From the printed page to the silver screen
St. Paul, Minn. — 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:
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.
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!
- Stephanie Curtis: Minnesota Public Radio's Movie Maven and Senior Producer of the UBS Forum.