tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

Vids: Eclectic Boogaloo (Part Four)

First, a tiny request for help. See, I am currently typing this while seated on a chair that - okay, no one is allowed to laugh - has a tendency to collapse in a way that dumps me on my butt on a hardwood floor. Like, this has happened more than once. This week. Also, it makes these very ominous noises when you sit in it, or move it, or look at it too closely. And parts keep coming off of it, and some of them are bound to be important.

So - anyone out there have recommendations for a good computer chair? Something comfy and, you know, ergonomically correct. That wouldn't just fall over from time to time. Ideally, something with rolly feet, although I don't insist on it. And, also - is there a decent online source for these things, or am I going to have to venture into the real world to buy one? Help me, people. I am on tenterhooks, here, and not because I'm excited, but because I'm very likely to fall over backwards at any moment. Makes it hard to recommend things, although I persevere nobly. (It is so noble. The recommender's calling cannot be defeated by mere chairs!)

Okay. Now. Vids.

This is the last damn post in the giant series of vid recommendations. I have recommended at least one vid for every fandom (except books and ones I haven't seen vids for) that topped 150 votes on the poll. I feel accomplished. If you managed to wade through these posts, you should, too.

And you know, I'm really looking forward to recommending some FF, for a change. I think the vids are getting to me. I've started to have vid fantasies for every song I hear. Elvis says, "a little less conversation, a little more action, please," and I immediately think of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Mike Doughty says, "It's your misfortune that sweetens my song," and I think about Brokeback Mountain, a movie I haven't even seen. (But I've read the story! And you could so vid the story to that song! If, you know, it was possible to vid something that had no visual source.) Nick Cave talks about a man with a red right hand, and I think of Yami no Matsuei, and the thing is, I don't even think you could vid Red Right Hand. I know damn well that I can't vid anything. And yet it's become the 24-hour fandom vid show in my brain. Clearly, I need to stop thinking about this for a while. Also maybe lie in a darkened room for a bit.

Will I be recommending more vids? Probably. It gives meaning to my compulsive vid-watching habits, for one thing. Plus, I'm starting to have the same reaction to really good vids that I do to really good fan fiction: I feel this overwhelming urge to share, to get everyone on earth to enjoy this. I'm like an Amway saleswoman, here, except that I still have some part of my soul.

So. On to the vids. No obligation to download! Try before you, um, don't buy!

Previous parts of this series: one, two, and three.


I've never seen X-Files. I never will. I barely know who the main characters are (although I'm learning!), and all I knew about the show itself before this month is that it was long, complicated, and very popular. But I developed an inexplicable fascination with it while I was doing this project. I can pretty much trace it to the comments on my third post in this series, wherein runpunkrun and a number of what I can only assume are members of her evil cohort revealed to me that Scully is really cool and even shoots Mulder once. Punk is a bad, bad woman, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. So I've pretty much gone from "X-Files? Um. It was a TV show, right?" to actually persuading Best Beloved to watch it in the space of about two weeks. (And wow has this combined badly with my current 24-hour vid show deal; I keep saying things like, "Why can't I find a Scully vid to I Am a Scientist?" In other words, I am mentally vidding for a canon I have never seen and know nothing about. Fandom is a cruel mistress, people, and you only learn this after she's driven you crazy.)

The Vid That Suggests to Me That the Smart X-Files Character's Motto Is "Fear Everyone." Harder to Breathe, by Xandra Zander, aka xandra_ptv.

Availability: All the time, and that link will take you straight to the vid page.

So. I've seen this song used in vids in several fandoms; I almost picked one of those other ones to recommend in this Vid Recommending Extravaganza (perhaps I should call it the Rec-o-rama?). But when X-Files crossed the 150 mark (you people obviously have dark, dark things hidden in your pasts), I knew I'd have to pick this one. Now, here's the part that is either cool or pathetic (feel free to make the call). Remember, I don't know anything about this show. So I'm watching a vid about a character I'd never even heard of prior to seeing it. And Alex Krycek does not seem like my kind of character. In this vid, he seems, um, and I don't want to offend anyone who loves him, but - he seems scary as fuck. And yet - this vid made me sympathetic towards him anyway, and I don't know why. It's just, well, okay, obviously he's an evil little fucker, and he kills and betrays and, um, has really mutant eyes on occasion, but...I feel for him. I almost, um. Like him. I know this is probably very wrong, so, - am I allowed to blame the vidder? She used her talent to force me to like him! I was the innocent victim of nefarious vidding! It's not my fault! Except it probably really is - some kind of moral failing or something. But this vid definitely had something to do with it. It's well-edited and it tells a story. (And, based on that story, I have to say that Krycek's motto should probably be: "It's always darkest just before something really terrible happens. But that's fine. I like it dark.")

