Archive for the MY "TOP" LISTS Category


Posted in LIFE IN GENERAL / RANDOM RAMBLINGS, MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by erikball123

Before I get to the list…let me answer a few questions that are sure to come up in the attempts to spurn any potential backlash. I find that Christmas movies seem to be a personal staple to some people during the holidays and contain crazy things like “special feelings” or “nostalgia.” This list is not an attempt to smash your sugar plums or douse your red-nose. Merely an observation from a talky, simple, Lutheran Drama teacher who likes Christmas.

A few things to consider when reviewing the list:

  • One might perceive some of offerings on the list as “Christmas Specials” (more likely to be found on TV, rather than in the theatres or on DVD.) I say…deal with it. Anything that bring people together in one place at one time to enjoy something with a good message….that’s a MOVIE. (So, church is a movie, school is a movie…and anytime we eat at In-N-Out burger….a movie. Read the bottom of the cup.)
  • I do not have any Hanukkah or Kwanzaa films on here. Not because I don’t believe they deserve to be a part of a blog post like this…but because frankly, aside from “8 Crazy Nights” (which is a cinematic masterpiece!) I don’t know any!
  • I’m basing my choices on what my family and I ENJOY. So, feel free to disagree with me. I love commentary. Review your own list and challenge my views…but don’t say I’m wrong. These are opinions only.


I like this movie. I do. But, not that much. It’s good…the drunk Santa on the float remains as one of the impressions I like to do at Christmas parties the most…and the scene where the little, bratty girl is acting like a monkey is so annoying you just HAVE to laugh at it. It certainly has stood the test of time and people sometimes go ga-ga over the movie, but I personally could never connect with the Santa. He’s kinda pushy at times. Granted he’s elderly and we should learn to be more patient with the elderly…but he’s also Santa, a man of great status. More status requires more responsibility…and a smidge more patience. Smacking people with canes…yeah…I betcha he beats the reindeer too. Rudolph’s nose is bloody red because he “accidentally fell down the stairs.” Abusive Santa. Sheesh. And that janitor guy with the thick accent (“trow it on da floa!”) Gimmie a break. This one remain a Ho-Ho-Hum for me. But….I’ll keep it on a White Christmas Noise as I bake cookies.


Santa: I am happy you came!
Child: Ooh you ARE Sinterklaas!
Santa: Wlll yes of course
Child: I knew it, I knew you would understand me.
Santa: Of couse, tell me what you would like to get from Sinterklaas
(Missing from this clip is when she answers him ) I don’t want anything, I already have everything, I just want to stay with this lovely lady—
Santa: Do you want to sing something for me?
Child: SaintNicolas Little Rascal,
Put something in my little shoe,
Put something in my little boot,
Thank you little SaintNicolas!
SaintNicolas Little Rascal
Put something in my little shoe,
Put something in my little boot,
Thank you little SaintNicolas!

19. SANTA CLAUS: The Movie

You won’t begrudge me at least ONE “so bad, it’s good” movie entry, would you? This is a terrible movie, I’ll start off by saying that. However, it’s the only movie I like with Dudley Moore in it, and ANYTHING starring John Lithgow is gold. The movie’s beginning is actually quite clever in telling a unique tale of how Santa came to be. But plot lines rapidly misfire as soon as things are brought into the present. Homeless boys, lollipops that make you fly (with the help of reindeer dust, of course) and still, no one questions Moore’s silly accent. Lithgow is kinda funny at times and we all know he plays the bad guy REALLY good…but it’s one of those movies I tend to watch every now and then, because it’s so….I don’t know…inventive, at the very least. It’s a less-known movie, so subsequently people haven’t seen it. Tell me what you think.


Animal rights activists protested the movie saying that the “loop-dee-loop” scene was cruel to the reindeer. What they didn’t know is that the actual reindeer used in the film were computer-generated. In reality, the producers saved 15 reindeer from being slaughtered from a Dutch farm.

18. FROSTY The Snowman

As far as cartoons are concerned…this is simply not a well-made cartoon. I used to watch He-Man as a kid, growing up. I loved that stupid show…and recently watched a segment of an episode on the internet…and I thought to myself “why did I like this so much.” Frosty is kinda the same way. The story line is as delicate as a snowflake and offers a luke warm villain. (Kinda a cross between Disney’s Capt. Hook and an older Criss Angel in a bad tux.) The rabbit is funny…and the kid who wants to name the snowman “Oatmeal” is kinda funny…but aside from that, this is nothing more than a cartoon made from a popular Christmas song. It’s one of those shows that will be watched every year, as long as you keep putting them on television. I found myself watching it yesterday, in fact. The central theme of the movie is a good one, I’ll admit.


The Gene Autry cover of the song went to #7 on the contemporary charts the year is was released in 1950. In 2007, Kimberly Locke released a cover of the song and it bolted up to #1 on the US Hot Adult Contemporary Charts.


This is such a clever, revolutionary film that brought back the lost art form of stop-motion animation. Tim Burton is a genius and everything he touches turns to gold in my book. I love this movie and hope that it someday makes its way to the stage in some form. (Like Burton’s Edward Scissorhands.) This film earned a lower standing on the list only because it’s not a movie I readily think of when I think Christmas. It’s probably better suited as a stand-alone “good movie.”


Disney REALLY pushed Burton to allow the making of a sequel. They wanted to do a computer animated sequel where Jack visits Thanksgiving town. Burton responded quickly saying that computer animation would have never been an option, and that he’s very protective of Jack and the other characters. He felt that any sequels would cheapen the purity of the characters. I love Tim Burton.


Home Alone is one of those movies I could watch over and over. Not because I believe it is a cinematic masterpiece, but rather it falls into the same category as Caddyshack, Ghostbusters of Dirty Dancing. (I know…insert joke here.) But, every time it’s on TV, I stop and watch part of it. I say the reason the show is such a success has to do with the post Ferris Bueller genius of John Hughes and a wonderful comedic team of Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern (who is under appreciated, in my book.) The scene where a tarantula is placed on Harry’s face…I still say is the world’s BEST onscreen scream ever. Brilliant. But, I like this movie as a holiday favorite because of the scenes involving the mysterious old man who salts the sidewalks in the neighborhood. Kevin and the old man’s eventual relationship eventually brings forth a genuine moment later in the film when the old man’s family greets him for the first time in years, that ALWAYS brings tears to my eyes. It’s gold.


The movie Kevin watches in the film “Angels with Filthy Souls” pays tribute to the James Cagny film “Angels with Dirty Faces.”


Here we are. I have a feeling my wife will be slighting upset that this particular show is lower on my list. It has become nothing short of a tradition in my house to watch this movie curled up on the couch, covered with our pets, sipping cocoa and admiring the roar of our gas fireplace that I turned on with a festive flick of a switch. I do like the story and find myself singing “..put one foot in front of the other…” at the weirdest times…but it’s not exactly my favorite. Which is odd, because I can’t imagine a Christmas without it. The one thing it DOES have going for it…I hate the villain. Burgermeister Meisterbuger is just heartless and stupid (bad combo.) In the movie when they say “and the Burgermeister’s kinda died off…” I’m like WOOT! (And if you’re ever face to face with the biggest threat to Christmas or good will….just gift him a choo-choo, and life is good.)


Watch the kids in town square when the Burgermeister is burning their toys. All of them are crying…but the one who says “We’ll never play again” is smiling…and remains smiling. What the stink is that about?


I might upset a few with this one as well. While I wouldn’t gather the kiddies around to watch this one on Christmas Eve, I would say that it’s one of the coolest of the “bad” monster movies. Great concept for a little monster set in the most innocent of settings. That creates instant mayhem. Keep in mind, I’m NOT a horror movie fan. Don’t like em. But this is just more of a creepy monster movie…and who can forget the infamous microwave scene?


There’s a plot hole at the beginning of the film. At the beginning of the film we have kids coming home from school. It’s Christmas Eve! Boy, school in that district must really stink!

13. A CHRISTMAS CAROL (George C. Scott Version)

There are a billion Christmas Carols out there. (Everything from a halfway decent Patrick Stewart version to a hyped-up musical theatre version with Kelsey Grammar to a Mr. Magoo version that’s boring after like two minutes.) One of my favorites has always been the George C. Scoot version. If you haven’t watched it, I would highly recommend it. It’s good, old fashioned storytelling at it’s finest, and Scott and darn good at playing the money-grubbing miser. The kiddies will find it boring, because anything in black and white is unwatchable, right? But, this is Christmas movie material to drink Egg Nog by, for sure.


Maybe I’m missing something…but in the movie Scrooge says that his father always held a grudge against him because his mother died after giving birth to him. And yet…he has a younger sister. What the….? The milkman?


You gotta love Bill Murray. He’s a great Scrooge, and the contemporary take on the tale is exactly what the 80’s needed. It has all the elements. FUTURE: Murray’s career has certainly take a HUGE booster shot since those days and is considered one of the greatest comic/tragi-comic minds of our time. PRESENT: Rarely does a Christmas go by that I don’t watch the movie at least twice. It’s on TV all the time and is still very funny today. PAST: Look at the cast of washed-up comedians who at that time were considered forces to be reckoned with. Carol King, Buster Pointdexter, Bobcat Goldthwait….there’s even a reference to Mary Lou Retton!! Hilarious.


In the movie when Claire gives Frank a business card it reads “Operation Reach Out.” When Frank visits the shelter, he walks by a sign that says “Operation Outreach.”


Jim Carrey as the Grinch seems like a perfect fit. Most people I talk to who are younger than me LOVE this movie. Most of the people older than me, hate this movie. I’ll agree that the plot is padded like a down-pillow to stretch it to two-hours. (I mean, does anyone REALLY care that the sex-pot Who winds up with the Grinch later? And, really…what’s the attraction?) The story revolving around Cindy Lou Who looking for the real reason to celebrate Christmas is a better choice and I would have been happy with just that plot line. (Any moment involving the “young Scrooge” which is obviously a little person in make-up….is just plain boring.) But every moment with Carrey in the cave…or interacting with Max…is very, very fun. (“Max! Pick out a bow!”) The one-liners are fast and hilarious…and I love watching it. I suppose every movie has slow parts, right?


Carrey sat in the make-up chair every day for hours to get “Grinch-a-fied” and was known to hum Christmas carols in a “dream-like” state as it was applied.


All I have to say is “they can’t ALL be at the top of the list people!” People LOVE Rudolph. I do too. But, this particular stop animation has such a deep nostalgia (I would argue) because of the cheesy-ness of it all. I love the Burl Ives link (who I still think sounds a little flat when he sings. Just me.) and the credits at the beginning that lists all the songs that he sings. I betcha that was in the contract negotiation. Such a big name, Burl Ives…now he tours with Lady GaGa.

