Title: Push It
Director: Andrea Giacobbe
Many, many moons ago, Rolling Stone published a music video review that began with the line, "Every now and then, something comes on MTV that makes you sit up and say, 'What the hell is that?'" The review and the line were written about something else entirely—"Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe," if memory serves—but I've always associated it with "Push It," one of the most imaginative, engrossing, and bat-whack bizarre visual onslaughts ever inflicted on the video-watching public. Director Andrea Giacobbe has a bag of tricks roughly the size of Bulgaria, and here he pulls out all the stops; it's the sort of video where, when the director lobs in the kitchen sink, he's just getting started. Even the look of the thing is weird, as he starts with several different types of old film stock, flips willy-nilly from color to black and white to sepia to hand-tinting, and tweaks and tinkers with just about every frame in digital post-production. But in the weirdness department, the look of the clip ain't got nothin' on the content. There's a vague attempt at narrative, at least at the beginning: we see Shirley Manson and her beau, a fellow who's been scribbled out (don't ask, just work with me here), shopping at a surrealist's Safeway until they're set upon by three commando nuns who blow Mr. Scribble-Guy up with their Crucifix o' Doom. From their, we meet Shirley's next boyfriend, a guy with a light bulb for a head, at their comfortable suburban home, where they're interrupted by three gray-skinned kids in business suits with dollar signs tattooed on their foreheads, who lead him away with a butterfly net. Now, if my preceding skeletal plot synopsis is making you think you're not taking enough drugs, you have no idea. After some business with the offspring of these two couplings, Giacobbe starts flinging one-off images at you as fast as he can come up with them, and any one of them is the most bizarre thing you've ever seen, at least until the next one comes up. Fish tanks, reindeer, SWAT teams, Japanese businessmen foot-fetishistic naval officers, the most twisted horsey-ride game EVER—it all comes flying at you, as if the director is saying, "Yeah, and here's all the stuff we didn't use," and you're left wondering if any of this has anything to do with the half-story that came before, and if it does, or even if it doesn't, what's that narrative really about anyway, and...and.... There's so much that you can't really absorb it all unless you watch it again, and again, and yet again. The thing is, it's all so imaginative, so well-filmed, so masterfully composed as to bring a galaxy of elements together under the same circus tent as if they'd belonged together all along, that you actually want to watch it again, and again, and yet again. And I do. To this day, I do.