A Minute-by-Minute Recap of Kanye West’s “Runaway”

00:06: “Runaway” opens with an obviously disheveled Kanye running to or from something—a perfect analogy for my thoughts about this “full-length film”.

While my feelings about Kanye are well-documented, I wasn’t in love with the idea of spending a half hour watching what I knew would be a buffet of barely coherent and creative justforthesakeofbeingbarelycoherentandcreative-ness, and I stayed away from the Saturday premiere. Aside from a couple private conversations, I also didn’t read anything about it either. (and I actually still haven’t)

But, between me not wanting to not be able to add anything to the inevitable myriad “Runaway” conversations (and references) that’ll occur in the next few weeks and an unexpectedly strong sense of pop culture arbiter obligation, I finally relented and watched all 34 minutes and 33 seconds of it Tuesday afternoon. Basically, I was too curious and too conceited to stay away any longer.

As far as Kanye’s actual running, the best way to describe it would be that his stride reminds me of an opening scene in a random Jim Carrey-ish movie where a down-on-his-luck Jim Carrey-ish character is late for a job interview and is trying to catch a bus that the audience (and the snickering bus passengers) knows he has no chance in hell of actually catching; a scene establishing the Carrey-ish character’s down-on-his-luckedness. These scenes usually end with the Jim Carrey-ish character either falling in a puddle or getting tripped by a sassy old lady’s cane. (The old lady also usually says something like “Watch it, buddy“)

Neither happened in “Runaway”.

00:24: As what looks to be a comet falls from the sky, Nicki Minaj begins her 23 second long narration, starting in a standard Old English accent (think of how “The Canterbury Tales” are supposed to be read aloud), but breaking into standard Old Hoodrat once she starts rhyming. This obvious, Costner-esque break (and the fact that she’s even doing this narration) endears her to me even more. As much as it pains me to say it, I’m officially a member of Team Nicki. Please shoot me.

00:47: We finally hear some Kanye music, as “Runaway”—the opening track on his upcoming “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy“—plays in the background while Ye is speeding through a psychedelic forest while driving a car that definitely was a part of my Hot Wheels collection in 1986. I’m already extremely annoyed by everything that’s going on.

And, between the production costs of this “full-length film” and the 1001 guest appearances he’s had on the 501 songs he’s released in the past two months, I’m also extremely curious about how much money he’s spent creating and promoting this album. Maybe his beautiful, dark, and twisted fantasy is to file for bankruptcy.

03:00: Kanye gets out of his car to investigate a mysterious creature lying unconscious in the middle of the road. The creature is surrounded by tree limbs, fire, and homosexual deer. Basically, it’s just like Easter at Bishop Long’s mansion! (Too soon?)

Anyway, it’s obvious the creature in the middle of the road was the streaking comet from earlier. It’s also obvious at this point that Kanye truly does watch a lot of porn.

05:10: It’s at this moment that I figure out the “creature” is a Phoenix—a mythical sacred firebird that can be found in the mythologies of the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Chinese, and (according to Sanchuniathon) Phoenicians. (And people said the Greek Mythology elective I took my sophomore year was a waste of time. Ha!)

I’m also finally able to accurately identify the actress cast as the Phoenix—former Victoria’s Secret model Selita Ebanks. She has nice boobs, I guess.

Ebanks is also one of Nick Cannon’s ex-girlfriends (they were engaged), a fact that brings me to another point. There are certain men—Derek Jeter, Lil Wayne, Justin Timberlake, and John Mayer, to name a few—usually cited when people talk about famous male celebs who’ve been romantically linked with numerous different desirable female celebrities. Yet, despite the fact that he’s been linked to Selita Ebanks, Zoe Saldana, Christina Milian, and Mariah Carey, no one ever seems to put Nick Cannon in that category. This lack of recognition for Nick the Quick bothers me much more than it probably should.

