The Definitive Ranking of Eric Roberts Music Video Roles.
Some people are born great. Others have greatness thrust upon them. Based on my age and the sheer amount of music videos I watched as a youth (read: I was younger then, why am I not now?!) there stood only one real mark of quality. In a world where music videos were slowly dying, where MTV became almost defunct, there was still one mark of class we could all acknowledge. Is Eric Roberts in the video?
What follows is a scientific, almost forensic break down of those truly timeless classics.
11. Bitch Better Have My Money – Rihanna
Absolutely no choice here with this one. The Eric Roberts is reduced to a single shot but he plays the hell out of it. If you ever wanted someone to play “Cop that gets fooled by body under inflatable crocodile” then by God he is your man.
Massive minus points too for trading up and getting in Mads Mikkelsen. Forget the violence in this video, that’s the biggest travesty.
10. Miss Atomic Bomb – The Killers
Animated Eric Roberts! Definite points for that one.
Love rivals clash as Brandon Flowers puts himself in the awful position of being in the way of our protagonist and a woman (not for the first time on this list either). It’s not bad but it suffers from being “Not Mr. Brightside”. There are worse problems to have.
9. El Baño – Enrique Iglasias ft. Bad Bunny
This one grows as it goes, and that’s not at all a reference to the fact that literally the first two lines are “Every time I see you, You make me so hard”.
What could have been an utterly lost performance is somewhat heightened by one – though there are many – concept. Eric Roberts can rewind time. This is like Quantum Leap except he goes from place to place making sure people have sex. My only issue (well…) is how does he know Enrique hasn’t sealed the deal once they leave the bar? Is he watching them? Filming them? This is all to sinister. NEXT!
8. It’s Like That – Mariah Carey
Perhaps the start of the definitive ER run, even if it has no chance of scaling the mountain. This was peak “hang on you got that guy to do what?” and also Mariah was on an Istanbul like comeback and my word did this video play *everywhere*. We also get some Fatman Scoop! What more could you want?
Nobody is going to upstage Mariah, but your boy gives it his stalkerish best. He’s visible for all of thirty seconds and doesn’t do much other than glare. His time in this storyline would come…
7. We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
We start this at a disadvantage, knowing already what is to come. MC can try and reason with herself as much as possible but you don’t turn your back on Eric Roberts. Even the already established alternate love interest Channing Tatum would take him. Who wouldn’t? This is a plothole that cannot be escaped. Peak Mariah gets points but the squandering of a true Hollywood talent (hint: it’s not your man from Prison Break) holds this back.
6. Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart – Chris Cornell
First things first, my man gets a name check in the credits. That’s how you treat a music video Hall of Famer, naming no names *cough* Rihanna *cough*.
We also get some proper Roberts acting~! and the song its great. It does however, cut a little too close to the bone.
5. Godhead – Hey You
Aka the day Eric Roberts had a blast with the prop department. Canes! Handguns! All the flip phones!
For two thirds of this we get some solid Eric villainy as – and I can but read between this thinly veiled lines – the girlfriend of the (discount Billy Corgan) lead singer calls up to have him taken care of. There is some sort of unspoken powers at play here as Roberts seems to have the ability to bend everyone’s will with a phone call. Even the guy’s band mates turn on him. Then again, who wouldn’t for ER?
We run out of steam at the end (by which time you’ve finally worked out that this song *wasn’t* used as wrestling music. A confusing ending in which Not Billy Corgan appears to use a trick out of Sindel’s playbook and a pointless use of extras during the bridge of the song prevent it from being any higher.
4. Down Azz Chick – Ja Rule
Let’s just pause for a moment and enjoy that intro. Huge props for being able to say “Ja” as if it was a real name and Even bigger respect for not just leaving the whole production on the delivery of the line “They the new Bonnie and Clyde”. Let’s also talk about my mans outfit. How you gonna look like an obvious undercover cop in a police station? As you can tell, I already love this.
Holy shit that interrogation tho. I need to simultaneously never see it again and have it hooked to my veins forever. Mr Undercover has apparently done *all* the cocaine before this scene and Eric plays this a off like it’s nothing. Also, don’t sleep on the pronunciation of Charlie too. That’s Oscar worthy right there. Actually. Give both of them one. I wouldn’t enjoy winning the lottery as much as watching this scene again.
