5 Great Song to Movie Adaptations (Hollywood Would Ruin)
Music history is jam packed with great songs that tell amazing stories. But the problem with a song is that, given the compact nature of the format, there's never enough time to really tell a story the way it deserves to be told. Hell, "Stairway to Heaven" is like two hours long, and that still isn't enough time for anyone to figure out exactly what that shit is about. But with that problem comes a solution to another problem. It's been fairly obvious for years now that Hollywood is running short on good film ideas. If that wasn't the case, we wouldn't be staring down the business end of a Bloodsport remake right now. Maybe, instead of rebooting the same franchises every six months and just generally pandering to the lowest common denominator, Hollywood could tap into the nearly limitless supply of great songs just begging to be made into movies. I'll even help get them started right now! Here are five great songs that should be made into movies, and the directors who could try (and almost certainly fail) to make them awesome ...
Kanye West -- "Gold Digger"
Kanye West's 2005 hit "Gold Digger" not only is one of his best, but also stands as the only time in music history that the words "featuring Jamie Foxx" weren't attached to something soul-crushingly awful.
The song warns of the dangers that await a man who finds himself in a relationship with a chick who just wants him for his money. With lines like "You can see him on TV any given Sunday, win the Super Bowl and drive off in a Hyundai" and "She supposed to buy your shorty Tyco with your money, she went to the doctor got lipo with your money" littered throughout the song, it's a wonder someone isn't working on a "Gold Digger" screenplay right now. That shit would practically write itself.
The Director Who Would Ruin It: Tyler Perry
I have a theory about Tyler Perry. Just as Kanye West's mostly impressive artistic output (that shitty 808s & Heartbreak album excluded) gives him some leeway to be the raging douchebag that he is, I'm pretty sure Tyler Perry is the nicest man on earth, and nobody has the heart to dish out the necessary tough love to tell him that he's been consistently cranking out some of the most awful films of the past decade. There is simply no other excuse for how all of those Madea movies keep getting made.
She was charged with crimes against entertainment.
It's the exact same line of thinking that allows the hurdles to still be a Special Olympics event. Everyone watching knows that what they're looking at is painfully absurd, but nobody could possibly be mean enough to step in and put a stop to it. OK, that was bad, and I'm sorry. The mentally handicapped have done nothing to justify something as cruel as being compared to Tyler Perry movies. But anyway, if we're talking about a film that's likely to be geared toward a black audience, there's an excellent chance it will fall into Tyler Perry's hands.
A Proposed Tyler Perry Story Line
"Mo' money, mo' problems" becomes "Mo' money, HO problems" when three Atlanta-based buppies learn the hard way that the ample dating opportunities that come with being young and rich aren't necessarily a good thing. In an effort to inject some much needed lightheartedness into a family reunion, the men arrive dressed as women. When they realize their disguises have managed to fool everyone in the room, they take their covertness as an opportunity to partake in some undercover tomfoolery by spying on their respective girlfriends to find out what kind of things women talk about when the men aren't around. What they find is that the women they love are a pack of gold-digging skanks. Hilarity ensues as the trio deals with this unwelcome knowledge in a variety of ways (most of which involve more cross-dressing). Will they ever get revenge on the women they thought they loved? Will they find something in their broken relationships that make them worth salvaging? Is that kid really his? Can we please see Tyler Perry in a dress again? Find out the answers to those questions and more when Tyler Perry's Gold Digger hits theaters this Christmas!
Lyrical Spoiler Alerts
"I don't care what none of y'all say, I still love her."
"18 years, 18 years, and on her 18th birthday he found out it wasn't his."
"You stay right, girl, and when you get on he leave your ass for a white girl."
Rupert Holmes -- "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)"
It's likely that the name Rupert Holmes means nothing to you. He's easily the most forgettable one-hit wonder of all time. Just look at the guy. That's not the face of a rock star. That's the face of a man whose only course in life should be a major in furniture sales with a minor in inappropriate touching. But even if you don't know the face, you probably know the following lyrics:
Right, you know the song. Here's the video, in case you're wondering what the rock star studs your parents partied to in the 1970s looked like when the bright stage lights hit their adorable tinted glasses.
