The fall/winter movie season is pretentious enough in its own right. It practically groans under the weight of its own self-seriousness. Between desperate Oscar-baiting and, well, frantic Oscar-baiting, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a major studio release that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Do them one better, I say. Out-pompous them. For what satisfaction more searing? What shiver of snobbery more rewarding than the one you get after pushing your glasses up your nose and sighing, heavily, “the book was better.” Here are 10 great books to get you there this fall.
Romeo and Juliet (October 11th): If you haven’t already read Shakespeare’s play (or at least seen it performed) then I don’t even know what you are doing here. But the reason you must read/see it before you go watch this CW version is so you can join me in raging (RAGING) against Julian Fellowes who had the unmitigated gall to change some of the bard’s language. These lines: “We shall take action when we may and strike while the iron is hot!”/”The best intentions pave the way to hell.”/”The prince’s kindness is a golden ax that cuts my head off.” None of them Shakespeare. None of them welcome.
Twelve Years A Slave (October 18th): This should be the heaviest literary hitter of the fall and is running right behind Gravity in the “must see to impress people at dinner parties” race. Check out Solomon Northup’s book first for extra holier-than-thou cred.
Carrie (October 18th): Oh sure, it’s pulp. But think how much BETTER that will make your lit. snit fit. “Well I don’t think that was King’s intention at all. Anyway, the pig blood spatter is far more poetic when you read it on the page.”
Ender’s Game (November 1st): Oh, sure, most of you have already read this sci-fi/fantasy classic. But did you know the movie will also be covering plot lines from Ender’s Shadow? You didn’t? Well get cracking! But, ah, get your copy from the library so as not to send any more money Orson Scott Card’s way. Okay?
The Book Thief (November 8th): One of the most brilliant books on the Holocaust in the last decade. The movie is guaranteed to jerk the tears right out of your snobbish face. “What’s that?” you sneer. “Based on a children’s book?” Don’t fret my pretentious pets, we already covered this on Monday. It’s okay to read kids books.
The Wolf Of Wall Street (November 15): Reading Jordan Belfort’s memoir will allow you just the right amount of liberal hauteur to dismiss of all Wall Street as nothing but a pack of criminals. The movie itself is sure to be a fantastic opportunity for Leonardo DiCaprio to sink his fangs into the scenery. Think Shattered Glass meets Catch Me If You Can meets, well, Wall Street.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (November 29): Should we just give Idris Elba the Oscar now and be done with it? Oh, think of your smarmy glee on Oscar night when you’re able to declare, “Elba really did capture the spirit of Mandela’s memoir. Oh braaaavo.”
The Monuments Men (December 18th): The full title of this book is The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and The Greatest Treasure Hunt In History. Did you already get your dad a present for Christmas? No? Well here you go. You’re welcome. But read it yourself first and be sure to clue in your fellow moviegoers on the important historical facts Clooney missed and weigh in on the accuracy of Matt Damon’s jaunty cap.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (December 25th): If you haven’t read a Tom Clancy novel in your life, now is the time. Oh, sure, he’s considered lowbrow. But he’s classic lowbrow. And since Clancy just passed away, this would be the perfect opportunity to pay him homage…and judge the hell out of Chris Pine.
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (December 25th): After seeing the trailer, I’ve made a complete reversal on this film. Ben Stiller might just pull off the Stranger Than Fiction/dreamy vibe. But I’ll still be judging it against both Danny Kaye and Thurber’s story. I encourage you to do the same, beautiful dreamers and fellow snobs. I encourage you to do the same.