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When Less is More (Fair Use Edition)

It’s hard to think of two movies conveying American joie de vivre and weltschmerz as well as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Requiem for a Dream (respectively). So why not superimpose the music from one on images from the other (in Requiem for a Day Off)?

Like Reese’s Pieces, two great movies that taste great together. Shakes McFadden’s work here reminds me of the growing genre of minimally transformative mashups. Two years ago I mentioned here the Nietzsche Family Circus; now there’s Garfield Minus Garfield, a cartoon “Hamlet Without the Prince” which simply excises Garfield from every frame of Jim Davis’s cartoon strips. Davis himself loves the concept:

“I think it’s the body of work that makes me laugh — the more you read of these strips, the funnier it gets,” Mr. Davis said. As for Garfield himself, “this makes a compelling argument that maybe he doesn’t need to be there. Less is more.”

McFadden masterfully re-cuts Ferris, but doesn’t appear to add much to Clint Mansell’s music (which may well be inspired by Phillip Glass). I suppose Mansell would have a better chance at a copyright infringement suit than the moviemakers. But I still find it bizarre that courts might ask, in the fair use inquiry, whether the video comments on the music (parody), or merely uses it as a convenient platform to make a humorous point (satire). Then again, I always thought the guy in the Numa Numa video was parodying Romanian dance music.

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