Music Video of the Day: Europa and the Pirate Twins (1981, directed by Thomas Dolby and Simon Maggs)


The lyrics to this Thomas Dolby song seem to be self-explanatory.  When they were teenagers, the narrator met a girl named Europa, they fell in love while spending their days walking along the beach, and then Europa moved away.  (Dolby sings that “the war” took her away, which sounds ominous but which makes sense when you consider that Dolby’s 1982 album, The Golden Age of Wireless, was based on the idea of him being a part of the first generation since World War II.  “The war took her away” is probably meant to be a comment on how relationships that were once ended by a world war were now just being ended by a parent getting a new job in a new country or town.)  Years later, Europa’s a star and Dolby tries to see her, just to be ushered away by one of her bodyguards.  But, in Dolby’s heart, they’ll always be pirate twins on the beach.

The video has come to be considered a classic example of early 80s music videos, mixing the future and the past and allowing Dolby to capitalize on his nerdy but cool persona.  (I’ve always felt that if Peter Parker became a musician instead of a Spider-Man, his music would have sounded much like Thomas Dolby’s.)  The machines link the song to the future but the black-and-white images bring us to the past, capturing the feel of Dolby’s song.

Enjoy!

E3 2021 Trailers, Part Three: Salt and Sacrifice, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, Starfield, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, WarioWare Get It Together


Here are the last of the major trailers from this year’s E3!

21. Salt and Sacrifice

One of the best games of 2016, Salt and Sanctuary, is getting a sequel!  Salt and Sacrifice will be released in 2022.

22. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl

12 years after it was first announced and 5 years after development officially began, we have a gameplay trailer and a tentative released date for STALKER 2: Heart of Chernobyl!  That date is April 28th, 2022.  It’s pretty much standard operating procedure to complain about how long it can take to develop a good game but, after what happened with Cyberpunk 2077, I’m all for developers taking their time.

23. Starfield

Right now, Starfield has a release date of November 11th, 2022.  I hope they make it!

24. Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin

I am not totally sure that I’m interpreting the trailer correctly but I think Jack wants to destroy Chaos..  This is set to be released some time in 2022.

25. Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands

The latest game to come out of the Borderlands franchise, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands’s trailer features dragons, stallions, and, of course, Tiny Tina.  This game is due to be released in “early 2022.”

26. WarioWare Get It Together

Finally, we have the trailer for the new Wario game.  You can’t have Mario without Wario!

I know that, even though I shared 26 trailers from this year’s E3, there’s still a few that I missed or that I chose not to include that maybe others would have.  All four days of this year’s E3, with all of the presentations and trailers, can be found on E3’s YouTube channel.

 

 

 

E3 2021 Trailers, Part Two: Halo Infinite, Jurassic World Evolution 2, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wind 2, Mari + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, Metal Slugs Tactics, Metroid Dread, The Outer Worlds 2, A Plague Tale: Requiem, Rainbow Six: Extraction, Redfall


Here are some more of the big trailers from this year’s E3!

11) Halo Infinite 

The adventures of Master Chief continues in this, the 6th main entry in the Halo series and the 16th Halo game overall.

12. Jurassic World Evolution 2

The thing I like about the entire Jurassic World franchise is that, even though things always go wrong with the idea of bringing the dinosaurs back to life, everyone still keeps trying to do it.  We all know it’s not a good idea but no one can resist dinosaurs.

13. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

Watch as Link falls through the air.  This eagerly anticipated game will be released sometime in 2022.  At that time, we will also learn the actual title of this game.

14. Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope

As long as its got Mario, it’ll be a hit.  People love that guy.

15. Metal Slugs Tactics

Metal Slugs gets another makeover.  This one looks pretty cool to me.

16. Metroid Dread

After 16 years of development, we finally have a trailer for Metroid Dread!  The Alien-influenced trailer is a good one too.  Metroid Dread is due to finally be released on October 8th.

17. The Outer Worlds 2

The only game to based on an alternate history where William McKinley served two full terms as president is getting a sequel.  The trailer for The Outer Worlds 2 wins a lot of points for having fun and being honest.

18. A Plague Tale: Requiem 

A Plague Tale: Innocence was one of the most underrated games of 2019.  Judging from the trailer, it looks like the sequel will do it justice.  Requiem will be released in 2022.

