Hi friends 👋🏻 I recently saw this as a Top 5 Tuesday prompt and although it is not Tuesday (and I don’t usually participate in that meme), I thought I would make my own list of movies that I enjoyed more than the books they were based on.
It’s usually a “rule” in bookish circles that the book is always better than the movie, but I wholeheartedly disagree on that. You will never see me drinking my coffee out of a mug that says “THE BOOK WAS BETTER” or carrying around a tote bag with that on.
I have lots of reasons for liking the movie more than the book: sometimes it’s because I watched the movie first, sometimes the plot lags a lot more in the book, and sometimes the plot just suits a visual medium more than a written one. If someone else thinks that the book was better, that’s perfectly fine and I’m not going to try to change their mind, just explain why I feel the way I do.
American Psycho the movie is probably one of my favourite psychological thrillers ever and is one that I can watch over and over again without getting bored because it never stops being funny to me. And yes, I called a psychological thriller funny. Because it is.
American Psycho the book, on the other hand, is one of the most difficult reading experiences I’ve ever had. The book is one of those transgressive books that aim to make the reader feel as uncomfortable as possible, and it definitely succeeded in making me feel uncomfortable. These days I can watch some pretty nasty violence in movies, but nothing has ever made me feel as physically ill as the violence in American Psycho has. The only things that have come close are those terrible Italian cannibal movies from the 1970s that have real animal cruelty in them.
A huge factor of why I prefer the movie to the book is that the book has these long meandering paragraphs where Patrick Bateman either describes every single thing in the room down to brand and model, and that includes both gadgets and clothes, and then there are even entire chapters dedicated to him telling the reader the history of some 80s pop star’s career, and I just couldn’t care less. I understand that the whole point is to show how shallow 80s yuppie culture was, but I am an impatient person and I went into that book for the uncomfortable violence, not for Whitney Houston’s Wikipedia page. The movie manages to integrate those ramblings into the script very well and I feel like I just got the satire a lot more from the movie than I did from the book. But that’s very likely to be my fault because I can take things that are written down at face value a lot more than if it’s in a visual medium.
Also, the movie stars Christian Bale looking fine as hell and in various states of undress and I can’t fault it for that.
The Princess Diaries
I didn’t start to read The Princess Diaries series until I was either 11 or 12, and that’s mainly because the movie was released when I was four years old and I was not old enough to read the books yet. This is probably one of my earliest favourite movies because I have owned my DVD of the movie since it came out and I’m amazed that is still works because the paper insert is falling apart by now from being read through so many times.
I am not the kind of person who thinks that a movie adaptation “ruins” the original story when the screenwriters take creative liberties to make the story work better for the format, and The Princess Diaries is very likely the reason why. The main thing that I didn’t like about the original book is that the Queen is really mean, which completely clashed with my nostalgic vision of her being Julie Andrews who only goes as far as stern rather than mean. I do like the books but not in the same way that I like the movie because that nostalgic sheen isn’t there.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Parts 1 & 2
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will know that I am not fond of Frank Miller’s Batman because he comes across as a fascist thug so it may come as a surprise that I enjoy the movie versions of The Dark Knight Returns, when I said that I would throw the book in the ocean.
The main reason why I like the movie so much more than the book is that Frank Miller’s ugly drawing style just does not work in animation so it was changed, and I can finally understand what is going on in some scenes. Is the plot and characterisation up to my standards? No, because they’re pretty much the same as in the comic, but at least I can see what’s going on instead of having to guess. Also, Batman is voiced by RoboCop, so that’s cool (also thank you warners for not making Kevin Conroy voice this mess of a version).
Some horror fans out there probably consider it to be a crime to not be a fan of Stephen King’s work (whether you’ve read them or not) but I just can’t get into reading his books no matter how hard I try. The closest I’ve gotten to finishing a King book was when I read just over half of The Dead Zone when I was fourteen and never finished it for some reason, but I can’t even make it to a quarter of the way through The Shining because the beginning takes such a long time setting up the plot and the setting that I lost interest before anything interesting started happening.
I was originally saving the movie to watch after I finished reading the book but since that never happened, I just gave in and watched it, and while it has a slow-burn beginning too (which I kind of expected of Kubrick), it gets to the point a lot quicker than the book does. I realise that it isn’t really fair to compare the pace of a movie to a book, but that’s just how I feel. I could definitely watch the movie multiple times but I couldn’t get through the book even once so I feel like my opinion is justified.
talk to me!
Are there any movies that you like more than the books they’re based on?