I usually tune into VH1 at the gym because I rather work out to tunes, versus the news, you know, a little Missy Elliott or Sheryl Crow to pep me up. But during the 5:30-6:00AM time slot of Insomniac Music Theater, they aired the video for the Johnny Cash cover of Nine Inch Nail's Hurt from his latest album, American IV: The Man Comes Around. It is the most beautiful and riveting video I've seen in a long time, because of how the images and music work together and how Johnny Cash, icon, haunts the video. Director Mark Romanek used old concert and archival footage as well as shots of the Museum of Cash to create a incredibly moving video that also becomes an homage. And the lyrics coming from Johnny Cash's gravelly voice killed me. More about the making of the video. Learn about Johnny Cash from his official site and a Rolling Stone article, A Day in the Life of Johnny Cash. New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell noted that the movie 8 Mile had the echoey, haunted heart of Johnny Cash's cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" - and that was just based on the song, not the video.
Nine Inch Nails has covered many artists as well as been covered by many others. Mark Romanek's relationship with Nine Inch Nails is most famously captured in the video for Closer, an creepy, pulsating video that surely inspired David Fincher's Se7en, which also used "Closer" over the opening credits. Jake and I have noticed that Elvis Mitchell has NiN on the brain - he mentions Nine Inch Nails in reviews for The Cell and The Ring. Mitchell also calls Mark Romanek "the Martin Scorsese" to Trent Reznor's Robert DeNiro in his review of Romanek's feature debut, One Hour Photo.