Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks - Adaptations You'd Most Like To See

Written as part of the weekly blogathon hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. You can participate - the more the merrier! - by picking three movies that fit the week's theme and writing a bit about them!

This week on Thursday Movie Picks, we're talking about adaptations we'd most like to see. I decided to stick with novels for the time being, because if I expanded to plays and musicals, we'd be here for WEEKS. To be honest, there aren't many pre-existing properties that I'm dying to see film adaptations of, mostly because the ones I do seem to inevitably get film versions. Just like...

Ready Player One (novel, Ernest Cline) Despite the slightly dodgy looking trailer, I CAN. NOT. WAIT. for this. The Dungeons & Dragons-meets-Willy Wonka by way of The Matrix storyline is a near-perfect fit for director Steven Spielberg, and Cline's world is so thrilling that when I finished the last page of this, I immediately turned it over and started again.

The Thursday Next Series (novels, Jasper Fforde) Almost too literary to ever be attempted as a film series, Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair follows intrepid Literary Detective Thursday Next into the pages of Jane Eyre (quite literally) to find Jane herself, who has been (quite literally) stolen from the pages of her own novel. Deliriously dizzy with love of the written word and full of boundless imagination, there are so many clever, fun touches in these books that would be pure joy to see on the screen. And the twist to classic novels would be a delight as well.

House of Leaves (novel, Mark Z. Danielewski) Nearly impossible to describe, this Russian nesting doll of a novel involves at least three narratives running both concurrently and on completely separate timelines. The bulk of it - and the part I would most kill to see filmed - is a scholarly dissertation on a possibly non-existent documentary by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Will Navidson, that documents what happens after Navidson moves his family into a beautiful new house in Virginia only to one day find an extra door that leads to hallway where previously there was none, and subsequently discovers that the house measures one-quarter of an inch longer on the inside than it does on the outside. While the novel as a whole is decidedly unfilmable, going off on tangents within tangents (and footnotes within footnotes) and adopting many techniques to make the reading of the book itself feel more cinematic, I would LOVE to see some intrepid filmmaker attempt to film "The Navidson Record" as described in the text, especially if they could effectively build it up as a Blair Witch Project-style "this really happened" narrative... which I admit is practically impossible.


  1. I haven’t read any of these but your second choice sounds interesting

  2. I ended up hating Ready Player One and I thought I was going to like it so much. Such disappointment lol

  3. Intriguing choices. I like the sound of the Thursday Next books but that seems like it would have to be a BBC mini to do it justice.

    With The Navidson Record it would be good as long as you don't need the framing of the rest of the book to make sense of it.

    This was a fun change of pace week but the danger with adaptation is that the delicate structure of the book may be destroyed in translation from page to stage. Or a favorite vignette taken out. I remember seeing an interview with Emma Thompson around the time Sense and Sensibility came out and she mentioned sitting next to a woman on a plane who knew she was doing the screenplay and told her it was her favorite book and looked forward to seeing how she handled Marianne's basket weaving scene. Emma then had to tell her she had eliminated that particular scene and the woman stopped speaking to her!

    Even with that risk these are three I'd like to see filmed. I think the first one is something that would really appeal to you.

    How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater (2005)-Comic novel by Marc Acito tells the tale of young sexually confused Jersey teen Edward Zanni and the lengths he goes to his senior year when his divorced father marries gold-digging shrew Dagmar and she blocks his way to attending Julliard. Helping Edward are his group of very resourceful and game friends, free spirit Paula D’Angelo, enterprising Natie Nudelman (affectionately called Cheesehead), Edward’s sometime girlfriend, perky blonde Kelly, exotic Persian transfer student Ziba and football jock Doug Grabowski who’s more at home with the theatre geeks than his sport cronies. Together, with the sometime reluctant help of Paula’s dotty Aunt Glo, they scheme to defeat the rapacious Dagmar and make Edward’s musical dream come true.

    The Queen’s Man (2000)-In the year 1193 young Justin de Quincy witnesses the murder of a tradesman on the road from Winchester to London. As he lies dying the man hands Justin a letter and begs him to find a way to get it to the queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Letter in hand he’s brought into Eleanor’s presence and her confidence leading to a world of intrigue and danger as Eleanor plots to save her favorite son, Richard the Lionhearted whilst her grasping younger son John schemes to seize the throne. Great historical detail and an engaging lead character makes a good adventure.

    A Cast of Killers (1986)-In 1982 author Sidney Kirkpatrick is commissioned to write a biography of King Vidor, director of classics The Big Parade and Stella Dallas among many others. Delving into Vidor’s papers he discovered a trove of research that the director and his good friend former silent star Colleen Moore had compiled on the unsolved 1922 murder of film director William Desmond Taylor. Putting the Vidor bio aside for the moment Kirkpatrick built on the existing research and plunged into the jazz mad world of the twenties where men with vague pasts such as Taylor’s could rise to the level of respected film director. Along the way he acquaints the reader with the many people, shaded by Vidor’s intimate knowledge of the film community of the time, involved in the case including the two stars, comic legend Mabel Normand and supposedly innocent Mary Miles Minter, whose careers were destroyed in the scandal and the massive cover-up and graft that protected the killer, whom Vidor deduced, for decades. A fascinating story begging to be filmed.

  4. Have already borrowed out Ready Player One to read before I see the movie.