Wednesday, March 11, 2015

MOVIE MADNESS: Better Than The Book

Welcome back to Movie Madness March!!  Today, we have special guest, Akilah from The Englishist, chatting about movies that are better than the book.  Read on, and enjoy!  And, don't forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Better Than The Book

Some people think that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, but that’s just simply not true. There are movies out there that are better than the source material—either because they ramp up themes present in the original, streamline material, or reimagine the book in an entirely new way. Here are five that I think take what the books give them and turn out something even better.

1.  The Godfather (The Godfather by Mario Puzo)
The movie takes all the good parts of the book and leaves out all of the stuff no one cares about. I mean, does it really matter that the bridesmaid Sonny has sex with in the beginning of the movie has an extra large vagina and winds up in Las Vegas with Fredo? Of course not. (Also, yes, that’s mostly what I remember from the book.) In the movie, the focus stays on the Corleones and Michael’s transformation from war hero to don, and isn’t that all we care about, anyway?

Not to mention, everything good about the book that’s not in the movie (like Don Corleone’s backstory and, you know, how Fredo winds up in Vegas) shows up in The Godfather II (also better than the book).

2. The First Wives Club (The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith)
The book is a lot more serious and a lot less fun than the awesome, awesome movie. Did I mention the movie is awesome? My mother, daughter, and I have watched it more than once. Love Goldie Hawn, love Bette Midler, love Diane Keaton. Love, love, love. The book is depressing and sad, and the movie manages to cover all the stuff the book does with humor and grace and is a wonderful testament to the power of female friendship.

3. Whip It (Derby Girl by Shauna Cross)
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to say about the book than it serves as an outline of the movie (written by the author). Everything the book lacks–character nuance, character development, clear plotting, dialogue–the movie fills in. So my recommendation is to just skip the book entirely and see the movie instead.

4. The Wizard of Oz [1939] (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)
The book and the movie have so little in common that it’s almost not fair putting them on this list—well, the basic plot is the same. Dorothy does wind up in Oz and does befriend the Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow, and Lion; there are witches; and there are sparkly shoes. But that’s about it. Read the book if you want lots of beheadings and silver shoes and to learn about Midwestern hospitality in the 1900s. Watch the movie to see the stark difference between Kansas and Oz and to sing along to awesome songs.

I’m not saying the original is bad. I’m just saying there’s a really big emphasis on beheading and purposeless wandering and the movie is perfect in every way.

5. Legally Blonde (Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown) I couldn’t make it past the first chapter of this book (and the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon show that the people who did, didn’t particularly enjoy the rest of it). And while I wouldn’t count the movie as a favorite of mine, I would say the movie is far superior based on the fact that I could watch the whole thing. Plus: Elle Woods as portrayed by Reese Witherspoon. She is awesome.


  1. Yes! to all of these and also The Devil Wears Prada. I hated the book, but the movie improved on all the things that didn't work for me (e.g. it created a narrative arc) and it gave us Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, and Stanley Tucci all together.

  2. I have only read one of these books, and didn't even know some of them were inspired by a book! Yikes! I need to get reading and watching ... or maybe just watching!

  3. I've only just recently watched The Godfather I and II and I'm in my early 50s, so I don't know why it took me this long. I'm watching them with my father, who has seen them many times, so we have one more to go this weekend. Gone with the Wind is another case of the movie being better than the book, I think, and I'm just watching Game of Thrones and not reading all the books!

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