Video Review: Goo Goo Dolls "Black Balloon"

In black-and-white, a woman lifts a wand to her mouth.

In a bathroom, a woman gets something out of her tote bag while in the stall next to her, a woman tugs at the bottom of her bathing suit. Two stalls over, a woman touches another’s woman cheek.

The woman exhales smoke into the wand, creating a bubble. Inside, is a version of herself. She drops the wand and stares at the bubble she made.

John Rzenik touches the bubble, moving it towards him. Waves crash against him in the background.

At a pool, a woman removes her high heels and steps backwards into the water. She lies in an inner tube, her eyes dead.

A bubble, with the woman inside, floats by Rzenik.

She twists inside the bubble, as it formed to her body, becoming a second skin.

Rzenik plays on stage with the band.

The woman floats in the water as men swim underneath her.

Against the background of waves, Rzenik watches a bubble and pop its with is finger. It dissolves into smoke.

Back in the bathroom stalls, one woman sits on the toliet, her legs spread out. A woman rubs lotion on another woman’s back.

A woman dives into the water. Several people float on their backs.

Rzenik moshes into the crowd. Fans cheer for them as they play during a concert.

The woman falls from her inner tube into the water.

As Rzenik plays, a bubble dissolves into powder.

Several more people dive into the pool.

The woman floats in the pool. Police take photographs of her body.

Rzeniks winks against the now corroded background. A window to a cloudy sky is seen as he in silhouette, holding his guitar.


Rating: 5/5

The black-and-white deepens the context of the images, forcing constant focus on them to decipher the metaphors within them. Nothing is quite what it seems. It’s off-kilter, playing with danger while wanting to turn away from it at the same time.

The young woman uses the wand, which stands in for a cooking spoon, used for heroin. Meanwhile, the bubble is her fragile state, fighting her need for heroin and wanting to quit.

John Rzenik stands behind a background of waves, resembling a sonogram. It implies the young woman may be pregnant. But she is too far gone in her addiction to stop because of the child.

The bathroom stalls seem to be a prelude as the women hide from their demons, convincing themselves to stop. However, once they dive into the pool, they have exhale their last breaths underwater, drowning and then dying from overdoses.

The concert footage intercut between the scenes gives the viewer a quick break from the harrowing imagery and admire John Rzenik’s good looks. His pecs, which can be seen through his tight shirt, is a welcome distraction. Although it’s hardly the time to flirt with the female viewers as he winks at the camera.

It’s a vivid cautionary tale which requires no explanation or hotline on the screen. It states its point and expects the audience to think as they choke back tears, processing what they saw.


Director: Nancy Bardwell Year: 1999


This post contains affiliate links, which means I will receive a small commission from items purchased through them

Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit , Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.