Pin It

DVD Review 

by Marty Demarest

A few years ago, "former music video director" was about the worst thing that you could say about a feature-film director. And it still comes up as a derogative label, along with phrases like "MTV-style editing" and "pop sensibility."

But anymore, critics who say things like that need to pull their heads out of their screening rooms and take a refresher course in contemporary filmmaking. Not only have major mainstream directors like David Fincher (Fight Club, Panic Room) and Michael Bay (Bad Boys II) come from the world of music videos, but so have some of the most innovative artists working in film today. Most prominent among them is Spike Jonze, who directed the critically lauded Being John Malkovich and Adaptation.

Jonze is the director who had the inspiration to feature Christopher Walken in the music video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice." Cast as a bored, aging traveling businessman, Walken hears a song playing on a nearby stereo and begins dancing through an empty hotel lobby. It's deliriously fun, and when he starts flying through the air, Jonze achieves a level of inspiration that most directors never manage to put onscreen once in an entire career.

That video, along with 15 others, is included in a beautiful collection from Palm Pictures, along with a substantial 52-page book. Each video -- from Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet," to the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" -- is entertaining enough to sustain multiple viewings. And there's a surprising amount of emotional and intellectual material on display here, too. There are also several short films and documentaries. How They Get There is one of the funniest shorts I've ever seen; it's a one-joke movie, so saying anything about it would give it away -- but the joke is astonishing. And Torrance Rises, which is a mockumentary about Jonze's live appearance (as the dancer from Fatboy Slim's "Praise You" video) on the MTV Video Music Award, out-Guffmans the movie Waiting for Guffman, since most of the people onscreen aren't in on the joke.

No, music videos -- when they're done Spike Jonze-style -- are more cinematic than most movies. They do away with plot and dialogue, which are remnants from novels and theater, and concentrate on motion, technology and mood. That's not enough to sustain a feature film. But Jonze shows that, by perfecting those components, a director can bring something to movies that most directors overlook. Not to mention the critics.

Publication date: 10/30/03

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Recall and Response
  • Recall and Response

    The attempt to remove Spokane Mayor David Condon from office may be a long shot, but he isn't taking any chances
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Shades of Black Lives
  • Shades of Black Lives

    A Spokane County detective's Facebook post about Black Lives Matter sparks debate among local law enforcement
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • Fires Hit Home
  • Fires Hit Home

    Tens of thousands of acres burn around Spokane on Sunday and Monday; plus, DOJ weighs in on concerns over bail system
    • Aug 25, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap

Spokane Artist Trading Card Swap @ Boots Bakery & Lounge

Last Wednesday of every month

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • 'Unreasonable Threat to Life and Property'

    Spokane's rental housing has problems, but landlord and tenant groups are split on a solution
    • Aug 11, 2016
  • 'End of Story'

    Condon administration aims to close the controversial Frank Straub chapter — but last week's scathing report has irrevocably changed the narrative
    • Aug 4, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment


election 2016

green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation