Actors have been popping up in music videos since the dawn of MTV. The crossover officially became A Thing during the '80s when studios realised they could promote their movies in the Billboard chart as effectively as they could on billboards and the 'popbuster' was born. That trend faded away but as our ever-swelling list of pop music cameos proves, the movie stars kept coming back, often to get a little jiggy for their favourite bands. Step up, then, Shia LaBeouf, Andrew Garfield, Terrence Howard, Jay Baruchel and, yes, one J. Statham esquire for our newly updated Astonishing Movie Star Music Video Cameos.
brightcove.createExperiences();There's a couple of factoids to be gleaned from the new Madge promo: one, that she's got absolutely no sense of basic radiation safety; and two, that she's still hoping Tim Burton is going to remake Terminator 2: Judgment Day and will need someone dressed as the Mad Hatter in the Arnie role. Meanwhile, in the T-1000 role comes Terrence Howard, morphing from random sniper to tango sex god to post-apocalyptic family man. Surely War Machine would have come in more useful after a nuke strike?
Video: Comin’ On
Artist: The Shamen
brightcove.createExperiences();Sometime in the bit of his career between being an Olympic diver and beating people up on screen for a living, long before becoming the movie star we all know and love, Jason Statham took a fateful call from his agent. "Hi Jas, there's this band called The Shamen and they want you to do this music video. It's a day's work and you'll get decent money and a free copy of their last album. What? No, of course you won't have to get oiled up and dance about in your pants like a psychedelic plonker.” Oops.
Video: Start A Family
brightcove.createExperiences();'Rickman and Spiteri' has a nice ring to it, like an elite law firm or the world's poshest pop-up deli, and their video collaboration, now two singles strong, has a similarly life-enhancing vibe too. They can't sue your insurance company or sell you delicious olives but they can entertain you with a heartfelt ditty brought to life on YouTube (well, GrubeTube) thanks to Rickman's spry presence. He even gets the chance to talk-sing right in the middle of things. The collaboration dates back 15 years to when Rickman got sultry in Texas's video for In Demand. "Sharleen Spiteri called me up and said, 'Will you come and dance the tango with me in a petrol station?'," Rickman on the Empire Podcast. "I thought, 'Sure, why not.' I didn't know her at the time, but you'll become friends very quickly if you dance the tango."
Video: Every Little Means Trust
brightcove.createExperiences();Jay Baruchel's appearance in Idlewild's lastest video yields a rather lovely tale of genuine superfandom and a dream come true. The actor, who credits the Scottish indie rocksters with having saved his emotional bacon in dark times, got the call to travel to Scotland for their newest promo when the band got wind of his love of their work. What they didn't tell him was that he'd need to provide his own transport when he got there. Consequently, there's an awful lot of walking here.
Video: Elastic Heart
brightcove.createExperiences();Aussie chanteuse Sia brought together a Hollywood tearaway and a child dancer in a thunderous music promo that’s the closest thing to performance art since Shia LaBeouf’s last press conference. The fact that the pair, LaBeouf and dance protégée Maddie Ziegler, are a bit unclad brought some controversy (like a bit of controversy ever hurt a musician). The real question here is why it's all taking place inside the board game Mousetrap.
Video: We Exist
Artist: Arcade Fire
brightcove.createExperiences();All actors are big show-offs but Andrew Garfield takes it to the next level by actually taking to the stage at Coachella and stealing Arcade Fire's thunder with the old 'Whooah-lookout-it's-Spider-Man!' routine. It's all in aid of a video that's a lot more tenderly handled than, to take an example at random, Iron Maiden's The Number Of The Beast. There's nary a sign of tight leather trousers or blokes lobbing grenades at unconvincing demons here, as Garfield's character comes out in public for the first time and does it in the most public forum available. The whole thing ended in predictable controversy but it's well-intentioned and empathetic and Garfield makes a nice blonde.
Track: Rock & Roll Dreams Come Through
If you thought the idea of Meatloaf chatting up a young Angelina Jolie sounds creepy, well, you’re right – it is creepy. Then again, this is a Meatloaf video – a Meatloaf video directed by Michael Bay, no less – so what were you expecting, something that didn’t involve Mr. Loaf chatting up a hot girl? Well, quite. For more Meatloaf / Bay music video funtimes, check out I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) and Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are, which may or may not include gothic imagery, explosions and/or hot women. Hint: they do.
