Read It or See It?

In ye olden days, the LGMS was my radio anchor, beginning at home through my morning drive time. After the show’s demise, I did Trial Balloon at home and in the morning hours of work.  But since then, I haven’t really found a radio show that strikes my fancy and have drifted away from radio to…  I know this will be shocking for some of you… books.  The first hour or so in the morning, I listen to an audiobook and then in the car, books on CDs.  I sometimes run out of books on CDs and so spend some time browsing the audio shelves at the library.  This leads to some interesting results, sometimes fabulous, sometimes not so much.

I’ve admitted here before that I like the Hallmark Mystery Movies, so last week, while browsing, my eye was caught by the first Aurora Teagarden mystery sitting on the audio shelf. I had been a little curious about the books, especially since my favorite character left the series; I was curious if the movies were true to the books.   So I was a little surprised right off the bat that while most of the characters bear the same names, most of them did not bear the description or personalities.  The most disappointing was the main character, Ro.  In the book she doesn’t have any drive to solve the mysteries and in the final chapters is rescued by the men in the story.  This is completely different from the movies, in which Ro is rabid about solving the mystery and it is her ingenuity that not only solves the crimes but saves her life (and often the man’s) in the end.

This made me think about the few instances in which the movie better than the book.  So rare.  Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, Julie & Julia, Clue, Bladerunner.

There might be more but for my determination not to see movies when I have adored the book. I don’t want Hollywood messing with the pictures in my mind’s eye (Wrinkle in Time, The Martian, Uprooted, ANY of the Louise Penny books).  And, of course, the number of movies much worse than their books is legend.  Including Legend!

When were you last surprised about how a book turned out when adapted to the big screen?

32 thoughts on “Read It or See It?”

  1. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. When I read it, I was overwhelmed and smitten. And yet when the films came out, I enjoyed them totally, for they gave me a visual narrative that was as much fun as the one in my head. I’m glad I did them in the order I did: books first. But I’m equally glad I did both.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m with you all the way on the original trilogy movies. However I have to say that as they started to make more tangential LoR movies, I have not been as faithful a fan. I did not go see D of Smaug because the desolation of Smaug took about three pages in the book. How do you make a whole movie out of three pages?

      Like

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am home again after traveling yesterday. I am still stuck on stories of smart pets which I did not answer yesterday, and unable to even think of a movie, much less think of one from a book. Maybe later.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was pleasantly surprised that the movie version of “The Help” was as satisfying as the book. I went in with very low expectations for the movie because the book was a gem.

    “The Lincoln Lawyer” was an outstanding book, but the movie paled in comparison, mainly because Matthew McConaughey(sp?) didn’t fit my image of Mickey Haller. The perfect casting for that role would have been Brad Morrow (of Northern Exposure fame).

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi-
    I am far out of touch on movies.

    Slightly related, I’ve been reading a lot of plays (because I’m part of a play reading committee for picking the next season at a local theater).
    Sometimes a play doesn’t read well, but, it can work really well onstage. it’s hard to read it and try to predict what a director will do with it. So sometimes we just have to hope for the best. If we know the director’s work we can give them the benefit of doubt. Sometmes we know the directors work and hope the script will stand up to them anyway. 🙂

    We’re doing a play at the college in February called ‘The Siegel’. It’s a fun clever script and I asked Kelly to read it too. We all like it right up to the last scene. Everything turns on that scene and the most common reaction is “What the….!” I don’t want to spoil it yet; I’ll fill you in later.
    With the right cast, it should be good. But I’m still interesting in getting more student opinions on it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree, Ben, reading a play is an entirely different experience than seeing a production of it. I’ve seen productions of works that I didn’t care for when reading the work, but which came alive with the artistic interpretations of the directors and actors. Who would have ever thought that “Waiting for Godot” would be worth seeing?

