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Chapter 4 - That's Good, That's Bad


I love movies. I especially love a good book turned into a good movie. Sometimes as I read, I think about the characters and who I might cast in a movie from the book. I've been doing that lately with Where the Crawdads Sing, the bestseller by Delia Owens. Sadly, often the best book becomes the worst movie and, in my experience at least, it is a rare thing when a bad book becomes a good movie.


On New Year's Day Dave and I went to see News of the World. Based on the excellent book by Paulette Jiles, the movie was okay but not great. I left shaking my head and muttering "but that's not what happened in the book." It follows the story pretty well with some gratuitous racism at the beginning and an abbreviated ending. Then we started talking about other terrific books with bad movies. Here are my choices for that moniker...


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - The book by Ransom Riggs was a wonderful fantasy about an older woman who has a home for peculiar children, generally ones with special attributes like levitation or vanishing properties. In the movie they switched the kids' ages and powers to set up romances as well as made Miss Peregrine a young beautiful woman. It just didn't work.


The Book Thief - This was a brilliant book by Markus Zusak where Death was the narrator. As it takes place among the censorship of Nazi Germany, Death was an appropriate voice. To the director's credit, the voice remains in the movie but the script felt disjointed and abbreviated. There were parts which, if you hadn't read the book, you would have had a hard time following. It felt as if the story had lost its soul.


The Girl With All the Gifts -This is a terrific zombie book where people get a virus which turns some of them into flesh eating zombies without brain or motor functions. (Stay with me, it is better than it sounds.) Some children, also flesh eaters, have cognitive and motor functions and they are being experimented on to determine why so a vaccine can be found. The movie had the casting terribly wrong and the villain was impossible to like in the book but more redeeming in the movie. It took about a third of the movie before you understand what was going on and you would be lost if you hadn't read the book.


Red Sparrow - I love this book trilogy by Jason Matthews. The movie with Jennifer Lawrence was a disaster and I hope they don't continue the series via movies. There was a fair amount of sex in the book as a "sparrow" was a female Russian spy who used sex to blackmail her subjects into telling secrets. The movie was over the top in this regard as it superseded the actual story.


A Wrinkle in Time - An awesome book by Madeleine L'Engle, the movie fails miserably. Don't expect to see the same characters or even quite the story you enjoyed in the original book. This was a movie making fiasco including showing characters whose voices you only read about in the book. Don't waste your time on this movie.


Do you have any good books/bad movies that you want to share?