Top Ten Tuesday: Movies I Wish Were Actually Books

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hello friends.  I don’t want to call it a reading slump- but life has been so busy I’m definitely on a little bit of a reading hiatus (I’m sorry!).  Trust me- I’d rather be reading.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Page To Screen freebie, and I’m going to do it in reverse, because most of you could probably guess which books I want turned into movies.

Prison Break

Prison Break: I loved this show when it aired.  I’m a sucker for characters who are geniuses, and Michael definitely fits that bill.  I’m not entirely sure it would work well in a novel, but I’d give it a shot.

The Departed

The Departed: I love anything that comes out of, or is set in, Boston.  Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg are two of those things, and anytime they get to act with their full, glorious, Boston accents, I’m pretty happy.  Also- this movie will fuck with you.  Dirty cops, good cops, gangsters… nothing is what it seems.  If someone could turn this into a thriller style book and nail it, I’d read the shit out of it.

Field of Dreams

Field of Dreams:  This is like the ultimate American movie, baseball, corn farming, and Iowa.  It spawned some of my favorite movie lines: “Is this heaven?” “No, it’s Iowa!” and has enough emotion and mystery that I think it could make a wonderful book.

Pitch Black

Pitch Black:  Laugh all you want, but I love this movie.  In case you haven’t seen it, Vin Diesel plays a convicted serial killer.  When the interstellar bounty hunters who arrested him crash land on a planet full of blood thirsty monsters, he becomes their only hope for survival.  If someone could please turn this into a Crichton style horror/sci-fi thriller, I’m going to read it.  I don’t think it even has to be that good.

Justified: This is probably one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and I’ve never actually watched the last season (I couldn’t watch knowing it would be over, it was just so unfair).  Raylan Gibbons is a US Marshall, returned to his hometown to put the smackdown on a bunch of old timey crime families.  Boyd is perhaps one of the greatest shades of gray characters ever written- and I’d read a novel just about him (but including Raylan would also be A-OK).

The Last of Us

The Last of Us: If you aren’t a gamer, then I’m sad for you, because I think The Last of Us has one of the greatest gaming narratives ever written.  It’s tragic, emotional and thrilling.  For 10-13 hours you play as Joel or Ellie.  When you get to the end, you’re punched dead in the face with the realization that Joel is not a good guy, and also, he is  terribly human.  I thought about that ending for days afterwards, and all these years later, with TLOU2 on the way, I’m still not sure how I feel about it… Which is why I think it would make a great book.

Arthur Morgan Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption:  I love Arthur Morgan, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a book about John Marston either.  I’ve added Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West to my TBR this year, but I’m reasonably sure it won’t be the same.

300.gif

300: Before you get all righteous on me and tell me that this is based on a graphic novel- hold your horses, I know that.  I also know that the visuals were carried out exceptionally well, so it’s hard to imagine this being translated into a strictly novel format and working, but I don’t care, I want it anyway.  Someone could make it good.  I have faith.

Lagertha Vikings

Vikings: I feel like I haven’t mentioned this show in a couple months.. so here it goes again.  I want a Vikings novel told from Lagertha’s POV.  I want a woman warrior who claws her way out of the trenches and shows up every man that ever tried to take advantage of her.  It’s okay if it has romance- but I’d really rather it didn’t have a HEA or get all mushy.  I do not want Sky in the Deep (which IMO, tried too hard and came up way short).  Lagertha’s story is not a happy one- and that’s what made it so compelling.

Gladiator

Gladiator: Guess who else didn’t have a happy ending?  Poor Maximus.  Someone write a book on this guy.  Side note- can anyone recommend something similar?

That’s it!  I think.  If you have any good books to recommend that reminded you of some of these movies/shows/games, I’d love to hear them!  What’s in your T10T post for the week?

50 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Movies I Wish Were Actually Books

    • Haha- guilty pleasure is a good way to describe it! I think I even liked the second movie- but not as much as the first.

      And I can’t wait for TLOU2, but I’m really nervous to find out what’s happened with Joel.

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      • It is, it is one of those movies but at least it isn’t one of those movies that are awesome because they are that bad! 😉 Yeah, I liked the second one too and the newer one both to a degree, sometimes you just want some dumb fun/action and not a complex story that requires attention in a movie.

        Yeah, who knows! It should be awesome. Sadly, it takes me ages to play games nowadays, months and months to finish one but may well have to get this one on release.

