Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Now a Minor Motion Picture

From Shelf Awareness

You know those "Now a Major Motion Picture" medallions publishers stick on every book adapted as a film? They bug me because some of my favorite literary adaptations have been lower-budget indies destined for limited release. "Now a Minor Motion Picture" needs its own sticker.

Okay, maybe not. But this is the time of year--call it Movie Spring--when I watch for signs of promise on the adaptation horizon, starting with the Sundance Film Festival. This hobby provides some respite from the prize-giving obsession (Golden Globes, Oscars, etc.) over last year's releases and is a great way to discover some new reads.

Among the notable Sundance offerings last week were film versions of Doris Lessing's The Grandmothers (Two Mothers is the movie's title), Shannon Hale's Austenland, Tim Tharp's The Spectacular Now and the adaptation of an untranslated novel by Roberto Bolaño: Il Futuro (The Future). The Beat Generation continued its big screen revival--launched recently by On the Road--with Big Sur and Kill Your Darlings.

One of the more publicized Sundance entries was C.O.G., based on a story from Naked by David Sedaris, who called the film "haunting... and it's painful to be reminded of how pretentious and horrible I was."

Beyond Sundance, other literary adaptations attracting some early attention are David Wong's John Dies at the End and a pair of James Franco-directed efforts: Cormac McCarthy's Child of God and William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

My own developing must-see list includes upcoming film versions of Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down, Patricia Highsmith's The Two Faces of January and Ron Rash's fine novel Serena.

Major? Minor? Who cares? William Safire once called Elmore Leonard's Be Cool a "bestseller and now a minor motion picture." Doesn't sound so bad, does it? I just want to see the book sticker. --
Robert Gray, contributing editor, Shelf Awareness

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