Monday, May 23, 2011
Backup Dancers From Hell: Jack Johnson - “Upside Down”
Note: This song appeared on the soundtrack for “George of the Jungle” (well, the one with Brendan Fraser, anyway), which partially explains the events in the video, but at the same time makes things a little disturbing…
We start off on a pleasant tropical island, where Jack is clamoring around on a rocky overlook, lugging his guitar and not wearing any shoes despite the clamoring. We get a brief glimpse of the animated monkey, George, trying to appear cute but we know he’s up to no good. Next thing you know, Jack slips on a banana peel that George left behind (yep, they went there), and he falls into the ocean with his guitar. Moral so far: Don’t trust monkeys.
Underwater, Jack rescues his guitar, natch, and then scrutinizes his now-liquid surroundings. We get another glimpse of animated George, also in the water, which can’t be good. In any case, Jack starts singing the song underwater, which is everyone’s first instinct when on the verge of drowning. He sings for quite a while, so my guess is that this is a magical lagoon where things like breathing and oxygen are not really important.
As Jack sings, animated George swims past and starts on a new quest, one that involves irritating some hippos that are just trying to take a nice nap on the ocean floor. It seems that Papa Rhino has worked too hard in his life to put up with a rambunctious cartoon simian, so he uses his hefty snout to toss George on shore. This triggers a sequence where Jack is strolling along the Yellow Dirt Road, strumming his guitar and admiring fake flowers and butterflies. (And Jack is still not wearing any shoes. Was there a life-changing incident in his youth that involved footwear?)
Jack eventually makes it to a giant tree where there is a handy pup tent nearby, so I guess Jack decides to live there, staking his claim by sitting on part of the tree and brandishing his guitar in a land-claim manner. Of course, cartoon George shows up within seconds, because he can’t stay out of other people’s business and there’s nothing on TV.
The next sequence probably caused the Boy Scouts of America some concern, as we watch Scout Master Jack strum his guitar and encourage little George to throw his hands in the air and dance around while not wearing any pants. Luckily, other cartoon forest creatures show up to stop this potentially litigious situation, distracting Jack with their cuteness and ability to do a spontaneous line dance.
George, not wanting to lose the spotlight, hangs upside down (get it) from the tree, waving his hands about and generally being annoying in an abusive manner. The other animals sit at Jack’s feet and encourage him to continue with the concert and the disregard for shoes. At one point, George prances up and tries to poke his finger in the hole of Jack’s guitar. Make of that what you will.
Well, it seems that Jack plays well into the night, until it’s just him and George sitting on top of a tree. (I’m sure the rest of the animals were called away by a casting agent, who was searching for the next “why is this here” animal to show up on that island on “Lost”.) George stupidly decides to put some fireflies in his mouth. I did some dumb-ass things as a kid, but it never occurred to me to put things with blinking butts in my pie-hole.
Eventually, Jack finishes up with the song, so that he and George can gaze at each other lovingly, and then peer up at the nighttime sky, with the stars shining brightly in a newly discovered constellation known as “PETA would like to talk to Jack. Now.”
The final scene has Jack back in the ocean, breaking the surface with his guitar and gazing about. Was it just a dream? Did he really visit an underwater land with butterflies, affectionate monkeys, and overly-happy livestock who know dance routines? Does he miss George already?…
Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube…