Another Article


I guess I spoke too soon. Just hours after I said yesterday that only one of my articles had been published on FluentU, I got a notification that they’d published another. It’s about books that have been made into movies, and how to use them in classes. It’s aimed at English teachers, but even non-teachers may find it interesting. At the very least, you can critique my choices–which movies did I forget?

Thanks for reading!


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2 thoughts on “Another Article

  1. Great question! I’ve been wanting to compare movies and books for a long time but never got around to writing anything. (That, and my movie background is rather behind the times. Couldn’t even guess how often I’ve said, in shock, “They made that into a movie? Really, that long ago?”)

    That said…

    My book club is reading The Martian this month. I’m about 75% finished with the book (it’s really good!!) and cannot even begin to imagine how this has become a movie. So much of it is single-character, no dialog…but then, there was Castaway, which was a great movie. So far, The Martian is very similar to Castaway, actually–a survival tale. I would definitely like to see The Martian movie at some point.

    The Mosquito Coast–I saw the movie long before I read the book, so it wasn’t a direct comparison, but my thought was that they’re both good but in completely different ways. I’m thinking I should read and watch them again to sort out WHY. They’d be worth a second look.

    The JRR Tolkien series. The Lord of the Rings trilogy–okay, pretty authentic to the books. But then The Hobbit. What to make of that transistion? It’s an average-sized book, but it was turned into a three-movie, nine-hour, butt-numbing viewing experience. Good so far (at present I’ve only made it through the second movie) but really, all that expansion and inventing new subplots just to create yet another opportunity to fill a scene with thousands of bloodthirsty Orcs or assorted other Bad Guys…again…probably not altogether necessary.

    My Sister’s Keeper–WHAT???? The opposite characters live/die compared to the book. That’s just wrong.

    Opposite example: Julie & Julia was a movie that really, really improved upon the book. I was tired of the narrator by the end of the book–she came across as a self-centered whiner that has precious little to whine about. But the movie “Julie” is FAR more palatable. And Meryl Streep’s perfect channeling of Julia Child was amazing to see, which helps, especially since the explicitly “Julia” portions don’t exist at all in the book.

    Harry Potter, all of them–win all around. If ever a book series screamed to be put on a big screen, this was the one. There are differences, but they’re generally not jarring. Example: I think the Chris Columbus-style atmosphere is more fitting–odd/wacky/whimsical but positive, as opposed to the bizarre/grotesque and always slightly ominous atmosphere of the later movies. But characters and plots are close to always true, and that’s what matters most to me.

    • Wow, this is a great comment with lots of good ideas!

      I also read the Martian last year and thought it was excellent, and I’ve seen the movie in the meantime. I also thought it was good, but before I saw it, I talked to my brother, who had also read the book before seeing it. He said it was a good movie but there was one part that was really stupid. “You’ll know it immediately,” he said. And I did. But the rest was very good, and I actually thought the movie did a good job of translating the story visually, since some of the descriptions are a bit hard to visualize. Kinda the same as some of the tournament scenes from Hunger Games. I know that the descriptions are good and all, but it’s nice to see when filmmakers make it cool and believable.

      I know I’ve seen Mosquito Coast but not read the book. I should, though, since I really like Thoreaux’s non-fiction stuff. However, I did read a fiction story he wrote last year and wasn’t a big fan of it.

      I also agree with Lord of the Rings, but I couldn’t get into the Hobbit. I wrote about that on the movie blog, I think, but I was surrounded by morons when I saw that in the theater here, and lost any interest in the remaining movies.

      Also agree with Harry Potter, but I don’t think I’ve read past #3 or seen past #4 or so. I just sort of lost steam there, too, and never really picked it up again. Maybe I’ll do that in a future year. This past year I read some of the Series of Unfortunate Events books because I saw that they were really short and I was running out of time in November or so. They’re also pretty OK, but a bit more formulaic. But when you compare their 200 or so pages to Harry Potter’s 600 pages or more, then I had to go for (smaller) quantity over quality.

      Speaking of that, I’m hoping to check out The Man in the High Castle soon, as well as 11/22/63. I heard the former was pretty good (as was the book), but the latter was a bit disappointing?

      Thanks again for the great comments!

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