Struggling To Understand The All-American Rejects In 2k16
In 2006, Myspace was reaching its peak, and Britney Spears was dating K-Fed. The top songs of the year included such timeless classics as “Temperature” by Sean Paul and “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. It was an extraordinarily tacky era in pop culture that most of us have compartmentalized into a bin of 2000s nostalgia, alongside peasant tops and Avril Lavigne’s entire wardrobe.
The thing about nostalgia is that you really shouldn’t go backwards. We’ve all tried rewatching old movies or TV shows, thinking that they can’t be that bad, only to have our rosy image of perfection crash headlong into reality. For some reason, I decided that watching Catwoman wasn’t punishment enough and sought out the most hip and happening premieres from 2006. As it turns out, today is the exact ten-year anniversary of the All-American Rejects’ cultural gem of a video for “Move Along.” The director of the video, Marc Webb, went on to direct 500 Days of Summer and the Andrew Garfield-era Spider Man films, so it couldn’t be terrible–and it wasn’t. Instead, it was deeply confusing, slightly arousing, and left me more frustrated than a subway car stuck between stations because of train traffic ahead.
With a notepad in hand and my bravest face on, I clicked play, and wrote down every thought I had while watching the video for the first time in a decade. Here are my ramblings.
0:02 – Tyson Ritter, watch out! They forgot to fill up the pool! This isn’t the ending to a J.D. Salinger short story! This is your life!
0:11 – Did he just kill someone named Kim? He’s a rock star, not a doctor. Who allowed him access to this woman?
0:14 – Ah, here we go. Looks like my normal Friday night. All that’s missing is the ice cream and tears.
0:20 – I know He’s Just Not That Into You won’t come out for another five years, but this girl seriously needs to watch it. Plus, with that hairstyle he’s rockin, she’s better off alone.
0:29 – I take back my original statement about a normal Friday night. Even I’m not desperate enough to angrily sing my feelings at my wine glass.
0:42 – Oh bless. She took off the engagement ring and walked away. This is good. You go, girl! Separatist Feminism!
0:46 – Wait! Her hand twitched. Kim is alive, everyone. False alarm. Maybe Kim is his ex fiancée?
0:50 – This is making me feel like a grandma riding a roller coaster for the first time.
1:00 – I was going to make fun of him for wearing extra tight t-shirts, but then I remembered what my wardrobe looked like ten years ago. It was a dark era.
1:08 – There is clearly some kind of important medical discussion happening behind him, but he doesn’t care. He’s got a song in his heart and angst on his lips.
1:13 – I think the little girl should try to look a little more distraught, given that her heart is apparently failing. Wait. Is she Kim?!
1:16 – Yo. He could play touch football with me anytime he wants.
1:19 – Oh wait, he’s clearly into Ritter’s sallow and sweaty face. Maybe I should sweat more to allure guys into tackling me into my bed…
1:26 – I’ve got a natural curiosity about why he’s still singing after driving into a pole.
1:36 – I think I’m losing control over what’s happening in this video. Is he crying over someone (Kim?), or over the fact that his team is losing 7-50?
1:43 – If this was set in California, I’ve uncovered the reason they went into a drought. Turn the damn hose off.
1:55 – Did Marc Webb sneak into my closet one night and steal all my “edgy” middle school graphic tees?
2:00 – I’m officially lost in the sauce, because I have no idea what’s going on.
2:09 – Are these his bandmates, or people he found on the street?
2:18 – Well hey, that’s a respectable jacket. I would wear that out to get groceries.
2:22 – Wait no! Fuck, he’s falling into the empty pool in the best outfit of the entire video. Someone grab him. Save the jacket!
2:28 – I feel like I’m watching someone take Molly for the first time.
2:37 – I identify on a spiritual level with the girl rocking an oversized newsboy cap and the Natalie Portman bob haircut.
2:49 – If you pause the video at this exact moment, he’s reenacting the face we all make five minutes after eating Chipotle.
3:00 – First of all, where did he just throw that sick jacket? Second, how did we go from Kim potentially dying to him doing a live performance in an empty pool? The 2000s were wild, girl.
3:20 – And just like that, we’re back to a lookbook of Tyson Ritter’s wardrobe. The man loves his tight graphic tees.
3:37 – Is this the beginning of an erectile dysfunction advertisement or did I miss something?
3:45 – Okay enough quick cuts of him and his bandmates and the mystery girl. I get it. They are brooding.
3:50 – Damnit, they have exactly thirteen seconds to explain who Kim is. This is worse than the expectations I had in the final episode of LOST.
3:54 – Of course the second I bring up the final episode of LOST, they show him wearing a religious tee shirt. How is a video a decade old haunting me?
4:03 – I was rooting for you, All-American Rejects. We were all rooting for you. No explanation of Kim? No explanation for the stylish jacket? This is why I have trust issues.
Image and gifs by Kathryn Chadason