Book vs. Movie – The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars(2012) VS The Fault in Our Stars(2014)

I was surprised to find out last week that so many of my blogger friends still haven’t read this book or seen the movie.  I thought I was all kinds of deficient in waiting as long as I did to read it.  But I listened to the excellent audio and then watched the movie with my ‘no, that’s just the sun in my eyes and that’s not me wiping tears away with my sleeve’ husband. (hmm, sometimes he actually reads this blog…)  We both had the same assessment.

The Story/Plot    They both told the cancer-ridden story of two teens who fall in love against all odds and they were both spot on in that aspect.  There were differences though.  In the book there was more of an understanding of Hazel than in the movie.  In the book we see her go to college classes, meet a friend at the mall, visit Isaac in the hospital, discover that Augustus had and ex-girlfriend (I will spoil no more about that), have more conversations with her parents.  As for Augustus we missed a lot of his struggle at the end of the book (no more spoilers).  The movie focused primarily on the love story, which it is at it’s heart, but it lacked the nuance and depth of the book. And I missed one of the more lighthearted scenes of the book about the swingset as it was left out of the movie.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual  I’ll give the props to the movie on this one.  For one, I loved the visit to Amsterdam and want to visit someday. Also, in the book there was always Hazel with her oxygen tank and it was surprising how by the end of the movie I didn’t even notice it.  It became a permanent part of Hazel and it wasn’t distracting and that illustrated that the beauty within a person shines through even if physical ailments exist.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  I read the book well after the movie came out, so I was already picturing Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Augustus.  I was more familiar with Shailene’s work and she felt right in this role. She was a great Hazel.  I loved the casting of Laura Dern and and Sam Trammell as the parents, I thought they were perfect.  As for Augustus, well Ansel came so close that I won’t hold it against him.  I think Augustus is such a difficult character because he was so everything, so perfect teen girl fantasy, so witty, so smart, so romantic.  That is a hard role to fill.  I think Ansel got about 80% of the way there for me and that’s saying a lot!    Thumbs Up- Book, but barely

The Ending  There were a few differences toward the end of the movie but the one that bothered me most was one I mentioned earlier, we missed some of Augustus and his struggle. I think the movie would have been better for showing it.  Thumbs Up – Book

And the winner is…the book!!!!

Did you realize that John Green hasn’t written a book since? This article is from entertainment Weekly this month.

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (The Hound of the Baskervilles) (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

Book vs. Movie – The Hound of the Baskervilles

IMG_2446 vs. The Hound of the Baskervilles - 1939- Poster.png

This is a semi-regular feature where I talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  I read the 1902 classic in February for the Classics Club and watched the 1939 movie in March.  Most of the time I don’t know which will come out on top until I’ve worked my way through some of the criteria, and this is one of those times.  Let’s see how it all pans out.

The Story/Plot There’s a mad hound on the prowl in the moors of England and he’s killing the renowned Baskerville family.  When a concerned friend seeks out Sherlock Holmes for help, the detective sends his trusted assistant, Dr. Watson, to the spooky manor on the moors with the latest Baskerville descendent.  It’s a lonely place with few people, so the cast of characters is made up of the odd ducks that would want to live in such a place.  While the movie stayed fairly true to the book by only changing the sequence of some scenes, there was one glaring plot point that was so much better in the book. I don’t know why they changed it, maybe it was too juicy for the 1939 screen?   Thumbs Up- Book

The Visual The movie was able to show the absolute desolate setting of the moors, but the hound they showed was no match for my imagination.  Since this was way before the ability to do it justice on film I won’t hold it against the movie.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  Most people are familiar with Sherlock Holmes and his trusted friend Dr. Watson and these days it is because of the Sherlock Holmes films featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law.  In the beginning, when this film and others were made, it was Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce.  As I was reading the book I was picturing my own versions of Downey and Law and it worked for me.  It’s hard for anyone to quite match Downey’s manic and genius as Holmes.  Bruce as Watson was not at all what I expected from reading the book, he seemed more like poor comic relief than an intelligent assistant.  Thumbs Up- Book