I like in the movie how all the reindeer are JERKS. I mean Comet is every P.E. teacher us wimps hated in high school. (You know who I’m talking about…the teacher that would side with all the jocks an make fun of the weaklings.) Again…we have a jerk of a Santa. Why people like this guy in this movie, I have no idea. He back-talks Mrs. Claus (and check out the food on the dining room table….grey. Ick.) He disses on the elves during choir practice and makes a big deal over his one-man musical number “Jingle, Jingle, Jingle.” (“I’m the King of Jingle-ling!” Really? Where’s your crown?) I’ve met several Kings of Jingle-ling…and they’re usually performing one-man musical acts too. (They’re more like Queens…but whatever.)

Gotta love Yukon Cornelius…”I changed my mind!” (I still shout that throughout the house sometimes!) The Bumble is a fascinating character and the only beast I’ve known to be stopped dead in his tracks because of swift dentistry. And….finally, let’s brake the ice on Hermie. Ah, Hermie. Where do I begin? Purists will refuse to hear anything remotely insinuative about this character. (After all, it wasn’t unknown to mock those light in the loafers back in the day…take a look at the Cowardly Lion, another character I adore more than words.) But, we LOVE how eccentric Hermie is and it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t witness him fixing the doll’s teeth or performing amazingly bad pig impressions. God bless Hermie.


All the female reindeer in the show have no antlers. Reindeer are the only deers where the females also grow antlers.

9. ELF

Elf is one of those movies that came at the height of one actor’s career and at the time was lumped together with other silly movies like Blades of Glory, Bewitched and Wedding Crashers. At the time…was it funny, sure…but was it considered anything MORE than that? Absolutely not. Just take a trip back in time and see what I’m talking about. One-hit Christmas wonders, who attempted to make a long-lasting Holiday movies that just didn’t “stick” after its first go. “Fred Claus”-Vince Vaughn…”Deck the Halls” – Matthew Broderick….”Surviving Christmas” – Ben Afflick…and dare I go there…”The Santa Claus” with Tim Allen. The only reason this lump of coal got so many sequels and airtime is because of the attachment to Disney. For the love of all that is holy, have you seen how many AIR BUD and LAND BEFORE TIME sequels there are??

Elf on the other hand has legitimate staying power in my opinion. It successfully satirizes the stop-motion animation of the late 50s and 60s (down to the Elf costuming!) and it has an endearing plot with a semi-decent ending. (Plus it has about a BILLION one-liners that are said throughout the household time and time again. Someone in your house at some time has said “Buddy, the elf…what’s your favorite color?” I guarantee it.


Originally, Jim Carrey was signed to play the part of Buddy. Also, in the beginning scenes at the North Pole, the elf Ming Ming….yup, that’s Peter Billingsly who played Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.”


I’m surprised at how many people HAVEN’T seen this particular special. It follows the Muppet Show gang to Fozzie’s mother’s country home for an “old fashioned” Christmas. Of course there is a blizzard, and havoc ensues…but what is unique is that it brings together all of the Muppet worlds which, at the time, remained quite segregated. Doc and the Fraggles, along with Sesame Street favorites are all part of the festivities. It’s fun to see the Swedish Chef and Big Bird have a dialogue about Christmas dinner…and all the while the Chef is fixing to cook up the giant bird! (It’s also funny to see how alike Henson and Oz’s collective voices are when you put their characters in such close proximity. Ernie and Kermit…Bert and Fozzie….wow.) It’s a simple storyline filled with gags…and sure there isn’t much substance, but again it’s only 1/2 hour of merriment. It’s good fun, and I have to watch it every year.

By the way…this year “Muppets: Letters to Santa” came out and is available on DVD. Not bad at all! I really liked it! (I love PEPE LA PRAWN. One of my new favorites!) It’s a decent offering with a fun storyline. I recommend it. “A Very Merry Muppet Christmas” however….skip it. New aged mumbo jumbo mixed with a healthy holiday dose of political correctness. Add Whoopi Goldberg…and you’ve got a taste in your mouth like bad egg nog.


This special has been riddled with edits since its original release. Entire songs of “Sleigh Ride,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” and “Home for the Holidays” were cut due to complaints regarding music rights. While these cuts are unfortunate, this Christmas special remains quite enjoyable.


The Grinch is one of my favorite bad guys. He’s so upset and “heartless” because he’s forgotten about and isolated on a mountain top. That’s everyone’s biggest fear, isn’t it? Being alone. Especially at Christmas. I love how sympathetic this particular bad guy is and I’ve always had a connection to the story as a result. The narration is fun and Boris Karloff is brilliant. This, the original adaption of the book, focuses solely on the story of the Grinch only tying in Cindy Lou at one point. There’s something really okay about this in the sense that the later Jim Carrey version fails in having too much going on at once. I mean…who care about the Mayor in the Carrey version…and do we need another bad guy? This version is just right, and I cannot get enough of poor Max the dog. The shot of him as the Santa coat mannequin, clinching the pin cushion in his teeth is classic.


The lyrics to the song “Fahoo Forays” were made to imitate classical Latin. After the special aired, the studio received letters asking for a translation from people who believed them to be real Latin.


Everyone’s favorite blockhead always turns up around Christmas time in this whimsical special that follows the Peanut gang in their attempts to put on a pageant-like show. I love this show because the message is so very relevant and the characters (while little children) are still very much like everyone we associate with every day. There’s the domineering Lucy who has to be the Christmas Queen…Schroeder, the under-appreciated artist, Linus the one everyone’s quick to disregard, but the one with the most foresight, and of course, Charlie Brown…who can’t understand why Christmas has become so materialistic. I find the show charming, heart-warming and funny. (And my wife paid me the ultimate compliment the other night when we were watching the show and identifying the characters with our friends…and she said I’m Snoopy.)

Linus’ single-spotlit telling of the coming of the Christ-child is poignant and beautiful. One of the most magical, memorable moments from ANY Christmas movie and one I will cherish always. I fear one day, in a whirlwind of distraction, some executive will edit that part of the special out. At that point, my friends, from a media / commercial standpoint, Christmas will be lost.


During his famed speech, Linus, who is well known to be dependent on his security blanket, actually lets go of it when he recites these words: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,” which is from Luke 2:10.


Chevy Chase. You either love him or hate him. Regardless of your feelings, one must admit that Christmas Vacation has earned a coveted spot in the traditional Holiday movie line-up. In my opinion, it’s the very best of all the Vacation movies (which, in hind sight, isn’t saying much….Vegas Vacation=barf) but it’s also very true to the burdens we all encounter from time to time in hosting family and tradition. Clark’s unwavering determination to make sure his family meets a “good old fashioned family Christmas” is nothing short of inspiring and in the end, (*spoiler alert*) while the Christmas miracle comes with a promise of a bonus check…and that’s about it…it still leaves you with a warm gushy feeling in your heart as abundant as cousin Eddie’s one-liners. A fast favorite for those who have never seen it. (It does have some swear words…but the name-calling scene is hilarious and rivals the swearing scene from “What about Bob?”)


The only Vacation movie to not feature the Lindsey Buckingham song “Holiday Road” throughout the entire film. Also, the actress who played Aunt Bethany (Mae Questel) was the original voice of “Betty Boop.” This was her last appearance in a film. She passed away shortly afterward.


Okay…I have a thing for Muppets! Seriously, though, this is a fantastic version of the classic Dicken’s tale. (Of course, featuring the famous Muppet craziness and charm.) The Henson writing team is very clever and how they wrap a story around their army of kooky characters. (Fozziwig…The Marleys, Robert and Jacob, played by Statler and Waldorf…and of course, if you’re going to have a telling narrator, who better than the great Gonzo.) The role of Scrooge being played by Michael Caine (who was BORN to play the role) is a great idea. I believed his every move…unlike some special guests to the Muppet specials who look like they’re just going through the punches. It’s a warm, classic retelling that I love more than mistletoe and homemade gingerbread.


This was the first feature-length production in which Kermit’s voice was not provided by Jim Henson (who had recently died). Steve Whitmere took over the role. Also, Michael Caine to this day, considers Scrooge to be one of his favorite roles.


Stand back! Prepare yourself. This movie remains to be the most quoted movie in my household and one of our favorite movies of all time! It’s a brilliant and simple story with iconic characters we can identify with nuzzled in a time somewhat forgotten by today young ones. It’s nostalgia personified. The Red Ryder BB Gun is always at the top of my Christmas list, and I wouldn’t know what to do with the thing if I ever received one. But, just like the “Christmas Story,” our narrated character lays it all out for us in the hopes that we may connect in similar plights in our collective family / holiday journeys. Randy is such a lovable little dolt, Mrs. Shields is everybody’s elementary school teacher and the Old Man…if you can’t find something about this character that reminds you of growing up with your own father, then maybe you need to watch the movie again.


According to Director Bob Clark, Jack Nicholson was given the script and was very much interested in the role of Mr. Parker, “The Old Man”. However, Clark didn’t learn of this until later and the studio didn’t want to pay Nicholson’s fee anyway, which would have doubled the budget. Regardless, Clark says that Darren McGaven was still the better choice and was born to play the role.


Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye’s offering is a brilliant old-school movie musical that never gets old. I love the off-beat shenanigans of Kaye, the droll set-ups of Crosby…and the goofy review-style productions they offer in grandiose fashion. The theatre geek in me would love to be transported back in time to just see the movie sets for these types of movies. Amazing, and a great story. True the buttermilk by the fire “counting your blessings” scene is cheesy…and I still get miffed at the nosey receptionist who misinterprets a phone call and turns events on their ears. But, what would an old-fashioned movie musical be without the sudden conflict and inevitable resolve at the end. The songs are some of my favorite of the season and I will follow this “old man” wherever he wants to go!


The “Sisters” comedy act that Crosby and Kaye perform was not originally in the script. They were clowning around on the set and the director thought it was so funny that it was written in.


I think Jimmy Stewart is so wonderful in this role, and this iconic story is one that will forever be the reason I get going when the going gets tough….look past the negative…and always be thankful for what I have in life. A bit overly dramatic? Perhaps, but seriously, this remains my favorite film of all time. The sentiment in each moment and the warmth in George’s devotion to the company and his family and the resolve that find him literally saying grace at the head of the table with his family and friends surrounding him. It’s a beautifully filmed movie with a brilliant script. Clarence, although goofy, is still simple enough to be thought upon as what an innocent, on-looking being from heaven might actually be like if among us. And the villain…the crippled Mr. Potter…is superb. He’s horrible in his selfishness and with an air of Scrooge and a hoarse rumble of the Grinch…he helps to generate a character we can all relate to. We get behind George from the very beginning and rally him at the end. It’s one of my favorite traditions to watch this movie on Christmas Day. I love it.


As Uncle Billy is leaving George’s house drunk, it sounds as if he stumbles over some trash cans on the sidewalk. In fact, a crew member dropped some equipment right after Uncle Billy left the screen. Both actors continued with the scene (“I’m all right, I’m all right!”) and director Frank Capra decided to use it in the final cut. He gave the clumsy stagehand a $10 bonus for “improving the sound.”

