No life-altering philosophies. No depressing stories. No war crimes or injured puppy pictures. This is where you come at the end of a long day to smile and relax. So sit back, order a refreshing drink and share a laugh with me, your bartender for the evening.
And always remember that age-old, fluorescent green rule of life : An appletini a day keeps the doctor away.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

10 Hollywood movies that were better than the book


I'm usually the first one to say that the book is always better than the movie. Yet while thinking of the converse, I was quite surprised to find that there were so many instances coming to mind where infact, the movie was superior to the book. It felt like a nice topic to discuss with fellow movie-and-book fans.

First up, movies that I felt were at par with the book :  
These are basically a list of movies that did justice to the original book, in my opinion.


Omen                                                   Bladerunner 
A Time to Kill                                     The Godfather 
A walk to remember                              Stand by me
One flew over the Cuckoo's nest               Atonement 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo              Mystic River 
The Help                                    The English Patient 
Big Fish                                    Catch Me if you Can 
Fight Club                                          Runaway Jury
To kill a Mockingbird                                        Jaws
Primal Fear                                Gone with the Wind



Now that we've seen the runner-ups, let's head onto the main event : 
10 movies that were better than the book.


10. A Beautiful Mind
Credit goes to : Ron Howard ( director ) and Akiva Goldsman ( screenplay )
Frankly, the book is annoying and unengaging. It is depressing, it is harrowing and it delves too deep into jargon that isn't frankly relevant. The movie starring Russell Crowe atleast attempts to put on a hint of mystery, intrigue and more importantly hope to the real life story of delusional schizophrenic John Nash, who would eventually beat the odds and get a Nobel Laureate. 


9. Princess Diaries
Credit goes to : Anne Hatheway, Julie Andrews
So shoot me... I'm still sticking with this choice ! This was such an enjoyable feel-good movie. The story of the nerdy geek girl turning princess is so cliched, yet the two actors added such a life to their roles that it was eventually a runaway success.

Fun fact : A key role in the movie was previously offered to 22 mainstream actresses including *deep breath* Cameron Diaz, Kate Beckinsale, Alyssa Milano, Drew Barrymore, Eva Mendes, Reese Witherspoon, Katie Holmes, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alicia Silverstone and Kate Hudson among others. 
It was after they ALL turned the role down that it went to a debutant actress who during auditions, fell out of her chair and was immediately hired for the role of clumsy Mia Thermopolis : yes, Anne Hatheway. That, my friends, is called destiny.


8. Forrest Gump
Credit goes to : Director Robert Zemeckis.
This was, and in my opinion still remains, one of the best example of how simplicity can move your heart. Tom Hanks' role as the perennial do-gooder helping people ( including Elvis ! ) selflessly, while yearning for love is a masterpiece of story-telling and human nature at it's best. So sweet. So innocent. So natural...oh wait. Maybe not. Were you aware that in the Winston Groom novel, he also goes into space and meets an alien monkey ! And a short while later, gets captured by cannibals too ? 
Yeah. That's why the movie's better. Because they knew what to leave out.


7. Jurassic Park
Credit goes to : Those guys who made the dinosaurs look so freaking real 2 decades ago !!
Micheal Crichton can complain all he wants about how he deserves the credit. Doesn't change the fact. Jurassic Park was, back then, the ultimate moment, in special effects and had the audience jumping and screaming. 

Fun Fact : Even though the novel was released only in 1990, pre-production of the film started in 1989 based on just a manuscript. That's called having faith in your story !


6 and 5. Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile
Credit goes to : Stephen King ( novelist ) and Frank Darabont ( director )
No author in history perhaps has as many movie adaptations of his novels as horror writer Stephen King. And yet, it is the tale of friendship between two unlikely people in a prison that till date, adorns so many people's list of "Favourite Movie". There is no violence. No CGI. No women. And yet, this story is so profound and heartwarming that even grown men cry. Stephen King himself was man enough to admit that the movie was better than his book.


For those of you thinking it was a fluke, the two would collaborate 2 more times to further critical acclaim - The Green Mile ( another great human tale of an unusual prisoner awaiting death row... RIP Michael Clarke Duncan ) and The Mist ( a supernatural tale with a very human element to it, which I warn you in advance, has one of the most gut wrenching endings I have ever seen. )


4. Prestige
Credit goes to : director Christopher Nolan
The book about two magicians whose rivalries define not just their career but their lives is no doubt a good read. But the movie is so much more - the direction is spell-binding ( no pun intended ), more emphasis is given to the three stages of an illusion and it's relevance in real-life and the acting is par excellence. For women - well, you have Wolverine vs Batman. What more can you ask for ?
  

3. Die Hard
Credit goes to : It's the original Die Hard. Just stand up and applaud already. 
New York cop John McClane taking on German terrorists at the Nakatomi Corporation. 'Nuff said. 

Fun Fact : here's what you didn't know. The author of the novel on which the movie was based ( Nothing Lasts Forever ) had a prequel way back in the 60s. That too was made into a movie called The Detective starring none other than Frank Sinatra ! ( In the books, the characters name is Joe Leland though. ) So technically, Bruce Willis isn't the original Die Hard man.


2. The Lord of the Rings series.
Credit goes to : Peter Jackson, the director.
Have you read the novel ? If you have got through the whole thing with it's elves, dwarves, sorcerers and made up languages and then seen the movie(s), then you know that it couldn't possibly have been taken any more beautifully. Peter Jackson, I salute you.


1. The Silence of The Lambs.
Credit goes to : Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.
Frankly, there are better pyschopath based novels, if you care to search ( think John Conolly, Jeffrey Deaver etc ), but what made the movie iconic was not just Hopkins' chilling portrayal as Dr Hannibal Lecter but the interaction between him and Jodie Foster as she tries to hunt down a killer at large. 



Fun fact : The moths used in the movie were celebrities : They were flown in first class, had their own rooms ( a temperature thing ) and even had special costumes for themselves (the design on their back is based on artist Salvador Dali's photograph 'in voluptate mors' symbolising seven nude women ).

So what did you think of the list - Agree ? Disagree ? Got another movie in mind ? 
I'm all ears.