I Make Too Many Lists: Top 5 Best Movie Adaptations of Classic Books

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Do you avoid watching movies with your annoying literary friends (i.e. me) because you know they're going to say those four terrible words..."the book was better"? Well, it's safe to say any of these choices will be a slam dunk. So fear not, friends, Off the Book is coming to your rescue with the top five best movie adaptations of classic books.

5. The Perks of Being A Wallflower (2012)

Every high schooler has read the charming coming of age novel by Stephen Chbosky, and if you haven't - shame on you. The 2012 film holds up extremely well to the novel, and that is entirely due to the exceptional casting. The character of Charlie is played with incredible vulnerability and skill by Logan Lerman, who excels at showcasing Charlie's teenage fragility and the challenge of mental illness. Emma Watson...don't even get me started. She brings Sam to life, and you fall in love with her as Charlie does. Ezra Miller's Patrick is raw, eccentric, and entirely lovable. I was worried this would be terrible, but it is actually wonderful.

4. Matilda (1996)

Roald Dahl's classic children's novel was forever immortalized in film in the 1996 version of Matilda, directed by Danny DeVito. Mara Wilson plays precocious Matilda, who escapes crazy parents who just don't understand, and an abusive headmistress, Trunchbull. I dare you to forget that chocolate cake scene. I dare you.

3. Fight Club (1999)

I'm pretty sure Fight Club shows up on most of these lists, and I'm also pretty sure there's a damn good reason. I despise Brad Pitt as an actor, but he and Edward Norton are phenomenal in this movie, which is based on the book by Chuck Paluhniuk. An insomniac office worker (Norton) decides he needs to change his life, and crosses paths with Pitt. Together, they create an underground fight club. One of the best plot twists ever.

2. Schindler's List (1993)

Based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally, Schindler's List takes place in World War II Poland, where factory owner Schindler (played by Liam Neeson) does everything he can to protect his Jewish workforce from the devastatingly evil Nazi Amon Goeth (played by Ralph Fiennes). All the tears.

1. Lord of the Rings series (2001-2003)

It should be no surprise that The Lord of the Rings sits firmly in first place. Director Peter Jackson brings Tolkien's epic trilogy to life with an incredible cast (including the noteworthy Elijah Wood as Frodo) and lush cinematography. This epic film series has it all - romance, war, the battle between good and evil. While it may take quite a while to watch with over 682 hours in the extended version, it's well worth it.

Which films belong in your top 5? Is there a film I'm missing? Please let me know in the comments!