Music Video of the Day: Praise You By Fatboy Slim (1998, dir by Spike Jonze)

This is perhaps the greatest music video of all time and it only cost $800 to make.

First a little background of how Spike Jonze came to direct this video.  Apparently, Jonze unsuccessfully lobbied for the chance to direct the video of Fatboy Slim’s Rockafeller Skank.  However, Jonze still made a video of himself dancing to the song and sent it to Fatboy Slim (also known as Norman Cook) as a gift/joke.  Cook was so impressed that he hired Jonze to make the video for Praise You.

Here’s what you really need to know about this video:

Despite the authenticity and the passion of the amateur performance captured in this video, The Torrance Community Dance Group does not exist.

Richard Koufey does not exist. That is Spike Jonze playing Koufey.  I don’t know if Jonze “performed in several B-boy posses” while growing up, as Koufey claims to have done.  There’s something oddly touching about the enthusiastic way that Jonze/Koufey shouts, “B-boy.”

The bewildered audience is real and their confused reaction to Koufey’s performance was real too.  This video was shot outside of a movie theater, without permission or permits.  What you’re seeing in this video is technically a crime, which makes it all the more enjoyable.  I’m not sure if the man who briefly turns off the music was in on it or not.  If that wasn’t planned out ahead of time, Jonze was definitely taking a risk by jumping on him.

Myself, I just love the enthusiasm of it all.  It takes talent to be both bad and good at the same time.




Music Video of the Day: Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim (2001, dir. Spike Jonze)

Leaving this out of a week of music videos that feature dancing would be a crime. I could leave it at that, but let’s talk a little bit about this music video.

Much like the mid-90s swing revival seemed to come out of nowhere, so did this video. We were all familiar with Fatboy Slim’s Praise You whether we wanted to be or not at this time. They played that song to death. Then came Mr. Deer Hunter and Gold Watch up your butt Christopher Walken dancing around a hotel like he was suddenly possessed by the spirit of Fred Astaire. Leave it up to Spike Jonze to think this one up, or at least I assume he did. This is one of those music videos that we not only know the director and producers, but the cinematographer, choreographers, the production designer, the 2nd camera operator, costume and wardrobe, visual effects, stunts, and it apparently had a “Philosophical Consultant”.

The choreographers were Spike Jonze and Christopher Walken themselves, but also a Michael Rooney. His work can be seen from as far back as Saved by the Bell to this year’s The Jungle Book.

Of course you’ll recognize the 2nd camera operator. That being director Roman Coppola.

The cinematographer is Lance Acord. He worked on Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002), Lost in Translation (2003), Marie Antoinette (2006), etc.

The people you’ll recognize goes on.

Eric Zumbrunnen was the editor on this video a along with some notable videos such as Buddy Holly, Cannonball by The Breeders, and Sure Shot by Beastie Boys. He too would continue to work with Spike Jonze being the editor on Adaptation and Her (2013).

Producer Vincent Landay would continue to work with Jonze, but Deannie O’Neil doesn’t appeared to have done much of anything beyond this music video.

Production Designer Val Wilt would go on to do 96 episodes of Bones. Not bad.

Costume Designer Casey Storm would also go on to work for Spike Jonze and do Zodiac (2007) with David Fincher.

Visual effects person Ben Gibbs would work some more with Jonze, but I’m not sure about Jeff Kim.

As for the stunt people, Keith Campbell is one of those people who has done stunts on everything. Brian Friedman is apparently very well known as a dancer/choreographer on TV Shows. He also worked on several Britney Spears music videos.

The “Philosophical Consultant” K.K. Barrett worked with both Jonze and the Coppolas.

Wow! Now this is a well documented music video. This makes me happy. It also makes me happy watching Christopher Walken channel his inner Astaire. I love how Walken at first isn’t sure where the music is coming from and notices the little radio. Then he is overcome, and must dance. It’s true what Gloria Estefan said: “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You”.

This video is pure fun. It’s also funny that we got 70s cop shows for Beastie Boys, Happy Days for Weezer, 50s musicals for Björk, and then Walken doing a more expansive version of Fred Astaire’s number from 1951’s Royal Wedding.