Video Review

An Unfortunate Mishap at the Pharmaceutical Counter: Matchbox Twenty – “Unwell”

Here’s another twisted music video review from the archives of “Backup Dancers from Hell”. You don’t have to like the group, know the song, or even care all that much about music or videos. Just enjoy the mayhem…


We start out with lead singer Rob screwing around with a model airplane, using one hand to make it fly over and around the coffee table. (The other hand appears to be busy doing something else, but we won’t really go there.) Then we get a close-up of Rob and that haircut I never understood staring at us staring at him. He has a hurtful and disappointed look in his eyes, making us feel guilty about something we may have done fifteen years ago but we’ve had too much beer since then to really recall.

The camera pops back so we can get a full-frontal of Rob, and he’s seated in a chair whilst wearing a t-shirt asking us to “love him”. (I’m sure that can be arranged, Rob. So you’ve forgiven us for whatever you didn’t like about us five seconds ago? Great.) Quick bit with Rob watching a tennis match that we can’t see, and then a dog that clearly wasn’t on the floor last time we looked suddenly gets up, twirls around and walks away. The camera angle makes the dog look bigger than Rob. Actually, it looks bigger than Atlanta. I’m starting to get concerned about the things in Rob’s apartment and whether or not he has full control of them.

We get a shot of a green teddy bear on the coffee table. He seems to share our concerns because he’s got one little arm raised, as if pleading for us to help him. But we haven’t had time to run a background check on him, and it’s very possible that he’s a serial-killer teddy. Best let him be for now.

More images of Rob fiddling with his toys and glancing around the room in a despondent manner, including a long shot that lets us see he’s all alone in this startlingly-large room (well, except for his little stuffed friend, the potential sociopath with Poppa Bear issues). We also see that whoever selected the wallpaper on the back wall might have an obsession with eyeballs. This does nothing to help us relax and want to know Rob better. Nor does the banjo on the floor that appears to have been violated in some way.

Rob flops his head back to look at the ceiling, and as we follow his gaze, it seems that the ceiling stretches out into infinity and then snaps back. Okay, then. This is about our third sign that something is not right up in this grill, so maybe we should just get our coat and call a taxi, lying to Rob that we just remembered an important ukulele recital in the next city. Or state.

Close-up on Rob again, as he starts to sing the song that we’ve actually forgotten about, what with the stretchy architecture and such. Things are rather calm for a few moments, and we start to put our coat back down, intending to stay for at least a one drink. But then we cut to Rob standing in front of some walls that appear to be breathing like they just ran a marathon, then the walls start rapidly sliding away while a bright light appears and seems intent  on swallowing Rob’s head. Then the light just as quickly disappears.

Okay, that’s it. Time for all the smart people to run like hell and let our more simple companions stay behind and serve as monster snacks, giving us more time to reach safety and call our lawyers. (As we learned from watching Scream 14: Drew Barrymore Returns and She’s Really, Really Pissed, the smartest thing to do when facing potentially-lethal situations is sacrifice your less-popular friends and run for Jesus, not stick around and try to open locked doors, enter buildings with no electricity, or pause to have sex with people you just met.)

Oh wait, now Rob is lying on his couch with his teddy bear, and he looks even more blue. We can’t just leave him like that, can we? We start to say something comforting, but then we get another image of the ceiling reaching toward the sun and walls reaching toward Yonkers. Then everything is back in place, and he’s singing tenderly again. This relationship with Rob is turning into too much work, and I don’t know if I have enough anxiety pills to go around, especially if the bear wants some.

Suddenly, Rob does this teleporting thing where he’s standing right by us and then he’s across the room, a movement accompanied by a flash of light just like in the old-school Star Trek series where William Shatner always said his lines with much more enthusiasm than was necessary. Maybe we don’t need to leave just yet, because flash-travel would be an interesting skill to have, like when you’re running from the po-po or your mother-in-law rings the doorbell. Maybe Rob can show us how it’s done?

I guess not, because he chooses instead to sit in a chair and make a grimace-face that causes his bare feet to become super-huge. This is a little disappointing. The ability to grow my feet is so far down on my bucket list that it will never get crossed off. But wait, if Rob can show me how to apply that magic to other parts of my body, then maybe I’ll sign up for classes and-

But no, Rob is singing again, first to us, and then to a bathroom mirror, where we catch the reflection of another stuffed animal watching Rob watch himself. Then the little guy disappears. This is far more creepy than the melting walls and Rob’s bangs. Then a pig briefly pops his head out of an oversize bathtub and then hides again. Instead of being mature and looking for an exit, Rob goes to investigate Porky in the Tub, to find that it’s been replaced by Frank Zappa or perhaps his stand-in. The sanity train has now officially left the station.

The giant dog jumps into an equally giant toilet, and Rob decides that the only appropriate thing to do is shove his face into the toilet water and see where Fido might have gone. The plumbing leads to an elevator shaft, and after a bit of fancy camerawork, we’re inside an elevator with Rob, what might be the other band members, and the green bear, who has apparently taken steroids and is now almost ceiling high. (What is up with all these people and toys and commodes wanting to be ultra-big? Now they’ll have to shop in special clothing stores and they’ll have to pay for two seats on airplanes. Is it really worth it?)

Rob’s not sure, either, so he backs out of the elevator and onto a subway car. (Brief shot of a spinning skull zooming toward us through the walls of several other speeding subways. As if we need another warning sign that we knocked on the wrong door when trying to sell our Twirl Scout cookies. But then the skull goes somewhere else for a while, and that’s fine by me.) Rob glances around his subway car, and he spies the other band members just hanging out and reading newspapers. Are we safe now?