So many other highlights. Blowing smoke at the camera for no reason. Ja trying to rap/act into the phone. *That* ending. The only thing keeping this from title contention is that first of all, the song ain’t great. Secondly, I came for Roberts. I’ll take drugged up sidekick all the way to the bank but there’s not enough focus on the main man.
3. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
This is almost unfair for starters because of how iconic this song became. We’d like to think that it’s popularity was down to, in some part because of a truly inspiring performance from a genuine actor in the role of antagonist. Apple throwing/eating? Pointing? Glowering behind curtains? Smug checkers playing? You’re not even beginning to test a man of his talents. Minus points for the creepy guy that isn’t Javier Bardem, Brandon Flowers or Eric Roberts.
2. Черная вуаль (The Black Veil) – Angelica Agurbash
Talk about a Cinderella story. This one came in from out of the blue and very nearly blew everything away. Also, we really need to talk about the story here.
For those that don’t know, Angelica Agurbash is a Belarusian singer who represented them at the Eurovision song contest. I have no idea how they met or were put in contact but do not let it be said that if you have a cracking role for Eric Roberts in a music video, he’ll come along and rock that shit even if it’s just absolutely all over the place. This makes the Godhead video look like John Lennon’s Imagine.
So we start with your basic Roberts fayre. Angelica is riding along with the Belarus’ 3rd best Jeremy Renner lookalike when disaster strikes in the form of some blacked out SUVs and rather ridiculous weaponry. With Not Jason Bourne down and out, Eric shows mercy by refusing to allow his goons to gun down an innocent woman at point blank range. It should be pointed out that at no stage do we get an explanation for any of this. From there it only gets better.
Then, as is the most obvious transition, to a nunnery! Roberts is at his tender best here, showing mild concern and an almost confusion. Why is this woman hurt? Did we force her car off the road and kill her boyfriend? What follows is outright disrespect as the nun escorts the newly widowed Agurbash to her car, before preceding to remove her nun cowl as if she were Batman. Was this meant to be a reveal? Was she even a nun at all?
Not satisfied with nonsense, the final third the video gives in to the crazy and it is here it reaches a level of breathtaking bemusement. Fueled by rage and driven by revenge, Angelica drives to Eric Roberts’ mansion, shoots two of the worst henchmen of all time, while he’s inside just getting hammered and paying no attention to the security staff (we say that very loosely) are wasted all over his lawn. She finally confronts him as a powerful guitar solo plays the cresendo. Roberts is sat at a piano. WHAT IS HAPPENING!?
In the end, retribution takes a back seat to the overwhelming power of Eric Roberts dynamism as she not only fails to pull the trigger but falls in love with him? We haven’t even mentioned the fact that it’s in a different language and there’s an entire set up in a church that seems to only be the for sexy funeral wear purposes. I don’t need to make sense of this to know that I loved every second.
1. Smack That – Akon ft. Eminem
Truthfully there was only ever one contender for the top spot and I’m not ashamed to say it wasn’t even close. Everything about this is glorious in how little sense it makes. It sets itself up as a 48 Hours tribute with some incredible acting from Akon. The questions begin (but don’t end) here.
Akon is in prison, but somehow has not only managed to record this song but also is listening to it. He’s having the time of his life. Is this what prison is like?
The two have negative chemistry but that doesn’t seem to matter as it’s not long before Roberts himself defies all laws of physics with a tossing of a Polaroid which teleports several feet in between cuts.
This whole set up takes about forty seconds. Following that, there is only one further reference to the film they’ve so very clearly established they’re copying. What was the point of all that?
THEORY: Eric Roberts just so happened to be in the strip club they were filming in and they figured they’d write a way for it to make sense. When you think about it, there’s absolutely no need for any of it and Roberts could easily have played the “villain” whose club Akon smashes up then flees. Instead we’re left with a “Jack Gates” who apparently has never even seen a woman before so upon being confronted by a breast or three, completely forgets why he’s there. Even when Akon throws the glass he barely raises an eyebrow. Does this look like the reaction of a detective who’s busted a convict out of jail for 48 hours and then seen that man hurl a shot glass at a window?
The problem is that no matter how many threads you pull (like why does this song even need this kind of video anyway, it couldn’t be further from the theme), it’s far too much fun. The song is so very of its time and I mean that in the best possible way. You’re all the way in from Akon’s “so when do we get started” smile. The ending isn’t so much Roberts chasing Akon to put him back in jail, it’s more “aw shit, I was having a real good time.
We all were.