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The Mysteries Surrounding Imagine Dragons, Matt Meese, and On Top of the World Music Video

The “On Top of the World” music video by Imagine Dragons is my most favorite music video of all time.  The video portrays a faked moon landing while referencing Stanley Kubrick and late 1960s pop culture.  It was written and directed by Matt Eastin and Corey Fox.  In addition to Imagine Dragons, it features the lead actor from Napoleon Dynamite, Jon Heder, and many from the cast of StudioC, BYUtv’s sketch comedy show.   Guest appearances also include Whit Hertferd, Marvin Payne, the monkey from Friends, members of New Electric Sound, and Robert Connolly from Fictionist.  Also appearing is Alex Sermon, wife of lead guitarist Wayne Sermon, and Aja Volkman, wife of lead singer Dan Reynolds and from the band Nico Vega.

Making Of

Some great coverage regarding the making of the video includes:

Studio C and Matt Meese

Interestingly, many of the StudioC cast members are in the video, but not all of them!  Here is a list of Studio C cast members and their roles along with a link to their twitter accounts:

Curiously missing are Matt Meese, Stacey Harkey, and Stephen Meek.  It’s possible that with a tight shooting schedule that the three of them were out-of-town or otherwise disposed, but is that likely?  Sure, neither Stacey nor Stephen are  the creator of Studio C, so they may not have been asked to be in the music video.  (However, why not??!!!???   What is wrong with you guys?  Will Stacey and Stephen ever speak out about this injustice?)  Now, Matt Meese on the other hand created Studio C.  Why wouldn’t he be in the Imagine Dragons music video with almost all the other Studio C cast?

Well, it turns out Matt may be in it after all.  Take a careful look at this image.

TV viwers watch the Moon Landing via a shop window.  Is Matt Meese there?

I propose that the guy in the brown fedora wearing sunglasses is none other than Matt Meese!

Notice the face in question is baby smooth with faint lips just like these photos of Matt Meese trying not to laugh:

Matt Meese almost laughing.

Matt Meese almost laughing. h/t @Studio_C-Fan

[UPDATED: IMDB now says, :(13 Nov 2013) Music video released for Imagine Dragons "On Top of the World" - Window Watcher"  I had previously been informed that IMDB said he was a Russian cosmonaut, which he clearly wasn't.  Sorry about the much-ado-about-nothing.]

So I apologize to Matt Meese for accusing him of not being in the video when he actually was.  It’s possible that Stacey and Stephen were in the video but their scene was cut.  I would really like an explanation.  It’s curious that more people involved in the making of the music video haven’t blogged every detail about their involvement.  The only one to do so that I’ve seen is the costume designer (see link above).  Did they have to sign non disclosure agreements  or something?

Hot Topic

Imagine Dragons currently have four official videos. This narrative could be considered controversial because, well, just ask anyone, “Do you think we put men on the moon?”

You are likely to get strong responses for Yes and No, but I’ve never heard anyone say, “Meh, I don’t know one way or the other.”  The frequency of responses for believed faked moon landing are only 6% according to a Gallup Poll while only 5% had “no opinion.”  It’s actually quite daring of Imagine Dragons to produce a video narrative that goes against the grain of mainstream thinking.

Telling a story doesn’t necessarily imply belief.  The music video is perfect because it allows for plausible deniability for either opinion.  If the band thinks we put men on the moon, it’s just fun to pretend there is a conspiracy.  If they actually think it was faked, its a clever way to put it out there.  Although, in the video, the voice-over for the astronaut says, ” That’s one small step for man, one giant deceit for mankind.”  I interpret that as the theme statement for the video, so I think it crosses the line towards belief in a faked moon landing.  Just my opinion.  Perhaps it’s just part of the story.  Just like the band doesn’t pick every costume or prop, they probably didn’t have much to do with this line of voice-over dialog performed by someone who vaguely sounds like Neil Armstrong.

I think the band is being rather coy about what they actually believe.  The only mention of a band comment is a press release that says, “We had a good time shooting this video. It was inspired by some of our favorite movies, bands, and directors. We’ve always been into conspiracy theories, so we thought we’d create one of our own.”  Pretty benign.  Not endorsing anything.  Interestingly, I can’t find any interviews with follow up questions.

