Here are six music videos that I appreciate for their representations of various films. Apart from film, my second love is music. I love seeing a music video for the first time and seeing references to staples in film. It is always fun, even if the song or music video is less than great. Sometimes the videos are completely influenced, sometimes there is just a tiny nod to an iconic scene, and other times the music video merely replicates the tone of the films. There are so many other music videos that I could write about but these songs and their videos have been on my mind lately. Film is a great resource to pull inspiration from to add a stunning and enhancing visual to music, so I hope you can learn something new and listen to fun songs while feeding your love of movies!
1. "Ridgemont High Has Got It Going on"
Music Video: Stacy’s Mom by Fountains of Wayne (2003) directed by Chris Applebaum (notable works: directed music videos for Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Demi Lovato)
Film: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) directed by Amy Heckerling (notable works: wrote Clueless, directed episodes of Gossip Girl and The Carrie Diaries)
Most people can identify this catchy rock jam immediately from the guitar intro, but the music video is probably just as memorable. The Stacy's Mom music video makes various nods to Fast Times At Ridgemont High through the various pool side scenes and Stacy's mother's bright red bikini to show exactly just how much she has got it going on. There is also a reference to Lolita, with Stacy's red heart shaped sunglasses. Stacy is also one of the main characters in the film, but in this music video Stacy's mom takes the spotlight.
2. "Shall We Sway?"
Music Video: Sway by The Pussycat Dolls (2005) directed by Steve Antin (notable works: actor in The Goonies and NYPD Blue, directed the film Burlesque starring Christina Aguilera)
Film: Shall We Dance? (2004) directed by Peter Chelsom (notable works: directed Hannah Montana: The Movie and Serendipity)
Sway is known by many as the ballroom cha cha song sung by Dean Martin and Michael Bublé, but another notable version is cover performed by The Pussycat Dolls. The PCD cover's video takes us to the land of the cinematic ballroom with the golden stage lights and sparkly costumes reflecting the end scenes from Strictly Ballroom. Scenes from Shall We Dance? play throughout the music video as the obvious tie to the film as the song recorded for the film's soundtrack, but the aspect that truly reflects the spectacularity of all ballroom dance films is that dancing. The Pussycat Dolls are known for their dancing and do not disappoint as they perform to the powerful vocals of the group's lead singer, Nicole Scherzinger. The music video truly provides us with a flashy spectacle of dance.
3. "RED SRAM"
Music Video: The Kill by 30 Seconds to Mars (2005) directed by Jared Leto under the alias Bartholomew Cubbins (notable works: lead vocalist for the band 30 Seconds to Mars and Oscar winner as actor in Dallas Buyers Club)
Film: The Shining (1980) directed by Stanley Kubrick (notable works: directed A Clockwork Orange and Lolita)
The Kill music video highlights many scenes from the popular horror film, The Shining. Band member Matt Wachter is served drinks at the bar by a doppelgänger ghost, Jared Leto is scene typing and when the pages are revealed they read "This is who I really am" over and over again instead of "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," typed by the crazy Jack Torrance. The band experiences the strange hauntings caused by a forbidden hotel room. Instead of the room number being 237, it is 6277 which spells out "mars," as it would on a phone keypad. We see many other shining references such as the woman in the bathroom and the man in the bear costume. The video presents the band mirroring the Torrance family's experience of the horrors in a haunted hotel.
4. "I'm So Clueless"
Music Video: Fancy by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX (2014) directed by Director X as Julien Christian Lutz (notable works: directed music videos for Justin Bieber, Drake, and Nicki Minaj)
Film: Clueless (1995) directed by Amy Heckerling (notable works: directed Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
First things first, I love Clueless so it was amazing to see it depicted in the Fancy music video. We see Iggy and Charli as Cher Horowitz and Tai Frazier respectively, and how they live the "Fancy" life of a high school student. The outfits are near replicas of the film's costumes. We even see Iggy using her computer to select her outfit of the day. Iggy Cher-zalea struts around, reminding her school that she can't stand no haters and that honestly she thought that they knew this. She dances while waiting to play tennis and then drives around Beverley Hills and attends Val's party. If Clueless became a pop-rap musical, this is exactly how it would look.
5. "Time Of My Life"
I’m Glad by Jennifer Lopez (2002) directed by David LaChapelle (notable works: directed music videos for Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey and Britney Spears)
Film: Flashdance (1983) directed by Adrian Lyne (notable works: directed Fatal Attraction and Lolita)
JLo gives us her story of an aspiring young dancer by channeling popular scenes from Flashdance. Jenny chills with dancers from her block and reminds us of her humble beginnings. After she walks through a hallway past snobby ballerinas, she gets her sexy sass on in her audition in front of the panel of admissions judges. She replicates the water splash scene of the bar dance scene in the film with choreography and scenes so like the film that Paramount sued Sony and Jlo. Ultimately, this music video depicts the dreams of a dancer and her rise to the top, much like Jennifer Lopez's real life story.
6. "Lightsaber Lipstick"
Music Video: Break Free by Ariana Grande (2014) directed by Chris Marrs Piliero (notable works: directed music videos for Kelly Clarkson, G.R.L, and Britney Spears)
Film: Barbarella (1968) directed by Roger Vadim (notable works: directed And God Created Woman and Spirits of the Dead)
Ariana channel sci-fi in her EDM music video, Break Free, through references to space cinema. "Break Free" begins with a rolling text intro like the Star Wars intros. And the title of the video pulls a sic-fi cliche and zooms towards our faces for a flashy beginning. Ariana is known for her lingerie-like outfits, so it is only fitting that her character in the video resembles Barbarella. She sparkles! She fights aliens! She shows a lot of leg. During the video Ariana-rella "breaks free," rescues her friends and shoots a giant robot with her missile-bra but (Oh No!) she is captured by an evil cosmic wizard. However, like any sic-fi story, she uses her super strength to break away from her chains, pushing the villain into a fiery hole. The music videos is appropriately weird and cheesy, which gives it that truly Star Trek/Barbarella vibe. There's nothing better than campy space/alien movies. Doing what every space hero would do, Ariana struts around her space ship and takes her clothes off while she floats in the air and applies her lightsaber lipstick. The music video is a true homage to the old space films of the 1960s. Think what you want about Ariana Grande, but she brings it in this video and I can't resist it no more!
We come to a close for this article. I actually learned a lot while researching these music videos and films! Which music video is your favorite?