Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Of Monsters and Men – “Little Talks”

  Okay, folks, this one gets a little trippy, so pack a lunch and hang on…

  We start out with an odd little flying machine (think: combination of a blimp and Noah’s ark) zipping through the darkened skies of some alternate universe where things don’t seem to be very happy. There are menacing clouds everywhere, it’s all done in black and white, and you fully expect Ingmar Bergman to show up and smite everybody. Instead, a colorful meteor (possibly, who knows) shoots past the ship on its way to a fiery crash-landing or a sale at Macy’s.

  We zoom in closer to the ark part of the ship, so we can see the band members come running out of the Chinese-themed cabin and line up on the prow of the vessel so they can check out the flaming thing that just shot past them in the fast lane. (Note: The band members have been digitally messed with so that they have super skinny legs. Despite all the monsters and mayhem that show up in a bit, those skinny legs are probably the most unsettling thing in the video for me.)

  Anyway, one of the band members has a convenient spyglass thingy that he probably got as a bonus prize with his last XBOX purchase, and he uses this device to watch the meteor crash to… well, it’s not Earth, but it’s probably a planet we haven’t discovered yet because everyone is still bickering about that Pluto-downgrade mess. Next thing you know, the band is lined up in front of the meteor, with no explanation as to how they got there so quickly or whether or not they bothered to put the proper amount of coinage in the parking meter for the ark.

  Suddenly, ominous orange-red cracks begin appearing in the skyfall rock, a sure sign that we need to go find something else to do for a while. But instead of run like hell, the band members just stare at the thing in wonder, probably so we can carefully study their interesting glacier-themed makeup. (Hey, if somebody took the time to put all that goop on their faces, it’s only polite that we fully review the quality before we pass judgment and/or hire the artist for our next thesis presentation.)

  Then the rock suddenly explodes and the band members go flying, which is probably not a good thing, but I don’t happen to have the travel brochure for this particular planet. (Maybe this is why people come here, to get their ass thrown through the air by a shockwave. It’s certainly better than going to Disney and watching over-sized rodents dance and sing.) Rising up out of the rubble is a fabulously-attired creature with more clever makeup. She may want to eat us for brunch, but she sure is purty.

  I guess we missed out on some sort of contract negotiation, because the next thing we know the creature has joined the band on their ark and they are back in the skies again. (The creature is hovering just above the ship, so not only is she a snappy dresser, she doesn’t have to worry about gravity or regular means of transportation. We’ll call her Fly Girl until we get to know her better.) The gang continues on their journey through a land where giant animal statues adorn the various mountaintops, definite warnings that this planet is not known for safety or hospitality.

  Sure enough, an enormous two-headed vulture thing suddenly appears from wherever (possibly back from a Starbucks run, who knows) and rudely uses it’s claws to deflate the quaint little blimp, sending it hurtling downward. Well, Fly Girl thinks this is completely uncalled for, so she shoots a radiation bolt out of her mouth (right in time with the beat of the song, such talent!) which vaporizes the angry bird. It’s probably a good idea to keep Fly Girl on our side in case we need her to do that again.

  Cut to the ark-blimp snagged on a barren tree growing out of the side of a mountain. (Whew!) One of the band members hauls out a hooked thingy on a line, which he throws clear across the valley and into the stone mouth of a giant dragon sculpture. (I would have aimed somewhere less death-signifying, but I wasn’t consulted.) The band then hauls ass across the line, with Fly Girl hovering prettily just behind them, and then they march down into the throat of the stone beast. (Do these people just not think about consequences? Are they Republicans?)

  The dragon’s cavernous intestines apparently lead to another part of this world, where they have lots of snow and blizzard conditions and another enormous being, this time in the form of a hairy Yeti that clearly doesn’t have his welcome mat outside the front door. To make sure that we understand his displeasure and evil intentions, the beast aggressively growls at them (also right on the beat, so even if the folks around here dangerous and uncivil, at least they understand things like percussion and timing.)

  No worries for the band, though, because they’ve got Fly Girl in their posse, and it only takes about two seconds for her to annihilate Bad Boy with another bolt of unpleasantry and collect her Achievement award. Then the band decides to march through another valley, this one lined with giant gargoyles, because that looks very inviting and we might as well march somewhere because the video isn’t over yet.