Jason Bateman, Ed Helms, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis
Video: Hopeless Wanderer
Artist: Mumford & Sons
brightcove.createExperiences();Earnest songsters Mumford & Sons strike back at those who dare dismiss them as earnest (not us, guv) by enlisting comedy big guns Will Forte, Ed Helms, Jason Bateman and new Tottenham manager Jason Sudeikis as self-spoofing surrogates in their new video. There’s a lot going on here – simmering passions we daren’t address by name, emotions so raw they bring tears to the eyes and some really silly stick-on beards – but the highlight is an amazing barbershop-style banjo’athon. The video is the handiwork of Foo Fighters, Cold War Kids and Wilco promo veteran Sam Jones.
Video: Time To Dance
Artist: The Shoes
brightcove.createExperiences();Not to be confused with the American band of (nearly) the same name or those leathery things you'll find on your feet, The Shoes are a French electro act who've called on Jake Gyllenhaal to further augment their so-hip-it-actually-does-hurt credentials. J-Gyll brutally murders his way through the band's new video, a turn to the dark side that'll scare the pants off anyone who last saw him tickling Anne Hathaway's fancy in Love And Other Drugs or quantum leaping through Source Code. Coincidentally, neither of those movies involved him strangulating a stranger on a fire escape for no obvious reason. We're calling this Brokeneck Mountain.
Video: Ghost Inside
Band: Broken Bells
If the first thing you do when you form a band, isn’t to call up Christina Hendricks and ask her to be in your video, you need to pour yourself a stiff glass of what-the-hell. Broken Bell’s duo, Danger Mouse and James Mercer, are no dummies. They recruited Hendricks to give storyline to the piano-driven melodies of ‘Ghost Inside’, yanking her out of a dreamy Mad Man world and into a Douglas Trumbull-style sci-fi nightmare, complete with jumpsuit and rusty space bucket. Doesn’t seem like a fair exchange, really, although we think it might all be a dream.
Robert Downey Jr.
Track: I Want Love
Artist: Elton John
brightcove.createExperiences();It takes a very special person to pull off a music video like this one: all we see is a man in a grey T-shirt walking around a fancy but featureless old mansion, lip-syncing to an Elton John tune. Fortunately, Robert Downey Jr. is that very special person. With lyrics chiming perfectly with the man who would be iron – “A man like me, so irresponsible” – and his return to grace still a good few years off, it’s a genuinely touching super cameo from RDJ. Elsewhere on the same album, ‘Songs From The West Coast’, Justin Timberlake dresses up as Elton himself and walks around a gig venue’s backstage area to the tune of [This Train Don't Stop There Anymore](http://youtu.be/SsuHAn54wPs) – but which walk-and-dub is better, Robert’s or the Justin’s? Answers in a comment box, if you please.
Winona Ryder, Giovanni Ribisi and John C. Reilly
Track: Talk About The Blues
Artist: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
brightcove.createExperiences();Giving themselves a break from playing instruments and singing and so on, bandmates Jon Spencer, Judah Bauer and Russell Simins act out a bizarre crime caper in this, the video for their first single off 1998’s ‘Acme’ LP. But really, what does that matter? In between all their manic mugging there’s Winona Ryder pretending to sing the blues, Giovanni Ribisi pretending to play guitar and John C. Reilly pretending to play the drums – and it’s not often you see that sort of thing, now is it?
