Jean-Claude Van Damme’s top 10 movies (blame Volvo for this)

I came across this awesome video on Facebook the other day and it naturally got me thinking about the fabulously entertaining big-screen career of Jean-Claude Van Damme, aka The Muscles from Brussels. Can you believe that the foundation of this post was drafted around his birthday about 3 years ago?  Frightening isn’t it?

I can’t believe 1.) That I’ve wasted this much time in my life contemplating the “talents” of JCVD and 2.) What I wrote was still hanging around a SimpleNote account I haven’t accessed in more than a year.

It feels like a million years ago, but on Oct. 18, 2010 JCVD’s birthday got me thinking: This guy has made a ton of movies that thoroughly entertain and crack me up, why not take time out of my busy life and rank my 10 favorite JCVD movies?

Without further ado, away we go from the bottom up …

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The Junkball 10: TV and movie characters that deserve the RoboCop statue treatment

Welcome to The Junkball 10, an occasional feature running down a random list of some of my favorite … or not so favorite … things.

The RoboCop statue saga playing out in Detroit has amused and inspired me because like most people, I’m a huge RoboCop fan and the story is wonderfully absurd.

There’s really no debating the greatness of RoboCop. There’s no way the movie would be broadcast on American Movie Classics and released as a Criterion Collection DVD if it wasn’t one of the best films of all time. End of discussion.

The only sensible thing to do now that a statue of RoboCop is going to be erected in Detroit is to brainstorm the other parts of America that should pay tribute to TV and/or movie characters.

1. San Francisco: Dirty Harry

I don’t know about you, but when I think about San Francisco and the movies I think about Clint Eastwood scowling, growling and kicking some serious criminal ass. Why not pay tribute to Harry Callahan with a statue? That’d make my day.

2. Texas: Walker Texas Ranger

Chuck Norris is undeniably bigger than life and since everything is bigger in Texas the only way to do this right is to build a skyscraper in Norris’ likeness. The Walker skyscraper would kick the sky’s butt if it dared challenge it.

3. Miami: Tony Montana from “Scarface”

The statue has to capture the signature “Say hello to my little friend” scene in the movie. Would any community really want to pay tribute to an over-the-top big screen cocaine cowboy? Probably not, but if Detroit can show RoboCop some love there’s no reason Tony Montana can’t enjoy being immortalized.

4. Milwaukee: Laverne and Shirley

I could just as easily have chosen Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World” or Fonzie from “Happy Days” but I’m in the mood to tip my hat to those fun-loving girls from Shotz Brewery. Now that I look back at the long-running sitcom I can’t believe Shirley dated a guy who called himself the Big Ragoo and sang a song called “Do the Carmine.” I don’t think she ever let him get past second base so if anyone was doing Carmine it probably wasn’t Shirley.

5. New York: John McClane from “Die Hard

There are plenty of other options for TV or movie characters worthy of some respect in the Big Apple but some twisted part of me thinks it would be cool to see a huge statue of Bruce Willis’ unbeatable cop with a big plaque that says, “Yippee-ki-yay mother f%#ker!” The only other movie character I would deem worthy of a statue in New York would be Snake Plisskin from “Escape From New York.”

6. Chicago: Jake and Elwood from “The Blues Brothers

Aside from Dirty Harry in San Francisco this was the easiest call on my list. For my money nothing says Chicago movies like Jake and Elwood Blues. My wife can vouch for the fact that “The Blues Brothers” is as close as I’ll ever come to liking something even vaguely resembling a musical.  If “Sound of Music” had car chases, explosions and heavy drinking I might give it a chance.

7. Hawaii: Thomas Magnum from “Magnum, P.I.” and Steve McGarrett from “Hawaii Five-O

Forget statues for a minute. The only way to do this right is to carve their faces into Diamond Head. It’d be the Mount Rushmore of Big Island crime fighters. If the people of Hawaii want to really be ambitious they can also carve in the likenesses of Rick, TC, Higgins and Danno.

8. San Diego (Close enough to Pacific Beach to work for the sake of this post): Hank and Britt from “Terriers

Am I still annoyed that my favorite new TV show from last season died after drawing miserable ratings? That would be an understatement. I could have gone with “Simon and Simon” in this spot but I’m going to use this as an opportunity pay tribute to a brilliant, underappreciated show.

9. Los Angeles: The Dude from “The Big Lebowski

The Dude abides … why not let him chill out in bronze for eternity? Until I finally get around to watching “Crazy Heart” I’m going to have to say that “The Big Lebowski” is Jeff Bridges’ finest performance.

10. Long Island, Harry and Lloyd from “Dumb and Dumber

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Long Island is iced tea. But the second thing that comes to mind is the timeless, moronic brilliance of “Dumb and Dumber.” Does it get any better than when they sing “Mocking Bird?”

Honorable mentions: Crash Davis from “Bull Durham” for Durham, North Carolina; Reggie Dunlop from “Slap Shot” for Johnstown, Pa.; The cast of “WKRP in Cincinnati” (or maybe just Lonnie Anderson’s cleavage) for Cincinnati; Raylan Givens from “Justified” for Lexington, Kentucky; Mork from Ork from “Mork and Mindy” for Boulder, Colo.

The Junkball 10: Amusing the rugrat with YouTube

Welcome to The Junkball 10, an occasional feature running down a random list of some of my favorite … or not so favorite … things.

Since the birth of my daughter is about a week away, what better time to appreciate some of the moments I’ve had with my first child?

