Community Cast – We’re Gonna Finally be Fine

I’ll admit, this one is kind of cheating. It isn’t so much a music video as a musical number from a show, so I am sort of betraying the premise of this blog. And, yeah, this article is more concerned with decoding lyrics and how Dan Harmon views sitcom storytelling than discussing the plot/shooting techniques of a short film. But all the elements of cinema have to work together to make a decent product so, c’mon, let me have this one.

If you’re a fan of the show, you’ve probably already picked up on a lot of the subtext of the song and why it’s so funny and clever. But I have to assume you aren’t familiar with Community or its characters for the sake of the article, so let me explain: in the previous two school years, the study group had an additional member, Pierce (Chevy Chase, who isn’t in here), who left the group after feeling betrayed by them at the end of the previous semester. This song takes place in Jeff’s (Joel McHale, AKA guy flying in the beginning) mind at the start of their third year. Though the study group has always been dysfunctional, he imagines this is how life will be now that the group doesn’t have to deal with Pierce’s racism, sexism and general stupidity (as well as probably just overcoming a few personal problems). Of course, while that explains the video somewhat concisely, you won’t have the benefit of intimately understanding each character’s personalities and flaws. But, hopefully that provides enough context to go off of.

The Character Perspective

From the perspective of Jeff, every single change he seems to want is completely unreasonable. Remember, he’s known these people for two years now and they’ve been through a lot. It’s not as if Jeff doesn’t know these people and how their minds work. Hell, he makes a speech in nearly every episode because he knows what his friends need to hear in times of conflict or crisis. If there was any way for Jeff to change the core essence of his friends personalities to better suit himself, he could have done it by now.

Its so blatantly untrue to the character’s respective personalities you can literally break down nearly every line and find a description that is almost the opposite of the character saying it. That would take a while though, so here’s a few highlights:

We’re gonna fly to school each morning, we’re gonna smile the entire time Jeff may not hate Greendale Community College as much as he wants people to think but he certainly doesn’t adore it, so being eager enough to “fly to school” is really a stretch. He also is one of the most consistently unhappy, cynical characters in the whole show. Smiling at all seems unlikely, much less the entire time he’s on campus.

We’re gonna be less crazy… – Annie (Alison Brie) has an unhealthy obsession with constantly being the best and brightest student in her class. And, that’s not even taking into account the time she essentially held the study group hostage looking for a stolen pen. Crazy seems like a fair description, even if it is a well-meaning crazy.

We’re gonna seem like a mainstream dream! Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) is not, and will never be, mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great man and the perfect Dean for Greendale, but c’mon, he came out dressed like a parody of Aretha Franklin and this isn’t even close to his most ridiculous costume. And he’s not doing this for laughs, he just legitimately enjoys dressing in flamboyant costumes for fun. He’s amazing, but definitely not normal.

A tad eccentric, perhaps

A tad eccentric, perhaps

On a certain level, its sort of assumed Jeff knows this isn’t how things will work out. After all, removing one toxic element from your life usually isn’t enough to change all of your other issues for the better (especially since it could be argued that any given character in the study group can be just as toxic as Pierce) and Jeff is smart enough to see this. But since Jeff strives for normality despite his chaotic and sometimes nonsensical situation, he still clings to the idea that all his friends can become normal too despite his usual cynicism (one character points out that Jeff is drawn to other broken people like himself, so it could be argued that he doesn’t even want this himself and just feels like he should).

The Creator’s Perspective

This clip doesn’t really gain the same level of significance until you understand how it all ties back to Dan Harmon, the show’s creator. Community as a show always seemed out of place while it was airing on NBC. It was a cult hit, but it was much more clever and witty (and to a degree, unapproachable) than an average primetime sitcom, and as a result the show could only ever captivate a small but extremely loyal fanbase. To Dan Harmon’s credit, his show’s popularity never impacted his and his staff’s writing and they continued to create a show they were proud of rather than one the lowest common denominator of viewer would understand. However, for a Big 3 network the goal isn’t to fill a niche market, but to hit the broadest demographic possible and Community could never do that.

