This is a cover version of a Nelly hit, made for a Montreal DJ known as Tiga. It stars puppets operated by Thomas "Lord of the Marionette" Sontag, who may be related to Susan, based on the inspired use of irony demonstrated here. It's intended as a caricature of big-budget, over-the-top hip-hop videos, as the puppets dance on CG-enhanced rear-projected backgrounds. "We really wanted to make this feel as much like a true hip-hop video as possible," says director Alex Moulton. "Thomas and I directly referenced larger-than-life scenes in Puffy, MIssy Elliott and 50 Cent videos in coming up with the concepts for the different backgrounds." Well, you failed, Alex. Because, unlike a true hip-hop video, this one doesn't suck.
Director: Alex Moulton, Thomas Sontag, EyeballNYC
Editor: Alex Moulton, EyeballNYC Effects: EyeballNYC
Jewel has had a Britneyesque makeover. She may even have changed her name to Bauble. It's all on behalf of a song that appears to be an attack on crass commercialism, yet the song sounds just like crass commercialism, so maybe this is another example of post-postmodern irony. "I want to show two distinct worlds - the real world and the artificial world that exists just beneath the surface of reality," says director Marc Klasfeld. "I want to show how artificiality exists right under our noses and how easily we can all be drawn into it." Hence the clever cutting between slick film and naive home video, and the great scenes in which Jewel parodies Sprite, Levi's, Nike and Corona beer ads. But is that the real world or the artificial one? And what about the wet T-shirt and hot pants scene, in which Jewel gets hosed down by the fire department? Who cares? Jewel looks marvelous. We're even starting to like her poetry now.
Director: Marc Klasfeld, Rockhard Films
Editor: Richard Alarcon, Park Place Edit Effects: Base 2 Studios
They Might be Giants "Dee Dee & Dexter"
This is not a music video per se. It's a Cartoon Network "groovie," which is a specially commissioned vid that plays as an interstitial on the channel. It is, however, better than 99 percent of the videos we've seen lately, and They Might Be Giants are so happenin' these days they even have their own documentary out, so we're here to sing the praises of "Dee Dee & Dexter," for Dexter's Laboratory, which we can only assume is not a crank factory. The rather clever conceit here is this is a "found" open for the show, created in Japan in the '60s. So it's been artificially aged and animated anime-style by Chris Prynoski, the animation director who also created the open for The Osbournes. "The toughest challenge here was trying to make it look old without calling too much attention to the process, " notes Prynoski. Dick Clark has the same problem.
Director: Chris Prynoski, Class-key Chew-po
Editor: Rob Reed, Class-key Chew-po
There's a lot to be said for Alison Goldfrapp's decadent disco, and if she hired a personal trainer maybe she could even someday attain the dissolute diva-ness of Madonna. This clip is certainly a gyration in the right direction. Directed by Dawn Shadforth, who did last year's stunning "Miss Lucifer," for Primal Scream, it's G-spot-on. Well-edited, inventively lit and Inferno'd erotic dancing (it makes such a difference when you wet down their thighs, ya know?) and little teases of B&D kinkiness, abetted nicely by bridled babes in antlered animal heads, is enough to maintain interest and set an appropriately louche mood. Giddyap, Bambi!
Director/Editor: Dawn Shadforth, Black Dog Films, London
Effects: Moving Picture Company, London
Electric six "Gay Bar"
After the U.K. success of "Danger! High Voltage," Kuntz & Maguire are back with another strangely amusing vid for the eclectic Electric Six. This time it's a retro rocker featuring a load of identical Abe Lincoln impersonators, played by the band's lead singer. While the lyrics open with, "Girl, I want to take you to a gay bar," Honest Abe is not referenced; so why gay Abe Lincolns? "It's a little known fact that - rumor has it - Abe Lincoln was actually a notoriously gay president," explains Mike Maguire. "This is one of those bits of worthless trivia we've been batting around in the backs of our minds for many years now; it dawned on us that we might finally have a platform on which to bring this myth to the forefront. And whether or not people get tuned into the whole 'gay Abe' thing, we figured it was still going to be funny, entertaining and absurd." It is. And who knew stovepipe hats could be so hot?
Director: Kuntz & Maguire, MJZ Editor: Kirk Baxter, Final Cut
Effects: The Mill, London/N.Y.