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Tags favorite books , recommended books

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Old 22nd February 2024, 11:35 AM   #1321
theprestige
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The Ice Harvest

Published in 2000. Set in 1979. Adapted into a movie in 2005. Celebrated as a great achievement of neo-noir literature.

This book is unique in my experience, of being elevated by the movie adaptation. If the characters portrayed by John Cusack, Oliver Platt, and Billy Bob Thornton, and the rest of the cast weren't fresh in my mind, this book would fall flat. The characters are flat. The ratcheting tension doesn't ratchet. The comedy is under-cooked.

The movie fixes all of that. John Cusack and Harold Ramis take us through Charlie Arglist's harrowing journey in way that author Scott Phillips simply does not. Thus, reading the book while visualizing the movie is pretty enjoyable. But I'll be damned if I understand why it got such rave reviews in the first place. As far as I can tell, the book is a case study in how bad novels are great candidates for good movies.

One point of interest to me is how closely the movie follows the book. It makes the few departures stand out more. Most notable is the movie introduces Vic Cavanaugh in the first scene. His menace thus looms over the rest of the movie, giving the narrative some tension that's just missing from the book. The movie also takes a throwaway moment of internal dialog, where Charlie doesn't remember the name of a bent cop, and turns it into a recurring gag, as Charlie crosses paths with the cop several times on his drunkard's walk, each time getting grief from the cop about the name.
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Last edited by theprestige; 22nd February 2024 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 27th February 2024, 01:05 PM   #1322
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Anatomy of a Murder, by Robert Traver (John Voelker), mostly because I really liked the James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, Eve Arden movie and the ebook was on sale for less than two bucks. It's a courtroom story about the murder of a possible rapist by a hot-headed Army lieutenant. The plot is based on one of Voelker's actual cases (he was an attorney and later a judge), but honestly the book is weakened by very unlikely, clunky dialogue and seems oddly distant from the emotional centers of the story. Interesting to see that Otto Preminger and screenwriter Wendell Mayes pared everything down to the essentials and improved the flow and suspense of the basic tale. At the same time, the novel is certainly more accurate on points of law and the strategies and conflict in the courtroom than, say, the Perry Mason books.

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Old Today, 05:33 AM   #1323
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Christian/Griffiths: Algorithms to Live By
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