brightcove.createExperiences();What Bruce Willis had to do in this music video can be described in just a couple of sentences. Step 1: Get into massive muscle car. Step 2: Chase cartoon rock stars in said massive muscle car. Step 3: Shoot at the cartoon rock stars in their massive muscle car. Step 4: Get out of muscle car after their muscle car drives off a cliff, Thelma & Louise-style. But though it may be simple, the resulting video is oh-so-very cool – in no small part thanks to Bruce’s signature look to camera. Oh, and the shark car, of course – you’ll see what we mean…
Track: Can’t Tell Me Nothing
Artist: Kayne West
Back in 2007, The Hangover two long years away and Zach Galifianakis was still a jobbing stand-up working comedy clubs in LA. Despite this, his funnyman talents were making their presence felt online, with Kayne West’s personal trainer bringing the exceptionally bearded buffoon to Mr. West’s attention during a gym session. A daytrip to the country later and Kayne had one of the most genuinely laugh-out-loud music videos ever made on his hands, and all for the price of a packet of peanuts and a few pork scratchings. Annoyingly for Galifianakis, the video in question was only chosen as a back-up, appearing online and never on the likes of MTV.
Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, John C. Reilly, Will Ferrell, Jack Black
Track: Fight For Your Right (Revisited)
Artist: The Beastie Boys
‘Fight For Your Right’ (Revisited) isn’t so much a track as a half-hour sketch. Continuing the tale first told 25 years previously in the original ‘Fight For Your Right’ video, The Beasties break into a liquor store, drop acid with groupies and get into a breakdance competition with time-traveling future versions of themselves. As well as the six stars mentioned above, the supporting cast boasts the acting/drinking/dancing talents of Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Steve Buscemi, Alicia Silverstone, Laura Dern, Shannyn Sossamon, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, Rashida Jones, Jason Schwartzman, Rainn Wilson, Amy Poehler, Mary Steenburgen, Will Arnett, Adam Scott, Chloe Sevigny, Maya Rudolph, David Cross, Orlando Bloom, Martin Starr, and the actual Mike D, Ad-Rock and MCA. Some of these cameos are pretty blink-and-you’ll-miss-‘em, but trust us, they’re there.
Ron Howard, Forest Whitaker, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Gyllenhall
Track: Blame It
Artist: Jamie Foxx, featuring T-Pain
There are motley crews, then there’s Ron Howard, Forest Whitaker and Jake Gyllenhaal rocking up to Jamie Foxx’s vodka party. There, Samuel L. Jackson is on hand to look cooler than all of them combined, aided in his endeavour by the likes of Quincy Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Morris Chestnut, Clifton Powell, Alex Thomas, DeRay Davis, Joe, Mos Def, Tatyana Ali, Jalen Rose, Bill Bellamy, Ashley Scott, Electrik Red, Dawn Richard, Keshia Knight Pulliam and LeToya. That said, if you know who every single one of those people are, we’re guessing you’re more of an R&B fan than you are a movie nut. Still, Ron Howard! In da club! With a man in a panda suit! This is what all music videos should look like.
Paul Rudd, Bill Hader, John Oliver
Artist: The New Pornographers
This one is, admittedly, more of US TV cameo-fest, but the sheer Paul Ruddiness of it all means we couldn’t not include it. Starting with The Rudd – our term – sitting on a bed, pretending to be pregnant with a pillow stuffed up his shirt, it suddenly dawns on you that it’s actually a fake trailer for a movie called Expectant Dads. Why is this the first 20 seconds of a New Pornographers video? Why the hell not. Plus, Smurfs fans will be pleased to see John Oliver cropping up as an anti-Canadian protestor. What do you mean, you didn’t know The Daily Show’s John Oliver appears in The Smurfs? Shame on you.
Artist: Sonic Youth
brightcove.createExperiences();If Macaulay Culkin was worried Richie Rich and Home Alone would be all that anyone would remember him for… well, he’d probably be right, but there’s no doubt his indie cred was significantly boosted by his appearance in this here music video back in 1998. New York noise-rockers Sonic Youth only make fleeting appearances on camera, allowing the Uncle Buck star to smooch his then wife, Rachel Miner, take off a top hat in slow motion and blows kisses to no-one in particular. Of course, it’s not the first time Culkin has starred in a music video – just take a look at Michael Jackson’s [Black Or White](http://youtu.be/F2AitTPI5U0). Warning: it’s pretty insane.
