Sunday, November 04, 2007

Books and Movies, Movies and Books

I love books. Seriously. It might even bypass love and venture into stalker territory. I've always loved to read. All of my report cards state something to that effect- that I am always reading, always have my nose in a book.And now that I am a writer too, I read in an almost cannibal like way- digesting everything about a story that I like, everything that I am trying to learn.

I also love movies. I go to the movies during the day by myself. The first movie I went to alone was "Pretty in Pink" at a theater on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia that is now in ruins. I had been out late with friends and was walking to the train station to head back home but the thought of getting jostled on a smelly train made me nauseous so I ducked into the theater. It's such an easy escape. It's dark. No need to interact with anyone. When the kids were little and I had one of those stressful mommy days my husband would walk in the door, take one look at me and send me to the movies.

So it wouldn't seem that great a stretch for me to love movies that come from books. Well. That depends. I always read the book first. It's just one of those random rules that I hold myself to. Movies can often be much worse than the book but rarely better so I don't want my experience tainted by an adaptation. While I enjoy the movies adapted from books or stories the usual praise I dole out is that they didn't totally ruin it. The written word allows the reader to experience so many layers of a story, of a character. Movies are pretty one dimensional and too many voice overs gets annoying.

Recently viewed movies adapted from books:

"Feast of Love" by Charles Baxter- loved the book, hated the movie which I kind anticipated going into it.

"Away from Her" based on the Alice Munro short story "The Bear came over the Mountain"- Loved both. It was interesting to see what changes they made to make it work as a movie- and they did work. They didn't suck the life and layers out of the story.

"The Jane Austen Book Club"- I think I enjoyed the movie a bit more. I know I read the book but it doesn't stand out for me in any way.

There is a feast of movies-made-from-books coming out soon and I am on a reading rampage to finish them all:

"The Kite Runner"
"Love in the Time of Cholera"
"Reservation Road"- I read the entire book picturing Mark Ruffalo as Ethan and Joaquin Phoenix as Dwight and now I find out that it is the exact opposite. That will be a little disconcerting when I finally see the movie.

So many books, so many movies, so little time...

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