When my son was several months old I tried to kill some time early one morning by showing him videos of children’s songs on YouTube.  It seemed like a great way to try and snap him out of a fussy fit and give my wife a little more time to sleep.

It’s been about a year since that eventful morning and the onslaught of videos hasn’t stopped.  In fact, my son’s preferred YouTube clips keep piling up in my Firefox bookmarks folder and we spend a ton of time every week watching them over and over … and over and over again.

Sure, it can be a little monotonous but it makes the little man happy and I have to admit that some of these tunes have grown on me.

Here are my 10 favorite YouTube videos to watch with my 19-month-old son:

1.  Katy Perry sings “Hot N Cold” with Elmo on Sesame Street
Dude, it’s Katy Perry running around in a skimpy little outfit with Elmo.  What more could a dad ask for?  Unfortunately, it’s been a while since my son wanted to watch this one a half dozen times in a row so I kind of miss Katy right now.  I’ve been trying to get him hooked on this video again but he throws a fit until I put on another clip from YouTube.  Tough break for dad.

2.  Moving right along – The Muppet Movie

This was probably the most popular video on YouTube with my son for about a week.  My wife found this about a few weeks ago and we’ve been watching it a lot ever since then.  The viewing experience has improved since I found a high quality version to replace the grainy one my wife started out with.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it amuses the hell out of me when Fozzy Bear takes a break from the song and says he’s in a bear’s natural habitat … a Studebaker.  I probably need to get my head checked.

3.  Sesame Street: Elmo’s Ducks

Another YouTube discovery by my wife that she was soon regretting.  It doesn’t take long for Elmo to get on a parent’s nerves.  Watch this video several times in a row for a few days straight and you can see why she was having serious remorse over finding this video.  But I have to admit that this little ditty has grown on me.  I even enjoy quacking along with the ducks because it usually gets my son to take turn away from the computer monitor and throw a surprised glance at me that has “This big guy is crazy” written all over it.

4.  Nuki Nuki (The Nuki Song) – Gummy Bear

The first video I ever found of this little bear is further down on this list but this is my favorite.  My son has a slight pacifier addiction which is why this is the perfect video to watch with him because it’s all about the Gummibear refusing to ever let go of his pacifier.  An added bonus is that I can actually sing along with most of this song which is a major accomplishment.  With most videos I usually only sing along with a few lyrics and fill in the rest with my own lyrics or say, “Blah, blah, blah” to the tune of the song.

5. Sesame Street: Feist sings 1, 2, 3, 4

I don’t know anything about this woman and I don’t think I’ve ever heard one of her songs from start to finish.  As far as I’m concerned she’s just the lady from that Apple iPod commercial a couple of years ago.  But she cranks out a decent little song on Sesame Street and my son definitely enjoys it.  If he’s not not the first kid to count to 4 in his class after watching this video a million times I’ll be very upset.

6.  Gummibär – CHO KA KA O

There’s an English version of this video but I prefer the non-English version.  It’s more entertaining when you have no idea what’s happening to this little bear and for my money foreign languages sound a lot more interesting than English.  Gummibear gets chased by crabs and falls into a huge cup of chocolate during this video for some odd reason.  Cho Ka Ka O is weird, entertaining and pretty catchy.  Not a bad combination when your son makes you play it a few times in a row in the morning.

7.  Sesame Street: The Alphabet With Elmo

I have to admit that this is actually a really nice version of the ABC song and the only one my son seems to like.  The other nice thing about this video is that Elmo isn’t annoying, he’s actually pretty mellow.  I fully expect my son to be at the head of the class when its time to recite the alphabet at school.

8.  Sesame Street: Norah Jones Sings Don’t Know Y

I have to admit that I’m not a fan of Norah Jones, she bores me to death.  Whenver she comes on the car stereo I have to change the station to avoid falling asleep and driving into a ditch.  She’s about as exciting to listen to as A’s manager Bob Geren during a pre-game show.  But in this Sesame Street clip she’s not too bad and she has a knack for making my son chill out.  That’s worth its weight in gold.

9.  The Gummy Bear Song

This is the first Gummibear video I ever found while desperately trying to find new ways to amuse my little son.  He fell in love with this green underwear-groping, gummy-butt shaking bear from Day 1.  I love the fact that this video has lyrics at the bottom of the screen so I can do more than sing, “Blah, blah, blah” through the whole song.

10.  Hampton the Hamster “The Hamsterdance Song”

This is the granddaddy of them all, the YouTube video that started everything for me and my son.  I don’t know how I stumbled across this thing more than a year ago but as soon as I played it my son stopped fussing, settled down and was mesmerized.  We must have watched this thing for close to 20 minutes straight.  Dad got a welcome break from tying to amusing a cranky tike, mom got a little more rest on Saturday morning and the rest is history.

Just missing the cut: Diana Krall sings Everybody’s Song on Sesame Street (She takes a little too long to get rolling which annoys my son and she has really prominent teeth that throw me off for some reason); Gummibear Soccer song (It’s actually a fun video but I think I’ve just seen this one too many times for it to crack my Top 10.  I do love the fact that my son oftens says “Kick!” when the gummy bears kick the soccer ball);  Gummibear Christmas (My son is really into this one right now but it drives me up the wall because it’s barely 30 seconds long.  When you watch something that short and annoying over and over it feels like someone’s driving a fencepost into the side of your head with a sledgehammer).