The Most Unsuccessful Mooks EVER!

Kudos to my friend Stephanie over at The Anxiety of Authorship for finding this great article! The folks over at A.V. Club picked, what they believed to be, very unsuccessful book adaptations.  Some standouts on this list?

  • Ulysses by James Joyce I’m not sure why anyone would even WANT to adapt this piece of literature.  It’s complexity and distinct inner monologues are way too difficult to translate onto screen.
  • Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien Die-hard fans of Middle Earth argue that the imaginative story and setting cannot be replicated (even with Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema’s extensive budget)
  • He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo   While I did enjoy this movie, it is labeled as a “self-help” book without much of a storyline.  Doesn’t quite make sense as a mook.

Check out the full list here!

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Mooks at the Oscars

Popular mooks performed well at the Oscars.  While Best Picture was a disappointment for the mook world, (with five out of the nine nominations being book adaptations) the most favored win was Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress in “The Help.”

Big winners of the night were “The Artist” and “Hugo.”  While “Hugo” swept mostly technical categories, “The Artist” proved to be the underdog in the most major categories.

My opinion on the night?  I was a little disappointed.  I would have liked to see some variation in the winners.  For example, while Meryl Streep is phenomenal in every aspect of the word, the category for Best Actress was tough this year.  I was rooting for Viola Davis and Rooney Mara, but any of these actresses could have won.   A big congrats goes to “The Descendants” for Best Adapted Screenplay (I really, really need to read this novel.)

Click here for a full Oscar 2012 winners list.

Mook Review: The Woman in Black

The Woman In Black: A Ghost Story  Written by Susan Hill

The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story, Susan Hill, Mook Review, Mookology

via theminaretonline.com

The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story is a very eerie, Edgar Allan Poe type story. With very little dialogue, Hill relied solely on intense detail and the thoughts of our main character and narrator, Arthur Kipps.  While the story was interesting and, at certain parts, I felt slightly disturbed, it just was not very scary.

What happens to Arthur Kipps in The Woman in Black is definitely terrifying and at points I found myself wondering if he was simply going crazy. However, I did find the story very slow-moving and without much of a plot.  Since this is narrated by Kipps as he writes a manuscript of the events, he is constantly referring to how terrible things end up getting for him, and sets you up for this very horrific moment.  But, at 130 pages, nothing intense and scary happens until the end and, even then, I did not feel as gripped with fear as I wanted to be. The title is followed with the statement “A Ghost Story” and, although there was a ghost, it wasn’t as bone-chillingly frightening as I had anticipated.

The Woman in Black, while a well-written novel, should not be lumped in the “horror” category.  Just because the story has to deal with a haunting or a ghost does not necessarily make it ‘horrific.’  The book was a  genuinely easy read that I finished in a few short days but at no point did it actually scare me.  I was disappointed and expected much more from a well-regarded horror novel.

“The Woman In Black” – Directed by James Watkins

The Woman in Black, Daniel Radcliffe, James Watkins, Movie, Mookology, Book Review

via IMDB.com

My expectations for the film were not very high.  After watching a number of jump-out-of-your-seat trailers, I got the feeling that every scary scene was shown in the previews and none were saved for the film.  I was right.  I hate when horror films do that!  Exploiting the scariest moments of the movie not only boost the film into failure, but it is almost false advertising.  Like the book, “The Woman in Black” was not so much scary as it was suspenseful, and it was represented and marketed all wrong.

The opening scene of “The Woman in Black” set me up with high hopes; it was disturbing and mysterious, which supported the soon found superstition of the Eel Marsh House.  As far as staying true to the novel, there was a blatant disregard for the supporting system of Susan Hill’s original story.   While basically all of the same things happen, Arthur Kipps’ story is totally different.  He loses his wife to childbirth and is a single father to a 4-year-old at the movies onset.  There is no manuscript being written, with the story developing as a creepy retelling, and the ending is 100% different (and stupid.)  However, when this happens in other films it irks me, with this I didn’t mind so much.  I felt the changes with the adaptation were appropriate and didn’t actually change the meaning of the storyit is just supposed to be a ghost story after all.

I do have to give credit to Daniel Radcliffe who did so much with so little dialogue.  His emotions did come across on screen well.  My one qualm with casting Daniel Radcliffe as Arthur Kipps is that he looks so ridiculously young.  It is hard to take him seriously as a father, interacting with all of these adults, while he looks like a boy himself.  Nevertheless, his acting has come a long way and this was an interesting role for  him.  That being said, there was nothing Radcliffe could have done to help this film.  The ‘scare’ moments that were saved for the film were pretty weak and I found myself laughing at the movies end.

