Don't Judge a Book by Its Movie

I saw that saying and had a good chuckle.  Surely it's as accurate a statement as the original "don't judge a book by its cover".  Heck, with people watching more movies than reading books, maybe more prevalent.

We all know how different movies and books are.  When I see a movie that looks interesting, I almost always read the book prior.  I want to get to know the characters in the setting the author set.  Movies have to choose what parts of the book are important.  I don't want anyone really making that choice for me.

If I ever have a novel turned into a movie (supposedly every writer's dream) I will be very wary.  There are some screenwriters and directors who care deeply about being as true as they can be to the original.  Others, not so much.  In fact, some directors go out of their way to thwart and change everything because, to them, the novel is the idea and the movie is their vision.  I don't like when people take untold liberties.

Why am I bringing this up today?  I read The Shining for the first time last week.  I never got around to it before but, boy, I have sure seen the movie enough times.  The book (shock) is pretty different than the movie.  It is said that the author and director really didn't get along.  Well, more like the director had some not-so-subtle signs in the movie that were basically an obscene gesture to Mr. King.  One of the creepiest parts of the book for me wasn't even in the movie to begin with and (some of the most iconic scenes in the movie) never even occur a little in the book.  The ending of the book, I feel, is much better.

But that's the way it goes, right?  No movie is ever going to grasp the book in its entirety and, maybe it shouldn't.  Maybe the book should be vastly superior so fans just discovering it (from watching the movie) can rush out and grab and be so surprised, they stay for the next installment or the next novel an author writes.  Though, I have to be honest, to die-hard fans, a movie's shortcomings can be disappointing.

What do you guys think?  Has there ever been a movie better than the book?  Have you ever seen such a bad adaptation, you wanted to throw something?

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