19. Rainbow Six: Extraction

It just doesn’t feel like E3 without something from Rainbow Six.  This time, the battle is taking place in a San Francisco music venue.

20. Redfall

Take on cults, vampires, and probably anyone else in this open world shooter!  Redfall will be released in summer 2022.

To be continued!

E3 2021 Trailers, Part One: Advance Wars 1+ 2: Re-Boot Camp, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Babylon’s Fall, Cruis’n Blast, Dead Island 2, Death Stranding Director’s Cut, Elden Ring, Evil Dead: The Game, Forza Horizon 5, Guardians of the Galaxy


Another E3 is in the books.  After being canceled last year due to COVID, E3 returned this year as a purely virtual event.  Hopefully, next year, E3 will again be both an in-person and a virtual event.

This year, several new games were announced.  Here is part one of some of the best and biggest trailers from E3:

  1. Advance Wars 1+ 2: Re-Boot Camp

Advance Wars is back, re-imagined and rebut for the Nintendo Switch!

2. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

With a 2022 release date, this game should be coming out just in time to either capitalize or contribute to the success of Avatar 2.  The trailer looks good but it doesn’t really tell me much about the game, other than it’s a playable version of Avatar.  That should be enough for some.

3. Babylon’s Fall

This was a strange trailer for me.  It looked good up until the combat started and then it didn’t look good at all.

4. Cruis’n Blast

A good racing game is something that I am definitely looking forward to.

5. Dead Island 2

After seven years of development, Dead Island 2 is finally coming out!  Or is it?  It’s hard to tell from this Jack Black-narrated trailer, which features a lot shots but not any actual gameplay or an actual release date beyond “coming 2021.”

6. Death Stranding Director’s Cut

I still haven’t been able to get into Death Stranding.  During the lockdowns, I replayed SpiderMan, Miles Morales, Red Dead Redemption 2, and all of the Quantic Dream games multiple times.  I even replayed the old EA Godfather games (Don of New York, baby!) but, somehow, Death Stranding just hasn’t been able to hold my interest.  Maybe I’ll have more luck with the director’s cut.

7. Elden Ring

The trailer for Elden Ring looks great.  This is what I wish the Babylon’s Fall trailer had looked like.

8. Evil Dead: The Game

All the trailer needed to win me over was Bruce Campbell.  And it delivered!

9. Forza Horizon 5

‘As a fan of racing games, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy

If nothing else, this looks better than The Avengers game.

To be continued!

In Memory of Ned Beatty


Ned Beatty died yesterday, at the age of 83.

Ever since I heard the news last night, I’ve been thinking about what an amazing actor Ned Beatty was. He could play it all. He could play a hero, he could play a villain, and he could play the quirky comic relief. He could effortlessly move from the movies to television to the stage and he seemed to instinctively grasp how to modify his style for each medium. Physically, he was instantly recognizable but he still managed to disappear into every role he played. You never thought you were watching Ned Beatty. Instead, you thought you were watching Bobby in Deliverance or Detective Bolander on Homicide or Otis in the first two Superman movies.

It’s amazing that, in his long career, Ned Beatty was only nominated for one Oscar and it wasn’t for his film debut in Deliverance. Playing the Atlanta salesman who is raped by two inbred hillbillies, Beatty gave a fearless performance in a role that a lot of established actors probably would not have had the guts to accept. Beatty wasn’t nominated for Deliverance or for his charming work in the British film, Hear My Song. Instead, he was nominated for his thunderous cameo in Network, in which he told Howard Beale that he had upset the natural order of things and, in a few brief minutes, stole Network from every other member of that film’s legendary cast. The same year that Beatty was in Network, he also appeared as an honest but befuddled investigator in All The President’s Men. Though his screentime was limited in both films, he made a lasting impression.

One of my favorite Beatty performances was as Detective Stanley Bolander on Homicide: Life on the Streets. For the first three seasons of that underappreciated show, Beatty played a veteran detective, the type of man who had dedicated his life to giving a voice to the voiceless. Who can forget him in the pilot, taunting Richard Belzer’s Detective Munch into solving a cold case? Even though Beatty was the best-known actor in the film’s cast, he still blended in effortlessly with the ensemble. Watching Homicide, you didn’t see Ned Beatty. You saw Detective Stanley Bolander, an aging Baltimore detective who had seen the worst but still tried to do the best job that he could. Beatty left the show after three seasons, under circumstances that are still hazy, though everyone seems to agree that blame ultimately rests with the ratings and youth-obsessed executives at NBC, who never appreciated the show while they had it.

