4 Famous Movies With Insane Music Video Tie-Ins
In the land of milk and honey that was the pre-Internet entertainment industry, studios would frequently release tie-in music videos from the soundtracks of their big upcoming movies to get the hype train started early for solitary, sun-frightened middle school students such as myself. Tuning in to MTV to see glossy musical montages of the latest Godzilla and/or Will Smith movie was a more reliable fixture of my summers than the beach, family vacations, or friendship, and when I lie on my deathbed five hundred years from now, as was foretold, my only regret will be that I didn't spend more time watching MTV and getting unnaturally excited for Batman Forever while other children were playing outside. Virtually all of these music videos are utterly terrible, but here are four that managed to rise above that distinction to become totally insane.
The Goonies, everyone's favorite movie about neglected children putting themselves in extreme danger to correct the grievous financial mistakes of their parents, had not one but two separate tie-in music videos by 1980s pop superstar Cyndi Lauper. This is not to suggest that she recorded two different songs for The Goonies soundtrack -- she made two videos and just used the same song twice. Lauper's two-part multimedia assault, "The Goonies R Good Enough," has almost nothing in common with the actual film The Goonies, apart from the vague concept of unclaimed pirate treasure.
That entire chest will almost certainly be confiscated by the federal government.
For example, Lauper's music videos are cast almost exclusively with professional wrestlers, despite the fact that the film does not feature any professional wrestlers, nor is professional wrestling a major plot point (in fact, at no point in The Goonies is professional wrestling even mentioned). It's like she stared really hard at the poster for two hours instead of actually sitting through the movie, and wrote a completely different narrative in her mind, wherein she and Captain Lou Albano have to track down a booby-trapped cache of pirate treasure in order to save their gas station -- which, as the video firmly establishes, is in the middle of a desperately unsuccessful bake sale.
In fairness, "free cookies with gas" can be catastrophically misconstrued.
Roddy Piper, Classy Freddie Blassie, and the Iron Sheik pull up in a limousine for the explicit purpose of refusing to patronize the Lauper family business.
Meanwhile, Nikolai Volkoff drives by in a pickup truck, milking a ceramic cow. We are now two minutes into this music video and we have yet to hear a single note of music.
The subaudible shrieks of madness melting out of the screen cannot be considered "music" in the traditional sense.
Cyndi lifts up a portrait of Captain Lou's rubber-band-faced pirate uncle to uncover a hidden cave that was apparently just waiting behind the wall of their service shop. She crawls inside and spends the next several seconds screaming at an animatronic skeleton like Sam Kinison having a violent stroke on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
The Goonies themselves do not actually appear until the four-and-a-half minute mark, at which point they teleport in on a wave of 1960s sitcom special effects, wearing t-shirts emblazoned with a string of letters that spell out "The Goonies" if they stand in the correct order, which of course they fail to do initially, because this is a comedy.
Chunk has two letters on his shirt, because Chunk is fat.
It's like a tiny window into the future of Hollywood; Josh Brolin is a Lennon-haired shadow of the man who will eventually glue a bunch of old spaghetti to his face to play Jonah Hex, Sean Astin displays the moon-faced earnestness he will come to be known for, and Corey Feldman looks like a teenager who has experienced nothing but angry erections, which is a look he'll never grow out of. Unfortunately for us all, this will not be the last time Corey Feldman appears in a music video.
I'm pretty sure this is part of a prophecy.
The group excitedly compares treasure maps, and we are treated to a minute-long montage of scenes from the film, after which the evil wrestlers from the beginning of the video show up and attack the Goonies, while Cyndi Lauper stands by and refuses to call child services. Then a witch shows up for some fucking reason and Cyndi nearly drowns in a subterranean waterfall after calling out to Steven Spielberg for help. In the overwhelmingly likely event that you have forgotten, let me remind you that this is the official music video tie-in to a movie about a bunch of kids hunting for pirate treasure to save their town from villainous country club developers. A pop star getting attacked by a witch before taking a sharp right turn into self-referential industry humor probably sailed right over the heads of The Goonies' target audience like a paper lantern full of Reaganomics jokes.
"What happened to the Goonies? Did that pedophile get them?"
And that's the end of Part One. Part Two, which aired a few months after the movie was released in theaters (because with an artistic triumph like "The Goonies R Good Enough," you have to stagger that shit out), picks up with the rambling narration of a character witness on an episode of Judge Joe Brown, before continuing the story with Cyndi and the Goonies working as slaves on the witch's pirate ship. Again, this is a completely different video for the exact same song.
