The Boneyard: Are All Books Better Than The Movie?

This post features men arguing about "The Notebook." You've been warned.

This post features men arguing about "The Notebook." You've been warned.

From the desk of Lindsey Wojcik: Are all books better than the movies based on them? What are some examples where the opposite is true? What movies should have remained books all together?

Lisa Carroll: In general, the book is better.

However, the movie “The Notebook” was much better than the book. And I haven't seen the movie. I just hated the book and everyone I know loves the movie.

I hate when I read a book and then I see the movie and then I read the sequel and all I can picture are the actors. Forgotten are the magical beings I'd created in my head the first time around. I wish I could record that experience!

A book is a personal shared experience between an author and a reader. We create the vision in our heads and it is uniquely ours. The author gives us the words and we imagine the rest. I enjoy a good movie, but there really is no experience like reading a book and diving headlong into the world that you create with the author.

P.S. “The Scarlet Letter” with Demi Moore should be banned from the planet. Just my opinion. Except that I loved when my students would write an essay about the book and include the scene where Hester and Dimmesdale ride happily into the sunset...yeah, that happened.

Hassel Velasco: I'd like to say the “True Blood” series (up to season 4) are a lot better than the books they're based on. Can't think of any movies that fall under that category. Most movies based on books tend to be equal or less compared to their book counterparts.

Daniel Ford: Movies based on John Irving novels (with the exception of “The Cider House Rules”) tend to prove why great books should remain as such. “Simon Birch?” Good god. A Prayer for Owen Meany is a masterpiece. “Simon Birch” is what Sean likes to call "a heap."

This might anger a few people, but “The Lord of the Rings” movies are way better than the books. Everything they chose to keep and cut was flawless (I don't want to hear about that Tom guy in the first book. He sucks). “The Hobbit” movies...not so much.

A lot of Elmore Leonard books tend to make great movies because his dialogue is so sharp. The “Justified” series far outshines everything Raylan has been in on the page (although Pronto is pretty damn good).

And even I have to admit that “The Notebook" nails it.” Way better than the book. Sure, McAdams character sleeps with everyone, but still. I'm a sucker for James Garner.

Rachel Tyner: “The Notebook” definitely nails it. But Daniel, wait, McAdams character sleep with everyone!? In the movie!? She does not. Or is this something from the book I just don't remember? I remember reading the book and being so underwhelmed which is a bummer because the movie is so perfect.

Also “He's Just Not That Into You” is 10,000 times better than the book.

The “Harry Potter” series is very tricky. Obviously, I am going to say the books are better because they are nearer and dearer to my heart, but the movies are really good as well. If I had to live without one or the other forever I would drop the movies in a heartbeat.

I agree about “True Blood.” I started the books before the show was out and actually really enjoyed them in a guilty pleasure sort of way. They truly were terribly written. I haven't watched the show, but again it's something everyone is obsessed with so I assume it's good.

Lindsey Wojcik: I asked this question furious from a recent experience reading Jodi Picoult's amazing My Sister's Keeper, then being horribly disappointed with the film. I want that time back I spent watching Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin trying to portray characters I had become deeply invested in, but I'd happily spend every hour re-reading Picoult's words.

I'm often irked when major plots in the book are different on screen, as was the case with "My Sister's Keeper." Initially, I felt the same about "The Devil Wears Prada" because I fell so in love with that book that any minor changes book's plot in the movie enraged me. Over the years, I've really come to appreciate Meryl Streep's Miranda, and while I will never say it was better than the book, I will say the movie was done well and has since found a place in my heart.

How could I forget “He's Just Not That Into You”? Rachel nailed that. The whole concept "he's just not that into you" was revolutionary on "Sex and the City," at least for Miranda's character. When the book came out, I was in college—which was a tougher dating period for me than high school—I thought it would be so empowering. But it wasn't. It tried so hard to be, but Greg Behrendt's concept just didn't translate as a self-help book for women, even with Liz Tuccillo as his co-writer. The movie, however, didn't try too hard to give advice in snarky ways. It wasn't a ground-breaking film, but it told the stories of several couples, instead of straight up "He's not into you if he's not having sex with you." Stories are powerful, and I think that's why some movies spawned from self-help books are better than the books.

Daniel: You would not believe the abuse I've been getting from Dave Pezza for reading and watching “The Notebook”…and then admitting to reading several other works by Nicholas Sparks. I have a soft side and I embrace it.

Dave Pezza: Ugh, please Daniel, save it for your Opera's book club meeting.

Daniel: *Oprah. You can't even diss someone without needing an editor.

Dave: Dammit.

Sean Tuohy: What's wrong with reading a romantic book? And what is wrong with liking "The Notebook"? It’s a good story. Rachel: I don't want to say this is the first argument three men have gotten into about “The Notebook,” but it is quickly becoming the most heated.


But Rachel McAdams....

Sean: "The Notebook” is the same thing as porn. It shows unrealistic moments, but both are enjoyable and both should not be watched in your grandparent's bedroom.

Rachel: Never forget.

Dave: If you want to talk about soft sides and romance, let's talk about "Casablanca," one the best and most romantic movies ever made, featuring a real love triangle with real individuals.

Daniel: GIFs have been introduced. Now we've got a kickass email chain.

Ah, “Casablanca.” My god, that movie is perfect. Quotable lines, great story, shot beautifully, and you ache each minute the two star-crossed lovers share a scene together.

Plus, Nazis.

Also, "No Country for Old Men" might be better than the book. The book is good, but the performances in the movie really take it to another level.

Dave: I concur with Daniel on “Casablanca.”



For posts from The Boneyard, check out our full archive.