I like this meme because I like lists. I like this meme because it reminds me of the Top 5 lists from High Fidelity (by Nick Hornby as a book, starring John Cusak as a movie). And I like this meme because it causes me to think long and hard about book-related topics. So here goes:
The Broke and the Bookish, a brilliant book blog,
hosts a weekly top ten list meme.
Top Ten Books I Wish Were Made Into Movies
1. Yes, this is my number 1 choice: Mulan.
Before you throw the Disney version and its sequel, the 2009 Chinese film, and the rumored 2010/2011 3D Chinese film at me, let me clarify – I’d like an available in the United States, live-action version please. I’m not against Chinese films, I actually really enjoy them (side note: check out “In the Mood for Love,” available on Netflix, it’s just gorgeous), but unfortunately the two Chinese versions are not currently available in the States. Also, yes, you may bring up the point that the story of Mulan is technically a Chinese ballad, and therefore not really a book, though there have been a few book adaptations, most notably the one based on the Disney movie and one called Wild Orchid: A Retelling of “The Ballad of Mulan” by Cameron Dokey. Yet, I’d still like to plea that in an era of increasingly sappy, helpless, frankly moronic young female movie protagonists (you know I’m thinking of Twilight and the recent reproduction of Red Riding Hood), can’t we get just one kick-ass, historically-based, gender-bending, family-honor-centered heroine? I don’t think we’ve had one of those since a 26-year-old Angelina Jolie graced the screens as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It’s time.
This one may be cheating a little because technically I hear it’s supposed to be coming out sometime in 2011, but I’ve yet to see a trailer for this baby. This 2008 Caldecott Award-winner had the movie rights purchased before the book was even published. Half film stills, half text, the novel isn’t complete without reading both text and image. A neat bit of trivia about this book is that due to the amount of illustrations, the publishers had to use a cookbook binding for the book so that it would be able to lie flat, taking in the full affect of the pictures. So beautifully and fully envisioned, I can’t wait to see what the movie will actually be like.
3. In Death (series) by J.D. Robb, aka Nora Roberts
Also cheating a bit – this is a serious of romantic murder mysteries set in the future that is so.freaking.good, I really wish they’d make a 10-season series of shows out of Eve Dallas, her oh-so-sexy Irish husband Roarke, her aide Detective Peabody, Peabody’s co-hab McNab, and everyone else in this richly imagined, not-too-distant futuristic world.
4. Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey
They did it with Lord of the Rings, can’t they do it again? The first trilogy in what’s become so-far a 3-trilogy series is one of the most consuming set of novels I’ve ever read. Drawing on ancient history, religious history, politics, war, human relations, etc., Jacqueline Carey has created an incredible world, ridiculously intricate plots, a sexy, intelligent, courageous woman, and her equally sexy, dangerous, disciplined consort. If not three movies, than an HBO series for sure – and please don’t skimp on the sex and violence.
5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
As my choices appear to be getting more bloodthirsty, let me calm things down by plugging one of my more recent (in the last few years) favorite-to-recommend reads. An epistolary novel that takes place right after World War II, I love that it’s historical without being “Saving Private Ryan,” it’s letters are fulfilling without being “Message in a Bottle,” and it’s lighthearted enough that “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day” comes to mind with that similar sense of time period costumes, music, glamor, and a hint of drama. It looks like I might get my wish, too, as there are rumors of this movie being “in development” this year. Who knows when we’ll actually see a cast list, much less a trailer, though, so I’m still putting it on the list.
As usual, I’m switching things up a little: now I’d like to highlight what I think are great movie adaptations of some favorite books:
6. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, starring John Cusak
As I mention this book/movie at the beginning of every Top Ten Tuesday blog post, clearly this needs to be #1. Even as an American adaptation of a British book that’s so steeped in British music folklore, the movie version totally nails it in terms of the feel of the plot itself. And what isn’t John Cusak brilliant in?
7. M.A.S.H. by Richard Hooker, starring Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould
So quirky! All of it – the whistling, the talking over each other, the hijinks and shenanigans. Such a great period-piece.
8. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, starring Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, and Richard Dreyfuss
Tom Stoppard wrote both the play and the movie script (shocker, I know) – the play I love to read just as a book, and the movie is one of my favorites to fall asleep to. It’s almost a full 2 hours and it’s not really action-packed but in that way that has so many layers of meaning. It’s a great rainy day afternoon in the background while I’m cooking or crafting film.
Here is a book I loved but have yet to see the movie because I’m too chicken:
9. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff, starring Anthony Hopkins, Anne Bancroft, and Judi Dench
I know, I know, with a cast like that, what the heck am I waiting for? Maybe I’ll finally gather up my courage to watch it this weekend.
Lastly, please stop making movie adaptations of this book because you’ll just never be able to capture it on film:
Ignore both the British, low production quality film unless you want a good laugh, and its 2005 remake unless you’re playing a drinking game where you take a shot every time someone with big star power (John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, Mos Def, Bill Nighy) is on screen and that still doesn’t make the movie any better.