06:04: In a sequence even weirder than the sentence I’m going to use to describe it, “Runaway” goes from “eh, whatever” to “this is kind of awkward” to “this is kind of, for lack of a better term, pornographic” in less than 30 seconds as Ebanks’ Phoenix (from this point on, I’ll just refer to her as “Phoebanks”) sits on a bed and thrusts her bare chest skyward, convulsing orgasmically as Kanye hunches over a beat machine and manically cuts up “Power”. At one point during this orgy of extremely contrived autoerotic imagery, Ebanks stares into the camera so intensely that I actually blush and start loosening my tie. (I was wearing no tie, by the way)

I also finally get it.

Kanye is completely obsessed with the idea that he and his music can make any woman orgasm. I think he thinks he surpasses the Washington Monument as the world’s preeminent phallic symbol, but the angst in his music (and in his “art”) stems from his frustration that every woman in the world doesn’t see him that way. While Lil Wayne wants to f*ck every girl in the world, Kanye really, really, really just wants them all to believe he’d give them the best orgasm they’ve ever had if they allowed him to.

7:30: While “All Of The Lights” plays in the background (a song which was originally titled “Ghetto University” on each of the 123 Kanye mixtapes I’ve downloaded in the past five weeks), the scene then segues into a fireworks display and parade, with the head of Michael Jackson and a golden statute of a winged Kanye don in a white cloth robe serving as some sort of pagan God/parade balloon float mash-up. Although I don’t believe Kanye’s in the Illuminati, I’m pretty certain their resume, application, and interview process looks something like this.

10:28: My 2nd favorite G.O.O.D. Friday track—“Devil In A New Dress”—begins as Kanye, Phoebanks, and a bunch of niggas from Detroit sit at a giant all-white table to eat. Also, in a detail sure to further convince Michelle Malkin of the evils of hip-hop culture, they’re being waited on by the country’s whitest catering crew.

13:52: During easily the stupidest sequence in this entire “full-length film”, Kanye performs the title track while accompanied by ballet. At this point, even Nathan Lane is probably sitting at home watching it and thinking to himself “Damn, that was some gay-ass shit.”

Between this, the VMA’s, and SNL, there’s a chance I’m just not smart enough to get his “Runaway” performances. There’s also a chance that Waka Flocka Flames and Willow Smith will collaborate for a track titled “My Little Bitches”. My point? F*ck chances, and f*ck each of these stupid-ass “Runaway” performances. (adding insult to injury, I actually like the song)

23:43: Phoebanks freaks out as the main course is finally served, AND IT’S A BIRD!!!!!!!! AND, SHE’S A BIRD!!!!! THIS MEANS SHE ISN’T FIT FOR THIS WORLD!!!!!

26:00: Kanye and Phoebanks have their first actual conversation as she explains why she can’t stay on Earth. If the metaphor for Kanye’s feelings about his place in the universe was any more obvious, it would be giving me a lapdance and writing this entry.

Directly after this conversation, Kanye and Phoebanks have the type of sex the Jetsons probably had when they conceived Elroy.

28:00: The “full-length feature” ends as Phoebanks leaves the planet to the chorus of my third favorite G.O.O.D. Friday song—“Lost In The World”—while Kanye keeps on running. I hope he catches that bus.

Although I have my aforementioned theories, I really have no idea what the hell Kanye is trying to do. Despite his seemingly forced eccentricity, he still compels us because he’s completely impervious to prediction; we pay attention because we have no f*cking clue what he’s going to do next. None.

But, I do know one thing: I can’t wait to buy (yes. buy!) this album, so whatever it is he’s trying to do, it’s working.

—The Champ

  • http://theothersideofphlyy.blogspot.com PhlyyGirl

    Thanks Champie darling.
    I no longer need to watch this.
    Doesn’t mean I won’t eventually. I just no longer have this burning need.