Really, we're all prisoners here.
Cyndi and the children escape the clutches of the witch and her pro-wrestling henchmen (again, neither demographic is represented in The Goonies whatsoever), and return to the Lauper family gas station with armloads of cursed pirate wealth. Cyndi then puts her fingers to her mouth to blow a mighty whistle, and Andre the goddamned Giant appears in an explosion of pyrotechnic magician smoke to chase Roddy Piper into the street like a feral cat drenched in hobo blood.
"Andre should be wearing more pants" is a thought people were frequently forced to have in the 1980s.
And that's how the official Goonies music video ends. People who saw both chapters of this rock opera before actually buying a ticket to see the movie must've been seriously confused at The Goonies' total lack of discount witchcraft and 1980s pro wrestling.
"We've managed to betray fans of several properties! Congratulations, everyone!"
For those of you who are still in high school, Twister was a mid-'90s trivia question about an estranged husband-and-wife storm chasing team doing battle with Cary Elwes' embarrassing southern accent, which is so bad it makes Bill Paxton's actual southern accent sound fake. As a film, Twister is worth the zero dollars it would cost to watch on Netflix, but not quite an even exchange for the amount of time it takes to view it in its entirety. "Humans Being" was Van Halen's heroic attempt to turn that threadbare narrative into a scrotum-detonating rock song, even though, by all accounts, Van Halen had ceased rocking several years earlier.
Roughly around the time this happened, give or take a few seconds.
It's really difficult to make an exciting clip reel out of a movie that is 90 percent people driving around in pickup trucks. The video for Van Halen's "Humans Being" attempts to do just that. Shots of Sammy "I have the chest hair of Cameron Diaz" Hagar painfully contorting his face to heighten the excitement of his lip-synching to maximum levels are interwoven with what I believe is the same three seconds of aerial footage of Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt carefully leading a wagon train of desperate character actors in wheezy SUVs down a country road while obeying the speed limit.
The viewing audience is now too electrified to move.
I always knew Van Halen would provide the soundtrack to a collective midlife crisis, but I never expected it to be captured on film. It's like watching the inner monologue of a 60-year-old man seconds before he shatters his knee while unnecessarily sliding into second base during a company softball game. It's the tragedy of failing to realize a dream that was never particularly grandiose to begin with. In that way, the Twister music video is the same as a truck driver having to pay full price for a 1 lb basket of tater tots because he couldn't eat all of them in 30 minutes.
"Yeeeeeeeeeah, driving in the raaaaaaaaaaaaaaain!"
The director attempts to convey the intense drama of a raging tornado by splashing water on the camera while Van Halen plays in front of a giant montage of swirling weather vanes. When we aren't being dazzled by exciting official Twister footage of people driving cars, we're marveling at exciting official Twister footage of people staring ominously at the sky and running away from lightning. It's exactly as ridiculous as releasing The Perfect Storm with a soundtrack by Def Leppard, but for whatever reason, this didn't occur to the world in 1996.
"Weather is the coolest" -- 1996.
If you've ever found yourself wondering what the confluence of two of the most forgettable things ever created would look like, Van Halen's official music video for the Twister soundtrack is your answer.
The Three Musketeers
Bryan Adams apparently had the monopoly on early '90s swashbuckling action movies, because after literally conquering the world with "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You," the theme song from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, he decided to continue his domination of frilly-shirted mood rock. "All For Love" was the official single from the soundtrack to The Three Musketeers, Disney's attempt to convince us that Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, and Oliver Platt would ever team up to do anything, much less save the king of France. Since The Three Musketeers is about a trio of incredible heroes, Bryan Adams decided to team up with Sting and Rod Stewart to record the song, presumably believing this combination to be the ultimate modern rock supergroup and recklessly flattering all three of them in the process.
They are the heroes we neither wanted nor deserved.
The video begins with nary a mention of Disney or Alexandre Dumas' classic story. Instead, we see Bryan Adams and Sting supervising a bunch of random assholes hauling equipment into a warehouse. Also, only Sting looks like he showed up prepared to work on the Three Musketeers video. Everyone else looks like they just drove there from the airport and are planning on bullshitting their way through filming. There's one point where Bryan Adams is literally watching Sting play the piano to figure out a part of the song they are moments away from performing without offering to make any meaningful contribution beyond nodding his head appreciatively, like Sting is singing him a song in a cocktail lounge or something.
"Hey, that's pretty good, Sting!"
"Thanks, Bryan! You should probably be making some effort to commit this to memory!"
