Music Video Relapse: "Pursuit Of Happiness" by Kid Cudi (Megaforce Version)

Posted by Adam Fairholm on February 24, 2014 in Music Video Relapse

Staff Post


Every once in a while, I'm in the mood for some good old fashioned, straight up camera tricks. Films use these kinds of things for comedic effect all the time - if you've seen the 1984 film Top Secret!, you know what I'm talking about:

The humor comes from the fact that we are so used to filling in the rest of a scene from what we are shown on camera, that it's interesting when those assumptions are proven wrong. The ol' switcheroo!

Today we're taking a look at a music video that uses this sort of effect in a really interesting way - 2010's "Pursuit Of Happiness" (The Megaforce Version), directed by Megaforce.

The central theme of this video is Kid Cudi trying to get up off a couch, and each time he tries to, he just ends up back where he started. For instance, Cudi gets up to open the door to leave - we see his hand on the door handle, but then it's revealed that he's actually sitting on the couch, and the door handle is physically above him and the couch. You know what - you should just watch it because there's no good way to explain what is happening in this video.

The same sort of general effect could have been achieved by having Cudi just appear back on the couch after each attempt with a simple edit, but Megaforce uses a clever camera trick each time, forcing us to fill in the rest of the information around the frame in our minds and then revealing that our assumptions are wrong. It's an extremely effective way to communicate the disorientation that Cudi feels as he tries repeatedly to get up and leave his couch.

The other part of this music video is a sort of dream landscape that appears in his small apartment, allowing him to step into another world that features some strangely dressed women - a mental escape in his apartment even when he can't get out the door.

Cudi's image during this part of his career was largely that of an introspective loner with some issues, and this video does a great job of illustrating that without making it too much about Cudi. On the surface, this video seems to be better thematically suited to Kid Cudi songs like "Day And Night," but seeing Cudi struggle to get off of his couch while he talks about the "pursuit of happiness" is an interesting contrast.

Also, is Ratatat the first artist to appear in an alternate world inside of a couch cushion?

Adam Fairholm is the co-founder and lead developer of IMVDb. You can find him on twitter at @adamfairholm.

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