Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Books and movies

Sometimes the suits in Hollywood make the right decision. At the top of this list (via Ross Douthot) of the "best movies you will never see" is the Confederacy of Dunces. I realize this is a favorite among many, but I couldn't make it past page 40. Self-important blowhards pointing out the absurdities of our modern life are not for me I guess. A lengthly description of the most recent version of the movie, starring Will Ferrell, is here.

I used to think that only short, uncomplicated books can be made into movies, but I have come to think any book can be made into a movie if the screenwriter and director can capture the spirit of it. The film of LA Confidential managed to condense a mammoth book into two hours without too much loss. And while getting weirdness on film isn't always easy, it can be done, as the Shining shows. Here are some books which should be made into movies.

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan. This may happen. Done well it would replace Blade Runner as the cool dystopian future movie.

The Pale Criminal by Philip Kerr. Really any of the Bernard Gunther books would do. We haven't had a good Third Reich movie in awhile.

World at Night
by Alan Furst. Most of Furst's books would be interesting, but this one has a high amount of action, which would translate well. The intense emphasis on mood would be a challenge.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. Yes, it is in the form of a letter, but a director can make that work with a narrator. I think it should lean understated, as in You Can Count on Me, which I think would give it even more emotional power.

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