Sabotage by the Beastie Boys
Directed by Spike Jonze
In an effort to keep this post festive, I considered writing about the Monster Mash until I realized the song was recorded long before music videos were even a thought in filmmakers’ imaginations. So instead, I’ll turn to my favorite music video of all time: the Beastie Boys’ 1994 hit song Sabotage.
Acclaimed music video director Spike Jonze does an amazing job matching the Beastie Boys’ sense of humor with an old school parody of 1970s crime drama television shows (Or perhaps it is a tribute…this is the Beastie Boys, after all). The video starts with dizzying, quick shots of typical images from crime dramas: police sirens, city streets, undercover cars. Any doubt of what the video is about is washed away once Mike D, Ad rock, and MCA appear on the screen. Once the music kicks in, we’re bombarded with close ups of their ridiculous wigs, moustaches, and aviator glasses. Soon, we’re introduced to the story: the hip hop trio play Alasondro Alegré, Vic Colfari, and Nathan Wind (Mike D., Adrock, and MCA, respectively characters on the fictional show “Sabotage”). Whether it be the low-angle shot at the landing of the stairwell or the multiple canted car shots, the video clearly immerses itself into the genre.
The video works as a short film in a similar way that George Lucas In Love does. Some may question the validity of calling a music video a short film, but I’d say they are 100% wrong. Sabotage is a fantastic example of a music video that works as a film independent of the music yet also enhances the song and represents the musician well.