  Then we find the gang in a forest where they have floating smoke monsters, just like on Lost, only without the sunshine or Jack and Sawyer taking off their shirts in order to impress Kate. To be fair, those smoke monsters are pocket change compared to the clientele that we’ve already met, and everyone seems to agree that this particular path isn’t dangerous enough, so we head over to some type of polar icecap  with active volcanos and giant icicles that can pierce your skull. Much more satisfying from a poor-decision-making angle.

  Whoopsie, I guess no one planned on the volcanos causing the ground to split open (because who knew that mixing extreme heat and extreme cold can cause issues) but that’s exactly what happens, with the band members plunging underwater. And, keeping with the theme of super-sizing our meal, the water is filled with fish bigger than Alabama. (Oh, and some interesting ruined temples, so I guess every planet gets to have an Atlantis, must be some type of intergalactic decree.)

  Naturally, the guys don’t try to swim to safety with any sense of urgency, so one of the sea creatures gets bored and snags a band member as a souvenir to hang over his fireplace. Fly Girl, the only one who seems to understand that you have to stay relatively alive in order to continue promoting your latest album, quickly zooms in with another shot of glittering death.

  Once the Creature from the Slacker Lagoon has been dispatched, they all pile onto an iceberg, because that seems like a reasonable mode of travel when all other modes of transportation have hit the fail blog. Interestingly enough, this appears to be a rather zippy iceberg, one that can spontaneously launch itself out of the water and into the clouds. (It seems that we were not very successful the last time we were airborne, but maybe this flight will have those tasty packets of peanuts and a decent movie.)

  But before we can order a cocktail from the alien flight attendant, we can’t help but notice that the sky suddenly fills with flaming birds who are intent on a destination up ahead. The one band member whips out his trusty spyglass, and we learn that the fiery fowl are headed toward a special cloud that seems to be exploding with all of the makeup colors from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This should be fun, let’s see what happens.

  As we pull up to the iceberg, making sure that we park in the white zone so we don’t get yelled at by Security, a horned being rises out of the cloud, a thing with multiple eyes on its vaguely buffalo-inspired head. We get another round of reaction shots from the lined-up band members (one of them appears to be gazing in the wrong place, so he might have missed a memo or at least shouldn’t be allowed to drive the tour bus anymore) as the creature continues to grow and fill the air with his peacock-on-acid creepy flamboyance.

  Then we focus on Fly Girl, who up until now has had a single expression, one that indicated an intense dissatisfaction with life and dumbasses who have to be rescued continuously. But now her face is breaking into one of supreme joy with a possible tinge of arousal. So either she’s Hot for Buffalo or she’s at least found her way back home again, just like Dorothy finally did after she made that one bitch melt and slept in an opium field.

  I guess it’s the latter, because Fly Girl wastes no time flitting toward the buffalo and installing herself in the middle of his forehead. She must have been some sort of missing touchstone, because the buffalo being expands even more, spreading its dazzling wings, its various eyes twinkling. The camera pulls back for a parting shot of the band members lost in studious rapture as they gaze upon the magnificence of something so menacingly beautiful.

  Then the therapist announces that our session is over and she’ll see us again next week…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Wallflowers – “One Headlight”

  Note: There are times when you have a really great song that is paired with a video that is so bland and uninspiring that I can’t find anything to make the funny happen. This is one of those times, so I’m just going to make stuff up as I go along. And here we go…

  We get a brief shot of the band warming up on a stage somewhere, then we shift to what is possibly a giant star-spangled flag that is being dragged over the opening of a big-ass well. This makes me think of The Ring, that heart-warming movie where bad things happened in or around a well and people died. It also reminds me that people in that movie who happened to watch a certain video met untimely deaths in startling ways that were not covered by their insurance policies.

  So, of course, I begin wondering if watching this video is going to ignite a similar curse wherein I get killed by simply pushing an unknown satanic button on my DVD remote control. I really don’t want that to happen, as I haven’t made the proper arrangements for sudden death on my couch, and I haven’t finished the latest Stephen King novel. Then I realize that I have paused this video at the 8 second mark, and I probably should watch a bit more before I get too invested in my psychotic break.

  So I push play again, and hope that the offspring of Bob Dylan can help me get to a better place.

  Speaking of, there’s Jakob, now standing in front of that star-spangled flag. He’s wearing a hat that I don’t particularly care for, and he’s sporting a goatee that looks a bit wimpy. This does not bode well. But then we switch to more shots of the other band members doing things with their instruments, and they don’t seem to be concerned about cursed videos or falling into a well, so I’ll just keep watching.

