Will Smith is my least favorite actor on the planet.
Fuck, Jon. What’s that about? Will Smith is the man. He has made some great films: Six Degrees of Separation, Bad Boys, Independence Day, Men In Black, Enemy of the State, Ali, Men In Black II, Bad Boys II, I, Robot, I Am Legend.
Full disclosure: I have both seen and enjoyed each of the aforementioned films. If you think my failure to see The Legend of Bagger Vance, Hitch, or Men In Black 3 disqualifies me from passing judgment on Willard Christopher Smith Jr.’s acting ability, stop reading now.
Wait, I haven’t seen After Earth, either. If you think my failure to see After Earth disqualifies me from passing judgment, drop everything start up-voting for that sucker on IMDB.com–cause it’s at a whopping 4.6.
There’s an unfinished joke in my head in which I refer to After Earth as Afterbirth, but I digress.
As I stated above, Will Smith has acted in films that I have unequivocally enjoyed. Six Degrees of Separation was kind of smart. The Bad Boys movies were sexy and fun and featured a special chemistry between Smith and Martin Lawrence. Independence Day may be the single most watchable film of all time. Enemy of the State was the first DVD I ever owned and I’ve watched it 700 times so don’t talk shit. The Men In Black movies speak for themselves. Ali wasn’t spectacular but I would certainly say justice was served. I, Robot included some solid action scenes. I Am Legend was so fucked that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.
But Will Smith hasn’t made a great film in his life. Every one of his roles in every one of these unequivocally enjoyable films was about as generic and contrived and handsome-witty-black-actor-agnostic as any role ever created. Every one of those roles was safe and family-friendly and white-folk-friendly and just about guaran-fucking-teed to be a box office smash.
Maybe it’s coincidence, you might think. Or the product of being pigeonholed.
Except that Will Smith freely admits that he studied box office trends at the start of his career with the aim of becoming the “biggest movie star in the world.” His words.
So anyway, try naming one film Will Smith made—as in, transformed into something special by making a character more than exactly what was outlined on the page. Even in Ali—which seems like it may have been risky, until you think about it—Smith played someone universally beloved and wholly uncontroversial.
Now let’s take a look at the rest of the catalogue: Wild Wild West, The Pursuit of Happyness, Hancock, Seven Pounds. I don’t need to say anything about Wild Wild West. If you enjoyed The Pursuit of Happyness, I encourage you to keep eating healthy spoonfuls of derivative crap. Hancock was probably the riskiest role he ever accepted, what with the booze and all, but the movie was shit (and of course he atoned for all his sins in the shitty ending). Seven Pounds was such shamelessly contrived attempt at the “tortured but noble soul” concept it made me want to jump into my own bathtub and commit suicide via deadly pet jellyfish (THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED IN THE MOVIE).
But hey Jon, it’s Hollywood. Some movies are shit—most of Will Smith’s are pretty good. It’s not his fault he hasn’t been cast in whatever perverted fucking roles you’ve got in your head that he should be playing.
Well, what about the films didn’t make? How about Django Unchained for one? Did you know he was offered the role of Django before Jamie Foxx was? Do you know why he didn’t take it?
“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character [author’s note: the brilliant Christoph Waltz] was the lead! I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'”
HE TURNED DOWN THE TITLE CHARACTER IN QUENTIN TARANTINO’S BIGGEST MOVIE BECAUSE HE NEEDED TO KILL THE BAD GUY.
You know what, though? We’re better off. Jamie Foxx played Django like a consummate fucking pro. And Jamie Foxx is a good comparison. Remember Ray? Remember how Jamie Foxx added dimensions to Ray Charles that no one expected and made people cry and swoon and award him an Oscar for Best Actor—something Will Smith never received, not even as Muhammad Ali, because he lost to the first black man to win Best Actor, Denzel Washington, for daring to play a morally bankrupt corrupt cop/degenerate gambler/murder victim in Training Day.
The most impressive acting Will Smith has ever executed is as WILL FUCKING SMITH. On Fresh Prince, Will Smith brought unique vitality and joie de vivre to his role. He was smart and hilarious and great in little subtle ways. He made the show. And it was a hell of a show—“pop” in the best sense of the word. But that show went off the air 17 years ago.
And now we have After Earth. A complete and total nepotistic flop. Probably the worst piece of Scientology propaganda since John Travolta’s cock. (Zing!)
Anyway, that is why Will Smith is my least favorite actor on the planet.
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