Thursday Movie Picks: Adaptations

Thursday Movie Picks 2020

Just like last year the final month of the year starts with a Thursday Movie Picks theme that is basically like the widest net you can throw: adaptations. Most movies these days seem to be adaptations of books or comic books, and the other half is remaking old classics. This is an exaggeration of course but you get my point. The theme is too wide so I narrowed it down to one specific literary genre. Then I realised I put a theme within a theme within a theme. Confusing? I’ll explain later.

3. KILLER JOE (2011)

So this is a unique one. Killer Joe is an American Southern gothic black comedy crime movie. The only thing I vividly remember is that crazy fried chicken scene. No matter how hard I try, I will never ever forget that. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it for just getting an interesting movie experience. It’s weird, different and Matthew McConaughey gets to be a bit nuts here. What more do you really need though? Except maybe a tasty piece of fried chicken. Its screenplay is written by Tracy Letts but it is based on his 1993 play of the same name. So yes, this week I’m talking abut play adaptations. I think it’s an interesting concept on its own since plays themselves have a very different structure compared to movies.

2. MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING (2002)

I recently rewatched this gem because it’s just a good romance movie. It is about a woman from a big Greek family ready to marry a man who is not Greek. It just screams comedy and Nia Vardalos is great here. If you didn’t know it is based on her own play. She did a one woman play which Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson saw and she told her husband to make it into a movie. Vardalos has actually said that she hung up when Hanks called because she didn’t believe it was him. Vardalos penned the screenplay herself and got an Oscar nomination for it. She of course also played the lead role. Another fun fact: My Big Fat Greek Wedding is the highest-grossing romantic comedy film of all time (the movie went on to earn almost 369 million dollars, a return of over sixty-one times its inflation-adjusted 6 million dollar budget).

1. FROST/NIXON (2008)

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Here’s a great movie that is an adaptation of a 2006 play by Peter Morgan. He also wrote the movie’s screenplay so here’s your explanation for the theme within the theme within the theme – all three plays were adapted into movies by the play writers themselves. This by the way was an accidental turn of events but I love it, I’m doing this now by a way of faith. Frost/Nixon is simply put a good movie that you have to watch. It’s essentially an interview, very play like if you think of it and yet it works as a movie as well. Michael Sheen is great here too and I’m glad I listened to Margaret and finally watched it. Granted, I did it for Sam Rockwell but let’s just say I did it in order to experience a good movie. It got five Oscar nominations and yet won none, Slumdog Millionaire took Adapted Screenplay and Best Movie… huge mistake, huge. It’s probably my favourite play to movie adaptation but I can’t be 100% certain.


THIS SERIES IS CREATED BY WANDERING THROUGH THE SHELVES

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12 Comments

  1. I’ve seen all three of these and feel very differently about one versus the others.
    I DETESTED Killer Joe in every way but loved the other two.
    My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a charmer with a wonderful cast all working well together.
    Frost/Nixon is one of my absolute favorites, such sharp writing and performances that pull you in and keep you fascinated even though the film is basically all conversation.

    I also went with stage to screen adaptations but limited myself to ones where I had seen both the film and a production of the play on Broadway.

    Into the Woods (2014)-Adaptation of the Sondheim musical reimaging of classic fairy tales-Rapunzel, Cinderella, the Baker & His Wife etc.-with an impressive cast (Meryl Streep, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman among others) is enjoyable but misses the magic of the stage production despite CGI and the utilization of location shooting. I saw this in 1988 at the Martin Beck Theatre, though Phylicia Rashad had by that time replaced Bernadette Peters who had originated the role of the Witch.

    Gypsy (1962)-Star powered (Rosalind Russell, Natalie Wood and Karl Malden in the leads) filmization of the classic stage play based on the memoirs of ecdysiast Gypsy Rose Lee growing up in the shadow of her more talented sister June and her fearsomely aggressive stage mother Mama Rose that Ethel Merman made legendary when it opened in 1959 with a score by Jules Styne & Stephen Sondheim. I saw the 2003 revival with Bernadette Peters as Mama Rose at the St. James Theatre.

    MacBeth (1948)-Moody expressionistic take on the Shakespeare “Scottish Play” about the price of unfettered ambition and lust for power by a courtier (Orson Welles) and his rapacious wife (Jeanette Nolan). I saw the production starring Christopher Plummer (he was very good) and Glenda Jackson (she was electrifying!) at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in 1988.

    1. That’s cool! I would have had the luck to see the stage version anywhere. But I get the hate for Killer Joe, it’s a very… specific taste.

    1. We don’t really have fried chicken here (first KFC for instance opened here in the beginning of 2020) so like.. I wasn’t as connected to it. 😀
      My Big Far Greek Wedding… and a oop! What? You should watch it!

    1. Yes I knew that, I think I mentioned it here, all three are screenplays adapted from plays by the play writer themselves. Which is so cool, and Rita Wilson is amazing for seeing the potential in that play!

    1. Oh… me and my mo like very similar movies. We are both fans of crime movies and heist movies. Romance once we don’t necessarily even watch together lol

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