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September 1, 2008 / Maleesha Kovnesky

License to Drive

Everyone knows that books are often made into movies.  It’s less common to see movies made into books.  And like the universal truth that The Book is Always Better than the Movie, movies that were made into books are stinkers in their own right.

Lots of us have seen the meme question “Name a movie that you love but are embarrased to admit it.”  I forgot about my scandalous love for the 1988 movie License to Drive.

I loved this movie, and for two reasons:  Haim and Feldman.  I was not immune to the “Coreymania” of the 80’s.  I prefered Feldman over Haim, probably due to his bad boy-ness.  I watched this movie over and over.  We rented a VCR every weekend (VCR and 3 movies for $9.99!) and I often chose License to Drive as my choice for a movie.  I got nervous every time Les (Corey Haim) snuck the car out of his garage as his parents slept soundly inside the house.  I got annoyed at Mercedes (Heather Graham) when she got drunk and passed out on the Coreys.  I laughed hysterically every time the car got crushed at the end of the movie. 

Enter the book fair.  I loved school book fairs.  I would bring the small, newsprint catalog home each month and pore over the choices of new reading material, knowing that I could only pick one.  One month the choice was simple…License to Drive was being offered as a paperback!  Eureka!  I checked the box and slept soundly, knowing that I would be able to enjoy the brilliance of Corey, Corey, and their driving adventures every day.  I’m sure I still have this book packed in a box somewhere at my mother’s house.  It took me a god 30 minutes to find proof of this book’s existence on the Internet.  I found a photo of the book somewhere deep inside an eBay store. 

I received the book two to four weeks later and read it over and over.  I thoroughly enjoyed the book but I was dismayed to find out that they left out important dialogue featured in the movie.  A line in License to Drive says “Don’t fuck with the DMV, Mr. Anderson.”  In the book, this line had been changed to “Don’t mess with the DMV.”  What a disappointment.  Sure, I bought the book via a fifth grade book fair, but surely the dialogue would have remained truthful to the movie?  It didn’t. 

So the life lesson is that the book is always better than the movie, but only if it was a book first.



Leave a Comment
  1. msmollie / Sep 3 2008 7:45 am

    Have you watched the Two Coreys? OMG, I hate reality TV, but that is one you can’t miss. In high school my friend would always tell guys her name was Mercedes b/c of the girl in this movie. Memories.

  2. curlywurlygurly / Sep 2 2008 4:36 am

    i LURVED that movie–if only because haim’s sister in the film was named natalie and i would pretend he was talking to ME when he said her name during the dinner table scene. ahhh. i’m a dork, i know!

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