Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Tuesday Top Ten: Favorite Film Adaptations of Written Works

Since I recently finished reading The Shining by Stephen King, I have been thinking about how different the book is than the movie, but that the film version is still my favorite horror movie.  Then I got to thinking about how many other Stephen King books and stories have been turned into movies.  For a minute or two there, I was thinking about doing a Tuesday Top Ten of my favorite Stephen King film adaptations.  Then Albert, the centaur that sometimes visits me in my office, appeared before me and made a good point.  "You haven't seen Shawshank Redemption all the way through.  They'll mock you mercilessly."  "Who's 'they?'," I hissed back.  "Ev-er-y-one," he replied, slowly, but forcefully.  And like that, he was gone, as were the apples and carrots I had left out on my desk.  I put my head down.  Whenever Albert visits me, it makes me very tired.  "Albert," I said aloud, "That fucking centaur.  He always knows what's best for me."  When I looked up, my boss was standing in the doorway looking very confused.  She just turned and walked away without saying anything.

So I decided to expand the list to my ten favorite movies adapted from any written work.  They could be based on books, short stories, plays, or comics.  I don't even give a shit.  Just because they are on this list doesn't mean I read the book or whatever -- just that I like the movie.  As you can see, I generally tend to lean towards comedies, so don't get your American flag boxers in a bunch when you don't see any Tom Clancy or John Grisham movies on here.  With that, here are my ten favorite film adaptations of written works:

Honorable mention:
-Carrie (1976), based on the novel Carrie by Stephen King (1974)
-Vacation (1983), based on the short story "Vacation '58" by John Hughes in National Lampoon magazine

10.  Memento (2000), based on the short story "Memento Mori" by Jonathan Nolan
I have never talked more about a movie immediately after seeing it than I did after seeing Memento.  It's unlike any other movie I have ever seen.

9.  The Exorcist (1973), based on the novel The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty (1971)
One of the great horror movies ever, The Exorcist is terrifying and contains one of my favorite lines ever said by a possessed adolescent in a movie to a priest:  "You mother sucks cocks in hell."  Zing!

8.  The Godfather (1972), based on the novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo (1969)
I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain why The Godfather is on the list.

7.  GoodFellas (1990), based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi (1986)

The rise and fall of real life mobster Henry Hill was as interesting a gangster movie as has ever been made.  And after seeing this movie, it's impossible to hear the coda to "Layla" without thinking about dead Italian-Americans.

6.  The Shining (1980), based on the novel The Shining by Stephen King (1977)

I vividly remember the first time I saw this movie.  A friend and I rented it, not knowing anything about it, other than the freaky cover with Jack Nicholson peering psychotically through the broken door.  I was about 12, and I had to get up an leave halfway through the movie because it was too much.  Since then, I have seen it dozens of times, and I have grown to love it.  Nicholson is fantastic.  Danny Lloyd is great as Danny -- his first and last acting role.

5.  Braveheart (1995), based on the poem The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace by Blind Harry
For about two or three years after seeing Braveheart, my inner monologue was mostly in a Scottish accent.  I also fought like a warrior poet, whatever the fuck that means.

4.  Animal House (1978), based on various stories in National Lampoon magazine
Based on a conglomeration of college experiences from Dartmouth, Wash U, and McMaster in the early '60s, this is the quintessential college movie.  Without knowing it, you probably quote this movie every day. 

3.  Christmas Vacation (1983), based on the short story "Christmas '59" by John Hughes in National Lampoon magazine
The greatest Christmas movie of all-time is based on a short story by the greatest '80s filmmaker.

2.  American Psycho (2000), based on the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis (1991)

The book is one of my favorites, and so is the movie.  Christian Bale is phenomenal as Patrick Bateman, and I think this is probably one of the top dark comedies ever made.

1.  Fletch (1985), based on the novel Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald (1975)

I think this is probably Chevy Chase's best performance, and it's one of my favorite movies of all-time.  There are so many one-liners and little jokes that you'd have to see it a hundred times to pick everything up.

I'm sure I'm missing some, but I do not intend to look up every movie I love.  So, you may or may not have just wasted the last several minutes reading this post.

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