The Video Stars: Top 10 Action/Adventure

Here comes another 10 excellent music videos that you are going to want to procrastinate by watching on youtube!  Action/Adventure may not be a normal category for music videos, but there are plenty of them.  Unlike drama, their stories may not always be crystal clear, but we’re kept engaged because there’s always something happening: running, jumping, fighting, swaggering… you name it.

10.  Hungry Like the Wolf – Duran Duran, 1982.  Directed by Russell Mulcahy. 

This video was shot in Sri Lanka, which helps a lot with the Indiana Jones theme.  For a video in the 80’s, this actually looked a bit like a film and fit the imagery in the song without being too literal.  (I am so grateful there are no hungry wolves running around in this!)

9.  99 Problems – Jay-Z, 2004Directed by Mark Romanek.

This one comes with a warning – there’s a bit of violence that you should know about before you watch.  But you probably know that already, because the image is a powerful one that I think of nearly everytime I hear Jay-Z.  I also regularly picture him in this video: black and white, walking around Brooklyn.  This has less of a continuous plot as it is snapshots of being a black man in Brooklyn, but it still strikes me as action more than anything else.

8.  Telephone – Lady Gaga & Beyonce, 2010Directed by Jonas Akerlund.

Whether we like it or not, this has become somewhat legendary.  The video has absolutely nothing to do with the song, and yet no one seems to care – it almost adds to the ridiculousness of the whole thing.  This video has everything else you could imagine, and most things you never would (like cigarette shades).  I still am not convinced why Beyonce would feel the need to pair up with Gaga, but in this instance it works.  She was probably swayed with a promise she could drive the Pussy Wagon from Kill Bill.

I should probably add a warning to this as well, but I’m not exactly sure what I should say.  Lady Gaga’s purpose in life is to make you cringe or feel awkward, and Telephone is no exception.


 7.  Glosoli – Sigur Ros, 2005.  Directed by Arni & Kinski.

Another beautiful video by this team, featuring beautiful Icelandic children in beautiful Icelandic scenery.  A visual representation of JD Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” quote about catching all the children jumping off a cliff.  Clever and, well… beautiful. 

6.  Don’t Come Around Here No More – Tom Petty, 1985.  Directed by Jeff Stein.

Who would have thought Tom Petty would make such a fantastic Mad Hatter, and who would have believed his band could have depicted Alice in Wonderland in an even creepier fashion?  Apparently both the song and video were inspired by Stevie Nicks, which may explain why they are so full of mystery and excellence.

5.  Beat It – Michael Jackson, 1982.  Directed by Bob Giraldi.

I can’t believe I’ve posted this many videos before mentioning MJ.  Don’t worry, this won’t be the last.  His version of West Side Story is as good as anyone’s, and kicks off his long music video legacy of teaching the world that all conflicts can be solved through dance.

  4.  Everlong – Foo Fighters, 1997.  Directed by Michel Gondry.

I am committed to watching everything Michel Gondry has ever been a part of, and this is one of many reasons why.  Here my favorite director collaborates with a band with a huge and creative imagination to create nothing if not a visually stimulating, action-packed spectacle.  I wish my dreams were directed by Gondry. 

3.  Hoppipolla – Sigur Ros, 2005.  Directed Arni & Kinski.

Another cinematic jewel from Iceland, this time featuring not the young, but the older.  This has become basically a perfect depiction of what I want to be like when I am a senior citizen.

2.  Sabotage – Beastie Boys, 1995.  Directed by Spike Jonze.

A masterpiece parody of 1970’s crime tv, complete with fake moustaches and plenty of chase scenes on foot and wheel.  The Beastie Boys are masters of having fun and being filmed in the process, and nearly anyone who’s seen this wishes they thought of it first.  Brilliant.

1.  Thriller – Michael Jackson, 1983.  Directed by John Landis. 

I’m sure you were expecting this at some point.  The only difficulty I had was in deciding which category it should be considered in.  But this is quintessential action.  Although we all know the dance, and we love the sci-fi effects of 1983, ultimately this video is ingrained into our hearts and minds because it continues to be one of the best examples of a video with a plot.  It’s actually a little bit creepy – especially with Vincent Price and his pseudo-rap – and MJ makes a terribly convincing zombie.  Music videos will forever pay homage to this with red jackets, mass choreography, and dancing zombies, and people everywhere will forever learn the choreography to show off at parties or in flash mobs.  And all of these facts make the world a better place to live in.  Thanks Michael. 

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