How about this: A totally fabulous rap video! The music isn't much - though the lyrics seem well-wrought and heartfelt, Scarface's mic skillz leave something to be desired and the vaguely Peanuts-sounding piano loop that backs him gets a bit tedious. But the film is remarkable, propelled by a pseudo one-take style, with the camera continuously dollying left across one elaborate vignette after another, illustrating life in the 'hood. Scenes of police brutality, drugs, sex, murder and community roll slowly by, every frame a vivid tableau. And the decision to have not even a second of lip-syncing is pure genius.
Director: Marc Klasfeld, Rockhard Films
Editor: Richard Alarcon, Park Place Edit
Effects: Morris Paulson, Base 2
Disturbed frontman David Draiman, who wrote the treatment for this clip, is apparently a nice, thoughtful Jewish boy, once you get past the diabolical piercing under his mouth. The "Prayer" video, however - a big-budget, Joblike meditation on 9/11, featuring catastrophes like a car crash, a construction site explosion and a scaffolding collapse - has been banned from MTV, because it's too, uh, disturbing. It's really not at all, but we have to be impressed with any band that lives up to its name. Like, did Slayer ever kill anyone? Nice, darkly cinematic work by the Brothers Strause and the editing boasts a controlled panache.
Director: The Brothers Strause, Clever Films
Editor: David Checel, FilmCore
"Keep Fishin' "
Weezer video vet Marcos Siega strikes again, with a clip starring the Muppets. A bold move, even for a wussy-nerd band like Weezer. Not only do the Muppets skew kind of juvenile, even for pop, but they invariably upstage any humans they interact with - and the Weezers are so bland they could be upstaged by their amps. The song is another of those pleasant Weezer ditties that sound like audio wallpaper, so puppets are a fine distraction. And all the usual Muppet fun can be found here, including the crotchety old guys in the balcony, making Weezer/geezer jokes. For a slightly more adult touch, Miss Piggy does one of her bondage scenes. You go, sow!
Director: Marcos Siega, Palomar Music Videos
Editor: Nicholas Erasmus, Superior Assembly
"So To Speak"
We confess we'd never heard of DJ? Acucrack before we were sent this video. But we know who ?uestlove is, though we can't pronounce it. Anyway, DJ? Acucrack turns out to be a drum 'n' bass duo; not, as we originally suspected, a combo rectal thermometer/MP3 player. But this CG- and miniature-intensive hi-def video, done on a budget, offers plenty of visual appeal, and the song is pretty decent, too, in that dance club way - sort of a cross between Nine Inch Nails and Cher. The clip features some robotic hotties in a low-key B&D setting, along with an excellent, very restrained edit. Speaking of restrained, the B&D is too low-key. A Miss Piggy cameo would've been nice.
Director/Editor: Steven Wagner, Astropolitan Pictures
Effects/Animation: Andrew Honacker, Astropolitan Pictures
"Someone You Should Know"
This is a one-take video, and high concepts apparently require big collaborations: It's directed by Evan Bernard, Bill McMullen and Colby Parker Jr., working under a group pseudonym. At any rate, charmingly-bespectacled Lisa walks across ballfields and playgrounds, lip-syncing all the way, stopping at one point to briefly strap on a guitar when she runs into her band. The camera tracks her somewhat erratically, which only adds to the visual interest. Background detail includes a guy peeing in a playground and two dudes holding pieces of a broken mirror, which reflect the camera for a split second - a self-reflexively sweet touch. At the end of the vid Lisa meets and ambiguously embraces a tall blonde chick, whose presence has been foreshadowed in various ads seen along the way. Don't know what this has to do, if anything, with the song - it's another typical earnest folk-rocker, and who has time to contemplate the lyrics, you know? - but the whole idea is quite engaging and engagingly executed.
Director: Tom Dick & Harry, Production League of America
Editor: Colby Parker Jr., Whitehouse