WWJCVD Do? Hall of Fame inductee: Eric Roberts

The What Would Van Damme Do? Hall of Fame is reserved for those people who have made important contributions to the overall enjoyment of this site’s operators, and no one over the years has been as consistent in doing that than the one and only Eric Roberts.

Yeah, yeah, his sister might be more famous, but can she play a slimeball? Can she say she’s been in a staggering 106 productions this decade? Can she even come close to the number of countries her brother has visited while filming his on-the-cheap movies? I think not.

Now, we’re not talking about the Eric Roberts that gained fame and Oscar recognition back in the 1980s. No, we’re specifically referring to the transformed actor that became known in mine and Adam’s eyes as ER – an overly dramatic, super-intense thespian that was perfect for the burgeoning direct-to-video landscape of the early ’90s and beyond.

I’d say ER’s great run began with 1993’s “Best of the Best 2,” which replaced the rah-rah Olympics angle of the first film with a completely bonkers underground fight world topped off with Wayne Newton as the bad guy and ER roided up like Mark McGwire. It’s an awesome movie – the rare sequel that’s miles better than the original.

From there, it’s a veritable cornucopia of classic B-performances, from “Sensation,” co-starring Kari Wuhrer, to “The Nature of the Beast,” with fellow B-vet Lance Henriksen, to “The Immortals,” which just so happened to co-star a young Chris Rock.

Sure, every once in a while ER gets thrown a bone and shows up on the big screen – usually playing a bad guy or mafia member, like in “The Dark Knight,” but I get the feeling he takes those jobs just to pay the bills. He still believes that he can be a star, still believes that he’s a better actor than his sister (I tend to agree with him).

How many actors can say they’ve been in movies with Ice-T, Lawrence Taylor, Marlee Matlin, Dennis Hopper, John Ritter, Gary Busey, Jake Busey, Corbin Bernsen and Michael Jackson?

Yes, that’s right, the King of Pop and ER collaborated in 2004 on the insane sounding “Miss Cast Away and the Island Girls” (also known as “Silly Movie 2” in Australia), a spoof flick with a plot so bizarre I’ll let Wikipedia handle the description.

As the film opens, a plane carrying beauty contestants has crash-landed on a deserted island. Captain Maximus Powers (Eric Roberts) and co-pilot Mike Saunders (Charlie Schlatter) have to take care of their passengers, while also avoiding the dangers of Jurassic Pork (a giant prehistoric pig) and a group of apes who are busy building an ark.[1]

Agent M.J. (Michael Jackson) arrives in the midst of them, having been sent by the Vatican to manipulate them to the Vatican’s own purposes.

What? Surely this movie can not exist.

Holy cow! Even I, as an Eric Roberts apologist, can’t abide by this. I hope this was right around the time he gave up on drugs or something. Let’s move on lest he tarnish his Hall of Fame legacy.

We here at What Would Van Damme Do? are also not the first to notice ER’s awesomeness, as over the years, he has become a go-to guy for music video directors and artists looking to add a little cinematic flair to their videos. His most famous video appearance may be in The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside,” but his strangest one would have to be in Akon’s “Smack That.”

ER may be getting up there in age, but it hasn’t stopped his work ethic, as he’s churned out 21 movies and TV shows either released or scheduled for release in 2009/10, including a devious turn on the awful “Crash” TV series, “The Chaos Experiment” with fellow B-star Val Kilmer, and his first role as POTUS in the sure-to-be-legendary “First Dog.”

He’s also going to be in “The Expendables,” which I can easily say is my must-see movie of next year based on the cast alone: Stallone, Statham, Jet Li, ER, Stone Cold, Terry Crews, Dolph Lundgren, etc.

So, for all that and more, Eric Roberts is the inaugural inductee into the WWJCVD Do? Hall of Fame. Congratulations, ER, and keep doing what you do.


~ by Elliott on December 1, 2009.

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