The Accident Tourist: The Novel and The Movie

In this paper, I am going to be comparing and contrasting the movie version and the novel entitled “The Accidental Tourist. ” First, when one begins to read the book, they will notice that the opening scene takes place in a car on a rainy day. During this pivotal scene Sarah Leary asks Macon if he remembered what he said to a comment Sarah had said. She said “’I said to you the other day, I said, ‘Macon, now that Ethan’s dead I sometimes wonder if there’s any point to life. ’ Do you remember what you answered? ’ ‘Well not offhand,’ Macon said. You said, ‘Honey, to tell the truth, it never seemed to me there was all that much point to begin with. ’ Those were your exact words. ’” Then she later tells Macon she wants a divorce. But, when one watches the movie, they would be deceived in two ways. First, Macon, the main character, is flying in an airplane and a man named Lucas Loomis, who does not appear until much later in the book, is with him. Secondly, if you wait a little while, you would see that Sarah and Macon are at home when they have the conversation that leads to Sarah’s divorce announcement.

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When I saw that I was hoping this was no indication of how the rest of the movie was going to be. But it was. Although the movie was faithful to the novel in many ways, there were several unjust moments or happenings. By that I mean they left out scenes that I felt were very important in the development, or plot, of the story. For instance, Muriel Pritchett, a lady Macon met at Meow-Bow Animal Hospital, began to train Edward for Macon because he had attacked Macon along with an assistant at the Murray Avenue Animal Hospital.

A few sessions went by and everything seemed to be going fine until Edward, who always seemed to like Muriel, “sprang straight at her face. Every tooth was bare and gleaming. His lips were drawn back in a horrible grimace and flecks of white foam flew from his mouth. Muriel instantly raised the leash. She jerked it upward with both fists and lifted Edward completely of the floor. ” After that, Macon did not talk to Muriel for a while because he felt Muriel was cruel and he was bound and determined to train Edward on his own.

The reason I felt it had some importance to the movie was because Macon needed this time away from Muriel, who was being somewhat overly flirtatious with a guy who is not divorced yet. Macon was still feeling like he and Sarah had a chance and he really needed to look more closely at their relationship before he hopped into another one. But the impression one gets from the movie is he is ready to spend time “shopping around. ” This next scene is more important in character development than really having anything to do with the development of the plot.

At one point, Macon calls Meow-Bow to ask Muriel a question regarding Edward. When he calls, he finds out that Muriel has a son. Later when Muriel comes over there is a rather big confrontation. He sat, and she bent to pick up his leash. “How’s your little boy? ” Macon asked her. She looked over at him. “What? ” she said. “Wasn’t he sick? ” “Who told you that? ” “Someone at the vet’s, when I phoned. ” …. “How come you phoned? ” she asked him. …. “I tap my foot but he never obeys me,” Macon said. “Something’s wrong. ” …. “What do you expect?

You think I’m magical or something? Why blame me? ” “Oh, I’m not blaming –” “You most certainly are. You tell me something’s wrong, you call me on the phone –” “I just wanted to –” “You think it’s weird I didn’t mention Alexander, don’t you? …. You’re not going to give me another thought, are you, now you know I’ve got a kid. You’re like, ‘Oh, forget it, no point getting involved in that,’ and then you wonder why I didn’t tell you about him right off. Well, isn’t it obvious? Don’t you see what happens when I do? ” In the movie, we never get to see this side of Muriel.

We see the odd-looking, over-protective mother who has feelings for a guy she barely knows. This gives you a better view of how she really is, the overly sensitive, over-reacting, almost psychotic tempered woman. Muriel may just be so full of bottled-up emotions that, when Macon hit the right spot, all of the anger she had inside from Norman leaving her and the baby, she went off like a rocket. This is coming from personal experience, with regards to the bottled-up emotions (not the child issue), and from a person who is going to major in criminology with a minor in psychology.

The last scene that I felt had some importance to the plot was when Macon is over at Muriel’s house with Edward and Alexander begins to start to play with him. Macon notices that Alexander does not have a ball to play with and that he does not know how to throw the ball or anything, for that matter. Macon makes a mental note to himself to buy a ball and to teach Alexander to throw and play catch. The reason I would have liked to have seen it in the movie is because I think it would portray one and/or both of the following things.

First, I think it would show how Edward has become the playmate, or friend, that Alexander does not have. Edward seems to fill an empty space in Alexander’s heart. And secondly, I think this shows how Macon is beginning to see how, by his traveling, he might have missed out on some important times in Ethan’s life and now he has a chance to make up for that by filling in as Alexander’s “sit-in dad. ” One disappointment, as far as character portrayal, was in the actor who played Macon. He had an almost expressionless face, a considerable lack of body language, and a dead voice.

For some reason, I imagined Macon to be a little bit more expressive of his feelings in his body movements, facial expressions, and in the fluctuation of his voice. If I were to make a movie, I would use someone like Kevin Costner. He has got all of the acting abilities needed for the part. I mean, someone who can play “Robin Hood” that well could easily play Macon Leary. He has got facial expressions to go with every mood and his voice has got a nice pitch to it. Another character portrayal disappointment was in Muriel. Geena Davis was skin but not exactly what I would call “spiky. To me, spiky is someone who has toothpicks for legs and arms, which cause her elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists to stick out like spikes. I thought Geena had a little too much meat on her bones. Also, Geena has an overbite and, to me, the overbite took Muriel’s odd look to an entirely different look, the look of someone you would not want to sleep with for fear of the unknown. The actress I would pick for this role would be Julia Roberts. Julia, who just happens to be my favorite actress of recent times, has meat on her bones, too, but she is more emotional and has appeared in more serious roles than Geena has.

I mean, Geena Davis is going to have her own sitcom. She has always been, in my eyes, a comedian, while Julia has appeared in tearjerkers like Steel Magnolias, for instance. Call me biased but that is just my feelings. Sarah seemed, when I thought about her while reading the book, to be more slender and more attractive. From the movie, if someone had not read the book to get their own picture of her like I did, then I could see why he went back to Muriel. To me Genna Davis is more attractive than Kathleen Turner is. I would probably choose Melanie Griffith to play Sarah.

She has not been in a whole lot of movies but she is slender and is very attractive. I would love to see her and Kevin Costner act together in a movie like this. Then comes Rose. I thought rose was a little to old looking for Julian. I remember in the book she is two years older than he is but it appears, if you went by looks, that she was ten years older. Now I am going to look at how the movie was faithful in its portrayal of the book. For instance, the Learys have this thing for not answering the phone when it rings.

In the movie, the Learys let it ring. Also, they have sort of a tradition of playing “Vaccination” after supper. While Macon was training Edward, Muriel said to cluck when he does what he is supposed to do. The Learys, Charles, Porter and Rose, pick up on that and begin to cluck, also. The movie’s portrayal of Julian is the way I pictured him, sort of skinny, and medium height. His appearance is very well groomed and nicely dressed. Aside from the technicalities I mentioned earlier, I think it was a pretty good movie.

Most college students would probably say they would much rather watch the movie tan read the book but I enjoyed reading the book because then I could use my imagination in picturing the characters, where they are, and exactly what they may look like in certain situations. That is the downside to making a movie out of a book, most of the time one person’s depiction of a character could be totally opposite of what yours might be and then you are totally disappointed, like I was. If I had to recommend one of the two to a friend, I would recommend the book because I think they would enjoy it more than the movie.

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