Day 19 – Favorite Movie Based on a Book

“Why, Debbie,” you say, “you must be confused.  Forrest Gump isn’t a book.”

Ahh.  I beg to differ.

And I’ve read it.

It wasn’t terribly good, but I’m no book reviewer.  In fact, it probably was good.  Undoubtedly excellent, but – you see – I read it in 2006.  I’d found it at the local public library after having moved to Texas, and since we didn’t have kids or really know anybody, I had plenty o’ time for reading.

I was already 12 years in love with the Hanks’ Forrest Gump (yep, two Hanks movies, two days in a row – I’m a huge fan), so Winston Groom’s Gump wasn’t at all who I wanted/needed him to be.  He swore.  He had girlfriends.  He didn’t meet the president again.  Maybe once though?  Can’t remember.  This Gump was an idiot savant – a genius at Physics and Math.  Just… maybe you get where I’m going here.  Different.

I am of strong opinion that – when a book and a movie based on that book are available – you should always watch the movie first.  Everyone argues with me on this point, I don’t know why.  “Book first, then movie,” they say.  It’s ingrained I think.  Learned behavior.  Like ‘knowing’ the right way to eat your lunch is 1) sandwich, 2) chips, and 3) Hostess cupcake.  Say it with me: watch the movie first.  Because:

  1. I get a great visual picture of the characters from the movie, so I can really ‘see’ the story as I read it.
  2. The movie is ALWAYS the abridged version of the book, right?  So, if you hate it.  The end.  You haven’t wasted a week.  If you feel like you want to give the book a shot, you know what to expect – and it might get better.  If you love it, you actually have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the story.  Learn more about the characters.  Hear more side stories.  Get more detail about the scenes.  Like watching the DVD extras with director’s commentary, kinda.  When’s the last time you complained that the movie butchered the book?  That would never happen if you watched then read.  Think about it.

Anyway, this was a rare case where the book was so far different from the movie that I really disliked it.  But no worries, Forrest Gump the movie was amazing, no?  So even though the book was tedious, Forrest and I will always that feather theme.  And that’s enough for me.

Coming tomorrow on Day 20 of the 30 Day Movie Challenge: “Favorite Movie from Your Favorite Actor/Actress”


  1. Sometimes I have read the book first, and that is O.K., but I constantly find myself saying, “Yes, that handled this well, or that character was a women, or that is NOT what he said, etc.” I much prefer, as you say, see the movie first. Then you can get all the history, side stories, character development, etc. It embelishes all the favorite parts of the movie. And, yes, again like you stated, the characters in the book are the faces I saw in the movie. I like that aspect as well. Love, Dad

  2. Grandma P says:

    I’ll be the different opinion here, because I love reading. I often don’t like how the movie skips over important parts, or things /people look/act differently than I imagined. Also, an ununspiring movie will never prompt me to get the book. So, for me, book first, then (maybe) movie:)

  3. I was glad that I saw “Angels and Demons” before I finished the book because it made the the movie much more exciting and suspenseful for me. But most of the time if I love the book, I’m disappointed in the movie version.

  4. Forrest Gump is one of my favorite movies of all.

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