      Liked by 2 people

        1. How do I make this into a book– part of my got well known. Lyrics #1
          CAT
           
          36 Memories Three sheets too the wind, it’s blown up a storm, wind more then my summer I turned eighteen until age 9 a half gown kid- Cymbalta Duloxetine Erase
          personal diaries being released
          Cheri Ann Trammell-64
          She’s as pretty
          A peach – I reckon, suppose
          Born in the two faced twins Gemini half birthday
          euphemisms and metaphors. Sara –Bella Donna
          Y’all. A mind to – A rag-doll
           
           
          Leo & Sagittarius tears Willin’ up many years cryin’
          my’24 Karat Gold’ accuracy
           
          written her memoir
          Terminate
          Unborn child
          Yer heid’s full o’ mince
          Gotta keep on praying
          You gotta cry, rain tears of pain phoney.
          trapeze
          Scaring all the people
          Stevie Nickx played a Stereo
          You can talk to me – unfaithful
          Don’t be afraid
          Cherries, Poison Black Cherries, 
           Guigne de la Côte,
          Hush Cannabis snow ‘n’ blow
          Hold your horses – stop right there! Catawampus idea — dog won’t hurt – idea
          Worn slap out – exhaust
          If the creek don’t rise- we’ll be there… piddle no use livin’ on high cotton -Tighter than a flea’s ass over a rain barrel. I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throat’s been cut.
          Snug as a Bug -cozy..Hear Tell  I could published a thousand like I was slowly dyin, but only Stevie nickx grabbed me from the dead… this is wjat she slowly said. Outta the shadows of every persons different hair color & name change– have I stolen some right your talented attiction kept me goin.
           
           
          A pieces Barken up the wrong tree – mistaken
          Don’t ever wanna have to go and give you up
          Stay up till four in the morning and the tears are pouring
          Looks like an early winter
          She’s pitching a hissy fit. Busier than a moth in a mitten!
           
           
          Whoo, whoo, whoo
          [Chorus]
          You can talk to me – unfaithful
          REFRAIN:
          (Woo-who, yee-who)
          Sara –Bella Donna
          Aren’t you precious? Yankee… I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on him if he was on fire. Hold your horses – stop right there! Catawampus idea —
          Awestruck, tired soul beckon darkness
          So the woman disappears
           
          CAT
           
           
          Plead Of the innocent dyin’ my- lookin’ glass
          Cheri Ann Trammell
          She’s as pretty
          A peach guess, suppose I reckon –
           
          writing becoming an old photograph
          You gotta cry, rain tears of pain of morning
          lay back within

          Shes as pretty
          A peach – I recken, suppose stealth disorder,?
          Born in the two faced twins gemini half birthday
          euphemisms and metaphors. Sara –Bella Donna
          Y’all. A mind to – A rag-doll

          Leo & Sagittarius tears Willin’ up many years cryin’
          my’24 Karat Gold’ accuracy

          written her memoir
          Terminate
          Unborn child
          Yer heid’s full o’ mince
          Gotta keep on praying
          You gotta cry, rain tears of pain phoney.
          trapeze
          Scaring all the people
          Stevie Nickx played a Stereo
          You can talk to me – unfaithful
          Don’t be afraid
          Cherries, Poison Black Cherries,
          Guigne de la Côte,
          Hush Cannabis snow ‘n’ blow
          Hold your horses – stop right there! Cattywapus idea — dog won’t hurt – idea
          Worn slap out – exhaust
          If the creek don’t rise- we’ll be there… piddle no use livin’ on high cotton -Tighter than a flea’s ass over a rain barrel. I’m so hungry my belly thinks my throat’s been cut.
          24 phrases only Southern –
          Snug as a Bug -cozy..Hear Tell I could published a thousand like I was slowly dyin, but only Stevie nickx grabbed me from the dead… this is wjat she slowly said. Outta the shadows of every persons different hair color & name change– have I stolen some right your talented attiction kept me goin.

          A pieces Barken up the wrong tree – mistaken
          Don’t ever wanna have to go and give you up
          Stay up till four in the morning and the tears are pouring
          Looks like an early winter
          She’s pitching a hissy fit. Busier than a moth in a mitten!

