January 11, 2008

Some thoughts on movies and books

I've been formulating some thoughts on movies based on books, primarily stirred by other comments about the movie version of The Golden Compass. I think that it is very hard to make a good movie from a good book (I have seen a couple of movies that greatly improved upon the books, however, but those books sucked). I can only think of a handful that I have been really happy with (strangely enough, two are Stephen King stories--Stand By Me and The Shawshank Redemption. Oh, The Green Mile was very good too).

But none, however, come even close to the atrocity that is The Postman. Not Il Postino, but The Postman. I'm not sure that I can say that The Postman is the worst movie ever made, but I can say with full confidence that it is the worst movie I ever spent money to see at the theater. The Postman is a 3-hour epic in the sense that a long, drawn-out, painful death would be an epic. I mean three hours, people. Three hours. Even a good movie is pushing it at three hours. I and two of my friends made the drastic mistake of going to see The Postman. This was Christmas 1997, and our choices were The Postman or Titanic. When I eventually saw Titanic, I really wasn't crazy about it, but in retrospect we realized that it would have been a much better choice than The Postman. And by "retrospect" I mean "one hour into The Postman." Halfway through we were like, "We should have seen Titanic. At least the boat would have sunk by now."

It was the only movie I've ever been to where I've actually seen people leave in the middle of the movie. And not just some people--a lot of people. And every single person who stayed to the end walked out saying, "That was the worst movie I've ever seen."

The Postman stars Kevin Costner and is also directed by Kevin Costner, so there's your first problem. It also stars Will Patton, Olivia Williams, and completely inexplicably, Tom Petty.

I bring this up because The Postman is based on a book of the same title by David Brin. My sci-fi loving hubby convinced me to give the book a try (after slipping me another Brin book that I liked). I was able to look past my agony of Xmas '97 and read the book. And I thought the book was decent. Not my style, but certainly not like the movie.

Here is a comprehensive list of what the movie and the book version of The Postman have in common:

1) It's the near-ish future, bad things have happened, and people aren't getting along with each other
2) There's this guy
3) There's some old mail that hasn't been delivered

That pretty much covers it.

So when I think of movies made from books, my benchmark is always The Postman.

As a side note, if you happened to like The Postman, please do not say so in my comments. I shall have to forever despise you and question all of your judgement, and I'd rather just live in ignorance, thankyouverymuch.

Posted by Shelby at January 11, 2008 12:13 AM

I am PROUD to say I saw that with you! That's right people! I saw it. It was AWFUL. Tom Petty was the mayor of some town...and was actually playing himself in the movie. A post-apocolytic Tom Petty mayor of a town behind a waterfall. God that was 3 hours of my life I'd like to have back.

Posted by: Sherri at January 11, 2008 10:00 AM
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