I'm with you on this one, Chuck. When it comes to adaptations I used to be like most of you who complained how it wasn't faithful to the novel or short story or graphic novel or whatever creative medium it spawned from. However, after years of reading books and watching movies - especially the adaptations of said books - I've come to realize that movies should offer something new, a stand alone.
When I first watched The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys back when it was first released on DVD, I enjoyed the film. Later - possibly after the movie ended due to the credits or through the back of the box - I learned that the movie was based on a novel by Chris Fuhrman - I should say only novel by Fuhrman. Needless to say - as I've already mentioned it in my "review" (see "I Was A Catholic Teenage Rebel"), I purchased the novel only picking it up recently.
The images from the movie were vague in my head. I remembered faintly how the story ended - I won't give spoilers here because I hate when others do that - but for the most part, I couldn't connect point A to point B so reading the novel was a new experience for me. Now I've popped in the movie once again, reviving not only nostalgic memories of the movies - not necessarily the events in the film - and why I loved it so much the first time I watched it.
The actors were stellar with the parts given; it was the storyline that nearly left me upset. There was no way that the novel was taken a part so horribly and stapled back together like this piece of shit movie. But that's the old me talking. The me who used to hate going to the movies only to watch one of his favorite books ripped asunder. What have I learned after all these years? Film adaptations shouldn't be compared to the book, regardless.
There are some of you out there who still hang on to the belief that films should be faithful to the printed roots. It's a notion that has to be let go. You will only drive yourself mad with the fact that there will never be a film that even comes close to the novel that still possesses the same heart and breath.
A movie should be a stand alone from its printed brethren. It shouldn't attempt to mimic it, merely use it as a jumping point. That is what Jeff Stockwell and Michael Petroni did for the screenplay. And the movie worked.