          Whoo, whoo, whoo
          [Chorus]
          You can talk to me – unfaithful
          REFRAIN:
          (Woo-who, yee-who)
          Sara –Bella Donna
          Aren’t you precious? Yankee… I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on him if he was on fire. Hold your horses – stop right there! Cattywapus idea —
          Awestruck,tired soul beckon darkness
          So the woman disappears

          CAT

          Plead Of the innocent dyin’ my- lookin’ glass
          Cheri Ann Trammell
          Shes as pretty
          A peach guess, suppose I reckon –

          writing becoming an old photograph
          You gotta cry, rain tears of pain of morning
          lay back within
          If I could escape
          took a ragged breath
          self-righteous hypocrites
          I got used to those few whom Criticize & discriminate, People daily conversation to something deeper
          occasional aristocrat
          People daily conversation to something deeper
          – all but shuttin’ down.
          Your my Cherries, Poison Black Cherries,
          Guigne de la Côte,
          Aren’t you precious? Yankee … A Mind to I wouldn’t walk across –

          Snug as a Bug -cozy…Hear Tell I could published a thousand like I was slowly dyin, but only Stevie Nickx grabbed me from the dead… this is she slowly said. Outta the shadows of every persons different hair color & name change– have I stolen some right your talented attiction kept me goin. A form of “hear it told.” uppity

          Whoo, whoo, whoo
          [Chorus]
          You can talk to me – unfaithful
          REFRAIN:
          (Woo-who, yee-who)

          least, hard pressed,
          My night the lights went out
          beg and
          Have you heard the sound,
          Leaving torment situation seems
          Fading our endless heart-break

          CAT 1921 = 2769
          lookin’ glass
          Clouds familiar
          self-righteous hypocrites
          Watching, calling & play after you’ve left & gone
          occasional aristocrat
          conversation to something deeper
          hollow
          Shatter
          – all but shuttin’ down.
          Cherries, Poison Black Cherries, Sara –Bella Donna
          Snug as a Bug -cozy..Hear Tell I could published a thousand like I was slowly dyin, but only Stevie Nickx grabbed me from the dead… this is she slowly said. Outta the shadows of every persons different hair color & name change– have I stolen some right your talented attiction kept me goin. A form of “hear it told.” uppity
          She’s pitching a hissy fit. Busier than a moth in a mitten!
          I overheard a conservation
          Have you heard the sound
          cryin’
          Of the innocent dyin’
          beg and plead
          don’t you be afraid
          Erase
          sleepy eyes gotta nightly wonder
          It does not matter how I go astray
          Stereo
          don’t you be afraid
          Erase
          Memories Three sheets too the wind
          euphemisms and metaphors. Sara –Bella Donna
          Hush Cannabis snow ‘n’ blow
          Worn slap out – exhaust

          Whoo, whoo, whoo
          [Chorus]
          You can talk to me – unfaithful
          REFRAIN:
          (Woo-who, yee-who)
          If I could escape
          Aren’t you precious? Yankee … A Mind to I wouldn’t walk across the street to piss on him if he was on fire.
          The moon got lost again last night
          we entertain
          Don’t ever wanna have to go and give you up
          Stay up till four in the morning and the tears are pouring
          Looks like an early winter
          once pregnant
          Leukemia
          Matthew,
          Robin,
          Kim
          Route
          written her memoir
          accuracy
          ’24 Karat Gold’
          Terminate
          Unborn child