I think directors Matt Eastin and Corey Fox are genius for fitting so many inside jokes, conspiracies, cultural references, Easter Eggs into such a small amount of screen time.  They should be getting awards and interviews about this, but I can’t find any interview of them.  In this day and age of self publishing, you would think one of them would expound on the narrative in their masterpiece music video.  But it’s like a vacuum…in space.  Nothing.  No Mention.  So I am inclined to believe that they can’t publicly speak about it because it’s controversial.

If you would like more background info on this topic, here are some good links:

 

Popularity

I wondered if the controversial nature of the video might be detracting from its popularity.  Here is a table comparing views, likes, and dislikes on YouTube.  (Sorry about the weird leading zeros in the table, but it helps if you want to sort the data.)

Song Name Peak Popularity/#weeks on chartDate PublishedDays on YouTube (as of 6-19-14)Total Views
Ave. Views/dayTotal LikesAve. Likes/dayTotal DislikesAve. Dislikes/day
Radioactive03/8712/10/2012556191,021,007343,5631,236,0082,22338,10268
Demons06/6005/07/2013408115,123,808282,1660,823,5852,01918,51845
It's Time15/4704/18/2012792079,276,804100,0970,546,3120,69010,11513
On Top of the World
79/1911/13/2013218020,273,753092,9990,117,5560,81403,45416

 

(I can’t believe they didn’t upload the On Top of the World music video on 11/12/13.  They missed it by one day!)

Overall, I was disappointed that my favorite video doesn’t have more views.  Is it due to the controversial nature of the video?

While the table is pretty neat, it’s difficult to interpret since many people use YouTube to play music instead of just supporting the artist by purchasing the song on iTunes or Amazon.  The total views could be a function of the popularity of the song.  Also, the likes or dislikes could be based on the audio of the song itself instead of the art/craft/narrative of the video.  That said, On Top of the World seems to be their poorest performing video although it’s about even with It’s Time.  No one should allege that the controversial On Top of the World music video is being actively shunned since the song itself isn’t nearly as popular as the other three according to Billboard.

 

In Conclusion

So, while it’s crazy to me that more people aren’t watching my favorite video of all time, I hope that this post will prompt you to go watch On Top of the World over and over again while finding as many of the Easter eggs as possible.  Here is an easy link to search Imagine Dragons on Google.

Questions I still have:

Why does the boy on the big wheel hold a blue toy gun in his left hand?

 

 

 

Posted in Asides, Optoblog.

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The Problem with Godzilla (2014)

I took my son to see Godzilla in 3D on opening night. It was great that we shared the experience, but the Godzilla movie left me emotionally unsatisfied for 3 reasons:

(Spoilers ahead)

 

  1. I thought the movie was about the father, but then they take a turn, and I guess we follow the son the rest of the movie even though the father had all the emotion in the first act.
  2. Everyone knows you don’t kill the mentor until the end of the second act.  If the father isn’t going to play the hero, then I guess he is the mentor.  They kill the father in the early second act.
  3. Fine, you kill the father early on, but you’re not going to let us see any catharsis with the father and son? Seriously, the closing image should have been the son at the father’s grave or something. Emotionally I want to see the son reconcile with his father.

Anyway, other than not being emotionally satisfying, Godzilla 2014 was…fine.

Posted in Asides, Reviews.

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Allergy Eyes Handout

I posted on my practice website the information that I wrote for a patient handout on allergy eyes. There’s some new stuff in there reflecting the current research on intestinal flora and allergy symptoms.
See also:

It appears that most of America’s health problems could be solved by ceasing the Standard American Diet and implementing the Paleo/Atkins/LowCarb diet. I’m betting research will someday show it helps with glaucoma, AMD, dry eyes, MGD, and many other eye conditions related to inflammation and blood vessel pathology.

Posted in Optoblog.

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I am Dropping Participation with BlueCross

This is the e-mail I just sent to BlueCross:

Dear BlueCross,

It is with regret that I inform you that I wish to terminate my contract with BlueCross and no longer be in your network. I understand that I have to continue seeing BlueCross patients for 90 more days.

If you are interested in why I am leaving you, my accounts receivable with BlueCross patients is unacceptably high.

Since I am an optometrist, I need fast, easy access to whether a member has a routine eye exam benefit (S0620, S0621) and whether a contact lens evaluation is covered (92310).