  We eventually get to a section where Jakob appears in a tight close-up so that we can better inspect the controversial goatee (still not sure about that decision) and admire the more-favorable things that a stylist has done with his hair. I try not to notice the odd lights behind him that could easily represent evil spirits that are pissed off about something that happened 60 years ago. Probably near a well.

  More shots of the other band members strumming and drumming, with all of them wearing Johnny-Cash-black outfits and pretending no to notice the odd flashes of light behind them that might indicate someone is being electrocuted. We also seem to have some fog blowing across the stage. Perhaps this happens at some of your more progressive concerts, but I usually associate fog with the sudden arrival of headless horsemen or strange beasties strangling innocent maidens on the Scottish moors.

  Suddenly, we are transported to what might be the seedier regions of Moscow or Vienna, where we have a woman strutting about in a mysterious way that only lets us see her shadow on the walls of this questionable environment. But before we can ask why this bit is important, we jump back to Jakob and the band and their black outfits performing on the stage where people might be dying behind them.

  Quick revisit to the Moscow Woman, or at least her shadow, where it might just be the camera angle but Olga appears to be quite pregnant. Does Jakob need to adjust the number of dependents on his income tax returns?

  I guess we won’t find out any time soon, because we head back to the band performing, and no one seems to be waving about any paternity test results. Instead, they all seem to be cast members in a French film where everyone is dissatisfied with life and the brie has gone moldy. And we still have lots of unexplained power surges.

  Oh wait, now it looks like we have Jakob wandering around Moscow as well. He sings for a while, because that’s his basic job and we expect him to do that, but there’s also some mess about a mysterious car driving sneaking along the streets. (And more of those gold stars. Did somebody do really, really well on their spelling test?)

  Hold up, was that Stevie Ray Vaughn at about 2:34 into the video? Probably not.

  More shots of the band performing, and I’m starting to get a little bit irritated that none of them seem to be bothered with all that unexplained lightning and fog behind them. This is where people mess up in horror movies. If something is jacked-up with the weather patterns in your immediate area, you need to run like hell or find a weapon.

  The band continues to ignore the atmospheric disturbances for a very long time. And someone keeps waving that star-spangled flag. In the music video industry, this is known as “just throw in repetitions of the same shots until the video is as long as the song”. In the music video review industry, this is known as “who the hell was responsible for editing this video?”.

  Next up is an extended sequence of Jakob singing in front of the star flag, interspersed with more lightning and less plot. (His hair still looks good, props for that.) Then we have another close-up of the goatee, some more shadows in Moscow, and a non-explanation about who might be pregnant and why they find it necessary to wander the streets of an unnamed town when it’s very clear that they should get their ass back home until the baby is due.

  Sadly, none of our probing questions are answered, as the rest of the video makes it clear that the editor and/or director have run out of ideas. We have more of the band ignoring Mother Nature, more of the band wearing matching black outfits, more of the unresolved paternity suit, more of that damn star-flag that seems to serve no other purpose than match the cover art on the CD, and a shot of someone’s foot tapping to the beat.

  Then we have a final lightning burst behind the band and the video ends.

  I stare at my PC and the blinking option to replay the video. Dare I risk it? What would Naomi Watts do in The Ring? What would the Japanese woman in the original film do? Most importantly, what part of any of this is covered in my insurance policy?

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube…

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Matchbox Twenty – “She’s So Mean”

  Note: I’m not sure what kind of statement they were trying to make with the Mean Girl in this video, since she has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, so I’m just going to take it that she’s a jacked-up Tea Party Girl who is bitter about Romney not winning the election. And here we go…

  We start off with the band setting up shop and starting to perform the song. Why they are doing this in what looks like the lobby of a bank that only caters to snooty billionaires is not clear, but I’m sure somebody had a good reason. Rob starts singing the song, and all of the band members start playing their assigned instruments, and it initially appears that life as we know it will continue in a pleasant and safe manner.

  Then the camera shifts to some woman marching down a set of stairs like nothing important can happen until she arrives. (Is she a Kardashian?) Then we realize that she appears to be wearing a bra made out of glow-sticks, and we instantly dislike her because there’s really no reason to be sporting neon accessories that glow unless you happen to be a sign standing outside a Las Vegas casino. We’ll call her Prunella, because people who strut with excessive attitude should not have pretty names.