"Escape" tells the story of a man who's grown tired of his lady. To rectify his unhappiness, he takes to the personals section of his local newspaper (the '70s equivalent of browsing for hookers on Craigslist) and reads a letter from a woman who seems to be the girl of his dreams, making special note of their shared disdain for yoga. Apparently, being into yoga was a flaw on par with having genital warts in the 1970s.
This is no way to attract a man.
The two agree to meet up at the optimum boning hour of noon the next day. But there's one problem: The chick who placed that personal ad turns out to be the very same broad he was so unhappy with in the first place. Hello, twist ending! Why aren't you in a movie yet?
The Director Who Would Ruin It: Garry Marshall
If you aren't familiar with the films of Garry Marshall, congratulations. You've done a great job avoiding a whole bunch of awful. The rest of you will know him as the director of just about every massively successful chick flick of the past three decades. Just reading his list of directing credits is enough to make a man spontaneously sprout a vagina (you can read it too, ladies, having a spare couldn't hurt) ...
Sure, there are some "classics" on that list (like Pretty Woman, I guess), but for the most part, this guy plays to one audience and one audience only ... the easily entertained. But if "Escape" is going to be a Garry Marshall film, one thing will definitely have to change. In the song, both the man and the woman are on the prowl. No way is a Garry Marshall film going to feature a woman who is anything less than perfect. Chicks don't dig that. At least not the dullards who make his films successful.
A Proposed Garry Marshall Story Line
A young woman living in New York City fears that the man she loves is growing distant. Not willing to let the relationship die without a fight, she tries everything in her power to make things better. But nothing seems to work! Her idea to take up yoga to tighten up her already impressive body falls flat when she finds that her man is the one guy on the planet who is repulsed at the sight of a woman in yoga pants. Even her plan to stay up until midnight when her guy usually goes to bed so they can make passionate love fails when she realizes that he only stays up late so he can pound a bottomless stream of tropical drinks, thus rendering him too inebriated to perform. And worst of all, he blames her for all of this!
Things finally reach a breaking point when she discovers that he's been communicating with other women online, claiming to be in search of "the one." Despite her friends' pleas to leave that jerk behind, she remains committed to making the relationship work. In a last ditch attempt to make things right, she sets up a fake dating profile posing as the woman of her jerk-of-a-man's dreams and tricks him into meeting her for drinks. How will he react when he realizes that the "new" woman he thought he was meeting turns out to be the some old gal he's been living with for the past year? Will her shenanigans rekindle their romance? Will he write her off as the clingy stalker that she secretly is and end things for good? Check out Escape: The Pina Colada Movie in theaters this summer and find out!
Lyrical Spoiler Alerts
"So I waited with high hopes, then she walked in the place. I knew her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face. It was my own lovely lady, and she said, 'Oh, it's you.' And we laughed for a moment, and I said, 'I never knew' ..."
Neil Young -- "Cortez the Killer"
There's nothing Hollywood loves more than a historical drama, and Neil Young's 1975 epic "Cortez the Killer" would make a great one. This seven-minute-long tune takes about four minutes longer than it should to tell the tale of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, who conquered Mexico for Spain in the 16th century. Yeah! Rock and roll!
The story is told from the third person until the final verse, where it switches to a first-person narrative with the line "And I know she's living there, and she loves me to this day." Before that moment, the song is all about death and destruction. So, we have a ridiculously long song filled to the brim with epic violence and a little bit of a love story thrown in on the side. This can be a job for one man and one man only.