For non-Regence plans, I have to make lengthy phone calls and navigate through terrible phone trees before finally talking with a representative. This process takes longer than performing the actual exam.

While Regence has a nice website for explaining benefits and is good about paying what I expect, every other BlueCross association is unpredictable about paying what I’m expecting. I often have to send out statements or refunds. Usually statements. Hence the high accounts receivable.

I know this will hit you in the wallet as well since I am the lowest-fee eye doctor in Cache Valley. If in the future BlueCross comes out with a website that allows an optometrist to see vision benefit details for any BlueCross member from any state/association, then feel free to let me know, and I’ll reconsider. I would also reconsider if a new rule allowed one to participate only with Regence and exclude all other BlueCross associations.

Sincerely,
David J. Langford, O.D.

I find it unacceptable in this day and age that I can’t look up vision benefits for an entire insurance company in one place. This probably has something to do with BCBS being independent associations instead of one giant insurance company. It is still ridiculous and a big pain in my side that won’t be there in 90 days.

I feel sorry for my BCBS patients. If it’s any consolation, the Utah State University BlueCross beneficiaries can send in their receipt and get 70% reimbursed for a routine eye exam done out-of-network. Not bad.

Posted in Optoblog.

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How Movies Would End if Written by Utahns #002

EXT. CITY STREET – DAY

Our plain-clothes, police action hero, DOYLE, stands in the street, arms outstretched. A 1971 PONTIAC LEMANS screeches to a halt, barely missing him.

Doyle pulls a gun and muzzles the driver.

DOYLE

Get out of the car!

The DRIVER acts like he is about to unbuckle his seat belt, but really he draws a GUN from his appendix holster.

BAM BAM BAM! All three hit Doyle in the chest. Bending down to a knee, Doyle returns fire, but his shots go wide as the LeMans skids out in reverse.

Doyle collapses on the blacktop.

The bad guy Doyle was chasing gets caught later by a smarter, more polite policeman who is still alive.

Posted in Optoblog.

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How Movies Would End if Written by Utahns #001

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY – DAY

KURT RUSSELL and KATHLEEN QUINLAN look blankly at the engine of their Jeep Grand Cherokee.

A TRACKER TRAILER pulls over, kicking up dust in their faces. A seeming normal-looking JOE hops out.

JOE

Looks like yer broken down. Why don’t the missus ride with me in ta town. You, feller, stay here till the tow truck arrives.

KATHLEEN

(to Kurt)

I don’t know...

KURT

That sounds perfect!

(to Kathleen)

I’ll see you later, honey.

They smooch. Joe is already opening the door to the passenger side of the cab. She walks over but questioningly looks back at Kurt.

KURT

Stay safe! I’ll be waiting. Right here.

Joe helps her up. Closes the door and walks around to his side.

JOE

Don’t worry. I’ll take care of her.

Kurt waves. The truck pulls out. Two hundred yards later, the truck crosses into the oncoming lane, CRASHES over a speed limit sign, and comes to a rest after glancing a concrete barrier.

EXT. CRASH SITE – CONTINUOUS

Kathleen exits the cab. With an unsteady gate she walks in the middle of the highway. Pupils dilated, she checks both directions frequently. She has BLOOD spatters on her face. She rubs an ear with one hand and holds a REVOLVER with the other. Kurt runs up.

KURT

What the heck happened?

Kathleen stows the gun back in her purse.

KATHLEEN

(shouting)

What?

Kurt leans in to her ear.

KURT

What happened?

Kathleen slows her jitters.

KATHLEEN

Well, he said he was going to rape, torture, and kill me. I said to stop the truck, but then he tried to restrain me, brandishing a knife. So I shot him.

Kurt looks at her and then into the cab. Joe is hunched over. Blood is spattered around the windows.

KURT

Well, we can still drive this rig into town. Do you want to dump the body out or unhitch the trailer?

KATHLEEN

Body.

Posted in Optoblog.

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Funny Utah Medicaid Observation

Utah Medicaid is changing their copays for 2014:

For Non-Traditional (Blue Card), they used to only cover the first $30, then you would pay the balance. Now, at my office your routine eye exam is covered without any copay since I am an optometrist. (At an ophthalmologist office, there is a $3 copay.)

