Pop Rocks: Happy Birthday, Chuck Norris

Amidst all the...sincere mourning for the death of Corey Haim (I'm sure you were all huge fans of 2007's Universal Groove) and renewed brouhaha over AnisBut and their celebrated W Magazine cover (in which the two look like survivors from The Hills Have Eyes), people seem to have forgotten the real story in entertainment news this week; namely, Chuck Norris' 70th birthday.

Admittedly, Chuck's kept a pretty low profile outside of Mike Huckabee campaign appearances and Total Gym infomercials, though he's enjoyed some recent popularity thanks to Chuck Norris Facts, which reminds us -- among other things -- that when Chuck Norris falls in water, he doesn't get wet. Water gets Chuck Norris.

Internet silliness aside, the dude remains a titan of American cinema and a reminder of a better time. A time when Americans didn't seek consensus for their health-care proposals, but rather shattered the jaws of their opponents with repeated roundhouse kicks to the face. Here then, are some of my favorite moments de Chuck.

"Walker told me I have AIDS." -- Walker, Texas Ranger

A pre-Sixth Sense Haley Joel Osment and a post-Good Morning Vietnam Noble Willingham combine to make TV magic. Now if you'll excuse me, I have something in my eye.

"Fuckin' Chuck Norris -- Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story

One of the few high points of this otherwise dismal "comedy" was a cameo appearance by Chuck, whose timely thumbs up provides the Average Joes with their chance to shine, and White Goodman with the source of his eventual downfall.

"Chuck Norris?" -- Sidekicks

The outcome of Norris' match with Stone (Joe Piscopo) is never really in doubt, but that's only because Norris already secured the high ground hours earlier by winning the Battle of Movie Mullets.

"It's time." -- Invasion U.S.A.

In a perfect example of 1980s excess, Matt Hunter (no, really) decides it would be a more prudent course of action to take out the main bad guy with a rocket launcher than to simply walk up behind him and snap his neck, as we all know Norris is capable of doing.

"Meow" -- Return of the Dragon

This is still the only movie in which a character played by Norris ever dies. That is, unless you subscribe to the interpretation (which I just now made up) that Braddock from the Missing in Action films is actually, like Orpheus, attempting to shepherd spirits back from the underworld.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar