Great Adaptations: 5 Great Novels made into 5 Great Movies

Envy Sloth presents 5 by 5 Great Adaptations:

5 Great Novels made into 5 Great Movies.

The rules are simple.

a) I had to have read and loved the book and loved the movie.
b) The movie can’t be substantially better than the book.
and
c) The book can’t be a lot better than the movie.

Got it? Here we go…

At number five.

Cover of "The World According to Garp"

The World According to Garp

written by John Irving

I loved this book.

I mean I completely loved this book.

I identified with T.S. Garp in so many ways, it was almost embarrassing.

I found so many correlations between

my life

and his.

Great book.

The World According to Garp

directed by George Roy Hill

I did not expect to like the movie as much as I did.

John Lithgow as Roberta, Glenn Close as Jenny and the incredible Robin Williams

bring the book to life in such an amazing way.

Now…

Does anyone know what’s up next?

Miss Granger?

Harry Potter.”

100 points for Gryffindor.

At number four.

Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosophe...

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone

written by J.K. Rowling

The first one will always be my favorite. The introduction to that world, the freshness of it.

The title was changed to Sorcerer’s Stone for us ignorant Americans

Because when an American hears Philosopher’s Stone…

we think of a university professor getting high between lectures. (I think that’s why they changed the title… right?)

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone

directed by Chris Columbus

The movie captures the magic of the first book beautifully.

My favorite movie in the series is Goblet of Fire but my favorite book is the first

.

And Chris Columbus does a masterful job bringing Rowling’s words to the screen.

A great beginning to a wonderful series.

At number three.

The Witches of Eastwick

The Witches of Eastwick

written by John Updike

One of my favorite books turned into one of my favorite movies.

I can’t remember who gave this book to me.

I think it was a woman who I didn’t know very well.

A work colleague, maybe. She just handed it to me out of the blue and told me to read it. (that happens to me a lot or at least it used to)

I loved it.

Thanks,

whoever you were.

The Witches of Eastwick

directed by George Miller

This one I knew would make for a good movie and the star power alone with Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon & Michelle Pfeiffer, You just knew it would be worth the price of admission.

But I had no idea how often I would quote the film. I drop lines from this movie all the time. If you haven’t seen it, rent it. So you can see where the shit that comes out of my mouth comes from.

At number two.

Lolita

written by Vladimir Nabokov

My

Favorite writer.

My

Favorite director.

One of my

Top ten favorite books.

And top 20 favorite movies

and that’s

good enough

for this

list.

Lolita

directed by Stanley Kubrick

The movie and the book are very different but the theme, the atmosphere, the intangibles are all present.

The book and the film complement each other so well. Thanks in no small part to Nabokov’s adaptation of his most famous novel

and of course Kubrick’s camera.

But topping my list of Great Books made into (just as) Great Movies is…

At number one.

Who didn’t see this coming?

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

written by J.R.R. Tolkien

I read the books back in High School.

Needless to say I absorbed them and they became a part of my being.

It’s the only work of fiction that I have read in paperback,

own in hardcover,

listened to the audio book,

the BBC radio adaptation,

read the comic book,

saw the animated film and the feature film,

own the theatrical version on Blu-ray and the extended version on DVD.

(whew)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

directed by Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson took on an immense project and did an amazing job.

At least once a year, I pull out my extended version of the trilogy and spend the day in Middle Earth.

Of the book trilogy and the film trilogy, the second one is my favorite in both cases.

The Two Towers tops my list.

Honorable mention goes to Blade Runner or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (by Philip K. Dick & Ridley Scott) It missed being on the list because even though the book is good, the movie is substantially better.

and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (by Hunter S. Thompson & Terry Gilliam) For the opposite reason. I mean, the movie is good but the book is a lot better.

Lastly, Smeagol, listen to me, always remember to read the book before seeing the film that way you can be your own art director.

Okay, suit yourself Smeagol.

I’ll see you on the couch.

– Sloth

Advertisements

The New British Invasion (5 best British dramas that you really should be watching)

Matt Smith

The other day a friend asked me what movie should she see in the theater and I didn’t have an answer for her because in my opinion at this time in history the best entertainment value is found right in your own home with full seasons of amazing TV dramas.

But as I was trying to compile a list of my favorite (current) TV dramas, I noticed that half of them weren’t even American shows but great shows from across the pond.

The brits are kicking TV’s ass!

Setting aside the premium channels and their ability to have nudity, violence and graphic language (as well as afford top talent in front of and behind the camera) my top ten include all three AMC shows (Zombies, Dealers & Admen oh my) Fringe (on FOX so you know it will be cancelled prematurely), Justified (because Timothy Olyphant is truly Olyphant-astic) And the following five BBC shows that are available on Netflix or BBC America.

1) Downton Abbey


I’ve always been a fan of the subtle drama especially when it’s well-written and well-acted. Downton Abbey is immensely enjoyable and engrossing. And has become a guilty pleasure.

