Pub Rants

A Very Nice Literary Agent Indulges in Polite Rants About Queries, Writers, and the Publishing Industry

Books Coming To The Big Screen

STATUS: Feeling re-energized after the long weekend.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? YOU CAN LEAVEYOUR HAT ON by Joe Cocker

On Thursday night, as the holiday weekend was beginning, I met up with two girlfriends for dinner. Once ensconced at our table, one friend said she was dying to see the movie My Sister’s Keeper and were we game?

As much as I love movies, it’s rare for me to get my act together enough to actually see a film while it’s in theaters. I tend to rely on Netflix or the DVR if something is on cable. So when given an opportunity to see a book-to-film movie, I’m going to say yes (despite knowing this one was going to be a Kleenex fest).

Sheesh. What a way to kick off the holiday weekend.

(Disclaimer: I cry at movies. Doesn’t matter the movie. If it has a hint of sadness, I’ll cry. My husband has never let me live it down that I cried at the end of Terminator III. Hey, in my defense, Claire Danes as Kate just lost her pet and her entire family—I thought that was pretty sad.)

So My Sister’s Keeper was designed to be a real tear-jerker and I’m happy to say that I used plenty of Kleenex. As I had read the book several years ago, I was most interested to see how the film would handle the ending—as there was a lot of discussion around the ending of that book. (No spoiler here so I won’t comment further.)

But here’s what I found most interesting and hence the point of this entry, all the previews shown before the movie were all book-to-film projects. I wish I could remember all the trailers I saw but only Julie/and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously comes to mind (which looked pretty hilarious).

So very interesting. I don’t remember such a high percentage in previous years but that may be because I don’t get to the theaters often enough.


32 Responses

  1. nkrell said:

    I know what you mean about the Kleenex fest. I never used to cry like I do now.

    I love to watch the previews when I’m in the theater. That’s one of the best reasons to get there early. I can’t wait to see the previews for Ally Carter’s series. I hope the film will do them justice.

  2. Jannette Johnson said:

    I stay away from movies that have even a hint of being a ‘tear-jerker’.

    Needless to say, ‘Up’ caught me right off guard, and I’m still debating whether or not I’m going to watch the last two ‘Harry Potter’ movies in the theatre.

  3. Amanda said:

    Don’t feel silly. I also cried at Terminator III. Heck, I cry during OnStar commercials. Those are real people who had real accidents! :p

  4. suzie said:

    Oh my gosh – I’m turning into my mother – I totally feel teary eyed when I watch emotional commercials. So yeah, I cried a lot in my sister’s keeper – though not as much as when I read the book.

  5. Rebecca Knight said:

    This is too funny :). Don’t feel bad, though. I cried within the first five minutes of the new Star Trek.

    Thanks for the head’s up about the movie!

  6. Katlin said:

    I cry whenever animals die. I watched “Where the Red Fern Grows” in my English class in tenth grade and everyone made fun of me because I cried when the dog died but not when the grandpa got hurt or whatever happened to him. Not remembering just shows that I really didn’t give a darn about old grandpa.

    But, do you think that Hollywood is going for books because they’re running out of their own ideas or because it just makes it easier on them?

  7. Katlin said:

    Oh, and Amanda! You remind me of an episode of Dot on Mad TV. She was at a pageant and was talking about how her dad cries when OnStar commercials. It’s hilarious!

    And Jannette Johnson, I already know I’m going to cry on the last two Harry Potter’s. I cried in the fifth one when Voldemort possessed him. All his loss…

  8. Morgan Xavier said:

    I, also, cried in ‘Up.’ It got me in the first five minutes, then at the middle (though my tears were from laughing so hard I was gasping), and then again at the end.

    I hate it when you are watching the movie at a theatre, and you get so choked up that you are literally needing every ounce of self-control to not burst into uncontrollably loud sobs…SO humiliating. I almost competely lost it when Pippin was singing that haunting song in the ‘The Two Towers,’ you know, where Faramir was riding out to his doom.

    I am already anticipating gut-wrenching sobs in ‘The Half-Blood Prince.’

  9. jessjordan said:

    Another trailer that played in My Sister’s Keeper was The Time Traveler’s Wife, at least when I watched it. The trailer for that makes me teary-eyed.

    My Sister’s Keeper was pretty darn sad. I (surprisingly) was way more teary with the movie than the book … but I’m still mixed up about the ending change.

  10. therese said:

    I attended the Pacific NW Writers conference in 2007 and the buzz was confirmed there – Hollywood isn’t going to take a chance on a “new” movie unless it’s a book that’s done well. A friend even had a movie option prior to her book contract.

    Glad you picked up on this, you’re more “well read” than I. Of course it’s also promising for my WIP, a contemporary romance with “Temporary roommates to save the dog”…. Could be a good movie… LOL!

  11. carla said:

    If the book was good, the movie has half a chance. When a book is as bad as The Horse Whisperer, not even Eric Roth can save the situation. The Horse Whisperer was a book that my ex-husband purchased as a gift because he wanted me to give up writing. I did read the thing, and I admit the first chapter was fine. It described a truck accident. A young girl and her horse are injured. About five chapters further, the story isn’t well told, and the book had a truly awful ending. I suspect that the first chapter was written by an editor or ghost writer.
    Stories with a Western theme, about a man who knew and understood hoses, “whispering secrets into troubled ears” should have an ending that are true to the characters. The book had an odd ending. If I remember correctly, Robert Redford folded his arms, surrendering himself to the wild nature of the stallion that was rearing up and hitting him with his forelegs. The girl who was injured had a mother who was the central character. She had a bad case of hots for Robert Redford–can’t say I blame her. The book has an ending where he is dead by being trampled by the horse, and the mother has a “miracle baby” which may or may not be by her husband’s. And, everybody is happy!
    It was a real odd ending. As unlike real cowboys as it could be.

