Cinema Paradiso: Kelly Picks Five Books She’d Like to See Adapted to Film

Quick and dirty post tonight. A few weeks ago, my friend Jasmine and I were talking about things. She is currently studying abroad in Denmark, and so we were discussing classes and what-not. The subject turned to graduate school and I said, “you know, how hard can it be?” She evaluated this bold statement for a moment and said, “I feel like those are famous last words.”

Prophetic words my friend, absolutely prophetic. The reading! So much theory about information, and metatheory and searching and findability and berry-picking information – like on huckleberry bushes, since they don’t grow in clusters you have to search it out and… What am I even saying? Like Huckleberry Finn, I’m ready to bolt from “sivilization.”

Or just watch mindless television instead of doing my homework. Scrolling through Netflix Instant, browsing (or info seeking – aaah I can’t get grad school terminology out of my brain) I can’t help but notice all the crappy movies based on good books. Or just recycled plots and boring rom-coms. Blargh. So my procrastinating student brain started thinking about all the books I would love to see as movies. Though I know they would most likely be let-downs, followed by heavy critique, it’s still exciting to speculate. Join me after jump for the top five books I’d like to see adapted to film.

1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
This book was one of my favorites when I was in middle school. Claudia decides her life is shitty and no one takes her seriously, so she is running away to live in the most glamorous place imaginable – the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. She brings her brother Jamie, and they successfully live in the museum for weeks. She sleeps in a queen’s bed and gets the run of the place. And there is a mystery element surrounding a statue that some say Michelangelo sculpted.

Since reading this book, I’ve always secretly been convinced I could hide from security in a museum. And a film version could have great suspense moments –will they be caught? Imagine also the ridiculously fun montages of the kids running wild in the museum at night. Scaring each other by jumping out of the Temple of Dendur, picking whose bed they want to sleep in at night. So many shenanigans! Just don’t let Ben Stiller anywhere near this movie.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Yes, there are many film versions of the story. But have you ever seen a good one? (If you have, please share!) The frame story in this novel is so interesting and often cut out of the movies because it maybe doesn’t seem necessary. But it adds this whole new dimension to the story, makes it rather ghostly.   Also – it’s such a moody novel and loaded with subtext that a sensitive filmmaker could help bring to light. And the moors – I want those scenes to be so charged and raw. As Cassie-was pointed out in an earlier post, there are also secretly hilarious parts of this story. One of my favorite scenes is when Heathcliff comes back for the first time. He, Cathy, and Edgar are all in room, but Edgar is oblivious to the insane sexual tension. This story is just begging for a young director to do it justice.

3. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Sound familiar? I just reviewed it last week. It’s wonderful – whimsical yet tinged with darkness. But the images are so visual and striking that I would love to see someone like Wes Anderson take the reins on an adaptation. It’s rather perfect subject material for him. Outsider kids meet adults who are making crap decisions, set in a world inside the forest. It’s just screaming for beautiful and sensitive shots, and also his sly humor. And oh heeey, a Decemberists soundtrack would be a sweet plus. Imagining Colin Farrell as the Bandit King… excuse me while my mind wanders elsewhere…

4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Bod is a living boy being raised by ghosts in the town graveyard after his family is murdered by a man named Jack. Sound like the fodder for a child’s book? Well, you’d be missing out on a wonderful book that explores growing up in ways that only Neil Gaiman can. Now if a studio had enough money for good CGI so that the ghosts didn’t look crappy (they are after all the vast majority of the characters, so it would have to be really, really good CGI), I could just imagine how cool this movie could be. And though he hasn’t been doing the best films lately – I am throwing in Tim Burton’s name. It’s right up his alley – a kid being raised in a cemetery! Murder, growing up differently! Boys with scissorhands! There of course would be stipulations. No stripes, no oompa loompas, and definitely no futterwacken.

5. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Please refer to my post on the book if you have never read it. Or just read it, because it’s a fantasy masterpiece and I am madly in love with the book. So imagine my joy when Miyazaki did an adaptation.  I love him, I love the book. How could it not be awesome? Eeeeeh – not so much. It focused more on the political situation and less on the magic/romance/amazingness. It really isn’t the same story to me. I want to see like this crazy steampunk castle moving across the plains and Howl throwing a temper tantrum and Sophie transforming before us. And the romance – le sigh. Ahem. One request. If they use aging techniques to make Sophie older, dear god don’t use the one Warner Bros did for Harry Potter. Sophie should look like a hale old woman, not a misshapen potato. Also… Ryan Gosling as Howl? Perhaps I’m just projecting my love of him onto my love of Howl, but I think it could work.

So those are my top five (but if I suddenly had millions of dollars and was able to produce a movie…it would definitely be Howl’s. that book is near and dear to my heart.) Do you have any books you’d like to see filmed? Or perhaps some you would not want to see filmed – some so close to your being that the thought of someone callously cutting out scenes cuts at your sense of being? Or is that just the Bibliomantics in regards to the Harry Potter movies? Am I asking too many questions in this post? Will someone do my homework for me, or physically take the remote away from me? Or at least point me in the direction of the nearest raft so I can book it for the territory, Huck Finn-style?

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One thought on “Cinema Paradiso: Kelly Picks Five Books She’d Like to See Adapted to Film

  1. I would watch all those movies, even “Wuthering Heights” because I love me a good scene with someone yelling “Heathcliff” over and over again.

    As far as movie adaptations, I would love to see “Breathers” and “Leviathan” adaptations. Also some Jasper Fforde novels, I think those could translate extremely well, at least the first few Thursday Next books before they gets super bookworldy. CGI might ruin that aspect of the series. Finally, a good adaptation of “Queen of the Damned” would be nice. They took an awesome book and ruined it. They barely even followed the plot, although the soundtrack gets an A.

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