Comedian Jim Gaffigan has this to say on the whole movie vs. book debate:You ever talk about a movie with someone that read the book? They’re always so condescending. ‘Ah, the book was much better than the movie.’ Oh really? What I enjoyed about the movie: no reading.”
Both camps are likely to be out in force this weekend with the release of “Gone Girl,” the hotly-anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s phenomenally bestselling thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as picture perfect couple Nick and Amy.
Flynn herself wrote the screenplay and the advance rave reviews reveal that, contrary to speculation, the movie is beginning to end faithful to the book, which is itself something of a spoiler.
Ideally, movies based on books are a win-win. Readers of the book get to see if what’s onscreen holds a candle to their own spellbound imaginations. Those who skipped the book get at least an inkling of what everyone was talking about at the watercooler and may even be inspired to seek out the book themselves.
Early reviews suggest that “Gone Girl” has succeeded, where several other adaptations this year, such as “The Giver,” “A Walk among the Tombstones” and “This is Where I Leave You,” have not.
Last week we talked about movies based on TV shows. Now we turn the page to focus on some of this fall movie season's most eagerly awaited movies that are based on books:
The Boxtrolls: Just released in theatres, a stop-motion animated adaptation of “Here be Monsters!” with a voice cast headed by Sir Ben Kingsley.
Life of Crime: I’m cheating here because this adaptation was released with little fanfare a few months ago, but it would be a crime to miss it (check it out On Demand). Based on Elmore Leonard’s “The Switch,” it stars a game Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped wife whose husband (Tim Robbins) is not too eager to pay her ransom. Not on par with “Get Shorty” or “Out of Sight,” but it does Leonard justice.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Oct. 10): You can count on movie critics turning the title of Judith Viorst’s beloved children’s book against the much opened-up film version.
The Best of Me (Oct. 17) Another Nicholas Sparks tearjerker about reunited former high school lovers. What’s the over-under on wrong-side-of-the-tracks Dawson?
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1: (Nov. 19): Jennifer Lawrence returns as Katniss Everdeen in the final chapter of Suzanne Collins’ dystopian trilogy.
Wild (Dec. 5): There is Oscar buzz building for Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, whose memoir chronicled her punishing 1,100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the wake of the loss of her mother and her marriage.
Paddington (Dec. 12): Can you bear it?
Inherent Vice: Never mind the movie; the film community is going nuts for the just-released trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of perhaps Thomas Pynchon’s most accessible novels.
The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (Dec. 17): It took Peter Jackson three films to bring J.R.R. Tolkein’s “The Hobbit” fully to the screen. This wraps it up.
Unbroken (Dec 25): Angelina Jolie directed this dramatization of Laura Hillenbrand’s riveting account of Olympian track star Louis Zamperini who survived being lost at sea and internment in a Japanese POW camp.
Your turn: What is your favorite movie based on a book?