For the scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock into the window of the Granville House, Capra hired a marksman to shoot it out for her on cue. To everyone’s amazement, Reed broke the window with true aim and heft without the assistance of the hired marksman


Well, there you have it folks. I would encourage you to think about your top 20 Christmas movies (or top 10, or top 5) and post them here in the comments section. Maybe I forgot one or two, and the point of this blog post is to shine some light on some amazing movies that you and your family might enjoy this holiday season. I would like to wish you and yours Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Posted in MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2009 by erikball123

When you’re backed into a corner in some hyper-exaggerated, super enhanced tale of super powers versus super evil…who will certainly swoop down and rescue you at the last second and save the day? That’s right! The faithful neighborhood sidekick. After all, the superhero has better things to do, right?

I never understood the reasoning behind a sidekick. (From the sidekick’s point of view anyway.) I mean…if you were a super hero who is obviously doing well and highly respected, why on earth would you settle for babysitting a second-hand, second-class super hero as a tag-along? You’d spend your precious time narrating city-saving plans in great detail when you could be freeing people from burning buildings. You answer questions that don’t need to be answered. There are two sets of tights to wash now!

Rarely do I think of super-side-kicks without getting rather annoyed about the whole affair. I mean…what’s SUPER about any of them. They’re nothing more that plot devices to further story lines, or joke setter-uppers.

With that said…I pay tribute to the most PATHETIC sidekicks of all time by presenting the TOP 20. Mind you this is my personal opinion…and yes, my list expanded beyond just these 20…so for all of you who are surfing the Internet for a good Mr. Green Jeans ribbing, move along. He’s number 21.

20. CHEWBACCA (Han Solo’s sidekick)

20 chewbacca

I am totally planning on waking up tomorrow morning to a small army of Star Wars ninjas at my front door ready to slice me in two with their plastic light sabers and over-sized social calenders for even suggesting Chewbacca is pathetic. But, face it…the dude is not very bright. He’s easily distracted, loud and obnoxious…and does anyone really buy the fact that his weapon of choice is a crossbow? (“He’s the hairiest Star Wars character yet. Let’s give him a weapon that would require the exposed firing mechanism to be completely unobstructed. Brilliant!”) On top of that, we never know what he’s saying! Sure, Jabba gets subtitles…but not the overgrown Chinchilla with a crossbow.  I think the REAL purpose of Chewbacca is to give Han Solo more sway, you know. He’s cool anyway…but with a giant bodyguard behind him who is fiercely loyal….shoot, I won’t mess with the guy. Would you?

19. ETHEL (Lucy Ricardo’s Sidekick)

19 ethel

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing more enjoyable than a blast from the past as we watch Lucy and Ethel cram chocolates into their mouths, or gawk over William Holden…Ethel earns a spot on my elite listing not because she can’t set up a joke for the lead, or because she isn’t remotely sympathetic. More so, I’m mad at her for marrying a man that is clearly her grandfather. Fred Mertz is the walking dead and Ethel is his crypt keeper. The whole situation isn’t the least bit funny. A funny old man is at least “use-able”…then we’re laughing at the situation because it’s just plain dirty. But, what the heck!? The whole thing is played off as totally convincing, and it is SOOOO not. As a result the whole situation just fails, big time. I wind up not liking Ethel because of it.  I’m a theatre dude, and I’m cool with the whole suspended reality thing…but, come on. Ethel will always remain an unfortunate CRYPT KEEPER!

18. ROBIN (Batman’s Sidekick)18 robin

Now, let me preface this one. I actually like ROBIN as a sidekick in a sense, but ONLY from a Batman television series perspective, for two reasons. One, my wife and I adopted our Great Pyrenees from a rescue shelter in California that is owned by Burt Ward and his wife. (GREAT people, by the way who I wouldn’t say a bad word about.) Secondly, in the realm of hokey television superheros, I think Robin has a place. Without a “Holy Hairspray, Batman” before the ensuing, captioned fist-fight, I think I would feel empty inside. It’s just hokey-pokey silliness, and silly = good in my book when done right. Now, Robin in the freakin’ George Clooney/Uma Thurman Batman remake disaster, that’s just plain dumb, dumb, dumb. (That goes for Silverstone’s pudgy Batgirl…and ANY sidekick that has “boy” or “girl” attached to their moniker.) So, for the record…cheers to Burt Ward’s Robin. Keep on soarin’! To all the other Robin’s out there…I give you the bird.

17. IGOR (Dr. Frankenstein’s Sidekick)

17 igor

Granted, Marty Feldman can do just about anything and make me laugh, but we’re not talking about the “Eye-Gore” from the Mel Brooks film. Rather, Igor in general. It’s just a lumpy, dumpy, ho-hum character. The subservient, “jump when I say jump” type of character gets old quick, and soon you find yourself wishing he’d just pick up a snow shovel and clobber Dr. Frankenstein…or the monster…or a Bunsen burner….or something! Do something, you humped simpleton!

16. SMEE (Capt. Hook’s Sidekick)

16 smee

Again, props to my friend Paul who played Smee opposite of my Hook. This has nothing to do with you Paul…merely the Smee from versions of the story onscreen. I have a hard time liking Smee, which I think is one of the author’s immediate goals. Smee seems to always be portrayed as a dolt. You know…a few fries short of a Happy Meal. Bob Hoskin’s Smee in “Hook” was the only thing remotely close to an onscreen interpretation I thought was what Smee should have been: a proud man in a coward’s clothing. That’s a struggle. That’s a sub-plot. That’s fun. A dolt is nothing more than a dolt…and that never does anything for me except leave me wondering if that stupid crocodile would like an after-dinner SMINT.

15. PATRICK (Spongebob’s Sidekick)

15 patrick

I want to be very clear: I do not apologize for this one. Patrick is quite possibly the most annoying character I’ve ever watched. He’s like a perfect combination of the most hyperactive ADHD 7-year old you can find…and…just about any methamphetamine.  This comment will hurt some people, I know. But if you truly are a die-hard Patrick fan, then you are used to the controversy that surrounds Spongebob in general. The whole show is about as controversial as pre-death Michael Jackson. (Too soon?) This, plus,  he looks kinda like a “naughty part” to me. That’s just wrong.

14. WOODSTOCK (Snoopy’s Sidekick)

14 woodstock

Snoopy is so freakin’ cool. I love him. Why in the WORLD would he need a complaining, fuzzy sidekick who does nothing but spew forth indecipherable jibber-jabber? Plus, he looks half-drawn half the time. I don’t have anything personal against Woodstock (which begs the question of “Was someone high at the time the bird was drawn?”) it’s just he’s not needed. Trim the fat!

13. SMITHERS (Mr. Burns’ Sidekick)

13 smithers

I love the Simpsons, even if Family Guys continues to fuel the “silly” section of my brain with up-to-date media references and a constant flow of Broadway references,  Simpsons is still kinda cool. And to piggy-back that statement, Smithers is kinda cool. But, he’s totally pathetic. This lightweight, light in the loafers personal assistant to Mr. Burns is always shedding light on Burns’ crusty, unfocused attacks. He’s picked on, unappreciated, and unsympathetic because he never does anything about it. Who likes a masochist sidekick?

12. MINI ME (Dr. Evil’s Sidekick)

12 mini meOkay…before I say that little people are funny (and I refuse to enter the “why the word midget is okay to say” debate)…let me just say that in the performance industry you have to understand your limitations in order to effectively market yourself. Little people have it easy in the sense that the demand is usually a short list. Ahhh…excuse me. What I mean to say is, little people are in demand and take advantage of these acting gigs to heighten their exposure…ah….sorry. Little people are funny!!!! They’re smaller than normal. They’re travel size!

Joking aside, you have to appreciate someone who can laugh at themselves which is exactly what actors do when they accept roles like “Mini Me.” But, beyond the subject of Little People actors (and the fact that those Mini Buffalo Ranch Chicken Burger at Jack in the Box look good without or without the Little People dancing around them)…Mini Me in general is yet another example of an under appreciated sidekick. Ask anybody why they like Mini Me. You usually get an intelligent response like, “he’s funny” or “cuz he’s smaller…and he’s funny.” It’s just a comedic bit that lasted beyond the normal length of a traditional bit which is one of Mike Myers’ trademarks: overextending himself. (Or, rather “under-extending” himself??)

11. TINKERBELL (Peter Pan’s Sidekick)

11 tinkerbellI’m assuming we’ve all been to the land of merriment and high marketing called Disneyland. My last trip I had a single goal: bring my wife back something with the Cheshire Cat on it. (Her favorite.) For the love of all that is holy…I couldn’t find anything more than a freakin’ key chain featuring the pink and pesky puss. The stores were infiltrated by floods of Tinkerbells! It was borderline ridiculous. I get it. Little girls wanna be a princess or a fairy. Fine. But, c’mon!!! Do we really need Tinkerbell toilet paper and Tinkerbell elbow pads?? (Both can be gift wrapped.) And what helps me round out the bottom portion of my top 20 list with this green fairy is the simple fact that she’s not very nice. Don’t let that smile fool you. Why Peter chose her as a companion is beyond me. I suppose everyone likes to be fawned over. (But, c’mon. How much fawning can one gal do at two inches tall?) She’s the epitome of that jealous girlfriend you had in high school that told all her friends to be mad and ignore you because you took of breath of the same air Betsy Jones did in math class. She’s mean! She’s the perfect commentary of how WRONG today young ladies are being raised. “Here you go girls….here’s a role model you can be proud of! Now get that tiara on! We’re gonna be late for our Sunny Apple Beauty Pageant. We’ll kill those hussies!”

10. PINKY (The Brain’s Sidekick)

10 pinky

There’s a lot to be said for the Anamaniacs series. I thought it was incredibly funny stuff, and they always hugged that line of trying to keep things educational, which I liked. Then there was the secondary storyline of “Pinky and the Brain.” What’s to be said about a Dr. Evil-like rodent and the dim-witted…borderline mentally incapacitated…sidekick. They were certainly funny…but the storyline got really old after the first second. We knew Pinky would mess things up. We knew the Brain would get angry and eventually caught because of Pinky’s shenanigans. We knew it. Plus, his name is first, which makes us think the Brain is the sidekick. So, for me…it was a predictable, abrasive, shove-the-joke-down-your-throat, attempts at bringing together a legit comic team. Leave the honeymooner bits to Ralph and Norton.

#9 VANNA WHITE (Pat Sajak’s Sidekick)

9 vanna white

I love Vanna White. That doesn’t mean she’s not a pathetic sidekick. I recall watching a taped interview with Merv Griffin about how Vanna was hired. The good-ol’ boy proceeded to recount how he told his secretary to pick 12 random head shots out of hundreds and lay them on his desk. He walked in a pointed to one and said “that one.” From there, Vanna has lived countless years on television as a household sex symbol. She apparently never ages. She’s constantly in demand. She’s bloody rich and famous and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All she does is walk back and forth and flip letters. (Actually, now all she does is touch the screen and they pop up.) And all this opportunity, recognition, fame and celebrity was brought upon by one old fart’s libido. Gotta love the performance industry. Pathetic, isn’t it.

