Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years

Spike Jonze planned his upcoming release of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE very well. He seems to be all around us. For starters, the latest issue of Wholphin includes three short Maurice Sendak-based pieces he directed. They’re very DIY (as in not very good) but they’re cute and kooky and serve a purpose, namely, to get us all amped up for the real, long-awaited, much-anticipated thing itself, in theaters Friday.

I don’t know what Wholphin’s distribution is, but reaching a much wider audience, I’m sure, is Jonze’s tongue in cheek mid-career retrospective at MoMA, “Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years.” Jonze has made only two other films to date, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999) and ADAPTATION (2002). The MoMA exhibit shows his beginnings as a commercial and music video director (Beastie Boys, Björk, The Chemical Brothers, Fat Boy Slim, Pavement) as well as his moments of awesome weirdness à la the Torrance Community Dance Group (who can forget their MTV Video Music Awards performance?). “Spike’s a meshuggener,” Maurice Sendak observes, “a really crazy kid who is willing to be independent and get his way … kind of goofy, adventurous, whacked-out, but dramatically gifted.”

“Spike Jonze: The First 80 Years” at MoMA through Oct. 18