But basically, a movie is never greater than the book that comes before it. At least, that's always been my formula:
BOOK > MOVIE
(I'd put the sign for infinity here, but I don't know how to make that happen on my keyboard.)
There always has to be the exception that proves the rule, though, and after years of believing in the absolutism of the above formula, I finally found one: Julie & Julia, the book written by Julie Powell vs. the movie acted by Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. Both are based on Powell's blog about the year she spent re-creating all of the recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
1. I dislike Julie Powell. I almost didn't finish the book. She's actually a good writer, but as a memoirist, her personality is clearly on the page, and I didn't like it at all. I liked her even less after reading a second of her books, Cleaving (I know, why did I even try? I'm either a masochist or an eternal book optimist). In that book, she intersperses stories about her learning the butchery trade with stories about her infidelities and crumbling marriage. While I'm not judging her marriage or her morality, I couldn't stand the fact that she hung her husband out to dry by putting all of their most personal problems, and every salacious detail of her affair, out there for the world to read. The whole book was exploitation masquerading as some sort of Eat, Pray, Love-type "journey." But I digress. The point is, I don't like Julie Powell, so I didn't like the book.
2. The movie was SO well done. Streep and Adams were both, of course, genius (and Adams was much more likable than her author) and the script/ directing/ editing were all superb. Plus, half of it was shot against the backdrop of 1950s Paris. How could I not have enjoyed that? The movie took a decent idea, that had spawned a blog, then turned into a ragged book written by a dislikable person, and spun it into gold.
So I finally found an exception that proved the rule. But I stand by my original formula 99.9999% of the time, and I defy anyone to argue with it.
That's right, I defy you. Comments?