Thursday Movie Picks: Adaptations of Classic Literature

This week's theme from Wandering Through The Shelves is adaptations of classic literature that cannot include poems or plays. I think this is the hardest one I've had yet. I was trying to pick ones that I read the book, and saw the film. I liked Anna Karenina, but never read the book. I like Les Miserables, but I prefer the play version. Great Expectations was slightly better than the book, but I'd never watch it again. So I decided to go a different route this week and let the hate flow through me. Here's 3 Classic Lit movies that I cannot stand:

1) Lord of the Flies

So this book was terrible to begin with, but where the hell did they find these child actors? I know it was 1963 but they were all awful. This movie kind of falls under the "unintentionally hilarious" category because the film makers obviously didn't try very hard.

2) Moby Dick

I was so proud of myself in high school for getting through this book. For some reason, it felt important to me. You want to know what a bunch of really talented actors phoning in performances look like? Then take a look at 1956's Moby Dick. 

3) The Scarlet Letter

Does anyone actually like this book? This is the book that makes high school students hate reading. It's terrible, and my teacher specifically put questions on his quizzes that you couldn't find the answer to on Spark Notes. What a DICK. Anyways, he inexplicably had us watch the 1995 version of this movie, despite the older ones probably being a lot less sexual. (The year before, I had a teacher that went to great lengths to try to fast forward through the sex scenes during Romeo and Juliet only to hit "play" too early and give us a shot of some big ol' double D's. Because God forbid you see these things in grade 9.) Thinking about this movie now makes me embarrassed for the great Gary Oldman. This film was so melodramatic. 



33 comments:

  1. Teachers in the UK were rather fine with sex scenes, the teenagers acted like most teenagers do but we handled rather well. The class would pick someone at random and say 'this your scene, mate'. Quite funny.

    I like how you when done the hate route. Haha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's weird that my teacher in the 9th grade was so uptight about it, yet in grade 11 I watched Schindler's List AND A American History X IN school. No consistency. lol

      Delete
    2. I can't speak for American History x but the nudity in Schindler's List isn't presented in a sexualised way. I think people are more uptight about sexulised nudity.

      Delete
    3. Except for that scene where Schindler is getting laid at the beginning of the movie :P

      Delete
    4. Oh yeah. I forgot about that.

      Delete
  2. Thanks for confirming Emma Stone's review in Easy A. I will definitely be skipping the 90s Scarlet Letter. While I have no love for that book, I have to say that I was a fan of Lord of the Flies in Grade 9. Yes, that book had lots of unintentional humour but it would be hard to find a book that doesn't when read by 15 year olds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL I always think of Easy A when I think of the Scarlet Letter now. LOTF must be a guy thing, my husband likes that book too.

      Delete
  3. OMG! I actually wrote a post a few years ago on the blog about how Lord of the Flies was unfilmable because of those horrible child actors!

    I actually loved the novel, not because it was entertaining but because it was so poignant.

    AND YES TO MOBY DICK! That movie was AWFUL, but the Orson Welles cameo is brilliant.

    I have no desire or need to see The Scarlet Letter. I mean, it was Demi Moore, so it's not going to be a good movie already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't believe how awful Peck was in that movie. He wasn't even trying. I'm going to have to find that post. God, I hated that movie.

      Delete
  4. I love the direction you went with this! I haven't seen any of these movies. I am with you that The Scarlet Letter is a terrible choice to assign to high school students. I never read Moby Dick, and -- at this point in my life -- I suspect I never will.

    I didn't like Lord of the Flies much in high school. But when I re-read it with my high school aged son this year, I appreciated it so much more. After reading this post, I will be sure not to inflict the movie on myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have no idea why schools push The Scarlet Letter so hard. Is it because they want to prepare us for shit books we might read in the future?

      Delete
  5. Lord of the Flies! Now that's a great one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just don't get the appeal. Those kids were annoying AF.

      Delete
  6. LOVE Lord of the Flies the book, but haven't seen the film. Peter Brook is a genius, though, so I'm looking forward to it. I also LOVE Moby-Dick, but have stayed away from all films of it because I don't think it's possible to do a version that does the book justice.

