DID YOU READ

The Directors of Radiohead

The Directors of Radiohead (photo)

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[This article is part of our Radiohead Fanatic Fortnight — check out our box set giveaway here.]

With great bands often come great videos, and Radiohead is one of those bands that matured quickly and garnered talented directors early on. Some directors set out to create a good marketing tool and simply made the members look cool. Others were as cutting edge as the band whose songs they set to the moving image. Here’s a look at some of Radiohead’s more memorable videos and the directors who shot them:

Director: Jake Scott
Video: “Fake Plastic Trees” (1995)

Scott, son of Ridley Scott (and nephew of Tony), seems to have more influences, education and inspiration to draw from than he actually knows what to do with. His film debut, the 1999 feature “Plunkett & Macleane,” may satisfy the urge to indulge in a roguish period picture, but it was also almost terminally frenetic. You’d never guess from watching it that four years earlier Scott directed the video for Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees.” His other standout work, R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” shows more stylistic parallels with “Just,” a Radiohead video from another director [see below], with subtitles moving a mysterious narrative along.

Scott likes the close-up, favoring gratuitous shots of his subjects talking, singing, strumming and striking poses with their heads. But that’s what the kids want in a video — to get closer and more intimate with the rock stars they idolize. “Fake Plastic Trees,” with its whitewashed, saturated colors, may still be his best. Can’t forget that long, bright look at Thom Yorke’s fascinating face. (On the film side, Scott’s next feature, the upcoming “Welcome to the Rileys,” looks to be a considerably calmer drama that stars Kristen Stewart.)

Director: Jamie Thraves
Video: “Just” (1995)

Thraves has done videos for bands like Blur and radio titans Coldplay, but none of his videos has caused more stir than Radiohead’s “Just.” It epitomized the look of rock cool at the time. He nailed it with the Elvis glasses, Yorke’s wardrobe and the hot shots of Jonny [Greenwood]’s string-bending solo. But what’s kept fans talking on forums and blogs over the years is the weighty statement made by the man on the sidewalk that makes the crowd lie down with him, just as the subtitles stop. People have gone so far as to watch it in slow motion with lip-reading experts to determine what the line is. The results? Inconclusive, since the shot cuts away to the band anyway. Neither Jamie Thraves nor the band will say, even if there is actually something to say, since they feel it would defeat the point of the art. But fans still keep asking the question, anyway.

Director: Michel Gondry
Video: “Knives Out” (2001)

Gondry’s wild, fantastical style is apparent throughout all his work, particularly his features “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Science of Sleep.” But the French-born director got his start in music videos, and his filmic language, while evolved, remains rooted in the short form. Playfully toying with the viewer’s frame of reference is a Gondry signature. In his video for “Knives Out,” the camera eventually moves into a TV screen that shows Thom Yorke and a girlfriend (played by actress Emma de Caunes) in a train car. As the couple fight and Yorke eventually offers her an engagement ring, a hand is shown beneath the TV set hitting the VCR’s rewind button to show their relationship play out in reverse through the train window. The scene bears a striking resemblance to the opening of Gondry’s “Be Kind Rewind,” which depicts the real-life jazz musician Fats Waller dying in a train car, as the window reveals a model of the train itself parked at a station outside. The same stylish mind-boggle plays out continually in the video, and indeed in much of his work.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.