(Considering we’ve lost both Yaphet Kotto and Ned Beatty in the same year, I hope at least one streaming service will pick up Homicide so people who missed it the first time can see how great it was. Homicide really laid down the foundation for The Wire.)

Ned Beatty was one of the greats. R.I.P.

NETWORK, Ned Beatty, 1976

Music Video of the Day: Dream On by Aerosmith (1993, directed by Marty Callner)


Dream On has been one of Aerosmith’s signature tunes since the band’s early days in the 70s but it didn’t get its own music video until 1993, when it was included on the soundtrack for Last Action Hero.

You may remember Last Action Hero as being the notorious box office disappointment that forced Arnold Schwarzenegger to start thinking about what he might be interested in doing if his film career ever came to an end (like entering politics, perhaps). It was also one of the first films to show Hollywood that Aerosmith’s music can literally be plugged into almost any scene in any movie. Despite its reputation, Last Action Hero is not that bad. The F. Murray Abraham cameo alone is worth the price of admission.

This video is made up of footage that was shot for MTV’s 10-year anniversary celebration in 1991. It was directed by Marty Callner, who directed music videos for everyone in the 90s.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: I Started A Joke by Bee Gees (1968, directed by Jean-Christophe Averty)


“This is a very spiritual song. The listeners have to interpret it themselves – trying to explain it would detract from the song.”

— Robin Gibb on I Started A Joke

“When he passed away we went out, they took the equipment away and we came back in. I picked up my phone and found ‘I Started A Joke’ on YouTube and played it. I put the phone on his chest and that was the first time I broke down. I knew that song and its lyrics were perfect for that moment. That song will always have new meaning to me now.”

— Robin-Jon Gibb, son of Robin Gibb, discussing his father’s death

Of course, this song really isn’t about a joke. Instead, it’s told from the point of view of someone who has unintentionally said something so wrong and/or offensive that it has lost him all of his friends. When he tries to laugh it off, they get upset at him for not taking it seriously. When he gets upset over being abandoned, they laugh at his pain.

This music video, from 1968, features Robin Gibb singing the song while surrounded by laughter, tears, and questions marks. The video was filmed in Brussels by French television director Jean-Christophe Averty and originally aired as a part of the Idea TV Special, a Bee Gees-centered program that aired in Europe.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Apollo 9 by Adam Ant (1984, directed by Daniel Kleinman)


Apollo 9 is a part of what has been referred to as being Adam Ant’s “Rockers in Space” phase. Though the album on which it appeared was not one of Ant’s more commercially successful offerings, Apollo 9 was a hit in the UK.

This video was directed by Daniel Kleinman, a British commercial director who has also directed music videos for just about everyone. Kleinman has also designed the title sequence for every James Bond film since Goldeneye.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: Workin’ For A Livin’ by Huey Lewis and the News (1982, directed by ????)


If you go to YouTube, one of the comments under this video simply states, “Huey Lewis was the 80s.” It’s a simple statement but it’s also a true statement. For better or worse, Huey Lewis and the News epitomize an era. Personally, I think they may be one of the most underrated bands of the decade. They turned being a bar band into an art form, with songs that were both unpretentious and instantly catchy.

A lot of people make fun of them as a result of how Bret Easton Ellis used them in American Psycho but what they miss is that Ellis didn’t make fun of the band as much as he made fun of the depths that Patrick Bateman went to find some sort of hidden meaning in their straight-forward and always transparently sincere music.

Speaking of being straight forward, that’s a good description of both this song and this video. This is Huey Lewis showing that they didn’t need a bunch of gimmicks to rock. They just needed a stage.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: A Song for Donny Hathaway by The Whispers (1979, directed by ????)


With this song, The Whispers paid tribute to the legendary soul singer Donny Hathaway, who was best-known for songs like “The Ghetto”, “This Christmas”, “Someday We’ll All Be Free”, and “Little Ghetto Boy” and for his collaborations with Roberta Flack. Tragically, Hathaway, who struggled with depression and who was diagnosed as being paranoid schizophrenic in 1971, committed suicide in 1979 but his music and influence lives on. The Whispers were one of the many groups to pay tribute to Hathaway after his death.

This video is a simple performance clip, as the majority of music videos were in the days before MTV.

Enjoy!