It’s often said that due to the recent influx of sequels and remakes that Hollywood has run out of ideas. While I don’t completely subscribe to that idea, I do think it would be nice if they would look somewhere else for inspiration aside from existing film franchises, popular books, video games and 1980s toys.
Songs perhaps? Yes, I know there are films which take their inspiration from song titles – Pretty Woman being a prime example but, apart from Julia Roberts looking quite attractive and walking down a street, what else do the film and the song have in common?
So here are some ballads (in their truest sense – a song which tells a story) that I’d love to see up on the big screen.
Over The Hills And Far Away – Gary Moore (1986)
Part heist caper, part erotic drama, part revenge thriller, this has the potential to be a rollicking, hard-boiled action-adventure. Combine all that with a protagonist (ideally played by Aiden Turner) who takes the fall for a crime he didn’t commit to protect a friend’s feelings and you have the perfect recipe for an Irish take on The Long Good Friday meets Casablanca.
Secret – The Pierces (2007)
Yes I know this has already been used as the theme tune for Freeform’s teen murder-mystery series Pretty Little Liars but there’s a great thriller right there in the song. As well as the secrecy, hypnotism and, eventually, murder hinted at in the lyrics, the fairground organ music in the backing track provides us with a suitably creepy setting.
Dry County – Bon Jovi (1992)
Bon Jovi’s epic ten-minute magnum opus is the perfect basis for a gritty American kitchen sink drama. One man struggles to hold onto a family who he uprooted for a new life in the once bountiful, but long since dry oil fields, whilst battling alcoholism, poverty and corporate greed. Sure, it sounds rather depressing but it also sounds suspiciously like Oscar-worthy material to me.
Cambodia – Kim Wilde (1981)
Vietnam movies were all the rage in the 80s but seem to have fallen out of favour of late. Maybe what the genre needs to give it a boost is the story of an airforce wife trying to piece together the mystery-shrouded truth of exactly what happened to her husband after he didn’t return from what should have been a routine bombing raid.
Hotel California – Eagles (1975)
Come on, admit it – your own personal interpretation of the classic rock song would make an AWESOME film. Just one problem – there are so many unconfirmed theories on what this song is actually about, nobody would agree on what to put in it!
Scarecrow – Bridie Jackson & The Arbour
An unsolved murder mystery? Check! Unsettling imagery and the one thing scarier than clowns or spiders? Check! Unreliable narrator? Check! Creepy, melancholic but romantic too, Scarecrow would make an amazing gothic ghost story.
Cloudbusting – Kate Bush (1985)
My top choice kind of writes itself really because it’s a song based on a true story. Cloudbusting documents the feelings of helplessness, and eventually hope, experienced by eleven-year-old Peter Reich when the FBI arrested his father Wilhelm for his, quite frankly, bizarre experiments.
Reich speculated that a cosmic energy, which he named “Orgone”, could be collected with his invention, the Orgone Accumulator, and harnessed for a number of functions such as accelerated healing, the destruction of cancerous cells and curing mental illnesses like schizophrenia.
However, if you’ve seen Kate Bush’s video you’ll remember the Accumulator’s other, more widely publicised purpose: its ability to affect weather patterns – specifically, to make it rain. Peter, in his 1973 memoir, A Book Of Dreams, claims that he and his father often used it for this purpose and affectionately termed the process “cloudbusting”. Unverified reports even suggest that it was successfully used to help reverse the fortunes of a blueberry farm suffering from the effects of drought.
Although a short film about Reich’s life was screened at the 1999 Venice Film Festival, it’s Donald Sutherland’s portrayal in the music video which is perhaps the best well-known representation of Reich. It has been suggested that Barbarella’s Dr Durand Durand is a sly parody of Reich, and his Excessive Pleasure Machine a fictionalised version of the Orgone Accumulator.
With such a rich and unusual history, surely Wilhelm Reich’s story is one that deserves a big budget biopic along the lines of The Theory Of Everything or A Beautiful Mind.
So which songs would you like to see adapted for the big screen? Let us know in the comments below…