- Fizzy Thoughts: Books vs. Movies

Books vs. Movies

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?


I'll choose a book over a movie any day. While I do go to the movies occasionally (in fact, I just saw Prince Caspian), I could pretty much go through life without them. I can't say the same for books.
I'm very picky about my movies. I'm not sure when and why this happened. Maybe because my mom sees practically every movie that comes out (I'm exaggerating, but not by much) and has been known to give exhausting recountings of the movies. I very rarely will go see a movie if I've read the book (Prince Caspian being an exception, given the huge time frame between book being read and movie being viewed)...I like to remember my books as I interpret them, not how Hollywood interprets them. I haven't seen any of the Harry Potter movies and I have no desire to see Kite Runner. I did see Cold Mountain, but that was because I hated the book so much I figured the movie had to be an improvement.
Another reason I'm picky about movies is I don't like to watch people make fools of themselves. Case in point, The 40 Year Old Virgin. And American Gigolo. The only reason I've seen these movies is because they show up on tv entirely too often and Hamburger has doubtful taste in movies. I find them ridiculous and embarrassing and there's no way in hell I'd pay 7-10 bucks to see them in a theater. Although I will pay to watch Viggo Mortensen bare his soul (and his butt) in Eastern Promises and A History of Violence. For some reason, I like dark movies rather than the so-called chick-flicks or comedies.
But I don't like dark books. I prefer my books to have a happy ending, although that doesn't always happen. I haven't quite been able to pin down my taste in books, actually, but I wouldn't rush out and buy ack, what's that book that was turned into a movie with Sean Penn where his friend was kidnapped as a child...aaargh...okay, I have to go visit Google. Ah yes...Mystic River. I never was interested in the book. But the movie... I loved the movie. As for books, as a general rule, I tend to gravitate toward female authors and current fiction, but not always the best sellers.
Okay, I'm not sure if I answered the question...this was a hard one. I think I babbled more than usual.

5 comment(s):

girasoli said...

If I am going to do both a book and a movie, I like to see the movie first. If I read the book first, the movie is rarely as good. Since I just about always peek at the end of the book at about page 50 to 100 (BAD I know), seeing the movie first is almost the same and then when I finally read the book, there are all those extra goodies inside and possible some different twists.

John's comments said...

The Godfather series were great movies but the novel is wooden. Catch 22 a great book and lousy film. Rebecca a great book and a great film. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (aka Bladerunner) a great film and a great story with little relationship to each other! So don’t you just hate it when the facts don’t fit to a theory!!!

anne said...

Great post, Jill - very thoughtful and thought provoking.
Normally I can enjoy both the movie and the book IF I see the movie first (e.g. Captain Corelli's Mandolin) But if I have read the book first, I am normally disappointed in the movie (e.g. Fugitive Pieces). The LOTR trilogy being a notable exception...loved both print and film version (of course, I too would always pay money to see Viggo Mortensen!) I also find it difficult to pinpoint my taste in movies and books. I mostly read what is termed literary fiction (although find that descriptor a tad pretentious), although also love oddities like Christopher Moore's hilarious "Lamb, The Gospel according to Biff..." and some non-fiction. Pinpointing my taste in movies is more elusive. I tend to like independent movies far more than blockbusters, which rarely interest me. (Love, loved Juno!) But also love cliches like Dirty Dancing.

softdrink said...

Girasoli, I love to read the end of books first! I've been known to check the ending beofre I buy the book.

Anne, I love, love, love Christopher Moore. And Lamb is my favorite of all his books. He used to live in my neck of the woods and a few of his books are set around here...he just changed the names of the towns. And I agree, Juno was a wonderful film. Too bad you don't live closer...we could go see "Palm" movies. That's a local term for movies that play at our little independent theater.

Sandrac said...

Yes, book-before-movie is just asking for trouble! That said, I have to tell you that I saw The Kite Runner on an airplane coming back from Alberta a few days ago. I loved the book and avoided the movie because I didn't think it could capture the book's essence. But, it actually wasn't too bad. The filmmakers changed the plot a bit, but I could still feel all of the moral dilmenas, the desire for redemption....As for Viggo, I'm with you all the way!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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