The Book Was Better, 2019

It is rare that a movie or TV show is better than the book it is based on. I mean, it happens, but it’s rare.  Yes, some movies live up to or complement their source material, but most of the time they don’t. For starters, let’s take 2019 – remember 2019? – back when we were still going to movie theaters? Ah, seems like ages ago, doesn’t it? Skip these 2019 movies, and read the book (or listen to the audiobook) instead:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? Cate Blanchett! Richard Linklater! Our fair city and library as a filming location! What could go wrong? A lot, it turns out.

  • The book: “…a compelling composite of a woman’s life—and the way she’s viewed by the many people who share it. …the nuances of mundane interactions are brilliantly captured, and the overarching mystery deepens with each page, until the thoroughly satisfying dénouement.” – Publisher’s Weekly.
  • The movie: “The script is an insult to the principle of adaptation: All that is good in the plot has been excised in favor of the shortest route to a happy ending.” – The New Republic. Rotten Tomatoes: 50%.

The Dirtby Mötley Crüe. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll rockumentary, ten years in the making. Nah – stick to This is Spinal Tap.

  • The Book: “The Dirt is the singularly greatest sex/drugs/rock reading experience of our age. It’s one of the all-time great rock bios.” – NPR.
  • The Movie: “This is rock bad-boy lore as a rocking bore, an endless parade of recreated afterparty ecstasy and emptiness that robs The Dirt of the vicarious thrill it had on the page.” – Rolling Stone. Rotten Tomatoes: 37%

Pet Sematary, by Stephen King. Not just worse than the book, but worse than the first film of the book. (Shakes head) Why!?

  • The Book: “The book is built from the subtlety of behind-the-scenes malevolence, constructed slowly and forcefully, and so beautifully paced that you cannot help but be pulled in. (King) shows how subtle his hand can be.” – The Guardian
  • The Movie: “King’s simple and elegant premise has been transformed into secondhand claptrap.” – Flavorwire. Rotten Tomatoes audience score: 32%

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness / (aka Chaos Walking.) Just because a book reads like a movie, doesn’t mean it will make a good movie.

The Book: “…this troubling, unforgettable opener to the Chaos Walking trilogy is a penetrating look at the ways in which we reveal ourselves to one another, and what it takes to be a man in a society gone horribly wrong. The cliffhanger ending is as effective as a shot to the gut.” – Booklist

The Movie: “A hot mess that throws a wet blanket of dystopian drivel over fresh young stars Daisy Ridley and Tom Holland. ‘Chaos Limping’ is more like it.” – ABC News. Rotten Tomatoes: 22%.

Stay tuned for more missable movies, and the excellent books that inspired them.

~ Posted by David W.

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