5 Albums of the Past Decade That Could Be Adapted Into Movies

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American Idiot, the Green Day album that birthed a Broadway musical, is nearing a move to the big screen after at least one aborted attempt. Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black is in talks to write the screenplay, and now I'm in talks with myself to realize the potential in adapting albums as films. It's a mystifying and interesting thought; that rumored Candy Land movie is basically Katy Perry's Teenage Dream anyway, right? Here are five more that could make for intriguing cineplex draws.

1. Sufjan Stevens, Illinois

The sprawling, 22-track opus is more than just a tribute to the Land of Lincoln: It's an ominous and evocative mood piece that could provide the basis for a modern-day road movie. There are enough stories within the songs themselves (the eight-plus-minute "Casimir Pulaski Day," anyone?) to load a few films worth of poetic, Illinoisian languor.

Casting: Jesse Eisenberg as a Decatur-born troubadour; the flat splendor of Illinois as itself.

2. Amy Winehouse, Back to Black

The world hasn't seen much of Amy Winehouse in the past few years, but that doesn't mean her breakout second album, 2006's Back to Black, is any less worthy of cinematic exhumation. The bluesy, boozy collection is an ideal soundtrack for the kind of beleaguered female chanteuse we haven't witnessed since, what, Postcards from the Edge? Give us La Vie Un Noir!

Casting: Mila Kunis as the trilling tippler, and Jonah Hill as her cutup soulmate.

3. Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster

Lady Gaga's sophomore album (or EP, depending on your perspective) qualifies as a concept album thanks to its B-movie motifs, dark disco hooks, and meditation on the fetishistic. We're due for another exploration of club scene indulgence, and I'm not talking about a benign, danceable trainwreck like 54 --- I'm talking about a thundering bacchanal with "Teeth."

Casting: Lady Gaga herself as the clubland starlet; Peter Sarsgaard as the menacing club proprietor.

4. Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The baffling denseness of Kanye West's most recent album has the gall and grandiosity to fill at least one David Lynch movie. The lyrics, while a mixed bag of metaphors and command, sometimes stupefy and other times convey the spirit of a classic singer-songwriter. "I hit the Jamaican spot, at the bar, take a seat / I ordered you jerk, she said 'you are what you eat.'" That's kind of Joni-ish, actually. And it'd make for a fascinating journey in one protagonist's nervy, erratic stride.

Casting: I see more of a warped Waking Life approach for this one, but I'd allow Kanye the chance to play whatever version of himself (or anyone else) he desired.

5. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs

The "surprise" 2011 winner for Grammy's Album of the Year (Who was really surprised? The Grammys either go with the most crowd-pleasing or the "coolest" choice every year. No exception.) is an unassailable tribute to brothers Win and William Butler's Houston rearing. Plenty of movies have tried to capture the stagnated stillness of suburban life, but a movie based on this glorious, yet lyrically simple album seems more likely to be sincere than Sam Mendes's next project.

Casting: Kat Dennings and Michael Cera reunite as suburban misfits in love.

Green Day's 'American Idiot' Nears Feature Film Deal [MTV]



Comments

  • ILDC says:

    Gorillaz's Demon Days and/or Plastic Beach, done in the style of their music videos. Seems like a no-brainer.

  • busterbluth says:

    Frank was Winehouse's debut andBack to Black is the follow-up.

  • The Winchester says:

    Christopher Nolan's Kid A would be AMAZING.
    Just sayin...

  • Jen Yamato says:

    So true. Noted and corrected, Buster. Thx.

  • NP says:

    Kelis: _Flesh Tone_

  • The Winchester says:

    From the makers of "The Human Centipede"...

  • NP says:

    Bah! It could be everything _Tron: Legacy_ should have been.

  • Louis Virtel says:

    OK, I don't even know what to say to this, but I own that album. Don't ask why the word "debut" flew out of my fingers. Apologies and thank you.

  • Jen Yamato says:

    Back to Black is so full of amazing tracks that it's easy to forget about Frank. Does anyone do songs from Frank at karaoke? Nope. But it's always time for a little "Rehab" or "You Know I'm No Good."

  • sosgemini says:

    The album to look out for is Aimee Mann's The Forgotten Arm which she is currently adapting to a play. Other possibilities: Bjork's Telegraph has always screamed cinema adaption to me. So has Cherelle's Affair, Mary J Blige's My Life, Wendy and Lisa's Eroica and surprisingly Janet Jackson's Rythm Nation 1814 (a urban tale of teen love amongst a fight against an 1984 type government's attempt to prevent its people from evolving via education).

  • jake says:

    They already made The Suburbs into a 30 minutes film. Directed by Spike Jonze. It has been referenced on this very site.
    Sure it's not a feature, but still... just sayin'.

  • Oh, dude, you haven't lived until you've heard my version of "Fuck Me Pumps."

  • Louis Virtel says:

    I am an obsessed Aimee fan, so I'm glad you bring up the Forgotten Arm musical. Weird to me because I think it's easily my least favorite album of hers. What is "I Can't Get My Head Around It" about? My guess is nothing.
    I'd die for a Lost in Space movie, personally.

  • KevyB says:

    I have the BEST album for a movie! ABBA Gold! Why hasn't anyone thought of this! Get Meryl Streep on the phone!

  • anonymous says:

    Glitch Mob-Drink the Sea (could be the score of a movie, since the songs themselves do not have words)

  • Jake says:

    the album MmHmm by Relient K. The story of a musical romance and break-up that echoes the lead character's spiritual metamorphosis into a man.

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