This week, my regular podcast companion Jeff wasn’t able to join, so our friend and contributor, Taryn Hope fills in to chat about The Girl on the Train. This is a very serviceable thriller featuring engaging performances from leads Emily Blunt and Allison Janney. It’s an adaptation of a popular book of the same name by Paula Hawkins, and the project was has been compared to by many as the next Gone Girl. Spoiler warning for this episode—we fully spoil the plot of this movie, so definitely go see it before listening or reading further here!
We talk about whether or not this movie works as a popcorn thriller (it mostly does), and spend a proper amount of time gushing over Emily Blunt and Allison Janney. Would I watch a cop show that featured the two of them doing little more than what is in this movie? Yes. Yes I would.
We are both in for whatever Emily Blunt wants to do next, and Taryn makes the bold call that Blunt is trying to pull a Glenn Close (by which she means put together a varied, interesting career full of different types of performances). Close definitely had clown hair in the 80s. Taryn noticed that there were one or two other cast members too, so that was super helpful. After that, we discuss the story and its use of (last spoiler warning, turn back now if you don’t want to know) gaslighting. The term’s origin is pretty interesting, and its function in this story is to push the viewer to question our lead’s reliability.
Taryn has some very strong thoughts about the set design of the yard that features in the movie. For her mental health, I’ll share that the structure she talks about isn’t present in the book, one of many changes the film makes.
In the second segment, we talk about book-to-movie adaptations more broadly, focusing on some that we love, a few we could have done without, and then pitch new adaptations we want to see made. There are so many adaptations out there, it’s clearly a proven way to get an audience interested in a film. Between Moneyball (which I like to talk about), The Princess Bride, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, and The Devil Wears Prada, adaptations come in all shapes and sizes.
In the category of movie adaptations that didn’t do it for us, I have a long list of adapted YA and children’s books that probably didn’t need to be made. The Golden Compass is my favourite example of a movie that just didn’t work, and it’s certainly not alone. Taryn is not here for World War Z and Alice in Wonderland.
We offer up a couple pitches of our own for adaptations, and I’m in the tank for 11/22/63, which I know is already a miniseries, but I want a movie, dammit. I want my boyfriend, Captain America to star with my idol, Brienne of Tarth (aka Chris Evans and Gwendoline Christie). Make it happen, Hollywood. Taryn is stumping for a Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.
This week, Taryn is super into a documentary called Tickled, and all that she’ll tell us is that it is about competitive tickling competitions (what?), and that it takes a turn. Documentary fans, check this out.
As for me, I’m living for Tatiana Maslany’s recent Emmy win for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, which was all sorts of deserved. We talk about her a lot, so if you want more thoughts on her crazy talent, check out those thoughts here, here, and here.
William Goldman (not William Golding, as we said) adapted the book and screenplay for The Princess Bride. It’s super and you should read it.