    • http://theothersideofphlyy.blogspot.com phlyyGirl

      Also in regards to the Phoenix as a metaphor for Kanye (loosely) I guess that would be the whole crashing and burning (a la the Taylor Swift incident) and then rising again (calling yourself a d*uchebag at the awards this year and having the crowd demand an encore)? No maybe?
      And if you took greek mythology, I KNOW there’s some ceremony you could find comparable at 7:30. You didn’t even TRY!!!

      • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

        Hmm… Your Phoenix synopsis makes sense. But did it have to take him 31 mins to bring ti acrss?? SHEESH!

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “And if you took greek mythology, I KNOW there’s some ceremony you could find comparable at 7:30. You didn’t even TRY!!!”

        yeah, you’re right. i guess the 1500 word recap wasn’t enough. i should have tried harder

      • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

        im inclined to agree with you.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        you know, Kanye has a lot of crash and burn and then we rise moments in his life. lol. he’s just a crash and burn and then rise kind of guy.

        • http://jouromeo.blogspot.com/ Big Paws on a Puppy-King Sirevi

          I feel that same crash and burn mentality of Kanye’s is something that I personally have installed. It is hard to see and even harder to get over or avoid.
          Almost turns you into a social leper especially if people cannot see why you clearly should matter to them.

          It is ultimately an ego issue but I doubt that insecurity is what we should be calling it. Denial being the first stage and my admitted enrollment to not seeing a problem with anything Kanye has done, despite not being a big fan though I do “participate” in listening to the things he conjures up, I suppose that I lose some decent credibility on the topic.
          I still have my opinion. :-)

      • 90sgagirl

        Kanye was in a head on collision/accident where he almost died, before his album,”The College Dropout” came out. He recorded “THROUGH THE WIRE/feat. Chaka Khan) with his jaw wired shut! (ouch)…funny how this could be a metaphor for his future, because Kanye usually gets in “trouble” with his mouth/outbursts

  • http://twitter.com/naimasmanifesto TheTalentedMs.Fiasco

    I love Kanye West, but that short film did not need Selita Ebanks squealing! lol I felt awkward for her.

    Anyway, Kanye Stans Unite. :D

    • http://twitter.com/naimasmanifesto TheTalentedMs.Fiasco

      So, isn’t the phoenix his creative side or his muse, which is apart of him. In power he says something like “reality is catching up with me, taking my inner child, i’m fighting for out, custody”

      To me the phoneix sorta represented his innocent and pure creative side, which is often misunderstood. If you think of it that way, it all sorta makes sense, even if it is masturbatory.

      • MzPW

        Hmmm….good explanation. I feel you on that…

        And just to add to the almost but not quite non-sensicalness of the film, maybe the “Runaway” scene, featuring the ballerinas and such, was Kanye’s interpretation of how his stans and the critics reacted when he fell from his Kanyeness, y’know? He’s talking about himself being a douchebag, a jerkoff, and all these other negative things but then talking to his “girl” (us stans) about how we’ve put up with his bullish. The critics are telling us to run, and Ye is telling us to leave him, yet knowing that we probably won’t (if he puts out a few great singles). Since he loves the limelight, he probably wouldn’t know how to survive without his fame, thus showing his need for the stans and revealing that he understands his own jerkiness (@ times).

        I dunno…I just needed to see my own thoughts in writing to validate whether or not I possibly have a clue about what the hell Ye is trying to say in his film. I also wanted to use the word “thus” in a response.

        • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

          makes sense. yall got yall thinkin caps on this morning. good work.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      I love Kanye West, but that short film did not need Selita Ebanks squealing! lol I felt awkward for her.

      me too. it felt like watching a rape scene on SVU

    • WIP

      I feel like she tried, and she did what she could, she totally missed the bird thing. She was doing more chicken like movements (and the chicken attire just exacerbated this) as opposed to moving like more regal birds like an eagles. They’re a little more graceful, at least from what I’ve seen on the Discovery channel. The jerking motions just seemed all wrong, but she committed to it.

