- High Fidelity – Nick Hornby book becomes John Cusack & Jack Black film. Smart and funny with the more than occasional cringe-worthily accurate insight into relationships
- PS – I Love You – this one gets a mention because I’ve never cried so much in the first 20 minutes of a film before
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – nice directing by Clint Eastwood
- The Talented Mister Ripley – but forget all the other Ripley films, this is the best one
- Apollo 13 – weren’t you totally on the end of your seat for the re-entry? Great film!
- Bonfire of the Vanities – Bruce Willis as he should be, more Moonlighting than Die Hard
- Bridget Jones Diary – where would we be without the fabulous Miss Jones?
- Brewster’s Millions – I really hope this Richard Pryor & John Candy classic has been put onto DVD, it’s a cracker!
- Cape Fear – Nicole Kidman, actually acting – really!
- Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – either version rocks…ompa loompa doompity doo…
- The Cider House Rules – John Irving has got to be one of the best writers of the 20th Century
- Ghost World – originally a comic book, social misfits aplenty in this sometimes uncomfortable coming of age drama
- Get Shorty – Elmore Leonard writes a great mob story, brilliant cast including John Travolta
- Girl, Interrupted – Angelina gets a well deserved Oscar
- Get Carter – watch either the Michael Caine or Sylvester Stallone version, they’re both cool
- Mansfield Park – and any other Jane Austen book that’s been made into a mini-series or film
- Brideshead Revisited – see the mini-series rather than the film, it’s too bigger story for 120 mins
- Mystic River – Sean Penn, Tim Robbins – do you need any further encouragement?
- Fight Club – it’s not for everyone, but it’s a truly intriguing film
- Matilda - a great laugh on a rainy Sunday afternoon with the kids
- Once were Warriors – a big dose of reality, not for the feint-hearted
- The Outsiders – you no doubt read it at school, maybe get Footloose out too for a retro night
- Requiem for a Dream – warning: perhaps google this one before you commit
- The Constant Gardener – a challenging film about the dubious practices of pharmaceutical companies in Africa, Pierce Brosnan is fabulous in this
- Trainspotting – a mix of the surreal and down-right confronting, also very entertaining to read with the book written in a Glaswegian accent
There’s hundreds of others I could have listed but these were the ones that came to my mind fairly easily. Feel free to add to the list.
The most disappointing book to movie transition for me was Perfume, the Patrick Suskind novel. My expectations were high as it’s one of my all-time favourite books and consequently, I was left wanting.
What’s your all-time Top 5?
Many years ago, while I was travelling, I worked in a bookstore in England. Most weeks there would be a question that circulated amongst the staff (mostly PhD students and English Lit Majors) and we’d all have to give our answers – often over a beer in the local pub.
Sometimes it would be a question like ‘name your Top 5 favourite films’ (great debate would follow) or ‘what’s your all-time favourite book – and more importanly – why?’ (more debate) or my favourite which was the amsuing, if not a bit surreal ‘if the only music you could ever listen to was either the entire Phil Collins (not including Genesis) collection or all of Billy Joel’s albums – which would you choose?’ I miss working there sometimes.