Arts Desk

Directing the Dead Weather’s Next Video

Just gonna say it: The Dead Weather has really been phoning it in on their videos. You'd think Jack White, a film buff with a track record of excellent White Stripes videos who named his record label after an Orson Welles movie (and who's expressed his admiration for the guy in other, less subtle ways), would put some creative elbow grease (Ed. note: ew) behind the visual component of his new project.

But no! Take the vid for the band's lead single, "Hang You From The Heavens," an exercise in transmitting single-frame doses of cool and little else:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Then there's "Treat Me Like Your Mother," a kickass song with  a better, but still repetitive, vid:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

(Note to Sasha Frere-Jones: I know you like this one! But I think you're allowing the quality of the song to color your critical view of the video. 'Cuz with the exception of that one color-saturated shot [2:52 and ff.], eez boring.)

Now, White directs (and does his best Johnny Depp impresh in) "Cut Like a Buffalo," a song about the tireless repopulation efforts of the NPS. And also about androgyny & CPR:

So, sure, not bad. Obligatory non sequiturs; obligatory dance of the seven veils; obligatory weird hats—all well and good. But (and forgive me if my expectations are too programmatic) this video doesn't take you somewhere unexpected any more than it illuminates an already opaque song.

Herewith, let's direct the DW's next video by fusing elements appropriate to the group's celluloid aesthetic. (Suggestions welcome.)

1. Recurring circus imagery (choose two)
a.) Circus midgets
b.) Bearded ladies
c.) Conjoined twins singing in harmony
d.) Cotton candy served by Mustachioed Gentleman in pinstripe pants & suspendies (prbly Jack White)

2.) Ersatz noir-isms (choose one)
a.) Slinky nightclub singer w/ gun in garter
b.) Lifesize cardboard cutout of Humphrey Bogart shot w/ crossbow by Allison Mosshart
c.) Old Packard driven by Private Detective w/ pencil-thin mustache (prbly Jack White)

3.) Firearms (choose two)
a.) Uzi
b.) AK-47
c.) Small plastic pistol that, when fired, emits a flag featuring photo of Allison Mosshart killing buffalo

4.) Anachronistic headgear (choose one)
a.) a bowler
b.) a top hat
c.) one of those joke-shop arrow-through-the-skull knickknacks
d.) a fez

5.) Allusion to Orson Welles film (choose one)
a.) Journey Into Fear
b.) Touch of Evil
c.) Othello
d.) Casino Royale (1967, not 2006, obvi.)

6.) Cigarettes smoked languidly by (choose one)
a.) Allison Mosshart
b.) Jack Lawrence
c.) Dean Fertita
d.) All of the above, plus Mystery Man dressed in Louis-Seize frills (prbly Jack White)

Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Comments

  1. #1

    Sorry Mister Sheine.

    But your appropriate description of Hang you from Heavens, 'single-frame doses of cool' could be a description of an early Jarmusch film. For many that sort of work (was) is a cultural breakthrough in cinema. At the very least, that music video is in communique with that historical moment, and hence an outright declaration of visual intent. At worst it's a bad 1970's indie experimental short. Tons of new yorkers slobber over that aesthetic.

    The second one is at once jarmusch and v gallo. Both in their excesses. Both in gangster mode in a rodriguez/tarantino way. So. Again cinematic in that 'cool' for cool's sake kind of way. This listing may seem tiresome, but the shorts are very much in line with a cinematic history.

    The third I can't even watch.

    So check your cinematic history. Before you go saying these vids got nothing to do with it. Because sister, creative to you and creative to others is a whole different list of reference points.

    j.h

Comments Shown. Turn Comments Off.
...