written by David Steffen
This is one of a series of articles wherein I examine a music video as a short film, focusing on the story rather than the music, trying to identify the story arcs and characters motivations, and consider the larger implication of events.
The film this week is Foil by Weird Al Yankovic a cross-genre story with multiple twists and turns, which is a parody of Royals by Lorde (though the story has no relation).
The story begins very mundane, with our protagonist (Weird Al Yankovic) talking about how he never finishes all of his food when he eats at restaurants. With a segue where we see this on a video monitor it becomes clear that this is part of a pitch in an infomercial or cooking show titled “Now We’re Cooking”, overseen by a producer (Patton Oswalt). He describes the benefits of aluminum foil to seal in flavor and keep food fresh, and to up the marketing cheesiness he is joined by three 1950’s-style women backup singers with big hair and form-fitting outfits (apparently made from foil, natch). He takes a sip of tea…
…and the film takes an abrupt turn as he reveals, to the surprise of the producer, that he has figured out the secret to the shadow organizations running our country, and starts namedropping conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, black helicopters, fake moon landing, and that sort of thing, as the lighting gets dark and the videos all change to something darker, and the backup singers drop away as the producer looks on in dismay at the disaster this is becoming. All before saying he’s protected because he made this hat…
…from aluminum foil! And the story comes full circle as the lighting comes back up and the backup singers return again as he turns the advertisement around to aluminum foil hats to protect yourself from mind control and aliens! But soon two men in black arrive, and are directed by the producer onstage, where they inject our protagonist with something and drag him away (on camera, for some reason, you would think they would cut the feed first). The producer sighs in relief and pulls off his mask to reveal that he is apparently a lizard alien.
This story is so much fun, and the twists and turns especially the first time are great fun. The clear best moment in it all is the twist where he returns from the conspiracy theory segue and the backup singers return to promote aluminum foil as a way to fight the shadow government, but still with the cheesy overmarketed costumes and marketing. A great parody and comedy film.
Next up in the Music Drilldown series will be People Like Us by Kelly Clarkson.