Thursday, October 1, 2009

thank god he went seven pounds

I am so confused right now. It appears my classmates all did 3 blog posts on their sites last week. I did three as well: two on this blog, one on Mondays at the Cathedral. Does that still count?


Last week's post about steampunk got me thinking about the 1999 film The Wild Wild West, probably for the first time in years. I was twelve then, and my older sister had just recently discovered MTV. We used to watch TRL every single day, watching the Backstreet Boys belt out "I Want It That Way" or Christina Aguilera work her midriff in "Genie in a Bottle." Considering my musical genres of choice nowadays are generally Victorian Industrial, symphonic metal and heavy metal, it is embarrassing for me to admit that I adored pop music in its heyday.

I specifically remember seeing Will Smith's music video for his hip hop song "Wild Wild West," which was supposed to promote the film. I loved this video- probably because there was a pretty girl in an 1800s-type costume (and my parents can't figure out where this "history" thing came from when I declared a joint history/journalism major in college.) Either that or all the spiders freaked out my twin sister, who probably screamed and hid in the next room every time an eight-legs popped on screen.

I didn't remember the specifics of the video, so when I found it on YouTube I decided to watch it again. It was either that or actually rent the movie, which is like watching a boiler room explode and shoot scorching hot water all over you. At least, from what I saw of it one time on TV. Then I just changed the channel before I could put out my eyes.

What a confused music video- almost as mixed up as the comedic relief in the movie it was supposed to promote. First of all, who is the shirtless guy standing next to Will Smith- the one in the embroidered leather vest who keeps taking said vest off and baring his chest? I think it's Sisqó of "Thong Song" fame. His bod is way too shiny, like someone dumped olive oil over him. And there are, like, 10 celebrities just sort of thrown in there for cameo appearances, including Stevie Wonder and... is that Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air? It is!

Will Smith gave in to the dancing craze that was the late '90s with a ridiculously long dance sequence in the middle with half-naked saloon girls and Alfonso Ribeiro.

The rescue sequence wasn't bad. But the spider table contraption doesn't seem like it could have hurt Salma Hayek very much if it had clamped shut on her.

Then, of course, another dance sequence at the end, with the rescued Rita nowhere in sight. The first dance sequence should have been canned, leaving only the one at the end.

The things I actually do like about the video are, actually, what I was not expecting. The homage to steampunk is entirely there, from the mechanical gears and shifting lenses/screens shown closer to the beginning, when Will Smith is singing with Sisqó, to the mechanical spider table and the machine gun (an 1860s technological advancement.)

And I actually don't mind the musical genre. It's a more pop-like rap, which is rather annoying, but I think the lyrics are actually quite good. Hey, he mentions a six gun! And... ah, well, that's it. But dare I call these lines poetic?

Swallow your pride, don't let your lip react,
You don't wanna see my hand where my hip be at
Will Smith, kudos to you for recovering from this embarrassment of a film and all its trappings and going on to better things, such as The Pursuit of Happyness; I am Legend; and Seven Pounds.

Update 10/4/09: Thanks to a friend of mine for alerting me to this:

And suddenly Stevie Wonder's presence in the Will Smith music video entirely makes sense.

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