A meme is a funny thing. An image, video or idea (or anything at all) that spreads from person to person, being modified and reinvented constantly, it's kinda like a virus (hence the term viral). But why does it happen? I don't know, I'm not a psychiatrist. One things for sure - it's damn interesting. But, another time, another place and also another writer. Movies are great source material for internet memes, and I am shocked every time at how random the things are that people can latch on to. And I love it! So here, hit the jump to see our top 10 movie based memes, as selected by myself and a trusty movie and meme companion.
Oh, 2 things. This is not the top 10 list of movie based memes. We made it up, and did not base our decisions on how well known a meme is, how many hits it has generated or any of that statistical nonsense. Our decisions are entirely subjective - which is probably the best way to appreciate these things. Second, this post borrows liberally from websites like memebase and knowyourmeme. We just searched and selected - the real kudos go to the creators of these memes.
10. Chaos Reigns
In Lars Von Trier's controversial and awesome 2009 film, Antichrist, there is a scene where Willem Defoe comes across a fox in the woods which appears to be eating itself. As if that is not enough, it then goes on to say "chaos reigns" in a satanic voice. Too weird. I loved the fox and the other 2 members of the so-called "Three Beggars" (a crow and a deer) which together bring Grief (the deer), Despair (the fox) and Pain (the crow). Basically they are the opposite of the three kings in the Bible, who of course bring gold, frankincense and myrrh. Read this awesome article by Tina Beattie.
Even more interesting is the fact that "Chaos Reigns" caught on and became a meme. Not as popular as some of the others, and there isn't much on it except for some t-shirts and stuff, but it also brought comparisons to Fantastic Mr Fox. The awesome Satanic Mr Fox mash-up trailer is why this one makes the top 10. Watch it here (it cannot be embedded).
9. Still Not As Gay As Twilight
Hahaha, gotta have some Twilight abuse in here somewhere! No explanations required...
8. Hitler Reacts
This video meme is based on a scene from the 2004 film about Hitler's last days called Der Untergang (Downfall). I love how the most serious of scenes (Chaos Reigns - case in point) result in the funniest memes! There are so many of these videos, where Hitler reacts to something other than in the movie. Here are 2 of my faves:
7. I Drink Your Milkshake
This meme makes it so far because of the awesomeness of the film from whence it came: PTA's There Will Be Blood. Daniel Day Lewis, in probably my favourite male performance of all time, metaphorically explains to Paul Dano's character how you can screw someone over through oil drainage (and therefore how cruelty trumps meekness). Much like Chaos Reigns, there aren't that many examples of this meme, but I love the movie and the fact that this brilliant line was the one that struck some strange chord in people. Also, it merges so well with some other classic memes / demotivational posters (oh, and check the video below and this SNL skit via Slashfilm, brilliant!)
6. One Does Not Simply "X" Into Mordor
Okay, everyone knows where this one comes from. Every meme I get to I want to write: "I love this one because it's so damn bizarre", then I realise they are all so damn bizarre. Therein lies the beauty! One does not simply Precious into Mordor? WTF!?
5. One Letter Off Movie Posters
I'm a huge movie poster fan, so it's not surprising that a meme involving changing on letter on a movie poster appeals to me. There are millions of these; here are some highlights:
4. Why So Serious?
An iconic character, a superb performance and probably the best superhero movie ever can only result in a kick-ass meme (no half pun intended):
3. Why Cookie Rocket?
This is another one with a deeper meaning: keep your friends close and your enemies closer. So brilliant and so odd. Why did the community at large latch on to those 3 words? We don't know, and we don't care! Best thing about Why Cookie Rocket? It's awesome photoshop-assisted manifestations...
2. This Is SPARTA!
I think the moment Gerard Butler / Leonidas belted out these words in the trailer for 300, this was destined to become a meme. And badly it has not done... it's the only movie-based meme to make it onto Squidoo's list of top 10 internet memes, and is easily the most widely known of all the memes in this list. Butler's ugly mug has been photoshopped (badly) onto every motherf*cking thang since 300 was released. The most famous is probably the techno remix. See the embed after the pics below.
At last, the chosen one. The awesome complexity and potential for confusion in Christopher Nolan's Inception has resulted in some of the best parodies (see Inception Characters Don't Understand Inception over at Collegehumour), mash-ups (especially the trailer, see this cool list at Heavy Movies) and of course, memes. Well, I suppose the parodies and the mash-ups are all part of the greater Inception meme, but our favourite is the "X"ception sub-meme... see below.