Wow. That was a funny video. Have you seen it? Of course you have. It is playing on every screen in America. Look three inches to the right. This article is probably sponsored by it.
Man, those comedic actors were really— Forget it. I can’t do it justice. Do yourself a favor and watch it one or a hundred more times. Here it is: Mumford & Sons’ “Hopeless Wanderer.”
Wooh! Everyone stop making music videos! Nothing will ever beat that! Right?! Right internet commenters and Facebook posters?!
OK. Let’s analyze why you might ever say such a thing. Ed Helms, Jason Bateman, Will Forte and Jason Sudeikis pretending to be Mumford & Sons. Funny! I’m not being sarcastic. It was a funny thing to watch. And they, and the band, are clearly having a little fun. But WHY THE HELL IS EVERYONE SAYING IT IS THE BEST MUSIC VIDEO EVER?! Please stop. Please have the common sense to realize that this, just like the LAST thing on the internet you said was the best thing ever, is not.
It’s just not. It’s a cute bit of popular culture that will soon be digested.
Don’t get me wrong, all the actors are extremely talented, funny men (who I hope don’t read this, can’t read at all, or at least don’t hold a grudge). It’s not their fault. They made something very good. Additionally, the cinematography and direction of the video are solid and the song is catchy. But there are reasons this isn’t the best thing ever.
Thought Catalog readers aren’t known for their discerning ability to stay calm and NOT overreact so let me lay it out clearly for you. This is not an attack on the video, the band or the actors. It is a complaint toward the reaction to the video. Here is why the people who are saying it is the best thing ever are completely wrong:
1. This is stunt casting, pure and simple. If you Google “stunt casting define” you get this: “Casting that refers to hiring well known actors, such as movie stars, to play bit parts…” Not that there is anything wrong with stunt casting, it is a time-honored tradition with a distinguished past (See: Eddie Murphy and Magic Johnson in Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time”).
It’s just that – looking back on all human achievements in film, television and music – very few of the “greatest” things are gimmicks. (Aside from <a “Remember The Time” and all cat videos ever, of course).
2. The video is not saying anything meaningful beyond the lyrics. The song is beautiful but most truly great music videos add something to the song. That’s why we go to the trouble of creating a visual representation of the song instead of just listening to it. What does seeing Ed Helms play a piano, or Jason kissing Will’s beard, add to the song? Not much.
3. This video has little lasting power. Imagine watching this video in ten years. Many people will not recognize these actors. Again, not an insult to them, just they way life is. My parents don’t know these guys today. Imagine older people and kids not knowing these actors and watching the video. They’ll just assume those are the band members. Which would ALSO be fine. Except then it’s just a very straightforward, not-the-best-thing-ever video.
Here are just three better music videos:
Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Obviously. Case closed.
A-ha’s “Take On Me.”
Ahead of its time. Makes an OK song better.
The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.”
A great example of the visual medium adding to the song.
And there you have it. Mumford & Sons did a fine job but please stop saying it’s the best thing ever. Thank you, internet.