This whole clip addresses nearly all the criticisms NBC gave Harmon while he was running the show and some of the unrealistic expectations major networks sometimes put on the people who create their content. The whole song is basically a sarcastic “here’s what we’d do if we sold out” to NBC, with all the characters saying their going to lose the respective quirks that make them recognizably human. Harmon is a great storyteller and understands that your characters have to be flawed to be interesting. While erasing some of their more uncomfortable imperfections may make the show more approachable, it also makes for hollow content that leaves no lasting impression. He understood, of example, that even if fans want to see Jeff and Annie “sleep together,” it will ultimately hurt the narrative to lose their “will they-won’t they” element just to give fans short lived excitement. Or for another example, Harmon knew it was unrealistic to try to “be appealing to all mankind” because their simply isn’t a show that can form a meaningful connection with everyone.

No show can "live forever" unless its The Simpsons

No show can “live forever” unless its The Simpsons

Certain shows have to speak to certain audiences or else they appeal to no one. To his credit, Harmon wasn’t oblivious to the fact that his style of alternative comedy wasn’t what major networks typically look for and repeatedly told them (without bitterness or resentment) that if they weren’t satisfied with his work, that they could fire him just like any other job (which they eventually did).

But enough of me swooning over Dan Harmon, we’re already over 1,100 words. Like I said, this article was a little different than the rest but hopefully it was still informative and/or entertaining. I’ll be back to normal next time, I’m sure.

 

Courtney Barnett – Elevator Operator

I’m having trouble putting my finger on what exactly I like so much about Courtney Barnett so far. I stumbled upon Avant Gardener a few weeks ago when Youtube kindly recommended it to me because of my love of Bojack Horseman. Since then, I’ve been slowly chipping away at her discography and it’s fascinating how different but similar it all is. She does everything from mellow, coffee shop fare to some punky, almost Riot Grrrl sounding stuff (I may be misrepresenting Riot Grrrl a little bit, but I think its terrible so I can’t be expected to know exactly what defines the genre) but it all seems kind of unique because of her passive sounding voice. If you go through her music videos, you’ll notice they follow the same pattern of unpredictability with a layer of calm indifference underneath but nowhere does that energy work better than in Elevator Operator.

Right away, the video seems like an indie movie that someone condensed into 5 1/2 minutes. There’s a title card that seems designed to be forgettable over a moving background. Immediately there’s a celebrity cameo from indie culture icons, not to mention a revolving door of eccentrics in the elevator itself.

Oh, hello, indie/punk/Riot Grrrl darling Sleater Kinney!

Oh, hello, indie/punk/Riot Grrrl band Sleater Kinney!

Many of the shots used are in contrast to each other, either being shot as a loose close ups or wide shots and nearly every scene in the elevator is a jump cut. Even Barnett herself is practically dressed like a Wes Andersen extra. The point is it looks and feels different from the Thriller video because the director understands both the nature of his talent and that this video and song isn’t going to appeal to a majority of the population. But the audience it probably will appeal to wants a video that doesn’t dumb it down for the lowest common denominator.

But what grabbed me more than that is the way that I connected with this video through my interpretation to it. Barnett is a young person working at a menial job in a position that seems in no way important to the success of the business (or businesses? Its an office building so who knows), something most people have probably experienced at some point. She does’t bother showing up until seconds before her shift begins, she doesn’t bother addressing anyone of the elevator’s passengers and generally seems to exert as little energy as possible. Not that I blame her, I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing.

But all that conserved energy has to go somewhere, and the dreary monotony of the elevator is the sort of thing that forces a person to get creative to keep their own sanity. It’s also hard to imagine that any office building would have an elevator carrying such interesting passengers, so that points to the idea that Courtney is probably using her imagination to make her day a little less terrible. This explains why, regardless of the weirdo she has in the elevator with her, she seems pretty indifferent to their presence. They aren’t actually that interesting, probably just typical office building workers, but by giving them a kangaroo costume or making them dancing nuns she’s able to get through her shift without going crazy.

Or maybe Australia just has a different idea of business casual, I don't know.

Or maybe Australia just has a different idea of business casual, I don’t know.

The different floors also can support this theory. Most of the people she encounters don’t seem all that thrilled to see her, like office workers who see her as beneath them or are polite because they need something from her. Not to mention Courtney perks up every time the door opens just because she gets a glimpse outside her workstation. If you watch, the world outside is much brighter and richer in color than her elevator. She literally brightens up at the thought of being outside.

