Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Backup Dancers From Hell: Bon Jovi - “It’s My Life”

We start out with some guy named “Tommy” just trying to type at his computer while his mother screams from downstairs that she wants him to take out the garbage. (We’ve all been, there, right?) Phone rings. It’s “Gina”, (played by Shiri Appleby from the excellent series “Roswell”, which vanished from the airwaves just like those UFO‘s), babbling that the band is about to start playing “in the tunnel” (what?) and he has five minutes to get there or else.

Gina’s kind of pushy, even if her hair does look cute.

Tommy slams down the phone and off we go. He races through the house, forced to accept the bag of garbage from his mother as he heads out the door of the apartment. (Moms never give up when they get fixated on something. Once you realize that, life gets much less complicated.) We start seeing snippets of the band playing the song as Tommy runs down some stairs in a manner that indicates he may never have seen such things before. (Dude, why are you walking on the railing?)

Apparently Tommy gets bored using the inside stairs, so he switches to the fire escape and works his way downward. (The editors try to make this sequence fancy by jacking with the video and replaying snippets, but it really only makes it look like a lost scene from “West Side Story”.) Tommy even drops off the end of the escape, using air instead of the sliding ladder, in one of those boldly stupid moves youngsters can get away with, plummeting two stories and not dying. (At my age, opening a stick of gum can lead to bone-breakage.)

Tommy conveniently lands on the ground just as a garbage truck drives by, so naturally Tommy hops on the back of it rather than screw with a taxi. While he settles in for his ride, we cut back to the band, and yep, they really are playing in a traffic tunnel, with fans screaming and Jon’s hair making me think of Carol Brady, which unnerves me a bit. No one else seems bothered by this, so I guess we’ll let it go unless Sam the Butcher shows up with a cleaver.

Checking back in with Tommy, he apparently gets tired of standing near the crushed pulp of things that other people don’t want anymore, so he leaps off the garbage truck (that boy sure likes to jump). Sadly, his timing is a bit off and he rolls into a pack of dogs being walked by Jane Hathaway from “Beverly Hillbillies”. Tommy hops up and runs, with the dogs deciding he’s much more fun than Jane, so they follow him.

We cut away from the Running of the Dogs for a bit, so we can marvel at the band playing and how they’ve managed to remain looking relatively youthful despite all those things that rock bands did in the 80’s. Then we’re back to Tommy and his canine companions, with Tommy making sure to leap over the camera in just the right way so that his crotch is favorably accented. Then he runs into a gaggle of Asian Elvis impersonators.

No idea.

Next up is Tommy and his four-footed gang thundering through a deserted warehouse, for no other reason that it allows Tommy to jump through the air again, making a perfect dismount that should get high scores from the judges but would have killed anybody else. The dogs, wisely, decide that potentially bashing their skulls in is really not that interesting, so they instead go off to watch a “Benji” sequel at the Bowjou Theatre.

Some more footage of the band playing, giving me time to realize that maybe Jon’s hair is more akin to Joni Mitchell, then we zip back to Tommy. Now he’s managed to alter his route so that he’s ended up in the middle of a marathon race. (That happens to me all the time.) Tommy snags one of the free water bottles from those people who stand there and cheer you on at checkpoints, takes only a tiny sip, then throws the bottle on the ground, so he clearly hasn’t learned about things like recycling, water conservation, and just taking the subway.

Then Tommy decides that it would be completely safe to just run down the middle of a very busy street. (Why the hell not? Jumping off the Empire State Building didn’t phase him either.) Quick shot of Gina-Shiri sending Tommy a text, all impatient and stuff because he’s not there to watch her have fun at the tunnel concert. (Girls who have starred in their own TV series can be very high-maintenance. Although you’d think she could afford a better mobile device than the crappy one we see her banging away on.)

No matter, Tommy keeps running, because that’s what he was hired to do. (And it allows the video editor that was hired to come up with artsy shots and images. Everybody wins.) Eventually, Tommy finds himself running on a bridge, and you know he’s going to jump off of it, because that’s just his thing. So he does, plunging downward in both slo-mo and quick-mo courtesy of that editor. (They even stop the song so we can fully appreciate his plunging.)

Big surprise, Tommy lands in a lower road directly in the path of a speeding semi, because Tommy can’t live unless he’s about to die. So we get to enjoy some nifty special effects where Tommy rolls just right so the Tires of Death don’t crush his low-body-fat physique. Then he innocently hops up and dashes away, leaving the truck driver to have a small mental breakdown and turn to a life of drugs and alcohol.

Another montage of the band playing, where everybody is really happy despite the camera whipping around so fast that you really can’t see anything, then we zip back to Tommy’s next stunt. This involves Tommy encountering gridlocked traffic, with none of the cars moving, so Tommy, quick but stupid thinker that he is, decides to just run across the tops of the cars. (That would be your first thought, right?)

This works out jazzily well at first (despite the fact that the apparently overpaid editor didn’t realize he was mixing scenes of both day and night, oopsie), until highly-caffeinated Tommy falls through the moon-roof of a car containing thuggish types that are not interested in skinny geek boys falling from the sky, even if they can run really fast and win medals.

Home boys quickly throw Tommy’s ass out da car so they can continue with their drug deals and denigrating of women, so he wisely decides to hoof it the rest of the way at ground level. This is a good idea, since he’s already in the traffic tunnel where Bon Jovi is inexplicably performing, making it easier for him to run past the security guards who have been specifically hired to stop sweaty boys who run past guards.

Tommy hooks up with Gina-Shiri, and they clutch each other in that limber way you can do things before old age and bill-paying make fervent clutching a risky endeavor. Of course, Gina-Shiri has to whine at him about where he’s been, but then they happily turn to the stage to watch Joni Mitchell Jovi finish up the set.

Click Here to Watch the Video on YouTube.

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