When the movie is better than the book

This grew out of a conversation I had yesterday with a student over lunch. He was talking about why the books are nearly always better than the movies that are made based on them. I said that this is true, but there are some cases in which the movie is actually better than the book.

The example I gave was “Peter Pan.” The book, by J. M. Barrie, has all of the Victorian vices of sentimentalism and child-worshipping, and I find it unreadable. (As Chesterton said, Barrie’s central conceit of a boy who doesn’t want to grow up is the fantasy of an adult, not a child. Actual children can’t wait to grow up!)

Another: “The Wizard of Oz.”

I have another one in mind, but I’ll see if you can come up with it. What are some other movies that are better than the book?

Hollywood goes conservative?

Maybe not exactly, but the Academy Awards give Roger Simon reason to think that the ideological spectrum in Hollywood may be widening:

The 2010 Academy Awards may not have marked the end of “liberal Hollywood” as we know it, but they certainly put a solid dent in it. With the pro-military “The Hurt Locker” winning over the enviro-pabulum of “Avatar” and Sandra Bullock garnering the Best Actress Oscar for a Christian movie, the times are a-changin’ at least somewhat, maybe even a lot.

But one thing is now certain. It is time for conservative, center-right and libertarian filmmakers to stop feeling sorry for themselves and go out and just do it. Their “victocrat” days are over. No more excuses. “The Hurt Locker” and “The Blind Side” have proven that it can be done. Get out of the closet, guys and gals. If you want to make a film with themes you believe in, quit whining about Industry prejudice and start writing that script and trying to get it made. That’s not an easy thing, no matter what your politics.

Right siders can take inspiration too from Sunday’s Oscar ceremonies themselves. They weren’t defamed for a moment. Missing in action was the usual libo-babble, no extended hymns to the cause du jour or ritual Bush-bashing. And Barack Obama wasn’t even mentioned. Not once. But the troops were – several times by Kathryn Bigelow.

via Roger L. Simon » Did the 2010 Academy Awards Mark the End of “Liberal Hollywood”?.

“Hurt Locker” beats “Avatar”

“Hurt Locker,” the intense thriller about an American bomb squad in Iraq–a low budget film with a tiny audience–beat the 3-D anti-military environmentalist blockbuster “Avatar” in the Academy Awards.   “Avatar” won the cinematography and art direction, as was proper, but “Hurt Locker” won best picture and best director (to Kathy Bigelow, ex-wife of “Avatar’s” James Cameron), among others.

Sandra Bullock won best actress for the pro-Christian “The Blind Side.”   “Precious,” the heart-rending depiction of an abused, neglected, overweight African-American child took a number of awards.  On the whole, it was a good night for positive movies.

I didn’t think “Avatar” would win much, despite the record money it is making.  Actors make up a big percentage of the Academy voters, and they, on the whole, are scared of the prospect of being replaced with computer-animations.  (Yes, I know there were actors somewhere behind the elongated blue aliens, but it isn’t the same as old-school acting.)

Full list of Oscar winners – NYPOST.com.

Academy Award nominations

The Oscar nominations have been released. Here are the major nominees:

1. Best Picture: “Avatar,” “The Blind Side,” “District 9,” “An Education,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Inglourious Basterds,” “Precious,” “A Serious Man,” “Up,” “Up in the Air.”

2. Actor: Jeff Bridges, “Crazy Heart”; George Clooney, “Up in the Air”; Colin Firth, “A Single Man”; Morgan Freeman, “Invictus”; Jeremy Renner, “The Hurt Locker.”

3. Actress: Sandra Bullock, “The Blind Side”; Helen Mirren, “The Last Station”; Carey Mulligan, “An Education”; Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' by Sapphire”; Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia.”

4. Supporting Actor: Matt Damon, “Invictus”; Woody Harrelson, “The Messenger”; Christopher Plummer, “The Last Station”; Stanley Tucci, “The Lovely Bones”; Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds.”

5. Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz, “Nine”; Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”; Maggie Gyllenhaal, “Crazy Heart”; Anna Kendrick, “Up in the Air”; Mo’Nique, “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire.”

6. Directing: James Cameron, “Avatar”; Kathryn Bigelow, “The Hurt Locker”; Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds”; Lee Daniels, “Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire”; Jason Reitman, “Up in the Air.”

via List of 82nd annual Academy Award nominations (AP) – The 82nd Annual Academy Awards® – Yahoo! Movies.

I’m for “Hurt Locker”–that remarkable film about an army bomb disarmament squad in Iraq– in all categories for which it was nominated! Yes for “Hurt Locker,” no for “Avatar”!

Which do you think SHOULD win, and why? Which do you think WILL win, and why?

‘Avatar’ passes ‘Titanic’

“Avatar” passed another James Cameron movie, “Titanic,” as the top-grossing movie of all time, pulling in as of Sunday $1.292 billion worldwide.  The movie about the ship earned $1.242 billion.

See this report.

In my review of the movie, I found it visually spectacular, but with a painfully sappy and stereotyped story. Then again, that’s pretty much what I thought about “Titanic.”

How do you explain “Avatar’s” appeal?

How is “The Book of Eli”?

John Boot says that the ultra-violent “Book of Eli” is “a proudly Christian movie.” Did anyone see it last weekend? Is that correct? Is it worth seeing?

Cross I Am Legend with The Ten Commandments and you’ve got The Book of Eli, a genuinely religious parable that inherently rebukes pointless end-of-the-world movies like The Road. This time there’s a purpose to the post-apocalypse: Eli (Denzel Washington), one of humanity’s survivors, is heeding the word of the Lord to protect the world’s only remaining Bible and bring its teachings to the West.

via Pajamas Media » The Book of Eli: A Proudly Christian Movie.