10 Movies that were better than the books they adapted

Frederica Mathewes-Green on Film Adaptations on National Review Online

Comments on those I’ve read:

I enjoyed the Harry Potter books more than the movies in general, but she definitely could have used a better editor later in the series. Many of those books went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. And on.

The Lord of the Rings movies were better than the books, but I think that’s largely because battles scenes in movies are so cool.

Neither the movie or the book Wizard of Oz did much for me.

The novel The Princess Bride is really not that good. The movie is sooooo much better. The same lines that were hilarious in the movie didn’t cause a reaction when I read them in the book.

Last Night’s TV

Last night was the season finale of “The Office,” which saw the apparent final day of Toby, the meek HR Representative and the first day of his replacement, who just may be Michael’s dream girl. I’ve complained before about the decline in quality since The Office returned from the writer’s strike, and that dip in quality continued since, but last night’s episode, in my opinion, can rank with the best of the episodes over the years.

I had read an article, I believe in the News-Journal, about how many shows had declined in quality since the end of the writer’s strike. It seemed to me that they just needed time to get back into the swing of things and get into their writing groove. That certainly seems to be what happened with The Office. Some of the great moments from last night’s episode:

* Holly, the new HR representative, may just be the perfect woman for Michael, without being a complete freak, which speaks to a great job on imagining the character.
* Dwight deciding that putting a raccoon in Holly’s car was a legitimate means of hazing her was absolutely brilliant, and so in character for someone who’s lived on a farm his whole life.
* The additional hazing prank of convincing Holly that Kevin was mentally handicapped and a special program was a sitcom staple, but they executed it brilliantly without having to take Kevin out of character as often happens on sitcoms in similar situations.
* The unexpected proposal to Angela by Andy was a nice trick to hold off on Jim proposing to Pam. Angela’s grudging acceptance, which as the epilogue confirmed was directed more at Dwight than Andy, was very in character.
* Ryan’s arrest on corporate fraud charges was unexpected and it will be interesting to see what happens with him in the coming season, if they refer to him again. (It cracks me up that he still gets referred to as “the temp,” even though he now outranks Michael.) They had clearly hinted that he was up to something shady, but I had thought, as most of the characters seemed to, that he was merely trying to make the website look good, as opposed to double-counting sales.
* Toby still can’t get over Pam.
* Jan’s pregnancy was a surprise, and frankly, a little disappointing. Given the decline in her character, I would have preferred her character to fade into the sunset. Maybe they can revive her. Let’s hope so.

So, The Office hit its stride again, just in time for the show to end.

Last night’s Lost was a great episode as well; it’s a shame we have to wait two weeks to see what happens. The previews for the season finale seemed to imply we’d see how the Oceanic 6 got rescued. Does that mean we get to see why those six are the only ones to make it off the island? It seems like a random collection of people to make it off the island at the expense of others, although, for example, I can see Sawyer with his recent personal growth letting others go at the expense of his freedom. Jin, similarly, would die to help Sun escape. But Sayid and Jack have been all about risking themselves to get the others off the island. Sayid even said in last season’s finale he was wiling to sacrifice his life if it would help the others escape, so why are they on the plane to Hawaii?

Also, how huge was the settlement from Oceanic that Sun was able to buy a controlling interest in her father’s company? Given that we know from past episodes that Sun lies like some people breathe, here’s a few possibilities:

1) She, and the rest of the Oceanic 6, were paid handsomely by Dharma/Ben/Widmore/somebody to keep the island secret. Although, I can’t see Hurley agreeing to that given his distaste for money.
2) Widmore/someone helped her do it for some reason.
3) She already had a lot of her own money from Daddy, and the two combined to give her enough to pull it off.

I favor #2, because of the beginning of the scene where she informed her father of her controlling of his company. One of his employees made a comment about money coming from 5 different banks. Sun’s no dummy, but I tend to doubt she was that financially astute as to pull that off.

One downside of the flash-forwards is that we know that, for example, Jack is in no danger as he heads to meet the commandos. Sawyer might be, but we know Jack will survive, (I think I speak for most people when I say I wish it was the other way around.)

Still, a great episode overall, and I can’t wait for two Thursdays from now so I can get all ramped up and see what cliffhanger I’ll have to deal with for seven months or so.

Who’s the “Stupid Party”?

The Republicans have often been called the stupid party, and do a lot to earn that label.

But when President Bush gives a speech talking about generic appeasers of dictators, and the Democrats immediately publicly attack him for criticizing them, even though he mentioned no names, it makes you wonder if the “Stupid Party” label has been misapplied.

UPDATE: And the Senator who thought he could talk Hitler out of war? William Borah, a Republican. The Democrats are essentially self-identifying themselves as appeasers by their reaction to this speech.