The One That Suggests That the Smart X-Files Character Will at All Times Keep His Eyes Peeled for an Iguana with a Fan Taped to His Back, Filmed in Extreme Close-up. Science Fiction Double Feature, by stellar_dust.

Availability: All the time. Scroll down until you see it.

Okay. It is time to introduce a theme that will be recurring throughout this post: I am just - I am totally the bitch of anything that can make me laugh. If it's funny - to me, I mean, and I think it should be made clear up front that my sense of humor has been described as everything from "sadly warped" to "completely absent" - I will serve it faithfully and also possibly perform indecent acts at its request. And, see, this makes me laugh. And it did this in a fandom where I always go into vids braced and wary, because I never really know if it will be about a sweet, repressed romance or a vicious eyeball-sucking squid. And then it - well, it has this ending. See, normally I'm kind of opposed to including sound clips from the source in the vid, but here the vidder uses it as an end-of-vid cookie kind of thing, and so that's all right. And this cookie - okay. It made me love Scully, because what she says? I said almost precisely that, just before she did, the first time I saw this vid. (Mulder clearly has issues, people. That's all I'm saying. Also, the boy needs to get out more, although, given what I've seen in the vids, I don't blame him for staying inside.) Um. And reading this over, I realize that I have once again managed to write a summary that doesn't summarize anything - I consider it a personal specialty at this point, actually - so, just to provide some actual information: this vid is The X-Files as a '50s SF B-movie. Complete with giant, um, unpleasant creatures (look away, is my advice on that one) and assorted oozes and dubious special effects and very interesting headwear. What could be better than that?

The One That Suggests That If You Can't Believe the Impossible, You Probably Shouldn't Be a Character on the X-Files. Not Only Human, by Killa, aka killabeez, and Laura Shapiro, aka laurashapiro.

Availability: All the time. You will need to request a password if you download it through Laura's site; you can also find it under "Other Fandoms" at Killa's site, which doesn't require a password. (I linked to the LJ entry because it's the easiest place to leave feedback. Hint.)

You know how you can love something so intensely that you can't really explain why? Like, it's obvious to me that everyone should love lettuce and reading and my dogs, and when people don't, I don't argue. I just kind of stare at them, wondering how I can have a planet in common with this person who is so different from me, because loving those things is pretty much like breathing oxygen in my mind. It's how things are. I love this vid that way. Which means I don't have much to say about it, because it's the kind of love I can't analyze. But I do watch the vid regularly, and I think everyone else should, too. (And if you don't like it, feel free to tell me. I won't dislike you, but I will ask you for details about your homeworld and your species. Just out of curiosity, really.) Given my policy of silent adoration of this, it's kind of hard to write a summary for it. I can say (See? I can always find something to say. It's my secret power!) that this is about Scully, although when I first saw it I thought her name was Molly. (Um. The X-Files turns out to be enough a part of popular culture that even the utterly clueless will know a few syllables of it. Given that this is me, though, and I bring cluelessness to the level of an art form, it's really no surprise I got those syllables wrong.) And there are two ways I can see the vid. Either it's about being a skeptic in the world where everything is true, or it's about asking the questions that don't have answers. Either way, it's about belief and knowledge, and the places in our lives where faith and proof intersect. And I - I have a great and inarticulate love for it. And if you breathe oxygen and are carbon-based, I think you will, too.

Stargate: SG-1

The Vid That Makes Me Think the Writers of SG-1 Will Never Need a Punching Bag as Long as They Have Daniel. Another Train, by barkley.

Availability: This will take you to the entry page, where you'll need to enter user name hiro and password protagonist in order to get to the vid listing. (I have Barkley's permission to give the password here, so please no letters informing me this is rude, wrong, or illegal. Seriously. I mean it.) Scroll down until you see it.

