Book lovers, now is a great time to start making plans to go to the movies. Summer is always ripe with big new film releases, particularly in the rated PG and PG-13 categories (for obvious summer break reasons), but this year it's hard to miss the influence books are having on the stories being told on the big screen.
Below are a handful of movies coming out soon (some you can even add to your calendar for this weekend) adapted from bestselling books. The list includes films that would be perfect for a date, a family night at the movies, or an outing with friends. Around the office we're already talking about a long lunch hour "field trip" to see a couple of these movies, especially our Seattle fave, Where'd You Go Bernadette. But we'll keep that just between us, okay?
The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel by Garth Stein
This book has a special place in my heart. It's published by HarperCollins and I worked there at the time of it's release in 2008. In the year leading up to publication, the in-house buzz was that this was going to be a BIG BOOK, and in fact it's sold millions of copies. I'll be honest, I was skeptical before I read it. A book about an aspiring Formula One race car driver, narrated by his insightful and loyal companion, a dog named Enzo-? But author Garth Stein pulled it off and I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain. Movie rights were sold way back then and 11 years later, the movie is finally a reality. I've been impressed by the movie trailers I've seen, so we may see another explosion of love for this one. A great choice for a family movie night. Rated PG, opens August 9th.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette: A Novel by Maria Semple
A Seattle author, a Seattle setting, and plenty of snarky humor. Bernadette Fox is a successful architect who's fallen into a creative black hole, and her daughter--pretty much her raison d'etre- is about to go away to school. So Bernadette runs away. To, of all places, Seattle. For a person already harboring a negative outlook, rainy Seattle, populated by friendly locals who don't want to make friends, and a place where a four-way stop in the road becomes an irritating comedy of SOMEBODY JUST GO, is really a fantastic choice. Very smart, very clever, and the movie comes with a star-studded cast, including Cate Blanchett as Bernadette. Go see this with friends, alone, or even the bored teenager who lives in your home. Rated PG-13, opens August 16th.
It: A Novel by Stephen King
It is a book that still gives me goosebumps. I can't watch the trailer, much less the movie, but the 2017 film was a big hit at the box office. For a book that comes in at 1168 pages, the movie studio wisely decided to make IT into two movies and the second one is about to drop. The first movie covered the seven misfit friends as children, when they first encounter the serial killer clown, Pennywise, and--they hope--destroy it. The new movie, IT: Chapter Two covers the part of the book when, decades later, the friends are called back to their hometown because the clown has come back... While the 1990 miniseries adaptation did win a Primetime Emmy, the movie is capturing Stephen King's supernatural horror classic like never before. If you see this movie on a date, make sure it's someone you want to cling to. Rated R, opens September 5th.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
This feature film is pretty interesting in that it's adapted from a story collection written by folklorist Alvin Schwartz. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the movie adaptation, is the tale of a girl with dark secrets who wrote them down as stories in a book. Many years later, a group of teenagers find the book, and the stories start to take on a new life that is all too real. The books (there are three of them) have become a perennial Halloween and campfire favorite ever since they released in the 1980s. The books are for ages 8-12 but the movie is aimed at a slightly older audience. Surprise your teen with a night at the movies to see this one and watch your parent cred go up. Just try not to emit any embarrassing screams or gasps in the theater or it will all be for naught. Rated PG-13 (in part for what is termed "terror/violence"), opens August 9th.
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and our own editors' pick for the Best Book of 2013, The Goldfinch is a brick of a book that is going to be fascinating to see how it plays on the big screen. There's a lot going on in Donna Tartt's novel--it's the story of a young man's life, after all, and spans the stretch that is perhaps most volatile and fluid, even without the tragedy that befalls her protagonist, the early teens into adulthood. Art theft, death, delinquency, unlikely friendship, and redemption--it's all there. I found the book remarkable, and am obviously not alone in that assessment, but Amazon Studios did a good job with their Beautiful Boy adaptation last year, so I'm optimistic that The Goldfinch movie will do the book justice. Good date night movie. Rated R, opens September 13th.
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