  Prunella sashays toward the band, working her hips like a combine thrashing wheat, and then she proceeds to knock over Rob’s microphone stand. In most places, this would get you kicked out of the nightclub by an ugly bouncer who is clearly using steroids. But it’s obvious that Prunella doesn’t care about things like proper behavior and reality, which is our first sign that she’s a card-carrying member of the Tea Party.

  Then Prunella marches over to one of the band members and unplugs his electric guitar. This symbolizes an attempt to jack with the guitar player’s right to vote in a presidential election, by cutting off his access to the voting box. She then steals the guitar and pretends to play it, sort of like George Bush Junior stealing Florida and then pretending to be President. She follows this up by smashing the guitar into a handy nearby marble column. (Symbolic of George ruining the economy.)

  I should point out that Rob keeps singing through all of this, rather than coming to the aid of his bullied band-mate. This would symbolize the Democrats who just look the other way rather than get in the face of a Republican on an illogical rampage. Or maybe Rob just really likes to hear himself sing and isn’t going to stop unless there’s a power failure.

  Prunella marches over to an area where something is covered by a tarp, and she rips it off. (Okay, I’ll give her that move. Nobody should be trying to hide things during an election.) She reveals all kinds of crap piled up, including a jar of some liquid that she first sniffs and then chugs. (Making it very easy for me to reference Tea Partiers “drinking the Kool-Aid”. If you’re going to be that blatant with your imagery, I’m going to call it.)

  Sadly, the moonshine doesn’t give Prunella the cramps, so she continues her rampage. She next finds a stack of vinyl records. (Note to the youth out there: Vinyl records are how we used to listen to music before you could download everything on the Internet. Note to Matchbox: Why the hell would you bring a stack of those things to an impromptu concert in a bank lobby?) Prunella proceeds to hurl the outdated records at the various band members, just like Republicans like to hurl outdated facts at everyone as if they had any relevancy anymore.

  Rob and the band members merely dodge the projectiles and keep playing. You know these folks can afford a decent security squad, so I’m guessing that one of the band members is sleeping with Twisted Sister and the rest of the guys are just trying to be nice, like we all do when one of our posse hooks up with an obvious nutcase. You nod and smile and drink your beer and wait for Crazy Girl to make the inevitable screw-up and get banished from the inner circle.

  Then hateful Prunella discovers some firecrackers next to the moonshine, and of course she sets them off while she and her neon bra laugh maniacally. (The blame for this particular mess is squarely on Rob, as the leader of the band. Don’t be bringing pyrotechnics up into the place where you’re going to perform music. That’s just ate up with the dumb-ass.)

  The band keeps singing and playing.

  Prunella, irked that she’s not getting an angry response like she normally gets when acting a fool, manages to find a bicycle and starts riding it all over hell. This would be symbolic of Republicans insisting on modes of transportation and social values from the 1800’s. It would also indicate that Matchbox Twenty really needs to reconsider the things that they drag to a concert.

  Prunella rides for a while (something tells me that the girl is used to riding for a long time, the tramp) before she leaps off the bicycle and allows it to slam into the drummer’s drums. When that doesn’t do enough initial damage, Prunella then kicks over the drums that didn’t bow to her will with the first missile. The drummer then stomps away in a huff, instead of the obvious choice, which would be to kick Prunella’s ass. This would be symbolic of the Democrats who think that you should just keep playing nice until the Republicans regrow a soul. This will probably not happen without court-ordered incarceration.

  Next up, Prunella decides that she would like to jack with the electricity in the building. She moseys over to a fuse box that just happens to be right there (seriously, did nobody up in this grill take any measures to counter a psychopathic slut that might show up during the shindig?), and then she proceeds to start ripping and pulling until showers of sparks are cascading down on the band members.

  And of course they just keep playing, like death by electrocution is just something you have to deal with once you sign a record contract. Prunella, apparently inspired by the potentiality of eliminating non-Republican voters, struts over to an un-manned soundboard (why is that thing even there if no one is working it?) and pours somebody’s abandoned coffee into the works, generating additional explosive pulses of unregulated electricity. (And this would be symbolic of Dr. Frankenstein raising the dead, a perfect analogy for Karl Rove and the Tea Party.)

