Things I Love About 80s Movies – the intertextual music video lark

Here’s Michael McDonald (unfairly yet hilariously maligned in The 40-Year-Old Virgin) singing ‘Sweet Freedom’, from 1986 buddy movie Running Scared, starring Billy Crystal and the late Gregory Hines.  This gem hails from a sweeter age, when music video directors made attempts (however perfunctory) to integrate the film into the promo with unswervingly lark-tastic results!

Running Scared - great poster art

For such a sugary, uplifting song, McDonald looks awfully troubled, secluded as he is in a tropical shack while the camera circles ominously above him, and scenes of violence and police work (from the film) are cut in haphazardly around him. He’s every right to look troubled, for the opening scene of the video appears to show tough ‘tecs Crystal and Hines declare their distaste for, of all things, their friend McDonald’s tasteless postcards. Despite this, it seems their main purpose is to pay the blue-eyed soul boy a visit at his Hawaiian retreat.

By the time they all meet up, and the larks are allowed to begin, McDonald only has time to neck one sip of beer before promptly collapsing alongside Billy Crystal.  Strangely, Hines remains standing, leading to us wonder if, in a shocking twist, he has poisoned his acquaintances. Not to worry! One rude edit later, the three are all best friends again, and fade out engaging in a spot of gently homoerotic, yet determinedly sustained masquerading.

Basically, none of it makes the blindest bit of sense, but they made the effort. Oh, and what a great song!

Other examples of this noble, lost genre include Luther Vandross interjecting all over Danny De Vito and Judge Reinhold in ‘Give Me The Reason’, his song from 1986 comedy Ruthless People. Check it out HERE!

If you can think of any more examples of this type, let me know.

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Michael McDonald – 33 not 45: Sometimes it sounds better slower

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