4.12.2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Should be Made into Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun....

Considering the number of books that have become movies that just couldn't live up, this week's subject makes me a little nervous. I take comfort from this comment of Jamie's (today's host), however:
"This Top Ten Tuesday is set in a perfect world...in which movies don't butcher the books I love."
We're safe, then. The next problem is that nearly all of my favorite books have already been made into movies. Harry Potter, check. To Kill A Mockingbird, check—though I haven't seen it. Wait, why haven't I seen that? Jane Eyre, check check check TV series check. Pride and Prejudice... well, we won't even get started on that one.

So, off the top of my head:

1. The Testament, John Grisham. I've seen at least a couple of likable Grisham movies, but as far as I know, this one has never been carried to the screen. But it's a powerful story, and my favorite of all lawyer-type fiction I've ever read.

2. The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis. A lot of the Narnia books have been made a couple of times, but the one that has the best story arc for a movie never gets a break. Hey, movie-making people, even if all the rest of the Narnia movies were terrible, I'd go see this one. Hint, hint. Oh, but you definitely can't mess with Aslan's lines. I love The Silver Chair, too, but that one's been done before.

3. The Goose Girl and maybe 4. Princess Academy, Shannon Hale. I think Ms. Hale has never really gotten excited about seeing her books made into movies, and considering how much usually has to change from page to screen, I understand why. Still—Princess Academy could make a beautiful film, and I think The Goose Girl might even work better.

5. If You Love Me, Patricia M. St. John. A young Lebanese Christian girl learns the price of redemption and forgiveness after a close friend betrays her brother to his death. Some of the subtleties might have to be made more obvious—the romance, for instance—but this is such a beautiful and poignant story.

6. Rilla of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery. The strange third Anne of Green Gables movie, starring a much-aged Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie, an angry Diana, and a plot that bore no resemblance to any of the books except for being based around a World War, should be buried. However, Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie are just about the right age to play Rilla's parents.

7. Little White Horse, Elizabeth Goudge. I know this was recently attempted, but if they made Robin one of the men from the woods, they did not use the same story I love. I'm afraid to watch it. Try again, dears.

8. A TV series out of Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Maybe Rupert Everett would care to dye his hair blond and star?

All right... The problem with 9 and 10 is that I'd really like to say Ender's Game and C.S. Lewis' space trilogy, but it's hard to imagine those working as movies. While Ender's Game has all the great sci-fi elements that make for cool technology, and I can almost picture the next Haley Joel Osment pulling off some of the psychological stuff... I just don't dare ask for that one. The subtle beauty of Ender's heart and the redemption in the story need to be more important than technology and psychology. Hollywood rarely does that well. And as for Lewis' trilogy, I can't even envision how it could be written for the screen.

What books do you think would make good movies?

11 comments:

  1. I definitely agree that there needs to be more Anne of Green Gables flicks as long as they are of the quality of the first two! The third one was dreadful!!!

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  2. I am now officially afraid to have any book I love, much less enjoy, made into a film. I read a wonderful book and see how it would make a great film, and then shudder. Too many fantastic books mauled by poor film adaptations!

    --Arabella

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  3. Well, I can say which books shouldn't be made into movies. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The Narnia films. Till We Have Faces. Shannon Hale's works probably shouldn't be made into movies either. I'm just afraid the studios don't get great literature & especially don't understand anything with religious themes or traditional morality. The Potter books at times have caused me to cringe when viewing the adaptations but overall they have worked. I think because of the studios deference to J.K. Rowling.

    Oh, and The Hunger Games probably shouldn't be made into a movie.

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  4. For me it would be The Door Within trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson.

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  5. Interesting choices! I too would like to see a few of those made into movies!

    Here is my Top Ten post!

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  6. Well, Jenna, as for 8, I hope you have a budget for buying box sets, cuz: http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0039716/. Not one, but three. Never seen any of them so can't report, but Ian Carmichael does a voiceover in one of my favourite animated films.

    Also, kathy @ 1, I regret to point you toward Little Women (1933), and its remake, Little Women (1949). Kevin Sullivan basically ripped of these movies whole cloth for AoGG II, including scenes, plot devices, and whole lines of dialogue. (And it's amazing how much more effective the lines are when Katherine Hepburn is saying them...) So, yeah...the franchise tanked after the first movie, I'm afraid.

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  7. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett would make a hilarious send-up of Apocalyptic films in general. Rumor was for a while that it had been optioned as a film to be directed by Terry Gilliam, but that hasn't happened yet (although it needs to). However, the just-announced TV miniseries directed by Terry Jones may be the next-best thing.

    More of Pratchett should be filmed in general. The Wee Free Men or The Amazing Maurice might be good choices to start with.

    Also, The Graveyard Book, though I worry it would lose a lot of the lyricism, and it would be hard to do the main character growing up.

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  8. Arabella and George, yeah--I know what you mean. I'm totally dreaming in this post, imagining that things wouldn't get messed up, but I'd be pretty nervous going into a Shannon Hale movie. And there's no way I'm watching The Hunger Games.

    Kathy and Mr. Pond, I liked Anne of Green Gables II (even though it bears little resemblance to the books), but had no idea it was at all copied from older movies. Yipes.

    Also, I had no idea that Lord Peter Wimsey already had a television presence. Wow. Hmm. I wonder if Crazy Mike's has them. Might have to look.

    S.J. Deal, I hadn't heard of that... so I just killed ten minutes looking it up online. It sounds like it could be really good.

    Eric, I could totally see Pratchett's books making for some great film. The humor would probably carry over really well.

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  9. Oh, and The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey shouldn't be made into movies either.

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  10. Some of George MacDonald's stories would make excellent movies, if handled correctly. (No, Mr Adamson. No!) The Princess and the Goblin needs to be made (we will not speak of the existing version), and some of the novels would translate to screen very well. I doubt whether the fairy tales for grown-ups would.

    Also, I've a lingering desire to see The Man Who was Thursday as a film...it would need exquisitely careful handling, and I've no idea who would play Sunday now that Peter Ustinov is dead, but it could be a very interesting film.

    Oh, and The 13 Clocks if and only if I can collaborate on the screenplay with Neil Gaiman. :D

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  11. For how many of these would Terry Gilliam be the best of all possible directors? The Man Who Was Thursday at least...

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