  Naturally, because we are our own worst enemies when it comes to leaving paraphernalia lying around that scorned lovers can pick up and use against us, Prunella then finds a box of matches. As expected by now, Prunie does not just let the matches be while she instead works on a nice needlepoint pillow for her grammy. No, she lights one of the sticks up and hurls it onto the drummer’s drums. (Wait a minute, didn’t she already take those things out, like the Republicans destroyed their sense of decency when they jumped in bed with the Tea Party?)

  I guess proper video editing doesn’t matter, because the drums are magically back, and they have been conveniently coated with something that makes them burn like all get out. To his credit, the drummer keeps banging on the drum all day, creating a very nice cinematic moment of musicality and potential fiery death. And Rob keeps banging on the mike all day, because nothing will stop him from expressing his vocal abilities as long as he has an audience, even if that audience consists of a single sociopath with a need to wreak havoc whilst wearing day-glo support garments.

  Speaking of, Prunella has more tricks up her demented sleeve, and she now proceeds to locate a fire extinguisher. (More of the “is anybody checking ID’s at the door?” business.) Prune starts spraying the retardant foam all over the band members, Rob included, while simultaneously assuming poses that she feels would get her bonus points at a Victoria’s Secret cover shoot. Then she abruptly throws down her weapons of destruction and slatternly waltzes back up the staircase where she first descended from hell.

  Rob then laughs with far more enthusiasm than one should after being terrorized by someone with focus issues, so it’s fairly obvious that he’s the one who’s been sleeping with the enemy.

  It also explains why it’s been a while since the Robster released a solo album. It’s hard to be artistically inspired when you’re in a relationship with someone who watches Fox News

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube…

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

  We start out with a shot of a city skyline, which could be anywhere from Ontario to one of those previously-backwoods places that suddenly got skyscrapers and wi-fi overnight due to the passing of tax-evasion laws. Then the camera kind of tilts in a weird way and we find ourselves looking into the retro-chic apartment of Taylor, as she looks a little bit sad and wears both a ponytail and some pajamas that scream “wardrobe decision based on possible product tie-in with Target”.

  Then we have to forget about the questionable pajamas because it’s time for Taylor to sing, and she launches into the opening of the song where she expresses dissatisfaction with how her boyfriend, or at least her one-night-stand, has been acting lately. To make sure that we understand she is serious, Taylor, in the midst of some nicely-dramatic hand gestures, dons a pair of geeky glasses. (So she’s aiming for the science-fair teens now? As if there aren’t already 40 billion hormonally-wrecked young males out there praying for the chance to be the next teardrop on her guitar.)

  Taylor, unnecessary glasses firmly in place, marches into another room of her habitat where she confronts the apparent loser of a boyfriend. He seems incredibly hot, which might explain some of her poor decision-making in the past, but he’s obviously done something dumb-ass or she wouldn’t have written a song about him. She sends him out the front door, with more hand gestures, probably because it’s about time for the super-perky chorus and we don’t need no scrubs when it comes to that.

  Banished Hot Guy doesn’t immediately go away once kicked out, instead choosing to stand outside the door and peek through a full-length plate of glass that someone has conveniently designed into the apartment for dramatic purposes. His expression indicates that he clearly doesn’t understand why his natural hotness isn’t enough for a relationship, a misunderstanding that affects many young men who grow up in red states where boys are taught that having a penis trumps everything.

  Then things get a little cray-cray.

  Taylor marches into her living room (I’m just guessing that’s what room it is, her apartment seems to have some time-space reality issues) where she encounters a band composed of people dressed like animals and Venetian royalty from the 1600’s. (I have no idea.) Instead of calling 9-1-1 about this discovery like a normal person, Taylor joins the furry and feathered gathering and proceeds to dance with them. I obviously missed something somewhere about this song that would make a video director think “okay, this is where we need woodland creatures and a World Wildlife Fund tribute”.

  But it gets even better. One of the animal-people, I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be a bear or a jacked-up panda or what, seems super invested in the supposed role that he is playing. He’s bopping around with a hyperactive grin big enough to swallow Newark whole. His enthusiasm is so mesmerizing that Taylor is shoved out of the scene so the cameraman can focus on the dude with an obvious history of recreational drug-usage.

