By Courtney E. Smith
There’s a specific kind of storytelling woven into the shape of some songs; the kind that goes from A to B to C, telling the story of a narrator. It’s not terribly popular these days, but the spine of songwriting was built on the idea of telling the capsule of a story that tapped into some greater idea. Songs can be a short story (or a long one), detailing the travails of a person. They can be funny, dramatic, heroic, whatever humanity’s got.
With those story telling songs in mind, we’ve picked out 15 that would make excellent movie adaptations. We’ve selected a director, some featured stars and given them a short plot. If you’d like to see them, put on the song, close your eyes and play the movie inside of your head. It won’t cost you $17 and the price point on store-bought popcorn is far more reasonable.
1. The Cure – “Lullaby”
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter
Director: Tim Burton
Synopsis: Depp plays The Spider Man, a black & white candy-cane striped force of evil whose motives are wildly misunderstood by the public. He is unable to stop himself from committing unspeakable acts nightly in the dreams of children. Bonham Carter is the heartless puppet master pulling his strings.
Tagline: It’s much too late to get away or turn on the light. The Spider Man is having you for dinner tonight.
2. David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust”
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe
Director: Marc Webb
Synopsis: Radcliffe plays Ziggy, the rock star whose ego is careening out of control. Part Warhol film experiment, part documentary this fictional trip captures his last days before an infamous demise.
Tagline: He was the nazz with God-given ass, but he took it all too far.
3. Leonard Cohen – “Hallelujah”
Starring: George Clooney, Michael Cera, Chelsea Handler, Penelope Cruz, Chloë Grace Moretz, Channing Tatum and Willem Dafoe as Lucifer
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Synopsis: A group of angels existentially wrestle with the end of days: humanity, time, space and their very being, on the night before Judgement Day. Their conversation encompasses the mysteries of humanity and the universe from beginning to what will happen when there is, once again, nothing. Do angels get unemployment?
Tagline: Even though it all went wrong I’ll stand before the Lord of Song, with nothing on my tongue but hallelujah.
4. Bruce Springsteen – “The Promise”
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, Bryan Cranston and Jake Gyllenhaal
Director: Jason Reitman
Synopsis: The film follows three generations of an American family, from immigrants with no money to blue-collar worker to their first college graduate, as all three live their lives in the same house on Thunder Rd.
Tagline: All my life I fought that fight, the one that no man can win.
5. Geto Boys – “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Synopsis: A Houston man grows increasingly paranoid due to his PTSD, driving the freeways of the city as he remembers his gang banging past in the city, spanning a night that grows increasingly more tense while he careens towards his own self-induced demise.
Tagline: I keep looking over my shoulder and peeping around corners. My mind is playing tricks on me.