Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Every Tuesday, The Broke and the Bookish blog posts a new Top Ten list and invites its users to participate.  This week’s Top Ten is “Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations.”  I decided to split my list in half by Best and Worst.  Please note that this post in way reflects the views, opinions, etc. of Fountaindale Public Library.


1.  No Country for Old Men

Joel and Ethan Coen have taken the violence and bleakness that permeates Cormac McCarthy’s crime novel and perfectly translated it into an unforgettable film.

2.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Who better to  adapt and direct The Perks of Being a Wallflower than the author himself?  A surprisingly powerful and moving film.

3.  Harry Potter series

There appears to be a kind of symbiotic relationship between the Harry Potter books and their movie counterparts, where one format adds something significant to the other, and has the potential of dramatically increasing the reader’s/viewer’s overall experience.  For instance, readers of the Harry Potter books will have more knowledge and back-story to appreciate better what the films are trying to portray, and moviegoers have the visuals of Hogwarts in the back of their minds to help transport them into the fictional world described in the books.

4.  Hugo

I always thought that Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret was begging to be made into a movie.  Thankfully, Martin Scorsese got his hands on this and turned it into a film masterpiece.


5.  Sin City

Robert Rodriguez – with a little help from Quentin Tarantino and Frank Miller, himself – faithfully reproduced the high-contrast aesthetics and the hard-boiled mentality of the graphic novel.  Further, in many cases, it is possible to compare individual frames of the movie to panels in the graphic novel and notice how closely Rodriguez followed the source material.



1.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas  The Cat in the Hat

Mentioning two titles at once may be cheating, but Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Bo Welch’s The Cat in the Hat are  guilty of taking beloved Dr. Seuss classics and turning them into obnoxious, asinine films.  Watching these have made me want nothing to do with Dr. Seuss ever again.

World War Z poster.jpg

2.  World War Z

Max Brooks’s World War Z is a marvelous and riveting horror novel with deep sociopolitical commentary and a format inspired by Studs Terkel’s The Good War: An Oral History of World War Two.   I was horrified to find that Marc Forster adapted this wonderful book into a silly action/horror movie starring Brad Pitt.

3.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I realize this may not be popular to say, but I honestly cannot think of a recent movie I’ve been more disappointed with than Peter Jackson’s first installment of The Hobbit trilogy.  I am a fan of both Tolkien’s books and Jackson’s films (including Dead Alive and The Lord of the Rings trilogy) so I naturally assumed that I would like The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  Nearly three hours in length, the film is tedious, uneventful, and self-indulgent.  It’s also painfully clear that Jackson’s decision to turn a 330-page children’s book into a trilogy of three-hour films is a blatant cash grab.  Stick with the 90-minute animated version from 1977 instead.  (Note: Despite everything I’ve said, I should admit that I will more than likely see the rest of Jackson’s Hobbit movies when they come to theaters.)


4.  Alex Cross

Fans of James Patterson’s most famous character, Alex Cross, may want to stay clear of Rob Cohen’s film, as it manages to bungle up many well-known Alex Cross facts.

5.  The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Alan Moore has never liked movie adaptations of his work (e.g., V for Vendetta, Watchmen, From Hell, etc.), and while many of his fans may disagree with him on this point, nearly all agree that Stephen Norrington’s adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman is rubbish.  The film bears little resemblance to its source material, even going so far as to add Tom Sawyer into an otherwise all-British “superhero” group of fictional literary characters.

– Zach


One thought on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

  1. Even though the criticisms you make about The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are fair, the fact that you are willing to see the sequels means it is a far better adaptation than The Seeker (theoretically based on The Dark is Rising and completely missing any of the elements that made the book cool).

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