  Happily, we cut away from that mess and focus on a vintage TV where Taylor is singing, because you can’t turn over a rock anywhere on the planet and not find her. Then the TV and a section of wall slide out of view, since you can do that when your Old McDonald apartment is not real anyway, and we see Taylor wearing a modified L’il Abner outfit (was Dolly Parton a consultant on this?) sitting at a table with Hot Guy, who is wearing headphones and listening to an actual vinyl record (is it 1982?). And what’s up with the coffee cup plunked at a place where no one is sitting? I’m starting to think there are multiple reasons for this relationship hitting another brick in the wall.

  Then Taylor, after singing the line where she disses indie records, (not gonna get any fans from that bit of lyric, just sayin’) leaps up from the table and answers a phone on the wall, which leads to a conversation  with… well, the Hot Guy that was just sitting across from her two seconds ago. He’s now in a nightclub where an army of Janeane Garofalo look-alikes are desperately wanting to have his baby (these things happen), but Taylor doesn’t care, even if the Janeanes are wearing the same glasses she just wore during the opening of the song. She slams the phone down and runs off to another room in her Twilight Zone apartment.

  Brief transition scene where we see that the Odd Animal People are also in the Janeane Garofalo Bar, playing instruments and seeming very satisfied with their furry outfits and importance to society. This could possibly explain how the Tea Party continues to exist despite the obvious insanity of the members. Not sure, I’ll keep you updated with my findings.

  Cut to Taylor and Hot Guy riding in a car that appears to have been made out of… I don’t know what. That is not a normal car, with shades of The Flintstones or some such. Taylor and HG are having yet another argument in the front seat (is anyone surprised at that?), but then the car turns to the left and we can see that the back of the not-right car is a pickup truck where we have lots more of those furry band members who have clearly not been advised of the dangers of adding too much sugar to your cereal bowl while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning.

  And, of course, we have Weird Panda Man front and center, bouncing around with glee like somebody just found his prostate. But you can’t write off his little friends, either, because the whole Truck-bed Band is far more excited than any humans or cognitively-aware creatures should be whilst playing musical instruments as Taylor Swift ponders relationship evaluations. The happiness they are expressing is just not natural, unless one of your parents mated with a Care Bear.

  And we cut again, this time to Taylor and Hot Guy heading into some forest where it was important that a low-paid set designer should scribble “Happy Days” on a giant heart that the bickering couple could walk through to get to the next scene. The duo seems to be quite content at the moment, but then Taylor suddenly runs off to a conveniently-nearby bed where she can pick up a phone and diss about how Hot Guy is not proving to be a satisfactory partner, as she and her golden tresses sprawl near a Benetton monkey. (And just who is she talking to? Hillary Clinton?)

  Doesn’t matter, because Taylor throws the phone down (a servant can pick that up later) and we transition to another room where Weird Panda Man is once again given the spotlight (has he signed a contract with Simon Cowell yet?) before we pan over the other occupants of this room. It’s a mix of real people and pretend animal people (there’s one guy dressed as a squirrel who bounces a lot, this could mean a lot of things in many ways), but Taylor is up in the grill so I’m sure she had some kind of vision in mind.

  Taylor dances with her furry homies for quite some time, along with some un-costumed folks who might have been pulled out of the line of people waiting to get into the David Letterman show, and everyone seems to be having a good time. (Including the now completely-annoying Panda Man who clearly read too many self-affirmation pamphlets as a child.)

  Then I guess the doorbell rings, because Taylor heads toward the front door and throws it open, which is not something you should instinctively do in urban environments. Turns out that her gentleman caller is Hot Guy (because that type of guy doesn’t give up, the penis thing and all), but Taylor is having none of it, especially if he’s not bringing pizzas to feed the mystifying pretend zoo in her living room. She slams the door and marches into another special room in her apartment, one where the cast of The Wizard of Oz is now doing a line dance, and she perches herself near a window where she can affirm that we are never getting back together. Then the camera does another odd movement and we revert to the original shot of the anonymous city skyline.

