Early Thursday morning (October 14) — like, 12:01 a.m. early — [artist id=”1231843″]My Chemical Romance[/artist]’s much-anticipated video for “Na Na Na” premiered on MTV.com. And we’ve basically spent every hour since re-watching it, combing through each frame and marveling at its breakneck pacing, sneering swagger and, well, hyperkinetic, hypercolor stylings.
Yes, “Na Na Na” is certainly a remarkable thing, an eye-catching, palpitation-inducing thrill ride (sort of like the album it’s promoting) that’s also incredibly clever, slightly goofy, and downright sly. See, much like other great videos of recent memory — like, say, Lady Gaga’s “Telephone” — it’s also chock-full of blink-and-you’ll-miss-them nods to pop culture; too-clever odes to film, TV, toys and all manner of electronic ephemera from the past 50 years.
So, much like we did with “Telephone,” we’ve put “Na Na Na” through the wringer, and compiled a pop-culture cheat sheet that’s alphabetized and cross-referenced for your convenience. Believe us, this took way longer than you could imagine … but strangely, it was worth it. (Oh, and despite our best efforts, we’re sure there’s something we missed. Which is why we need your help: Let us know what you spot in the comments below.)
“The A-Team”: Totally awesome ’80s series about ex-Special Forces operatives working as soldiers of fortune on the run from the Army after being framed “for a crime they did not commit.” In particular, MCR’s Frank Iero reminds us of “A-Team” leader Hannibal Smith, mostly because of jocular demeanor. And the fact that he smokes.
“Blade Runner”: Mindbending, 1982 sci-fi flick from Ridley Scott. One of its most memorable quotes — “Wake Up, Time to Die!” — shows up in “Na Na Na” as a sign outside the Killjoys’ dilapidated diner headquarters that reads “Wake Up … Time to Dine.”
“Easy Rider”: Noted counterculture road pic from 1969. In the film, Peter Fonda’s protagonist (nicknamed “Captain America”) famously wears a leather jacket adorned with the American flag. In “Na Na Na,” My Chem’s Ray Toro can be seen wearing a near-identical jacket.
“The Filth”: Postmodern comic series from Grant Morrison (who makes a couple of appearances on this list). The series is best known for being sort of confusing and for its iconic, minimalist covers, designed by artist Carlos Segura. In “Na Na Na,” the Better Living Industries logo seems to be directly influenced by Segura’s work.
Fun Ghoul: Iero’s Killjoy alter ego. In Italian slang, vaffanculo means something along the lines of “go do it in the a–,” or, in the parlance of our times, “f— off.” Often, it is mangled into “Va Fangool” or just “Fangool,” though it means the same thing.
The Mad Gear and Missile Kid: Mysterious character(s) who are somehow tied into the overarching Danger Days story line. A three-song EP credited to him (them?) is set to be released with the deluxe “California 2019″ edition of the album. The name(s) can be seen printed on a pair of fliers outside Killjoys HQ.
“Mad Max”: Dystopian action flick from Australia, starring a then-relatively unknown Mel Gibson. Full of dudes in leather, high-speed auto chases through the desert, and a load of violence, its influence is seen in practically every frame of “Na Na Na.”
Mobil: American oil company (now known as ExxonMobil) whose former logo — an iconic red Pegasus — became a pop-culture touchstone, dotting the horizons of America’s highways and appearing on the canvases of Andy Warhol. In “Na Na Na,” the Killjoys can be seen fueling up at an abandoned “Dead Pegasus,” as Gerard Way wears a jacket emblazoned with those words.
Morrison, Grant: Scottish comic book writer and playwright. His series “The Invisibles” has been cited by Way as a direct influence on the concept behind the Killjoys. He shows up in “Na Na Na” as the villainous Korse.
NES Zapper: Electronic light gun bundled with the original Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. The Killjoys’ custom laser blasters are, at the very least, loving odes to the Zapper, though unlike the wildly inaccurate accoutrement, they don’t need to be held one inch away from the TV screen to work.
Power Glove: Wholly unnecessary NES controller/ fashion accessory given a prominent role in the Nintendo-produced 1989 film “The Wizard.” Mikey Way’s vamp-choking glove is a Power Glove, albeit one that seems to have more crap glued onto it.
Sergio Leone: Legendary Italian director famed for his so-called “Spaghetti Westerns,” and his neck-snapping juxtaposition of lengthy, long shots and extreme close-ups. That technique is used to maximum effect in “Na Na Na,” and the climactic gunfight between the Killjoys and Korse’s agents is more than likely a loving nod to his body of work.
Shogun Warriors: Insanely amazing robot toys manufactured by Mattel (by way of Japanese company Bandai), best known for their highly stylized design, and the fact that they were 23 1/2 inches tall. Seriously, if you were a kid and you had one of these, you were a total badass. In “Na Na Na,” the curly-haired kid who runs with the Killjoys can be seen clutching one of the toys (or something very similar) as he’s being taken prisoner by the evil vampires. Also, a Shogun Warrior figure can be seen posed next to a guitar in a studio photo on My Chem’s official site.
“Sinatoro”: Mysterious film penned by Morrison (and directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer), set to be released in 2010. Take one look at the film’s promo poster, and you can see that MCR — and “Na Na Na” director Roboshobo — were taking notes.
“Smokey and the Bandit”: Freewheeling, life-altering Burt Reynolds film about a bootlegger and a bumbling sheriff that is basically one gigantic chase scene (a chase scene that continued on in two sequels and a series of TV movies). Reynolds’ Bo “Bandit” Darville hauls ass across the expanses of the American South in an iconic black Trans-Am, the same kind of car (different color) the Killjoys use to tool across the bombed-out wastelands of California.
“Star Wars”: Little-known sci-fi film from the 1970s. There are several nods to the film in “Na Na Na,” but our favorite are the “electrobinoculars” used by the vamps, because they’re dead ringers for the ones uses on Luke Skywalker Tatooine.
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”: Mega-successful second film in the “Terminator” franchise, also known as “the last good one.” In one scene, a young John Connor hacks into an ATM to grab some cash … using a technique very similar to the one the Killjoys employ to boost batteries and a laser blaster from a Blind Industries vending machine.
“The Warriors”: Cult classic 1979 film that follows a gang of outlaws as they attempt to battle their way from the Bronx back to their home turf in Coney Island. There are about a million iconic moments in the movie, but only one of them — the mysterious, omnipresent radio DJ who serves as the narrator — shows up in “Na Na Na,” as, of course, Dr. Death Defying.
You’ve seen My Chem’s “Na Na Na” video — what did we miss? Tell us in the comments!