I haven’t seen ANY of this year’s slew of “Best Picture” nominees. Besides the high price of tickets and parking, I simply can’t sit still while today’s over-indulged directors take up to THREE hours tell their freaking stories.
All great movies share the same basic structure. Hero. Goal. Antagonist. Conflict. Love Interest. Setbacks. Resolution.
Boom. Done. Story told. Viewer satisfied. Now let me hit the can to liberate those 64 ounces of Diet Pepsi.
In the good olde days, you didn’t need a Sundance pass to see quality short films; you could laze on your couch through an endlessly looping festival of 3-4 minute mini-movies on the MTV. For anyone under 30, MTV is a deceased cable channel that was dedicated to music in the same way The Learning Channel — TLC — was about education and BRAVO was for the fine arts. Today’s MTV is a reality-addled zombie that claimed its carcass.
But not these clips. These videos were ambitious — cramming all the thrills, chills, romance and spills of Skyfall, Argo and Django Unchained into self-contained mini masterpieces.
Hooray For Earth “Never / Figure” — Category: Indie Mindfuck Art Film
Our first — and most recent — entry is from a band you might not have heard of. NYC-based Hooray For Earth is the brainchild of Noel Heroux. His psychedelic, ambient, noise pop might sure the hell ain’t radio friendly, but it perfectly sets the tone for one of the most entrancing videos I have seen in years.
At first I thought it was just another hodgepodge of “day in the life” images — but wait for it… something amazing is about to happen to our hero, Heroux. Never/Figure (the double A-side single you can get here) doesn’t have the linear plotlines of our other entires (below) but, like Memento, it creates its own universe and plays by its own rules.
POPDOSE caught up with director Milton Ladd to discuss the trippy clip.
POPDOSE: The video feels less like a promotional clip and more like a cohesive short film. Was the video inspired by the songs? Or did the songs take shape as a way to score the film concept?
Milton Ladd: Noel and I approached this project with the idea that the two, previously released, tracks “Never” and “Figure” would span one continuous clip. The video was written and directed with a loose narrative driving the action and cinematography which was absolutely inspired by each track – but, as the edit took shape, Noel cleverly re-approached “Figure” in order to better-fit the corresponding portion of the video.
Near death experience? Life after death? Writer’s block? Government conspiracy? Lack of privacy? Mundane daily rituals? I have no idea what the video is about — but that’s half the allure. Care to share your perspective on the theme(s)?
ML: Simply put, the narrative element of this video is meant to convey themes relating to the fear and anxiety of finding oneself suddenly disconnected from life and the context of daily routine. Ambiguous territory for sure, but the video is intended to feel redemptive despite various allusions to death and dying.
Connect with Hooray for Earth online. Listen to the Soundcloud Stream of “Never” below:
and now, let’s see some classics…
Muse “Knights of Cydonia” — Category: Spaghetti Western Sci Fi
Cowboys! Robots! Unicorns! Lynch mobs! Compact discs! By a landslide, my favorite video of all time. The hero is played by Russ Bain — I gots a fever, and the only cure is more Russ Bain. Genius performance.
The Kinks “Come Dancing” — Category: Romance
Just like Uncle Buck, 25 years later and I still choke up with happy tears every time this one plays. Just as Dave Grohl (spoiler alert, he’s below) did with Sound City, the Kinks perfectly capture an era of music as it fades to black and the sense of loss that comes with modernization. While we’re here, let’s give two best actor nods to Mr. Davies.
ZZ Top “Sharp Dressed Man” — Category: Epic Trilogy
“Sharp Dressed Man” was by far The Empire Strikes Back in the Eliminator trilogy — and for whatever reason I can’t find it on YouTube. So instead, here is the one that catapulted this Texas bar band into MTV history:
Rainbow “Street of Dreams” — Category: Thriller
Still to this day, this is why I am afraid of seeing a shrink…
Golden Earring “Twilight Zone” — Category: Thriller
Hate to break it to you — this one is “censored” — I’m sure someone can find the real deal out there. If so, please share.
Ian Hunter “All of the Good Ones Are Taken” — Category: RomCom
Ian Hunter should have done some more acting in his day, his take on the Dudley Moore version of Arthur is a pure delight. 40+ years into his career, the Mott the Hoople frontman is still making awesome music. His lastest solo album, When I’m President, is on sale this week for only $5.99.
Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce “Telephone” — Category: Sexploitation
The one thing I will say about Gaga — she has the musical chops to match her ambition. Now is it just me, or is Beyonce lip-syncing here?
Bjork “Bachelorette” — Best Best Foreign Film
The first of clips two by Michel Gondry, director of the absolutely perfect Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. How they kept this Russian Doll story board straight is a feat of incredible engineering.
Foo Fighters “Everlong” — Category: Horror/Fairy Tale
Dave Grohl and Co. usually turn to comedy with their clips – but this Gondry masterwork tackles nightmares with actual non-sensical dream logic. And the best actress Oscar goes to: Taylor Hawkins!
Chicago “Stay the Night” — Action/Adventure/RomCom
Cetera! Cetera! Etc.
And what good is a film fest without at least one preview:
Beastie Boys “Sabotage”
For the love of God, Apatow Gang, please make this into a real movie!