When I started to do some research for this article, I looked up movies based off novels and ended up finding the results to be too numerous to codify.
Instead, I looked at my book collection and came up with my favorite film adaptations that I felt really did the novels that inspired them justice.
So, here are my top five movies that live up to their literary cousins:
"American Psycho" (2000)
Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis
This film revolves around Patrick Bateman, a wealthy banker living in New York City in the 1980s played by Christian Bale. While he appears normal to his friends, he is actually a psychotic serial killer who blends into contemporary society.
This movie is brutal in a number of ways, but what it lacks in normality it makes up for in satire. In the novel, Ellis juxtaposes '80s fashion and music against the notion that everyone in that decade was just a copy of someone else. The film, which was initially panned but now enjoys a cult status, presents an amazing portrait of the book.
"The Virgin Suicides" (1999)
Based on the novel by Jeffrey Euginedes
Sofia Coppola’s story of an upper class family of beautiful girls who are kept from the normal world by their mother, who is an over-protective and deeply religious woman is also a great book into film translation.
The story is told through the eyes of a group of four boys who are smitten with the girls and try to learn as much as they can about them through various difficult channels until, eventually the girls’ lives end tragically.
The film is a beautiful yet haunting portrayal of the book, and I find them to be equally amusing and interesting. If you look at the title, you can gather much about the rest of the plot.
"Wonder Boys" (2000)
Based on the book by Michael Chabon
Michael Douglas plays Grady Tripp, an author and creative writing professor who works at an unnamed college in Pittsburgh.
Over a weekend when his agent is coming into town for a conference, he struggles to deal with his wife leaving him, the fact that his girlfriend is pregnant, as well as the fact that he is having a hard time finishing his second novel.
The film is a great adaptation of Chabon’s book and is one of my favorite movies of all time.
"Youth In Revolt" (2009)
Based on the book by C.D. Payne
This film tells the tale of Nick Twisp, an unfulfilled high school student played by Michael Cera, who lives with his sex crazed mother and a string of her boyfriends. When his family is forced to hide out because of a shady business deal he meets and falls in love with Sheeni Saunders. The book chronicles his trials and tribulations to win her over.
The book actually has three parts to it, with the film blends the three together loosely. It’s a funny and quirky film that keeps a great line to the book.
"High Fidelity" (2000)
Based on the book by Nick Hornby
This is actually the film that started the article and is by far the best film adaptation I’ve seen.
The movie follows Rob Gordon (played by John Cusack), the owner of a Chicago record store and his quest to discover why the five biggest loves of his life broke up with him.
The movie is filled with great musical references and follows the book almost line by line. Plus it has lots of references to top five lists in it, which is great for this article’s purpose.
If you haven’t seen it, seek it out. It’s a great lament on music and how it shapes our lives.