Movies that are better than the book: Part 2

A quick update on yesterday’s post by the same name: It turns out that as I was writing my list, Jason Bailey at Flavorpill was making a list as well, and his is complete with video trailers, which makes my list look considerably less impressive.

Of course, his story can only be read by clicking through ten different pages, which I find incredibly annoying, so at least my post is easier to read.

We have some agreement in our lists as well.

My list, as you recall, included four films:

The Firm Forrest Gump Minority Report Fight Club

Yesterday I added Jaws to the list after several readers reminded me of the disparity between the book and the film (I actually re-read the book last summer). Specifically, there is a section in the book in which Ellen Brody is considering having an affair as her husband battles a man-eating shark, and I have found this plot line to be tedious and distracting.  Spielberg apparently felt the same way, since it does not appear in the film.

Also, the ending of the book is convoluted and anticlimactic at best, with the shark being dragged underwater by the sinking Orca.

Granted, it’s slightly more realistic than blowing up the shark by shooting the tank of compressed oxygen in his mouth, but the chunks of shark splashing around Brody in the final scene of the movie are priceless. So Jaws is now on my list.

And in terms of the Flavorpill piece, we agree on The Firm and Jaws.

Bailey also includes the following films with corresponding books that I have not read:

The Princess Bride (an overrated film) The Graduate Dr. Strangelove One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (mentioned by readers yesterday) MASH The Godfather (several readers insisted should be on my list)

Bailey also includes the film High Fidelity on his list, which I thought was excellent, but I did not think it distinguished itself enough from the book in order to be declared superior.

He included the film Stand By Me, which is based upon Stephen King’s novella The Body from a book that also contains the novella upon which The Shawshank Redemption is based.

Quite a book. On film rights alone, it probably paid King enough to be set for life.

A friend also suggested The Shawshank Redemption to me, and while both Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption are outstanding films and quite possibly better than their literary counterparts, I did not feel that they were better enough to make my list.

But I might change my mind on this over time.

Especially The Shawshank Redemption. Damn that movie is good.

I suspect that the rest of the films on Bailey’s list are probably better than their literary counterparts, which leaves me to wonder if I should ever read the book. I've been told that One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and The Godfather are excellent novels, but if the film versions are better, what is a guy with a million books to read and a limited amount of time to do?