a few books which would make pretty decent movies if only hollywood would listen to me

Posted: May 17, 2012 in Arts
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Conduct of the Game – John Hough Jr.

If baseball movies had a batting average it would be about .250. Not enough juice to be an all-star, but good enough to stay in the game. To help baseball filmdom I scout around for stories which could hit a Hollywood home run. This is because I am the studio puppet master, the guy who green lights films the way NFL players herd baby mamas. One phone call, one meeting, one lunch with me and your movie is golden. (And once that first phone call/meeting/lunch happens I’ll prove it.) This novel would be a fine start. It does not possess the nail-biting tension of more conventional sports films. No last minute drama, no death or glory moments. Instead, we visit a more subdued world – minor league umpiring in the 1950’s where the people are the stars. The characters are so well drawn you know them once you meet them resulting in a story brimming with quiet dignity.

The Day After Tomorrow – Allan Folsom

Right off the top let’s be clear: this is not thatThe Day After Tomorrow. You know the one I mean, that climate change box office bonanza starring lots of cool CGI effects with incidental supporting roles for people like Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal. That’s already a movie. No, this is completely different. And better. (Although the scene of New York City freezing over was pretty cool. Cool. Ha.) This D.A.T. is a thriller and if there’s one truth about me it’s that I am a sucker for a good thriller. The story is reminiscent of the best of Robert Ludlum. It boasts exotic locations, mysterious murders, secret societies, sexy strangers, non-stop action and a protagonist unexpectedly thrown into an evil whirlwind far larger and more frightening than he could ever imagine. Why this almost 20 year old novel hasn’t been made into a film baffles me, but apparently it hasn’t. So pick up the phone, Hollywood. I’m right here.

Pacific Edge – Kim Stanley Robinson

The third book in Robinson’s Three Californias trilogy is set in 2065. (If you’re not familiar with the trilogy it is pretty compelling stuff. Each novel presents a different future scenario for the Golden State. And none of them are films.) In this one California is depicted as a utopian society in which “green” initiatives have grown and matured over the decades to become a central fabric in everyday life. One of the book’s primary conflicts is the struggle between those who wish to sustain a green way of life and those who fight for more development. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? Added to this power struggle are complex interpersonal dramas. The story is intriguing and the central themes resonate. The timeliness of the subject matter is even more fascinating when you realize this book was written in 1990. All of this makes it ripe for the Cineplex magic. Anyone want to take a meeting?

Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story – Christopher Moore

Funny books often don’t translate well to the screen. Hell, many books don’t translate well to the screen. However, this could be an exception. It has the kind of nonsense you want in a comedy – an awkward love story between a rebounding 27 year old woman in hetro-starved San Francisco and an insecure 19 year old wannabe writer, a group of misfits working the overnight shift at a local supermarket who pass the time Turkey Bowling (spoiler: the pins are quarts of milk), snappy and sarcastic dialogue, and a supporting cast of eccentrics who add a quirky pizzazz to the whole shebang. Wrap all this around the story of a poor soul who is unwittingly transformed into a vampire and trying to come to grips with this wholly bizarre twist in her life and you know what you have? You have the makings of comic gold. Do you doubt? We can flesh it out over lunch.

Bury Me Deep – Megan Abbott

Finally, I wanted to go with Die A Little, Abbott’s perfect slice of 1950’s L.A. noir, but I read somewhere Jessica Biel is either filming or has filmed a version of it. I don’t agree with the casting, but whoever is backing this thing forgot to consult me. What a pity, but some folks have to learn the hard way. Instead, I’ll go with an equally compelling choice from this gifted writer, Bury Me Deep. The story is inspired by a real life tawdry murder case from the 1930’s involving some good time girls, a powerful syndicate boss, a naïve husband, bodies found in foot lockers, and plenty of hard-boiled tabloid action. It has the noirish feel I could bathe in all night, along with a fascinating protagonist who engenders an odd mix of sympathy and disgust. You know, now I want to reread the book, movie be damned. Hold my calls.

  1. rangewriter says:

    Your DAT looks far more intrigueing than the Hollywood story.
    And Pacific Edge sounds good too!


  2. lizschuldt says:

    You’re welcome. I hope you like it as much as I did.


  3. lizschuldt says:

    They do look good! I will have to check them out sometime. There is a great book that I hope will one day be made into a movie as well… “SportsFan Chronicles” by Kurt Weichert. It is a hilarious book about two friends who win the lottery and buy a football team. It is the first in a series of fictional comedies.


  4. munchow says:

    Good suggestions for movies that ought to be made. The three first books I know and have read, and totally agree with you. The last two ones I don’t know but they seem to have strong potentials for movie. I might have to read them…


  5. I’m going to suggest The Conduct of the Game to The Masshole since she’s a ridiculously big baseball fan. On the other hand, I’m a sucker for absurd and Bloodsucking Fiends sounds right up my alley.


    • John says:

      Dontcha know it’s impossible to be “a ridiculously big baseball fan”? And I’m quite certain you’ll enjoy BSF. Don’t expect a moneyback guarantee though. I’ll gladly proffer my opinion – at no financial risk!


  6. Doreen says:

    In 1996, I had the good fortune to have a bad case of the flu over Easter weekend (which equals bedridden over a long weekend) and had just picked up The Day After Tomorrow. I read all, what was it? 800+ pages that weekend. REALLY good and, YES, should be a movie. Who would star?


    • John says:

      Who would star? Hmmmm…good question. I don’t know why, but Hugh Jackman popped to mind. I don’t think that is an especially good choice. lol


  7. I totally agree with you about The Day after Tomorrow, but I haven’t read the others. I often think of books in this way. Except for Confederacy of Dunces. I think it would make a perfect T.V. series. Kind of like The Office, but set in New Orleans.


  8. gene3067 says:

    I’m still hoping for “Bill the intergalactic hero” myself.


  9. They sound like terrific books. I’ll have to add them to my reading list, since apparently I won’t be seeing them in my local cineplex until producers get with the program and give you a call.


  10. Paula J says:

    I’d go see them.


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