Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My Films

One of the series I am reading at the moment is the Inheritance Series by Christopher Paolini. It began with the novel 'Eragon'. It's at times like this I'm glad I don't watch films – with the occasional rare exception (I watched 'Breakfast at Tiffany’s' and 'You've got Mail' again at Christmas!) . There was a film of 'Eragon' in 2006 and I think that people who read a book after seeing a film must have their view of the book quite slanted by the characters and plot of the film. Not only are the characters often different from how one might have imagined them on one's own but also the plot is often varied by the screenwriters.

These are the exceptions – the films I have watched and, in some cases, would happily watch again and again:

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Dead Poets' Society
Easy Rider
Forrest Gump
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Good Morning, Vietnam
Grand Prix
The Graduate
Groundhog Day
The Hours
Lord of the Rings (after I'd read the books twice)

Love Actually
My Fair Lady
Pretty Woman
Shakespeare in Love

What Women Want
You've Got Mail


  1. I have seen all of these except Grand Prix. You really must add The Princess Bride to this list!

  2. I agree that the distance between printed page and screen is vast, but one movie which did not suffer from being poorly cast was "Gone with the Wind." No one but Clark Gable could have played Rhett successfully. In fact I read the book before I saw the re-release of the movie, and all the time I was reading, I couldn't picture anyone but Gable in the role. So sometimes, the movie makers do get it right. I'm also glad they've had the sense not to try to remake it with newer more modern actors. Just wouldn't be the same.

  3. seeing a different side of you thru today's post...thanks for sharing!

  4. It is not often the movies capture the essence of the book and are as enjoyable as the book. But I love these films too.

  5. There aren't many films on your list that I have seen, but I am not much of a movie person in the first place, so that is hardly surprising.
    You are right about the discrepancies between book and film; it can be quite disappointing. Where that is not so, I find, is with the Harry Potter books/films and the Narnia ones.
    For sheer length and complexity of the books, a lot had to be missing from the Harry Potter films, and some bits have been altered to make it more "filmable", but the overall work is true enough to the books, the cast fit their roles very well, and the atmosphere of the places is portrayed quite close to what I suppose most readers imagined while reading the books.

  6. All excellent films in my book, CJ.

  7. There's no way I could ever make a list of all the movies I have watched.

    Movies and books have a fragile relationship. I absolutely hate the Lord of the Rings-films as movie versions of the book (sooo many things that bug me, after having read LotR 30 times or so), but they are the most gorgeous fantasy films I know and I can absolutely enjoy them on that level. I still have my own version of the characters when I read the book.

    It's usually better when movies don't set out to replicate everything in the book and if people don't watch the movies with that expectation. The Golden Compass for example was missing a ton of important elements from the book, but it was still highly enjoyable.

  8. You should try the romantic comedy 'The Holiday' (a film set at Christmas, but doesn't have to be watched at Christmas in my opinion) - we'd both put it up there with Love Actually and You've Got Mail.

  9. Princess Bride and The Holiday - that takes care of the next two Christmas Eve films - thank you!

    Jedediah - I agree about Lord of the Rings - great films but I read the books again afterwards and still totally re-imposed my own characters as though there were no relationship between the two.

  10. John,
    Happy New Year! So glad you have been able to resume your blogs, they always bring a little sunshine. For someone who doesn't watch a lot of film, you seem to have made some pretty fine choices. Might I recommend one for you? Hugo. A reviewer referred to Hugo as a love letter to film, and it really is - a lovely piece: intelligent, historical, and rich with detail. It cannot fail to delight you.
    Love your earlier bits on what i think of as the CyberGods. I can never quite figure out what I do wrong, but I seem to do a pretty good job of offending them now and again, and then suddenly, they have at me!
    On a slightly different topic: you play games, do you have Bananagrams? Suffice to say, give it a look sometime.
    Let the sun shine in and take care, McGregrr.

  11. Yeah I'd definitely add The Holiday to the list.

    Princess Bride is an acquired taste but worth watching at least once. Interestingly there is also a novel which I bought Bryony a few years ago. Apparently it is terrible so I'd avoid that and stick with the film.

    I'm in two minds about the ordering book, film or film, book. Some films would spoil the book (any murder mystery type thing) but I'm really glad that I watched Jurassic Park before reading the book. The film was good but the book was even better. I think had I read the book first the film would have been quite a let down.

  12. Hang on, you've missed, "to catch a thief" off that list.

    Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, The French Riviera and a ripping yarn.


  13. Thanks McGregor. I went to get banangrams on Amazon (yes, it does look our type of game) and discovered my Amazon one-click doesn't work. I really have upset the Gods...

  14. John and Sue bought me Bababagrams for Christmas some years ago and I have it here with me in NZ. The card game Monopoly Deal has taken over though for the moment.

  15. Are you saying all of these were based on books? I had no idea - with the exception of Lord of the Rings!

  16. No Dawn Treader - this was simply the list of all the films I have ever seriously enjoyed watching (though a couple were based on books like Forrest Gump but in this case the film was better than Winston Groom's novel).

  17. Ah. Phew. Well, not that it sounds all that fun for you (since I suppose you must have sat through a few films without enjoying them much then!) But somewhat of a relief for me, that I might not be quite as ignorant as it suddenly seemed! I don't think I knew Eragon was a book though. I have the film (and wasn't all that impressed by it).


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