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      • I am definitely getting it on release. I just wish they would give us a release date so I could plan for it.

        The good news is, it’s not one of those games that takes crazy long hours to play. I think I spent maybe 20-25 hours on TLOU1. But I’m a slow gamer- I like to find all the secrets and pick up all the stuff. Someone who just wanted to experience the story could probably blast through it in 10-15 hours if they wanted.

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    • I’m laughing so hard at myself right now because I actually knew this- but I thought it was more non fiction than a novel. I just looked at it again and it looks like it is a novel. So thanks for making me take a second look!

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      • Uncharted is one of my favorite games of all time! I didn’t add it here, because I thought the other stories had more to offer to people who aren’t necessarily fans of the game… but I agree- I’d love a Nathan Drake book.

        On a side note- Naughty Dog had some kind of promo video somewhere the other day, that said: 4 years ago we released Uncharted 4, thanks for being a fan. And I legit cried because it reminded me there would never be another Uncharted.

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      • They’ll probably sell the franchise rights like they did with tomb raider and Crash Bandicoot, but it won’t be the same. Might not even be Nathan. They gave him a good ending though.

        I’d also be thrilled with an Uncharted movie. Have you seen Nathan Fillion’s short where he plays Uncharted? It’s AMAZING HE IS NATHAN DRAKE. Lol

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      • I know- I felt like everyone nailed their parts, looked exactly like their characters. I can’t believe this isn’t a movie yet. But also- books. I’d definitely read an Uncharted book. Kevin Hoyt wrote one called Uncharted, but I don’t think they actually have anything in common.

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    • OMG Tammy! If you have an opportunity – you might be able to get it on a computer but also maybe not becuase Naughty Dog is owned by Sony, but see if you can look it up or borrow it or something. I can’t even put into words how emotionally screwed up that game left me.

      Also- someone below did point out there is a book called Shoeless Joe that the movie was based on. (Doh!) I’ve added it to the TBR and I can’t wait to check it out!

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  1. I do think that The Last of Us would work better as a book than as a video game. As a video game, I found it to be a trial-and-error slog that doesn’t bring anything new to the table that wasn’t done better in works such as Resident Evil 4. The story didn’t really grab me either, and I think a major reason why that was is because, like Uncharted, it was poorly optimized for its medium. Compared to stuff such as 999 or Planescape: Torment, which used the medium’s quirks and oddities to a great effect, it just seemed as though it didn’t have any faith in gaming’s latent storytelling potential. It doesn’t help Naughty Dog that in the same decade, we would get stuff like Undertale and OneShot, which became one with the medium and were better efforts entirely because they refused to take cues from films – not in spite of that fact.

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    • Well… I’m sort of at a loss here. I loved TLOU and thought it was great in terms of story telling- and I love Uncharted too. I can see where one might fault the gameplay in either game though. I’ve been a Naughty Dog fan from the beginning though. And I haven’t played Undertale or Oneshot so I’ll have to check them out!

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      • I will say that Uncharted, having a sense of fun and wonderment, fares better than The Last of Us. That being said, I feel Uncharted’s main problem is that it feels as though the developers tried to stretch out a script for a two or three-hour film into a fifteen-hour game, which meant a lot of stuff came across as filler (the boat sequence in Uncharted 3 being the most egregious example). In fact, this is one of the very few things I thought The Last of Us did better, coming across as a miniseries rather than a stretched out two-hour-long film. Otherwise, only Uncharted 2 seemed to avoid this fate by virtue of having enough interesting story beats to justify its length, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Uncharted: The Lost Legacy managed to be my second-favorite game in the series by virtue of cutting the fat and delivering a focused action experience.

        Either way, definitely check out Undertale and OneShot; they are some of the greatest story-heavy games ever made. For that matter, I’d say go for 999 and Planescape: Torment as well somewhere down the line.

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      • Also, I will say that The Last of Us was a major catalyst for me becoming a gaming critic, so even if I didn’t like it, something positive did result from my playthrough – even if it wasn’t what the writers intended.

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      • I get that- I just had a different reaction than you! Emotionally I was incredibly caught up in Joel’s story. I am a parent myself- so the ending, where Joel has a very big decision to make, after all he has already been through, absolutely tore me up. On the one hand, he does what I wanted (maybe even needed) him to do, on the other hand, well, hard to say without spoilers, but you know.