Track: Perfect Situation
At first glance, this video appears to have a simple premise. 24’s Elisha Cuthbert has replaced Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, though somehow she seems to have exactly the same singing voice as him. If you look a little closer, you’ll realise this is not the case. Elisa here is actually the frontperson of the band that fictionally preceded Weezer, “Weeze”. Got that? Lovely stuff. Interestingly enough, this video’s director is none other than (500) Days Of Summer’s Marc Webb, the man set to sling the Spidey reboot The Amazing Spider-Man into cinemas later this year. Whether the soundtrack will contain any Weezer remains to be seen. Our guess? Possibly. Maybe. It could go either way.
Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Clark Duke
Track: Erase Me
Artist: Kid Cudi, featuring Kanye West
Kid Cudi may not be the biggest deal ever over here in the UK, but he definitely deserves some attention for his choice in music video cameo stars. After all, without Master Kudi we’d never have seen McLovin dressed up as Jimi Hendrix’s drummer, beating gold glitter off a drumkit as Clarke Duke provides make-pretend backing vocals and clubs away at a bass guitar. Oh, and Kayne West rocks up wearing a gold-played laurel wreath on his head, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Track: Remember The Time
Artist: Michael Jackson
brightcove.createExperiences();Eddie Murphy doesn’t have a huge amount to do in this, MJ’s longest, most extravagant music video ever. Clocking in at over 9 minutes, Pharoah Eddie appears on screen for about a third of that, cocking an eyebrow or two and occasionally clapping his hands. It’s a wonder why The King Of Pop asked him along, really – it’s almost as if he got him on board just to show him up in front of Iman with all his cutting-edge CGI and walk-like-a-Egyptian dance moves. Then again, with this being Michael Jackson, that could well be the actual reason for all we know.
Track: Giving Up The Gun
Artist: Vampire Weekend
Jake Gyllenhall whipping off tiny Velcro shorts to reveal even tinier tennis shorts underneath? Check. A pair of blonde twin sisters, a samurai warrior and an Amazonian woman? Check. Two men who look like a cross between Daft Punk and Top Gear’s Stig? Check. A huge bucket of kook? Checketty check.
Track: I Want To Come Over
Artist: Melissa Etheridge
Don’t know how Melissa Etheridge is? Nor did we until we watched this particular Paltrow-filled music video of hers. Since then, we’ve discovered she’s a much-loved folk/rock/country singer songwriter from Kansas who’s a bit of a hero in the US LGBTI community. As for the video itself, it reveals to the world that Chris Martin’s wife ain’t half bad at making a cat’s cradle, and knows just how to pull off the role of “very upset girl in a car”. Three years later, and she’s won an Oscar – a coincidence? Well, no, it’s not even that, really.
Track: Weapon Of Choice
Artist: Fatboy Slim
Like Spike Jonze’s gonzo freestyler in the video for Praise You, the mighty Christopher Walken wasn’t afraid to cut some particularly awesome shapes for Fatboy Slim. Brighton’s beat baron provided the chunky basslines; Walken, the funky chickens. Under Jonze’s direction he danced his way around the LA Marriott, defying expectations and gravity as he went. It remains a landmark in hotel-based dad dancing. Forget Inception: zero-G awesomeness belongs to Walken.
Video: Into The Great Wide Open
Artist: Tom Petty
Somewhere between Edward Scissorhands and Benny & Joon, Johnny Depp indulged his love of music in this Tom Petty video. It’s a cautionary (fairy)tale festooned with Hollywood and music biz cameos. Petty plays a kind of proto Mad Hatter – albeit considerably saner than Depp’s later version – who recounts the misadventures of a wannabe rock star (Depp) and his fairy godmother, played by Faye Dunaway. Depp’s rocker must have tiger blood coursing through his veins because he blows it all in an orgy of booze, bikes and colour-coordinated bandanas. Look out for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him Matt LeBlanc appearance, too.
Video: Rush Rush
Artist: Paula Abdul
The video that launched a billion crushes, 20 years on and this George Lucas effort still hasn’t lost the power to make us go all dooey. Paula Abdul can spot an American idol when she sees one and she definitely picked a beaut when she asked Keanu to be in her heartstring-yanking video (okay, two if you include the ghost of James Dean in this homage to Rebel Without A Cause). Much smooching ensues, as the former Ted ‘Theodore’ Logan makes eyes at Paula even though she’s got, like, a boyfriend and stuff. Luckily he’s a bit of a douchebag and Keanu is rugged (check out the car!) yet sensitive (check out the milk!). There can be only one winner in this contest.
