Tuesday, December 16, 2003

I've been way lazy the past couple of days, watching TV and nothing else. The point has been made millions of times, but how great are DVDs? How absurdly, addictive, compulsively, acquisitively collectible? And I don't even own too many. But there's this new series (I think it's called Directors' Label) that's putting out DVDs of the collected works of all these music video directors, and I just got the Spike Jonze one. Michel Gondry and Chris Cunningham also have editions out, but I'll have to wait until after Christmas to cop those cuz I need the dough. But I've been enjoying the living hell out of the Spike Jonze joint.

The first thing I did was put the "play all videos" feature on without checking the listing so that each new video would be a surprise. Turned out great. A whole lot of "oh shit, I totally forgot about this one" moments. Jonze's videos are gimmicky (which is pretty much inherent in the form) and slapsticky (which isn't so much), but what really strikes me about them is their warmth. There are so many great moments that just sort of flood you with good feelings that eclipse all the techniques and nudges and high-concept stuff, like Bjork's smile at the end of "It's All So Quiet" and the way the kid who plays Biggie perfectly mimics Biggie's mannerisms in the "Sky's the Limit" video. I'm not expecting to see this sort of warmth in Gondry's or Cunningham's videos. Jonze is just way more humane. And my new favorite video, like, ever might be the Pharcyde's "Drop", the backwards one. The concept is so simple, but it creates its own visual logic and grammar, and it ends up being totally compelling to watch. And Jonze and the group take such obvious enthusiasm in the whole endeavor, so once again the thing doesn't lose touch with its humanity.

I've also been watching the Ben Stiller Show DVD that my friend Evan lent me. I can only just remember the show; I was maybe 11 when the show first aired, and I didn't get most of the jokes. But that show holds up a lot better now than even Mr. Show. The Melrose Heights parodies are amazing, and now they seem like the template for Zoolander.