Even when the characters are annoying me with their inability to communicate or share their feelings, I am loving every minute of it. This show just drew me in and held my attention and now I can’t get enough of this family and their servants and their trials and mishaps. Bates and his infuriating need to do the right thing. Mary and her frustrating inability to make life decisions. I can’t help but enjoy the character arcs. The younger sisters’ growth. The evil duo’s conniving and scheming. I love this show. A must see if for no other reason than to witness Maggie Smith steal every scene that she is in.

Lovely show.

2) The Hour


I don’t know if this show is coming back but I hope it does. Usually when a show tries to be too many things at once it fails miserably but The Hour succeeds as a period piece, an industry drama, a political thriller and a tale of espionage and intrigue. It is a fantastic show on so many levels with great performances from the entire cast.


Ben Whishaw is brilliant.

3) Sherlock

Steven Moffat‘s Sherlock Holmes retelling is fresh and funny and entertaining. But mostly it’s smart. It’s such a smart show.

4) Luther

Luther

Luther is a large black man with anger problem who doesn’t always play by the rules (remind you of anyone?) who is played by the gorgeous Idris Elba. Luther just happens to be really good at his job. What is his job? You ask. Catching serial killers. The show is amazing, suspenseful and engaging.

Although Ruth Wilson‘s hauntingly beautiful psycho-socio-pathic serial killer/love interest who makes the first season fun, appears less in the second. (Please bring her back) The show is still thrilling and tense. And the theme song is just plain choice.

5) Dr. Who

I started watching the tales of the body changing time lord when I was a kid.

Tom Baker was my Doctor and I never missed an episode. I remember the day he regenerated. (When a time lord dies [circumstances permitting] he regenerates into a completely different person with the memories but a different personality) I think I wept. I may have yelled “who the fuck is this guy?” But I know I turned off the TV and never watched the show again. However when Russell T. Davies rebooted the show in 2005 I was there with bells on.

He immediately let the audience know not to get too attached to any character as he breathed new life into the story of the lonely time traveler. And then he handed the reigns to Steven Moffat. And Mr. Moffat made magic.

All five shows are available to stream on Netflix right now. And don’t worry about the accents. After a while you start to understand them and except for the occasional colloquial term, it’s not hard to follow.

So put the kettle on. Grab a comfortable seat and enjoy.

No passport required.

Meet you on the couch…

-Sloth

Related articles

5 by 5: My 5 Favorite Films by My 5 Favorite Directors (3/5)

Sorry for the long time between posts. Thank you for waiting…

Image

Continuing with our 5 by 5 Filmmakers series (to recap #1 The Master: Stanley Kubrick and #2 The Artist: Martin Scorcese) with #3

The Brothers:

Joel & Ethan Coen

Image

There are a number of successful film-making brothers in movies. Some of them very talented like Ridley & Tony Scott. (More from one of them later) Some are hit or miss like the Wachovski siblings. And some I just can’t get into like The Farrelly Boys. But the best (the best Jerry) are the Coen brothers, Ethan & Joel (or Joel & Ethan depending on which side of the equator you live on).

With Joel & Ethan Coen you get this incredible combination of Billy Wilder & Alfred Hitchcock or Woody Allen & Francis Ford Coppola.

At number 3 on my list we give you 2 for the price of 1 with Joel & Ethan Coen.

Image

Barton Fink (1991)

Image

My favorite Coen Brothers film is Barton Fink. It was by accident that I saw it in the theater. I hadn’t heard of them nor had I heard of it. I was out walking in the village. Trying to work through a little writer’s block. Walked by this theater and said to myself that I will buy a ticket to see the next movie starting. And as with most things in my life it was really good timing because it was a movie about writer’s block.

The story of how they wrote the film is interesting. They were blocked while writing Miller’s Crossing and churned out Barton Fink in the interim as a way to work through it. And it is an amazing film. So funny. So interesting. So entertaining. As always they get great performances from their cast and every line is infinitely quotable.

Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Image

Miller’s Crossing is, in my opinion, one of the best mob films ever made (sorry Marty). It is a gripping, suspenseful, thriller. When I first saw this movie. I thought of it as a collection of perfect scenes. All these amazing and perfect scenes stitch together to form a story. Every scene is phenomenal from the first shot to the last, from the first word or action to the last and fit together into a masterpiece of film-making brilliance.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

Image

I can’t go two days without hearing someone quote The Big Lebowski. A true classic. Very funny.

Image

Fargo (1996)

Image

Frances McDormand. Frances McDormand. Frances McDormand.

Just a great movie.

O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000)

Image

I had to include this film on my list for the soundtrack alone but it is one of the most entertaining re-imaginings of Homer that I have ever seen. Make no mistake O Brother, Where Art Thou is a music driven film. It has some of the best Bluegrass music out there. Check out this scene with The Soggy Bottom Boys doing some “mighty fine a-pickin’ & a-singin’ ”

There are so many more cult classics, award winners and great movies from these guys; No Country for Old Men, Raising Arizona, True Grit etc. They rarely mis-fire but even when they do you will find some interesting performances, some incredible writing and picture perfect scenes in every film. Whether comedy or suspense (or some strange amalgam of both) Ethan & Joel give you more than your money’s worth every time.

And if you don’t agree with me, you’ll just have to speak to Anton.

Image

– Envy