Some topics are practically begging to be made into movies. Sometimes it’s a book adaptation (see: The Hobbit). Sometimes it’s a fascinating individual who would make for a fantastic biopic. Sometimes it’s even a song. Here are my nominations for seven screenplays that need to be written.
1. A Ted Williams biopic
The Kid oozed charisma. He was the ultimate man’s man. He was a war hero, he dated models, he was a monster as a hitter, he was an outdoorsman supreme, and people who knew him personally will tell you that he was nothing more than a giant 12 year old kid at heart (unless you were a sportswriter, but that’s another story altogether). It practically writes itself. If Billy Crystal can go bananas with a film like 61* in which he spins his idol-worship of Mantle and Maris into a great baseball movie, then surely some Bostonian has the creative chops to pull out a film on Teddy Ballgame.
2. Bob Dylan’s Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts
In fact, I’ve heard rumors that this has been attempted. There’s just so much to like about the story that Dylan tells in the song. There’s murder, there’s robbery, there’s adultery and mirror image female characters (Lily and Rosemary). Most importantly, there’s the larger than life protagonist- the “Jack of Hearts”- for movie-goers to rally around. Here are the lyrics, if you’re unfamiliar.
3. A biopic about RFK
Again, this is rumored to be in the works. And it’s been attempted in the past many times, but it’s usually been sloppy, TV mini-series work. And it’s a topic that deserves a great deal more attention than that. Someone with the right credentials (just tossing a name out there but someone like, say, PT Anderson) could turn it into a powerful epic. If you think about it, focusing purely on the era from JFK’s assassination to RFK’s own assassination would be perfect. After all, covering RFK’s entire life would be too disjointed, too bloated. But that particular era for RFK has a built-in character arc, as he started as JFK’s bulldog, hunting down the mafia. And he ended it as an icon for the peace and love generation, an enduring symbol for hope denied. Toss in the emotional tension he felt trying to live up to his family legacy, and well… I’d get in line to see that movie.
4. The Sopranos prequel
You know, I’d settle for just about any sort of Sopranos movie. And there are a lot of directions they could go with it if David Chase ever decided to pursue it. Personally, I would want them to start somewhat fresh and give us a prequel. I want to see Dickie Moltisanti, Johnny Boy Soprano and his brother Junior, and Feech LaManna fleshed out. I want to see a 20 year old street punk named Paulie Gaultieri earning his proverbial (and somewhat literal) wings. I want to see Livia Soprano shredding her husband to pieces. Forget the unfinished business from the TV show. Just give me the lush background of the fictional Jersey mob that David Chase created.
5. A movie that focuses on the St. Louis Mafia
Ok, ok… that’s two mob movies in a row. Forgive me for being a sucker for that kind of thing. We’ve seen mob movies about the Chicago mafia, the mob’s role in Vegas, countless movies about the mob in New York, and even a few that reference the mafia in Kansas City. You know what’s missing? The St. Louis mafia. It’s very real. Obviously I’m biased because I’m a St. Louis resident. Some of the stories you hear about the gang warfare that happened in this city in the middle part of the 20th century is fascinating. I won’t name specific families because I don’t want anyone to give me a pair of cement shoes, and I don’t want to defame anyone. But it doesn’t take too much google searching to find some of the history. Throw in the fact that it takes place in St. Louis, and that most of the violence (that I know of) happened in the 60’s and early 70’s, and you’ve got yourself a period piece with a unique setting. Maybe if I’m lucky, the Gunn family (James, Brian, Sean, and Matt Gunn, Hollywood participants born and raised in St. Louis) will pick up this idea.
6. A biopic about Marcus Garvey but ONLY if it’s written by Aaron McGruder
Garvey himself was a fascinating figure. He was a civil rights leader with some serious teeth, sort of a forerunner to the Nation of Islam and black nationalism. And again- you’ve got a built-in period piece, with Garvey making his hay in the early 20th century. Throw in the presence of Aaron McGrudger, the creator of The Boondocks, and you’d have something with both gravitas and humor. Certainly McGruder wouldn’t pull any punches telling the story the way it deserves to be told.
7. Any movie in which Michael Cera and Jonah Hill’s characters die in a plane crash
And of course, those characters- the two that they play EVERY SINGLE TIME OUT- are never to be heard from again. Please. PLEASE. Someone make this happen.