Film Junk’s Top 10 Viral Videos of 2008

Well folks, 2008 is now nothing more than a memory in our minds, and while we’re all looking ahead to a brand new year, there’s still one very important “year in review” feature still left to tend to. We already talked about the best movies of 2008, but what about the most entertaining viral videos of 2008? Now that’s something everyone has an opinion on!

As you may know, every week we bring you a collection of the strangest and most degrading videos that the internet has to offer in our Weird Web Wednesdays feature. The following can probably be considered Weird Web Wednesday’s “greatest hits” — the videos that were the most frequently shared and discussed, and the ones that now serve to sum up 2008 in some odd way. Enjoy.

10. Tarantino Attacks at Sundance

Early on in the year, this video from the Sundance Film Festival in Utah hit the web and had a lot of people talking about how big of a jerk Quentin Tarantino was. But with so many people carrying cell phone cameras and mini-camcorders nowadays, celebrities now have a lot more to worry about than just the paparazzi. In the end, QT regains his composure and walks off smiling to himself, but by the way the cameraman is egging him on, we realize that he definitely got what he deserved.

9. Dimitri The Stud

Okay, so this one is more like a “viral audio”, but this series of voice mail messages left by a man named Dimitri in pursuit of a girl he had met at a bar feature some of the most quotable lines I’ve heard all year. His overconfidence is absolutely stunning, not to mention the ultimatum he leaves. “If I do not receive a phone call back from you but 3:00 Thursday afternoon, I am no longer interested.” I think we can all afford to learn a thing or two from Dimitri The Stud.

8. Talking Goat

Funny animal videos are always a hot commodity on YouTube, but this clip of a goat with large genitalia (who also happens to sound like a human) definitely takes the cake. His excited high-pitched exclamations of “Whaaaat?” just get funnier and funnier every time you hear them, and the reaction of the girls recording it only make it that much better.

7. Take On Me: Literal Version

I’m sure we’ve all watched plenty of goofy music videos where we’ve found ourselves wondering how exactly the imagery on screen has anything to do with the song itself. Well, this is apparently where Dustin McLean found inspiration for his “Literal Version” of A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, which is just a re-recording of the song where the lyrics describe in detail every single thing that happens in the video. He followed this up with a translation for the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Under The Bridge. Brilliant.

6. Tom Cruise Scientology Video

Tom Cruise continued to struggle this year with his public image, still attempting to recover from the Oprah couch jumping incident of 2005. His comedic role in Tropic Thunder seemed to help a little bit, but this leaked Scientology promotional video most certainly did not. It was never meant for public consumption, but seeing Tom Cruise preach the word of Xenu over top of the music from Mission: Impossible II inspired endless mockery across the web, including this parody by Jerry O’Connell.

5. Bush Gets Two Shoes Thrown At Him

In November, the end of George W. Bush’s time in office was celebrated across the world, with the election of Barack Obama ushering in a new era of hope. The whole thing was capped off by an incident in December where an Iraqi reporter threw his shoes at Bush during a press conference. Bush somehow managed to dodge both, but nothing could stop this moment from becoming an internet sensation.

4. Christian The Lion

The amazing story of a lion cub that was raised by humans and then released into the wild, only to be re-united with his owners a year later was such a heart-warming tale that he even scored his own movie deal. Videos of the re-union set to either Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” or Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” were some of the most viewed videos on YouTube this year, and still never fail to turn viewers into a blubbering mess.

3. I’m F*cking Matt Damon

Longtime viewers of the Jimmy Kimmel Show will know that he had a running joke about Matt Damon constantly being bumped at the end of the show because they ran out of time. So, for his birthday, Kimmel’s then-girlfriend and very funny comedienne Sarah Silverman wrote this fantastic song that went viral faster than almost anything I’ve ever seen. Kimmel later shot back with his own star-studded response I’m F*cking Ben Affleck. The sad part of the story is that Kimmel and Silverman actually broke up later in the year, although there are rumours that they are now back together again. Let’s hope it wasn’t the viral vids that did it!

2. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Rickroll

The internet trend of “rickrolling” (ie. tricking someone into following a link to Rick Astley’s video for the 1987 song “Never Gonna Give You Up”) first started in 2007, but grew into a pretty mainstream occurrence throughout 2008. The New York Mets had “Never Gonna Give You Up” voted in as their team song, and the whole craze culminated in a live rickroll by Rick Astley himself during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in November. I think it’s safe to say that nothing will top this, and any future rickrolls will pale in comparison. That’s it people, the rickroll is officially dead!

