Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Weekly Geek: Worst Book to Movie

Here's this weeks Weekly Geek:

Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could "unsee," and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?

My pick is the 1995 TV Movie of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Mixed Up Files was my favorite book when I was in fifth grade. It was also one of the first book I listened to on audio (on cassette!) I would listen to the book every night before I went to be for weeks and was always checking it out from the library. The idea of running away and living in a muesuem like Claudia and Jamie do just seemed so fabulous to me-and then you add in a mystery about art??? I was hooked.

So when my mom opened the TV Guide two years later and said "look what's going to be on!" I was speechless. (Which for 13 year old me was something that never happened!) I was so excited-I couldn't wait. My favorite book would now come to life and Lauren Bacall was Mrs. Frankweiler-she was just like I pictured.

But when the movie came on later that week, after all my excitedness and eager anticipation, I was sadly dissapointed. (I think I even cried) They ruined it! They changed parts, they left parts out, the characters weren't what I had pictured. Claudia and Jamie were annoying and the mystery totally fell flat. Plus, where the magic of living in a museum-it got lost in the script and it didn't seem nearly as cool this time around. Partly I was so annoyed because it was a made of TV movie (how good could it end up being?), but mostly I felt cheated. My favorite book ever and this movie didn't keep the spirit or the fun of the book.

In college, I finally watched it again when my roommate's sisters were over and they were reading the book. Now years later, I didn't remember what exactly had made me so mad with this adaptation, but I knew it wasn't the same. I won't watch the movie again and I'll take the book version over the movie any day!


  1. Hehe, I stumbled upon the last, like, quarter of this movie in elementary school and was sufficiently interested enough that I remembered it when I found out it was a book! I haven't read it yet though... I know, blasphemy...

  2. Steph Su-I loved the book and I think it's worth reading at least once.

    Insert Book Title Here-I know, I always want to see them transform into movies, but at the same time I don't because I'm afraid of what could happen.

  3. i did like that book too and thankfully i have never seen the movie. i don't want to be that disappointed

  4. That was such a fun book! I'll be sure I never watch the movie!

  5. I always had that problem too. I would want so bad to see my favorite books adapted into movies, and then end up disappointed. But after a while I figured out that you have to look at movie for what it is, an adaptation. It's not going to be the same, you have to look at it as it's own separate entity. And you have to watch it at least 3 times.
    The first time, you are going to compare the movie to the book and not pay attention to the film itself.
    The second, you are going to compare the things you missed the first time around.
    The third you are generally going to actually pay attention to the film and not every little detail that's different.
    If after that I still don't like the movie, then I can write it off. But until the third time around, I try to stay objective, unless it's just a really terrible movie.

  6. Erika Lynn-I'm glad you liked the book-stay away from the movie!:)

    Melissa-It was a fun book-I wish they could make a movie that actually had the fun in it.

    Samantha-Great idea! I usually try and seperate the movie and book and most times I can. I like your idea about seeing the movie three times.

  7. Made from TV movies are pretty bad in general! Hahah!

  8. The Cider House Ruules movie, I HATED it! It was horrible. The book is waaaay better and I'd definitely choose it over the movie anyday.

  9. I hated the movie, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...it was just, so, *wrong* after the brilliant, hilariuos book.


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