33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
When Video Was an Art Form,
This review is from: Elephant Parts (DVD)
These days a concert clip passes for a "video" of a song, and very few artists take the time and trouble to make a video that is in itself a piece of art, further developing and enrichening the song it is showcasing.
Michael Nesmith stood at the forecastle of the video ship, sailing her into port with the production of this comedy album/collection of video clips, "Elephant Parts." Yes, some of the comedy is a little dated; some of it is just plain silly. But Michael never claimed it was anything more than silly; plus, amidst all the late 70's jokes you'll find the extreme timelessness of his opening monologue, discussing the fact that "there's something funny about the gasoline prices!" rings hysterically true today, as does "The Large Detroit Car Company." The words of his closing song, "Tonite," also speak to a 2000's audience.
Enclosed with these comedy skits are five of Michael Nesmith's video clips, some of the best videos ever made in a time when video was truly its own standalone art form--made by the pioneer of video art. "Light," "Magic," and "Cruisin'" are all from Nesmith's "Infinite Rider on the Big Dogma" album (as is the above-mentioned "Tonite"), with "Cruisin'" being remembered fondly for its quirky lyrics and a young Hulk Hogan in his first major role. "Rio" is from the album "From a Radio Engine to the Photon Wing," and was probably the first major video clip release (although groups from the 60's had been doing it since, well, The Monkees cribbed from The Beatles). "Rio" is funny, it is thoughtful, and it is brilliant.
"Elephant Parts" went on to become a short-lived NBC series called "Television Parts," which would give some early television exposure to such luminaries as Jerry Seinfeld, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, and Garry Shandling.
Michael has a bizarre sense of humor, and you do have to be a fan to laugh out loud at his director's commentary (which we did). It's extremely silly and delivered deadpan serious, and I do believe you need a steeping in The Monkees, Monty Python and some of Michael's mid-80's work such as "Tahiti Condo" (from the CD "The Newer Stuff"). I thought it was hilarious, and laughed so hard it hurt.
To be honest, I bought my copy direct from the source...-- it's cheaper here at Amazon, but Papa Nez will autograph it for you if you buy it from him.
All in all, Elephant Parts is a classic -- nothing more, nothing less. "First Grammy for Video Music" notwithstanding, "Elephant Parts" was the beginning of the video age, spawning M-TV and its subsidiaries, VH-1 and CMT and GAC and all the rest of them. Just put your mind on hold and enjoy it for what it is.
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Initial post: Sep 18, 2010 6:58:44 PM PDT
JD Sitter says:
I just want to add a correction. Sunset Sam was not played by Hulk Hogan. He was played by Stephen Cepello who like Hogan was a wrestler.
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