Of course not. As the subway car rolls along, and an annoying flashing light splashes over everything, we get little snatches of the passengers’ faces turning into monster heads for a split-second and then back again. (Does this mean they are all Republicans?) Even the band members are having these little flash-morphing episodes, so Rob needs to think very carefully before renewing their contracts. Then the giant green bear appears and runs to stand next to Rob, all cute but still not right. Rob proceeds to grab the bear and throw him to the ground before stomping out of the subway car, so he probably won’t be getting a Christmas card from PETA.

Rob exits out of a phone booth (wait, how did we get here?) onto a plaza of some kind, where a couple of the band members teleport in and then slide out of sight along with the phone booth/subway exit. (What, they’re too busy to appear in a video for their own song? Better keep an eye on them, Rob, they might be secretly working on solo careers. Oh wait, you went solo shortly after this. My bad.) Then we’re back in Rob’s stretchy apartment, not because we want to be but because the pushy director thinks we need another visit. While Rob sings in the chair we don’t like because it’s the one he uses to make his feet annoyingly big, we get interspersed scenes of the band members (I think) back on that plaza, doing things with fire and walking sticks while Rob gazes around in confusion like his house just landed in the color part of The Wizard of Oz.

Then a dog drops from the sky, a disturbing kind of cartoon dog where we can sometimes see his canine skeleton. Bone Doggie hands Rob a special newspaper that transports them into one of those tiny European cars that are so compact you don’t dare toot or the doors will blow off. They’re racing down an unnamed highway, with the car in color and all the things they pass (odd buildings, cows) in black-and-white. This might be a political statement or solid evidence of a budgetary issue with the video. Who knows.

I guess Rob commits some type of vehicular violation (perhaps singing to the not-real dog instead of keeping his eyes on the road?) and we soon have a police car in pursuit, a car driven by two band members with giant noses. The chase goes on for a bit, with noses flapping in the wind, Rob wrenching on the steering wheel but never actually looking out the front window, and the dream dog doing nothing of real value, other than occasionally letting us see his bones and waiting for a chew toy.

Then Rob hits a special ramp, one that allows the tiny car to disappear into some mountains and Rob to appear in a passenger seat on a plane. Oh, and we can see Fido out the plane window, struggling to stand up on one of the wings. (Dude, what have you got against animals? Or having a respectful part in your hairdo?) But Rob isn’t explaining anything (maybe he can’t) and we roll into a montage of Rob and the Big-Nose Boys on the plane, Rob and his Big-Ass Feet in the melting apartment, and Rob singing directly into the camera and trying to appear charming, but we can no longer trust him after he shoved his face into the toilet, because there are just certain things you don’t do on a first date.

We close things out back in the origami apartment, where someone has changed the background wallpaper to something involving planes that twirl, because this video hasn’t been busy enough. All of the band members are there, minus facial prosthetics, and each of them gets a solo, where they strut toward the camera, take a bow, and then wander off the set, presumably to a better place where things that shouldn’t move or grow bigger refrain from doing that. (One of the guys is holding the green bear, now returned to a manageable size, and they leave together. I hope it works out for them.)

The last to go, of course, is Rob. He and his non-cartooned dog saunter our way, with him giving us a sheepish grin, as if proud of the little ride he just took us on, but not sure if we were all that keen about it. Oh, the video was fine, Rob. A little out there, but at least you were trying to do something creative, unlike so many “artists”, and you didn’t just stand there in a thong and show us your breasts or grab at your crotch like it’s a national treasure.

But the cookies, Rob. You didn’t buy any of my cookies. That’s the only reason I stopped by. I mean, the drug trip was fun and all, but I’ve got a deadline with this fund-raiser or I won’t get to go to Camp SnaggleCrack  this summer. So if you could just order a few boxes and… Rob?… why are you looking at me like that?… oh my, what big feet you have…


Click here to watch this video on YouTube.


Originally published in “Backup Dancers from Hell” (both the old and new sites). No actual changes made, as I had a root canal today, and there’s so much pain medication in my system that I really should have a drool cup strapped to my chin. For the record, no actual animals were harmed during this review. Careers? Well, that’s a different story…


17 replies »

  1. I’ve heard this song! Reminds me of…me…sans the dog and my bear is a black and white Panda…nearing 60 years old. (He was my only friend and my grandmother made me keep him in a plastic bag so he wouldn’t get dirty.)
    He’s kind of grey and white now. 🐼

    Liked by 1 person

  2. If the root canal was today (as in February 2019) my condolences. The only thing that might make that bearable *snicker* is the nitrous oxide. This post was classic and really does make me question the weak efforts I’ve made in this arena….speaking of which, did you ever get that email I sent asking about a collaboration? I know you’re wickedly busy, and now you’re stoned too…oh never mind. We’ll get ’round to that one of these days..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Firstly, yes, I just went through the hell of a root canal.

      Secondly, and more importantly, I don’t think I got an email. Which account did you send it to? I’ll need to check the spam folder, as Gmail has an annoying habit of deciding things for me when I don’t want them to do so.

      Thirdly, and most importantly, I don’t think your efforts in this area have been weak at all. You entertain me immensely with everything you do…


    • A) The drugs helped. B) I was waiting on my sister and niece to arrive for the weekend, I was slightly bored, and we both know that once the house is sparkling clean prior to such arrivals it’s best to quietly work on something that will not destroy the housework you have just spent the day doing. C) The drugs helped.

      Liked by 1 person

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