#8 TATTOO (Mr. Roarke’s Sidekick)

8 tattoo

I’ll tell ya…as cheesy as Fantasy Island was, I still found value it the show. But the reason Tattoo is on my list…an rather high on the list…is because I always thought should I ever die after a terrible nightmare, it will be because someone like Herve Villechaize was standing over me with an axe waiting for me to abruptly wake from my shaky slumber. It’ll be like a dream about me being chased by an army of rabid bagels through some Jewish deli. In my frantic attempts to escape I’ll run into Sammy Davis Jr. He’ll be like “Who’s chasing you, baby? The Sesame? The Poppy Seed?” And I’d be like “I DON’T KNOW!!!!” Then I’d wake up! Tattoo, axe in hand, would say “It’s Da Plain! Da Plain!” And then he’d kill me.

#7 MARCIE (Peppermint Patty’s Sidekick)

7 marcie

It seems that every time Marcie and Peppermint Patty come up in conversation the subject of lesbianism is always suggested. I will not exercise lesbian jokes. Marcie was secretly in love with Charlie Brown and every true Peanuts fan will know that. Just because we never saw Peppermint Patty in anything but husky sandals doesn’t mean a thing. I live in the desert, I see that sort of thing all the time. They can’t ALL be lesbians! And it’s not that I’m not fans of sandals or anything. (Heck, I own a pair, doesn’t make me a lesbian….wait a minute….actually, I suppose I am a lesbian. *pondering* Hmmmm.  How the heck did I get on this topic!!) Anyway…back to Marcie. She’s the quintessential “follower.” She hangs on Patty’s every word and can’t wait to one-up her in intelligence. She’s the brains behind the brawn you might say, and everyone knows that the brains rarely get the recognition they deserve.

6. AL BORLAND (Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s Sidekick)

6 al borlandWhat a pathetic sidekick. Behind every funny man is a sidekick who sits frozen with a disapproving smirk on their mug. I used to hate the never ending banter between Al and Tim about the stupidest things. (I can’t believe I watched that show as often as I did. Those are hours I’ll never have again!! Darn you Jonathan Taylor Thomas and your stupid popularity!!) It was just a bad show that flourished in the post Cosby era that should have been cancelled as quickly as Tim Allen used to juggle dime bags. At Least Richard Karn (who played the role) landed a sweet deal with Family Feud after the show ended. “Survey Says? ERRRRRRRRRR!”

#5 TWIGGY (Buck Roger’s Sidekick)

5 twiggy

Yeah…I can’t stand this character. “Be-de-be-de-be-de-be-de.” This character found himself on my list strictly because of the voice over. It’s like the Darth Vader thing all over again. Except this time the actor looks like he can’t even move in that suit. Seriously, doesn’t TWIGGY look like he’s gonna fall over half the time!? Just a terrible idea. Yet…people liked him. I don’t get it. It’s like Klingons, I suppose.  Armies of people memorize the the Klingon dictionary and find great joy travelling in packs and ordering Big Mac by saying “AGGGKKKPP. GUNNNG, POOOOG YAAAGGG!!!” Just…..WHY???

#4 PAUL SHAFFER (David Letterman’s Sidekick)

4 paul shaffer

I would be remiss to leave Paul Shaffer off of my top ten list.  His less-than-sharp, more-than-cheesy segue music for late night guests is just…well…lackluster. His contrived laughter after every twinkle of Letterman’s eye drives me nuts and what’s with the giant, stupid ear plugs? Does he has swimmer’s ear? Does he take on water? Simply put, in a cage fight featuring  Ed McMahon and Paul Shaffer…McMahon would be the world champ (and I’m NOT just saying that because he’s dead) and Shaffer would be a bald pile of goo underneath the turnbuckle. A bald pile of goo with gigantic ear plugs. (If the guy is going deaf, I’m going to feel really bad now.)

#3 BOO BOO (Yogi Bear’s Sidekick)

3 boo boo

Boo Boo opened the door for any undiagnosed couch potato suffering from depression. He’s the biggest ho-hum on television. Droopy Dog was ho-hum, but at least he was blue and had his OWN cartoon. But, Boo Boo, he’s just a downer. I feel depressed after watching a cartoon with him in it. He’s like,  “It’s okay to sponge off of your friends’ picnic baskets.  It’s okay to say that you’re worried, or sad, or gloomy. And furthermore, it’s okay to lumber around with a frown on your face and droopy eyes.”  Boo Boo is a sad little bear. (And I think he’s a “cutter.”) I feel sorry for him. Now that he’s old and gray, I hope he’s found some happiness in his life. But, truth be told, Boo Boo is quite pathetic and was Hannah Barbara’s biggest boo-boo.

2. ORKO (He-Man’s sidekick.)

2 orkoYes, yes…I know, Orko wasn’t officially He-Man’s sidekick. And C-3PO wasn’t Luke Skywalker’s. Whatever. He was “pretty much” his sidekick…so I’m going to count it. And NO, Kringer should not have made my list because as Battle Cat…he’s a freakin’ pimp. Orko is just annoying. He’s like that little nephew that won’t leave you alone at family functions. You know the type. You just can’t wait till he follows you into the backyard for a slice of watermelon so that you can trip him in the doorway. That’s Orko…I just WANT him to get comeuppance. Anytime he gets electrocuted or made fun of…or when one of his tricks doesn’t work…I’m like “yeah! Take that stupid hovering…thing.” ORKO…what a dork-o.

1.) SCRAPPY-DOO (Scooby-Doo’s Sidekick)

1 scrappy

Words cannot express my utter hatred for this character. Scooby-Doo has never been, in my book, a television masterpiece. Yet, I watched and enjoyed. I think I was just totally hot for Daphne…but that’s besides the point. The whole show was a hot mess from day one, and it came to a screeching halt when Scrappy hit the scene. What an annoying little bugger. (Kinda like that chicken hawk twirp that bugged Foghorn Leghorn.) You just wanna smack ’em. Scrappy remains the top of not only my Pathetic Sidekicks list, but also my “Most Annoying Television Characters list” and my “People I would Beat to Death with a Garden Weasel” list. Scrappy…”puppy power” your over-sized head off…these Scooby snacks are all mine!


Well, that’s all folks…..there’s my list.

Sure you may think to yourself, “how dare he leave Barney Rubble off.” His laugh makes me laugh. “How dare he leave Fozzie Bear off.” I actually like his sad attempts at jokes. “How dare he leave Ernie off.” I consider Bert and Ernie one puppet. “How dare he leave Sancho Panza off.” Too literal.

I’d love to hear about your LEAST FAVORITE SIDEKICK. Perhaps there are a few out there I haven’t thought about.


Posted in MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by erikball123

Tis the season to be scared out of your wits by impostors posing as Jolly Old Saint Nick. How dare these two-bit crazies call themselves Santa and dish out miniature candy canes to unsuspecting toddlers! In my effort to draw awareness to this unrecognized and growing nation-wide dilemma, I give you the TOP 25 EPIC MALL SANTA “FAILS” and accompanying captions.


#1 – “Hey there kid. Stop cryin’! It’s me…Ed Anser. You know…Mary Tyler Moore Show. C’mon. You don’t remember me?”


#2 – Attacked by the Happy Elf!


#3 – “Hey! I have a day job as a Birthday party clown. Don’t make me bust out my tickle finger!”


#4 – First and foremost…let’s agree on a focal point. Secondly, could “silk shirt” and “fake blond” BE any less interested. At least the chair is wide enough. It’s like a stinkin’ Santa love seat. Neither of these peeps is feelin’ the love.



#5 - "My Santa...what fuzzy sleeves you have." "What!? These? Truth be told kid...I haven't done this in a while and I had to improvise. The hat...sleeves....cut from a roll of insulation I had in my trunk."



#6 - First of all...what's with the Frank Lloyd Wright-like chair. Secondly...this is like super-spread-out Santa. Poor kid is nearly on the floor. "Skooch over, fatty!"


#7 – A skinny, stiff as a board…purple-suit clad Santa with no hat. Where do I begin? I mean, the chest of candy canes is bigger than this guy! This must be…like, Santa after the depression. And what’s with the purple?? What is this, Norway?


#8 – This photo is evidence. Note the demon-like eyes….These communist robots disguised as children are spies attempting to infiltrate the Malls of America. Nice try with the sweatshirt, sweetie, but we see right thru ya! Oh yeah…the Santa: covert agent Higgins. Nice job, Higgins.


#9 – A lot of people don’t know this…but for every 100 Mall Santas, the North Pole donates 1 Free Santa to the state’s local soup kitchen. This is Nebraska’s Santa: William Crotty. (*Lush chair not Included.)


#10 – “Here comes Santy Joey DeLuca…Here comes Santy Joey DeLuca….Right down Santy Joey DeLuca’s lane. Whaa??? You gotta problem?”


#11 – “That’s right, little boy! Scream your head off! Neither your mommy, your daddy…my terribly rusty jingle bells, or my cotton ball eyebrows can save you now!” (*NOTE: Could Santa BE digging his fingernails in anymore? No wonder the kid is shoutin’!”



#12 - "YES! And upon my throne of crayons, I shall rule the world." Note: Like Jingle Bells. What's up with the bells?


#13 – “Hey there lilla boy! I’m your Santy Clauff….Hat? Who needs a lilla hat, or whatever. No, I ain’t been drinkin’. I don’t need no drinks. I do need a comb. You see, I gots me a HUGE head of hair. It’s like clouds…or a polar bear…or fog. It’s real too…I love it. It’s soft and warm and….STOP CRYING! Darn kids.”


#14 – Evidence of a lack of good dental insurance at the North Pole.


#15 – Is this guy for real? It looks like Paul Rudd, don’t it?


#16 – “Dude….just take da kid, eh? Look….just take her! She needs to get into the spirit of Christma—don’t make me come over dare young lady. I’ll smack those tears off your face so fast, you’ll be marchin’ here and there, all around the square, singing catch me if you can!”


#17 – “Um…yeah. Do you guys really need me here? Tell you what….I’ll just stay in the back here behind CHEEKS, EYEBROWS and the PEEKER ELF. No prob.”



#18 - "Um...yeah, Santa. For Christmas I'd like a Malibu Barbie...a Lite-Bright....and Gastric Bypass."



#19 - NO-FACE SANTA!!!



#20 - "Jim...grab SUZIE! Santa's getting bitey again!"









#24 - "Don't worry there kiddies! Just so long as Santa here has taken his pills....then we'll all have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!"



#24 - Today's SCARY SANTA is brought to you by WAL-MART. WAL-MART...we've got egg nog too!



#25 - All I that I'm LITERALLY having nightmare about this Santa tonight. How freaky is this!

