Friday, January 08, 2016

Jazzin' for Blue Jean

Directed by Julien Temple and screenplay by Terry Johnson from a story by David Bowie, Jazzin’ for Blue Jean is a twenty-minute short film that serves as a promotional video for David Bowie’s single Blue Jean from his much-maligned 1984 album Tonight. The short revolves around a socially-awkward man trying to woo a beautiful young woman by taking her to an exclusive concert as Bowie plays both the socially-awkward man Vic and the singer Screamin’ Lord Byron. Also starring Louise Scott as the young woman. Jazzin’ for Blue Jean is a witty and whimsical short from Julien Temple and David Bowie.

The film is essentially a comedy where this man tries to impress this young woman into taking her to a concert for this pop singer where everything goes wrong. He tries everything from claiming he’s on a list to bad negotiating for tickets where he would eventually meet the singer Screamin’ Lord Byron through an accidental moment in the hopes of winning over this young woman. It’s a short that is very witty which plays into the silliness of 1980s culture from Vic trying to find ways to dress cool only to get advice from his much clean and more fashionable roommate. The script is largely told from Vic’s perspective as someone who is so desperate to be cool but he is such a dork.

Julien Temple’s direction is quite stylish from the usage of crane shots to capture the streets of London as well as how the club looks in a way superstars have to be presented. There are also moments where Temple makes fun of the idea of stardom in the way Screamin’ Lord Byron arrives as if he had partied too much and is quite full of himself. It adds to the ridiculousness of the story where Temple also create some scenes which play into the false worship of pop idols including Bowie himself who music for the film including the song he performs. Temple’s direction also has a unique way some of the comedy is set up as it is done naturally which showcases Bowie’s knack for comedy.

With Louise Scott providing a wonderful performance as the dream girl, it is Bowie’s show as his approach to playing a dork is so fun while his performance as Screamin’ Lord Byron is just as funny for how much of a diva he is. It is Bowie not being afraid to lampoon himself a bit but also make some commentary about 1980s commercialized-pop music which he had been sucked into in the aftermath of the blockbuster success of his 1983 album Let’s Dance.

Jazzin’ for Blue Jean is a fantastic short film from Julien Temple and David Bowie. It’s a short that fans of Bowie will consider as essential despite the fact that it was made in one of his un-creative periods. It’s a film that isn’t just entertaining but also provides as a great tool to promote new music as it’s just Bowie selling himself. In the end, Jazzin’ for Blue Jean is an excellent short film from Julien Temple.

© thevoid99 2016


Anonymous said...

I just listened to Bowie's latest album, Blackstar, today. It's quite impressive, experimental work that I'm pretty sure will grow even more on me the more I process it. I'll have to give this a whirl :-)

thevoid99 said...

For me, this short is probably one of the better things Bowie did during what I call the Dark Ages which is '84-'87. I heard Blackstar a few days ago and for me, this confirms that there will be no equal nor anyone who will be remotely close to what Bowie is doing now or what he's done back then. This is a man who sets standards for what it means to make great art. Yet, I also feel like this is a record Bowie I think has been wanting to make for much of his life for anyone that knows about his history from day one.

SFF said...

This was a surprising little treat of coverage STTV.

I know those 80s works by Bowie get derided, but I count myself among the myriad of fans who adore his proper pop album Let's Dance produced by the one and only Nile Rodgers. Criminal World, China Girl, Modern Love, title track and Cat People. It's a short album by today's standards but an excellent one. And I consider myself very much a casual Bowie fan.

Even Tonight and Never Let Me Down had their moments and let's face it, the man's career hasn't been all highs since then either.

But as Fisti noted, Blackstar is a solid experimental outing. I actually quite enjoyed it on a first listen.

The Next Day (2013) didn't quite reach the heights of awesome I had hoped it would be despite the fact I was absolutely blown away by the two singles from the recording, Where Are We Now? and The Stars (Are Out Tonight). Those were amazing songs. I think Bowie was in just the right place to make the aforementioned Where Are We Now?

And of course there is Temple who has spanned the decades working with ABC to Duran Duran.

Anyway, enjoyed your look at Bowie during the year of Blue Jean. All the best.

thevoid99 said...

@Sci-Fi Fanatic-Well, it was Bowie's birthday and I wanted to celebrate it though I have bigger plans for his 70th birthday next year. Bowie in the 80s was a strange period. He started off strong with Scary Monsters and then made it big with Let's Dance but then got lost despite some gems like "Blue Jean", "Loving the Alien", "This is Not America", "Absolute Beginners", "Day In Day Out", "Time Will Crawl", the title track to Never Let Me Down, and some stuff from Labyrinth.

For me, everything he's done since Black Tie White Noise has been solid while I personally love The Next Day as a rock album but with a sense of edge. Blackstar is really unlike anything he's done though I think this it's been something he's been wanting to do for much of his life.

And of course, Julien Temple is a big deal for his work in videos and he's made some damn good movies. Thank you for commenting.

SFF said...

You're welcome and oh I love This Is Not America. That is a beauty.

Anonymous said...

Hey buddy. I was thinking of you last night after the awful news broke. Hope you're doing alright.

thevoid99 said...

I first heard it when commenting on Brittani's piece about the Golden Globes and then saw the news and.... this killed me. I might do something today but it's going to be hard because I am very devastated. For me, Bowie was a whole lot more than a musician. Thank you.