16 August 2012

The red carpet for the bookish....

To review:  my personal "rule" regarding film adaptations is that I must make EVERY EFFORT to read the book first.

I checked out USA Today's recent list of Ten Book-to-Movie Films for Fall.  Fortunately I've already gotten a bunch of my reading done, but I do have a few to catch up on.  (Reader's note: I work for the same company that publishes USA Today.  Also, I would appreciate you suspending your total dismay in the cases in which I didn't know it was a book first.  I know stuff, but I don't know it all.) 

Drool-worthy, even if I am old enough to be his mother.
(Photo courtesy Millenium Entertainment)
1. The Paperboy.  Never heard of it, but I will (shallowly) see it because it will give me two hours to drool over Matthew McConaughey and girl-crushy Nicole Kidman.  UPDATE: Just went to the film's official website, and OMG, McConaughey looks really bad.  Like Charlize-Theron-in-Monster bad.  But Zac Efron might make up the difference.  Even if I'm old enough to be his mother.

2. Wuthering Heights.  ABSOLUTELY.  The is far-and-away my favorite of the Victorian novels, and the one I enjoyed best during "Victorian Novel" course in college.  I can still remember thinking, "How can this be an assignment if I would read this for fun?!"  Gothic in all the best ways.  I'm suspicious about the casting, though, and that Brontë and Austen novels done wrong for film can go REALLY wrong (Gwynyth Paltrow as Emma, thumbs up; Mrs. Farm Geek, who happens to be my ultimate authority on all things Jane Austen, proclaims Keira Knightley as Pride & Prejudice's Elizabeth Bennet a thumbs down.)

3. Cloud Atlas.  Also a new title to me, but definitely going on the to-read list immediately.  Not only is it post-apocalyptic fiction, but holy cow, what a cast!  Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, and Hugh Grant!

Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina
(photo: Laurie Sparham)
4. Anna Karenina.  Yay me!  I've read it!  The whole doggone thing!  I'm bummed that Jude Law is cast as Karenin because I don't really like Karenin, but I do like Jude Law (a lot.  A lot a lot).  I know, I know, Vronsky is the bad boy and Karenin is the victim and all, but he's still just kind of a schmuck.  And in my mind not-at-all handsome (please don't make Jude Law ugly!).  I like a good costume drama, and I'm sure the 19th-century Russian luxury of this film will be so thick you could practically roll around in it. Even though I just slammed Keira in #2, I'll try be open-minded about her as Anna.  You know, she's real skinny, so it should be interesting to see her as a laudanum-addled, um, train wreck.

5. Breaking Dawn Part 2.  From an "artistic" standpoint I have next-to-no interest in seeing this movie (I read Twilight, hated it, and haven't seen any of the movies) but my sister has invited me to go along with a big group of her friends, which is obviously going to be super fun!  And any movie is better with two-dozen 30-somethings and a couple of cocktails anyway, right?

Life of Pi, from imdb.com
6. Life of Pi.  Read it, LOVED it, and can't wait to see how they "do" it.  All C.G.?  Or will there be a real hyena, zebra, orangutan, and tiger?  This is a magical story, and I highly recommend the novel.

7. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Alright, there's a serious love-hate feeling here.  Love it because I am a hard-core LOTR fan and we've been waiting for this movie since the last frame of The Return of the King (or maybe since I was 12).  We own the LOTR director's cut box set, and a couple of times a year we watch the WHOLE THING (each of the three is about 3 1/2 to 4 hours long!).  Yeah, you could find our picture next to "fantasy geek" in the dictionary. It's sure to look and sound beautiful, Ian McKellan IS the best person in the world to play Gandalf.  But....... I HATE it because they've broken it up into three films.  WTH?  I get it, that's potentially three times as much box office, but really??!!  That's kind of crappy.  I don't want to have to wait 12-18 months to see the whole tale.  Unexpected indeed.

8. Les Miserables.  Hmm.   Haven't read the book, but I have every song from the Broadway musical memorized (first Broadway-level show I ever saw - age 15, at the Schubert Theatre in Boston - took my breath away.) I, along with the rest of the Western World, was underwhelmed by the Liam Neeson / Geoffrey Rush version in the late 90s, and how those two actors could flunk this is beyond me.  Take 2: Hugh Jackman as Valjean (OMG yum!), Russell Crowe as Javert (perfect.... it's like method acting without method acting), but Anne Hathaway?  I'm not sure she's, well, miserable enough.  Or maybe she'll make us all miserable. We'll see.

(Photo: Gregory Smith)
 9. On the Road.  It's been on my list for years.  Time to jack it up several notches.  Jack Kerouac is such a bizarre, fascinating hipster to me.  Love knowing he loaded a huge roll of paper into his typewriter so he could JUST KEEP TYPING rathen than change sheets.  Interestingly, I have extended French-Canadian family from Lowell.  Kerouac is French-Canadian & from Lowell.  Wonder if they ever crossed paths.

10. Jack Reacher.  Way, WAY down on the to-do list; probably on the Never list.  This is the first I've heard of the book (or the series, for that matter).  Tom Cruise gives a good show (fictionally, AND in real life) but although I haven't really been following his breakup with Katie Holmes, I get a very creepy vibe from him. Scientology is most definitely NOT my bag, baby.  Bleh. 

Wonder if my fellow Around Town blogger Peter Weyl will be reviewing any of these.  Not trying to steal your thunder here, Peter....  but should we compare notes?


  1. You must hear the song "Wuthering Heights" by Kate Bush. She wrote it about the book, which was her favorite as well. Pat Benatar covered it on her second album "Crimes of Passion." By the way, I think the film "The Outsiders" is the BEST movie adaptation of a book....EVER. And don't forget Baz Lurhmann's "Great Gatspy" comes out early next year. It looks pretty good, though Tobey and Leo are not the people I ever pictured in the lead roles. And if I remember correctly, Daisy is always described as having dark hair, but in the first movie and in this one, she's a platinum blond. Twoards the end it says in the novel that when Daisy and Gatsby where young and spent their last evening together, that he 'kissed her dark shining hair'.

  2. Thanks Wil! It's funny, I've known "of" Kate Bush for a long time, but I don't really know her music. I will definitely check her out.

    The Outsiders! Wow, I read that in junior high. That's worth a re-read (maybe my son will be reading it soon.... I'll just mooch ;-)

    I LOVED "The Great Gatsby" (both the novel AND the Robert Redford film). I've never thought of Daisy Buchanan as dark-haired (that must have gotten past me). Maybe the name "Daisy" made me think of the white & yellow flower, hence blonde hair. Even if the blondes get to have all the fun, there's irresistable brunettes out there too!

    Just watched the trailer - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rARN6agiW7o do you think Leo makes a convincing Gatsby?