HA!  Just kidding.  But we think we are rightfully confused about who's who and what's what with the latest and upcoming releases of movies based on books.  Read on to see what you should be reading first...

The Rum Diary

In theaters now is The Rum Diary, starring Captain Jack Sparrow, er Johnny Depp, based on the novel of the same name by the inimitable Hunter S Thompson. By looks of the trailer, Hollywood is clearly trying to market this as the prequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, even though The Rum Diary is set in 1950's Puerto Rico, Loathing was set a couple decades later and a few latitudes north, and HST never really intended The Rum Diary to be autobiographical. But hey, who's keeping score? As far as box office receipts, Depp and rum go together like vanilla and ice cream, so the casting formula for this was a no-brainer. Reading the original literary version of The Rum Diary is intoxicating enough to give you a sympathy hangover (in a good way), with relentless and vivid accounts of a crazed ex-pat drinking enough rum (40 proof pints for breakfast anyone?) to pickle the typical liver in 24 hours or less. Be sure to read this one first, and drink plenty of water.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Another one just in the nick of time for the holidays is Hugo, a film produced by Martin Scorsese based on the kind-of-graphic-novel-kind-of-not The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Hugo is a mysterious young chap that hangs out in a Parisian train station (but mysteriously speaks with a british accent), discovers something called an automaton, and embarks on a sepia-tinted adventure of self-discovery. The thing is, not even Scorsese, 3D, and Borat (no, seriously, he's in this) can do justice to the epic 533 page original. This novel was the first ever to win the Caldecott medal, which is reserved for illustrations, so it's kind of a big deal. You owe it to yourself, and Brian Selznick, to read this one first.

Breaking Dawn

If you still don't think the classic mortal-vampire-werewolf love triangle (yawn, right?) is passe, then we've got some news for you!  Breaking Dawn, the fourth and final installment of the Twilight Saga is coming to your local megaplex just in the nick of time to kickstart the Yuletide cheer.  But wait!  There's more.  This, um, compelling, retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a Hatfield and McCoy twist doesn't quite get the proverbial nail in the coffin it really deserves, as the fourth book is a two part flick a la Deathly Hallows.  If you want to see the movie, chances are you'll love the books. But if you're only interested in seeing it being mercilessly torn to pieces by the boys from, we suggest you just queue it up in your Netflix.

On The Road

Rumor has it that On The Road, by Jack Kerouac, is currently in post-production. Its hard to imagine how the film can possibly emulate the Duke of the Beats chronic disregard for punctuation and feverishly poetic stream of consciousness storytelling, but the fact that Francis Ford Coppola and Walter Salles (who directed the similarly themed Motorcycle Diaries and made a documentary about retracing Kerouac's path as homework for the movie) are involved in this is encouraging. Even so, On The Road was as close as the beat generation ever got to articulating what their quest for dharma was all about, so please, for the love of everything that is holy, read this one first!
Thanks for reading it first, and as always, don’t forget to be awesome.