The Ending The ending, while mostly the same, was missing part of the great reveal I mentioned in the plot.  There was a scandalous revelation and a scene showing a severe beating of a woman and I don’t know if they decided that the movie goers at the time just didn’t want to see that or what.  The end suffered for it.    Thumbs Up- Book

And the winner is…the Book!!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Gone Girl) (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

Book vs. Movie – Gone Girl

This is semi-regular feature where we can talk about which was better, the book or the movie.  I read the book in January 2013 (post here) and watched the movie last Friday, the day it came out.  Let’s break down how they compare.

*This is as spoiler free as possible!!!

The Story/Plot  Nick and Amy meet in New York and fall in love.  When the money gets tight and Nick’s mom gets sick they move to Missouri.  One or both of them turns into a sociopath and the paparazzi cameras are rolling.  I think both the movie and book do an excellent job of telling the story of this couple and the crumbling facade of their marriage.     Thumbs Up-Tie

The Visual  The book is dark and the movie was also dark, really at times it felt like the X-Files and you needed a flashlight.  I don’t really feel that the movie added anything visually to the book.  There’s no real reason to see it on the big screen unless you just can’t wait to spent more time with Nick and Amy.  To me, the descriptions in the book were just as effective in creating a visual image.     Thumbs Up-Tie

Characters vs. Actors   I think Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike became Nick and Amy.  Excellent choices and great acting (at least I hope it was acting!).  I love Neil Patrick Harris but he was not exactly who I pictured as Desi.  Margo, Nick’s sister was played by a new actress to me, Carrie Coon and I thought she did a great job.  I know people are complaining about a character missing, but I really wasn’t bothered by the minor exclusion.   Thumbs Up-Tie

The Ending  Up until this point I think both book and movie were on equal footing.  In the book, the ending packed a punch for me.  I was upset.  In the movie, the ‘ending’ went on so long with so many scene cuts that I just wanted it to figure out what it wanted to say and to do it.  For me, it was a weak. It did change just enough to make the ending different while still being the same in spirit. If that makes any sense.     Thumbs Up-Book

And the winner is…the Book!

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Jack Reacher) (Ender’s Game) (Carrie, the original) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Secret Life of Bees) (The Shining, the original)

U is for Uncommon Uma Under Unger

Blogging from A to Z

movieUnder the Tuscan Sun, 2003

Frances finds out her husband is cheating and to cheer her up her two friends offer her a 10 day vacation in Tuscany traveling with a gay bus tour.  Frances goes and falls in love with the house Bramosole which she impulsively buys and plans to restore, leaving her life in San Fransisco behind.  She throws herself into the renovation, making friends as a way to heal her broken heart.

Why I love it – This is a story one woman’s heartbreak and the strength that led her to healing.  I love Diane Lane, she can do little wrong in my eyes and this is one of my favorites.  She shows Frances’s emotions in a way that we can all recognize.  She was mad, hurt, sad, funny, endearing, and full of life.

Who hasn’t imagined (even just for a second) leaving everything behind to start over somewhere new?  And what better place to do this but in Italy?  I love the boldness of her decision, egged on by the exuberant Catherine who encouraged her growth at every turn.  It was the eagerness to live the life she always imagined that had me rooting for her happy ending.

bookThe Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

The Queen is out with her dogs one day when she discovers the bookmobile parked by the palace.  So begins her discovery of the joys of reading for pleasure.  Always one to take her duties seriously, reading somehow begins to creep into her schedule, making her mundane duties most unpleasant since she must leave her book behind.  And as the staff becomes more put-off by the reading, the Queen takes a hard look at her obsession.  She is a doer, and ultimately, a choice must be made.