The Director Who Would Ruin It: James Cameron
According to calculations that I haven't done and wouldn't even know how to if I cared, a seven-minute song when adapted for the big screen should be just over three hours long. And nobody has the market on needlessly long films cornered quite like James Cameron. The "lots of violence mixed with a little romance" flow of "Cortez the Killer" is exactly his type of party. There would be one minor tweak, of course. Anyone who has actually had the patience to sit through Titanic or Avatar knows two things would come from his adaptation of "Cortez the Killer." First, the trailer will make it seem like the most epic war saga of all time. Just three solid hours of bloodshed and fury. Second, it will be revealed that the trailer is a lie and the film is actually a 2.5-hour love story with 20 minutes of action tossed in at the end.
A Proposed James Cameron Story Line
The utopian society that Aztec ruler Moctezuma II helped build is threatened when Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes literally dances across the water (the special effects have to come from somewhere) with designs on conquering Mexico for his native Spain. While a fierce battle rages somewhere off camera, a young Aztec man who has jack shit to do with the events unfolding around him falls in love with a young woman with a nearly unpronounceable name who arrived with Cortes. But their unfortunate positioning as combatants on differing sides of a fight to the death means their love must be kept a secret (and that they're both traitorous assholes). Will their undying love overcome their starkly differing backgrounds? Will the Aztecs hold their ground against the mighty Cortes, or will their society be destroyed? Is anyone ever going to cut somebody's fucking head off, or are these two just going to make out the entire time? The answers await when literally a bajillion people flock to theaters this July to see James Cameron's Cortez the Killer.
Lyrical Spoiler Alerts
"He came dancing across the water, with his galleons and guns."
"On the shore lay Moctezuma, with his coca leaves and pearls."
"Cortez, Cortez, what a killer."
Public Enemy -- "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos"
If the Public Enemy classic "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos" seems like familiar Cracked territory, that's because it was highlighted as being one of the most implausible story raps ever in an article last year. And it totally is. The song is about a guy who goes to prison for dodging the draft. The last time the U.S. had a military draft was 1973, which would mean that Public Enemy front man Chuck D was drafted at the tender young age of 13.
But that doesn't mean it wouldn't make a great movie! The real story being told in the song is one about an elaborate and violent prison break that involves killing corrections officers, starting prison riots and a team of glorified backup dancers known as the "Security of the First World" blowing shit up.
"These berets make us look tough, right?"
An implausible story and shit that explodes. Do you even need to ask who's going to direct this?
The Director Who Would Ruin It: Michael Bay
Of course Michael Bay would direct this shit. The script would call for something to blow up. That's the starting point for every Michael Bay film. Of course, racial politics aren't really his thing, unless you take his staunch support of stereotypical and racially offensive robots into account, which you probably shouldn't.
"... but black robots be standin' like this!"
So, there will have to be some creative liberties taken to make it fit within his strict "nothing makes sense but everything goes boom" aesthetic. Also, in the song Chuck D is freed from prison by a group of people. That will never work. For this to be a Michael Bay disaster, one man will have to break everyone out of prison, preferably at sunset, because everything looks a little more awesome when the sun is going down.
A Proposed Michael Bay Story Line
In the year (Kaboom!) 2073, the Security of the First World is the planet's last line of defense against a one world (Blaow!) government hell bent on enslaving the (Kerpow!) masses. When the group is tried in absentia (Blammo!) and convicted on trumped-up robbery charges, they are apprehended and sent to prison. But not just any prison. It's a prison ... for robots! (Detonation!) And they're not just any robots. They're ... break-dancing robots! Thankfully, one member of the group (the weakest and least useful, naturally) manages to avoid capture. Knowing that the rest of his team will never survive among a prison population of gold-tooth wearing, street gang affiliated machines, he devises a plan with the aid of his unrealistically hot girlfriend (Titties!) to free them ... with a bazooka! (KapowMushroomCloudFireball!) Will his plan be successful? Will the Security of the First World remain locked up forever, thereby dooming mankind to a lifetime of enslavement? Will the obligatory smoking-hot female lead have any discernible acting qualifications that would justify such a high-profile role? Are there Jewish robots also, or just black and regular? Your questions will (mostly) be answered this January when Michael Bay's Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos invades a theater near you! (Explosion!)