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Those people at the table did seem a bit bizarre.

    Like they were from DETROIT!

    I’m glad you didn’t go by every minute. I could barely take this the first time. I love Yeezy to death but even I know he gets carried away with himself.

    • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

      “Those people at the table did seem a bit bizarre.. Like they were from DETROIT!”

      LMAO!!! Whyyyy did that make me cackle so hard???

    • http://twitter.com/sonofthehorizon stlunatic

      It was the second watch when I noticed the tats and the gold teeth. I was like Oh. Ok. Hrm.

    • MzPW

      hey hey HEY now! be nice to the D! Only them East side fellas rock the gold teeth still…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      I’m glad you didn’t go by every minute. I could barely take this the first time

      lol, that was the plan. but, as you can see, as the recap went on, there was more and more space between the listed times. i basically reminded myself ‘ummm, self. this isn’t going to be in rolliing stone. you can chill a little bit”

      • WIP

        ya, about half way through I started fast-forwarding

    • http://www.shesoflyy.com Muze

      hey NOW we will not have all this Detroiter bashing going on.

      …we’re only a little weird. lmbo.

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Oh. About Selita. I think she looked beautiful, and up until a few weeks ago I thought she was seriously overrated. Mostly because she has a boxy figure and I thought it odd she was so boxy, being an underwear model and all. But, I think her acting was better than Kanye’s, her body is kinda sick, and I loved her makeup.

    • Phidelity15

      whoever did her costume/makeup ROCKS!! She looked absolutely gorgeous. Her forehead didn’t even distract me at all.

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        lolol TRUE.

      • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

        This is the best underhanded compliment i’ve heard in a while. I like you. LOL

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          This is the best underhanded compliment i’ve heard in a while. I like you. LOL

          yeah. the lizzard thinks she’s slick and sh*t

      • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

        Hey hey hey, I have a big forehead. She’s bringing it back.

        • Phidelity15

          @SFG I’m not saying big foreheads aren’t sexy…I mean SOMEBODY thought the predator, I mean Tyra Banks, looks good too, but I’ve seen Selita in person and so far only two things have distracted me from her forehead…that huge ass rock Nick Canon had gave to her and this bird outfit in Runaway

          • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

            LOL…and you forgot about Sade, but she has a mega forehead. She’s the leader of our group. lol

            • Phidelity15

              Sade gets a pass, as do you, because ya’ll both are good for the people. Educating and soothing the masses one song and s.ex tip at a time

              • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

                Lmmmaaaooo DEAD!

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          you know what they say about women with big foreheads, right?

          • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

            Um what? We’re smart? lmao

          • Yeah…So

            They got big foreheads?

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

            big headbands

            • sanen85

              I should have seen this coming, but it still cracked me up for about a solid minute and 12 seconds.

              • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

                lol he aint rite

        • Mo-VSS

          I am a part of the big forehead club as well. Rihanna, Tyra, Sade…lol, they all rock it well.

          Sh*t, so do I. We can’t all be flawless, you know ;)

  • http://www.threewaystotakeit.com Slim Jackson

    The biggest thing I got out of watching this was the realization I need to go download all these G.O.O.D. Music tracks that are floating around.

    Kanye knows he really can’t lose right now, so he can pretty much do what he wants. I’m glad he’s stepped his creative game way up in the last year while in hiding, but I think he pushed the envelope right off the table with this one.lol. No one man should make all that abstraction.

    Of course, that’s just me though.

    • shannon

      “No one man should have all that abstration.”

      LMAO………nice………

    • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

      do you really think it was abstract??? there was nothing really abstract to me (except maybe the ballerinas and the bird being served to a bird). most of the scenes seemed very deliberate and straight forward. simple yet artsy.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        see, i’m of the school that it was so simple that it was too abstract for my own comprehension. i’m not deep enough to full comprehend that the simplicity was really complex.

        even though it was mostly just not deep. well to us non-deep people anyway.

        • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

          well, as far as art is concerned, i take abstract to mean that there is some elusiveness where there is a need for imagination to connect what is being visually depicted to what its supposed to represent.

          i just didnt get that from this video. Ye may very well have had the intention of abstractness and meant for this to be “deep”, but if that was his aim, he failed. since the imagery he used was very telling.

          • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

            this was basically a video of metaphors (from my pov). and metaphors =/ abstraction

      • WIP

        co-sign, everything seemed deliberate, but then again they weren’t professional actors so I guess that’s to be expected.

    • Yeah…So

      “he pushed the envelope right off the table”

      Lmao… cosign.

  • simplysope

    I really really wanted to hate this video. I was almost certain it would be 35 minutes of the visual equivalent of Kanye jacking off to himself…. and it kinda was, but it was actually really endearing. He just wants us to like him, and even though he’s all twisty and misunderstood (Red Klansmen Masks?) I’m not mad at it. I like you Kanye West. I WAS mad at the fact that I spent a good 3 minutes trying to figure out of old girl was wearing something over her boobs, or if she was just naked.

    “Although I don’t believe Kanye’s in the illuminati, I’m pretty certain their resume, application, and interview process looks something like this.”

    I am fairly certain for the real Illuminati application, old girl would have been sacrificed or something, or at least they would have drank some of her blood.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I really really wanted to hate this video. I was almost certain it would be 35 minutes of the visual equivalent of Kanye jacking off to himself…. and it kinda was, but it was actually really endearing”

      there’s a joke in here somewhere

  • http://PresidentialTelevisionandFilm.ning.com Monk

    “Runaway” was the most expensive student film of all time…OF ALL TIME! It had (what I thought cinematically) some cool moments, but overall it reminded me of something I would see as a senior thesis for a film student with no limit to his/her budget.

    I will say I enjoyed the soundtrack and looking forward to the official disc dropping.

    • WIP

      I see I wasn’t the only one who got that feeling from it. Like it was somebody’s first attempt at making a dramatic film.

    • Yeah…So

      Runaway” was the most expensive student film of all time…OF ALL TIME! It had (what I thought cinematically) some cool moments, but overall it reminded me of something I would see as a senior thesis for a film student with no limit to his/her budget.

      You know why? (looks around for tomato throwers) Cuz Hype wrote it… same ol’ shallow storyline as Belly.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        whoa now. Belly was a deep, provocative, and introspective movie. it changed my life.

        plus the soundtrack has a song where DMX says, “here comes the boom” over and over again. that counts for something.

        • Yeah…So

          PJ… you don’t want it with me on this.

          “deep”- gasp… “provocative”- o_O… “INTROSPECTIVE”- ninja you’s a d@mn lie!

          All Hype does is make long @ss music videos with under developed storylines and characters as genuine as a Michael Jackson’s nose.

        • Yeah…So

          Oh wait… that was sarcasm right?

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            um. yes. your sarcasm meter is broken and needs to be fixed posthaste. lol. its like you took that comment personal.

            • Yeah…So

              I did :(… I wrote alladat, posted it and was like “YS… you stupid”.

              • M. Dot

                Don’t worry YS. Because I’ve actually had those convos with ppl that LOVED Belly, I too took it kinda personal (insert Windows Phone 7 commercial here… “Really?!”)

  • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

    My post from 2 days ago was my review of this “film.” Kanye basically spent 35 minutes LITERALLY d*ck-slanging his ego. Apparently, the Phoenix is supposed to be Kanye. What the hell ever. It was PAINFUL to watch. I want them 35 minutes back. Actually, I watched 31. Seems the last 4 were credits. At that point I was dunzo.

    Things I’d rather do with 31 minutes rather than watch “Runaway” again include:

    * Count the grains of rice left in my bowl
    * Paint my nails, smear them on purpose, and repaint them. Just because.
    * Listen to Taylor Swift’s CD
    * Count how many licks it takes to get to the center of the tootsie roll pop

    Anywho, here’s my review: iRanaway

    • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

      And here’s my obligated “I actually LIKE Kanye west too.” i really do. He’s just a nuisance sometimes.