This delightful story enticed me with its lightness, but captured me with its unabashed love of reading books.  As the Queen notes, reading is a generally solitary pursuit and many of her thoughts on this stuck with me, especially as I was passing out books to strangers for World Book Night.  Thankfully, we can and do find ways to connect through reading.  This will make you take a look at your own reading life, and most likely, you’ll identify with the Queen’s discovery of the new worlds books open and her eagerness to share what she’s read.  I don’t think the general public is as unread as this author seems to think, but maybe they are and I just don’t want to see it.

authorLisa Unger

I’ve only read three of Unger’s twelve books and especially enjoyed the two Ridley Jones books (Beautiful Lies & Sliver of Truth).

actorUma Thurman

I like her in the few movies I’ve seen her in (Kill Bill, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, Dangerous Liaisons) and her name starts with U :)

Book vs. Movie- Ender’s Game

In 2008, my first year blogging, I listened to the book (review here) and fell in love with it.  I forced my husband to listen too and he liked it so much that he went on to read a few more books in the series.  As much as I love Ender, one book was enough for me.

Orson Scott Card carries controversy around with him in the form on his 1st amendment right to free speech.  Many people chose to boycott the movie for that reason.  I admit there are some people I do not support (ie use my money to support them by buying what they’re selling) because of their extreme insults or harmful views, but as long as they aren’t hurting anyone I tend to live and let live.  But, I’d love to hear your opinion on this, maybe you’ll change my mind.

The Story/Plot – This science fiction story is set a few hundreds years from now and the Earth is at war with the buggers, an alien race who wants to colonize the planet. The military is using children to train to fight these buggers.  The story is about their training.

The movie stayed true to the book, but there was so much skipped that the characters onscreen fell a little flat.  So much of the story takes place in Ender’s head and that didn’t really translate to the film.  Thumbs up -Book

The Visual – I ‘m glad that they waited so long to make the movie so that technology could actually catch up with our imaginations in some ways.  My husband was worried about Battle School looking cheesy, but we were both impressed with the quality.  Thumbs up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors – I fell in love with Ender when I listened to the book.  He was only 6 when first sent to Battle School  and there was much more detail about his life between the ages of 6-12 than there was in the movie.  The extra  detail gave me a chance to really care about this vulnerable and genius and character, where the movie didn’t. Asa Butterfield did a fine job of portraying Ender on the big screen, but there wasn’t the same connection for me. Harrison Ford was fine too, but my favorite actor in the movie was Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham and he had a very small part.    Thumbs up- Book

(NO SPOILERS) The Ending – It’s been a while since I listened to the book and while the end was the same I thought there were some parts of the movie leading up to the end that might have been finessed.  I was completely surprised by the end of the book, but the movie wasn’t as shocking because of a few things that happened.  Or maybe it was just because I already knew what would happen, who knows?  Thumbs up- Tie

And the winner is…The Book.

Now it’s your turn to vote

Other book vs. movie polls you can vote on (Carrie -the original) (The Secret Life of Bees) (Under the Tuscan Sun) (The Shining)

2012 in review

The blog, while still having some of the same features-Tuesday Quizzes, Sundays with Gage and Monthly 5 Word Movie Reviews being the constants- also managed some book reviews ;)  I read 55 books, a new low since I began blogging 5 years ago.

Here are the books by the numbers-

43 Fiction, 12 Non-Fiction (that’s a high percentage of non-fiction for me!)

39 women, 15 men, 1 both (let’s hear it for the gals!)

9 from a continuing series, 7 from a new series.  (of those new series books I will continue on with 6!)

Most read author? Karen E Olson with 3 when I finished up her Tattoo Shop series.

The 3 Rounds of Quizzes this year were exciting!  Nise (Under the Boardwalk) took the first two rounds and Hannah (Word Lily) was the winner of the last round.  I hope that you all will jump in when the new season starts.  You don’t have to win to get a prize.  Marie (Boston Bibliophile), Staci (Life in the Thumb), and Carol M all won special prizes just for playing.  If you want to browse through old quizzes click here.

Gage has been a big part of the blog this year.  If you want to look through all his posts for what you may have missed click here.  Here are the first and last photos of 2012.


