On Thursday, much to the delight of Stanley Tucci enthusiasts and students of meta-comedy the world over, the Beastie Boys premiered a teaser clip for “Fight For Your Right Revisited,” their short film that chronicles the events that transpired following their epochal 1987 video of the same name (or, as the B-Boys put it, “the long-ass video thing.”)
Featuring appearances by pretty much everybody — Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Jack Black, Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, Susan Sarandon, the aforementioned Tucci and Seth Rogen, to name just a few — it’s most certainly a celebrified thing, but it also manages to rise above the usual cameo crap-heap by being really clever, too, filled with wink-wink nods to the Beastie’s past, Ferrell’s legendary “More Cowbell!” “SNL” sketch, and even the late, lamented “Arrested Development” (“Come On!”)
In short, it’s everything you could possibly want from a celeb-heavy clip, but is that enough to earn it a place amongst the all-time best? Here’s a look at some of its competition … the greatest celebrified music videos of all time:
» Vampire Weekend, “Giving Up The Gun:” Featured guests include the RZA, Lil Jon, Joe Jonas and, most memorably, a flask-guzzling Jake Gyllenhaal, all of whom channel their inner McEnroe in this tennis-heavy clip.
» The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, “Talk About The Blues:” Sure, the JSBX star in this video (in some sort of murder-mystery/heist sub-plot), but the real stars are the folks they got to play the band themselves — Winona Ryder, Giovanni Ribisi and John C. Reilly — who positively kill it here, particularly Ryder, who screeches and wails and actually looks like Spencer himself.
» Jamie Foxx, “Blame It:” A glossy, flossy clip that’s most memorable for the inexplicable cameos it features, including Gyllenhaal (again!), Forest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, Quincy Jones and, for reasons totally never explained, Ron Howard. None of them actually do much aside from post up in the club, but we do learn that, for a 57-year-old with male-pattern baldness, Howard has a surprising amount of swag.
» Moby, “We Are All Made Of Stars:” The celebrity video as social commentary, featuring a host of Hollywood F-Listers — Kato Kaelin, Vern Troyer, Corey Feldman, Gary Coleman, Todd Bridges, and Ron Jeremy, to name just a few — hard-living rockers like Tommy Lee and Dave Navarro, and glamorous folks like Molly Sims and Dominique Swain (and, of course, the Toxic Avenger), each fighting to keep their 15 minutes ticking. Deep indeed.
» Michael Jackson, “Remember The Time:” Like many MJ clips, this one is a big-budget, big-name affair, loaded with special effects, elaborate sets, and, of course, head-scratching celebrity cameos, including Eddie Murphy and Iman as Egyptian royalty, Magic Johnson and Tiny “Zeus” Lister. Oh, and Jackson appears as a hooded wizard with the ability to disappear into a cloud of dust. Y’know, just your average, run-of-the-mill thing.
» Johnny Cash, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down:” Filmed three years after the Man in Black’s passing, this somber clip is nothing but celebrity cameos. In order: Iggy Pop, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Smith, Terrence Howard, Flea, Q-Tip, Adam Levine, Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Sir Peter Blake, Sheryl Crow, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Amy Lee, Tommy Lee, the Dixie Chicks, Mick Jones, Sharon Stone, Bono, Shelby Lynne, Anthony Kiedis, Travis Barker, Lisa Marie Presley, Kid Rock, Jay-Z, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Depp, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin, Owen Wilson and Jerry Lee Lewis. Phew.
» Michael Jackson, “Liberian Girl:” The celebrity video to end all celebrity videos, Jackson showed just how much clout he truly possessed by lining up cameos by basically every gigantic star of the late ’80s, a list that included everyone from Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Brigitte Nielsen, Carl Weathers, Paula Abdul and Whoopi Goldberg to Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Danny Glover and Richard Dreyfuss. Shoot, even Steven Spielberg shows up here, and he didn’t even direct the thing. More proof that, at his peak, no one was as powerful as the King of Pop.