Desert Island Top Four Title Sequences (and assorted YouTube tangents) by Jibade-Khalil Huffman
As research I took to YouTube to watch the classics, flops, and underrated gems of the form. What follows are some notes on process, starts and finishes, procrastination, odd jobs, and other roundabout ways of making poetry.
“Its a Mad Mad Mad Mad World”
People always say certain title sequences or movie trailers are like “a movie.” Or they say the new Killer Mike video is “like a movie.” But then this one really is. If you wanted to extend the metaphor (the desert island metaphor I mean), you could also say you only really need to pack Saul Bass for the trip, as anyone who has seen a movie in the last 60 years knows he basically destroys it every time. Though it probably would be better if you had some sort of radio too, if you, after all, had the feeling you were going to crash land on a desert island.
“Une Femme est une Femme”
Likewise early Godard. Remember how, like, a year and a half ago, your friend’s boyfriend was sweating “Enter the Void” so hard? Like, you were all out having drinks and he wouldn’t stop going on about how you had to see “Enter the Void” and how it was going to change cinema, starting with its amazing use of credits? And he wouldn’t stop going on about it and you just wanted to drink your drink and complain about your boss and talk about how you had a crush on the new intern at your job? Well, isn’t it kind of a bummer that you can’t go back in time and tell him to watch this?
“Thank You For Smoking”
Very often the title sequence, like the movie trailer, overwhelms and embarrasses the final product. The most egregious example of this is “Watchmen”, which so outperforms everything that comes after that its not even funny. In fact its actually sad. It would be like if I made you the greatest appetizer of all time with the most local ingredients, hand picked by a diverse group of underprivaleged children as part of an after school program you donated to, but then, for the main course, I made you eat White Castle while I halfheartedly punched you in the stomach.
“The Naked Gun”
Full disclosure: “The Naked Gun” is one of my favorite movies of all time. So much so that it kind of took writing “James Brown Is Dead” to realize how great the titles are. The film is that distracting in its pursuit of laughs. As it relates to poetry or, more specifically the kind of poetry I am interested in making and the subject of how this way of grappling with the world is manifested, I am enamored, most of all, of the quality of the absurd here on display. Everything starts and seems the same as ever until you find yourself driving the company car through a night club. Or out of the womb. Or down a roller coaster. The scariest part is that the movie has yet to even begin.