For Primary Care Network, a.k.a PCN (Yellow Card), you used to have a $5 copay. For 2014, there is no copay on the routine eye exam at my office since I am an optometrist. (At an ophthalmologist office, there is a $3 copay.)

For Traditional (Purple Card), there is still no copay for 2014 on a routine eye exam.

I think it’s funny how the patient pays less to see an optometrist vs an ophthalmologist. On the face it doesn’t feel fair. Theoretically, for the same procedure code, why should the patient pay any different?

Practically, OMDs charge more than ODs, so maybe this is a way for Utah Medicaid to incentivize “clients” to see an optometrist instead of an ophthalmologist. OMDs could be miffed, but they probably aren’t because $3 isn’t that big of a penalty; therefore, it should cause very few patients to actually alter provider choice.

Still, it’s curious. I wonder at what OD/OMD copay differential the OMDs would become vocal.

Posted in Optoblog.

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Part Time Optometrist Position in Utah

Are you looking for a part time, fill-in-type optometrist job in Northern Utah? VisionHealth EyeCare is hiring a Saturday-only optometrist. See this webpage for a job description and how to apply.

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Brian Regan Performing at Arena February 2014 in Salt Lake City

After my prior post, you might be reading this website to keep up with all things Brian Regan. You will be excited to find out that you can buy tickets to his show in Salt Lake City on Feb. 28, 2014 at Energy Solutions Arena, where the Utah Jazz play.

An e-mail announcing a pre-sale for Regan’s show advertised that this is the first arena venue for a [headlining] comic. Wow, that’s quite an achievement! Here is how I imagine the conversation went between Regan and his manager:

INT. OFFICE – DAY

BRIAN REGAN, 50s and overweight because he hasn’t woken up to the virtues of the Paleo lifestyle, lays on a couch tossing a football up in the air to himself. His slick MANAGER sits behind a glass desk checking messages on his phone.

MANAGER

Brian, baby! Salt Lake City loves ya’. Should we do twelve shows this year instead of ten?

Brian sits up, missing the catch.

BRIAN

Oh, fetch. There has got to be a way we can take money from the Utahns without having to spend TWO FRIGGIN’ WEEKS there.

MANAGER

Dude, I know.

(beat)

I got it! We’ll do the first arena venue for any comic ever! We’ll get ‘em all in ONE NIGHT!

BRIAN

I don’t know. A lot of my comedy involves facial expressions. How are people gonna’ see that from the nose bleed seats at the Delta Center?

Brian pops a Lipitor pill in his mouth because he still hasn’t woken up to the Paleo lifestyle, just like all the other sheeple. Otherwise he would know that big pharma is making almost everything worse whereas a low-carb diet could solve all his problems. In fact, if Brian and his ex-wife had just been on the Paleo diet, its well-being benefits could have saved their marriage.

MANAGER

They call it Energy Solutions Arena now. Some nuclear waste people bought the naming rights a couple years ago. No problem. We’ll just have a camera on you and feed it to the Jumbotron.

BRIAN

Actually, they use a YESCO HD Video Board, not Sony. But if people wanted to see me on a screen, wouldn’t they just watch my DVD’s at home instead of fighting traffic?

MANAGER

Salt Lake has light rail, and Brian, babe, would you rather spend one night in Salt Lake City or two weeks?

Brian picks up a donut from the well-appointed donut box on the coffee table.

BRIAN

Call the Jazz and tell ‘em I’m coming.

Brian takes a bite. The Lipitor causes him to swallow funny, so he chokes and coughs up a bolus across the room and onto the glass desk.

MANAGER

Eww.

NOTES:
I made a donut and cholesterol theme because I recently listened to Brian Regan being interviewed on the Paul Mecurio podcast, and they talked about it.
Brian Regan’s record setting set of shows in SLC.
Info about the YESCO video display at ESA.
Mark’s Daily Apple regarding diet and mood.
More nutrition and mood info.
Statin drugs are dumb and dangerous.
More cholesterol.

Posted in Optoblog.


Dua’s Layer of the Cornea

Holy Cow! A new layer of the the cornea has been identified.

I think it should humble us that we think we know so much about something, yet not enough. It’s amazing what we don’t know.

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