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 Band Perry – “Better Dig Two”
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Viggo Mortensen
Director: Ang Lee
Synopsis: Mortensen plays an old man who Johansson has known and had a crush on all of her life. She’s young and inexperienced when they marry and move out West to his secluded ranch. What starts as a quiet love story turns dark when she finds he’s contemplating infidelity and she vows to stop it by any means necessary.
Tagline: If the ties that bind ever do come loose, she’ll tie them in a knot…like a hangman’s noose.
2. Miranda Lambert “Mama’s Broken Heart”
Starring: Elizabeth Olsen
Director: Sophia Coppola
Synopsis: Olsen is the only person we seen on screen for the duration of this film, which takes place inside her apartment, as she gets over a devastating break up. We see glimpses of her relationship and family in photographs, getting the story of just when things went wrong and exactly how the influence of her controlling mother was behind it all.
Tagline: My mama came from a softer generation, where you get a grip and bite your lip just to save a little face.
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. Taylor Swift – “22”
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Bree Larson
Director: Amy Heckerling
Synopsis: Woodley and Larson play Romy & Michelle for millennials. This comedic Themla and Louise explore female friendship and what society makes of it during one wild night out in Toledo, OH where they “fall in love with strangers” and “keep dancing like they’re 22.” Instagram filters act as another character in the film, highlighting every emotional moment.
Tagline: We’re happy, free , confused, and lonely in the best way.
5. Garth Brooks – “The Thunder Rolls”
Starring: Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Kruger
Director: Frank Darabont
Synopsis: Sarandon and Jones are a happily married Boomer couple who live in suburbia. Married young, the duo seem to have one of those storybook romances, until Sarandon uncovers Jones’ secret: an affair with Kruger who is 30 years his junior. And one dark and stormy night, Sarandon decides to deal with his infidelity through supernatural methods.
Tagline: Another love grows cold on a sleepless night.