Then comes the rooftop, which was heavily open to interpretation. I personally saw the peering over the ledge as a metaphor for being forced to confront your breaking point. Courtney is a creative who has no outlet for her imagination and whose job seems actively designed to discourage creative thought. Or, if you want to get really bizarre I guess the woman who shuts the elevator down could represent job loss, depression or any other factor that could result in someone boldly trying something new. Either way, her outlet turns out to be music and by the end Courtney has a something that breaks up the monotony and makes real life compelling. But, interestingly, the actual outside world maintains its darker, muddled tones. Maybe this represents a maturing mindset by having Courtney realize her life can’t just be wall-to-wall insanity like it is in her imagination and to stop and appreciate the real world? I don’t know, but color in cinema usually means something.

Or, if you really want to cover all the bases you could assume that everything in the elevator is 100% authentic.

In which case she witnessed a brutal murder and did NOTHING.

In which case she witnessed a brutal murder and did NOTHING.

Then it becomes more about Courtney finding what makes her an individual amongst a sea of people who would definitely stand out in a crowd which, again, turns out to be music. But, I personally think the first theory makes more sense and is more intelligent as a story (not to mention more plausible). That’s the great thing about movies (or videos) with an indie vibe; there’s usually a little room for interpretation.

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

I won’t lie to you, loyal reader (that’s right, reader singular), this video isn’t particularly challenging. There’s not really anything in this video that will really leave you breathless or any subtle details that create some rich narrative. But I couldn’t help myself. I love this music video, and I adore all the cheesy tropes it parodies. Behold: Sabotage.

Its like they condensed every straight-to-VHS loose cannon cop movie, every awful 70’s and 80’s police drama and all the best home movies you’ve ever seen into 3 minutes of beautiful nonsense. Obviously, this whole video is meant to act as a intro to the fictitious show Sabotage. But there’s still sort of a vague suggestion of a plot. We have three cops hunt down criminals dealing coke which somehow turns into a hunt for a missing woman tied to a bomb, all while leaving a trail of bodies in their wake (as loose cannon cops occasionally do). If this show was real it’d be a cult classic.

Contrary to what you would think, there was a lot of important decisions made cinematically to try and make the fictitious Sabotage feel authentic enough that we can see it as both comically bad and a genuine effort on the part of the filmmaker. I mean, obviously this was designed to be an over-the-top parody but without careful imitation of the material its based off of, it comes off less as a silly homage to a beloved genre and more of a mean-spirited mocking of its flaws. The Beastie Boys and Director Spike Jonze (yeah, the famous one) clearly have at least some genuine affection for the material they’re parodying. The frequent use of slo-mo in points of action, the near constant low angle shots, the introduction of each actor using a still image taken from a scene.

Like this one

Like this one

Even the film itself has a slight, sepia-tinted graininess that would’ve been common on cheaply produced TV shows of that era. These are all staples (bad ones, but still) of what a pulpy cop show would have probably looked like in the 70’s. Seriously, in my mind this is the music video equivalent to a Mel Brooks movie.

Even when the video is blatantly going for laughs it still doesn’t really stray from its roots in retro television. There are the standard police cliches, like the hotshot rookie being paired with “too old for this shit” veteran detectives or the cops using any emergency as an excuse to slide over a car hood, but there are some more subtle nods as well. The cherry top on an otherwise civilian car was clearly inspired by Starsky and Hutch and carrying walkie-talkies instead of guns is directly out of CHiPs. But nothing seemed as true of a homage to that era of television as the use of blatantly cheap practical effects. Most blatantly is the dummy thrown both off the bridge and out of the car. There’s nothing wrong with using a dummy when you either can’t afford or can’t reasonably expect a stuntman to do a stunt, but the dummy here is so obviously lifeless its jarring, and therefore hilarious. Or you could point to the scene when Cochese, The Chief and Bobby bust into an apartment to save a woman tied to a bomb, kicking down a plywood door in the process. Again, this is a great tool for the times when you don’t want to actually hack through a door with a fireman’s axe, but they don’t even bother to put a doorknob on the interior side of the “door.”

Not great at stopping people from rescuing your hostage

Not great at stopping people from rescuing your hostage

Similar to the use of horrible effects is the recycling of actors for multiple roles in the same series. Granted, its not taken to the comical extreme as it is in Sabotage, with either MCA, Ad-Rock or Mike D playing almost every role in the show, but still it draws yet another parallel to classic shows. Though this still happens today occasionally, it wasn’t uncommon in that era for the same no-name actor to get multiple roles on the same show as totally different characters with little effort made to disguise their identity. We also have the token guest star to draw in viewers that wouldn’t otherwise watch the show, playing the villain-of-the-week.

