The first music video that I can remember loving with my entire heart was Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” Jackson gave the hat that he wore in the “Smooth Criminal” video to a little Australian kid — a kid about the same age as I was — who could dance like him. 30 years later, that Australian kid claimed — at great, disturbing length — that Michael Jackson sexually abused him for years. All of us will have to spend some time reconciling with the things said on Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary that aired last weekend. Many, many images from that documentary will remain with me for a long time. The image of that hat — a hat that the nine-year-old me would’ve killed to have — is one of them. This week’s picks are below.
I like the confidence of casting yourself as an art-film dork’s dream girl almost as much as I like the confidence of showing, in that final twist, that art-film dorks’ dream girls don’t exist.
We live in a world where an Italian-language rapper is making his music video into an epic I Am Legend/Fight Club homage, and where he’s apparently getting a massive budget to do it. I like being confused!
In which we learn that Ansel Elgort, prior to being cast in this video, had never done any of the following things: Smoked a cigarette, held a cat, fed a cat, microwaved a meal, danced to rap music.
We know that this is an effective music video because, for just a minute or two, the prospect of a romance between a cult leader and one of his followers seems somehow… cute? (It does not remain that way.) It has been a long minute since we’ve seen a lead singer put in the kind of music-video acting performance that Eva Hendricks does here.
What a lovely little short film — one that hints at the stresses and revelations of young parenthood without ever ramming them home too dramatically.