Lots. This is actually not a good rule, it’s just that the famous book is usually better than the crappy adaptation. Marnie is awesome–forgotten book. My second favorite film In A Lonely Place too. I actually haven’t read these books but surely they can’t be as good. I’ve been meaning to read Double Indemnity, but I’d prolly like the film better because it was written by Chandler who is one of my favorites.
I don’t really know about even this idea. Maybe instead like movies that are just as good, or really cool by being interpreted in a different way. Like The Shining. I loved the hell out of that book when I was younger, but then I also loved the movie for obvious and completely different reasons. But then there’s something like, say Jesus’ Son, which I know not everyone around here is a fan of, but it’s pretty solid nonetheless, and the movie, well, the movie I thought was like the book on a screen, which seemed pretty cool and pretty much impossible to go, Oh, the book/movie’s better. It was neat to see how Crudup saw Fuckhead’s character. Or like A Scanner Darkly – the movie was better? I had such different experiences reading the book and watching the movie that I can’t possibly compare the two – and it’s weird, PKD’s prose in that one is often pretty clunky, but I just couldn’t stop reading; but then the movie’s like fabric of animation was so absorbing in a completely different way. Or Lord of the Rings – those books are just so much fun and how difficult a time Jackson must’ve had making those movies, I don’t know, I just hate to go, Yep, movie/book better. I guess this is lame of me, not playing the game, sorry, it is a fun game.
^probably the right way to think about this, in terms of being an interesting way to think about this. i think someone might say you’re supposed to judge the books as books and the movies as movies.
i was gonna say no country for old men but lorian long beat me to it
i would not say the road though
To me, the obvious choice is The Godfather, which has an odd history as a book.
The way I remember (?) reading about it, Puzo was a tremendously ambitious writer – he wanted to be something like ‘the Italian-American Joyce’ – , but couldn’t get his literary fiction attention commensurate with his dream of its virtues. His agent told him to go ahead and write a soap-operatic potboiler if he really wanted to be a famous writer, and, in response, Puzo almost angrily wrote The Godfather. Coppola, the actors, everybody involved with the movie, under a lot of pressure Evans (the producer) says he somewhat deflected–well, you know what they managed to do ‘from’ the novel.
Some of the books here I think are at least as ‘good’ as the movies made from them, and some, far bettered by the movies, but I haven’t heard a Coppola denier say that the source for his Godfather was better than his/their movie.
Yeah, but Minority Report was based on one of his lousier short stories. And if we’re counting those then we have to judge Total Recall vs. “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” which is a whole other can of worms.
I remember in the Godfather there were several chapters dedicated to Sonny’s mistress. She was with him because he was well endowed and we later found out she had an abnormally huge vagina. After Sonny dies there are 5-6 chapters dedicated to her quest to find a cure or someone big enough to fill her giant vagina.
I don’t know if I’d say ‘better’, but I thought the movie of The Hours was at least equal to or better than the Michael Cunningham novel. Unlike lots of film adaptations, I felt it maintained the soul (urgh) of the book. Without sticking to every line it used the medium to evoke the same sentiment. The book is beautifully written, also.
i actually liked woman in the dunes a good amount (book), but i liked the movie better, i think! i couldn’t finish the face of another (book), it was interesting at first but grew boring/tedious pretty fast
Going askance but the only instance I can think of where Book = Film is Being There. The film has the best ending of all time (better than Diggstown, which someone once very very seriously claimed had the best ending of all time, which is just silly).
I thought it was one of his better short stories, although it’s not at the level of something like VALIS or Ubik. It thought the plot was well executed, and at the very least it’s entertaining. But the story is really just the twists — it’s not nearly as ambitious his better work.
The movie is pure glorious Verhoeven trash. It isn’t good by any means, but it is an awful amount of fun.
see, while i love the shining as a film, i wouldn’t necessarily say it’s “better” than the book because they’re so different. the shining was kubrick creeping us out with his total mastery of tone, the shining book was stephen king writing about his alcoholism with some incidental scares. i like them both for very different reasons.
Even if Brother Strugatskys “Roadside Picnic” is pretty funny and stuff, but Tarkovsky did something crazy again. Even if writers (Lem, Struatskys) not really appreciated his interpretations of own works, but: Stalker is genious in the freaky way.
I think the whole Stephen King fascination with the inanimate becoming alive and scary is kind of frustrating. I mean, making the human actor entirely the one responsible is, to me, the scariest aspect of Kubrick’s version — the novel feels like it cops out, by comparison. Not a bad book but not better than the movie.
I think The Virgin Suicides is a fantastic adaptation, and really close to the book… but the pacing near the end of the film ramps up, leaving out a lot of the decay and horror of the girls wasting away. It’s a close race, but in the end, I choose the book.
The recent New Directions publication of the English translation of László Krasznahorkai’s novel Sátántangó was in no way equal to or above the Hungarian director Béla Tarr’s film offering of the same. Not that the novel was not good, it was. But who could ever compete with the magnificent Béla Tarr film production?