On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

From the printed page to the silver screen

Share story

The Movie Maven
Stephanie Curtis, Minnesota Public Radio's Movie Maven.
MPR Photo

Stephanie Curtis, the Movie Maven, joins Midday to discuss the best and worst movies adapted from books.

The Movie Maven's list of best and worst adaptations:

Best:

1. Wizard of Oz -- The book may be a classic, but the film trumps it. The music. The slippers. Judy Garland as the ultimate fresh, innocent American girl. Those darn flying monkeys that have haunted me since I was 6.

2. French Connection -- Bet you didn't even know there was a book. There is.

3. Saturday Night Fever -- Based on an article about the disco scene, which later proved to be a work of fiction. Instead of being a throwaway tribute to a fad, this movie delivers a heartfelt story about an American boy who wants more from life. If you remember this as a corny movie about a guy winning a dance contest, see it again. It'll break your heart. 

4. Spiderman -- Best movie based on a comic book -- ever. You Dark Knight supporters need to get some perspective. 

5. The Godfather -- Trashy supermarket checkout fiction turned into one of the greatest works of art from America. 

Worst:

1. Pushing Tin -- A romantic comedy based on a New York Times magazine article about air traffic controllers. It is not romantic or comedic. 

2. Beowulf -- Last year's 3D monstrosity based on the ancient poem. It would be on this list just for being so ugly. Films are supposed to be a pleasure to look at. This one was a nasty assault on the senses.

3. Dances with Wolves -- Kevin Costner's egomaniacal epic.

4. Simon Birch -- A celluloid version of "A Prayer for Owen Meany" that was so far from the novel that they changed the name of the main character. Why even bother to adapt a book then? Get your own storyline, Hollywood!

5. The Scarlet Letter -- In Demi Moore's version, Hester gets a happy ending!