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Artistic Appraisals: A Housing Day Video Critique

Part 1 of 4: Adams, Currier, and Quincy

By Se-Ho B. Kim, Crimson Staff Writer

The frenzy of the Housing Day video drops has finally subsided; Spring has sprung, freshmen wear the swag of their respective houses, and the staggering crop of clips have already started to fade into obscurity. With distance, however, comes esoteric critical reassessment. Arts Blog presents a pretentious analytical examination of the Housing Day videos, complete with stylistic comparisons to famed directors (play clips of the directors’ works simultaneously with the Housing Day videos for optimal effect). Look out later this week for the remaining three installments of our Housing Vid Critique.

Adams – Royals

Director of inspiration: Phil Pinto

One of the most coveted houses on campus, Adams House gives its incoming sophomore class even more reason to anticipate house life with its excellent rendition of Lorde’s “Royals.” This charming video would fit in perfectly with Phil Pinto’s other works, including music videos for Sleigh Bells’ “Infinity Guitars” and Black Lips’ “Raw Meat.” The refreshingly clear storyline is coupled with intriguing direction, and the hodge-podge of emotive detail is barely but succinctly held together by thematically linked alternating washes of sepia and full color that act as subtle supplements to the driving plot. Tasteful music production by Jamie Dickerson ties together a riveting emotional journey.

The parallelism between Adams’ video and Pinto’s alternately frenetic and static camera work in “Infinity Guitars” is overwhelming

Currier – What Does the Tree Say?

Director of inspiration: Andrew Adamson

The “Shrek” tetralogy is a testament to director Andrew Adamson’s tendency to stick with what works. Currier House also takes this to heart in its arrangement of the viral hit, “What Does the Fox Say?” Though not the most innovative housing day video, “What Does the Tree Say?” has a tireless energy that more than makes up for its tendency to feel strangely like a tired sequel at times. Contemplative shots of singing Currierites are juxtaposed with coordinated dance scenes, turning an empty pop tune into a rewarding short film. At the right times, the songwriters include incisive lines such as “Spread your roots up the hill, / yet you’re always standing still” that add philosophical dexterity to an already multifaceted work.

The inspired vocal performances and clever pastiche of Currier’s video evokes “Holding Out For a Hero” from Shrek 2

Quincy – “Frozen” medley

Director of inspiration: Todd Phillips

Not every set of sequels is successful, however—Todd Phillips’ “Hangover” trilogy comes off as tired rather than inventive. Perhaps it was too obvious—a sitting penguin. Quincy’s mascot lives in the polar regions. In these regions, it is cold. And covering Disney’s “Frozen” soundtrack ties this all together. But this decision unfortunately derails what is, in truth, a work that showcases frustratingly tremendous talent. The video is derivative from the start, opening with a rendition of “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” that features seven uncomfortably warm-looking Penguins. As the video progresses, not very much changes, and the storm of trite imagery peaks somewhere between singing on top of furniture and iMovie slideshows. The only fact in which Quincy House may take solace is that it wasn’t the only house that made the exact same mistake.

The repetitive allusions in Quincy’s video resemble Chow’s tired antics in “The Hangover Part III”

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