It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish! This week is a topic I could talk about for days, the best (or worst) movie adaptations. I chose to go with best, and it was hard to narrow it down to ten.
I think short stories have a greater capacity to be well adapted than novels. Where readers in love with a novel decry every slight change and omission, movies allow short stories to achieve greater scope and detail. Annie Proulx’s short story is good. The movie that came out of it is astounding.
I first saw The Princess Bride in a seventh grade language arts class, and I still can’t believe it took me that long to discover it. Hands down the most perfect fantasy movie ever. Plus the screenplay was written by the author of the book, so it’s pretty much guaranteed to be as well adapted as possible.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
David Fincher’s version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo wasn’t as well received as people thought it would be, but to my mind it is miles ahead of the Swedish TV adaptation. Rooney Mara brings the perfect amount of vulnerability and flintiness to Lisbeth Salander, and the cinematography is just amazing. Plus, with Daniel Craig it finally seemed plausible that Blomkvist would be such a babe magnet. As time goes by the sequel seems less and less likely, but I still hope for it.
While some of the adaptation choices didn’t sit quite right for me, I thought the casting was spot on, the tone was right, and it made me cry even harder than the book. I can’t wait to see what they do with the rest of the series.
The Secret Garden
There was a time in about 1994 or 95 when HBO was showing The Secret Garden two or three times a day for an entire summer. I cannot tell you how many times I watched it, but the number would be absolutely ridiculous. I had struggled to get through the book before that summer, thrown by the extreme dialects, but after that summer it became one of my most treasured books.
Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman. I don’t even need to say any more.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Brontes, but I will watch Michael Fassbender being all broody and sexy any time of day.
Because it’s the only version of Hamlet I ever liked.
Ditto The Scarlet Letter. (I have a weakness for teen-comedy adaptations of classic literature, and Easy A is definitely my favorite.)
Learning that Clueless = Emma changed the way I look at literature, and how we tell stories. Once you see that there are only so many stories in the world, it frees you to see that it’s how a story is told that matters. And to my mind, there’s no better time capsule of 1990s culture.
What are you favorite (or least favorite) movie adaptations? Any that are better than the book?