    I LOVED The Scarlet Letter when I read it in high school, but then, I was a super-nerd about reading and the classics especially. That Demi Moore film, though. It's flat-out AWFUL. Like, disgustingly bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have never met someone that actually liked the Scarlet Letter, let alone loved it. Wow. I'm impressed lol

      Delete
  7. HA! Cool to see someone go the hate route. I'm actually quite the opposite on all the books, I loved them all. Then again, I was an English major so it figures. On the movies, I'm in the "meh" camp. I remember liking Romeo and Juliet, but I haven't seen it since I was in 6th grade and only remember the nude scene. And I only remember that because we did watch it in class. Before it happened the teacher paused the movie and gave us one of those speeches meant to prepare us for what we were about to see and minimize our reaction to it. It didn't work, lol. I also liked The Lord of the Flies, but I also watched that in 6th grade and don't remember any of it. The Scarlet Letter was terrible, though. Great work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol thank you. Teachers are so damn uptight about some boobs in Romeo and Juliet.

      Delete
  8. Wonderful way to handle the theme! Scarlet Letter is a terrible burden to get through I agree and this movie is garbage. I've seen a PBS version from the 70's with Meg Foster which while not excellent was probably the best that they could make out of the book.

    I tried with the novel of Moby Dick and couldn't crack it and this version is a turgid mess although James Robertson Justice has his moments.

    I have a little story involving Lord of the Flies. In 9th grade my teacher assigned it as a two week project for the class with discussion of the previous day's reading during class. I read the first twelve pages or so and thought it was crap and stopped reading. Everyday the teacher would ask what topics had been covered and then review them in minute detail so I would skim the section and pick some salient point and then be the first to raise my hand and took notes on everything she said. The result I got an A plus on the exam and some of the poor schmoes who actually read the book got C's.

    My take away from all that discussion was the book was awful and this film version, which I watched to see if they had improved on it, is too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL I love that. I really wanted to do the Spark Notes version of The Scarlet Letter, but our teacher was on to us.

      Delete
  9. It's nuts that I still haven't seen Moby Dick given my love for Gregory Peck! I must rectify that soon. Oh and seeing Demi Moore in Scarlet Letter, she doesn't seem to fit the role for such an adaptation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG don't. I don't want you to think of Peck in that way. lol I try to forget it.

      Delete
  10. Is it wrong for me to admit I haven't seen any of these! Woopsies, I guess they're something to add to my to-read and watch list. :D

    ReplyDelete
  11. That version of The Scarlet Letter was awful. I saw a different version of the film. I think it was a TV movie or something. It was more faithful than the one starring Demi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hated that book so much I think I'd hate just about any adaptation of it.

      Delete
  12. I haven't seen or read any of your picks despite loving to read. Classics never appealed to me, or I haven't found the right book to read. I am interested in reading Lord of the Flies though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I'd recommend skipping all of these because they're all sorts of awful. lol

      Delete
  13. I have read all three of these books. I have seen none of the movies. They all sound great! And I'm sure they are. I didn't have to read The Scarlet Letter in high school. I read it the first time when I was an intern, teaching American literature to juniors in high school. I thought it was a well-written, well-told story, if a bit wordy. Even so, I would've hated it in high school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suppose they're great at being terrible. lol

      I'm not even sure I'd enjoy The Scarlet Letter as an adult. I just can't with that one.

      Delete
  14. I love the Lord of the Flies book. I have watch the 1963 movie but can't remember much but I think it likely falls in that group of movies for me are usually old, black and white films. I tend think they have not aged well, bad dialogue and have terrible acting and yet are regarded as great pieces of cinema. Like I just don't get it? Is the acting/script bar set lower because its an old movie or because it's an old movie it must be great. At least Lord of the Flies has an excuse of having kid actors, it's usually said it's hard get great acting from kids, while other movies featuring adult actors have no excuse.

    By the way have you seen the 1990 Lord of the Flies? They changed a few things, but I like it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen the 1990 version. I stopped at the 60's one. I think you're right about the bar being set lower. Some of the acting in these films, especially this one were atrocious.

      Delete
  15. Ha, I barely remember The Scarlet Letter, but I do actually love Lord of the Flies. Moby Dick is on my watchlist, though I'm pretty sure I'll share your feelings on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't watch Moby Dick. Spare yourself. lol

      Delete

No seriously, post one. I need attention.