There's a little website I like to visit sometimes. You might have heard of it. It's called YouTube, and apparently it's pretty popular.
I recently surpassed five hundred favorited videos on the site (Editor's Note: This is because the author has no life)(Author's Note: Shut up). What kind of videos do I favorite? Music videos and fan made films and interviews and movie fight scenes and animals doing stupid things and concert footage and movie trailer after movie trailer after movie trailer after movie trailer.
I decided that I should do a little walk down memory lane and share with you my favorites of my favorites. These are the cream of the crop, the best of the best, those Top-Guns of YouTube that I've discovered. I'm sure there are other videos out there that I haven't seen that would belong on such a list, so if I miss one then please link to it in the comments and maybe I'll try and do one of these every couple of months.
Criteria: There will be one exception that I will explain when we get to it, but entries on this list shouldn't be scenes from films or scripted television shows. Interviews from talk shows are alright because those are insightful and unscripted. Sports highlights are okay as well for the same reason.
Entries are not ranked, but I will point out what I consider is the best YouTube video in my favorites at the end of the list. Enjoy.
- "Influences" by Phil Hansen www.philinthecircle.com
Views: 1.8 million
I discovered this in late 2007 when it appeared as a recommended video on the YouTube home page. I decided to give it a shot and I have not regretted it since. The tunes are catchy and the artwork is incredible. Artist Phil Hansen had the piece on his chest for thirty hours and what he cuts out at the end is his own silhouette, showing in a pretty visually stimulating way how is the result of the sum of all of things that have influenced him in his life. This turned me onto following Hansen's other equally enjoyable artworks and videos, and I encourage everyone to do the same.
- "Ballad of Black Mesa" by Lit Fuse Films www.litfusefilms.com
Views: 2.5 million
Catchy and addictive, I can all but guarantee you'll be thinking of this beat made from sounds from Half Life 2 for the rest of the day. Lit Fuse Films was one of the best Machinima film makers in their time (the men of Lit Fuse Films haven't updated for a while because of their gainful employment with BioWare). Machinima is a film style where plot and film making take place inside the engine of a video game which is in this case, Half Life 2. This could have been an easily forgettable video had it not been for the iPod commercial style, where the solid color background contrasts highly with the stark black and white of the characters and their weapons. The true reason why this makes the list is because I can't stop laughing at the dancing Combine at the 0:46 mark.
- "Zack Dumas Hit Stacy Danley"
January 1, 1990. Capping an 8-3 season was the Hall of Fame for the Ohio State Buckeyes who came into town ready to face 9-2 Auburn. While my beloved Buckeyes ended up losing this game 31-14, this hit on Auburn running back Stacy Danley by OSU Safety Zack Dumas is the hardest football hit I've ever seen in my life. If you want to read more about the game then I suggest you peruse this NY Times article covering the game.
- "Fresh Pots" by Them Crooked Vultures www.themcrookedvultures.com
Views: 1.4 million
One of my favorite bands, Them Crooked Vultures, released this video back in March of this year to showcase the spastic hilarity of drummer Dave Grohl. The funniest thing I've seen a band release in years, this video was made to showcase Grohl's caffeine and coffee addictions to TCV's audience and is as hilarious as they come.
- "Pearl Harbor 2: Pearlmageddon" by Built-D Pictures
One of the first movies I ever put on my favorites list, I stumbled across this when I was on IMDB.com and it was listed under my recommended titles. I had no idea what it was so I did some snooping and found one of the most hilarious and well done parodies ever put on the internet. Whilst not jabbing at Michael Bay's or Jerry Bruckheimer's specific film styles, it does make fun of the disasters and silly love stories and awful characters that are so prevalent in their films. Best moment: FDR yelling "I need answers, not unscripted mummery!" Pearl Harbor 2 on IMDB
- "The Great Office War" by Runaway Box
Views: 4.4 million
Let's keep this one simple. I've always wanted to do this. There has never been a time in my life where I've not wanted to do this. Nerf guns are about the most awesome thing ever and when I lived in a dorm I got people together with Nerf guns and we hunted one another. It was some of the most fun I've ever had. This video makes me wish I had a lot of money so I could do that sort of thing all the time. We hunted our RA once. We came back from a party and found that he was patrolling the halls somewhere so we got our Most Dangerous Game faces on and hunted him. So much fun, if you ever get the chance to do it I say go for it. (Presented in Technicolor is not responsible for repercussions of following any advice found on this website even though the author would find it really funny if you got in trouble for shooting your RA with a Nerf gun and would like to hear that story sometime)
- "Half Life 2 Anxiety" by Xanatos and the Janus Syndicate
Views: 96,000 on Xanatos' account, 196,000 on Machinima's account
A truly great homage to Alfred Hitchcock, Anxiety is a mesh of many famous Hitchcock styles and camera shots and story elements. Great care was taken to recreate this in the Half Life 2 engine, and some of the shots can best be described as 'artful'. Watch the video first with the annotations off and then turn them back on for a second viewing to catch all of the references to Hitchcock's works.
- "Pachelbel Rant" by Rob Paravonian www.robprocks.com
Views: 8.9 million
The angriest response to classical music I've ever heard. Rob P gained fame from this video for his musical comedy, and I have to say the rest of his stand up videos and other songs are pretty funny too. His Wikipedia entry is pretty awesome too, listing all of the songs that he uses in this truly epic rant. Rob Paravonian Wikipedia
- "Jonathan Coulton and Kid Beyond Duel: Mr. Fancy Pants" by Jonathan Coulton and Kid Beyond www.jonathancoulton.com www.kidbeyond.com
My favorite songwriter paired with one of the best beat boxers in the United States singing a song about pants that happen to be very fancy? YES. The whole performance is pretty funny, but if you want to cut down on viewing time the very impressive beat box vs. drum machine duel starts at 2:04.