  12. Kristin Laughtin said:

    It’s felt that way for the last few years for me. Very few movies have a completely original script anymore.

    That said, I gasped when I read in the comments that there’s going to be a movie of THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE.

  13. Amanda said:

    I was sobbing when Sirius Black fell through the veil, both when reading the book and at the theater. You’d think we’d be prepared for the tear jerking when seeing the movie of a book.

    I hate when I’m reading to my kids and I start crying. I thought I was going to lose it when we were reading whichever Little House book it is where Pa goes missing at Christmas time.

  14. Aimee K. Maher said:

    I think my own personal record for tear volume was achieved watching ‘I Am Sam’.

    And it was during a flight. I hate Northwest Airlines.

  15. Anonymous said:

    Okay, be prepared. Be very prepared for the movie version of The Lovely Bones. If it is even half as good as the book, you will be wise to bring a box of Kleenex…and that may not be enough.

  16. Mechelle Fogelsong said:

    Have any of you seen the movie SweetLand? It’s based on a short story rather than a book, and I loved it! In fact, I bought six copies of the movie to give as gifts to friends & family this Christmas! (I like to shop early.)

    FYI the short story is called “A Gravestone Made of Wheat” by Will Weaver.

    Here’s what’s unique about this movie though: You know how they can’t ever fit all the juicy stuff from the book into the movie? Well for once–and only once–I think the movie is actually better than the short story was. Can you belive it? The acting is superb, and the cinematography reminds me of a painting. I could stare at the scenes for hours, like looking at a Monet, scrutinizing each fascinating detail.

  17. carla said:

    Sophie’s Choice. That holds my personal kleenex record. Meryl won her Oscar, and the music! I start bawling on the first three bars.

  18. Joseph L. Selby said:

    There are a good handful of movies every year based on books. They aren’t necessarily going to be major box office draws, though, so you don’t necessarily hear a lot about them. You got targeted marketing at the beginning of your movie, which is why it seemed so overt.

    And I wish I knew you better, because I would mock you endlessly for crying at the end of Terminator 3. 🙂

  19. Nat said:

    I love movies based on books, especially if I’ve read the book before (though sometimes they can be disappointing). I have a slight addiction to BBC miniseries based on classic English novels.

    I’m not a huge crier normally but when I’m pregnant ANYTHING can make me cry- Hallmark commercials, country music, any movie in which a child, animal, husband, wife, grandparent, insect or anything else dies.

  20. JStantonChandler said:

    It’s so refreshing to know I’m not alone! I cry in (almost) every movie I see.

    I watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix last night for the umpteenth time and cried. Again.

    That said, I will be taking a box of tissue to Half Blood Prince!

    Oh, and don’t get me started on crying in The Lord of the Rings movies! The Return of the King gets me every time!

    ~Jennifer

  21. Sarah Laurenson said:

    I think it’s not a new trend, but maybe the studios are looking even more for the book tie-in to help with marketing. One of my old favorites: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was based on the short story.

  22. Marianne McA said:

    I really liked the adaption – the film managed somehow to create the same ambience as reading the book had – but I wish they’d left the ending alone.
    Unlike Mary I liked (in a very tearful way) the ending of the book – both because I didn’t see it coming, and because it let you rethink the central dilemma from a different set of assumptions. Was more interesting, and certainly more dramatic, and I wish they’d used it.
    That is the problem with book-to-film – I think ‘Atonement’ was the last one I saw where I liked the film as much as the book.

  23. TKA said:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Marley and Me. Granted it is not in the same league as truly great movies, but it had my husband and 25 yr old son, who never cry at movies, in tears. (Of course i cried, too, but that’s not saying much. I cry easily at films.)

  24. loveskidlit said:

    Since the earliest narrative films, 75% or more have been literary adaptations. I didn’t make that up; I teach lit to film adaptation and there’s an entire chapter on the whys and wherefors, which include: literature has the prestige factor (film is the “newbie”); literature has an established readership, which translates into a ticket purchasing crowd; the idea has been test driven already; frequently the books are in public domain already; dead authors don’t argue with the adaptor (again, that’s synopsis, not me).

  25. Screenwriter said:

    It’s this darn recession. Nobodys buying anything if it doesn’t already have a following. I’m glad I checked your blog today. I was going to go see this movie, but i dunno if I want to see a tear jerker.

  26. Lisa said:

    I’m really looking forward to seeing that Julia movie too. It sure did look funny in the preview trailers! I forget where I saw it though but I remember now that you mention it.
    Lisa in Kentucky

  27. Yamile said:

    Watching the trailer for “Where the Things are” made me cry. Can’t imagine when I watch the actual movie. It might have been because my 4 year old was so HAPPY to see “Max” on the screen that he had tears in his own eyes. A true mother’s son.
    I cry every time I read HP 6 and 7 (in the same parts), so I know the movies will be a crying fest. Especially because after the 7th there will be no more HP things to look forward to.
    And my 8 year old son just finished HP 5 and I kept asking him “Where did you cry?” I think he got tired of my asking because the last few pages he read in his closet.

  28. staceylevine said:

    I don’t usually go to see movies that were adapted from books. Most of the time I will be disappointed with the movie. I still haven’t seen Running With Scissors yet and I probably won’t because I loved the book.

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