Music Video of the Day: Shine by Walt Mink (1993, dir by Sofia Coppola)

Happy birthday, Sofia Coppola!

Today’s music video of the day is the first music video to have been directed by Sofia Coppola.  In fact, this may be her first directorial credit.  While the song itself is a bit generic, the video is pure Sofia Coppola.  Watching it, it’s hard not to see the same vision that, a few years later, would give us The Virgin Suicides, Somewhere, and The Bling Ring.  This video was filmed at the Coppola vineyard in Rutherford, California.

Interesting to note that the film’s editor was Spike Jonze, who would later marry Coppola in 1999 (they would get divorced in 2003) and who is thought to have been the inspiration for Giovanni Ribisi’s character in Lost In Translation.


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: Da Funk by Daft Punk (1996, dir. Spike Jonze)

Sorry for keeping this short. Just before I sat down to write this yesterday, I became so dizzy that I collapsed. I am going to try and stay in bed all day. Luckily, there isn’t much to say that I haven’t already in my posts for Dog Police by Dog Police and Old Timer by That Dog.

You have a music video that uses similar dog makeup and themes from Dog Police, but without the humor. It is played straight. You have Spike Jonze collaborator and drummer for That Dog–Tony Maxwell–playing Charles. Charles comes to the big city obviously different from everyone else because he is a dog person–much like someone moving from the country or suburbs to the big city. That makes him in the process of trying to adapt to a new place. He also has the physical handicap of a broken leg that that doesn’t really come into play except to complement the mental handicap that the radio represents. We see that not only does it have a sentimental tie to his youth as shown by the picture with his dad, but we also see that he literally can’t turn it off because of the missing buttons. He does run into an old friend and would be able to follow her on the bus were it not for the radio he can’t turn off yet and the bus doesn’t allow radios. It also means he will have a tough time getting people to accept him in much the same way that the band did to get to this music video that included a review of a pre-Daft-Punk album by Melody Maker that called the music they made as “a dafty punk thrash.” There’s more you can read in the “history” section on Wikipedia that ties into this video as well.

It all sounds quite depressing. However, we know throughout, and at the ending, that the short time we have spent with him is only a rough patch–he’ll make it through. I guess you could look at the ending as him going out into the street as a suicide attempt. I don’t see it that way. I see tough times ahead for Charles. Tough times that Charles will be able to overcome as we can see that he has a strong spirit despite the barriers to entry that the big city throws at him.

A stylistic choice that is interesting here is that it is shot on the streets rather than the studio music videos people are typically familiar with even from Spike Jonze.


Music Video of the Day: Old Timer by That Dog (1994, dir. Spike Jonze)

I don’t have much to say about this Spike Jonze music video. This was the same year Jonze did Buddy Holly, Sure Shot, and Sabotage. It’s a simple little indie music video. They probably had an afternoon to shoot in a little hotdog stand, so they made this video.

The reason I am spotlighting it is because I felt it was necessary to do this in between Dog Police and Da Funk. I am not sure whether Spike Jonze and drummer Tony Maxwell were already friends at this time. Maxwell would go on to do other things including playing Charles from Da Funk by Daft Punk that was directed by Spike Jonze two years after this video.

Let’s do the Erics in one batch. Eric Zumbrunnen edited the music video. He also edited Buddy Holly by Weezer, It’s Oh So Quiet by Björk, Where It’s At by Beck, and Weapon Of Choice by Fatboy Slim, among a couple of other music videos. He would go on to edit some feature films like Being John Malkovich (1999), Adaptation (2002), Where The Wild Things Are (2009), and Her (2013). Eric Matthies was the producer of the music video. He shot two music videos for Nine Inch Nails that were both directed by Eric Zimmerman. Matthies also has a bunch of producing and directing credits on IMDb. Yep, there’s three Erics tied to this music video for some reason.

Speaking of “for some reason”, Tony Maxwell is credited at the start of this music video as “Yoga”. You got me. However, that means Weapon of Choice had a “Philosophical Consultant” in K.K. Barrett, and this one had someone credited as “Yoga”. Maybe Jonze just likes to oddly credit people. Again, you got me.

That Dog would last till 1997 before reuniting in 2011. There are at least two more music videos for them where the band turns more and more into late-90s groups like Garbage and No Doubt in terms of looking polished and colorful. I feel like if I did Never Say Never and He’s Kissing Christian, then I’d need to do the two versions of Ready To Go by Republica and Don’t Speak by No Doubt respectively to go along with them.


Music Video of the Day: Elektrobank by The Chemical Brothers (1997, dir by Spike Jonze)

Today’s music video is Elektrobank by The Chemical Brothers and it just happens to go along perfectly with my current series of Back To School reviews!

This video takes place at a high school gymnastics competition and it stars none other than one of my favorite directors, Sofia Coppola!  Well, actually, if you want to get technical, some of the video’s best moments features Sofia’s stunt double.  But still, she gives a great performance.

This video was directed by the great Spike Jonze, Sofia’s future (ex) husband.

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.

Music Video of the Day: Buddy Holly by Weezer (1994, dir. Spike Jonze)

What is there to say about this video that everyone doesn’t already know? There was no way I couldn’t eventually hit it. I might as well do it now. It kind of seals the deal on what I do tomorrow seeing as Weezer was hardly the only major band of the era to do this kind of thing. That said, I do have two things to bring up:

1. Spike Jonze is a prime example of a director who got their start in music videos, then went on to make feature films. One of the arguments I have had launched at me for why music videos shouldn’t be in a movie database is because directors like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry evolved into feature film directors after making music videos. I don’t know how this is different than any other director starting with short films, then moving into features, but it apparently was for this database admin. I guess they were thinking of it like shedding a skin or something. Of course, as I’m sure you’ve guessed or already knew, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry never stopped making music videos. In fact, he did Weapon of Choice for Fatboy Slim two years after making Being John Malkovich. If anything, I would imagine that it just made them more prized directors to get to direct your music video.

2. Microsoft included this music video on the installation disc for Windows 95 back in the day to show the operating system’s video playing capabilities. I’m pretty sure that was the first time I saw it.

This song and video never really get old to me. If I need a little pick me up, then I put it on.