"I'm not fucking joking, Bryan."
Rod Stewart strolls in later with his entourage, looking like he just rollerskated into Los Angeles after falling asleep in a salon chair for thirteen hours. He looks like a deleted scene from You Don't Mess with the Zohan.
"Hey, I heard there was a gathering of ridiculous people here and I came to offer my assistance!"
Sting should've hit him with his piano stool the second he spotted that tuft of mangy frosted wizard hair float into the building, because it's clear Rod Stewart intends to match Bryan Adams' level of "not doing a fucking thing." This could almost be a documentary about why The Police broke up, if Bryan and Rod had bothered to bring any instruments.
If you watch Sting's face, you can see the exact moment when he realizes he's the only person taking this seriously.
Sting makes a comment about going bald, which I assume was the result of the hero's trial that was being the only watchable character in Dune. That film was his "carrying the One Ring to Mount Doom," and it stole the golden mane that bought him sex throughout the 1980s. Anyway, Bryan Adams with his shaved sideburns and Rod Stewart with his nuclear wig shop explosion are adding a second layer to the insult cake they decorated for Sting by not playing any fucking instruments. I can't stress this enough -- of the three world-famous musicians featured in "All For Love," Sting is the only one who plays anything. Bryan and Rod both possess the ability to play multiple instruments, but they stoutly refuse to touch anything in the generous studio space A&M Records has rented out for this historic collaboration. Sting does take a moment to throw some shade at Bryan Adams and his ridiculous singing voice, but otherwise he seems content to be the plow horse of the official Three Musketeers theme song. Also, he appears to have stolen Christian Slater's wardrobe from Pump up the Volume.
I'm not even sure that look was cool at the time.
The resulting music video looks like a jeans commercial on VH1. Also, apart from the hackneyed inclusion of the Three Musketeers motto into the song's lyrics, there is absolutely nothing that connects this to the Walt Disney film of the same name, outside of some brief footage of the three singers sitting around a table clutching goblets of wine and women who are far too young for them.
Here's the portion of the video where we get to watch three superstars eat roast chicken.
Also, Rod Stewart spends the majority of the video looking like Brenda Fricker, which is not the optimal look for a male pop vocalist.
It is too late to unsee this picture.
The Addams Family
If you've never seen the video for MC Hammer's seminal masterpiece "Addams Groove," the explosive hit single from The Addams Family motion picture soundtrack, get ready for the most important four minutes of your life. The video begins with MC Hammer's head in a guillotine. Stop reading immediately and call your parents to let them know.
Hammer will wait.
He unleashes a torrent of decapitation puns with the gentle, practiced subtlety of his namesake, before Christina Ricci chops his head off and sends it bounding joyfully across the floor with both barrels of Capitol Records's special effects budget, which, adjusted for inflation, translates to five seconds of CGI dinosaurs on the SyFy channel.
The narrative immediately jumps ahead to MC Hammer, having lived through the medical miracle of getting his head reattached without experiencing catastrophic brain damage, tied to a pain wheel in the Addams family study, because apparently two ghoulishly white death-worshiping children torturing a garishly-dressed black millionaire was a concept the video's producers simply couldn't leave on the table.
"We owe it to our children to put this on television immediately."
I've written before about the unfair legacy that Raul Julia was forced to leave behind when he died during the filming of Street Fighter: The Movie. Luckily, he was able to temper that great injustice by engaging a moonlit sword fight with MC Hammer in a misty graveyard full of neon parachute pants to determine which man was more deserving of the feminine attentions of Angelica Huston.
For the good of mankind, they came to a draw. The world was never meant to choose between these two champions.
Not even Christopher Lloyd, still riding the Rocky Mountain high of Back to the Future Part III and Suburban Commando, could resist the opportunity to dance with MC Hammer in a mystery mansion.
Although it's clear he was only on set for maybe an hour.
Bear in mind, this video was produced in 1991, which was a period of American history in which everything MC Hammer touched turned into golden rivers of money and success. The producers were only too eager to hitch their wagon to the blazing eternal star of Hammer's popularity, because if there's one thing Hollywood is good at, it's latching onto timeless trends that people never grow out of. Consequently, the document of human history now contains a footnote about a pastel rapping genie stutter-dancing to a song about the Addams Family.
Being stuck in a doom garden with his penniless entourage would prove to be eerily prophetic.
For more from Tom, check out 3 Bands Who Completely Disowned Their Former Members and 5 Famous Filmmakers Whose Dream Projects Were Disasters.