My final thoughts on “The Woman in Black” as both a film and novel is that it could have been better.  I wanted to be frightened more and the story had such potential, but the movie was really silly and boring.  If you didn’t see the trailer, perhaps it will be slightly more frightening, just don’t expect too  much out of it.

Mook Rating  ★1/2

Mookology is Going Mainstream!

HuffPost Books and Mookology are totally on the same page.  I love reading the articles in the culture section of The Huffington Post, as you can tell by my many posts which refer to this site.  Their writers are super on track with the mook presence in our culture and they have just published an article about Movie Versus Book using The Descendants as an example.

The accompanying slideshow does a great break down comparing the book to the movie in a condensed and easy to read way.  Looks like I need to read The Descendants sometime very soon!

via HuffingtonPost.com

 

 via The Huffington Post “Movie Versus Book: Oscar Nominee ‘The Descendants'”

“The Blind Side” & “Moneyball” Author Gets ANOTHER Film Deal.

Michael Lewis is no stranger to the world of successful mooks.  “The Blind Side,” which was based on Lewis’ The Blind Slide: Evolution of a Game, was not just a box-office smash, but incredibly touching and wonderfully performed.  It was nominated for awards at several ceremonies, including Best Picture at the Oscar’s, and Sandra Bullock’s portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy deserved every award she won.  Personally, I’ve probably seen the movie over ten times and never fail to cry at least once.

Lewis’ most recent film adaptation, based off Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, has accumulated tons of nominations and Oscar Buzz.  Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, “Moneyball” was well received by both viewers and critics.   So it should come as no surprise that his next novel up at bat,Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life, has been picked up for adaptation by Disney.

Without a doubt, Lewis has a talent for storytelling and I will be astounded if the adaptation of Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life is anything less than stellar.

 via The Huffington Post “Michael Lewis’ Coach: ‘Moneyball’ Author’s Book To Be Made Into a Movie By Disney

Mook Review: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series #1) Written by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Series #1, Mookology

via BN.com

The Lightning Thief is a children’s fantasy novel narrated by the 11-year-old DemiGod, Percy Jackson.  While I found the concept of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series intriguing and clever, this story just fell a little short.  As an adult nearing my mid-twenties, I knew the character of Percy Jackson would not measure up in terms of relatability but, since I do enjoy young adult fantasy, I had high expectations.  However, I was disappointed with the construction of the novel and character development.

While I know young brains do not have the depth to understand complex characters and  plot lines, Riordan’s novel was rushed and anticipated in a bad way.  At several points in the novel I had to ask myself “wait, what just happened?”  It seemed like the main characters of Percy, Annabeth, and Grover had no purpose for their quest and every villain they met along the way was predictable.  The whole Kronos/Ares/Luke connection really lost me and didn’t seem to have any meaning behind it.  There was potential to create a  serious undertone, with Kronos and the Titans planning to overthrow the Gods of Olympus, but it just didn’t get there.  It went kind of overlooked as if the Gods shrugged it off as “Oh we will deal with it when it happens.”

Overall, I can understand the creation of the story and how a younger generation might be attracted to it, but I didn’t get that truly heroic vibe that I wanted.  Percy Jackson is no Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen.  The Lightning Thief was interesting, but often purposeless, and not as enjoyable as I’d anticipated.

“Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief”  Directed by Chris Columbus

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief movie, Chris Columbus, Mookology, Movie Review, Rick Riordan

via IMDB.com

After reading The Lightning Thief I was curious to see whether the movie portrayal would succeed the overall success of the novel.  The first thing I noticed was the age difference; Percy Jackson in the novel is a 6th grader, but Percy Jackson in the movie is a teenager.  This was the first sign that Chris Columbus wanted to reach a different audience, perhaps trying to get a grasp on the Harry Potter aged viewers.  This was a great marketing ploy.  The chances of teenagers seeing a movie headlined by children is very slim.  It also helped that actor Logan Lerman is very adorable and a potential tween heartthrob.

But first things first.  This movie was entirely disconnected from the novel and both the purpose and plot lines of the novel were essentially erased.  To be quite honest, I enjoyed the changes.  While the film was not a masterpiece by any means, I felt that it connected the idea of Percy Jackson and the Olympians in a much better way than the novel.  To start, we know immediately that Percy is the son of Poseidon; there is no purposeless dilly-dallying like in the novel.  Second, there is no person responsible for Percy’s mission; he rebels and does what HE wants to do, along with the help of Annabeth and Grover.

To my surprise, the characters were slightly more dense in the movie.  Annabeth isn’t just a name calling know it all like in the novel-she is strong and level headed, not to mention intimidating.  Grover, the character I liked least in the novel, won my heart in the movie.  I though the portrayal of Grover has more of a ‘cool’ guy, rather than the nerdy failure he is in the book, was smart.  In The Lightning Thief there was no moment where I actually felt that I liked the characters, where in the movie there were quite a few of these.  As I stated before, I am not saying this film is incredible, or even very good, but it definitely took the book places it hadn’t gone before.