This vid is, okay. Sweet and sad and it makes me love Daniel a little more each time I see it. (And given how many times I have watched it in the course of picking vids and writing them up, well. Let's just say that my cup o' Daniel love o'erfloweth. Fortunately, I know the cure for this: OMG-poor-pwecious-widdle-Daniel fic should bring me back into balance.) Because Daniel's life (well, along with all the other members of SG1) is about getting up and trying one more time, about finding one more thing to try, and this vid shows that very clearly. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: he gets knocked down, but he gets up again. They're never gonna keep him down.) But I'm recommending this vid now, out of all the other SG1 vids I have and love, because it also makes my jaw drop open in astonishment each time I see it. (This is after the Daniel love increases. There's a strict order to this; it's not just some haphazard series of reactions, you know.) This is a vid to an a capella song, people. And it's slow, and percussion-less, and just generally the song that should not be vidded. But the vid works, and it's gorgeous. I don't even miss the cutting on the beat, because Barkley has found a way of making the editing and motion of this vid match the vocals. This is - this is the vid that proved to me that there's no such thing as an unviddable song in the hands of the right vidder. Just, wow.

(Side note: does anyone have a copy of this song? Does anyone even know who is singing it? Because there are several million versions of this song out there.) Got it, thanks!

The Vid That Makes Me Wonder What the Hell the Writers of SG-1 Can Possibly Do That They Haven't Already Done. Twice. Often by Giving Someone an Unfortunate Outfit or Haircut. Eight Years On, by Brihana25, aka brihana25.

Availability: All the time. Don't try to play this one in VLC.

Part of me feels bad for recommending this, because it's a context-dependent vid. In this series, I've been trying to pick vids that anyone can get, even someone unfamiliar with the source. But to understand this vid, you need to be familiar with most or all of the references in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," and it would probably also help to be at least a little familiar with SG-1. (I myself am only marginally familiar with the canon; I've watched vids but I've never seen any eps of the show itself. But then, I'm probably missing a lot in this.) But I am damn well going to recommend this anyway, for two reasons. First, it makes me laugh. (Yes, there's that predominating theme again, but let's just say it's probably a good idea to have a peppy vid after "Another Train.") I mean, any vid that has a shot of angsty, he's-not-crazy-he's-just-seeing-things Daniel in the padded room matched to the lyric "Catcher in the Rye," that's a vid I'm going to keep and watch again and again. And, second, it makes me nostalgic. Which is impressive, since it's nostalgia for a place I've never been, or rather, a show I've never seen. But this is Brihana25's celebration of the first eight years of SG-1 (what you might call the "Classic Team" years), and it's just - I watch this, and I need to go read some nice solid team-centered fan fiction immediately. In short, this vid makes me love the source. And that's why I need to recommend it, and why you need to watch it. But, uh, only if you can tell Jack from Daniel and you know who Boris Pasternak was.

(I can't help you with the Jack from Daniel thing. But this site has links for all the references in the song. Warning for non-Opera users: the site is eye-breaking. Warning for Opera users: switch modes the second this loads, because otherwise ow ow ow. And if anyone has a better, less migraine-inducing site for this, let me know, okay?)

Some TV Shows Not Mentioned Above (Look, It Was a Category on the Poll, Wasn't It? And It Got More Than 150 Votes. Technically, It Counts.)

The Vid That Will Spring to Your Mind, No Matter How Much You Wish It Wouldn't, the Next Time You See a Member of the LAPD. Bawitdaba, by Melina, aka melinafandom. The Shield.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down.

I once saw this vid described - and unfortunately I don't remember where - as the ultimate action vid. And it is, no doubt; if you want to see a strong action song with an even stronger action source (apparently; I mean, I make no promises about the actual source, but the clips Melina chose are sure, um, action-packed), watch this. But I actually like it for the contrasts and the narrative progression. I have no idea who the bald guy is (We'll just call him Baldie, shall we? Although he'd probably prefer Bald Eagle), but this vid is about him, and the weird contrasts in his life: his grim, dirty working life and his normal family, and his job, where he's supposed to be one of the good guys, but frankly it's sometimes pretty hard to tell the difference between Baldie and the people he arrests. (Aside from the badge, of course; that's always a helpful clue.) It's also - I know better than to say "the song choice is so perfect," because it's not all that persuasive, but I'm going to say it anyway, because it is. I mean, it just pretty much sums up the whole vid (and says some interesting things about the source, I would think) that Bawitdaba is so perfect for a cop show. It could've been written about this show, although possibly Kid Rock had other ideas. (I wouldn't know. Even if I could read minds, Kid Rock's is not one of the ones I'd choose. I have limits.) This is one of those vids that makes me want to know much, much more about the source.

