Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ten Books I Wish Had Movies

These are books that I think could make great movies.  They aren't necessarily my favorite books.  I don't think most of my favorite books would make very good movies (The Movie Goer?).  These are books that moved me visually or that were told in a simple enough manner that, cinematically, they could be added to in a way that improved the story.  And a couple of them would just make fucking kick ass movies.  Here are ten books that I think would make great movies:

The Terror by Dan Simmons is both a fucking monster book and a fucking a monster book.  It's set against the backdrop of two British ships attempting to find the Northwest Passage.  It is ostensibly a horror novel that would have been just as scary without the monster.  I've never felt so cold while reading a book.  Great pacing, despite its size, and great characters allow the Terror to transcend the genre in ways even The Passage by Justin Cronin could not.  This movie would be perfect for someone like Guillermo Del Toro or Joe Wright to direct.

Apparently, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is in some sort of state of development.  It isn't listed on but I found a couple of other hints that a script was in the works.  Obviously there are many chances to fail in undertaking this large, intricate book.  It could be the greatest fantasy movie ever made.  Or it could be instantly forgotten.  So much would depend on the director's savvy in creating the world in which this book takes place.  I think it could be done.  I would love to see Anthony Hopkins chew the shit out of the role of Mr. Norrell.  Just chew it up and spit it the fuck out, Anthony.  Do it!   C'mon Hopkins!

Black Hole is the only graphic novel that I've ever read and really loved.  It's a pretty heart breaking bildungsroman.    I think this could be a live action movie.  I would want them to use make up and animatronics though, no CGI bullshit.  But it could also go animation, kind of the way they did Persepolis.  Charles Burns is partly responsible for Dog Boy from Liquid Television after all.

Have you ever read this book?  No?  Go pick up a copy and give yourself twenty minutes, you'll breeze right through it.  Abel's Island is the story of an Edwardian (I'm guessing) dandy mouse who is separated from his loving wife by a terrible flood.  He is left to his own, rather limited, devices on a small island in the middle of a raging (for someone mouse sized, that is) river.  It is legitimately harrowing for little Abel.  It is one of the most remarkable books I've ever read, I mean I'm just crazy about it.  I feel like it deserves the Fantastic Mr. Fox treatment.  In fact, I sincerely wish Wes Anderson had done this movie instead though I really love FMF.

This is a book that Lauren turned me on to late last year.  I'm not a huge SF guy but lately I've been venturing deeper into the genre.  This book is pure genius.  It's something I wish I could've read when I was much younger and still shaping the way I think about the world.  Visually this could be a most stunning movie.  The planet, called Winter, that the story takes place on is a geological wonder and the complicated gender of the Gethians could create interesting roles for both male and female actors.

I Look Divine is a book that I read on accident.  I thought I was picking up a Jonathan Coe novel that I had never seen before.  When I got home and noticed my mistake I decided to read it anyway and proceeded to do so in one evening.  I thought it was, quite simply, amazing.  Unfortunately it's pretty much a lost novel.  The story concerns the death of one of a pair of gay brothers.  The narrator, the older brother, is both disgusted by his younger brother's opulent lifestyle and in awe of the grandeur of his personality.  It's a homage to loving someone you really can't stand.  If this was cast right it could be a seriously good film.

The true beauty and wonder of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's story telling will probably never be able to fully blossom through the medium of film.  That's why I think his non fiction account of a sailor ship wrecked at sea could actually be his novel most ripe for adaptation.  I know Ang Lee is making The Life of Pi and that could be good but I think this would've been the better option.  And I kind of get a movie boner thinking about Gael Garcia Bernal playing the sailor.

Matthew Sharpe is one of my favorite under the radar authors.  He's so under the radar that he had a book come out and make it all the way to the trade edition before I even realized it had been released in the first place and I run a book store.  The Sleeping Father is his best.  It is also his simplest and most urgent novel.  I would love his acclaim to spread wider though it's admirable that he's deciding to stay with the small press publisher he's been with all along.  Someone like Jason Reitman or Tom McCarthy could do this justice.

Mieville's style muddled and a little inept at times.  But this idea is really cool.  It's basically a police procedural set in a city that exists in the same space as another city.  The people living in each city have to unsee what is happening in the other city.  I would really like to see what Charlie Kaufman or Spike Jonze (or both of them together!) could do with a concept like this.

This is a book I discovered on my dad's book shelf as a kid.  It's the story of a genuinely good man who, through economic circumstances, is forced to keep his liquor store open on Sundays.  When he is held up and subsequently shot to death, he, of course, descends straight to hell for that egregious discretion.  This is the beginning of the book, the rest of it takes place in actual hell.  Here I wouldn't mind some really adept CGI, if there's anyone doing really good CGI work.  Or shit, animate it Henry Selick style.

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