Thursday, July 05, 2007

Movie Meme.

I've been meaning to get to this meme that Valerie tagged me with awhile ago. I am to list my favorite movies, which is very hard to do, so I thought I'd spin it a bit. A common cliche often heard is, "The movie is never better than the book." I say, that isn't always true. These are movies I love that I think are better than the books they are based on, in no particular order.

The Godfather. Arguably the greatest movie ever made. The book? Not so much. Sure, it's not a bad read, but at no point do you feel that it is the grand, sweeping indictment of our capitalistic system. Never does the book aspire to the Shakespearean heights, the examination of American royalty that the film does. None of the characters within the book rise to the level that Pacino, Brando, Cann, Duvall and Keaton elevate them to.'

Favorite quote. Michael: Fredo, you're my older brother, and I love you. But don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever.

Jaws. The book is a quality page turner, scary and compelling. The movie? A terrifying, modern retelling of Moby Dick. Utilizing the "less is more" Hitchcockian style of film making, Jaws dwells on the subject of revenge, and the struggle of man vs. nature. Still, when I look out on a large body of water, I think of this movie.

Favorite quote. Brody: You're gonna need a bigger boat.

Lonesome Dove. Probably the best book on my list, it won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1989 it was shown on CBS as a miniseries. Like I said, this book rocks. Historical fiction at it's best, it tells the story of the first cattle drive from south Texas to Montana.

What separates the film from the book for me? Two words, Robert Duvall. Duvall creates a character so rich and charismatic, even as an adult, I developed a strong emotional attachment to him. I didn't just wish I could meet him. I wish I could be him. There are many great characters like this in film history. R.P. McMurphy. 'Cool Hand' Luke. But I'd take Augustus MacRae over all of them.

Favorite quote. Gus: Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago.

The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. This is my favorite of the three film installments for the reason that it is my least favorite of the books. Most of the time I consider both a single thing. One book, one movie. But for the sake of this list I'll split them up. The film introduces us to a world so fully realized and beautiful, it's as if we have finally been given the gift of living and seeing the world Tolkien created. What is exposition in the book, and make no mistake I love it, is a visceral experience when watching the film.

Favorite quote. Gandalf: In the common tongue it reads "One Ring to Rule Them All. One Ring to Find Them. One Ring to Bring Them All and In The Darkness Bind Them."

Adaptation. I'll be honest with you, I haven't read the whole book. I've read parts, here and there, but not much. I couldn't get into it. I probably shouldn't compare them, the two being so different, but I think the film explores the pain of creation, the pain of being human at times, in a way the book doesn't. I also think this is another case of actors, at the top of their game, bringing us characters, people, living their lives in such a wonderful way with all the pain that that involves, that I'm not sure a book is capable of.

Favorite quote. Robert McKee: Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save someone else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life. And why the FUCK are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it. I don't have any bloody use for it.

Charlie Kaufman: Ok, thank you.


Valerie said...

I've never seen (or read) Lonesome Dove, but your review makes me want to run out and rent it!

Phil said...

Val - It's great. I think you would like it.

Dave said...

Don't forget to mention to her that it's about 5 hours long.

Valerie said...

Dave - thanks for the heads up.

Geo said...

I think V for Vendetta's better than the comic, too. Nice list overall.

Elizabeth said...

Good list, Adaption is execellent. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was.

Phil said...

Geo - Still haven't seen it yet.

Elizabeth - i thought it would be good, but everytime I see it I'm still impressed.