Finding yourself in front of the TV a lot these days? If you can’t think of what to watch next, here are some bookish suggestions for every member of the family. These titles are classics; heard, watched, and referenced so many times that I bet you didn’t know they were originally based on books! So after you watch them again, read up!
It is impossible to forget Robin Williams in this family favorite. However, six years before Mrs. Doubtfire hit the big screen in 1993, teens in the UK were reading Anne Fine’s 1987 novel Madame Doubtfire. Fine’s story about a crossdressing nanny working for a family with divorced parents was well received. In fact, within a year of publication Madame Doubtfire was shortlisted for a number of awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Observer Teenage Fiction Prize, and the Whitbread Children’s Book Award.
This feel-good favorite starring Tom Hanks was originally adapted from Winston Groom’s novel of the same name. Simple and truthful, Winston’s Gump who “can’t think things no good” was beautifully played by Hanks eight years later in the Academy Award winning film. The 228-page novel was not fully covered in the movie, and if you don’t read the book you’ll miss out on Gump’s NASA career, his brief stint with island-dwelling cannibals, and a companion orangutan named Sue. The movie “took some rough edges off,” admits Winston, but both are spectacular works.
Eyes Wide Shut
Starring real-life couple at the time Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, this risqué fantasy film may be better viewed after the kids go to sleep. Eyes Wide Shut was Stanley Kubrick’s last film, thematically inspired by Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler’s NovellaTraumnovelle or Dream Story. Fun fact, all of Stanley Kubrick’s films after Lolita are literary adaptations!
This Academy Award nominee was based on a Stephen King novella entitled “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” from his 1982 collection Different Seasons. King’s story is entirely narrated by the character Red, who would later be played by the one and only Morgan Freeman. If you’ve forgotten the plot, here’s a refresher (*spoiler alert*). Banker Andy Dufresne has been wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife and her lover, and sentenced to a double life sentence at Shawshank State Penitentiary. Former geologist, Andy uses rock hammer over the next 28 years to dig a tunnel out of his cell wall and escape!
Enough drama, Shrek is our last cinematic masterpiece on the list. We are so grateful to author William Stieg for bringing us this family favorite story from his 1990 children’s book. The movie helped establish DreamWorks as a prime competitor to Disney and Pixar in 2001, but it was indeed Stieg who taught us all our greatest childhood lesson: ogres are like onions, ogres have layers.
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