Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Work of Director Spike Jonze (2003)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

I remember watching Beavis and Butt-head many years ago on MTV. My brother and I saw this video on B&B where this guy was running down a street and his back was on fire. Recently, while we were at the mall, we saw this DVD called “The Work of Director Spike Jonze” and there, on the cover of the DVD, is that same guy running down the street with fire on his back. I said to my brother, “I have to get this from Netflix.” And so I did.

This is one of three titles that showcase videos by directors. (Offhand, I know one of the other two titles is Chris Cunningham. I’ll be getting that one as soon as I return this one.) The version I got from Netflix is double sided. Side A contains sixteen videos and commentary for most of them. (I recommend watching Bjork’s commentary.) There are also some clips from other movies. Side B contains three documentaries and several ‘rarities.’ (Don’t ask me why they’re rare. I really don’t know.)

Here are the videos:

“California” by Wax
“Sure Shot” by Beastie Boys
“Drop” by The Pharcyde
“Cannonball” by The Breeders
“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys
“Da Funk” by Daft Punk
“What's up Fatilip” by Fatlip
“Undone” by Weezer
“Praise You” by Fatboy Slim
“Feel the Pain” by Dinosaur Jr
“If I only had a Brain” by MC 900ft Jesus
“Sky's the Limit” by The Notorious B.I.G.
“Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim
“Buddy Holly” by Weezer
“Elektrobank” by The Chemical Brothers
“It's oh so Quiet” by Björk

The documentaries are “What’s Up Fatlip,” “Amarillo By Morning” and “Torrance Rises.” “What’s Up Fatlip” follows Fatlip during the fiming of the video. It starts off with him acting like a homeless person. He’s basically being asked a series of questions throughout the 31-minute segment. “Amarillo by Morning” lasts 29 minutes. It’s about several kids that want to be cowboys. “Torrance Rises” is about the dance troop that was featured in Praise You.

I didn’t really watch any of them for that long. For me, the main draw was the videos and the commentary. The video for “Weapon of Choice” was a great video, as was the one for “Sabotage”. Being able to have these, or at least watch them without the MTV logo, is great. I also got to find out about them. It turns out that Christopher Walken, who stared in “Weapon of Choice,” was in between movies and only had a week to shoot the video. The video for “Buddy Holly” includes a lot of footage from Happy Days. (The band was inserted perfectly.)

The only major downside was that when I played it in my computer’s DVD player, it opened some Web page using Internet Explorer. It wasn’t even the actual DVD. I think it was just some page that the DVD had on it. To get the DVD to play, I had to go to the E: drive in “My Computer” and right click to go down to open it with the appropriate program. I don’t know if this will happen with all versions of it. Sometimes, Netflix has their own special copies of movies. Since the DVD is double sided, there’s no label and thus no way of marking the DVD. The DVD should play fine in normal DVD players.

I don’t know if it would be worth buying for a lot of people. Had it not been for Netflix, I wouldn’t have seen it at all. There are a lot of different types of videos on this DVD. There were really only three songs that I liked. If you have Netflix or are a big fan of videos in general, I could see getting this. As for recommending this to a friend, I’ll have to say yes. If someone I know is interested in something like this, I’d recommend it to them. However, I really couldn’t see buying this for myself. I just don’t have enough of an interest in it.

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