Video Review

The Astounding Aftermath of Poor Choices in Dimly Lit Places: The Cars – “Drive”

Another music video review, this one indirectly inspired by Lisa at “All About Life”…


We start out with a close-up of a billiards ball falling into a side pocket, which could mean absolutely anything, so this is already a tricky video. The camera pans up and then slowly zooms over the pool table so we can see one of The Cars sitting in the distance. We appear to be in an empty nightclub, with stools and such overturned, indicating some unknown disagreement has transpired, and it seems we have a jockstrap tossed with abandon on the bar. That’s a nice touch.

The camera takes forever to get all the way to the band member (one of the blond ones, don’t remember his name) as he sits forlornly at a table. He’s singing the song, but other than that we don’t know why he’s here or what might have happened to cause his left leg to stick out like that. The camera swivels around a bit so that we can see what might be another piece of broken furniture in the distance. Or it might be an injured Mongol Warrior waving an axe. The lighting kind of sucks in this place so it’s not real clear.

Now we switch to a pretty girl having issues in the corner of another room. (I think it’s Paulina Porizkova, the supermodel who stunned everybody when she married Ric Ocasek around this time. But don’t quote me.) Paulina is expressing her dissatisfaction about something by sitting in a weird position and scribbling on the wall over her head. Maybe that Revlon contract fell through? She doesn’t seem to be too upset, though, smiling a bit, so it’s possible that she just missed an important art class and doesn’t understand that she’s doing things in the wrong way.

Back to the Blond Car still at that table, and still singing. He shifts around in his chair, but he still looks sad, so there might not be anything we can do for him and eventually he’ll have to be admitted to a rehabilitation program of some kind. This happened a lot in the 80’s. Probably too much chlorine in the water. Or drugs. It was hard to tell what was happening when Reagan was president.

Oh look, there’s Ric Ocasek himself, also sitting in a chair and looking sad, but at least he has a cigarette that he can use as a prop. (I don’t know who dressed him, but they didn’t do a very good job.) Cut to Paulina, clutching her left arm as if trying to determine what it might be. (Ric’s shadow is on the wall behind her, indicating that he’s to blame in some way. This is probably true. Anybody who has an aggressive haircut like that is automatically suspicious.)

Now the bar is suddenly crammed with people, although some of the folks appear to be dead and/or mannequins, which might be commentary on a certain political party. The creepy bartender is presumably wearing roller skates by the way he glides to the other end of the bar and serves a cocktail to a bald-headed frozen woman. Is she supposed to be Margaret Thatcher?

Back to Paulina, who is now lying on a random bed in her nightie, and her hand appears to be stuck in her hair. Poor thing. No telling how this happened. Then she glances to the side and sees somebody wearing an unnerving mask. Instead of screaming and bolting for the Caribbean, she calmly turns the other way, and we get a shot of Ric, also wearing an unnerving mask. Oh wait, he’s not actually wearing one. Sorry.

Back to the Blond Car still at that table, singing and looking like he will never see Joy again. (Maybe because she moved and didn’t leave a forwarding address. This is what happens when you insist on doing stupid crap that nobody understands.) I’m starting to think that if he would just get away from that damn table, he might feel a little bit better. Or at least not have to sing anymore. The camera pans around to show us that the odd mannequin people are still sitting around the bar and trying to be served, even though they don’t have working mouths where you can insert the alcohol. (And that’s just not a life worth living, right?)

Now we have Ric and Paulina standing somewhere, neither of them very thrilled about doing so. They are having a discussion that we can’t hear, but it seems to be causing Paulina to do odd things with her hands and scrunch her face. She might be sharing a sordid story about that time at band camp, or she’s begging him to cut his hair. Who knows. He doesn’t seem to be very supportive, so I’m going to blame him for everything.

Back to just Paulina, in that bed again, having an emotional breakdown. She keeps laughing and crying and holding her face. (I’m used to seeing this at family reunions over the years, so I’m something of an expert at identifying the warning signs. If I had a nickel for every time one of my relatives went to the dark side after too much Pabst Blue Ribbon, well…)

And we’re in the bar again (maybe, not sure) and The Cars are all standing around with their band instruments, but they aren’t playing them or even moving. (Have they become emotionless mannequins as well? Is this a staff meeting for the Trump Administration?) But at least the Blond Car has moved away from that damn table that was causing him so much pain. And his hair looks pretty good, which is a positive development. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that you’ve been going to the wrong stylist for too many years.

The camera pans across the room to Paulina, who appears to be standing in front of frosted glass, or it might be a piece of art by those people who throw a can of paint against a canvas and suddenly they are world famous for no fathomable reason. The camera zooms in on her, letting us see that she is still sad, and that someone has spilled coffee all over her right shoulder. She holds her pose for a long time (she’s a supermodel, so this is really not an issue) until the song ends, then she turns to walk away, most likely to call her agent and complain. It’s so much more fun dancing around in tiny swimsuits while disco music plays and Vogue photographers snap away, instead of pretending to cry and scribbling on walls in a bar where nobody knows your game.

And this video was directed by Timothy Hutton. Yes, that Timothy. I know, right?

Those wacky 80s…


Click here to watch this video on YouTube.


Originally published in the first incarnation of BDFH on 10/09/10. Considerable changes have been made. In a rare move, this updated version is being simultaneously posted in the new Backup Dancers from Hell (because I haven’t posted over there in more than a year) and here on Bonnywood Manor. This means absolutely nothing to anybody except me, but I hope you can help me rejoice in this tiny, pointless moment of triumph…


21 replies »

    • I was enraptured with this song for a while in college, during all that mess of trying to figure yourself out and what you wanted to do with yourself after you figured it out. And it still takes me back when I hear it today…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. *Oh wait, he’s not actually wearing one* …. killed me! I had a bit of a thing for scary mask-faced men at one stage. I also had a thing for wafting round being uber dramatic wearing satin nightwear in the daytime. I said ‘had’ not ‘have for the avoidance of doubt 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I almost took that line out, thinking it was perhaps a bit harsh. Then I remembered that he was intentionally GOING for that absurd look, so screw it, the line stays in.

      Now, tell me more about the waftiness of the daytime nightwear…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You know I had to check this out just to see the jock strap / bar towel ! But, man, I used to adore Ichabod Crane / Ric Ocasik way back in the day.

    And, what did the Blonde do to his eyebrows ? Shaking my head over nonsense. Thanks for the laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • These videos look a bit primitive now, but I remember them being amazing examples of new technology when they came out. Things were a bit simpler then, and yet just as complicated…


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