Think he’s changed this year?  The boy sure does keep me busy.









The year I’ve watched 49 new-to-me movies, reviewed 3 from my Top 100 list, wrote 3 book vs. movies posts, and even had a few Friday Movie Talks.  My monthly 5 word movie reviews are tied to money for charity.  You still have a few hours (until 7om EST) to get your reviews in to be counted for charity.  $1 for every 5 word review you contribute.  I already told you about my favorite movies, what about a few stats?

Surprisingly, I watched more movies released in 2012 (19) than in any other.  Surprising because I consider myself a classic movie lover!

The oldest movie I watched was War and Peace released in 1956.

My most viewed actor- Denzel Washington, 3 movies

Most viewed actress- Helena Bonham Carter, 4 movies (weird since this woman really bothers me)

2012 has been a good year and I’m happy the Mayans were wrong and there is the possibility of 2013 being better than all the other years before it.  I wish that for all of us.

Book vs. Movie- Carrie

I read the Stephen King novel last year (my review here) and I finally got around to seeing the movie.  I don’t remember particularly liking the book, but I thought it was worthwhile because of all of the pop references I now understand.  This was Stephen King’s first published book and first movie adaptation of his work.  He received a $2,500 advance for the novel and $2,500 for the film rights.  Must have been a popular number.

King said of Carrie, “I’m not saying that Carrie is shit and I’m not repudiating it. She made me a star, but it was a young book by a young writer. In retrospect it reminds me of a cookie baked by a first grader — tasty enough, but kind of lumpy and burned on the bottom.”

The paperback sold over a million copies the first year it was released.  The movie made $33.8 million in 1976 when it came out.

On with the comparison…

The Story/ Plot  Carrie is an odd high school girl raised by her very religious mother.  Carrie has telekinetic powers and can move things with her mind, when she’s upset it is unintentional.  She is an outcast at school and is ostracized even more after starting her period in the gym shower.  Sue feels guilty for her role in Carrie’s meltdown and offers up her popular boyfriend, Tommy, to take Carrie to prom.

There are many differences between the book and movie, but the idea remains the same.  Carrie has a crazy mother, can do crazy things with her mind, and goes completely crazy at the prom.

For me, the book’s documentary style telling, using interviews and police reports after the fact, was much more interesting than the straightforward way of the film.  Thumbs Up– Book

The Visual Although I preferred what actually happened in the book, the visual of the movie was cool to see and did a pretty good service to the novel.  It was like stepping back into the 1970’s.  I was completely distracted by Tommy’s hair every time he was in a scene. It was large and shiny and blonde.  And the shower scene totally worked on film (although having girls frolic and chat while naked was not my high school gym experience).  The actual prom scene was cool, but I was expecting more.  Thumbs Up- Tie

Characters vs. Actors  I did not really connect with Carrie in the book, but in the movie I was able to see her in a more positive light thanks to Sissy Spacek.  She saved the character for me.  I was a little miffed at what they did to the character of Sue in the movie, but actress Amy Irving can’t be held responsible for the screenplay.  Thumbs up – Movie

(SPOILERS) The Ending  The end of the book was a firestorm that brought down a town.  In the movie Carrie gets a little knock on the head and she’s dead.  There’s really no comparison.  I will give a shout out to the movie for its VERY different ending – I jumped and was a bit freaked out, so it’s not all bad.  Thumbs Up- Book

And the winner is… the book.  I’m not taking anything away from the movie but when compared side by side it was an easy call.

Now it’s your turn to vote

If you want to vote in past book vs. movie polls (The Shining) (The Secret Life of Bees) (Under the Tuscan Sun)

Book vs. Movie – Under the Tuscan Sun

When I posted last week about one of my favorite movies, Under the Tuscan Sun, I was surprised by how many of you hadn’t seen the movie.  I read the book in 2010 (here) and watched the movie, again, last week (here) so I can easily compare the two, and it’s made easier considering that the two are so completely different.

