P is for Paper Bag

You guys, Fiona Apple’s “Paper Bag” is one of my favorite music videos

I mean, first of all, it’s gorgeous. (Filmed at Los Angeles Union Station, the internet tells me.) And the tone is old-fashioned and lovely, what with the tween boys in fedoras and the ball gown and the choreography.

It also brings up all sorts of memories for me. It may be a particular sort of affliction—which means I associate certain series or episodes, films or directors, with the ghosts of loves past—that I bring on myself by choosing to date movie-snobbish sorts of boys. (/ “men”? I really still don’t feel old enough for that word. At any rate, I wonder if I’m left with an alternative. What else do people talk about?!)

But really, this is the perfect song for dwelling in a Don Draper-y sort of nostalgia:

“…Nostalgia literally means ‘the pain from an old wound.’ It’s a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone.”

(Seriously, pass the tissues, end of MAD MEN Season 1, amiright?!)

It's a time machine

So. This video. Paul Thomas Anderson had just finished making Magnolia (one of my very favorite of the movie films, though I haven’t seen it in years), and he and Fiona Apple were current entanglements at the time she was making the video for “Paper Bag.” Can you just imagine?

Babe, I know you just made one of the greatest movies of our generation, but do you think you have time to direct my little music video…?

It drives me crazy.

*To be clear, I have never been a fan of “babe” as a cutesy, coupley term of endearment. (Babe is a cute pig who went to the city. It is not your girlfriend.) And I have a feeling Fiona Apple isn’t a fan either.

Man, but do I love, but love, her. Homegirl knows how to turn heart-twinges-of-nostalgia into R-O-C-K.

You probably know this song even if you think you don’t. Remember the solo-cupcake-making scene in Bridesmaids? Yep. So good. I loved Kristen Wiig all the more, imagining it was her screenwriterly choice to place that song there. It very possibly wasn’t, but I like to imagine it. (I also like to imagine that someday maybe she, Fiona Apple, and I will all be girlfriends and make cupcakes and sigh about our past movie-snob entanglements together. [P.T.A. is with Maya Rudolph now, btw. Weird, another Bridesmaids tie-in.] And then we’d go solve crimes. Because why not? It’s my fantasy.)

So watch the video. Think about your old, lost loves. Or don’t, and instead just think about how delightful it is that these dancing little boys and that red dress are things that exist in this world.