        It sort of forced me to take a good hard look at myself and ask myself what I would do. I think no doubt, I would have done what Joel did if it were my daughter. Which also forces me to admit that A) I’m selfish, B) I’m actually an asshole, despite my best intentions.

        To me- any story that can make you reflect, or cause that kind of internal reaction within the reader/gamer, is a story well told. I don’t remember being the biggest fan of the gaming mechanics, but I thought the story was amazing. Emotionally, it effected far more than most other stories could (or have).

        I don’t know if you have kids- but I can see how it would be harder to connect with that story without them.

        With RDR2, the storytelling is probably not as good, but I’m so attached to Arthur I’ve flat out refused at this point to finish the game. I could easily see how someone would take issue with that one, because R* seems to do what they do for shock value rather than because the story is made stronger by it. Is Arthur getting poetic justice? Maybe, but Arthur seems like he’s always felt badly about how he lives. Him having an epiphany when he gets sick, doesn’t make much sense. It would have been better if he was a straight up villain, like Dutch. I’m not opposed to playing unlikeable characters, but killing off the one decent guy just because you can is stupid. Which probably explains a lot of my issues with GoT. Lol

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      • I used to think that Joel’s decision at the end of The Last of Us was a bad piece of storytelling, but now I feel the bigger problem is that there was a real “right hand vs. left hand” thing going on with how the final act panned out.

        Within the final act, the player can stumble upon an audio log that suggests the Fireflies had tried multiple times in the past to synthesize a cure, but to no avail. The problem is that the story doesn’t change whether or not you find this audio log, potentially making Joel’s lying to Ellie completely nonsensical. All he’d need to do is play the audio log for Ellie, and there would be no drama at all. Even if he lost it or it got damaged in his escape, he still wouldn’t have needed to lie if he personally witnessed evidence that supported his story, and he had no reason to believe the audio log was fake. If the audio log was a manifestation of his own desire to prove himself right, that would’ve been an interesting twist, but there’s nothing in the narrative to support that the game is lying to you.

        This is what I mean when I say the narrative of The Last of Us is poorly optimized for its medium; it completely ignores the actions players might take during gameplay in favor of telling a rigid story that, while well-acted and well-presented, doesn’t meaningfully benefit from being interactive.

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      • Ahh- I can see how one might connect better with those types of narratives, but I think we have to agree to disagree on TLOU and that particular point in general.

        I don’t think I’ve ever found a game that did that particularly well. There are choose your own adventure type games, and characters who will change their reactions to you as you play, missions that open up depending on choices you make, but I think with that many “what ifs” the game makers lose the ability to tell a solid cohesive story, because they have to make everything flexible enough to be changed. So it ends up being better in terms of playability, but my ability to get sucked away by an immersive story is completely lost.

        For example- Dragon Age, even The Witcher- both wonderful games, and The Witcher is one of my favorites of all time, but I really couldn’t tell you what those stories are about after all this time, where I vividly remember TLOU. And in the end- I really don’t think they played all that differently dependent on your choices.

        Mass Effect even- which is probably a better example of this, the final mission would change, different characters would die, but because the interactions could be easily swapped, none of them felt meaningful.

        And aside from that- I tend to play so I’ll get the best ending anyway- therefore most of that choice is just wasted on me.

        Out of curiosity, did you preorder TLOU? I wasn’t ever all that excited about it, (zombies not my thing) and ended up getting the remastered for free when I bought PS4. When I played it I was blown away, but I had no expectations. I can’t remember what the expectations around it were, but I know they were high.

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      • Also just wanted to clarify- I like different games for different reasons! I liked TLOU specifically for the story- but I like Uncharted for the character and the banter, while I like RPGs for the customization and gameplay.

        So I tend to judge games on whatever key factor appeals to me most. And I judge books the same way- make me laugh, make the villain someone I love to hate, give me atmospheric story telling that moves me, dazzle me with the darkness of your characters- I am generally not difficult to please. Lol

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      • It’s a natural consequence of the fact that, at the end of the day, video games are a still part of a new medium. The idea of games having serious plots is even more of a recent idea. It therefore stands to reason that what does and doesn’t work in this medium hasn’t been clearly defined. With nothing else to turn to, many pioneering storytellers turned to Hollywood. However, this ultimately proved to be a dead-end revolution, and it’s for the best this approach has become less common as time has gone on – even in the AAA industry.

