The Sunday Salon: Gone Girl and We Bought a Zoo

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sunday 
Salon.com

It's 6.30 AM now as I type up this post. I've been up for a while - certainly early for me for a Sunday, but glad to take advantage of it now that I cannot go back to sleep. Later today, we are planning to drive along the Blue Ridge parkway and see the Fall colors. I've been gearing for this trip for months and there was always something in the way. Fall's definitely in town now. All the leaves haven't turned yet but enough to give a nice warm color. But it's been cold and windy!

Yesterday, the husband and I went to watch Gone Girl. Both of us had read and enjoyed the book when it came out, except for that somewhat anti-climactic ending. (SPOILER THOUGHTS START: I thought them killing each other would save humanity and also make me feel that all that drama up until that point was not for nothing. SPOILER THOUGHTS END) However, I wasn't sure at all that they could make a successful movie out of a book whose main selling point was the fact that the reader is inside the heads of two messed up characters. It would be very hard to put the viewer inside the head of a movie character.

But the movie was good. Better than good. So much better than I thought it would be. For one thing, the evil is much more real in the movie. Even though I knew what would happen, I still jumped in my seat at some parts. The acting was also pretty solid. Moreover, even though the movie stayed true to the book throughout (based on my recollection of the book two years after reading it), I was able to accept the ending now that I saw it on screen. It made sense, and why not? That's what Amy wanted all along and she could either continue the fight or do something about it and be the winner.

While still on the movie Gone Girl, did anyone else keep count of the number of times Amy gets hit in the head? I counted three - twice by Nick and once when she gets robbed. It seemed supernatural that she lived through it all without so much as a grimace. I do have to admit something though - something that I felt after reading the book as well. Even though I thought Amy's character was super insane, I was proud of the girl for not submitting to her crappy life and trying to do something about it. Of course, she used several questionable methods to get that done, so that's where the love ends. However, the movie felt very sexist to me. I don't remember getting that vibe from the book but it's possible I just don't remember that anymore.

Watching this movie has made me crave some Gillian Flynn so I started reading her Dark Places last night.

I also watched We Bought a Zoo this week and that's another book I loved when I listened to it about a year or two ago. Unfortunately, although the movie was enjoyable in its own way, it was not true to the original story for the most part. In the book, Benjamin Mee's wife was alive for a good part of their adventure with a zoo they had just bought. But Mee gets a new love interest in the movie and I thought that was a little disrespectful to the original Mee (I wonder what the original Mee thought about it). The book was focused on some on Mee's wife's struggles with cancer and their journey through renovating and reopening a dilapidated zoo. The movie  focused on Mee's new love interest, his fragile relationship with his son that suddenly gets resolved one day without much explanation, and a tiny bit on the zoo. It was disappointing though Matt Damon's acting was pretty good. I may have enjoyed it more had I not read the book but I kept thinking unkind thoughts about Mee's love interest (even though I like Johansson) and that ruined the movie a little for me.

Have you watched either of these movies?

20 comments:

Irene McKenna said...

I read Gone Girl and am excited about seeing the movie, but I haven't been able to find time. I wonder if I'd like We Bought a Zoo since I haven't read the book -- I have nothing to compare it to. :-) It looks like it might be a good family movie.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I thought the movie Gone Girl was well done. The movie kept me on then edge of my seat even though I had read the book. I enjoyed the movie We Bought A Zoo but then I haven't read the book. I am now curious about the book. I may have to read it now.

JoAnn @ Lakeside Musing said...

I haven't read either book (or seen the movies)... enjoy your drive along the Blue Ridge parkway! We had snowflakes in the air this morning, our fall is just about over.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Sounds like Gone Girl is a winner.


I soooo didn't know that about We Bought a Zoo. Sounds like I would like the book more and that the zoo was something they had loved and built upon together that would forever remind his family of her. SO not the same thing as getting one after she passes.

Diane D said...

We went to see Gone Girl on Saturday and both of us loved it. So much better than the book for me. BTW - he hit herself in the head one time as well (that I recall).

bermudaonion(Kathy) said...

I saw Gone Girl with Vance and we both thought it was great. I've told a friend I'll go back with her this week.

Nishita said...

Ooh, I so badly want to see Gone Girl. It's one of the few book to movie adaptations that seems to have received glowing reviews from everybody!

Ti Reed said...

Read Gone Girl and didn't like it. I should rephrase that. It was a page-turner and a WTF just happened type book so in that sense, it was great but I just felt like so much was thrown in for shock value alone. I will probably wait for the movie to hit DVD before I see it.

I did see We Bought a Zoo but haven't read the book. The movie was good but a little sad. I liked the casting.

literaryfeline said...

I need to start Dark Places soon. It's on my book to movie list. I thought the movie version of Gone Girl was very well done also.


I'm not too familiar with We Bought the Zoo.

Athira / Aths said...

We Bought a Zoo is definitely an entertaining family movie. I enjoyed the movie for itself despite the few issues I had.

Athira / Aths said...

I definitely recommend the book version of We Bought a Zoo. It's more satisfying and felt more complete to me.

Athira / Aths said...

It was frigid here this morning. One of my colleagues was saying today that we are probably heading straight into winter without much of a Fall. Seeing as how leaves are falling without waiting for the color to change makes me think he is probably right.

Athira / Aths said...

Yeah, to me that felt like a major aspect of the book - the author's relationship with his wife and how she was a major reason for him buying and renovating the zoo. Unfortunately the movie was just completely different.

Athira / Aths said...

That's right! That scene in the bathroom. That one made me cringe more than the other three. This girl should be so crazy to be able to do all that.

Athira / Aths said...

This is certainly a movie that one can enjoy the second or third time around as well!

Athira / Aths said...

I hope you get to see it the next weekend at least! It's certainly well worth the 2.5 hours showtime!

Athira / Aths said...

isn't it? I wasn't too sure about it initially, but they have done the movie really well. Stayed true to the book too. I hope you get a chance to see it.

Athira / Aths said...

I liked the casting of We Bought a Zoo too! Plus, it was kind of entertaining and nice. But the book was much better in this case.

Athira / Aths said...

Dark Places is quite good so far! I just wish I had more time to read it. It's hard to put the book down at this point.

Gwen said...

Does that mean I have to put on real pants with zippers and shoes with laces to go see it? Glad that the movie of Gone Girl doesn't disappoint, HATE when that happens. Color me stoked that the evil is better. I just hope that it doesn't give any crazy spouses more ideas now that it is totally mainstream.


Have read her others, but Dark Places isn't jumping out at me like sharp objects did. Perhaps I read it too fast.


Bought a zoo is buried somewhere in my e-book hoard, but really was never a big priority.