Friday, July 4, 2008

Mr. 4th of July: Will Smith

Nothing goes together like Will Smith and a 4th of July movie. Will Smith seems to own this day unlike any other when it comes to blockbuster releases and films that gross over 100 million in the box office. What a long way the Fresh Prince has come since his days in Bel-Air with Carlton. While many of you may be heading out to the movies to see Hancock as part of your July 4th tradition, allow the "V" List to recount the five best movies from Mr. Independence Day himself (as dubbed by Yahoo Movies). I'm sure I'll catch some flack for my picks, but what the hell, here we go!

5. The Legend of Bagger Vance

There aren't many golf movies that one can say is awesome aside from Happy Gilmore, but Bagger Vance is a special movie that didn't get a lot of attention. While Will Smith plays a smaller role when compared with other films on this list, he brings something special to this movie. I'll go out on a limb and say that Bagger Vance wouldn't have been enjoyable without his services. I can't imagine anybody else playing the role of the Caddy who guides Matt Damon back to greatness on the golf course while overcoming his own personal demons. There's just something about Will Smith's demeanor and smile that stands out more than anything else in this film. 

4. M.I.B

I'm probably going to get crucified for picking this movie over some other films that Smith has done, but you can't argue with a movie that grossed over 250 million dollars in the American box office. Smith and Tommy Lee Jones play their roles to perfection as part of a galaxy defending, mind erasing organization with an arsenal of weapons that are simply to die for. Men in Black is an Alice in Wonderland like adventure that shows you that when you travel down the rabbit hole, your perspective on the universe might be a little skewed. While there are tons of science fiction tales with similar themes, Will Smith makes this film "look good!"  

3. Bad Boys

Before Will Smith was defending the Earth in Independence Day and Men in Black, he was shooting up bad guys alongside Martin Lawrence in this Michael Bay blockbuster. While Bad Boys' earnings (65 million) pales in comparison with some of his later movies, this film is action packed and simply hilarious. Therefore if you're going to decide and choose another film, "freeze b&^:ch! Now back up, put the remote down, and get me a pack of Tropical fruit Bubbilicious! And some Skittles!"  

2. Independence Day

While Bad Boys was his breakout role, Independence Day made Will Smith's career. There are very few times that I have been to a packed theater where everybody stands up and claps at the end of the movie, but this was one of them. While Independence Day has not aged well, and seems campy to modern audiences, it was a gigantic hit for Smith, launching him into the Hollywood stratosphere. The film grossed over 300 million domestically and started the pattern of Will Smith dominated 4th of July releases, which continues to this day with Hancock.

1. The Pursuit of Happyness

I hated this movie, so it would seem odd that I place it as number one on my list of Will Smith films. Despite my personal feelings, I'm going to make a hell of an argument for it's placement atop the list. If you look at all that Will Smith has done, the majority of his films are science fiction or action based comedies. The Pursuit of Happyness was a radical departure from what people expect from Will Smith, and yet he excelled. If not for Will Smith, this movie would have been intolerable. While I understand that the story is truly inspirational, I felt the script lagged. And while I caught myself looking at my watch several times, the ending of the film was worth every single minute of this film. At the end of the movie, when Will Smith's character lands the job, your heart simply melts. I know that some people will jeer this pick, stating that I should have included Ali. I would respectfully disagree, as I believe Smith's performance was better in Pursuit. Will Smith took the paradigm we have come to expect from him and totally shifted it with his performance in this movie. Will Smith is the real deal, and except for Wild Wild West, I cannot think of a single movie of his that I will not watch. 

1 comment:

Bryan Pol said...

I-Robot was a fine Will Smith flick, good enough to oust "Bad Boys" (which I didn't really care for) from the list. Great overall choices, especially number one--I've used "Pursuit" in class on a number of occasions.