The Late Movies: Jonze-ing for Music Videos

Ransom Riggs

Over the past month, I've done Late Movies posts about the music videos of both Jonathan Glazer and Mark Romanek, and I realize that every time I do these posts I claim that whatever director I'm posting about is totally the best ever -- but this time I actually mean it. You probably know Spike Jonze from his feature films, Adapation, Being John Malkovich and Where the Wild Things Are, but did you know he started out as a music video director? You did? Because actually he started as a skateboard video director -- you can't get much indie-r than that -- and then took that stripped-down, close-to-the-bone, one-long-take aesthetic and moved into videos. The result is often weird, quirky, uncanny and hilarious. Here are some of my favorites.

His most famous video has to be -- HAS to be -- the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage." Classique!

Did you know Christopher Walken is a REALLY good dancer? Watch this.

Fatboy Slim - Weapon Of Choice from Al on Vimeo.

Another Fatboy Slim video, and one of my favorites, is "Praise You." The lead dancer is Spike Jonze himself.

Brilliantly combining old footage from Happy Days with some subtle visual effects, Weezer's "Buddy Holly" feels just right.

Guy on fire! One shot. Simple and effective video for a band I've never heard of.

Charles, the saddest dog in New York, tries to meet people. It's more short film than music video -- for Daft Punk's "Da Funk."

Daft Punk - Da Funk from Victor Carvalho on Vimeo.

Fatlip from Pharcyde's single "What's Up, Fatlip?" Watch Fatlip act like a loser, dress up like a clown, and get kicked in the nuts by little kids. Made on a shoestring, just Spike and Fatlip running around Hollywood with a camera. By the way, he says "bitch" and whatnot, so it's NSFW -- but hey, it's a rap song.