  Meanwhile, in the other room, Weird Panda Man is exchanging numbers with a zookeeper sporting especially large biceps. (Two nearby people dressed as gorillas agree to be Best Man and Cater Waiter at the wedding.) I’m sure Taylor will keep us updated on what happened after that on her next single, “Well, I Thought We Were Never Getting Back Together But Then The Jacked-Up Panda Showed Up And I’m A Little Confused”…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Katy Perry – “Wide Awake”

  Note: This song is being promoted as “the final chapter from ‘Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection’, which is available on iTunes. (And possibly The Cooking Channel, based on that title.) Apparently, that whole “Teenage Dream” album was a song cycle, detailing the various travails of our plucky lass as she worked her way from wherever she was to wherever she is now. This final song should wrap things up nicely, and even if it doesn’t, it’s still another exciting opportunity to see how Katy’s people have managed to once again use fluffy, pastel colors and form-fitting couture to showcase the naughty-nice exploits of our sparkling heroine as she triumphs both musically and artistically.)

  We start out with Katy finishing up filming one of the scenes from the “California Gurls” video. This was the bit where she wallered around completely naked on the giant wad of pink cotton candy. (Which, by the way, should make you think twice about your choices the next time you walk up to a concession counter. Do you really want to munch on something that has already been humped? I’d stick with the pre-wrapped options.)  The director calls cut, everybody claps, and Katy hollers “another one in the can!”, which is probably not something one should holler whilst sprawled on her belly, hiney in the air, wearing nothing but spun sugar.

  It doesn’t faze Katy, though, as someone hands her a robe and she scurries off to her dressing room, chatting with the director because you have to do that if you want to make sure that you look the prettiest in a movie. Once alone in her chamber, Katy plops down at the makeup desk, takes off one of what must be her 412 wigs, and then pauses to gaze at her image in the mirror. At first we think, wow, she must really like looking at herself, but then we hear some wind blowing and the camera whirls, so Katy was just professionally setting up a story transition by acting with her eyes.

  Now we have Katy in another location, wearing a purple wig, an outfit that could pass as Goth or possibly really-unfocused Mennonite, and a pair of earrings that will instantly break eBay sales records. She looks at the camera and belts out the first “I’m wide awake!” announcement that she will then make 300 more times before the song is over. The camera pulls back so that we can see she is standing in the middle of some old stone structure that appears to go on for miles. (Is this symbolic of the stodgy, old-timer record executives who really don’t understand what is considered good music these days? Perhaps.)

  Then Katy starts wandering around this structure, which appears to be a giant and creepy maze, complete with cobwebs,  billowing fog, and questionable wetness. She’s holding aloft an ancient lantern to help her find her way. Personally, I don’t want to go anywhere that requires me to hoist portable lighting so I can better see the zombies that might think my brains are an appetizer, even if the lantern is kind of cool and would look great on my patio. The camera pulls upwards so we can see that, yep, it’s a big-ass maze. If Katy plans to get out of here any time soon, she better pack a lunch and some vodka.

  Oh, and it’s snowing in an odd, wispy way, which makes this maze look a bit like the one in The Shining. You know, the movie where Jack Nicholson went crazy in a hotel because dead guests were wanting to have sex with him and Shelley Duvall kept opening her mouth really, really wide every time she screamed about something else she found dissatisfying. This is turning out to be a non-ideal vacation spot. Katy needs to get on the horn with one of her assistants and get a new itinerary.

  Whoops, Katy just spied a strawberry suspended from a dead tree. This is the part where the people who want to live to the end of the movie would run like hell, clawing their way over surprised lesser starlets who were only hired to have promiscuous sex and then die in the first ten minutes. But Katy doesn’t high-tail it. Nope, she seriously contemplates the berry while the walls seem to close in around her (another sign that you should run, or at least stop taking so many recreational pills). And of course she gives in and takes a big ole bite, because whatever might happen could prove to really good song material for her next album.

  Suddenly, the walls start rolling back to their assigned places. (Note to self: If you are being attacked by architecture, eat some fruit.) Then Katy leans back so a shower of sparks starts shooting out of her gothic breast. (The same pyrotechnics that we witnessed in the Firework video, a feat which was interesting then, but now seems to indicate that Katy might have some type of fetish that could seriously affect her electric bill.)

  The fireball shoots into the sky like a drag-queen flare over the dank and darkened maze, which is apparently a signal that someone has been anticipating. A stone gate that we didn’t know existed opens wide (there are always doors like that in giant mazes, because people get lost and you have to go find their ass without getting too far behind on the office paperwork) and we see a little girl standing there in a little girl outfit. (This is not what I expected as rescue personnel. Was Liam Neeson too busy? That man can find people. And usually kill them if they don’t answer his questions satisfactorily.)