Lyrical Spoiler Alerts
"The joint broke, from the black smoke. Then they saw it was rougher than the average bluffer. 53 brothers on the run, and we are gone."
Helen Reddy -- "Angie Baby"
Have you ever heard of Helen Reddy? I assume you haven't, because I had never heard of her, and I fucking know everything. But her single "Angie Baby" is apparently a pretty famous song. Again, I don't know how famous it could be if I wasn't already familiar with it, but still, that's what I'm told. Lack of familiarity aside, after hearing the song, one thing was clear. "Angie Baby" would make for one hell of a movie.
It's the story of a girl who locks herself in her room every night and pretends that the people she hears on the radio are actually in the room with her. Her parents plead with her to stop being such a weirdo and even resort to removing her from school when her crazy-person behavior gets to be too much for the public to tolerate. But come on, she's just sitting in her room listening to music, why is that so bad? Can't her parents just cut her some slack? Ah, but there's a twist! A really stupid, impossible to believe twist. And when an absurd turn of events is what you need, one man comes through like no other. Come on, kids, say it with me!
The Director Who Would Ruin It: M. Night Shyamalan
This song has every element needed for a classically awful M. Night Shyamalan film. Which, of course, means it's mildly creepy and has a super duper stupid ending. In this case, the twist ending is that a when a neighbor boy goes missing, never to be found again, everyone assumes he's dead. But they're wrong! As it turns out, he took a shining to crazy Angie and decided to pay her a visit one day when her irresponsible parents left their mentally deranged child home alone. Bad move, because Angie straight up kidnaps his ass. Not only that, but she keeps him in her room so he can "satisfy her every night." And that's pretty much how it ends. He's her prisoner, and nobody has any clue. So the neighbor of a crazy girl goes missing and the police never bother to ask her about it? Of course not, why would they? And any parent worth their weight in social services paperwork would at least have a look-see around their wacko kid's room every once in awhile, at which point they would have found a strapping young boy chained up in the room, wouldn't they? No, not in whatever world this song is taking place in. Now, if the actual ending to the song is that absurd, just imagine what America's worst director (Uwe Boll is German) can do with it.
A Proposed M. Night Shyamalan Story Line
The residents of a small town are baffled when a local teenage boy goes missing. All eyes are on his neighbor, a strange girl named Angie. Suspicions are heightened when it's learned that Angie dropped out of school and refused to leave her room, starting the exact same day the boy went missing. Some neighbors even swear that the last time they saw him, he was walking up to Angie's front door. But nobody can pin the disappearance on Angie, who continues to barricade herself in her room, listening to the radio nonstop. Meanwhile, a young hotshot FBI agent is sent to the tiny town and tasked with cracking the case. Eventually, after about 75 minutes of insanely dull dialogue and not much else, he makes a "terrifying" discovery. Will his efforts lead to the safe rescue of the missing young man? Will Angie be exonerated, or has the public been right about her along? Is there a reason she won't stop listening to the radio? Is it because the missing young man is ... TRAPPED INSIDE THE RADIO? Wait, it's not that, is it? He's not really trapped inside the radio, is he? That's too stupid for words. Please, tell us he's not trapped inside the radio. He is, though, isn't he? He's in the goddamn radio. The detective probably ends up there, too, right? Trapped inside the radio? Would you care to explain how this happens or would you prefer to leave it at "They're inside the radio"? You really are just going to leave it at that, aren't you? Wow. Just wow. Well, get ready to once again say "Fuck you, M. Night Shyamalan, this is the worst ending ever" when Angie Baby spews its awful all over theaters this February.
Lyrical Spoiler Alerts
"And as she turns the volume down/He's getting smaller with the sound/It seems to pull him off the ground/Toward the radio he's bound never to be found."
Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should be his friend on Twitter and Facebook. He would also like to thank the lovely and talented Diana Cook for letting him steal this idea from her. You should follow her on Twitter, too.
For more from Adam, check out 6 Cheap Acting Tricks That Fool The Academy Every Time and The 15 Most Baffling Boasts in the History of Rap.