From 1939's "Gone with the Wind" to this week's "Gone Girl," one thing is clear: Hollywood loves turning books into movies.
Filmmakers are quick to adapt bestselling novels because the story is already there, and because a quality book often lends to an enjoyable, profitable motion picture.
So when have these literary gambles paid off, and when have they simply fallen flat? Let's find out:
Good: "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (2011)
Before there was "Gone Girl," there was "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." David Fincher directed this 2011 film, an adaptation of Stieg Larsson's bestseller and a remake on the Swedish movie of the same name. With Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig at the helm and a killer soundtrack from Trent Reznor (who also scored "Gone Girl") this remake definitely captures its chilling source material:
Bad: "The Great Gatsby" (2013)
Even with impressive visuals from Baz Luhrmann, solid acting from Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan and a nifty soundtrack with songs from Lana Del Rey and Jay Z, the sum is not more than its glossy parts. This movie feels like one long, weird music video, and there's really nothing "great" about that:
Alfonso Cuaron, the man behind "Gravity" and "Children of Men" (also a great book adaptation), jumped in the director's chair for the boy wizard's third year at Hogwarts. Add Gary Oldman as Sirius Black, and you have the best film of the series, based on what many consider to be J.K. Rowling's best book as well:
Bad: "Eragon" (2006)
This hugely popular 500-page book written by a 17-year-old was boiled down to an hour-and-a-half film, which meant the omission of essential characters and plot points. When a film's strongest performance is from a dragon, you know something's wrong:
Trilogies are tough, because sometimes, directors simply can't keep the fire alive for the threequel (see "The Matrix Revolutions," "Spiderman 3"). This is not the case with Peter Jackson's film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Return of the King." It won a record-tying 11 Oscars, including best picture, and includes some of the best battle sequences in 2000s cinema. Though it may have too many blasted endings, it's a very good conclusion to a very good trilogy:
Bad: "The Hobbit" (2012)
"LOTR" fans were stoked about Peter Jackson's return to the franchise. Then he announced he'd be splitting the 300-page book up into three films, and the doubting began. Though the movie is visually impressive, it's indulgent, long-winded and just not that much fun. Time will tell, but this reboot trilogy may go down as the biggest disappointment since the "Star Wars" prequels:
Last year's "Hunger Games" sequel greatly improved on the first film and definitely did justice to tween sensation it's based on. At 146 minutes, "Catching Fire" brings us high tension, romance, J-Law taking names and an intense battle royale, which plays out like a movie version of "Survivor":
Bad: "Twilight" (2008)
"Say it." "Vampire." Stephenie Meyer's beloved tale of Edward and Bella was brought to the big screen in 2008, and though the odds were admittedly stacked against filmmakers, this adaptation feels more like a parody than an actual movie. Like "The Room," but with more werewolves:
"Casino Royale," which introduced the world to Daniel Craig's James Bond, was based on Ian Fleming's original 007 novel. Complete with high stakes poker, a stellar Bond girl performance from Eva Green and a cringe-worthy torture sequence; this film rejuvenated the franchise. Fleming would be proud:
Bad: "The Da Vinci Code" (2006)
If you're looking for a satisfying film version of the bestselling Robert Langdon novel, you'd be better off trying "National Treasure 2." This adaptation is slow-paced and plain disappointing. The real mystery of "The Davinci Code" is why Tom Hanks decided to rock shoulder-length hair for the entire film. Dan Brown, can you solve that one for us?
Teens were quite wary when it was announced that this beloved novel would be turned into a film. But "Perks of Being a Wallflower" was one of the best movies of 2012, making "And in this moment, I swear we were infinite" one of the year's biggest catchphrases. Ezra Miller and Emma Watson give standout performances:
Bad: "Eat Pray Love" (2010)
Julia Roberts stars in a 140-minute spiritual journey that essentially boils down to a self-absorbed woman solving her first-world problems with travel. Ryan Murphy (of "Glee," "American Horror Story") directed the adaptation of the Elizabeth Gilbert's 200-week New York Times bestseller, and it's safe to say he should stick to high school a cappella and asylums for now:
The Coen Brothers took this 2005 book by Cormac McCarthy and turned it into 2007's best picture winner. This movie is quietly frightening while still showcasing that signature Co-Bro humor. Javier Bardem also won an Oscar for his sinister performance as the film's coin-flipping, cattle gun-wielding villain:
Bad: "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (2005)
Douglas Adams' quirky space novel was lost in translation on its maiden voyage to the big screen. The film benefited from its dry humor, but the visual effects were lacking, the actors seemed miscast. Stick to the book for this one, earthlings:
Ang Lee decided to take on this beloved 2001 fantasy novel, which many people deemed "unfilmable." But the director defied the odds and churned out a visually stunning, absorbing movie starring newcomer Suraj Sharma and Richard Parker, a mostly CGI tiger that feels incredibly real:
Bad: "Cat in the Hat" (2003)
When Mike Meyers becomes Dr. Seuss' most famous character, the result is scarier than the bunny from "Donnie Darko." This children's book remake is on par with "The Grinch" and reaffirms that Dr. Seuss books should stay just that -- books:
Now take the poll!