Jake Gyllenhaal Is An Axe Murderer
Right now through the prism of actors in music videos
By Lexie Maravich, 4:20PM, Wed. Jan. 22
We love remixes. Scratch that, we fucking l-o-v-e remixes. The word “remix” isn’t even good enough, doesn’t even get it. Language doesn’t get it – needs more. Culturally, right now, gimme.
We want alternate endings, mixed media, collaboration, cross-collaboration, collaboration so entwined that nothing at all is produced. Reverse collaboration, black-hole collaboration, articles published to an accompanying score ensuring its readers bounce on proper wavelengths before digesting. Albums released as films because the traditional LP construct isn’t a proper forum for the meta-narratives within.
I’m going to write a book on the year 2013, but it will be a 3-D puzzle of a building that’s super difficult to put together, and then as soon as you do, it collapses. Don’t worry, my ‘book’ will also be packaged with a stress ball, warm ambient lighting, and real-time commentary on my efforts. See? Get it?
I think Jake Gyllenhaal does, which might be why the Academy Award nominee is featured trucking through city streets massacring people with everything from a fencing sword to a pickaxe in the Shoes’ “Time to Dance” music video.
Cross-over, renaissance, they’ve always existed. Michael Jordan in Space Jam, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Motown Records, Elvis as an actor, better yet Ronald Reagan as an actor. Hell, let’s rewind this way back; Leibniz, Newton, and da Vinci kicked the whole thing off, right? No further, further: Aristotle, Jesus, Moses, Job.
I remember sitting in an Amsterdam coffee shop in 2009 (original, I know) and being offended by the amount of mixed media spat in my face. Everyone does everything. It’s all so nauseatingly interactive. And endemic! Like, human race endemic. Everyone’s got the bug.
Part of me is infected. How many times as a kid did I listen to a song I loved but wished so hard that the bridge was slightly different? Or that one song could be two songs to make me feel two things. Well, the millennials made my dreams come true (thanks Soundcloud). Any song in the world has been duplicated and morphed, existing in some quantum physics reality of “every possibility all at once.”
One particular tranche of this whole crosscollabremixchopscrewed mess that I just can’t shake: actors in music videos. Like, relatively big name actors in relatively obscure music videos. I really love film, but not in an informed way. I know nothing of production, don’t organize my thoughts by director, haven’t seen the classics, can’t tell the difference between Deborah Kerr and Marlene Dietrich.
It just makes me feel lots of feelings.
Realizing that actors whose works I admire are moved by the same music I am – so much so that they have inserted themselves into the visual representation of said music – is a weirdly intimate experience. It feels like we’ve shared a secret. And maybe we have, considering two years after its YouTube debut, Gyllenhaal’s only pulled in 4 million views for “Time to Dance.” By comparison, Lorde’s recently released “Royals” is about to hit 142 million.
Admittedly, this has been a thing for a while. See Kim Basinger in Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” Chevy Chase in Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al,” Courteney Cox in the Counting Crows’ “A Long December,” Macaulay Culkin in MJ’s “Black or White,” John Malkovich in Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass,” Alicia Silverstone in a bunch of shit, and of course Ben Affleck in “Jenny from the Block”.
But right now feels different, somehow. Maybe because all the aforementioned examples went down when MTV and VH1 were music video machines; up until 2008 people would still crowd around the television for Carson Daly’s Total Request Live to catch a premier. That doesn’t really exist anymore. I haven’t even had access to cable for the past four years.
Now I find music videos after the fact. I go fishing around on the Internets, unsuspecting – and then BAM – Gyllenhaal is wrecking people all over my screen. Or Kate Mara and Anton Yelchin take us on an interstellar voyage fueled only by Broken Bells’ “After the Disco.”
And the Danish Carsten Bjørnlund pulls us onto the back of his bicycle for a nostalgic tour of Copenhagen against Rhye’s painfully beautiful “The Fall.”
Maybe it’s the private exploration – and actors’ implicit cognizance that most fans will only happen across their work by embarking on a quiet excavation – that makes the discovery so special.
It all makes me sick. It’s forced participation. It’s right now.
I love it.