Video: Walking On Broken Glass
Artist: Annie Lennox
Homaging Dangerous Liaisons and that bit in Blackadder The Third when the Prince Regent looks a bit confused, this John Malkovich-starring video is a talc-smothered triumph of art direction and Malko magic. He vies with Hugh Laurie for the attentions of Annie Lennox, while boosting the kind of goatee normally found on a Texan cage fighter. Things get Eurythmic quite quickly. We know he’s got charisma and star quality, but only a moustachioed Malkovich could make a four-minute liaison look quite so darn dangereux.
Video: Anyone Seen My Baby?
Band: The Rolling Stones
Before she became a fully-fledged movie star and 50% stakeholder in Brangelina Inc., Angelina Jolie was a music video regular. She appeared in spots for Korn (Did My Time), Lenny Kravitz (Stand By My Woman), and The Lemonheads (It’s About Time). She also popped up in the Michael Bay promo for Meatloaf’s apocalyptically terrible ‘Rock 'n' Roll Dreams Come Through’, playing a runaway opposite Meat’s protein-heavy fortune teller. With the Rolling Stones the music got better, even if the roles didn’t. Here she turned up as the age-inappropriate stripper Mick Jagger pursues to the very ends of New York. The true miracle of this – aside from how they got Keith Richards off that building – is the way Jolie manages walk around Manhattan in her undies without causing a pile-up.
Video: Dancing In The Dark
Artist: Bruce Springsteen
Being plucked from a huge crowd can be mortifying, especially when most of it will be wanting to stab you brutally to death for daring share the limelight with their idol. Luckily, in Brian De Palma’s video for ‘Dancing In The Dark’ Bruce Springsteen plucks out an actress trained to deal with these kind of situations. Yup, that pixie-cropped 20 year-old is Courteney Cox. It’s a safe choice. After all, who’s going to want to try to stab a Scream queen to death? Wait, hang on…
Video: Sexx Laws
This blisteringly strange Beck video unleashes Jack Black on an unsuspecting indie public. The consequences we’ll never know, but there are probably some sensitive Beck fans still cowering under their beds after the harangue Black delivers at the end of it. Up to that point it’s just your average lunatic psychedelic bun fight, with American footballers and blue rubber robots gyrating, and someone playing an instrument that’s clearly been stolen from Max Rebo; then Black turns up wearing a lilo and a traffic cone on his head and things get really weird. If we didn’t know better, we’d say someone’s been taking some tenacious E.
Artist: Jack Johnson
Ben Stiller’s never been slow to send himself up in music promos – he does the same in Limp Bizkit’s Rollin’ spot with Stephen Dorff – and he’s on top form here as a hired-gun director who roles into a Jack Johnson shoot with a few ideas to bring a little Joanie-loves-Chachi to proceedings. It all gets meta pretty quickly, what with the dream sequences, slo-mo beach sprints and an attempt to coax the singer to mime all of his lyrics. The sensitive type, Johnson’s not having any of it, possibly still smarting from watching Stiller run over one of his chickens.
Stiller again, this time doing his old pals Travis a solid with a day-long shoot on their LA-set video for ‘Closer’. He’s the cranky supermarket manager who’s annoyed to find the shop’s chipmunk mascot bothering his customers with songs about his troubled lovelife – or would be, if he could just catch him in the act. Stiller, a big Travis fan, cuts a suitably confused figure as he tries and fails to catch the Glaswegian songsters red-handed.
Video: Mr Brightside
Band: The Killers
Who better to cast as the sleazy character at the heart of this Moulin Rouge!-inspired video than the villainous Eric Roberts? No-one, that’s who. Roberts plays a kind of Hugh Hefner-lite, a silk-gowned svengali who makes grumpy faces at Brandon Flowers when the Killer tries to pull his lady. You’d think that the man who took on Stallone, Lundgren, Statham et al would have no problems dealing with a foppish musician with a thing for crushed velvet - and you’d be pretty much spot on. Luckily for Flowers he takes him on at draughts, rather than, say, guns.
