5 Times You Said "The Book Was Better" And You Were RightRosie Stoff

We’re always a little wary when we hear a favorite book is being adapted and possibly destroyed by Hollywood. Some, like “The Hunger Games.” “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Silence of the Lambs,” and “Brokeback Mountain,” come out splendidly. Unfortunately, others don’t do the same, they’re over-the-top, or weird and off, or just fail to capture the emotional depth of a book we loved.  With the movie versions of “The Fault in Our Stars,” “Palo Alto,” “Gone Girl,” “The Giver,” and “This Is Where I Leave You” on the horizon, I think we’re all praying that they don’t go the way of so many other great books that were adapted into truly terrible movies like the following.

The Great Gatsby

Gatsby_1925_jacket

MV5BMjY4NDQ3OTk1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjQ3NzMxMDE@._V1_SX214_AL_MV5BMTkxNTk1ODcxNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDI1OTMzOQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_The American literary classic “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald has been “adapted” by Hollywood 5 times! Yes, FIVE! The book, published in 1925, tells the story of a summer in the fictional West Egg on Long Island in 1922, following Daisy and Tom Buchanan, Nick Carraway, and the mysterious Jay Gatsby. The book is a masterpiece that simply cannot be touched. That’s what made it a classic. Then came the dreaded movie adaptations. In 1926, a silent film was made starring Warner Baxter, Lois Wilson, and William Powell. It was said to be a “light hearted” adaptation, however there is no way to tell how bad or good it really was because no copies are in existence. In 1949, GG was adapted again, this being the first one with real production value…and sound, with Alan Ladd, Betty Field, and Shelly Winters. Curiously, that film isn’t available to view, for copyright reasons yet again. In 1974, came the adaptation with Sam Waterston, Mia Farrow, and Robert Redford, written by Francis Ford Coppola, which was met with mixed reviews (most critics said the movie lacked any depth and emotion). A&E made an adaptation with Paul Rudd and Mira Sorvino in 2000 that fizzled in a cable TV no man’s land. Finally, there was the 2013 semi-disaster by Baz Luhrmann, starring Toby Maguire, Leo Dicaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton. The movie did well financially, but certainly lacked the depth of the book — despite the stunning costumes, sets, and music.

Memoirs of a Geisha

memoirs-of-a-geisha MemoirsOfAGeisha In 1997, Arthur Golden wrote the novel “Memoirs of a Geisha.” The book, narrated in first person, tells the story of a geisha working in Kyoto, Japan before and after WWII. The book was authentic, meticulous, and beautiful in its simplicity. The movie, shall we say, was not.  Receiving mixed reviews in the US, the film was slammed in Asia over casting controversies and the over-production of every element. The movie left simple beauty on the side of the road and went all in with a big over-the-top budget which was all wrong for the story.

The Cat In The Hat

Cat_in_the_hatSeuss-cat-hat I love “The Cat in the Hat,” you love “The Cat in the Hat,” we all love “The Cat in the Hat!” Dr. Seuss wrote the genius children’s book in 1957 and it has not dropped in popularity one bit. That’s quite an achievement! And then … Why, Mike Myers, WHY!!!! Why did you destroy our childhood favorite with this creepy and oddly crude 2003 adaptation! Shame on Hollywood for this one.

The Scarlet Letter

2791c060ada0f179e1881210.LMV5BMTk4MTg0NzMxMV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDc4ODUyMQ@@._V1_SX214_AL_ In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne penned “The Scarlet Letter.” Set between 1642 and 1649 in Boston, Massachusetts, “The Scarlet Letter” refers to the scarlet “A” that Hester Prynne, a young adulterer, must wear pinned to her clothing. Winner of multiple Razzie awards, the 1995 movie, starring Demi Moore, was kind of a disaster. Not only was the story completely lost, but the performances were a little melodramatic and over the top. Easy A, another adaptation for the modern day, was a vast improvement from the ’95 flick.

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  1. Cloudy w/a Chance of Meatballs! Not only is the story better, the illustrations are beautiful! Such a disappointment.

  2. Best adaptation ever : White Oleander. They had to leave some stuff out for time but those omissions didn’t take away from the story. You just got a better look in the book

  3. Worst book adaptations ever: Queen of the Damned, My Sister’s Keeper

  4. Cheaper by the dozen!!

  5. I like to rate movies on a scale of Eragon to the Hunger Games. Percy Jackson is one step up from Eragon, because it was at least an ok movie if you forget the book. Harry Potter is ~2 steps below Hunger Games for being good movies but leaving great parts out. Jurassic Park is three steps above Percy Jackson but 1.5 steps below Harry Potter, because it was a great movie, but they left out so many interesting aspects, terrifying and gory scenes (book was way more intense and terrifying). Divergent was about equal to Harry Potter, it lacked character development for all but the main character. Need I go on? I don’t see how this article could include just 5 movies! The book is ALWAYS better than the movie. The only difference with Hunger Games was I actually loved the parts they added into the movies. But books are always better.

  6. I have been excited about The Giver being made into a movie when I first learned in 2009 that Lois Lowry sold the movie rights. As soon as I saw that they chose a 25 year old actor to portray a 12 year old character, I knew it was doomed. It will be highly disappointing, I’m sure.

  7. My Sister’s Keeper!! I’m still angry about the way they COMPLETELY changed the ending.

  8. Lovely Bones & The Road are huge ones for me.

  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife.

  10. I agree, nothing compares to a book. It happened to me with “The Count of Montecristo”. This book is a master piece and I was so excited to watch the movie… I felt shamed in every single scene. :(

  11. The only films that did any justice to the books are the Merchant Ivory films especially A Room with a View.

  12. Only 5? Really? I agree with Ian that a better article would have been about the few movies that are better than the book.

  13. Books are almost always better. A better article would be where the movie was better than the book.

  14. Totally agree, I would also add Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series, The Hobbit and (not a movie but will put it anyways) the most recent season of Game of thrones.

  15. Eragon- hands down the worst movie adaptation I have EVER seen.

  16. Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series – books are waaaaaaaaay better!