The Story/Plot  The book is a travel memoir of a San Fransisco couple that buys and restores a house in Tuscany, on a part-time basis.  It is very detailed, includes recipes and makes you feel like you are in Italy.  The movie is about a San Fransisco woman who has been jilted by her husband and goes to Italy on vacation but stays because she has nowhere to go.  She finds the life she always wanted while immersing herself in another culture.  I did not think there was much of a story in the book, but the movie had a great story of discovery.  Thumbs Up- Movie

The Visual  No description can compare to the beauty of Italy.  The movie did an excellent job of showcasing Italy while still telling a story.  Thumbs Up- Movie

Characters vs. Actors  Frances Mayes seems like a fine person, but trying to compare to Diane Lane is tough.  Frances’s boyfriend was nowhere to be found in the movie, but again hard to compare with Diane’s first Italian boyfriend…

 The secondary characters in each were completely different too.  Thumbs Up- Movie

The Ending  In the book Frances and her boyfriend go back and forth between Italy and California and in the movie Frances finds a home and new life in Italy.  Again, nothing wrong with the book, just a preference for the movie.  Thumbs Up- Movie

And the winner is… Obviously, I think the movie was a runaway winner.  Just goes to prove that the book isn’t always better.

Now it’s your turn to vote

If you want to vote in past book vs. movie polls  (The Shining) (The Secret Life of Bees)

Book vs. Movie – The Secret Life of Bees

Last time I compared The Shining (post and the still open poll here) and this time I am comparing one of my favorite books and a new movie favorite.  My Secret Life of Bees review from 2009 is here. This is going to be a close call.

The Story/Plot  This is really a coming of age story for Lily, who has the burden of her mother’s death on her shoulders as well as feeling unloved by her father.  Both the movie and the book portrayed that.  They were so close in storytelling that the few differences from the two, Lily and Zach at the movies and the Sunday church services at the pink house, were not enough to make me choose either one.  Tie

The Visual  I thought the movie brought this story to life beautifully.  I loved seeing the richness of the south and especially liked seeing the beekeeping on screen.  I only wish there had been more of it.  Thumbs up-Movie

Characters vs. Actors  I love Queen Latifah and thought she was a great choice for August.  Actually all of the actresses were great.  The only one that didn’t really match my mind’s view was Rosaleen but the actress was fine.  Withe that being said, I loved the characters in the book and felt a much deeper connection with Lily in the book.  Tie

The Ending  The movie had a hollywood ending.  It was fine, but I prefer the slight messiness of the book.  Thumbs Up-Book

And the winner is…I’m giving a very slight edge to the book, but I think both were excellent.

Now it’s your turn to vote


Book vs. Movie- The Shining

This will be a new semi-regular feature.  I listened to the audio book of The Shining by Stephen King in 2010 (post here) watched the 1980 movie last month (post here).  Let’s break down how they compare.

The Story/Plot  Ultimately, this is the story of one man’s descent into madness.  While I enjoyed Nicholson’s performance I thought the book explained it better than the movie showed it.  If I had just seen the movie I would have missed fully understanding what drove Jack to the brink.  Thumbs up-Book

The Visual  I liked seeing the grandness of the hotel, but missed seeing the hedge animals come alive like they did in the book.  There was a hedge maze but it didn’t have the same effect that the animals did in my imagination.  I bet they could do this if the movie were made now fairly easily.  Tie

Characters vs. Actors Nicholson really put it all out there in the crazy department and I liked it, even if it wasn’t how I pictured Jack at all in the book.  I really liked the mom in the movie, Shelley Duvall, and liked that the movie was just as much about her as a mother as it was that Jack was going insane.  The kid was fine, but somehow it’s easier to imagine the shining than to see it. Tie

The Ending The one thing that drives me crazy about movie adaptations is when they change a perfectly good ending as was the case here.  It’s not even a close call.  I loved the ending of the book and disliked the movie version.  Thumbs up-Book

And the winner is…the Book!

Now it’s your turn to vote