Inside a glass box, lit in concord grape, Matt Healy and the band perform. The light changes to headlight white. Healy wanders around, touching the box.
The box is lit in rose as Healy stands against the glass, one hand on it, trying to pull himself together.
Back in the headlight white, he presses both his thumbs to the glass, trying to see if it will open. He runs his hands through his hair and knocks on the door, hoping to get someone’s attention.
Underneath the rose light, his hand touches the glass.
As the band performs, the light changes inside to a softer version of rose. Then, switches back to the headlight white.
In rose light, people are outside, studying them. Healy’s eyes dart and forth as the crowd gathers.
The band is back under the rose light again. People from various regions, dressed in all white, survey the band: a regal woman, a fiftysomething man in a tank top and an aging cowboy.
When the band is under the white light again, the people whisper to each other. One person steps outside the boundary, causing the light to flicker.
A man holds up a rose-colored microphone.
On the screen, written in white font with a pink background, is “Is This A Joke?” and “Do People Still Really Make Music Like This?” and “They’re Essentially Making Robotic Huey Lewis Tunes.”
A man, with glasses, waves his hand around, assessing the art of Healy’s nails.
Pink screen reads: “There’s No Danger To This Music At All.”
One of the critics takes a photo with his phone while another man shakes his head.
Pink screen reads: “Unconvincing Emo Lyrics.”
Pink screen reads: “This Band Thinks It Has A Charismatic Singer…”
Healy holds onto the microphone and looks into the camera.
Pink screen reads: “They Are Mistaken.”
The man continues to shake his head “no” while the man with the rose-colored microphone stares. Pink screen reads: “Terrible High-Pitched Vocals Over Soulless Robo Beats.”
People walk around, writing in notepads as another pink screen reads: “Punch-Your-TV Obnoxious.” A woman stares into the glass while another pink screen says “Totally Lacking The Wow Factor.”
One woman puts her finger to lip, thinking of a dig. Another woman points. Pink screen reads: “Pompous Area Synth-Pop.”
Inside the glass, the rose becomes smoky, obscuring the band. Pink screen reads: “Genuinely Laughable.”
The woman shrugs. Pink screen reads: “I Only Heard Chocolate Once But I Hated It.”
Back in the headlight white, Healy presses his mouth to the glass. He writes “HELP ME.”
Sitting outside the glass, their hands folded across their laps, the band waits for the people to emerge in the rose light.
Earlier, the people were thrown their papers at them. Pink screen reads: “Vapid Derivative Pop.” A man in a white tank top tells them to shut up. Pink screen reads: “Pretentious Unimaginative Annoying” and then “Boring Recycled Wannabes.”
People point to the glass while the pink screen reads “Frivolous Bubblegum Manufacturers.”
Inside the glass, Healy crosses his hands while the pink screen says “Contrived Knock-Offs.” As people touch the glass outside, feeling around it, the screen says: “Desperate Shallow Cringe-Worthy.” People toss their notes like cards. “Trying Too Hard” the screen says as the band plays to an empty room.
People repeatedly touch the glass, wanting to get out. They race back and forth. The band sits and watches. With the critics inside the box, Healy touches his nose and looks down.
Sometimes a negative review in a publication gains cult status based on how well the writer savaged the person’s work. Pete Wells’ review in the New York Times of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar is a well-worded lecture to chef Guy Fieri, questioning his credibility and calling him out for the overall lack of professionalism. From Wells’ point of view, he’s speaking up for the customer even though the words may be difficult to hear for the restaurant owners.
However, not all reviewers have the customer in mind when writing. They want to make a name by writing witty pieces that will get shared over social media, regardless if it’s sincere. The now-shuttered Television Without Pity had that mindset and for the people who had the patience to slog through Jacob’s thesis/recaps/endless ramblings that had nothing to do with the show, were rewarded with a quick banning if they ever spoke out of turn.
By taking on the latter critics who are complaining for the sake of complaining with their handy notebook of clichéd phrases, The 1975 defend themselves by owning the words and not letting it define them. For Healy, the excitement of opening a webpage about the band has long given way to panic, suffocating him and dissolving his self-esteem adjective by adjective. The needling and poking put the band under a microscopic view that they can’t leave (as represented by the glass). It is when they put the critics in the box, they do nothing. It’s not their place, in this instance, to ignore it. After such insults, they can see karma unfold.
Director: Tim Mattia Year: 2016
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