4 Scenes From Books That Were Too F***ed Up For The Movie
Look at the most successful movies of all time, and you'll see that many are adaptations of the most successful books of all time. Hollywood doesn't like to take chances (short of casting Shia LaBeouf time and time again, even though they know for a damn well fact that he's Shia LaBeouf), and a popular book already has a diehard audience that can't wait to go to the cinema and then bitch online afterwards about what's been changed.
But there are some scenes in the original books that Hollywood was absolutely, positively, 100 percent correct to cut out.
Trigger Warning: There is some horrible stuff ahead which involves sex, violence, and babies. All at the same time.
Trainspotting And The Threesome With A Baby
Irvine Welsh's debut novel Trainspotting was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize until some of the judges threatened to quit over it. This Ivory Tower English snobbery caused a bit of a ruckus, with many people being really pissed off that it didn't make the cut. But if you've ever read the book, you know that there is some seriously crazy, unfilmable shit in there.
The book follows the lives of a group of professional junkies as they avoid work, get high, and hallucinate babies on the ceiling -- the usual pastimes of the drug-addled. The movie is a great adaptation, cutting out some of the weirder parts and accentuating others, and it made Ewan McGregor a star so he could go on to play Obi-Wan Kenobi.
"You were my hook-up, Anakin. I loved you!"
Remember the scene in the movie in which Renton and Sick Boy are hanging out at the park and Renton shoots a pit bull in the balls? Well, in the book, it's Simon who takes the shot, the dog mauls its owner, and Sick Boy runs over and chokes the dog to death with a baseball bat. You know, just for kicks.
Welcome to the only time when shooting a dog and leaving it at that is the humane option.
Strangely, that's not the most horrifying part ...
The Scene From The Book:
The single most fucked-up part of the book that didn't make it to the cinema comes when Renton attends his brother's wake at his parents' house. His brother just died doing a tour of duty in Belfast, and has left behind a very pregnant, very messed-up widow. So Renton does the gentlemanly thing and ... well:
Yeah, so ridiculous dialect aside, we have our main protagonist porking his dead brother's pregnant widow at his dead brother's wake, all the while wondering whether or not it counts as a threesome since there's a baby in there. Dr. Suess couldn't even make that sound funny. Well maybe. Maybe he'd say something like "One inch, two inch, red inch, blue balls. This one's in a dead bro's wife, this one's going to be causing strife." Nah, he wouldn't say that.
Anyway, if the sister-poking wasn't enough, Renton's just come off a week of being wasted and isn't exactly hygienic:
Who else is suddenly hungry for cheese?
At this point, we're probably all thinking that maybe it shouldn't have been on the Booker shortlist after all.
The Road Has Literal Baby Food
The Road is a Cormac McCarthy buzzkill that imagines what life would be like after the apocalypse has taken place, but with none of the awesome shit from Mad Max. An unnamed father and his unnamed son walk through an unnamed landscape down an unnamed road looking for ... well, food, mostly. Maybe some old issues of Playboy. But it's not all apples and Coke. There's some seriously scary shit taking place after the downfall of civilization, not the least of which is people worshiping Tom Cruise as the Scientology god. Probably.
"Don't worry, son. Jesus may have forsaken us, but Jack Reacher watches always."
The story is bleak as fuck. We learn that cows are extinct, which means no more In-N-Out burger, which means why even be alive? There was also some kind of firestorm, and everything is worse than Detroit. Most importantly for our heroes, gangs of dangerous men roam the landscape looking for survivors. Not to steal their weapons or rape their women, but to kill, cook, and eat them, because in a land without beef, man-cow is grade-A good.
In the film, we never actually see people being eaten, though we do follow the characters as they stumble onto a cellar full of ready-made human meals, and we meet one of the bad guys up close and personal before he becomes a main course for his besties.
They ate Sarah McLachlan before she could write a song PSA about these guys.
The Scene From The Book:
However miserable the film might be, there's a scene in the book that is so fucked up and destroys all hope so thoroughly that the director/screenwriter obviously thought, "Fuck that -- let's just kill off a mother and child instead."
When the father and son see a fire in the woods, they head toward it, in what is known classically as the "What are you, stupid?" maneuver. What they discover is not marshmallows on a campfire:
Yep, spit roast baby corpse for dinner. Just like ma used to make!