So, you better watch out! You’d better not cry! You’d better not pout! I’m tellin’ you why! Santa Clause might eat your small children! I suggest pepper spray in the stockings this year.

Top 20 Coolest Disney Characters of All Time

Posted in MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2008 by erikball123

Before I even begin writing this list, I need to be perfectly clear. This is a listing of MY top twenty Disney characters that I’ve always thought were just stinkin’ cool. Cool is a subjective term. You’ll notice Mickey Mouse is not on my list. Some would consider that sacrilegious. I like Mickey. Who doesn’t like Mickey. But he’s not on my top twenty list of the COOLEST Disney characters. (And I feel no obligation to put him or any other “classic” character there as a “tip of the hat” gesture.) Also, I’ve limited my list to ANIMATED films. (Yes, even digitally animated films.) I make no apologies for my list, and I stand by my decisions. You are welcome to argue them.

20. DORY (From “Finding Nemo”)

Dory is back on the list, because a reader of this blog was so kind to remind me that “Kung Fu Panda” is actually a Dreamwork movie, not Disney…which subsequently knocked Po out of the running. So, Dory is here and after thinking about it for a while….rightly so! What a fun character! Ellen Degeneres brings this hilarious Blue Tag fish to life and audience were delighted. She’s crazy, forgetful, enthusiastic, and sensative. (Sounds like my yearly evaluation with the principal at my school!) Anyway…congrats Dory for finding your way onto the list. Just keep swimming…just keep swimming!

19. PONGO (From “101 Dalmatians”)

Let’s face it…of all the ANIMAL Disney heroes, he’s by far the slickest. He’s cool, collected, loyal, and above all he loves his family. He goes to great lengths (even putting himself in the line of fire) to save those he cares about. He’s not an arrogant leader either. Even though he’s the reason why everyone went out and got Dalmatian puppies, thus giving puppy mills a booster shot, we won’t hold that against him.

18. MALEFICENT (From “Sleeping Beauty”)

Can we be perfectly honest with one another for a second, without hurting any feelings? Okay. “Sleeping Beauty” is not a cinematic masterpiece. It’s weak in character development and sub-plot structure. I’d even go as far to say that Princess Aurora (who has the most difficult name to pronounce of all of the Disney princesses…especially if you’re of Asian heritage) is kinda bland in comparison to her nemesis. I’ll even go on record saying that I’ve always found Maleficent a smidge attractive. (It’s the high collar, assertiveness and green skin. Love green skin for some reason.) My little Lima bean queen is just a fierce villain. That’s all there is to it. The topper is that she turns into a freakin’ dragon…a cool one too! Aurora spends half the movie frolicking in the woods bare foot….and who does she get with in the end? Mighty Prince Phillip. (Who comes up with these names!!!)

17. GASTON & LAFOU (From “Beauty and the Beast”)

I don’t mean to lump these two together, and it’s kinda my sneaky way of getting more characters into the countdown…but I do think that as far as great comedic teams are concerned, they’re on the best. Gaston is a strong, arrogant, studly beefcake and LeFou is his bumbling side-kick. Before they say a word you can’t wait to see what happens based on that description! I also like the collective journey these two take throughout the story. I would argue that Gaston has a wildly evil moment with the Beast at the end and reaches his fatal demise in a gruesome way. (In comparison to others. I mean, even Capt. Hook disappears still struggling with the crocodile…so we’re left hanging.) They’re drawn very well…and these two you can totally connect with. You can probably think right now about someone you know who is EXACTLY like Gaston or LeFou, am I right? (Shout out to Evan Litt who played LeFou opposite of my Gaston this year.)

Evan Litt as LeFou

Me as Gaston and Evan Litt as LeFou in Signature Production's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

16. IAGO (From “Aladdin”)

Iago is one of those annoying characters that you love to hate. Every great villain needs a side-kick or an on-looker. Iago’s contributions to Jafar’s dark side is what makes Jafar an effective character. Disney has to be careful. Can’t be too scary (something that happened in “Hunchback” in my opinion) and you can’t be too campy (something that happened in “Robin Hood.”) So, you sandwich the two together, then spin away the silly stuff in the end of the film, and you’ve got an effective bad guy. Add to the fact that Gilbert Godfrey voices the bird, and you have a brilliant comedic Disney cocktail…or rather…cockatoo, tail!

15. BALOO (From “The Jungle Book”)

Baloo is very much like John Goodman, if you ask me. I didn’t care much for ROSEANNE, but I find myself watching reruns of the show simply because John Goodman, and that chick who plays Roseanne’s sister….they’re so funny! Baloo is that friendly, funny, kinda dum-dee-dum type of character that is just fun to watch. I suppose it helps that Mowgli is just flat out annoying, and I could never STAND that character…but still. I have a soft spot for Baloo.

14. EDNA E. MODE (From “The Incredibles)

Edna is simply a fantastic character. First of all…”The Incredibles” is brilliant. That being said, this quirky, uppity, little tribute to Alfred from Batman and Q from James Bond MAKES the movie. She is feisty, slick, smart and resourceful. She’s got a great voice and the deadpan delivery kept me in stitches and burdened me throughout my weekend as I tried again and again, in vein, to mimick it. That, and the character is intimidating. Love it. Before we move on, real quick…any one else think she’s is the spitting image of Project Runway’s Christian?

13. CRUELLA DEVILLE (From “101 Dalmations”)

Alright…let’s talk about Cruella Deville. I know she get a bad rap, but let’s face it. She’s awesome. She’s been around forever and didn’t necessarily come from the best family situation. To step away from her other brothers like that and pursue a solo music career is very ambitious. Her recording career has become infamous and some of the most influential work in the music industry, period. I mean, when she released “Beat It,” “Billy Jean,” “Thriller” and dozens of other number one singles….I mean, she set the standard in……what? *Pause* She’s not…what? *Pause* You mean, she didn’t…..hmmmm. Are you sure? That wasn’t her dangling the baby from the balcony? Really! *Soft Whispering Heard* What’s that? You have proof? Let me see.

This proves nothing.

12. AM and SI (The Siamese Cats from “The Lady and the Tramp”)

The Siamese Cat song is just plain creepy. I love these two little devils and the way they are presented in animation…it’s so deliciously accurate. Siamese Cats are so much like these two, it’s not even funny. They’re crafty, they’re fun…and they stick out in my mind as being a part of one the neatest Disney movie moments ever.


This funny, snippy Owl is the best part of this under-appreciated Disney classic. Merlin would be on my list, but they ended up making him really goofy in the end. Kinda upsetting. But Archimedes is a wry, sourpuss, and who doesn’t love a sour-puss? Half the country is days away from voting for one! (That was a dig, I know. I’ll even it out. Ummm. Hmmm. The other one has big ears. There.) I watch “The Sword and the Stone” specifically because of Archimedes. (Who was voiced beautifully by Junius Matthews.)

10. SIR HISS (From “Robin Hood”)

Sir Hiss, that silly serpent was the best part of Robin Hood. (A movie is affectionately refer to as “a mess.”) Disney could have done SO much more with this movie.  It’s a classic tale with limit-less possibilities. We could have had a classic tale with amazing heroes and crazy bad villains. Instead we have  wussy bad guy, a unlikable fox Maid Marion…and the best character is a stinkin’ after-thought side-kick. Well, I’m glad they developed Hiss…of all of the Disney snakes…he’s the besssssssst. The only other good thing to come from this movie was a seriously sped-up track of the chorus to “Robin Hood and Little John” that is directly associated with the techno Hampster Dance. I’m dead serious when I say that someone is making a living off of the Hampster Dance. God Bless America.

9. TIMON & PUMBA (From “The Lion King”)

Timon and Pumba are the Batman and Robin of Disney characters. Probably the best duo in the history of Disney. Amazing vocal performances, hilarious and memorable musical numbers, carefree yet caring characters that grabbed audiences from the beginning and haven’t let loose yet. I mean, c’mon…how many of you have been to the zoo lately? A million bucks says you looked at the meerkats and said “Look, it’s Timon!” Everybody has!

8. SCAR (From “The Lion King”)

By law, Jeremy Irons should have to voice every animated villain until he dies. What an amazing vocal performance. He’s scary and delightfully evil. The movement and animation on this film is first-rate, and the scenes with the hyenas during “Be Prepared”….I would have to say that it’s one of the finest animated villain songs ever. Add to the fact that he’s basically a simple lion with a slight deformation, and you’ve got an unsuspecting, haunting monster waiting to pounce! Good times.

7. KRONK (From the “Emperor’s New Groove”)

Kronk is voiced by Patrick Warburton. He’s awesome. He starred in the live action version of the cartoon “TICK.” (It was very short-lived.) He also was Elaine’s boyfriend in Seinfeld. He’s very good at playing the clueless character…or the under appreciated character….or the likable dummy. In “Emperor’s New Groove,” a comedic master-piece in its own right (and by FAR David Spade’s best movie) he’s the mountainous side-kick to the completely unlikable (for the wrong reasons) Ertha Kitt villain. (I can’t even remember her name. Who cares, really.) If you never have seen this movie…go out and buy it now. If only for this brilliant secondary character. He’s genius.

6. CAPTAIN HOOK (From “Peter Pan”)

Captain Hook is an icon. He can easily be ranked in the Top 20 villains of all time list, if you asked me. He’s a pirate, which earns him bonus points right off…..he’s got a hook for an appendage, he’s scared of crocodiles, and the ticking of an alarm clock inside the belly of the always-pursuing beast keeps him constantly at bay. Dang…before you even tell the story you have bunches to work with there! Peter Pan has always been some sort of an enigma to me. I always found myself relating to Hook in the story. I mean…the kid is a brat! Hook is just trying to do his job….pillage, plunder, murder and steal. (Normal, everyday piratey things to do, right?) But this flying, jolly, green pixie is always up in his grill messin’ wit his bizznass. Homeboy askin’ for some hook….if you asked me. BANGARANG!

5. FLOWER (From “Bambi”)

Flower may come across as a bit namby-pamby at first…but when you talk about innocence incarnate, Flower is one of the sweetest Disney characters ever. And how genius is it that Flower is a skunk? Nobody said Disney wasn’t clever. Bambi is one of those doe-eyed movies of yesteryear that people long associate with this old-school was of thinking and doing. Usually, people regard them with a long-distance sentiment that seperates them from anything even remotely produced today. I argue that if it wasn’t for movies like Bambi and characters like Flower, we would have no basis for comparison for today heroes, victims and villains. Love him, or hate him…the skunk is a pioneer. But you can call him Flower if you want to.

4. LUMIERE (From “Beauty and the Beast”)

Lumiere is Disney’s finest front man. The fact that he’s French helps, I think, because it puts a romantic, slightly goofy (but only because the French take themselves so seriously) sort of machismo about him. But on top of that, he’s a showman with grace, manners and sentiment. Plus, he’s on fire…which adds an element of danger. What do you have…a premiere Disney character that some may argue is Disney’s #1 most charming character ever. Voiced by the brilliant (God rest his soul) Jerry Orbach, he is every musical theatre major’s dream role. (Tip of the hat to Steve Huntsman.)


