I laughed out loud when I heard today’s topic: our favorite books-to-big screen (or little screen)(any screen?) adaptation. Everyone who knows me knows I am not much of a television person. If Kim or Rhi recommend something, I might have a shot of maybe possibly watching it. I might watch TV for about 30 minutes at the end of the day, while I put my feet up and unwind. But there are many days when the TV remote doesn’t move. There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t read (except that day I had the flu), but the TV? Eh. I guess.
Before I start my incredibly predictable list, let’s stop for a moment and thank our sponsors and purveyors of JOY: the sassy and beautiful Andi at Estella’s Revenge, the hilarious and funky duo of Tanya and Kimberly at Girl XOXO, and gorgeous girl-with-it-all Tamara over at Traveling with T. Take a moment to go introduce yourself and say thank you for this month’s festivities!
I bet both of my sisters could write this list for me, but I’ll humor you. My Top 5 List of Favorite Books-to-Big-Screen adaptations! (In no particular order…)
The Jane Austen movie library. Topped by Pride and Prejudice – both versions. Yes, I know there are more than two. Even admitting there are that many is a bit of an accomplishment. I came to the Colin Firth version (formerly known as “the right version” and now known as “the long version”) relatively late, but embraced it all the more vigorously. Even my girls know it backwards, forwards and inside out. I refused to watch the newer Keira Knightley version for ever so long. But it is visually stunning, for all that Darcy is wooden. (“I love you. Honestly. You can tell by how my voice never changes in modulation. Ever.”) But let’s not ignore the version of Emma with Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller (um, and Dumbledore), or Mansfield Park with Jonny Lee Miller (yes, I had a phase), or Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson. In fact, I didn’t realize how brilliant that movie was until I read the book not that long ago (10 years, maybe?) and saw how godawful the non-existent plotlines and characterization and – just everything was! No wonder Emma Thompson won for best screenplay for plucking that movie out of that jibbering mess that was S&S.
The Color Purple. I know I’m going to think of another movie to take this spot as soon as I hit “post.” I found this movie from our video library at home and watched it one day out of sheer boredom. I was young, and so when I was old enough for the book to be on my reading list, and for me to check it out to see if it was the same as the movie I had watched for years, I was surprised. Surprised because yes, yes it was, and also because it the book was so different. In focus and perspective. I think the only thing I liked better from the book was its wider, grander scope. So many gut-wrenching performances here.
Lord of the Rings. This might be cheating, a bit. Because technically, I don’t like the books. I was stubbornly refusing to like the movies, too, until I did. It was back when the second movie was coming out. New Year’s Day in…well, whatever year that was. 2002? It must have been. Because I was still married, it was before Gracie was born (the year the third movie came out), and we were in our new house. Kim was visiting and she and Jason really wanted to see the movie. So I got out-voted. To catch me up, they made me watch the first movie. Which, if I remember correctly, I did twice through. It’s a thinking sort of movie; you have to pay attention and kind of know what’s going on. You do not, however, have to read the books. I tried, once, and GAWD, it was awful. The movies, on the other hand, are gorgeously shot, perfectly cast, and maybe my favorite scores ever.
Anne-girl. Always Anne-girl. When I said I didn’t have a favorite, I lied. Utterly and bald-facedly. Anne of Green Gables is my favorite book of all time, and my favorite movie of all time. It is who I believe myself to be, in my heart of hearts. I might forget, from time to time, and think the Dark Tower series is my favorite story, or The Princess Bride my favorite film, but my imagination knows the truth. I was very young when PBS first aired the mini-series, but I still remember the world around me fading because I knew that I was this Anne-girl. I remember my mom reading the first book aloud to my sister and I at bedtime before giving up halfway through. I may have wept when I heard they were remaking the movies (who could “replace” Megan Follows?! Inconceivable!), but I’ve rallied. Because having additional movies to wear through just means different interpretations. Not that I have to like them or even watch them, more than the once.
I can’t wait to go see what everyone has posted. I know I’ll come up with at least a handful that I’ll wish I had thought to write about, and hopefully quite a few I want to add to my queue. Which is a delightful prospective, given that temps here are supposed to stay shivering cold through the weekend and curling up under the blanket with a fire going sounds like just the thing!