          Dedicated to– Stevie Nicks Birthday: May 26, 1948 Gemini

          How Old – Age: 71=

          CAT 1921 = 2769

          Like

    2. ‘The Siegel’ is about a young man who comes back to ask the girls parents for her hand in marriage. Except they broke up two years ago and she’s dating someone else.
      But he’s a nice guy and you want to like him and even her new boyfriend says ‘go ahead and have dinner with him’. She’s really not interested but in order to shut him up, she does.
      And there’s some other plot stuff going on, but it’s not really relevant.
      And then, in the very last scene, this guy goes back home to his GIRLFRIEND who’s relating a story of her girlfriend and they discuss if there’s only one person; one ‘soulmate’ for all of us.
      And you have to wonder, Wait, you’re already dating this girl and you go back and ask that girl to marry you?? WTW?? now you’re just an asshole.
      And even if his going back was to push the first girlfriend into making some other life decisions, why did you do that to THIS girlfriend??
      So now I don’t like him.
      But the play does make you think about it.
      And I still don’t like him.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I think I mentioned that Season 1 of the Outlander series was pretty darned good – extra scenes were, I’m sure, inserted for TV, but they collaborated with the author, so it felt true to the series even if the plot had some discrepancies.

    Trying to remember others…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I seldom see new movies in theaters and even more rarely see movies obviously based on books (or read books based on movies) that not much comes to mind. The movie “Lincoln” with Daniel Day Lewis, was excellent and was based, loosely on Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which was also excellent. The movie based on a book which caused me the most annoyance (that I can remember) was “Sweet Land”, based on Will Weaver’s A Graveyard Made Of Wheat. The director made alterations that made no sense.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The movie adaptation that made me the craziest was Shining Through by Susan Isaacs. They substantially changed the story and instead of the female character saving herself and the man in the end, guess how they changed it. Among other things. I was so mad I actually wrote to Susan Isaacs to say don’t ever sell any of your books to Hollywood again. Of course never heard back from her.

      Like

        1. Oh you’re right. I had forgotten about that one. I completely agree both the book and the movie were good but they had nothing to do with each other.

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      1. On the other hand, “Brokeback Mountain,” based on the short story by Annie Proulx, I really liked the movie adaptation. In that case, I hadn’t read the story before I saw the movie.

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  7. Three of my favorite books from young adulthood have become movies, the most famous being Jane Eyre, and I found an article that ranks 7 productions, just two of which I’ve seen: https://www.poesieperfume.com/blog/2017/9/15/7-film-adaptations-ranked
    In the book she is repeatedly described as being very “plain”, but none of the movies I’ve seen were ever able to accomplish that:
    1934 – Virginia Bruce and Colin Clive
    1943 – Joan Fontaine and Orson Wells
    1970 – Susannah York and George C. Scott
    1983 – Zelah Clarke and Timothy Dalton (miniseries)
    1997 – Samantha Morton and Cianan Hines
    2003 – Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens
    2011 – Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender
    When I have more time, I’ll read the whole article…

    (There was also apparently one on
    1996: Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt, and I would swear there were others…)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’s more than this too BiR. And I’ve seen all that you’ve listed except the very first one with Virginia Bruce. Now I’ve got to go look for that one. Most of the Jane Eyres that I’ve seen aren’t too bad but every now and then one of them feels like they need to add more backstory than we already have or else they leave out big chunks.

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  8. I loved the depth and breadth of Boris Pasternak’s novel “Doctor Zhivago.” Although I really enjoyed the movie as well, it was severely truncated. But it was a beautiful film, a feast for the eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I didn’t car for the casting in the movie. Olivia DeHavilland as Melanie just seemed all wrong to me, too matronly. And Clark Gable was not at all my idea of Rhett Butler, although everyone else exclaims about how perfect he was for the role.

        Like

    1. I saw the headline but couldn’t bring myself to click it open and read the story. It seems like a story that’s almost too unreal

      Like

  9. Oh dear, Baboons. I have been too busy to post today, and I am movie ignorant, these days. I liked the film adaptations of CS Lewis Narnia novels. They were different but complementary.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve written before about the most egregious example of a movie script that twisted the book beyond all recognition, The Natural.

    Another one that I objected to was the movie adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca. They apparently just could not make Laurence Olivier a murderer, so the script allowed a weak dodge claiming the wife’s death was accidental. Disappointing. It really changed the tone of the story.

    Liked by 3 people

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