Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Three Books That I Read After Seeing The Movie

*There Will Be Spoilers*

1. The Movie:  Let The Right One In (2008) Kare Jedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

                   Let Me In (2010) Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas

The Book:  Let The Right One In (2004) John Ajvide Lindquist

How do they compare?  Pretty damn well, in particular the original, Swedish movie. The book gives us more of Eli's history, as well as the POV of an older high school boy named Tommy who is Oskar's neighbor, and who is actually nice to him and occasionally offers his protection. Also in the book, Oskar starts off with some pretty bad bladder control issues. It's stated outright that Eli's "guardian," Hakan, is a pedophile, and near the end there is a showdown between Eli and Hakan in the basement of the apartment building. The book also delves deeper into the lives of Lacke, Virginia and some of the others, which was pretty tedious/depressing at times, because these were not happy people. These characters were replaced with a policeman character in the American Let Me In.

How do the movies compare to each other?  In my opinion, the original Let The Right One In is the clear winner between the two, even though I can honestly say that I do enjoy watching Let Me In, as well. Lina Leandersson is phenomenal as the androgynous castrato, Eli,  but I prefer Kodi Smit-McPhee's take as Owen, because he didn't have snot dripping from his nose for the entire movie like this kid:

Seriously, there was so much snot....

  Also in the remake was Elias Koteas with horrible hair:

  I love when Elias Koteas pops up in movies. I've loved him ever since he played "Duncan" in Some Kind of Wonderful. And I didn't really miss the angry, drunk Lacke/Virginia/Gosta group that he replaced (Virginia is the woman attacked by Eli/Abby who later burns alive in her hospital bed-)

Book or Movie? Either. I really loved the book, I loved the Swedish movie, and really liked the American version. I do prefer the subtitles of the Swedish version more than their dubbed English, but I tend to pick the American version if I am in and out of the room, so that I can at least hear what's going on.

2. The Movie:  Single White Female (1992) Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steven Weber

The Book:  SWF Seeks Same (1990) John Lutz

How do they compare?  Pretty good. The one thing that really sticks out for me (it's been years since I read the book, and I do not own it) is that in the book, Hedy is no broken doll traumatized by the death of her twin sister. She's a hard-core con artist who first insinuates herself into and then takes over people's lives for awhile, and this time she has chosen Allie. Allie ends up jailed for Hedy's crimes in the book, but with the help of a smart detective, things are finally wrapped up in the end.

Book or Movie? Movie. This is one of many movies that I can toss on at any random time and enjoy it. I love Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bridget Fonda is pretty good, Stephen Tobolowsky is great as the sleazy boss, and we have a fantastic basement chase scene, to boot.

3. The Movie: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2009) Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Peter Haber, Peter Andersson

                         The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgard, Yorick Van Wageningen

The Book:  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2005) Steig Larsson

How do they compare?  Very well. Lisbeth came across as more insecure in the book, but aside from that I thought it was a pretty fair representation. While I have watched the entire Swedish movie, I just did not enjoy Rooney Mara (Daniel Craig was good, however) and have only seen about half of the American version. I definitely preferred this Lisbeth...

...to this one.

Book or Movie? Movie, but definitely the Swedish version with Noomi Rapace.

Bonus- The Movie: Bad Girls From Valley High (2005) Julie Benz, Nicole Bilderback, Monica Keena, Jonathan Brandis

The Book:  A Fate Totally Worse Than Death (1995) John Fleischman

How do they compare?  So-so. Then general premise is the same, although there were some major and some minor changes (most of the tricks attempted to be played on Helga/Katarina (the book name/movie name of the same girl) are different. Book Brooke is just as bad as the rest of the "Huns," although Movie Brook is shown to actually have a heart. Book Mr. Chauncey is just a perv who likes to look down the blouses of the girls, while Movie Mr. Chauncey is all up in the mix. The one detail in the book that was left out of the movie was of Head Hun/Queen Bitch, Danielle, being a total horror nut. She always had a horror book in hand, or a horror movie on screen, which gave her all manner of ideas on how to torture Helga (as she was named in the book)

Book or Movie? Movie, without a doubt. I toss this movie on at random times when I'm in the mood for something funny, or in the mood to see Christopher Lloyd get his ass kicked throughout a movie, or to see Aaron Paul acting like a hysterical douchebag. Check out Three Things I Liked About Bad Girls Of Valley High!


  1. It's funny how the Swedish-film versions of two Swedish-authored books are some of the best adaptations I have ever seen. (liked the American Let Me In as well, but liked the original Swedish version better)

  2. Agreed. I was originally appalled when I heard they were remaking Let The Right One In, because I knew it would be a watered down version (Honestly, were they really going to put in Eli's castration scars scene for Americans to become enraged over? Of course not,even though it adds so much more horror to Eli's own story) But in the end, I had to admit that Let Me In was pretty damn good, too.