The Vid That, Because of My Tragic Past, Brings Me Right to the Brink of Writing a 12-15 Page Paper (One Inch Margins, Double Spaced) Every Time I See It. Circles, by Laura Shapiro, aka laurashapiro. The West Wing.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Laura for the password to her vids. (Seriously. You want the password for her vids.)

Laura's pretty much done Don Quixote one better, here; she's vidded the unviddable fandom. See, I've never seen The West Wing, but I've seen Sports Night, and I know that the strength of a Sorkin show (Or, you know, whatever. Show that was originally by Sorkin and still kind of bears his footprint even if he's moved on.) is the dialog. And you can't vid that. So any vids based on this show should pretty much look like actual footage from the White House: boring, repetitive, and slightly worrying. This vid? So very not. I don't even know these characters and I'm entranced by this. She's - see, okay. I'm struggling here, because in my dark and murky past I wrote not one but two papers about circle symbolism in Moby Dick, and that kind of thing marks a woman for life. So I'm really afraid that at any minute I'm going to stop talking about Laura's brilliant use of movement and the way the circles are literal and figurative - and, see there? I was about to do it - and start talking about how the concentric circles are metaphors for the progression of the...and of course you've already tuned me out, and you may well be having hideous flashbacks to freshman English. I'm sorry. Let me back away from my little issue here, and just say: you have to see this to understand what I mean. This vid could probably be used as a textbook on movement within clips and the matching of movement to music. You need to see this. And I need to stop talking about it, because I feel the Moby Dick madness coming on again.

The Vid That Is Just Like Billy the Singing Bass, Except That It's Actually Funny and Good to Have Around. Bright Future in Sales, by Gwyneth, aka gwyn_r, Jo, aka feochadn, and Christy, aka movies_michelle (Thanks, Killa!). Wonderfalls.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Gwyn for a password to get into the site.

This is another vid that makes me deeply curious about the source. See, I picked this one in large part because it makes me laugh. It's a very funny vid, and not in the "OMG Aragorn and Legolas are the Princes of the Universe!" way. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Not at all. I adore joke song vids; I have many and watch them regularly.) It takes a very deft hand (or, in this case three hands, or do I mean six?) to create a vid that showcases the humor of the source. Even if the source is like nitrous oxide in TV form (and I guess Wonderfalls could be, but it seems unlikely), that generally doesn't carry over to the vid. But in this one, the humor so totally comes through. I have no idea why or how, but I'm betting song and clip choice have something to do with it. This vid is 50% the perfect (by which I mean perfectly hysterical) reactions the main character has to her weird, weird life, and 50% singing animal statues, and I just don't know of a better recipe for joy anywhere. And when you have reactions to the singing animals? In a store? While the song is talking about a bright future in sales? It goes well beyond joy, into that sublime and perfect ecstasy that fic characters mostly experience during their One True Sex Scenes. But this vid, this is better than se - okay, no. I was about to go too far, there. But it's definitely funnier than almost all the sex I've ever had. And, face it: you need to watch a vid that has animal statues singing a song by the Fountains of Wayne. Don't even try to deny it.

Some Movies Not Mentioned Above (Likewise, and You'll Never Know How Sad I Was That Anime Didn't Also Make the 150 Mark)

You Know All Those Stories in Which a Male Character Is Described as a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl? This Is the Vid That Does the Same Thing. My Happy Ending, by Katheryn, aka tallulah71. Gladiator.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down - it's near the bottom.

Yes, this is the Avril Lavigne song. Yes, I mean that Gladiator, the one with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. No, these two things should never, ever work together - but oh my god how they do. This vid pretty much had me from the second clip, because I was just - Avril says, "So much for my happy ending," and Maximus goes thonk on the ground and I laugh and laugh and laugh. It is absolutely perfect and the knowledge that it should be so very, very wrong just makes the whole thing sweeter. (I told you I had a thing for "Why Does This Work, God? Why? Why?" vids, right?) But I warn you: once you have seen Maximus as an angsty, love-sick teenaged girl, there is no going back. Oh, you can watch the movie seriously - I have, in fact - but at the back of your mind there will always be this little voice reminding you that Commodus is everything, everything that he wanted, and you will giggle just a tiny bit. Or maybe a lot.

