The modern music video has been a thriving enterprise nigh on 40 years now, having survived MTV’s continued embrace of reality fare and scripted entertainment. But there’s at least one very specific subset of these beloved promotional clips that has disappeared: the video promoting a feature film and, of course, that movie’s soundtrack album.
Specifically, those videos that managed to find a way to shoehorn in one or more of the actors from said film, forcing them to either interact with the artist and/or lip sync the song in question. The results were, by and large, some of the most awkward clips ever aired on MTV, VH1, or any of other shows that popped up in the wake of the success of those networks (Friday Night Videos, Night Tracks, etc.).
Of course, these particular videos are not hard to find, thanks to the wonderful world of YouTube. With that in mind, here are 10 of the most awkward, hilarious, and awkwardly hilarious clips from an era when Danny DeVito rubbed elbows with Billy Ocean, a cardboard cut-out of Steve Guttenberg outacted El DeBarge, and Jean-Claude Van Damme was free to stare menacingly at The Smithereens.