Long rant. Sorry. Didn’t mean to.
DAY TWENTYEIGHT. Confession: I had nightmares of real-life friends committing suicide during the few weeks that I was reading Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. No drama, just them doing their normal day-to-day activities with slashed #wrists. It wasn’t really creepy, mind you, it was more of funny really, but still weird.
This morning, on my desk
I’m not saying that The Virgin Suicides was so disturbing it brought me nightmares, nope. I reckon it’s really just how it is with books. Compared to watching films, reading books allows you to imagine the story yourself and create your own pictures in your head, and it just so happened that my imaginations involved my real life friends. Er.
Now movie-fying a novel is something else. Sometimes, we really have to stop comparing a book to its movie version (and vice versa) if we don’t want to disappoint ourselves.
Exhibit A: I remember reading Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember long before there were news of a film version. My high school self cried over the pages of Jamie Sullivan’s life, and I remember it well because I didn’t read a lot in high school (save for the Sweet Valley High and Love Stories phase we all had to go through) and AWTR was the first book I ever really shed tears over. The only other book I couldn’t put down in high school was Catcher in the Rye, but that’s a different story. Watching AWTR’s movie version was a disappointment, I remember clearly, because I kept comparing it to the book, and I didn’t like how the movie ended with Jamie’s death. To me, the book had a create-your-own-ending thing going on, and in my ending, Jamie survived cancer and lived a full life with Landon. In the movie, she died.
Exhibit B: It’s just like how I didn’t enjoy watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince the first time around. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy these movies. It’s just that comparisons between the book and the movie are inevitable and they can make or break the movie altogether.
Now there are movies, on the other hand, that are better than their book version.
Exhibit C: P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern is the most boring book ever. (I only took time to read it because the other P.S. I Love You by Barbara Conklin — the real P.S. I Love You where P.S. was Paul Strobe — was an integral part of my adolescence, and anything with the same title is subject to serious scrutiny). Then again, however sucky and dragging and emotionless the book was, the movie (featuring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler) is something I wouldn’t mind playing over and over again.
Exhibit D: I didn’t get to finish reading The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger because I thought the chronology of events was confusing. Mae, however, after reading the book, declared it to be “the greatest love story ever”, but that’s Mae, and she’s a masochist, so her thoughts are not counted. Hah! (Just kidding, I trust Mae’s judgment with all my heart.) And because it’s the “greatest love story ever”, Joni, Mae and I watched it last night and we all agreed that the movie version was better than the book.
The Time Traveler’s Wife is pretty much “up there”, joining the ranks of the classics — Casablanca, Titanic haha, Gone with the Wind, and Romeo & Juliet. Rachel McAdams was the perfect Clare, and Eric Bana’s tushy was indeed interesting to.. uhm, watch. Seriously though, TTW is one of the most awesome love story I’ve ever seen in the past decade. It’s the kind of film that makes you confused if you’re going to cry or smile, so you end up doing both. It’s the kind that makes you ponder about life, and how love is tested by time, and time measured by love; the kind that makes you want to embrace the consequences of your choices in the past without having regrets long after the closing credits have gone and you’re back home in your bed with just your thoughts.
And you know how romantic comedies that reach this certain level of awesome are rare, especially when the book it was adapted from was mediocre. So yeah, kudos to The Traveler’s Wife, the movie.
..there are movie adaptations that are just as you read in the book, spot on.
Exhibit E: So now I try to transition back to The Virgin Suicides after such a long introduction (LOL, I really started this post with the intention of writing about The Virgin Suicides, and there I was ranting a truckload about other books and movies). Ugh. So.. The Virgin Suicides. I read the book, had a couple of nightmares, and the other day, when I finally watched the movie I just recently finished downloading, I was so amazed that I did what I’d always do about these important matters of my life: I twitted about it. (Oh, and Mara agreed in an instant!)
You just can’t NOT TWIT about watching TVS. No really. Try watching it.
Kirsten Dunst played the role of Lux Lisbon so perfectly, justifying her very description in the book as being “the stillpoint of a turning world.” Josh Hartnett was the omyy-is-that-you-Josh-Hartnett-perfect Trip Fontaine. (The long retro hair did it, IMO). The boys and their proper manners, the high-waist jeans and printed neckties, the prom night and the girls’ matching dresses that were sewn out of the same fabric, Cecilia and her laminated photos of Virgin Mary, Bonnie’s first kiss under the bleachers, Lux waking up alone in the football field after the prom — they were all *almost* as they were described in the book. More importantly, the Lisbon sisters were just as I imagined them to be — not psychos, but happy and beautiful kids enjoying their youth as best as their situation would allow them. (Other than Lux, Mary Lisbon will always be my favorite). Even the narrations were exactly as in the book!
The Virgin Suicides, however ancient the film is, is something worth waiting days to download for. Trust me.
I’m not sure if I enjoyed the book or the movie more than the other. If something this rare happens to you, then the story must be really good.
30 Days of Awesome, 28/30.