4. Dokken – Dream Warriors (Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors)
Patton Oswalt has this incredible bit about ’80s metal’s magic power in music videos, and this is just the type of thing he was talking about. Hair-metal band Dokken is so rockin’ that, should one of their fans be in danger, they can fight off demons with the power of ROCK. They can even fend off the normally unbeatable hellspawn Freddy Krueger, who had no defense against the effeminate posturing of Don Dokken and his friends.
Dokken may be the most thrashingest band to start this side of Ratt, but they also care deeply when their fans, especially young ladies like Patricia Arquette, are plagued by a mystical child murderer. See, Freddy may be used to attacking disturbed teens, but he’s less prepared for men in their early thirties wielding guitars. These dream warriors rock so hard that Krueger must slink away in defeat, though in classic Freddy style, he gets the last laugh. I wonder if that was a late addition by Wes Craven in editing? “Seriously, Freddy Krueger does NOT get canonically defeated by Dokken.”
3. Pras featuring Mya & Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Ghetto Superstar (Bulworth)
To millennials, Warren Beatty probably seems like some star from the 1950s that their grandparents saw after voting for Ike. I had similar feelings in the ’90s, though I also knew him as Dick Tracy and the old dude who was screwing Madonna. Still, Beatty has so many Oscars and so much history, he’s basically stayed Hollywood royalty without having made anything of worth in the last 20 years. And when Bulworth came out, there was some shock value to seeing Warren dress as a rapper in the film. Today there’s much more shock value to seeing him onscreen with the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard in a music video.
Pras of the Fugees went solo with this tune back in 1997, with backup from Mya and ODB, and the video went full force in advertising Bulworth. Not only does Pras take over Beatty’s body, but Halle Berry hangs around to nod approvingly, while poor Oliver Platt freaks out at the truths Pras spits about America. The heavily played video got substantially more exposure than the film, likely leaving many viewers wondering, “Who’s that old white guy at the start? And what’s Halle Berry doing there?” Watching it now makes me slightly sad that Beatty has outlived ODB, but the Wu-Tang’s most infamous founding member wasn’t really living for tomorrow anyway.
2. Queen – Princes of the Universe (Highlander)
You can keep your Rolling Stones and your Led Zeppelins. To me, Queen is the greatest rock band of all time, featuring Freddie Mercury as the ultimate frontman, backed up by Brian May’s incredible guitars. They were the kings of ’80s rock, and they’d write ridiculously awesome ballads for garbage films like Flash Gordon, because Queen didn’t give a fuck. Freddie Mercury was so good that he could even duel a Highlander with his mic, which is exactly what he does in Princes of the Universe.
Based on his moments of screen time, I’m guessing Christopher Lambert filmed for all of three hours, but they got all they needed out of the immortal highlander. The quick battle between Mercury and Lambert is supported by Queen making Highlander sound like the most awesome concept of all time, with lyrics like “I’m a man that will go far, find the moon and reach for the stars.” Using this theme even made the shitty Highlander: The Series seem good – that’s the power of Freddie Mercury. If only Freddie had decapitated Lambert he’d have achieved immortality.
1. King Kobra – Iron Eagle (Never Say Die) (Iron Eagle)
It’s hard to beat Queen on any list, but when it comes to cornball music videos that encapsulate a film’s plot, nothing can top this one for Iron Eagle. The source material has the impossible plot of Louis Gossett Jr. training a teen to fly a fighter jet so they can invade Libya to free the boy’s father. The video ramps up the implausibility by having Gossett train the aggressively unfamous band King Kobra to do the same thing in one homoerotic video.
Louis Gossett Jr. is definitely giving it his all reprising Chappy, but the dopes in King Kobra aren’t the best acting partners. Stripped of their many accessories, the boot-camp version of the band reveals them to be the dweebs they truly are, and they don’t really seem to improve despite the power of the montage. Still, how can you not be inspired by the nasal screeching of “NEVER SAY DIE”? It makes me want to steal a billion-dollar fighter of my own and start an act of war on behalf of America. Mission accomplished, Chappy.