Steve Huntsman as LUMIERE in Signature Production's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

3. GENIE (From “Aladdin”)

The Genie in Aladdin is what brought audiences back to loving Disney movies again. Stay with me. There is an old-school Disney following. You know the group…those who think that Cinderella and Snow White look so innocent and pure (and not like expressionless, carbon copies of the last Disney damsel.) They are the ones that LOVE the simplicity of the grainy animation process, and scoff digital animation. Then there are those who are all about digital, and can’t imagine why anyone would ever even watch “The Three Caballeros.” Genie, is the bridge between the two and the character has been constructed effortlessly by Robin Williams who by and large I consider a genius. The fast-paced approach to this wide-open opportunity of a character really set the bar for Disney films to come and was simply a dream come true.

2. BELLE (From “Beauty and the Beast”)

Note that this is the only Disney Princess on my list. That’s because all of the others stink. (This is with all due respect to my friend Sierra Boggess who is playing Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” on Broadway. Love ya Sierra!) Where was I….oh, that’s right, “You heard me! Stinky poo!” None of them are role models. Tonight is Halloween, and hundreds of little girls are waiving magic wands and flouncing around in their princess dresses. Belle on the other hand isn’t even a princess by choice. She wants adventure…she wants to get away! All of the other princesses wants to be coddled by a big strong prince. Boo, boo, boo. “No mommy! I wanna be a fairy princess!”

Okay, let’s go there for a minute (frankly because my wife is giving me grief for putting Belle so high on the list.) What IS a fairy princess? Answer me that? Is it a princess with wings? Is it a small, flying pixie? (A pocket-sized princess, if you will?) Why in the world do girls want to emulate these characters so badly? (“Because they want to look pretty!”) Well…God forbid we start nurturing them with daily love and support so that they might build up self-esteem. (“Because they want to be magical.”) I don’t see anyone dressing up like David Copperfield. (“Because they like the color pink.”) Go trick-or-treating as a bottle of Pepto.

That’s always bugged me. Fairy Princesses. Sheesh. Did you know Disney has made over $5 billion dollars on the Disney Princess brand since 1998. FIVE BILLION. That’s a lot of plastic wands. I sincerely hope that the little girls of the world are granting wishes left and right tonight, because when they grow up and find out that life doesn’t always offer that Disney happy ending…they will have to dig down and reach for something inside to get them through. No plastic tiara or yellow dress will help them out.

With that said, Belle is Disney’s strongest princess. She is a dreamer, an odd-duck…but she doesn’t take crap from anyone. She sacrifices herself for her father…she’s kind and nurturing…and she reads! (Novel idea in this day and age.) And while I’m not saying that Belle is the reason for the boost in Twilight book sales, I will say that she’s not the type of heroine that stands by waiting for someone to rescue her. She takes charge and creates her own destiny. I love that about this character. All of the other princess can’t even match up. (Side Note: My favorite Belle is Kari Curletto, who I have the pleasure sharing the stage with in Signature Production’s Beauty and the Beast.)


Kari Curletto as Belle.

1. THE CHESHIRE CAT (From “Alice in Wonderland”)

Here he is folks…my number one pick for COOLEST Disney Characters of All Time! I can’t imagine anyone arguing with me that the Cheshire Cat isn’t cool. First of all he’s crazy. Crazy is WAY cool. Secondly, he’s striped and purple. Cool. He’s a cat. Cool. He detaches his head and can disappear. Way cool. And, we never REALLY know if he’s a good guy or merely a prankster. So, he’s mysterious. That’s cool. All the while, keeping a big ol’ grin on his face. Love it.


  1. GOOFY (Love the dude…simply because of that “wah-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoy!” noise he makes when he falls.)
  2. CHEF LOUIS and SABASTIAN (From “Little Mermaid”) Little Mermaid represent!
  3. APU (From “Aladdin”) I took him down a few notches. He kept throwing his own poo.
  4. URSULA (From “Little Mermaid”) Dang! Another one from Little Mermaid. Shoot. What should we do with all of these Little Mermaid characters that didn’t make it on my “Coolest” list?? I know, let’s write them into a Broadway musical!

Hope you found my list enthralling…or at least something to kill a little time with…but with that said, Disney movies (or any movie for that matter) is all about entertainment. I deem a movie “good” if I walk away from it having been entertained. The 20 characters on this list have entertained me again and again. That’s what it’s all about, really. Consistency. Consistency is cool.


Posted in MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2008 by erikball123

It’s time to make things official. I’ve waited long enough and now the truth must come out. The world must know what the TOP 20 BREAKFAST CEREALS OF ALL TIME are. Before I begin this very important list, I must say that there are several factors that weigh into such a demanding collection of delightful breakfast options. Taste, of course. Color and Appearance (which might include shape and size. I would also include the “feel” of the cereal…enlarged to show texture, of course.) Gimmick and appeal. (A must from a child’s perspective. I would lump prize potential in this category as well.) And finally, nostalgia. This might be considered a controversial category. But look at it from a big picture perspective…we’ve all had cereal. We’ve all had that experience rounding the corner of the cereal aisle and scanning the colorful boxes hoping to lock gazes with Fred Flintstone or dodge the gaze of one of many novelty movie cereal characters. (I mean, c’mon…who really wants to eat Jack Sparrow cereal?)


While I may get some slack from this first entry…because of it’s position on the list, most likely. But while tasty, it has one big thing going against it: it’s size. If there was a way to shrink the size of those “combs” and still maintain the airy, fluffiness without making it any more crunchy…then Honeycomb would be shooting up the list. Until then, this BEAST of a cereal will have to remain at the bottom of my “bowl.”  TASTE: 5, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 5, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 20


Cap’n Crunch has two cereals that are the cat’s meow. This particular one remains the PREMIERE peanut butter cereal of all time. It’s lovely. There was a period there that I was at war with Peanut Butter Crunch. I’m convinced they changed the recipe or something…because it often left my teeth feeling fuzzy after eating a heaping bowlful. (Pineapple still does that to me. Don’t know why.) But the last time I had some, it was yummy…my teeth didn’t feel a bit fuzzy and I was reminded on the peanut buttery yummy-ness in every spoonful….(SHEESH! I’m starting to sound like a commercial!) TASTE: 6, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 4, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 20


I kinda have a love/hate relationship with Golden Grahams. They remind me of that friend that always hangs around your clique of peeps, even though no one really wants them around. They’re fine…good for a laugh every now and then. Golden Grahams is a good, crunchy, tasty cereal for those who like things sweet…but not too sweet. The raw-ness of the very “grahammy” offering is a nice touch to breakfast for coffee drinkers, and offsets a piece of fruit or yogurt nicely. My beef about this cereal is it’s inability to withstand milk penetration. The stuff gets sloppy very quick. Pour on the milk and get munching! TASTE: 6, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 4, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 20


I feel somewhat obligated to include a member of the Chex family on this list. While you won’t find me sitting down to a hearty bowl of Chex for breakfast anytime soon (without a heaping spoonful of sugar…or strawberries…or a dump truck…or something on top!) I would like to say that Chex has its place in the cereal Hall of Fame, if only for…..Chex Mix. Chex Mix is by far one of my favorite snacks…and without the Chex…you only got da mix. (Which is basically like the equivalent of salty trail mix.) If you’re going to make Chex Mix…use Wheat Chex. It’s stronger and soaks up the butter in the homemade mix the best. Even blind people will find a box easily. It’s the compact little box located on the top shelf that weights 14 pounds. TASTE: 5, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 5, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 7 TOTAL: 21


Toucan Sam. What a marketing jackpot, am I right? I mean…think about it…a stinkin’ toucan with a colorful snout who likes little fruit rings! I mean the parallels are striking! (…..ahem…..) Let’s say we take away all of the color in the cereal. No more loops…and we put the toucan to sleep. You’d STILL have a darn tasty cereal. It’s on taste alone I throw this cereal a bone. It’s yummy. It’s like Fruity Pebbles on steroids. I could do without the mascot….and his colorful schnozz. TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 4, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 4 TOTAL: 21


I’m not even sure that you can find these anymore. If they don’t make CoCo Wheats anymore, then the world has suffered a great loss. How many of you have found yourself with a crazy bad sore throat…or bed-ridden with illness, hacking up lungs and withering away…slowly drudging to the pantry for something…anything…to bring some sort of food into your system and an inkling of energy. I’m sure at some point you’ve eaten oatmeal thinking you’ve found Excalibur. Perhaps even a tidy bowl of Cream of Wheat. That’s awfully nice, isn’t it? But what if…when you shuffled your lazy, broken, withering body to the pantry you crack open the door to find that comfort food you so desire…JAM PACKED WITH RICH CHOCOLATY NUMMINESS! CoCo Wheats is so bloody good…. If it no longer exists….IF…..then I have lost a long time friend. (Sing along: “CoCo Wheats, CoCo Wheats, Can’t be beat! It’s the creamy warm cereal with the CoCo Treat!”) TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 3, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 2, NOSTALGIA: 8 TOTAL: 22


This is the cool, stylish, Liberal Arts Major, half-cousin to Golden Grahams. Cinnamon Toast Crunch has no problem telling it like it is. “Yeah I wear cinnamon and sugar all over! You got a problem wit dat?” Despite it’s inability to hold its own in a bowl full of milk (after about 1 minute….soggyville) it remains a tasty, light cereal. Plus it has a fun, chubby, old Chef as the mascot. Good times. Have any of you wondered where the original other TWO Chefs went? There was originally three. Now only one. They kept the chubby one. My theory….he ATE the other two….in a bowl of 2% milk! Part of this complete breakfast! TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 5, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 22

13.) TRIX

I’m not sure why I like TRIX so much. Even when I go shopping and I pick up a box, I look at it in the cart there and think to myself…”well…it’s the lesser of all evils this particular trip.” (It sinks in around the paper towel aisle.) It’s good and fruity…and I suppose that if ANY cereal could be considered “refreshing,” Trix would probably be it. I always thought the Rabbit was a little TOO goofy. I mean…he’s basically a blob of white bouncing around like a freakin’ Oompa Loomp in the Mike TV scene of Willy Wonka. “Silly Rabbit, Trix are for kids.” And in every commercial the rabbit is like three times as big as those kids. “Are you going to take that from them, Rabbit? You go back there and you take that cereal back from them right now! You hear me!?” TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 6, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 5, NOSTALGIA: 4 TOTAL: 23


