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Best and Worst Movies Based on Books

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Battlefield Earth (Bad)
Based on L. Ron Hubbard's 1982 novel, fellow scientologist (and sci-fi fan) John Travolta was determined to film this story of humanity revolting against enslavement and extermination by an alien race in the year 3000. In 2000, Peter Travers wrote, "Star John Travolta, buried in alien makeup and an incomprehensible script, offers up a film tribute to the sci-fi novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and makes life hell on earth for audiences."

No Country for Old Men (Good)
Tone faithful to Cormac McCarthy's 2005 novel, the Coen brothers imbue Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a.k.a. the cold-blooded assassin with the world's worst haircut, with true creepiness. At the time of its 2007 release, Rolling Stone said, "Not since Robert Altman merged with the short stories of Raymond Carver in Short Cuts have filmmakers and author fused with such devastating impact as the Coens and McCarthy."

The Scarlet Letter (Bad)
Nathaniel Hawthorne's 1850 story of adultery in mid-17th century Boston has long been a favorite of English classes and Hollywood studios. But Rolland Jaffe's 1995 interpretation is a favorite of few. Caveated in the opening credits as "freely adapted," it's a campy bodice-ripper starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman, and Robert Duvall – too insubstantial, even for a substitute teacher day.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Good)
Director Peter Jackson makes his first of six cinematic forays into Middle Earth with this epic adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's 1954 novel of the same name. Starring Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen and Orlando Bloom, you not only feel Jackson's enthusiasm for hobbits, but also see the furry feet, pointy ears, and twinkling gossamer.

The Lorax (Bad)
Dr. Seuss' environmental morality tale tells of a city kid searching for a real live tree. In the process, he encounters the Lorax, a grumpy creature fighting to defend his existence. Last year, Peter Travers wrote, "This 3D, animated, idiotically musicalized version of 'The Lorax' thoroughly debases the genius of the good doctor's book, adding characters, twisting plot points, and replacing Seuss subtlety with Hollywood frenzy."

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