At their best, tribute videos–like trailers–are about emotional manipulation. Through a combination of music and carefully selected clips, they twist your senses until you’re almost convinced that you actually care about ER characters or even evil sharks. Given that, it’s no surprise that there’s a bounty of Brokeback Mountain videos that employ aggressive emotional exploitation tactics. Two of these tributes stand above the rest. In a bout of tragic genius someone–with a fondness for anime–came so very close to perfection, but ultimately failed… big time. Join me after the jump for tent sex, Eiffel 65, “Landslide,” and, unfortunately, Billy Corgan.
Audio: “Landslide” cover by the Smashing Pumpkins
What better song for this movie than “Landslide”? It’s sad, introspective, and distinctly western-sounding–the perfect soundtrack for images of wide, desolate plains, vast skies, and tragic lovers. And the editing in this video is nicely attuned to the tempo and overall tone–slow-motion longing glances, wistful dissolves. And the part where he hugs the shirt during the lyric “I’ve been afraid of changing because I built my life around you”! It’s pure, evil genius! But wait a second… Billy Corgan’s voice… is drilling holes into my eyeballs! Whhyyyy couldn’t this have used the original version of the song? I absolutely cannot watch this without cringing every time Corgan’s scratchy, nasally growl hits a high note. It’s unbearable, and completely voids any value this video might have. It came so close to being a masterpiece of the genre.
Another video in this girl’s repertoire falls much squarely on the fail side of the brilliance/idiocy line. I almost didn’t even want to write about it, so ghastly were its effects on my senses, but in the end I decided it was too absurd and possibly offensive to not mention, just for anthropology’s sake. Behold:
Audio: “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” by Eiffel 65
Aside from the fact that combining Eurotrash dance music with Ang Lee’s beautiful, stark images of the American West is a complete sacrilege, the whole execution of this video is in poor taste. The horrible text frames (“Oh, the drama!” “I’m in need of a guy!” “…Yikes!”), the awful techno editing, the implied conclusion that after a lifetime of repression and self-loathing Ennis is “blue”… it’s extremely sophomoric. Honestly, I’m the last person to pull the culturally sensitive card, and usually the first person to make fun of serious things, but this video is really pretty crass. And isn’t Eiffel 65 supposed to be contained to torture facilities and designated areas of Belgium at this point? How did they escape back into the general public again?