This is the lovechild of a crusty honey bear’s pour spout and a fleck of a rice cake. And yet…it’s delicious. Smacks (also referred to as Honey Smacks by Californians and the whole of Western Europe) is a light, flavor-filled cereal that sticks to your ribs (like my Grandma would say.) But, like nearly every cereal, it does indeed have a flaw. (And this is the honest truth.) After you’ve opened the box and let it sit in your pantry for about week…when you crack the box for a dainty bowl of breakfast….you’ll smell a musky, cat-like funk. That’s right! SMACKS smells like musky funk after about a week! Truth! Total truth! Oddly enough, it doesn’t change the taste of the cereal at all. Still yummy. But the smell…not so nice. (Makes diggin’ for the toy a variable dip into the bog of eternal stench!) And the frog (Dig’em, by name)….yeah, he’s totally laughing at your turned-up nose! TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 6, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 4, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 23


Ah, yes. The Chicklets of Cereals. The aquarium rocks of Cereals. Don’t inhale with excitement too quickly, you may ingest the first spoonful via nasal cavity! It’s simply a silly, gimmicky…yummy cereal. There is absolutely no substance to this stuff. It’s like someone was sitting around in an office somewhere and was like “I have an idea…let’s make some edible confetti and put it in a box guarded by two cavemen!” This stuff can’t hold a match to milk…and will turn into the gloppiest bowl of mash you’ve ever seen after a few minutes…but it’s cheap…fun…and good. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 8, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 6, NOSTALGIA: 5 TOTAL: 27


Let’s get serious now. We’re turning the corner and looking at the official top ten. I mean business. Frosted Mini Wheats is the kids cereal for old farts. It’s like the corporate party breakfast cereal. Anything with the word “wheat” in it makes me pause before purchasing. I’m not sure why…but you see, they’re slick. They slather the other side with a ton of sugar. Ummmmm. And don’t you DARE tell me you aren’t one of those people that eats the Mini Wheats with a ton of sugar…and leaves the ones with only a little sugar on them. You KNOW you do! I’m convinced there is a disgruntled factory worker in sector 8 at the Mini Wheat factory who is gettin’ lazy with the frosting machine…and taking his/her angst out on poor, helpless, frosting-lovers across America. Touche, my factory working nemesis….touche. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 8, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 7, NOSTALGIA: 4 TOTAL: 27


Okay…so the flakes got the leg up on the wheats. It’s was a tough race…but Tony the Tiger in all his gruff, ruff masculinity (and dainty neck scarf) came out on top, folks. Frosted Flakes are for people who want to feel like their eating healthy, but can;t stand to retire to Bran-ville. It makes you feel healthy because you never have to succumb and meekly withdraw to the sugar canister (which we all know is the kiss of death for any cereal connoisseur.) I’m still waiting for the day when there is an actual cereal varnish that withstands the power of manipulative moo juice. The day will come, my cereal-loving friends. Until then, we’ll continue to salute the Flake….and then gobble it up very rapidly. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 7, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 6 TOTAL: 28

8.) Cheerios

Cheerios are good. Yeah. So tasty…and, uh….healthy. (*smiles*) I CAN’T DO IT! “You have to include it, I said.” I tried to be good. I tried to play fair. But, I’m sorry….I can’t. Cheerios just stink…..they STINK. Nobody…and I mean nobody sits around the house going, “hmmm, I could sure go for a bowl of cheerios.” Cheerios are a staple of the breakfast world and there is no indication of them dying away anytime soon. AND WHY? I’m serious…I’m asking. I think we’ll all agree that cereal should remain filled with sugar….completely frosted or accompanied by chocolate and marshmallows. Cheerios doesn’t even TRY to win you over with toys inside. I probably wouldn’t even buy a box of it said “FREE iPOD inside.” A week later as you bop to UB40 on your way out the door in the morning….you’ll have to face that box in the cupboard. It’ll stare at you. Awkward moments in the kitchen do NOT start your days off right, my friend. Do yourself a favor….keep Cheerios where they belong. In psych wards where patients us them to make neat little Christmas strings with popcorn and ear wax. TASTE: ….stinks…, COLOR/APPEARANCE:…stupid, stinky…., GIMMICK/APPEAL:….Ha! Appeal! Funny. Let me think….ah, stinky! , NOSTALGIA: Stinky McStinkster. TOTAL: Goose egg.


I’m sorry…..that Cheerios thing upset me. Where were we? Cookie Crisp! Now you’re talkin’! Cookie Crisp is the funniest thing ever. Talk about an ultimate junk food. If I had a junk food top twenty…you’d better believe Chocolate Chip Cookies would be in my top five. I love it! I mean…they actually MADE A CEREAL consisting of NOTHING BUT Chocolate Chip Cookies! Genius! Pure genius. On top of that, (as if that wasn’t enough) the marketing department put the cereal in the tiniest box they could find. THEN…on top of that….it’s costs like $5.00 a box. The stuff flies off the shelves! Corporate executives from the Cookie Crip wing….you drive your Mercedes Benz with the top down. All hail. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 7, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 8 TOTAL: 31

6.) Honey Bunches of Oats

I’m not young. I used to be. I remember when I was. I sometime still think I’m young. But my body gently reminds me that I shouldn’t think that way anymore. (Like the time I ate four Pop Tarts in one sitting and nearly went blind.) This is why I have Honey Bunches of Oats in the Top Ten. This is a “healthy” cereal that actually tastes good. (Of course they had to counter the effort by making a spin-off cereal called “Just Bunches.” It’s like 23,500 calories per bowl.) Anything with flakes accompanied by freeze-dried fruit or barley and hay….just don’t eat it. You’ve got to live a little! If you’re going to splurge…let it be in your choice of cereal. If your conscience won’t let you…get Honey Bunches of Oats. TASTE: 8, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 8, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 8 TOTAL: 32


I suppose if the whole Honey Bunches of Oats, “I’m getting old” thing didn’t convince you…the Grapenuts confessional will. Okay…I admit. I love-a-da Grapenuts. I grew up with Grapenuts! Grandma liked Grapenuts and I like Grandma! They’re good in yogurt and yummy with a bit of sugar and warmed up in the microwave. And if you spill a bowl of ’em…clean up the mess with a paper towel…then LEAVE the paper towel to dry over night…then sha-bang! You’ve got yourself a nice, new scouring pad! In all seriousness…don’t leave your Grapenuts bowl in the sink. Be a good boy/girl…wash it out. My college years were spent making money with several odd job so that I could consistently replace my dinnerware. TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 7, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 9 TOTAL: 33


Who would have thought an apple flavored cereal would be in my top five? Actually, have you ever really thought about Applejacks? You don’t really THINK about apples when you’re eating them, do you? I enjoy them very much because they don’t leave me feeling like I just ate a bowl of mortar ten minutes later. This mainstream mega-cereal is certainly a great way to start the day. It’s interesting…they don’t even have a mascot or spokesperson! But, what….are they going to have a talking apple or something!? TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 9, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 9 TOTAL: 35


Have you ever heard of the children’s book entitled “Everybody Poops?” It’s out there and very popular. It a rather crude but poignant book that delivers a rather interesting message: we’re all human. Well, you know….everyone is “cuckoo for Coco Puffs!” Everyone! George W. Bush has eaten Coco Puffs. Oscar Goodman, Al Pacino, John Travolta, Richard Simmons, Bea Arthur….Pope Benedick. They’ve all been cuckoo for Coco Puffs! It’s a cornerstone cereal. You think chocolate at breakfast time? You’re thinking of Coco Puffs. Talk about the right kind of marketing too. You’ve got an A.D.D. bird who hasn’t had his morning sugar bursting through walls, haunting children and robbing them of their cereal. It’s a sitcom waiting to happen! TASTE: 9, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 9, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 8, NOSTALGIA: 9 TOTAL: 35


Studio executives, if you’ve ever thought about making a live action film about a cereal mascot….Cap’n Crunch is your man. What a stud. He’s like the ultimate cereal heavyweight. And he’s not a brute either. He’s…well….jolly! But in a cage match…he could take Dig’Em, Cuckoo Bird, Toucan Sam and that silly Rabbit with his eyes closed! Cap’n Crunch cereal is just a darn good way to start the day. It’s hearty, crunchy and yummy. I love it so much that I’ve crushed the cereal and breaded chicken with it! It’s in a class by itself, because it’s not really candy…it’s not chocolate…it’s not marshmallow…it’s not honey….what the heck is it? Nobody knows…and nobody cares. Cap’n Crunch will live for all time. I’ll be dead and buried and Cap’n Crunch will live on. TASTE: 10, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 9, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 10, NOSTALGIA: 10 TOTAL: 39


I have to reserve the top slot for the naughtiest, no-holds-barred cereal of all time. Lucky Charms is just the universal kids cereal. A multitude of marshmallows! The originals were gold stars, green clovers, purple…ah, unicorns..and blue asteroids…and, whatever! It’s yummy…and probably my GREATEST comfort food. They don’t even apologize for their cereal. They know it’s bad. Even the healthy part of the cereal is covered with a film of sugar. I bet you the box is even edible. Lucky Charms in my book…while maybe not the “BEST” by health standards….not the best by adult vs. children standards….I argue it is the ONLY cereal on this list that everyone has tried at some point, and the majority have walked away liking. Do you eat it every morning? Heck, no. That would be like eating candy bars for breakfast…and that’s just stupid. TASTE: 10, COLOR/APPEARANCE: 10, GIMMICK/APPEAL: 10, NOSTALGIA: 10 TOTAL:40

REAL QUICK….here’s a break down of some cereals that didn’t make the list. Some of them just missed the top twenty…some of them are THE DEVIL!

  • LIFE – I don’t get LIFE. It’s like Chex and Golden Grahams were put in an isolation chamber in some bizarre far away universe…and the collision generated a massive explosion. When the dust settled…there was LIFE cereal. Yeah! We’re a…..we’re just as excited. …………I’m not excited. That’s called sarcasm.
  • RAISIN BRAN – I tried in vain to get a raisin cereal on the top twenty list, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’d be lying to myself. The fact remains…after a few days, upon opening the box, every raisin inside turns to stone. I can’t get past that.
  • WAFFLE CRISP – Whoever invented this cereal has an unhealthy relationship to maple flavoring. Perhaps this is an unfair account…but c’mon. You want waffles? Get an iron.
  • WHEATIES – Who’s kidding who here? Wheaties is not something athletes eat everyday. It doesn’t make you stronger…give you more energy…blah, blah, blah. It’s all a gimmick. If it were all true, why don’t you just pour some Gatorade on top and fly away, Superman? On top of that…it doesn’t even taste that good.
  • ALPHA BITS – Anyone else think Alpha Bits are SOOOO overrated? They taste terrible and the big gimmick is that you can spell stuff out in your cereal bowl. This cereal was developed by a teacher, I can feel it!
  • MR. T CEREAL – Okay, so this doesn’t exist anymore. But, back, a long time ago, when it did…it was the yuckiest stuff I’ve ever tasted, ever. So gross. I pity the fool who eats this cereal.
  • QUISP – Another cereal that incredibly hard to find. My brother-in-law went on and on about how much he loved this cereal. When we happened upon it in some weird grocery store in Chicago, we bought like five boxes of it…………….It tastes like feet. FEET.
  • BOO BERRY – I’m going to lump the Count Chocula, Frankenberry and Boo Berry Cereals all together and say that they just aren’t that good. But, Boo Berry….oh my gosh. How can I put this? There are three things in my lifetime that have made me instantly sick to my stomach: the time I ate an entire strawberry/rhubarb pie….venison jerky….and Boo Berry cereal. Just thinking about it make me queasy.