Strange, huh?  Who would have thought there would ever be a movie that succeeded the novel?  Oh, the things you learn through mookology.
Mook Rating – ★1/2

Dr. Seuss Takes the Screen in March with “The Lorax”

Alright, I’m guilty.  I am totally excited to see “The Lorax” in a few weeks!  The release of this mook is March 2nd, which is also the famous authors 108th birthday.  Other famous Dr. Seuss movie adaptations have made bank at the box office, and Random House has recently released The Lorax Pop Up! a 3D version of the classic book.

Dr. Seuss was a pioneer in imagination and is known for his subtle wisdom.  The Lorax brings a very green-friendly message to it’s readers and I think this coincides well with our current environmental crisis.  Myself, along with many others, grew up with his silly tales and colorful characters and it is delightful to see his creations brought to life.  Check out the official trailer for “The Lorax” below and Publisher’s Weekly‘s insight to the upcoming film.

Catherine Hardwicke’s Unkind Words Towards Mook “Twilight” Scripts…

The Twilight Saga is one of the biggest Mooks of the decade, pulling in big bucks through both the book and film series.  Whether you are a fan or not, there is no denying the impact the sparkly Cullen vampires have had on recent culture, but most of us find ourselves asking “why?”  Turns out, director of the first Twilight film Catherine Hardwicke asked herself the same question.  Read more about this in the Huffington Post article Catherine Hardwicke: ‘Twilight’ Scripts Initially ‘Sucked’.  Quite interesting!

Mook Review: Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone – Written by Daniel Woodrell

Winter's Bone, Daniel Woodrell, Ree Dolly, Book Review

via worldsstrongestlibrarian.com

Winter’s Bone is one of the best novels I have ever read. Set in the mountainous Ozarks, Woodrell creates a incestual, redneck colony so far removed from reality it barely represents American way of life. The language and setting is used mysteriously and with such incredible attention to detail it often made me cringe. I loved the short vignette-type chapters that gave a quick glimpse of nature and beauty, breaking up the very serious issues at hand. Woodrell truly has a gift and he shares it appropriately with his readers.

Ree Dolly is an amazing character who literally puts her life on the line to save her family. The entire community is involved in the production and intake of ‘crank’, her father Jessup having owned and ran several meth labs, and her ability to avoid falling into the drug trap is kind of astonishing. The absence of Jessup reinforces Ree’s commitment to her inept Mother and two little brothers and, at the start of Winter’s Bone, she sets out on a journey to find her father and salvage her home.

The story is so explicit and wonderful it is difficult to even give a review. Since Ree is brought up in such a backwards culture, her thoughts do not follow in the usual way, making her an outstanding character. She is someone who is vivid and clear in your mind; I found myself just thinking about Ree even after I had finished reading. It was refreshing to see such a strong, young character who literally does not take no for an answer and fights through the harshest realities. While a phenomenal read, Winter’s Bone is not for the faint hearted. There are a few disturbing situations that are difficult to imagine and take in. Barely any happiness can be found, although the resolution at the succession of the story did bring hope.

“Winter’s Bone” – Directed by Debra Granik

Winter's Bone, Debra Granik, Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Sundance 2010

via IMDB.com

There is a reason why this movie won major awards at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It is relatively flawless in terms of writing and directing, with Jennifer Lawrence both stunning and strong as Ree Dolly.

The scene where Ree lies bruised and bloody in her bed but still asks for Gail to make sure her siblings do their homework reveals her hierarchy in the household. Her family desperately needs her and Ree takes on an unimaginable responsibility in the most desperate of times. It is hard to critique this film. It was beautiful and very well done, with all dialogue and character profiles on point.

There were only two things I felt were missing from the film. Snow, being the first thing, was such an integral part of the novel. It made Ree’s journey seem more difficult and desperate, and definitely played more to the winter aspect. Maybe it was taken out for budget reasons, but I felt there should have definitely been snow on the ground in the film. The second factor I felt was missing was the real grittiness of these people. Yes, the Dolly’s and Milton’s in the film all came off as poor and somewhat backwards, but Woodrell had some amazing images that were just missing. For example, the last page of Woodrell’s Winter’s Bone describes Ree “She laid to fingers high on her nose and pinched a yellow splat into the yard.” It is not a pretty image, but it encompasses all that Ree is, which I wanted to see portrayed on screen.

I did find the movie riveting and gloomy in all the right ways. It was somewhat different from the novel but, in no means, was a bad film. Just like the novel, I found myself thinking about “Winter’s Bone” for days after and felt a deep connection to the story and characters.

Mook Rating –– ★★★★★