Novels That Would Make Terrible Hollywood Movies

Now that the Harry Potter series has ended, leaving a generation of eager readers (or eager Harry Potter readers at least) and billions of dollars in its wake, it's only reasonable to assume that movie studios will be frantically digging through bookstores searching for the next big thing.  However, as any reader knows, they can't all be Harry. From the seemingly "unfilmable" to the downright terrible, here are a few books that even the savviest filmmaker should stay far, far away from. 

The Catcher in the Rye 
J.D. Salinger's chronicle of a teenage

misanthrope's coming-of-age has been a rite of passage for countless

adolescents since its publication 50 years ago. Less a plot-driven novel

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than a character piece heavily indebted to voice and inner thought, we

can't see this one making a convincing movie. Holden's narration is the

book, but nobody wants a movie bogged down in endless voice-over

either. 

What a studio executive might say: "First off, get rid of the

title. No idea what it means. We'll call it Holden Caulfield and the

Phony Phonies--it's got a nice Harry Potter feel to it. Is Justin Bieber

available for a read-through? If not, get Brad Pitt. We'll Benjamin

Button him again. 

House of Leaves 
Mark Z. Danielewski's debut novel is a labyrinthine

exercise in postmodern literature, full of multiple narrators and

endless footnotes--and that's ignoring the fact that some of it is

written upside down. For an accurate screen retelling, we'd all have to

stand on our heads to see it (but hey, it can't be any worse than

watching a 3D movie). 

What a studio executive might say: "I have no

idea what this is. When you said House of Leaves, I really thought it

was going to be a martial arts flick. Now I'm sad." 

A Shore Thing 
Our beloved Snooki's ghostwriter's magnum opus is a

moving tale of love and laxative-laced drinks (seriously) on the Jersey

Shore that would make Jane Austen proud. We have to admit, we kind of want

this to happen just to see a line like "They were huddled together like

a family of Ellis Island immigrants just off the Mayflower" committed

to celluloid forever. But all things considered, we think we'd benefit

more from a documentary on the Situation's abs. 

What a studio executive

might say: "Already in pre-production. It's a 'shore' thing! Why are

you still here?"  

Finnegans Wake
This will never be a movie. We are more confident about this than anything in our life.
James Joyce's somewhat incomprehensible final book (pretty much written entirely in a
made-up language, not entirely unlike A Shore Thing) has baffled readers for generations
and remains controversial even among Joyce enthusiasts. With no real plot, no real
characters, and a first page that begins MIDSENTENCE, don't expect this in a theater
near you.

What a studio executive might say: "I...."

Breaking Dawn 
Okay, we know this is already becoming a movie (two

movies, in fact!), but Stephenie Meyer's fourth vampire novel is

terrible, even by Twilight standards. From biting a baby out of a

woman's body to... actually, that's quite enough. No thank you. 

What a

studio executive might say: "Cha-ching."


--Mike Hicks

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