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Forget the Book, See the Movie Instead
by Tim Josephs

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That's right, I said see the movie. Of course the vast majority of books are better than the movies made from them. They usually provide more detail and character development, and our own imaginations can create more intricate worlds than anything a director or cinematographer can come up with. However, there are a few exceptions, and here they are, the movies that are better than their books.

JAWS

Now, I haven't read this book but my Mom did and as per the law of relativity, I can thus comment on it. According to her it really pales in comparison to the movie. Apparently there's a subplot about Chief Brody's wife having an affair that just seems like it would have been needless and distracting. And of course having a brilliantly directed film complete with a delightfully
terrifying score seems like no match for the written word.

JURASSIC PARK

I had to read this book senior year in high school having seen the movie a couple years earlier. On a side note, I saw the film in a packed theater and there were two young teenage girls sitting next to me who screamed at the top of their lungs when the raptors jumped on the tables in the kitchen. But I digress. The movie's great, it's exciting, scary, and very entertaining. But I found the book to be dull at times, and I remember a lot of jargon about DNA and other not so interesting stuff that was mostly absent in the movie.

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

This is a great film and frequently mentioned as a favorite of many people. And there's nothing wrong with the book. It's just that the movie more
thoroughly explores the characters and their relationships. We get to know Andy and Red very well and really learn to like and care about them. It's rough and gritty but ultimately a heart-warming and uplifting story.

RABBIT-PROOF FENCE

For those who are unfamiliar with this film, it's about three young aboriginal Australian girls who, after being taken from their families by the government, escape and travel the hundreds of miles back home. It's a true and compelling story, however, I found the book (written by a daughter of one of those girls) somewhat dry. In the film, their journey back home is harrowing, there's danger around every corner, they nearly getting caught many times. That doesn't happen in the book which proves that sometimes life needs to be embellished in order
to be more entertaining.

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN

I recently read this book and found it fascinating. The whole Watergate scandal and the digging that Woodward and Bernstein did was enthralling. But there are times when not a lot happens, where, for example, they go back to a source and they won't tell them anything or they're waiting a long time to hear from someone else or they're just sitting around trying to figure out what's going on. The movie basically boils that all down into a thrilling mystery. Plus Deep Throat, who is more of a minor source in the true tale, is transformed into a great shadowy character in the movie.


So if you're still in need of some Christmas gifts, forget the books and consider these movies. Except, perhaps, if you're getting a present for a librarian.

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Movie Musings
Every other Tuesday

Thoughts, observations, conjectures, complaints about movies and mostly how they relate to me personally. If you're looking for something a little broader, try Ebert.


Other Columns
Other columns by Tim Josephs:

So Long 2013, and MatchFlickers!

The Season for Peace, Presents, & Puncture Wounds

Women are Once Again Kicking Ass

Chewing the Scenery

The Greatest President We Never Had

All Columns


Tim Josephs
Born to write (literally much to the displeasure of his mother, he emerged with a pencil clutched in one tiny fist), Tim spends most of his days crafting epic monosyllabic poems, new comical titles to his favorite Beatles' songs (Hey, Dude), and angry letters to local businesses that have wronged him in some way. He's really an okay guy once you get to know him.


Contact
If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Tim Josephs by clicking here.


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