1. Bill O’Reilly – We’ll Do It Live

Surely the award for best viral video of the year goes hand in hand with the award for biggest asshole of the year. Despite their best attempts to block it, this leaked video of Fox News host Bill O’Reilly flipping out during an old taping of Inside Edition spread like wildfire. Seeing the bully throw a temper tantrum like a little kid is absolutely hysterical, and somehow soothed the hatred that is felt for this man across the web. Fortunately, we all had a chance to work out our bad feelings through the endless stream of parodies and mash-ups that continued throughout the year. An instant classic, this is your #1 viral video of 2008!

Honourable Mentions

Also, refresh your memory with last year’s Top 10 Viral Videos!



  • O’Reilly, Goat and Dimitri kill me. The Lion is good too.

  • Hey, why is there an ad for TomCruise.com on this page? I watched the Tom Cruise Scientology video for the first time, and I have a few questions. If I’m a “spectator,” does that mean I won’t be saved with the rest of the Scientologists? If not, does it cost anything to become a Scientologist? I hate religions that take collections. That’s how you can tell they’re fake, because God has as much need for money as he does a starship. :-)

    BTW, is that Christian the Lion video from the 70s? Is it really a true story? How come Christian the Lion didn’t attack the cameraman? I think it would have been better if the guys were running towards Christian as Christian was running towards them. How did they know that was Christian? I think it would have been funny if Christian hugged one of the guys and mauled the other one.

  • Oh god I forgot about Dimitri. What a total psycho! Love him! :D

  • That Ninja Cat is amazing too though!

  • This year wasn’t nearly as good as last year for viral vids, i haven’t even seen most of these yet!

  • Dimitri was a good laugh.

    Rick Astley still has a great voice (if not lip synched).

    Halo Kid rulz! (He’ll be doing major studio design/props in the future)

    Henrik: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-syykZ4oIaE&feature=channel_page

  • Hannes

    Great post and I just feel sorry for Tarantino.

    But something completely unrelated: Can somebody tell me in which episode was The Wrestler reviewed?

  • Hoopersx

    I think the astronaut on the golf course made me laugh harder than anything I have seen in a long time. It deserves an honorable mention.

  • Funny you should mention it, the Golf Course Astronaut was actually on my honourable mentions list but I cut it at the last minute because I didn’t think enough people had seen it. I too thought it was hilarious.

    http://www.break.com/usercontent/2008/10/Golf-Course-Astronaut-Prank-585244.html

    The Wrestler was reviewed on episode #185:

    http://www.filmjunk.com/2008/09/15/film-junk-podcast-episode-185-religulous-the-wrestler-and-tiff-wrap-up/

  • Tomas that wasn’t bad but they shouldn’t have changed the music.

    This is one of my favourite cat videos, the dramatic tension in this can’t be beat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHK_8hQ2UEQ&feature=related

  • swarez

    Reed. Scientology is one of the biggest money grabbing “religions” out there. You need to be loaded to enjoy that enlightenment.

  • Paul Andrews

    I liked the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain doing the good the bad and the ugly. Dmitri must have passed me by, so it was great to catch it this time ’round. Good Post !

  • The Hour, Canada’s only late night talk show, also listed the best viral videos on their New Year’s Eve show. And they chose Bill O’Reilly’s temper tantrum as the number one video as well.

    I wish I had my video camera running when Jay blew up at me on the set of Colore Non Vedenti.

  • Reed:
    Now, why would Jay do such a thing? ;)

  • Thanks for putting this together Sean. That’s the first I’d heard of Dimitri – great stuff!

    I had also never seen the Astronaut or the talking goat. Both had me laughing out loud. Well done sir!

  • tacostacos

    this list was more comprehensive and had a better top 10: http://yepyep.gibbs12.com/2008/12/yepyeps-top-viral-videos-of-2008/

  • Ace of Spades

    Dimitri scores more than the Blue Jays.

  • Teaser

    Most of them are great stuff! Completely agree with “Dimitri”. I guess, a couple of videos below will be in the 2009 list:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WTJ2tGhJl4
    http://www.openfilm.com/videos/pencil_face/

  • BTW, Christian the Lion is the most moving youtube video ever made, was that footage origanally made for a documentary or something?

  • Yes, I believe so.

  • Matt

    The only Tom Cruise film I would watch over and over. Oh and Reed I’m pretty sure they charge you for the level of cleansing or whatever they call it in Scientology.

  • Henrik

    You should really check out the videos before you post them. The im fucking matt damon video is not the real video. Its some anime bullshit.

  • anonymous guy

    What? No “Obama Girl” videos?