Video: Leave Before the Lights Come on
Band: Arctic Monkeys
A perfect storm of musical and movie awesomeness, this video, like Richard Ayoade’s Submarine, marries the talents of Alex Turner and Paddy Considine. It’s shot on the back streets and alleys of Sheffield, with Shaun Of The Dead’s Kate Ashfield playing a suicidal damsel and Considine her white knight. It's a song about manipulation and contr, so the tender moment is only fleeting: Ashfield’s character turns stalker and pursues him around the city. Hmm. A night in with a copy of Dead Man’s Shoes might have saved her a lot of trouble.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Video: Sour Girl
Band: Stone Temple Pilots
Look! It’s Buffy! No, really. The leader singer of grunge survivors Stone Temple Pilots Scott Weiland loved the Vampire Slayer so much he asked Sarah Michelle Gellar to appear in David Slade’s video for Sour Girl. Gellar said yes and pops up as a kind of protector figure while Weiland negotiates the Teletubby-filled netherworld Slade has prepared for him. Much shirtless sexy business ensues between the two. It’s good stuff, though we’d love to know what it'd have looked like if Weiland had been a big fan of, say, Murder She Wrote.
Video: Original Sin
Artist: Elton John
Sir Elton has so many famous friends spanning every walk of life – look, it’s Elizabeth Taylor! And here’s RDJ! – that picking one to appear in one of his videos just takes a quick phone call. “Hello Mandy, I need you to be in my new video”, he might have said to Mandy Moore. “Terrific Elt, I’m in. What do you need?”, “Well, if you’ve got a pair of granny glasses, a really odd dress and some stick-on pimples, bring those. Also, I’m going to need you to play an obsessive weirdo.” “Okay. What will I be obsessing about?” “Me!!”, “Elton, I’m going to have to call you back...”
Video: Burn My Shadow
There are two versions to this UNKLE video: the official one, starring Croatian heartthrob Goran Visnjic as a man who wakes up after a bigger-than-normal night out to find a ticking object in his chest; and the unofficial one with Jude Law as a man with a different kind of ticking object in his chest - and a variety of household tools in his hands. In both cases blood gets shed. The second, an Oldboy-homaging scene from Repo Men, plays like an X-rated Black & Decker ad – and we mean that in a good way – although we’re sticking with the official version and Visnjic, who shows why he might not have made a particularly effective 007.
Video: Papa Don't Preach
In the iconic video for this single from True Blue Madge gets caught between her feelings for her bad-boy boyfriend and the love she feels for her devoted dad. It’s an emotional minefield complicated by the fact that dad is the mighty Danny Aiello, a man who knows his way around the record industry (sorta). According to author Georges-Claude Guilbert, Madonna’s cropped look channels the spirit of Marilyn Monroe, Jean Seberg and Kim Novak in the video. Aiello, judging purely by his CV, may be channelling the spirit of an angry Italian-American with Mob connections.
Video: You Can Call Me Al
Artist: Paul Simon
Alongside Dire Straits’ cigar-chomping robots in Money For Nothing, Peter Gabriel’s stop-motioned Sledgehammer and that one by Berlin in that aeroplane graveyard, You Can Call Me Al is one of those ‘80s videos everyone remembers. And no wonder: Chevy Chase and Paul Simon’s odd-couple chemistry was the inspiration of SNL’s Lorne Michaels. It was Michaels who pioneered the now-staple gag of having the actor steal the musician’s lines (see also: Ben Stiller/Jack Johnson, Fiona Apple/Zach Galifianakis). The height difference brought extra helpings of silly too, Chase towering over the tiny Simon like some kind of trumpet-playing kraken.
Video: A Sorta Fairytale
Artist: Tori Amos
Uh-oh, metaphor alert! Disembodied Adrien Brody and Tori Amos are a leg and an arm who regenerate when they come together and find love. It’s as substantially weird as it sounds – like David Cronenberg’s version of Boxing Helena – but both Amos and Brody are known for taking the path less trodden. If you're a T-1000, here's Valentine’s Day telly taken care of.
