Recommended: A Tribute to Jean-Claude Van Damme, “Sadsack Ass-Kicker”

Recommended: A Tribute to Jean-Claude Van Damme, “Sadsack Ass-Kicker” (photo)

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At MUBI.com, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky has written a sincere appreciation of faded action star and frequent punchline Jean-Claude Van Damme in honor of the Muscles From Brussels’ 50th birthday. I don’t know that I’ve ever read anyone write or speak this affectionately about Van Damme, and I love it. As far as Vishnevetsky is concerned, the troubles that have befallen Van Damme’s personal life and career have only increased his potency as an action hero:

“For an action star, Van Damme has an unbearably sad face–and like Buster Keaton’s blank mug, it’s only gets sadder as he ages–but then again Van Damme has always been an anomaly: he’s no good at delivering one-liners, he isn’t terrifying and he looks ridiculous holding a gun. Unlike, say, Schwarzenegger, he looks exactly like a guy you fuck with: small, pretty, vulnerable, resigned to a life of getting punched in the face. The sadsack ass-kicker, with great big insomniac bags under his eyes.”

Vishnevetsky pays homage to the importance of Van Damme’s physical and dramatic shortcomings without mentioning the fascinating (if flawed) film in which Van Damme himself acknowledges them: 2008’s “JCVD,” where the actor, playing himself, bares his soul in a series of shockingly powerful monologues like this one:

It hasn’t been the best birthday week for Van Damme. Twitch reported that the star had suffered a heart attack on the set of his latest (direct-to-DVD) movie, “Weapon,” forcing JCVD to take to his Facebook page to deny the report in the third person. “Please do not believe all what you read from rumors on any unofficial JVCD [sic] sites,” he wrote, according to Reuters. “Jean-Claude Van Damme is 100 percent healthy, training well for taking the fight and sending his fans and friends much love.”

Whether Van Damme had a heart attack or not, the fact that he felt the need to insist he hadn’t — to reassert his strength and invulnerability in a field that demands it of its stars — only strengthens Vishnevetsky’s argument. Van Damme’s always trying to prove himself to us. Maybe the fact that he sometimes fails — something an action film should never do — is what makes him valuable.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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