There's just something about a vignette, that story that plays with the elements of shorthand to tell something we might ordinarily watch in 90 minutes instead in the span of about 10. So what would happen if someone took the works of a storyteller musician -- like Taylor Swift -- and applied it to a cinematic format similar to Paris Je T'Aime and New York, I Love You, in which each of Swift's songs were translated by an established filmmaker into a short work of cinema? Or perhaps rather than the short film format, what if the works were assembled as an interwoven series of stories like Love Actually, Valentine's Day, or He's Just Not That Into You? What would that look like? Especially if they had the courage to not actually include the songs themselves in the film?
While people often joke about Swift's songs all sounding the same, each one tells a very different story -- with almost all of her songs detailing a love affair that seems more inspired by romantic fiction than it does the tales of her own life. It seems only fair to translate them back. Here are the songs that seem most ripe for the picking.
A young boy falls for a young girl, but Dad isn't happy about it. Pretty classic story. How exactly would someone deal with a softened, country version of Romeo and Juliet with a happy ending? The right visual director could nail this. Think Julie Taymor and you're on the right track.
"You Belong With Me"
A young tomboy pines wistfully for her best friend who happens to be dating a cheerleader. The question is: Will she tell him? And if she does, will he realize that she's the one he loves?
"Teardrops on My Guitar"
The antithesis of "You Belong With Me," this is the story of a girl in love with her best friend Drew, only this time she doesn't have the courage to do anything but cry about it. He tells her everything and believes he's really found the right girl this time, and it seems he'll never notice how much the girl really loves him. No matter what, this one can't have a happy ending. You always have to have a bit of heartbreak, and this is the song to nail it.
This song starts with a young girl on her first day of school and follows her through the adventures and heartbreak of falling in love for the first time. This is one of the Taylor Swift songs that tells a story, but does so fairly ambiguously. There are a number of ways a director could take this and do something incredibly sweet with it -- or something incredibly daring.
The song that got her noticed, Swift's song isn't actually about Tim McGraw, it's about a young girl (I know, I know) who is pining for the boy she spent the summer in love with. She's written him a letter she's never delivered, and hopes secretly that he thinks of her every time he hears the music of Tim McGraw. What does the letter say? And what will he do when he reads it?
This one is the trickiest. It's the story of a young girl who sneaks into her ex's wedding in order to break it up. Told by the right person, this could be a romantic tale of someone trying to save her love from a very bad decision; told wrong and it will come off as crazy and desperate. After all, she's about to speak up when the minister says, "Speak now," the single scariest, most awkward moment in any wedding. One way or the other, it would be dramatic.
"Better Than Revenge"
A young girl, who admittedly is not so innocent, loses her boyfriend to the school harlot. But this girl isn't going to stand idly by and cry. She's going to mess this girl up. Swift never says exactly what she plans to do, but in the hands of the right comedic director, it could be quite funny. Think more Mean Girls and less Single White Female and you'll get where I'm going with this.
So what'd I miss? Any Taylor Swift songs you think should get this treatment? Any song writers you'd like to see similarly adapted?