    • Rewind

      Honestly…I didn’t get that far into the movie and I could just tell it was Ye being Ye…nothing more.

      Though I love him as an artist, as a man, he is what I hate about specific types of black men: the types who never had nothing, but once they get the fame, they are all of a sudden the connesieurs of fashion, artistry, and trend setting….dude is not that advanced outside of his musical intelligence but everybody still feeds into it.

      • Eddie_Brock

        The moment he proudly stated he didn’t read, I was pretty much done with Team Yeezy…..

        • Rewind

          *rips my College Dropout T-shirt*

          No need for that anymore.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Though I love him as an artist, as a man, he is what I hate about specific types of black men: the types who never had nothing, but once they get the fame, they are all of a sudden the connesieurs of fashion, artistry, and trend setting….dude is not that advanced outside of his musical intelligence but everybody still feeds into it.”

        thing is, although i think ye may be a bit of a poseur, i think a person can be genuinely gifted and intellectual curious in different areas. i mean, say what you want about him, but he definitely is a trendsetter. that part of his persona is very real

        • http://thatswhatgemsaid.wordpress.com Gem of the Ocean

          again, im inclined to agree with you champikins

        • Eddie_Brock

          So you’re basically admitting there are photos out there of the Champ sporting and S-Curl mullet and some venetian blind sunglasses wearing a COOGI sweater 2 sizes 2 small?

        • Rewind

          Trendsetter he is.

          Nuthuggers – check
          Bringing 80s nerd gear back – check
          Louie Vutton bookbags and polo shirts -check
          Italian suits with the chest hair out – check
          Ugly retarded sneakers that are old Jordan designs -check

          Yea…you got a point there.

          I see you Champ but only trend he set that was worth setting was before he got famous…REALLY GOOD BEATS and REALLY GOOD SONGS. I know of nothing else worth paying attention to.

    • http://twitter.com/SmartFoxGirl SmartFoxGirl

      I have to say Luvvie you are like the funniest person on twitter at nights. I stay laughing at all your tweets. That is all.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        don’t encourage her

        • http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com Luvvie

          Don’t encourage deez!

          *nods smugly* Been a while since I DEEZed you, Champie. I missed it.

    • Yeah…So

      I’m wit you Luvvie. The whole time I was watching it I felt like “Man I’m gon’ regret this when it’s over”

  • http://presidentialtelevisionandfilm.ning.com Monk

    Am i the only one who thought the short film was just an extended version of Andre 3000′s “Prototype” video?

    • oftenconfused

      Now that you mention it…

    • JessicaL

      This comment is what actually made me watch it. I have to say I’m not a Kanye stan by any means, but I actually liked it. I teared up on the part with the ballet dancers (I always cry when watching ballet because it’s beautiful). Kanye’s acting was terrible but Selita made up for him.

      On a completely unrelated note James Bond’s Aston Martin that was in Goldfinger was sold for $4.1 million.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      hadn’t thought about it. but there are definitely similarities. except the BANGING chick in prototype didn try to eat one of Andre’s cousins.

  • http://lovestutter.blogspot.com Sydnie

    I can’t even read your commentary (though i’m sure it’s delightful), let alone watch this video. kanye is not mj and after all his shenanigans ever, i can’t bring myself to spend 30 minutes of my life watching, reading or thinking critically about him. maybe i’m just tired. there are dancers in it… (i’m a dancer, lol)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      “I can’t even read your commentary (though i’m sure it’s delightful), let alone watch this video.”

      so why leave a comment? i’m not saying i don’t want you to leave comments. i welcome them all and i welcome you. but, i just don’t understand the thinking behind leaving a comment just to say you’re not interested in what’s being discussed