Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Movie Tie-Ins (Academy Awards Edition!)

So, after Sandra Bullock won last night for The Blind Side, I've been thinking about movie tie-ins. I saw the movie last week, and I read The Blind Side in hardcover when it first came out (I loved Moneyball) and I saw the MTI this weekend at the bookstore. A lot of people I know can a bit snobby about MTIs. But I think, whatever gets a person reading a book is just fine! I've been inspired by movies for years! The first one I remember is The Incredible Journey but my Mom recently found my copy of The Rescuers (and Miss Bianca) so I guess I have been doing it even longer. Once in high school I actually read a "novelization" which was of Dead Poets Society, but oddly the script was changed a bit after the manuscript was submitted (in order for the book to be published simultaneously) so in wasn't exactly the same which surprised me. But that was a one-off.

Now the majority of the time I've read the book first but sometimes I have been inspired by a movie or TV show. A partial list:
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Gone With the Wind
  • The Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries
  • The Name of the Rose
  • Jaws
  • Prince of Tides
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • The Piano
  • A River Runs Through It
  • Breakfast at Tiffanys
  • Different Seasons (The Body/Stand by Me and Shawshank Redemption)
  • The Joy Luck Club
  • How to Make an American Quilt
  • The Ditchdigger's Daughter
  • The English Patient
  • Contact
  • Elizabeth (by David Starkey)
  • Dead Man Walking
  • The Object of my Affection
  • The Thin Red Line
  • The Sweet Hereafter
  • All Creatures Great and Small
  • Eight Men Out
  • The Natural
  • Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams)
  • All three books in The Lord of the Rings series
The main reason I prefer to read a book first is that unlike most people, I do not imagine what I think the characters look like while I read a book. I'm just not a visual thinker in that way. The lovely thing is, when I see the movie after reading the book, I'm rarely disappointed because an actor doesn't look like I think he/she should. But when I see it first, then I definitely picture the actors. That's not always bad exactly, but it can be a bit limiting.
But just think of what I'd have missed if I refused to let myself be tempted by Movie Tie-ins! So many fantastic books! In fact, looking over this list, I am struck that I really can't pick one out that I disliked. Sure, some were quite different than I had expected, but that can be part of the fun. Several years ago I read Amy Tan speak and someone asked her about the differences between the movie and the book of The Joy Luck Club, and she reminded us that she was a co-producer of the movie. The changes that were made, were entirely hers. Once cannot edit a book forever, but even after the book is published, one can make changes for the movie. It was a helpful reminder to not judge too harshly when stories stray.


Carin said...

I actually liked The Joy Luck Club movie better than the book. It's the weakest of all her books I've read (Saving Fish From Drowning included). I loved Shoeless Joe and Field of Dreams. It's one of the books I've read that the movie fairly closely follows. I also enjoyed Band of Brothers which wasn't on your list, but I definitely recommend both the book and the mini-series.

Carin Siegfried said...

This is only a partial list! Band of Brothers though is another great example - I saw the miniseries first despite years of my Dad and my brother yelling at me to read the book, and only then did I finally capitulate and read it. Fantastic. Of course I was predisposed to love it since I think Damian Lewis is a god. I actually saw him in The Forsyte Saga first tho BoB came out first (I don't have HBO).

Carin said...

Oh I still haven't seen The Forsyte Saga! I need to put that in my Netflix queue. I actually thought he was American and when he spoke in the documentary I was shocked! He is a terrific actor and did one of the best American accents ever. Ross McCall also did a really great American accent. Did you watch Life? I was so sad when it got cancelled. We need more Damian Lewis on our television! :)

Carin Siegfried said...

Actually, when he auditioned for The Forsyte Saga he had trouble getting the audition, and his agent found out it's because the BBC people also thought he was American! Yes, I also liked Life a lot and am sad it's gone. You definitely should watch The Forsyte Saga - and put it on your TBR list! Great book. It's like a soap opera 100 years ago.