The Book Was Better

Just got around to seeing “Gone Baby Gone” on DVD. I really rode the roller coaster on this one, even before it was released in theaters. “Ben Affleck? Really?” I was wary, since Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors (I own all of his books except for the short story collection), so I didn’t like the idea of one of the books being some vanity project. But, it was released, and by some miracle he apparently didn’t screw it up. One of the ‘best movies of the year’! So I decided to give it a chance on DVD.

And… well… it’s the same problem I had with ‘Mystic River.’ I can see why people like it. I get that it’s a good movie. But… compared to the book, it just pales in comparison. It’s like the book ruined me for the movie. There’s no way I can enjoy it as much as everyone else because I have a much better version stuck in my head.

The two problems I had with the movie that had nothing to do with the book spoiling me… Angie and Bubba. That was not the Bubba I see in my head. Some smirky, mumbley guy… no. He wasn’t big enough to be Bubba and I never really got a sense of danger from him. Bubba, in the books, scares me. This guy just looks like he had too many hot dogs and robbed a jewelry store. Bad casting, or maybe Bubba would just be impossible to cast correctly.

Secondly, Angie. Did she really do anything for the entire movie? If I hadn’t read the book, I would be wondering why Patrick was dragging his girlfriend around on cases with him. I saw no reason to think she was his partner in the agency. She was just… there. In the books, she’s a force to be reckoned with. The scene in the bar, where the guy locks the door and threatens to rape her, is not only much better established in the book, but she gets to act human about it. Afraid, but not destroyed by it (She has a great line in the book which is actually in the deleted scenes about it: “They weren’t going to rape me, Patrick. They were going to try.”).

Not to mention the fact this is Book Four in the Patrick/Angie series. The fact that Patrick didn’t have a beard makes it impossible to film books 2 and 3 the way they were written (not to spoil <g>).

All that aside, I don’t want to un-read the books. I just wish I was better able to separate the two things so I could enjoy the movie the way everyone else does.

All things being equal, though, I would rather read the books again. <g>