(Side note and dire warning: Shortly after I first watched this vid, I visited my dentist, who has an extremely annoying in-house video thing, where they play a handful of movies, and always in the same order, so that if you make a series of appointments at the same time of day, you will always see precisely the same thing, which sucks because whoever selects the movies must do it by throwing darts at the IMDb. Anyway, on that visit, the movie I got to see was Gladiator. Really. No, I have no idea why they showed this in every room in a dentist's office - I mean, something a little less gory (and more PG-rated) would seem, you know, a bit more apposite. So I was sitting there having my teeth cleaned and trying not to give in to the impulse to run away now now now, and over the dentist's shoulder I saw Maximus going thonk, and suddenly I was giggling. Not a good idea when someone else's hand is in your mouth, for the record. Although my dentist took it pretty well, but then I'd already bitten him a few times. So it might be better not to watch this if you go to my dentist.)

The Vid That Will Destroy Your Entire Childhood in the Course of a Single Verse. Don't Worry, You'll Be Laughing Too Hard to Care. Frigging in the Rigging, by Skud, aka damned_colonial. Muppet Treasure Island.

Availability: All the time.

This is another recommendation that arises from my tragic love affair with highly inappropriate vid songs, except that this song is right. It's just also very, very wrong. Like, you can't really know the definition of wrong until you've seen this vid. The first time I saw this, I spent the first portion desperately trying to believe it was any other movie, and then the first shot of actual muppets showed up, and, and - okay. I can't speak of it. The trauma is still too real. But oh my god how this puts a whole different complexion on every damn shot in the vid, from Kermit looking noble and captainy at the wheel to Long John Silver chasing Jim. And I love the muppets, I really do - Beaker is one of my favorite characters anywhere, right up there on the list with Ein from Cowboy Bebop. (Um. Not that I have a preference for characters that don't speak an actual language or anything.) And I adore Kermit. And yet I love this vid, even though it strongly implies things about Kermit that I can't even bring myself to type. Oh, and this one has a cookie at the end that you absolutely must see, because it's a shot of Sam Eagle (Sam the Eagle?) doing exactly what you yourself will be doing by the time you're done watching. But don't let the wrongness dissuade you! There are muppets! Cheerfully singing about buttfucking! No, really, you have to see this. Don't let your kids anywhere near it, though, or you'll be answering hideous questions about Kermit's relationship with Fozzy forever.

The Vid That Makes Me Say, "Oh, James, You Tragic, Cracked Shell of a Crime-Fighter." (Which, of Course, Takes Me Immediately to a Very Unfortunate James Bond/Batman Place. But We'll All Pretend I'm Sane Anyway, Right?) This Is War, by halcyon_shift. GoldenEye.

Availability: All the time. The link will take you to the vid page. But you might want to hurry and download this one, because the vidder wanted to take it offline, like, a year ago, and I asked her to leave it up so I could rec it. Now that I (finally) have, she might take it down.

See? I'm not only posting comedic vids with songs that should not work, because this is not funny and the song is absolutely damn perfect for this source. I love the way this vid is cut, and I love the clear narrative here, but most of all I love the way the combination of song and source juxtaposes (oh my god, listen to me, I sound like I think I know what I'm talking about) the personal and the - hmm. Professional? Which is something that this movie did better than any other Bond movie I've seen. And it's weird, because somehow giving Bond something to be genuinely conflicted and angsty about makes him look cold and dead and vaguely creepy. (And also kind of gay, but we aren't talking about that.) Or maybe it's just that when you subtract the shiny and put Bond up against some more realistic music, you get to see what he really is. Which is, um. Well, let's just say I finished this vid with a much greater understanding of why I found Alec Trevelyan more compelling and sympathetic than Bond himself. (And, no, it was not because Trevelyan was played by Sean Bean. Shut your mouth.) This was one of the vids I watched in the first month or so of compulsive downloading (TFV: fucking her bandwidth through the floor since April 2004), and I'm astonished at how much more I get out of it now; I still adore it, but I can see a lot more of why I love it. I can be taught! This is very exciting. In another four years or so, I might also understand cutting on the beat, and then there will be no stopping me.
Tags: bond, gladiator, muppets, stargate: sg-1, the shield, the west wing, vids, wonderfalls, x-files
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