Saturday, August 5, 2017

Movies That Are Better Than The Book

There are a couple of lists like this floating around the internet but they're all written by kids who have no idea what they're talking about because they haven't A) seen any films or B) read any books. Also you have to scroll through many screens to get their ridiculously uninformed opinions, whereas to get my ridiculously overinformed opinions you need only look below. 
5. The 39 Steps. The book is ok, the Hitchcock film is breezy, sexy and fun. It's got a girl, Mr Memory, a police helicopter (in 1935!)* none of which are in the book. Jorge Luis Borges says in one of his essays that was the first film he'd ever seen that transcended the source material and he is right. Hitchcock didn't get this breezy again until North By Northwest (a kind of remake) 24 years later.
4. The Shining. Pretty good book. Excellent film. Maybe Kubrick's best? I dunno - I'm a wimp so I've always been too scared to watch it again. Same goes with most horror movies and actually most Stephen King books - they are just too scary for me I'm sorry to say. Anyway King was famously never happy with Kubrick's version so he made his own TV version in the 1990s.
3. Jaws. Every single person you ever met on public transport in the 1970s was reading this book. But those, apparently, were the good old days, now everybody on public transport is playing video games and texting and checking their bloody Facebook likes on their bloody phones. I was on a packed supertram yesterday and there wasn't a single other person on there reading a book. God help us all. Lost my train of...what was I talking...Oh yes, Jaws: strange big clunky book with bizarre mafia subplot & 70s style affairs but a lean, clever, subtle film (except, obviously, for the scene where Chief Brody gets slapped).
2. Barry Lyndon. Insufferable, long, meandering, silly, anti-Irish book, but somehow Kubrick made a minor masterpiece out of it. He does that a lot does Kubrick.The duel scenes alone are worth the price of admission...
1. Last of the Mohicans. This book is so dull that Mark Twain made hay out of mocking it 130 years ago and it has not aged particularly well since then. The Michael Mann film however is a classic especially that 8 minute long - almost silent - final sequence.
*ok technically its an autogyro