Fight Club Ends With An Amputated Tongue
The Narrator of Palahniuk's novel -- and Fincher's movie -- can't sleep, so he starts going to terminal disease outreach sessions instead of taking some Ambien and watching CBS's Friday night lineup like the rest of us. When Marla Singer crashes the party, he has to resort to beating the shit out of his imaginary friend / alter ego Tyler Durden so he can get some goddamn shuteye. Makes sense.
Thing is, Tyler has started an army -- all the Fight Club regulars join what he calls Project Mayhem, who kick society in the balls at every opportunity. Or at least threaten to cut them off.
"Rule #1: Don't fuck with us. Rule #2: Don't talk about fucking with us. That's what slashfic is for."
Fight Club is, by necessity, a violent film. Not surprising, really, given its title and the fact that the majority of the characters spend the majority of the story beating the crap out of one another (or themselves). There's a car crash, a plane crash, and Bob's bitch tits.
But there was still stuff too intense for the movie ...
The Scene From The Book:
It's no secret that the film is different from the book. This is something the author himself is very happy about. That said, there's a scene toward the end that they had to cut for the sake of taste (keeping in mind that Bob and his bitch tits get shot in the head at one point).
After learning that he and Tyler are one and the same, the Narrator signs up for all 50 fights at Fight Club in a single night, and gets beaten so badly that this happens:
A severed tongue with broken teeth sticking out of it? Nice. There's probably some symbolism in there somewhere, but gross.
In the movie, we end with the Narrator and Marla Singer watching Project Mayhem bring their city's financial district back to Earth, with a single frame of pornography thrown in for good measure.
Right after the buildings do their impression of porn stars whose Viagra just wore off.
But at the end of the book, the Narrator is left mute and powerless in an asylum because his tongue is rotting in a sweaty basement somewhere, along with his sanity and any hope we may have had for the future of humanity.
Gone With The Wind Poses The KKK As Heroes
Gone With The Wind was basically our grandparents' Titanic: overblown, overrated, and making more money at the box office than the GDP of most European nations.
It follows the rise and fall and rise of Scarlett O'Hara, a sassy vixen who takes no shit, during and after the Civil War, as she marries resident heartthrob/asshole Rhett Butler. It's about as accurate a portrayal of the times as Lord Of The Rings was of medieval England. For those interested, there were fewer hobbits, as most lived in Spain at the time.
They nailed slavery and pretty white women choosing "flat tummies" over "breathing," but that's it.
Gone With The Wind does feature a borderline rape scene which is quickly gotten over, but there's much worse than that in the book ...
In the film, when driving her buggy through Shantytown, Scarlett is attacked by a white man ...
In the book, however, the guy is black. And that makes all the difference, because Gone With The Wind does not take place in a culture much interested in equality.
The Scene From The Book:
In the book, shit gets so racist that you'd think it was a Reddit subforum. First off, the guy is described thus: "a squat black negro with shoulders and chest like a gorilla," and she can "smell the rank odor of him." Then the KKK turn up to "resolve the issue" (that of a black man sexually assaulting a white woman), and are considered a "tragic necessity!" That's right, the KKK are the fucking good guys in the novel!
The KKK are beaten to the punch (or shooting), however, by none other than Rhett "I don't give a damn" Butler, who takes the law into his own hands, then lies and bribes his way out of prison. His reasoning?
"For the crime of being uppity, you have been sentenced to death in the South."
Remember that borderline-rape scene from earlier? Yeah, it involved the same woman (Scarlett), but it wasn't this street fellow ... it was Rhett. But hey, what else is a Southern gentleman to do?
The movie kept the sex scene, but removed all the racism from the film by changing the offender to a white guy and referring to Klan rallies as "Oh yeah, I have to go this this, er, town meeting thing ..."
"He needed to borrow all our white sheets and pillowcases. They are probably having a sleepover."
Which just goes to show that sometimes the film is better than the book.
Think you can write books that won't make Hollywood cringe? Then go out there and do it after you read 5 Tips For Punching Writer's Block In The Face. Still here? Here's more motivation: 5 Writing Exercises That Will Make You More Creative. Now go write!
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