[soapbox] I can't be the only one that's concerned that the movies --particularly the awards hopefuls -- are veering further and further away from the direction of general pop culture which is all about instant access. Why do the movies keep withholding? --no wonder Oscar ratings keep sinking. I think it's a far more complex problem than "the public doesn't like serious films". I think it's more a problem of "the public likes these movies less and it's really hard to see them even if you're interested in them". After all, who cultivates interest in something they have extremely little access too? Not many people, that's who. Anyway.... [/soapbox]
Here's a look back at the best of music video (everyone's favorite short film genre) for 2008... the form was once dying but the web has started to resuscitate it. Like my best of television list this is hardly comprehensive... I'm sure I missed some goodies. But here's 10 I loved from the year (in fluid but vaguely preferential order)
10 Matt & Kim "DAYLIGHT" and 09 P!NK "So What"
Because music videos should understand how to be fun. Is it just my imagination or is P!NK too modest what with the "I'm still a rock star" bit. Isn't she more than "still"... doesn't she get better all the damn time?
08 She & Him "WHY DO YOU LET ME STAY HERE" and 07 Janet Jackson "ROCK WITH U"
Zooey Deschanel sings. She makes an adorable rock pixie even if her film career is getting fairly one note --I love this bit from a Yes Man review @ Tractor Facts
Blessed with those wide, striking, chocolate eyes, Deschanel's performance still feels out of sorts, as if she's staring into the abyss of her limited range.Hee. And in other news Janet Jackson returns (even if it wasn't quite a "comeback") with a nifty one take video. I love that one take gimmick (see also Hitchcock's Rope)
06 Grace Jones "CORPORATE CANNIBAL" and 05 Madonna "4 MINUTES"
I've featured both of these videos before and wrote about Madonna's extensively. I went a little crazy but she does that to me. The reaction to Grace Jones has been memorably divisive. Some people think this video is 'creepy and subpar' and others 'utterly astonishing'. But I think we can all agree that it's a good thing Grace is back to haunt us.
04 Radiohead "HOUSE OF CARDS" and 03 Gnarls Barkley "WHO'S GONNA SAVE MY SOUL"
I used to occasionally be annoyed with videos that relied heavily on trippy visual effects or conceptual gimmicks (I'm not a fan, for example, of one of the most favored videos of all time "Sledgehammer" but now that so many mainstream artists view video-making as a toss off optional ad for their cds --even Madonna has gotten relatively haphazard about when she'll make them and how much effort gets put in -- conceptual and f/x videos are more thrilling... at least they still seem interested in the form.
Gnarls Barkley - Who's Gonna Save My Soul? from Toolshed Media on Vimeo.
02 The BPA "TOE JAM" and 01 Beyoncé SINGLE LADIES
Choreography is still king (or queen as the case may be) to the music video. The Toe Jam video feels like a fun-loving lark but you know it was intricately planned work and it's a pleasure to watch. I'm not even a fan of Beyoncé (too disturbingly retrograde in her gender politics for me) but this video deserved all the mainstream attention it got --even as I wished they'd have been more upfront about their debt to Bob Fosse (maybe a "dedicated to" note at the end of the video, single lady?)
And yes I was killing time.
I know why you're here: le cinéma. The Year in Review proper begins tonight (or tomorrow morning?). It's always such a daunting task. Bear with me.