- "My Quest For the Dodo Bird and Other Obsessions" by Adam Savage www.adamsavage.com
Taken from his presentation at the TED Conference from 2008, this is Mythbuster Adam Savage speaking about his life as a creative obsessive. Truly one of the best stories I've ever heard and one of the best presentations I've ever seen, this almost sixteen minute video opened my eyes to how much cooler Savage is than just his Mythbuster personality (which is saying a lot, because that personality is pretty cool too). There is definitely a lot more to him than we get exposed to through weekly Discovery Channel episodes.
- "Cat Safety Propaganda" by Allie Brosh hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com
A simple little video of simple animated drawings that has kept me laughing ever since I first saw it. Made by hilarious blogger Allie Brosh, the pairing of her drawings with truly epic music makes me laugh every time. Her blog's pretty good, you should check that out too.
- "Tony Jaa One Shot" from Tom-Yum-Goong
This is the exception to that "No Film Clips" rule I had up there. I'm giving this video a pass not only because of its sheer badassery, but because I don't know a single person that has seen The Protector and I don't want people to miss out on the awesome Tony Jaa. This four minute scene is done without any cuts or camera changes, no stoppages, and no digital editing. Just sit back and watch Tony Jaa beat everyone's ass up and down those stairs. (Editor's Note: We would also like to point out that Tony Jaa is beating everyone's ass because someone stole his elephants. So don't do that)
- "Random, Mandatory" by Rooster Teeth
My favorite short film from my favorite production company. Rooster Teeth is famous as being "Those guys that make Red vs. Blue" but they have since become so much more than that. They've been regularly uploading these hilarious shorts and are about to start a new series, Immersion, where they take video game concepts and try to recreate them in real life. Follow them on their website or check out their YouTube channel to see more. Trust me, it's worth it.
- "The Inception Inception" by Improv Asylum
Another movie parody? Trust me, this one is special. It takes the concept from the movie Inception (Editor's Note: BRAAAAAAAAAHM) and extrapolates it to a ridiculous level. Very funny video and solid entry on this list.
- "Bangarang" by Nick Bertke www.pogomix.net
Views: 1.25 million
Bertke, better known as Pogo, has worked for many major studios and makes wonderful music. He also makes the best musical remixes of classic films I've ever heard. This was the first one I listened to, and the visuals that go along with the songs make you just get lost in the music. Just take a minute to sit back and chill out while listening to the classic Hook, remixed.
- "Nicholas Cage Losing His Shit" by Harry Hanrahan (The list of films included is here, along with a nice little article)
Nic Cage craziness packed into four minutes is the funniest thing I've ever seen in my entire life. I actually don't think I'll ever see something that makes me laugh harder. This revelation makes me really sad actually. Luckily, I can just watch that video again to cheer me up. Highlights: "I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire! I'm a vampire!" "Grrrrrrrrrrrr SOMEONE'S TRYING TO KILL ME MAN!"
- "FOOT 2008" by Rémi Gaillard
Views: 6.3 million
Gaillard is a well-documented prankster and fantastic football player. While I find this highlight video of his trick shots and pranks from 2008 awesome, it is surpassed by another prank of his where he disguised himself as a member of a French championship football team and took part in all of the team's celebrations and was even greeted and congratulated by then-President Jacques Chirac. I just didn't have that video favorited and it does require a little bit of a preface, so this one gets the nod instead.
- "Pokémon Apokélypse" by Kial Natale and Lee Majdoub
Views: 5.5 million
One of the best fan made trailers I've ever seen, the quality of the work on this had people believing that it was a legitimate trailer and that a live action Pokémon movie was on the way. Complete with stunning visuals, this gritty reboot parody has some rather hilarious nods to the old television show and game (anyone notice that Brock's eyes are closed the whole time?). Truly a great video, and it did give my number one favorite YouTube video a run for its money. A great interview with the filmmakers can be found here if you're interested.
- "Sam Rockwell Dancing on Jimmy Fallon" by Sam Rockwell and Jimmy Fallon
There's not much to this one. I think Sam Rockwell's a good actor and I find it funny and impressive when he dances.
- "40 Inspirational Speeches in 2 Minutes" by Matthew Belinkie www.belinkieproductions.com
Views: 3.2 million
This is the most inspiring thing I've seen in my entire life. This video is like packing every single life lesson taught in a movie into a swallow-able chunk. More inspiring than some other so called "Inspirational Films" they make. I'm looking at you Pursuit of Happyness (Editor's Note: Cracked.com did a very nice article summing up why I hate that movie here)
And now, the greatest video I have tucked away in my Favorites List...
- "Grayson" by John Fiorella and Untamed Cinema www.untamedcinema.com
Views: 74,000 on the High Quality video, 362,000 on the original
This is, simply put, where the buck stops regarding fan made film adaptations. This video gets the nod because it takes a traditionally unpopular character from the DC universe and makes him the center of the story, and does it well! The trailer was made for a script that Fiorella wrote that can be found on Untamed Cinema's website (and it's actually as good as the trailer implies). One of the best parts of this is that Fiorella released a "Making Of" documentary on that same channel and it's captivating, especially to a film fanatic like me. He talks about how they had to steal power for the lights by running electrical cords to people's porches, how they had to break into golf courses and how they used fireworks and a strobe light for their gun effects.
If you're not satisfied with this as the number one pick, just think about it this way: That is a five and half minute long trailer, complete with car and motorcycle chases, intricate makeup and effects, feats of strength, and more locations than you can shake a stick at, and it was all made with an $18,000 budget. If you're not impressed by that then I don't think you can be impressed by anything.