Saturday, July 18, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009-27: Best Movie Adaptations

Back in March, Weekly Geeks discussed the worst book-to-movie adaptations. This week, we're talking about the best.

The movie that immediately popped into my head is also one of my all-time favorite movies, Stand by Me, based on the novella The Body by Stephen King. The movie stayed pretty true to the book except for one scene in the book that wasn't in the movie, but, quite frankly, I thought that was a good decision. It wasn't central to the plot at all, and it wasn't anything that I cared for.

I loved this movie when it came out in 1986, and I still love it today. Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Keifer Sutherland were all young and relatively unknown at the time, and I think they all did an amazing job. Richard Dreyfuss is perfect as the narrator of this story, and, of course, Ben E. King's "Stand by Me" (listen to a clip below) leads the soundtrack perfectly. Having Rob Reiner at the helm as director probably didn't hurt either. Here's a YouTube clip of the first few minutes of the movie. I wouldn't listen to it at work or in front of the kids, but that's just me. Of course, you never know how long these things will be available, so here's a link to the trailer at as well.

Another movie that I actually liked better than the book is The Hours. I thought the book, by Michael Cunningham, was OK, but the movie really got to me for some reason. It was one of those that you just want to sit and digest for a while after you watch it-no talking, no going out for dessert and coffee or shopping with friends afterward, but in a kind of depressing, I-think-I-just-want-to-sit-here-and-cry-cathartically-for-a-while kind of way. (I'm really selling it, aren't I?) Again, a stellar cast leads this film which was nominated for 9 Academy Awards (and numerous other awards). Nicole Kidman won for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep turned in wonderful performances as the other female leads as well. Ed Harris (love him!), John C. Reilly, and Jeff Daniels make their appearances as well. You can watch the trailer here, and as long as it's available you can watch this clip which, I think, is a pretty good explanation of why Nicole Kidman walked away with the Oscar.

Incidentally, our local theater just reopened. It's just a small, two-screen theater, but it closed down about a year-and-a-half ago due to financial constraints. A local couple bought the theater, renovated it and reopened it this weekend as the Laie Palms Cinemas, just in time for the release of the latest Harry Potter movie. We didn't make it out for the premier, but hopefully, they were able to draw a big crowd and they will be successful. This theater is about 10 minutes from our house, and is the only place that I know of that uses actual butter on their popcorn, not oily-flavored crap "butter flavoring." The next closest theater is about 30 minutes away, so I am looking forward to having a theater nearby again!


Nymeth said...

I loved the book too, but I agree, The Hours is an excellent adaptation. One of my favourites.

pussreboots said...

I've seen Stand By Me but haven't read The Body. On the flip side, I've read The Hours but haven't seen the film.

My post is here

Lahni said...

I haven't seen either of those, but I have heard of them. Maybe I'll have to pick them up the next time I visit the video store.

Icedream said...

I agree, Stand By Me was a great movie from King's "The Body". His are usually hit or really miss!
I enjoyed the movie The Hours much better than I enjoyed the book (which I had to read 3 times, once when it came out and twice for book clubs).

Kristen said...

Stand by Me is wonderful! I've not read or seen the Hours, will have to check it out!

Cass said...

It must be so exciting to have a theater nearby again! I grew up in a small town where our closest theater was about 20 minutes away, too. Independent theaters are so cozy. I just wish they all looked like the one in the Majestic (that awful movie with Jim Carrey).

Dreamybee said...

Nymeth-It's always a nice surprise when the movie is as good as or better than the book isn't it?

pussreboots-If you've seen Stand by Me, I don't think you're missing out on not reading the book. As I recall the only thing that was in there that wasn't in the movie was another one of Gordy's stories, like the story he tells around the camp fire of the guy at the pie-eating contest.

Lahni-If you do pick them up, I'd like to hear what you think of them!

Icedream-I agree with you about King's movies being totally hit or miss. Wow, 3 times is a lot of times to read a book whose movie you liked better!

Kristen-As I said, it's definitely a moody film, so don't pick it up if you're looking for something light and airy. Melancholy and need to cry? This might be a good one.

Cass-Yes, I am totally excited that the theater is reopening, and they are opening it as an independent theater, so we might get some movies that I'd normally have to drive an hour to see. (The 30-minutes-away theater is not independently-minded). Oh, that would be wonderful if we walked into a Majestic-type theater! LOL. I don't think that's going to happen, but if it's nice, maybe I'll post some pics.

Anonymous said...

I forgot all about Stand By Me. As for The Hours, I didn't read it or see it but might should add to my Netflix queue after this.

As for your local theater, have to love local theaters. I know I'm glad we have one where we live.

Jeanne said...

I thought since I'd read the book, I didn't need to see the movie--now you've changed my mind!

Dreamybee said...

justareadingfool & Jeanne-Geez, now I'm starting to feel pressure. I'm afraid people are going to go rent The Hours and then come back here and go, "What were you thinking?? That was terrible!" (You know, because I'm sooooo influential here in the blogosphere. LOL!) Then again, I have a whole slew of Professional Movie People who felt the same as me, so...OK, go ahead and rent it. ;)

Memory said...

I also really enjoyed The Hours. I watched it fairly soon after I'd finished the book, so I found it really interesting to see how the filmmakers translated the story to the screen.

Dreamybee said...

Memory-Oh good, I'm glad someone else here can back me up! LOL!