The Many Classic Music Videos Of Spike Jonze

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By Zachary Swickey

The Beastie Boys are at it again. The trio is re-teaming with veteran music video director Spike Jonze to helm the clip for the group’s upcoming single, “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” which features the unstoppable Santigold as guest rhyme-spitter.

We all know and love Jonze’s throwback video for the Beastie’s “Sabotage,” which featured the boys riffing on the police dramas of the 1970s – mustaches and all. For the second single off their critically acclaimed album Hot Sauce Committee Pt II, it appears Jonze and his crew are looking to have some fun again as the Boys will be portrayed by action figures in a style that is hopefully akin to the Robot Chicken series.

The band has posted a picture of their action figures – donning white parkas with artillery in hand – and it looks like production has already wrapped for the clip. “The video was directed by our esteemed colleague Mr. Spike Jonze. It is an explicit action adventure spectacular. It features action figures of us and yes, they are ACTION figures, NOT dolls!”

No word on when we should expect the video, but there will apparently be short and “epic” length versions for us to enjoy. Jonze is no slouch with epic music videos either. He is one of the grandfathers of the art form. You’d be hard pressed to find a more in-demand video director than Jonze during his heyday, when everyone from Bjork to Tenacious D requested his services. While there were plenty to choose from, here are some favorites from the man who would go on to direct Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Where the Wild Things Are.

Weezer, “Buddy Holly”

Weezer are known to make fun, playful music videos – having hobnobbed with The Muppets in their music video for “Keep Fishin’” – and Jonze’s clip for “Buddy Holly” was the one that started the trend. With the magical powers of editing, the director was able to blend the group seamlessly into the world of the Happy Days television show. The video helped launch the career of both Weezer and Jonze himself. You know The Fonz would’ve loved him some Weezer.

Fatboy Slim, “Praise You”

Gather a group of mediocre, middle-aged dancers and ask them to interpret Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” and what you’re left with is music video gold. With boombox in tow, Jonze did just that with his dance troupe who (without permission) busted their moves in front of a California movie theater. While most onlookers didn’t seem to be the biggest fans, the heart-warming clip earned three MTV Video Music Awards: Best Choreography, Best Direction and Breakthrough Video of the Year.

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Wax, “California”

You might not know who Wax is, but Jonze’s video for the group’s song “California” is anything but forgettable. The short clip features – in perfect slow motion – a man running to catch the bus with the camera fixated on his shoes, which are … fully engulfed in flames! The video is barely two minutes long, but it’s just as memorable over fifteen years later.

Bjork, “It’s Oh So Quiet”

Nothing Bjork does is ordinary and Jonze’s video for Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” isn’t any different. Everything moves in slow motion as Bjork sings along and it isn’t until the chorus kicks in that life returns to regular speed and everyone joins her in dancing. The cheerier-than-usual video for Bjork will have you clamoring for a full Broadway production from the creative duo.

Fatboy Slim, “Weapon of Choice”

I imagine this is how Jonze reteamed with Fatboy Slim for his 2000 hit, “Weapon of Choice”:

Spike Jonze: Hey Slim, I have a video idea for “Weapon of Choice.”

Fatboy Slim: Shoot.

Spike Jonze: Imagine Christopher Walken singing/dancing/flying around an empty hotel lobby.

Fatboy Slim: Done.