But, BUT, the coolest part about these shows (and by extension, this video) was that, despite their flaws, all but the snobbiest of us are willing to look past that for the sake of fun, goofy entertainment. Even at a young age, I wan’t blind to the flaws in all my favorite shows, but they brought me enough joy that I could easily forgive them. This whole video is perfect homage in that it presents the source material both with the warts of the shows its based off of but also with a childlike enthusiasm for over-the-top action and silliness. Man, the Beastie Boys were way smarter than anyone gave them credit for…

(Sorry, got a little sappy there at the end. Promise, it will maybe not happen again.)

Saint Motel – Daydream/Wetdream/Nightmare

I have a confession: I’m a little hesitant to post this one. I think its both a compelling video and a good song by one of my favorite bands but I nonetheless have some reservations. Especially when I could post other videos that I liked more by this band, like Benny Goodman or Move! But, since this is “Music for Cinephiles” and not “Music Brad likes for no Reason” I’ll stick with this one. It’s just… not the direction I would’ve gone with this song (fair warning: a small amount of animated nudity is in this video).

With a couple exceptions, Saint Motel is a pretty upbeat band and I don’t think this song is any exception. Why such a depressing video, both in tone and art style, was chosen to accompany it is perplexing to me. Again, I actually like both the content of the video, the song, and the animation. And, yeah, there’s some elements that go pretty well together (the “Wetdream” part of the video is appropriately peppy). As a whole, however,  the contrast seems jarring to me. At best, I expected this song to lend a sort of wistfulness to the video, but not outright depression and rejection by any means. But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself…

Daydream

The opening part, Daydream, is the part that seemed the most out of place to me. The lyrics seems like something a good boyfriend would say during a rough patch in a relationship, which, yeah, is definitely evident in the video. That poor, young Steve Zissou-looking fisherman is clearly both in love with his wife and trying to bust down whatever emotional barriers they have in their relationship.

He's trying, damn it!

He’s trying, damn it!

But try to imagine the video corresponding with the song sans lyrics. The dreamy, reverb heavy Daydream wouldn’t really give any indication of the turmoil its supposed to be representing. if anything, I’d would be more relaxed.

But still, there’s some cool stuff put in here. Most obviously, the black and white serves to make the would segment feel pretty bleak. When contrasted with the “Wetdream” segment, one also gets the impression that this segment is how life is like through the lens of the fisherman. The color has gone from his life, his wife seems unwilling or unable to be emotionally available (hence being buried underneath all her layers of frumpy clothes) and no matter what he tries, he can’t seem to adjust. Perhaps most tellingly are the pictures on the wall, which are seen as happy memories shared by a husband and wife when the fisherman walks by, but as images of two separate people when the wife passes them.

Wetdream

Then, for Wetdream, we begin to see these people’s lives through the wife’s perspective. As soon as the fisherman is out of sight, the world brightens up into color (symbolism!) and the wife becomes bubbly and fun. Presumably, this is closer to her true personality, so that leads me to a few conclusions:

1. Her and the Fisherman were once in love, but for whatever reason, she no longer feels for him and has moved on. Maybe she still realizes he loves her and not knowing how to divorce him without devastating him, chooses to have an affair.

2. The Fisherman is forcing her to live a traditional, conservative existence (perhaps it’s well-meaning but ignorant, perhaps it is truly forced) and rebuffing his affection and cheating is her way of fighting back and empowering herself. Maybe they never even had a loving relationship from her perspective.

What’s interesting either way is both parties seem firm in the stance that they are correct. As stated earlier, the Fisherman seems to genuinely love his wife regardless of their current troubles, just as the wife seems to not feel any real affection towards the Fisherman. Both parties can be totally justified in their feelings and actions too, no one has to be wrong. But that doesn’t mean that differing opinions won’t clash…

Nightmare

In Nightmare, we shift our focus back to the Fisherman now having been beaned in the head with a rolling pin when his wife decided to choose her lover instead of him. Now, unconscious or possibly dead, he wakes up on an underwater couch, with a new compass tattoo to guide him towards something.