Hope you enjoyed my list! I’d love to hear your comments about your FAVORITE and LEAST FAVORITE cereals!


Posted in MY "TOP" LISTS with tags , , , on September 21, 2008 by erikball123

Let’s have fun with this post, eh? I wasn’t really in the mood to sit down and crank out a deeply-rooted, mind-bending post tonight. Due to the fact that I kinda guzzled a Mt. Dew recently and cannot seem to stop blinking…I feel kinda punchy and find myself giggling at the silliest things these past few minutes. (Like, for instance, someone dropped something outside in my subdivision, and the cat jumped really high. But, that’s not exactly what made me laugh. It was the look of shear disgust he had on his face afterwards. Dude…he was mad. Hilarious.)

So, I thought I would throw out my top 20 favorite comedies of all time! You have to understand, before I even attempt this, I’m basing my list on a standard rule. Does it make me laugh, and do I want to see it again when I need a “good laugh.” That’s my criteria. Plot, actors’ performance, etc… none of these matter to me right now. Simply…does it make me laugh.

20. MODERN TIMES – Vintage Charlie Chaplin at his very best. While this isn’t how a lot of people would like to start off a BEST OF…list, I’m going to have to defend this black-n-white semi-silent film. This film has a brilliantly simple storyline that is executed with charm, style and grace by the world’s finest clown. If you’ve never seen this film…it is wildly funny, and has a hidden tragic inner-lining. Favorite Moments include the “feeding machine” (just look at his facial expressions!) and the roller-skating department store scene. Rumor has it that he did that scene in ONE take, and that was a real hole in the ground, and there wasn’t any safety net. (Chaplin had the reputation for being a smidge crazy.) Good stuff.

19. ZOOLANDER – I love Ben Stiller. In my opinion, he one of the hardest working men in comedy today. He takes his craft very seriously and always manages to deliver. There are several Stiller films that could walk onto this list, but Zoolander has to be my favorite. *cough cough* “I think I have the black lung.”

18. COMING TO AMERICA – Let me just say that Eddie Murphy isn’t really the comedic actor that he was. He’s kinda like Mike Myers…loved his stuff when he first was getting big. But now that he’s HUGE…don’t like him so much. Luckily, this movie came out on the heels of his Saturday Night Live stint, and it’s GOLDEN. Rich guy becomes poor, poor guy becomes rich. Two grumpy old men. This also featured the first Multi-Murphy scene where he played several characters. This is also the funniest movie I’ve ever seen James Earl Jones featured in. “Darn shame what they did to that dog.”

17. L.A. STORY – First and foremost. Steve Martin is a genius. There, I said it. This is a GREAT movie about L.A. in the early 90’s and the stereotypes that come along with being a Californian. Absolute favorite line: “So, I hear you’re studying the art of conversation?” …..”Yes.”

16. SHAUN OF THE DEAD – In light of the fact that I don’t care much for horror movies, (Ok, I despise them, really) this would also count as probably my favorite horror movie too. But, let me just say that there are some moments in this film that are not only laugh out loud funny, but amazingly clever. Reoccurring bits that are brought up with perfection JUST when you think they were dead. ……Like a zombie!

15. THE JERK – I’ve already said Steve Martin was a genius. But this solo effort at the very beginning of his film career is probably the craziest…silliest movie I’ve seen starring Martin. While there are a few moments that should have wound up on the editing room floor in my opinion, (it drags), when he grabs that dog and carries it in front of him because he’s naked…I almost wet myself.

14. DUMB & DUMBER – Ok, if anyone argues with this, I’m afraid we’re going to have to resort to fisticuffs. This is, by far, Jim Carrey at his best. Forget the solid acting efforts…forget IN LIVING COLOR…this is gold. Jeff Daniels and Carrey should be working as a team in every movie they do. While over-the-top in every way, and highly one-dimensional in structure…it makes me laugh EVERY TIME. I love watching the OTHER actors in the scenes with Carrey. You can seen a hint of “DEAR GOD, DON’T LAUGH!!!” in their eyes, every time they have t remain serious in a scene with Carrey.

13. A CHRISTMAS STORY – This movie gets a nod because this is my Christmas tradition. If Ted Turner ever stops his yearly 24-hours of “Christmas Story” on Christmas Eve, I think I’ll protest. For the past 10 years, my wife and I have been chanting “you’ll shoot your eye out” and running around the house acting like Randy. (Weee! A Zeppelin!)

12. PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE – I know Paul Reubens got into trouble a long time ago. He was a naughty boy. But, an actor’s personal life never really got in the way of my enjoying their work on screen. This is a predictable, silly, colorful fun-house ride. Unforgettable scenes…an innocent storyline…and I always in myself quoting this movie for about three months after I watch it. “…IN THE BASEMENT!”

11. FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF – When you look up classic move in the dictionary…there is a picture of Matthew Broderick singing danke shane. (sp?) I was in class the other day talking with my high schoolers about…eh, something, I don’t remember….and I referenced Ferris Bueller. They didn’t know what I was talking about. I almost lost it. I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Rooney!!! Grace!!! Cameron!!! JEANIE!!!! Needless to say, I assigned it for homework.

10. THREE AMIGOS – Ok, this film features my favorite villain. Alfonso Arau is a highly under appreciated actor. El Guapo is so hilarious, I imitate him every time I truly get angry. “Plethora” alone is a stand-by word in my vocabulary, just in case I need to emphasize something. Chevy Chase is another one of those guys who, in his hay day, was amazing, but faded fast. Christmas Vacation barely missed making it onto my list, so I’ll tip my hat to him for that, but the collaboration between Chase, Martin and Short…dude, it’s crazy funny. “My little buttercup, I–love–you!”

9. MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL – Obvious choice, right? A best of list of ANY kind cannot be passed by without Monty Python at least getting mentioned. (That includes BEST CHOREOGRAPHY, BEST FINE DINING SIDE DISHES and BEST WORST SCENE.) British people are funny….there silly ways of talking and stuff. They say silly things…and fall down a lot. And then when the do it together in armor….very much ha-ha.

8. OSCAR – Here’s where I’m going to have to do some explaining. I LOVE this movie, mainly because I like situation comedy a lot. I also like word play and quick dialogue. (That’s why I can’t watch movies in the movie theaters anymore. Everything has become such a social event, nobody wants to listen to a movie.) This has some STELLAR dialogue, hilarious situations, and it is presented in real-time, which I love. Stallone is at his VERY BEST in my opinion. Tim Curry, Chaz Palminteri (before he got skinny), Peter Reigert (before he got chubby)….amazing cast!

7. CLUE – Call it a plug for the play my wife is directing this year, or not. I don’t care. I wouldn’t spend two years working out kinks and adapting a screenplay for the stage if I didn’t think it was worthy of high praise. This is a crazy funny movie with an all-star cast of some of the funniest people in the history of movies. (Madeleine Kahn, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry…to name a few.) A smidge grainy…and the editing is poor (the post-production voice-overs are SOOOOO noticeable and annoying) but whatever. I love the screenplay, and it builds upon an already solid game board foundation that everyone was anxious to get a little elaboration on. “Oui, oui mad’am.” “No, I just want to powder my nose.”

6. THE PRINCESS BRIDE – This movie is funny. But, I like it chiefly because I find myself getting lost in the movie every time I watch it. Do you know what I mean? Ok, here’s an example…I’ll be at the dining room table grading papers, and if I shuffle thru the television stations to simply see what’s on…if I catch this movie playing…the world stops and I have to watch it to completion. It’s a fun, silly movie….with heart.

5. BEST IN SHOW – Christopher Guest is simply amazing at what he does. There are several movies of his I could add to this list, but out of all of them, I like this phony documentary the best. This is another example of AMAZING ENSEMBLE. Fred Williard should be paid as an actor by the word. Everything that guy says is hilarious.

4. SPACEBALLS – Raunchy…sure. Stupid…oh, yes. Weak plot…”what plot?” It’s a high budget, Mel Brooks-a-thon. It’s like someone gave him millions of dollars, a week to write a script…and said “now go!” Its unbridled, reckless silliness. I love it, I love it, I love it. John Candy is his own best friend…plain yougurt….and Dot Matrix. I mean, sure it could have been pieced together at a film school frat party for kicks and giggles, but it seems to work. And if you asked me, it was a huge risk throwing something like that out there. But, it remains a cult-classic! Brooks is either a genius…or a wacko!

3. YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – Yet another Mel Brooks classic. This story is great, but the true joy in this film (and quite frankly, the reason it’s so high on my list) is because of Gene Wilder. What a gift to the screen. He’s probably the world’s best straight-faced comedic actor. While I’m not a huge fan of Teri Garr’s, I do think she’s brilliant in this film too. What “Frankenstein” might lack in recklessness (compaired to “Spaceballs”), it picks up in substance. This is Brook’s finest screeenplay in my opinion.

2. CADDYSHACK – Where do I start? This is a diamond in the rough. This is one of the MOST QUOTED movie of all time. I say lines from this movie daily. It has a weak plot, and some of the jokes are totally obvious, but who cares! Ted Knight is amazing in the film…Bill Murray is a wonderfully loveable character…and you find yourself rooting for the underdog in the end. (You really don’t know why…but you do.) I even like the fact that the girl that plays Meggy is SUCH a terrible actress. I even find THAT funny.

1. GHOSTBUSTERS – Some of you old school movie critics may say “but I would define this as a full-blown comedy.” Fair enough. But, this movie is great on so many levels. It’s a respectable special effects movie (especially in its time), it features an amazing ensemble, the script is hilarious, the pacing is perfect….I mean, I could go on and on. While the story is a smidge “whatever”…it remains my favorite comedy of all time. I’ve probably seen Ghostbusters a million times. Another highly quotable movie for me. It the type of movie, that YEARS later when I’m sitting on my couch watching the movie on TV, I’m thinking to myself, “I wonder i these guys KNEW what they were making, when they were making it.” It’s just legendary. Legendary.

Well, that’s it. I would highly recommend you catching these films if you haven’t already. I would also love to hear your opinions. Did I miss one that should certainly be on the list? Am I nuts? You tell me. I’d love to hear your top 20 as well.

Some movies that just barely didn’t make it on the list, but worth mentioning:

  • Noises Off
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles
  • Parenthood
  • The Birdcage
  • The Producers (the original)
  • Hear No Evil…Speak No Evil
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Police Academy Movies (I’m a sucker.)
  • Beetlejuice

Blessings to you all until next time!

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