Sean Bean, Verne Troyer, Robin Wright and others
Video: We Are All Made Of Stars
Moby lets Hollywood have it with this Naked Lunch-meets-Space-Odyssey exploration of Hollywood excess. He calls in a small army of movie stars and a motley crew of rock royalty to populate his promo with jocks, lounge lizards and hard-partying dweebos. Yes, that’s Sean Bean in a DeLorean and Verne Troyer flashing cash at a stripper. There’s weirdness in them thar Hollywood hills.
Video: When the Deal Goes Down
Artist: Bob Dylan
This sun-touched slice of loveliness is directed by Bennett ‘Capote’ Miller and features Scarlett Johansson as a ‘60s Minnesotan housewife on the verge of a life-changing encounter with a sea monster. At least, we’d like to think she is - there's not too much else going on. Miller peppers the Super 8 footage with clues about Bob Dylan’s formative years but really it’s all about gazing at Scarlett, who’s looking so pretty and shimmery it actually burns our eyes. Look out for more of the same in Justin Timberlake’s video for ‘What Goes Around, Comes Around’.
Artist: Devendra Banhart
Natalie Portman was returning a favour by appearing in this video – Devendra Banhart had recorded a song for her own charity album – but she’s clearly having a whole lot of fun in the singer-songwriter’s Bollywood homage. She even gets her cephalopod on, turning into an octopus before our very eyes. As transformations go, being magicked into seafood is not quite as glamorous as becoming a black swan, but, hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.
Video: No You Don't
As actors come, there are few more indie than Michael Cera, what with his infinite playlists, Moldy Peaches singalongs and general Sex Bob-omb’ing. His collaboration with fellow Canadians, psych-rockers Islands, is all kinds of alt. and sees him popping pills and disappearing on the wonkiest intergalactic headtrip this side of Event Horizon. Remember, though, kids: only losers do drugs. Whatever Charlie Sheen says.
Video: Since I Don't Have You
Band: Guns N' Roses
Only the majestic Gary Oldman’s presence saves this from music video hell. We’re not sure exactly happening here but Oldman is playing some kind of Caliban-like devil, while Axel Rose is playing, well, Axel Rose. This involves the statutory kissing of beautiful woman in a variety of exotic locations, rock posturing, bandanas, and – just to mix things up – being tied to a chair. It’s not good on any level, but Oldman seems to be having a lot of fun underneath the Joker make-up, gleefully taunting Rose before shoving his car off a cliff. As you would.
Artist: Brandon Flowers
She’s played a serial killer in Monster, endured an apocalypse in The Road and made friends with Mighty Joe the gorilla, so a few ninjas were never going to cause Charlize Theron too much bother. Still, full marks for executing not one but two classic no-look finishing moves and an awesome double shuriken to the head. Brandon Flowers called on his pal Theron for his first solo project, and in the process unveiled Uma Thurman’s heir apparent should Kill Bill 3 ever happen.
Video: Don't Worry, Be Happy
Artist: Bobby McFerrin
Here at Empire we’re usually a pretty sunny bunch: laughing in the face of mouse infestations, smiling when smoke comes out of the photocopier and chuckling when we remember that the fire extinguisher was used on the mice. So the fact that this video makes us feel like we’ve just crawled out of a Joy Division song has to be down to Bobby McFerrin, Robin Williams and Bill Irwin (Sesame Street's Mr. Noodle) having jolly-off so cheery it could melt the internet. All this despite the fact that: (a) the rent is late, (b) the landlord may have to litigate, and (c) this song is more annoying than Patch Adams.
Video: Not About Love
Artist: Fiona Apple
...And finally, exploiting the demented comic stylings of Zach Galifianakis comes this John-and-Yoko themed love-in with songstress Fiona Apple. Okay, we say ‘love’, but mean ‘rage’ and ‘regret’ – it’s called Not About Love after all. Still, it’s got a nice mumblecore feel, it offers a nose around Galifianakis’ house and even has the actor/comedian/all-round lunatic pulling some outrageous shapes in the ocean. What’s not to love? If you want more Galifianakis, he repeats the trick in a very silly alternative version of Kanye West’s ‘Can't Tell Me Nothing’ that’s also worth checking out.