The Petty Archives

Battle of the Sexes: The Video Game
By Chris Willman
The Los Angeles Times - February 20, 1994

Current music videos are reviewed and rated on a 0-100 scale.

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Petty, playing a creepy morgue worker, unzips a body bag and finds the daisy-fresh, comely corpse of Kim Basinger ( wrapped in plastic , as Jack Nance used to say on "Twin Peaks"). Petty zips her back up, wheels her lifeless form home, and tries to enjoy a quiet evening in with his dead date. Only, ha ha, Basinger's head keeps flopping over every time he tries to prop it up, and she ain't much of a dance partner. Finally, dejected, he dumps her body in the ocean.

Not since Alice Cooper's "Cold Ethyl" have the joys of necrophilia gotten such an earnest airing in the pop mainstream, and the utterly purposeless perversity places this one high in the all-time music video what- the- hell- were- they- thinking? pantheon, ruining a perfectly good little Petty tune.

Though you might think Basinger would've thought twice before accepting as inexpressive a role as a dead sex object, you have to give her some credit: It is still a better career choice than "Boxing Helena." 17