Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in Review: Music Videos a.k.a. Short Movie Musicals

I couldn't be happier that the music video has regained its cultural capital in the age of YouTube. There's something about the form that is just magical. Or maybe it's just that it's been the most reliable fix for movie-musical lovers during the past 30 years. You can pretend these 3 to 5 minute show stoppers are but one scene in a larger movie musical, can't you? At least that's what I do with my favorite videos.

So herewith, several favorites in no particular order. If you're wondering what music videos have to do with The Film Experience remember that they're short films and that this year's most celebrated director David Fincher (The Social Network) started that mammoth career by making mammoth music videos for Madonna (among others).

Please to enjoy. And let me know your favorite(s) in the comments.

Why only 8? I ran out of steam. You don't have time to watch 10 anyway.

Brandon Flowers "Crossfire"

In which Charlize Theron kicks much ninja ass. I love the self-effacing helplessness of your rock star hero who just can't stop getting into predicaments from which his hot girl (Charlize) must rescue him. Movie stars slumming in music videos is one of the best things in the world though this video does bring up my constant worry about Charlize: Why is she so awesome without making any movies worth caring about?

Janelle Monáe (feat. Big Boi) "Tightrope"

Those feet. The way they slide, spin, shuffle, dance. It's quite a feat.

Cosmo Jarvis "Gay Pirate".

I heart this so hard. That "Yo Ho" chorus is to die. Plus, it's lit and choreographed cleverly for one take (joy) and it's easily enjoyable both on the surface -- gay pirates!  -- and moreso if you want to dig deeper (think don't ask don't tell) which is the best kind of artistic trick.

But there's more: Jake Gyllenhaal, Gaga, and more one-take madness coming...


Lady Gaga (feat. Beyoncé) "Telephone"

I mostly love this one for the costumes, the Amazon aggression and the Kill Bill and Thelma & Louise shout outs. True story: I was playing charades the other night at a Christmas party and I had to act out this dance. HIGHLY EMBARRASSING.

Cazwell "Ice Cream Truck" [NSFW]

Because it's raunchy/hilarious (NSFW). Cazwell's songs sometimes have good laughs (I Saw Beyoncé at Burger King -lol) but this is the first video to match/surpass the fun embedded in the song.

Vampire Weekend "Giving Up the Gun"

Four things we love in different contexts entirely: tennis, Vampire Weekend, funny Jake Gyllenhaal, people battling with themselves through the magic of movie editing. These four things together = quadruple happiness.

Cee-Lo "F*** You"

A musical biopic (of sorts) that's actually entertaining. The only thing that would make this video better is if Cristal, Ronnette & Chiffon were playing the doo-wop chorus behind the counter.

Ok Go "This Too Shall Pass"
[Rube Goldberg Machine Version]

Ingenuity, humor, and one take which continually ups the ante. It's for anyone who has ever marvelled at How Things Work. The ending is so great. The one take thing is an addiction we too rarely get a fix of -- we love it within feature films even more; over there it's an endangered species known as "the long take."  I couldn't find much statistical data about ASL (average shot length) on the web -- most of it is really random studies of singular movies but everyone knows it's been decreasing steadily for years. It's definitely under 4 seconds now, maybe closer to 2 with action films, which are even more shard fragment-like coming in under that.

Now it's your turn. Which music videos did you love this year?

Exit Music: This last one isn't an all time great music video, but it's my absofavorite song this year so I have to end with it.

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