        Regardless, an ideal gaming narrative needs to benefit in some way from being interactive, and I’ve seen plenty of instances in which the freedom of choice enhanced the narrative rather than diluted it as is the common perception.

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      • I’m A-OK with absorbing stories rather than interacting with them. Freedom of choice just isn’t something I care that much about, whether the experience is diluted or not.

        What happens is: I’m told there is a game with choices and consequences, I want the best ending, so I google all the right choices to make, I still end up having a story told to me.

        I actually benefit more I think from linear narratives, because game makers are willing to force me into a story I wouldn’t choose for myself. I have no problem absorbing a story- any story really, but if you give me a choice I’ll always choose the HEA ending, every time.

        But HEAs don’t always make the best story and don’t always have meaningful impact. Hence, games where choice is an option, are wasted on me. I’ll play, because that’s a fun thing on its own, but I won’t be examining the story very closely.

        Unless you’re referring to some other kind of interactivity, and I’m missing the whole point?

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      • I’m fully aware that not every story benefits from having an HEA. Dark Souls certainly doesn’t end well and that’s one of my all-time favorite games. However, I feel my point still stands; Naughty Dog weaves narratives that are not in tune with the medium, and they come across as rather behind the times as a result. Plus, I also have to say the downer ending is really difficult to write anyway. It requires a certain kind of talent I don’t feel Naughty Dog possesses (in fact, even the most talented writers of all time couldn’t make it work half the time). Had it not been for them establishing a clear formula by then, I would’ve assumed I missed something that would result in a better ending.

        Plus, with video games being an interactive medium, there’s a lot of implicit story beats to be observed merely looking through the environment. Insomniac knew this as they made Marvel’s Spider-Man, and I have to say it’s kind of what Naughty Dog was always grasping for with Uncharted and The Last of Us, but never quite reached (or at least not purposely). That is an example of a linear story that works exceptionally well in this medium. Naughty Dog games, on the other hand, tend to metaphorically smack the controller out of their audience’s hand at inopportune moments, thus depriving them of agency. Given that Half-Life proved quality video game narratives are possible without taking away control from players, it’s a bit strange how the AAA backpedaled from that before Dark Souls demonstrated that it still works just fine.

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      • Ha- I watched a couple reaction videos to the ending of Spider-Man and people were dead on crying, which I’ll admit, made me curious.

        I respectfully disagree with you in regards to TLOU, and I’m still not sure I’m fully understanding your argument. You seem to be upset with it for it’s lack of interactivity, but also point to the one audiofile and Joel lying as the source of your argument that the whole story was not good? I don’t really remember which audiofile you’re referring to (it’s possible I missed it) but him lying to Ellie is not really the twist in the ending I am referring to. It was more a greater good versus individual good situation, and the way I, as a player was expecting the story to go, and the direction ND took it, and how it changes the context of everything that comes before that.

        The Uncharted series will remain as some of my favorite games, but again, because of Drake’s character, not story telling or gameplay.

        Clearly you don’t like ND, and that’s okay, to each, his/her own. I just don’t agree. I don’t think we have the same taste in games, and I can tell by the games you’re listing that I haven’t played as many of them as you. And that’s okay- but you’d have a good fifteen/twenty years of gaming to undo to change my mind.

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  2. I wish there were more books made from video game worlds, period. And not just cheap retellings the way some of the big movie franchises hire some big name author to write a book that’s barely more than a fleshed out screenplay. I’d love a book set in game worlds but about the side characters, or the backstory. I’m an Elder Scrolls fan, so I’d love to see novels set in that universe that follow some of the side characters from the games.

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    • I only ever really got to play Skyrim, but I think it would make a great movie if they can put a solid story on it. I tried to watch the WoW movie and it was just not well done and I can’t really put my finger on why, which is what I’d be afraid Elder Scrolls would turn into.

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  3. Having only recently discovered Vikings (blessed Netflix!) I could not agree more: Lagertha is an amazing character and this story would be amazing in book form as well.
    And as for Pitch Black, it’s one of the movies I enjoy rewatching regularly… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!! I knew there had to be other Vikings fans out there. Such a great show.

      And I’m really not sure how a Pitch Black book would look, but I enjoyed Jurassic Park (book and movie) and I feel like if it works for JP it can work for PB too.

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