Sunday, August 1, 2010

They Made That Into a Movie?

I just forced myself to finish reading Up in the Air.  It's the book on which that movie with George Clooney was based.  I never saw the movie, I just needed something to read and that looked like it could be interesting since wasn't the movie nominated for a bunch of Oscars or something?  Eh, why not.

I read it.  Airplanes.  Corporate disenchantment.  uh-huh, okay...  I kept waiting for it to get good.  Waiting for that je ne sais quois that would inspire anyone to make it into an Oscar nominated (winning?  did it win anything?) movie.  I kept waiting for the point.  and waiting.

The most interesting part of that book was the character's drug addled overnight in Las Vegas.  It came really close to having a point there.  That was almost toward the end but I thought, "Okay, here we go.  Epiphany time."  But then it lost any trace of getting to a point.  And never got it back.  It wasn't even funny anywhere and there was no sex at all.  And now it's over.  And I feel all sneery.  stupid book.

That character Vera Farmiga played in the movie?  Never existed in the book.  Totally created in the screenplay.  Know why?  Because the book sucked out loud.  And again, never saw the movie but I suspect she was the most compelling part of it because there was nothing compelling about that damn book.  I am Not.  Pleased.

Of the books I read for entertainment I think some people do the book-to-movie transition way better than others.  Some books just aren't meant to be digested in 90 minutes.  There's nothing wrong with that.  Look at Clavell...Shogun anyone?  see?  Anyway, there are some authors I read fairly regularly and I thought about this a little while drudging through my latest reading venture.

Michael Crichton, bless his soul, he could write a book-to-movie book.  I read and saw just about everything he did.  Every book was well written and the movies were made with a real sense of how things went down on paper.  entertaining.  My favorite of his books, and the first I ever read from him, was the autobiography Travels.  That will never be made into a movie.  Because even though he started out every experience as a skeptic throughout his earlier years, so much of his perception was stretched and elightened with New Age-ish philosophy.  I doubt that would be well characterized on screen.  Too easy to turn that into a dumbed down mess.  Anyway, I have read that book so many times in the last 20 years.  highly recommended.

John Grisham.  Well, I can only either read the books of his or see the movies.  But not both.  Because I tried to read The Firm after seeing the movie and I kept picturing what Tom Cruise had done onscreen and it was just enough off that I got head-tangly and couldn't keep things straight so I put the book down.  And I tried to watch one of the movies after reading another book and just got bored with watching.  Now I just read him for fluff.  but not often.

Tom Clancy.  They cannot do his books justice on the big screen.  Impossible.  I've only read a few of his books but I remember seeing Clear and Present Danger in the theater not long after I'd finished reading it and my comparative knowledge made that movie horrible.  Edited beyond reason.  very disappointing.  The books though, wow.

Nelson DeMille.  I bet they could make some good movies with Nelson DeMille's stuff.  The only movie I think they've done so far is The General's Daughter and that was, well, that was just okay.  John  DeMille's other books would translate better to movies.  Action, spy stuff.  fun. 

Patricia Cornwell.  Hers would be good too but those would actually be better turned into a cable series given the popularity of crime drama, Dr. G: Medical Examiner and the fabulousity that is Dexter. [dreamy sigh for Dexter] 

Anyway, if They, the faceless media production machine, ever popped over here for my free opinion then that is what I would tell them.  I would never have recommended Up in the Air for cinematic adaptation.  But what the hell do I know, it got Oscar nominations.  I'm pretty sure that was mostly about George Clooney though and what had to be some brilliant screenwriting.

All in all, I think the author is not terrible.  He put words together like puzzle pieces throughout, they just didn't make any kind of a picture at the end.  I like books that make me want to climb in and be a character.  This didn't give me that.  memorable only in its forgetableness.

The next book on my shelf is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I hear that is much, much, many times better and I am looking forward to reading and forgetting I ever read whatever that was I just finished.


Denise said...

I'm just glad you haven't fallen prey to any vampire books.

Dawn said...

Of the authors you've mentioned, the only one I've read everything of is Patricia Cornwell because that's my favored genre. I, too, would like to see it as a series - but only if written as well. I'm reading a new-to-me author now that, after 5 of his books, I'm tempted to write to him and tell him he's an f'ing moron. But I still read them! LOL

Kimberly said...

About to read the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo as well. Let's hope it lives up to all that I've heard about it. Maybe there will be (whispering) s-e-x in it. HA!