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Why books are rubbish and films are brilliant

Burn After Reading is in cinemas this Friday so we thought we’d celebrate by burning every single book we own in a ritualistic sacrifice to the gods of cinema. Why? Because books are rubbish compared to films. Here’s why.

7. You can’t read a gun fight.



Book version:

The Terminator shot at a load of cops and cars and stuff. BUT HE DIDN’T KILL ANYONE. Then he walked away and loads of them shot him in the back. It was brilliant. If only you could’ve seen it. Seriously, it really was exciting.

Film version:



6. You haven’t heard of Nothing Lasts Forever. You have heard of Die Hard.



Hands up who knew that Die Hard was a book first .

Okay, everyone in the room with their hands down, take a moment to curl those hands into fists and knock out the person next to you with their hand up, because they are liars and it’s what John McClane would want you to do.

Now we’ve got rid of them, let’s allow our minds to boggle at the fact that the high-concept ‘man gets trapped in building with terrorists’ wasn’t written on the back of a matchbox, but over the course of 188 pages.

That is a lot of pages when all you’re really doing is describing someone walking across glass and shooting people.

5. We’d rather see a lesbian kiss than read about it.



Book version: Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair kissed. It was pretty hot.

Film version:


4. A great book takes weeks to read. A great film takes 87 minutes to watch.



Most books take ages to read and even the short ones require enough dedication to sit still and gawp at your own lap for a whole afternoon.

We reckon you could probably watch Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders twice in the time it takes to read Albert Camus’ classic The Outsider.

Yet only one of those contributions to culture stars Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze and Tom Cruise (clue: Albert Camus has never met Tom Cruise) so why don’t you decide which one your time is best spent on.

3. You can’t judge a book by its cover, you can judge a film by its trailer



Everyone has heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but no-one has ever heard the expression ‘don’t judge a film by its trailer.’ Know why? Because it doesn’t exist . That’s because you can judge a film by its trailer, because the trailer is usually comprised entirely from all the best bits in the film . Remember Iron Man? How brilliant was that?

2. All books will become films eventually anyway, just be patient.



American Psycho, Fight Club, Horton Hears A Who; all great works considered unfilmable at one stage by book snobs, turned into brilliant flicks by film geeks who replaced the dull images you originally created in your mind’s eye with people like Brad Pitt, Christian Bale and a CG elephant.

And with Hollywood becoming more creatively bankrupt by the day, you can bet that by the year 2323, every book ever written will have not only have been filmed, but turned into a trilogy. Which is fine by us, we’ve been waiting far too long for Catcher In The Rye 2: This One’s Mine.

1. No-one cared about Watchmen until it was a film.



Shortly after the trailer for Zach Snyder’s Watchmen hit the ‘net, sales for Alan Moore’s Watchmen shot up to such an extent that a book that sold 100,000 copies last year will have a print run of more than a million this year.

The only possible explanation for this sudden surge in sales is that people saw the book as some sort of extended trailer for the film. And quite right too.

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