A situation he handles with remarkable composure

A situation he handles with remarkable composure

 

On his way, he swims past some bottle shaped mountains (maybe alcohol had something to do with their problems?) before finding his wife, now beautiful and affectionate again (albeit half-fish). While this is all a little strange, we can pretty easily chalk this up to standard knocked out dream stuff. That is until a giant hand comes down and pulls the Fisherman to the surface, causing him to wake up next to the mermaid version of his wife. Now, that’s a pretty weird take on the “it was all a dream” trope, but I’ll try to explain how I interpreted it. The hand was, in my mind, probably God’s, pulling him to Heaven. This means that either because of the blow to the head or some other factor while he was unconscious, the Fisherman died. He wakes up in his personal version of paradise, which for the Fisherman is just spending an eternity with his wife. Her tail at the end indicates that this is a version of the wife that will love him unconditionally. But, hey, feel free to dispute my theory. I have to imagine that people will have a lot of different interpretations of that.

Whew, that was a weird one. Stay tuned, a slew of new posts will probably come shortly.

 

Tim Heidecker – Work From Home

If you’re like me, you probably know Tim Heidecker as one half of Adult Swim’s “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” or more recently, On Cinema at the Cinema and it’s spinoff Decker. If you are unfamiliar, here’s a sample of an average Tim and Eric sketch:

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tim and Eric and all of their shows, but with the gratuitous sound effects and a public access TV feel to most of their work, I don’t think its unfair to assume that if Tim and/or Eric have any musical talent, we probably wouldn’t ever see it. But I was really wrong. This video is both compelling cinematically and not even explicitly a comedy:

Now, I don’t want to shatter any illusions about what a clean cut young man I am, but I think most people of my age can empathize with the scenario depicted here. Waking up, very hungover, to find a huge mess and a random collection of people scattered around your house. Eating and drinking whatever’s already out. Calling in “sick” and halfheartedly telling your boss that it won’t happen again when its painfully obvious that regardless of your intentions, that’s not a promise you can make. Its all obviously a bit exaggerated here (hopefully you don’t wake up from benders only to find fires in your living room) but not to the point that it seems disingenuous.

Maybe Tim Heidecker just parties a little harder than the rest of us

Maybe Tim Heidecker just parties a little harder than the rest of us

All set to one of my favorite tropes: a mellow song set over a chaotic situation, though with the twist that Tim isn’t exactly frantic about any of the chaos surrounding him.

And there’s a good deal going on here cinematically too. Most obviously, we have the single, unbroken shot lasting throughout the entire video. I personally am a big fan of this every time I see it. First, it shows that the makers of the video put a little thought into it, since 4 minutes of uncut footage is tough to do. Second, it gives the video an interesting sense of time progression that you almost never see. A well cut video can make footage shot hours apart seem like milliseconds and that’s a great tool to tell almost any sort of detailed story, like a movie. You couldn’t reasonably expect your favorite show to try this in an episode, since either it would have to be a bottle episode or you would have to sit through every bland detail of the character’s lives, whether that’s driving to work or just sleeping. But in shorter narratives like this, the unbroken shot makes the video seem really intimate since you see literally everything that happens. What you’re seeing couldn’t be any clearer if you were there in person.

It also can be overlooked how much the minute details make this video special. First, any given background character seems compelling enough to have a video made about them, yet are arguably utilized even better as just background enigmas. Why is the guy in the kitchen grilling sandwiches over a stove that isn’t on? Why are so many 18 year olds playing piano in the same house?

Or my favorite: Guy who realized he carried some stupid bullshit around all night for no reason

Or my favorite: Guy who just realized he carried some stupid bullshit around all night for no reason

All interesting questions, and you have to fill in all the blanks yourself. That’s not even addressing the fact that you have to realize that while all this is going on, Tim is 1. Talking to presumably his boss and 2. on a phone with a cord. The one quiet piece of absurdity is so unpronounced against all the anarchy that I didn’t even notice it the first time, but man, you feel like an idiot when you do. I mean, he walked outside, the furthest possible place from his bedroom. Maybe you weren’t quite as oblivious as me, but still, I hardly expected something so subtle from one of the creators of the above “Science Week” sketch.

I adore Awesome Show, Great Job! but I’d actually like to see more of this sort of thing from Heidecker. He is a much better musician than I would have assumed, and I’m impressed with how subtly intricate he can make a video when he’s not doing something so obviously for laughs. And, if we band together and watch this video enough times, maybe we’ll see more like this. One lives in eternal optimism.