  At first the little girl just stands there, kind of glaring at us like she’s really disappointed that our minimal cookie order was not fully supportive of her cause. Then we have Katy and Little Girl facing each other and doing some type of mystical hand choreography, followed by both of them changing into matching outfits so they can walk down a narrow hallway with mirrors on all the walls. They get to the end of this hall, where we can see lots of paparazzi on the other side of one of the mirrors. Katy doesn’t seem impressed with this and doesn’t want to go forward, but if she really wants to get out of this mess I’m thinking one of those folks out there probably has a brochure map that they picked up at the guest services desk.

  To help Katy make a decision, Little Girl helpfully points out that the floor behind them is crumbling and dropping out of sight. Perhaps we should escalate whatever plan you have? Dora the Explorer is about to come on and I forgot to set the DVR. So Katy grabs her hand and they go through the looking glass.

  Cut to a stone-walled hospital/sanitarium of some kind, where Little Girl is pushing Katy along in a wheelchair down a hallway. I guess whatever was on the other side of the mirror was a bit too much, and Katy is now slumped over and unresponsive, though she’s still managing to clutch a strawberry in one hand. They come to a point in the hallway where two orderlies wearing bull-heads will not let anything pass. (I’m guessing the bull-heads are Republican congressmen.)

  Little Girl marches up to the bulls, glares at them in the manner that little girls have when they are determined to have the Barbie Malibu Camper no matter what, and then she stomps her dainty little foot. Girl must have game, because the shockwaves of her sequined-slipper slapping the concrete causes the Bull-Heads to fly upwards and disappear. (Isn’t that the wrong direction for Republicans? Shouldn’t they be going somewhere a tad bit warmer?)

  The footwork also causes Katy to jolt back to her senses, and she leaps out of the wheelchair, grabs the arm of Little Girl, and they both race toward the now-unobstructed exit doors. (Leaving the poor strawberry behind, so I’m sure it will be needing some therapy.) They scurry around a corner and out into a lovely garden full of pretty flowers and delicate trees and topiary animals with eyes that spin. (Okay, that last bit is a little unnerving, with the spinning eyes that speak of the devil, but I’m not real fond of topiary animals in the first place. Those things just don’t seem right, but I’m sure someone found them pleasing.)

  Katy and Little Girl mosey about for a bit, admiring the prettiness but still not convinced that the Bull-Heads won’t come after them with more meanness and a possible lawsuit. Then they come across a handsome man on a steed (or maybe it’s a unicorn, there’s something horn-like going on with the horse’s head), with the man in a nice Prince Charming outfit.  He hops off the uni-horse, Katy steps forward in a slightly-lusty manner, and they approach each other like it’s the final scene in a Hallmark movie.

  Then the camera shows us that Prince Riebus, I mean Charming, is crossing his fingers behind his back like he’s about to tell another whopper of a lie. Somehow Katy senses his deception (possibly because Little Girl makes a horrid little face that normally indicates gastrointestinal discomfort), so she hauls off and punches Charming so that he flies across the clearing and crashes through a section of the garden that the prop people apparently didn’t fortify very well. Katy celebrates her victory with a short solo, complete with more hand choreography.

  Then the girls grab hands and race to a conveniently heart-shaped opening in a wall of foliage, which allows them to see a glowing door in the distance that probably leads to safety and happiness. (Or it might lead to a nuclear power plant leaking radiation. If you see the ghost of Karen Silkwood float by, scratching at her skin, you better head the other way.) But it’s all good, and the girls are finally free.

  Just before they part ways, which they have to do because the shoot is almost over and they both have other projects lined up, Little Girl puts something in Katy’s hand and then skips her way down a typical residential street to her bicycle parked at the curb, a vehicle which has apparently been patiently waiting for his petite mistress while she went to go play Dungeons and Dragons and do that thing with her foot. Little Girl waves, then pedals away, and we can see that the vanity license plate on the bike says “Katheryn”.

  Awwww. Seriously.

  Katy, now alone, opens her hand, and as a sparkly butterfly takes off, we transition back to Katy’s dressing room, where Katy briefly watches the butterfly soar as she sits there in another candy-based outfit, briefly reflecting on the dreams that become real and the dreams that don’t. Then she grabs her wireless microphone, heads out the door, climbs onto the lift that raises her to stage level,  and marches out into yet another concert, bolstered by the memories of little girls making wishes on pretty butterflies…

Click Here to Watch this Video on YouTube.


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