)
The Rules of Attraction
The Help (I will see this movie when it comes out in 11 days)
Bringing Down the House (movie version: 21, not the Steve Martin/Queen Latifah movie)
In Cold Blood (movie: Capote)


  1. It's strange seeing great works in your list next to "I Know What You Did Last Summer". lol thanks for the wellwishes on my blog. You are awesome sir.

  2. Gosh there is much there I have not seen or read. I have seen Devil Wears Prada, would like to read novel and the help. I didn't realise The Help had already been made into a film. Thanks for joining in. Great list :O)

  3. @Michael - "I Know What you Did..." is a superb YA book. Lois Duncan is right next to Caroline B Cooney and RL Stine in the pantheon of great 90s YA writers. Also check out Killing Mr. Griffin, easily Duncan's best book. The movie, though, is wonderful 90s horror cheese and will always hold a place in my 13-year-old heart.

    @Madeleine - The Help is coming out in theaters in the US on August 12 and should get released in the UK around that same time. And if you're thinking of reading The Devil Wears Prada, check out my blog post tomorrow before purchasing.

  4. Wow! Cool!
    Thanks for sharing, Phil. :)

  5. To me, it always depends on what you encountered first that determines what you'll like (in most cases). If I <3ed the book, the movie is sure to mess it up, and if I loved the movie, I can't get the actors out of my head to read the book clearly.

  6. Great list. I've read The Help. For me, it was a bit of a slow read and some of the more intriguing things sort of dragged on a while. Not exactly a glowing review but it was worth the read. I look forward to catching the movie when it comes out.

    I agree, though, I don't like watching the movie then trying to read the book. It just doesn't work for me.

  7. @Kelley - That's very true. Of the rares times when I read the book before the movie, I always enjoyed the book more.

    @Angela - I hope you enjoy The Help movie more than the book!

  8. Dang! I totally forgot about "I Know What You Did Last Summer" when I made up my list. I knew I'd forget some!


  9. The only one on your list that I've both seen and read is Pride and Prejudice. I've seen every film version and I thought the Keira Knightley version was by far the worst and my favorite was the 1940 version with Laurence Olivier as Mr. Darcy. The TV versions were excellent and very true to the book, but obviously they were also very long.

    Tossing It Out

  10. I forgot about The Devil Wears Prada! I would say I enjoyed the book and movie equally as much. I liked the book's ending better, but Meryl Streep managed to gain some sympathy for her character in the movie version.

  11. @Nina - It's never too late to add it!

    @Arlee - It's funny. I feel like everyone in this blogfest HATES the keira knightley version. I'm sure if I had seen the Colin Firth BBC adaptation, I would feel the same way. My friend keeps getting me to watch it, but 10 hours? I don't know if I have the attention span.

    @Jennifer - See my last post on Devil Wears Prada. My favorite part about the book's ending was when she sold all her clothes for like $38k and lived off that. I wish I could do that w/ MY old clothes :)

  12. I don't recall specifically why it was that is disliked the most recent P & P version, but I think they left out some key elements of the story and they threw in some elements that seemed to try to update the story. The BBC adaptation is indeed long, but it is so faithfully trying to recreate the novel that it must be long in order to get everything in. The long versions can be understood easily without reading the book. The recent version had the feel of a flighty bad storyteller trying to tell about the book and leaving out key elements. I had just finished reading the book when I saw that version and there were still parts of the movie that confused me. But maybe I was looking at it the wrong way. It would be interesting to hear the reaction of someone who saw the 2005 version but hadn't read the book to see if the film was coherent enough to someone who didn't know the story already.

    Tossing It Out

  13. I can't believe I just made the connection between I Know What You Did and the book I read 15+ years ago.


    WOW. I wore that book out! Oh man, I'm flipping out over here.

    You have no idea what you just started. My mother found a cache of my old MG books in her garage that I haven't picked up yet. IIRC, this had a neon pink cover...I gotta go...

  14. Ha! You're the 3rd person to comment on this blog about I Know What you Did Last Summer. I loved that book! The movie is definitely different. No Collingsworth Wilson. Lois Duncan and Caroline B. Cooney were da bomb. I suggest you also read Killing Mr Griffin and Face on the Milk Carton. Thanks for stopping by!