 

Lort Huron – The World Ender

Since it’s my first post and all, I figured I should start with the video that really made me begin to appreciate how cinematic music videos can be. I stumbled across this video thanks to AV Club posting it on their Facebook page with the sole intention of quickly consuming the content so I’d have something to say to my hipster friends if Lord Huron became the next Black Keys (ugh, I stopped listening when they put out The World Ender). But despite my only motivating factor in watching this being a selfish desire to appear cool at a party, I was immediately enthralled with the music video.

I have two huge things that really make a music video special to me. First, if all your music video did was show me shots of the band playing instruments (*cough* any Rooney video *cough*), then it’s boring and I could’ve watched a video of any live performance and it would have had the same level of secondhand thrill to it. Second, your song has to somehow correlate with your video, whether that be lyrically, rhythmically or whatever. And, man, it sure does both of those things well.

We open on the bands logo for a few seconds. While I found it kind of pretentious, it does give a certain cinematic feel to it akin to the production companies putting their names before a movie. Fine. I’ll let that slide. Then the action begins. The wreckage of a house appears, panning to reveal a small graveyard. The cuts build the action so well alongside the music, with tension slowly building (complete with a little bit of distortion to give the effect of a vintage film look) as we get closer. More instruments begin to come into the mix, building towards something. Then, bam, cut right to a hand bursting out of the grave with a 50’s B-movie title card plastered over it, perfectly in sync with the introduction of the remaining instruments. And within only two more scenes, you see exactly why the antihero zombie has returned, all using no words! This video took 45 seconds to, without a single word, lay the groundwork for an extremely compelling narrative, something that half of today’s blockbuster films can’t do in 45 minutes!

But enough gushing over the opening sequence, let’s talk about a few of the more interesting esthetic choices. The whole video amazingly toes the line between camp and grit to the point where you don’t even notice the transition from what should be a stark contrast. First, without the music to keep it grounded, the whole opening scene would have seemed like something out of MST3K fodder. We have a hand dramatically bursting from a grave, a man watching with glee as a family is killed and their home is burned to the ground, and the most implausible scowl ever.

Through the grace of the song and an amazing job of the director this somehow seamlessly blends into the next scene, which features the torture of a man and the explosion of a gas station (tastefully, not Michael Bay style). That’s some pretty hardcore stuff after just seeing an intro that could have plausibly been a Silver Age Superhero’s origin story. And this alternation continues for the rest of the video, somehow without feeling out of place. I can somehow watch a bunch of bikers chase a man into a freight elevator, only to have it be followed by a zombie strangling an old man and it doesn’t feel bizarre until you really analyze it. That is incredible filmmaking.

I also want to touch on the main character, Scowly McRedjacket, and how he defies what should have been a pretty formulaic revenge story. Obviously, as we can see in the video, he was a family man who was killed by a transparently evil land developer/train mogul and is mysteriously brought back and an unkillable, moral-less murder machine to get his revenge. But until you really take in some of the things he did and how it relates to the song, it’s hard to appreciate that he’s not as much an antihero as a monster. If we take the lyrics “I’ve seen the other side of livin’, I know Heaven’s a lie” we can assume he either:

A. Died and realizes there’s no God or anything else

or

B. Went to Hell.

Either way, morality is no longer a factor to him. While there’s a number of pretty severe examples of this (he has no qualms about recruiting a biker gang that will literally murder anyone in his crusade), none to me was more damning than the murder of the poor gas station attendant. That was not a man that I imagine had any position of power at Winthrop Corp., since he’s practically the exact opposite of Mr. Winthrop himself.

Probably not a majority stockholder

Probably not a majority stockholder

He probably didn’t even know those files were there. But, because Scowly needs them to kill an entire executive board, he has no problem brutally murdering a man he could have easily incapacitated. Go back and watch the part where he’s about to drop the match. That attendant is not only petrified but  confused. He spends his last moments on earth not understanding why this man waltzed into his gas station, broke his hand and left him to burn alive for something he didn’t even do.

But it’s this complexity that makes this video so interesting. Both sides are bad guys and the one you’re rooting for is arguably the more evil one. Or, if you prefer, you can ignore that and just assume that the protagonist is a Punisher-style vigilante, killing, but only the deserving. Either way, in 4 and a half minutes, I got to see a video that’s been better than most feature length films, and without a single word of dialogue. And that’s pretty cool.