A good idea for a film adaptation

Apparently, David Cronenberg will be filming an adaptation of Don Delillo’s Cosmopolis. My first thought was, “That was one of the most disappointing books I’ve read in a long time. Why would you want to turn that into a movie?”

But then I realized my general theory that good movie adaptations rarely come from great books. Quick, name a great book turned into a great movie. Go here for a list of great movies and find a great book in it. A cursory look gives me “A Color Purple” and “The Grapes of Wrath,” and “In Cold Blood.” You could make a couple more cases, but they would require asterisks (i.e. “Apocalypse Now”=Heart of Darkness and “the Gospel According to St. Matthew). But even then, the list is quite short.

Examples abound, however, of mediocre novels making great movies. “The Godfather”, “Goodfellas”, “Gone with the Wind”, “Jaws”, “Silence of the Lambs”, etc.

I have a theory about why this is the case, which I will make when I’m not so busy. But be that as it may, perhaps “Cosmopolis” will succeed where Cosmopolis did not. I would bet that it would be a much better movie than “White Noise” or “Underworld.”


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5 Responses to “A good idea for a film adaptation”

  1. Anthony CLD Says:

    Shawshank Redemption, in my opinion, is a great movie. Indeed, much better than the Stephen King novella on which it was based.

    Schindler’s List, without a doubt, is the best movie ever made. The book Schindler’s Ark was good, but it wasn’t the best anything.

    On a great book turned into an equally great movie: The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley) was turned into X by Spike Lee. Both were equally fantastic.


    • ivangoddard Says:

      Whoa, Schindler’s List is “without a doubt,” the best movie ever made? That’s quite a statement. That’s an argument for another day. (But what do I know, I made out during Schindler’s List.)

      Anyway, that fits my theory. Just thought of another one: The Clansman, not a good book. But Birth of a Nation is the first great movie. And yes, I’ve actually read the Clansman, so I know.

  2. Anthony CLD Says:

    Only a dude from Texas would counter Schinlder’s List with Birth of a Nation… was the Clansman required reading at grammar school?

  3. Derrick Says:

    Have you seen “Game 6” – a film made in 2006 from a script that DeLillo wrote in the 1980s? It’s a strange film, not entirely good, but interesting for the amount of ‘Cosmopolis’ elements it contains.

    I wasn’t happy with ‘Cosmopolis’ either.

  4. Mediocre books make better movie adaptations than great books. « Ivan Goddard Says:

    […] than great books. By ivangoddard This was pretty much the point I was going to make in my earlier post. I would quibble with No Country for Old Men only because I think it is actually McCarthy’s […]

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