Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone...yes, I'm still here!

I know it's been a while...things conspire against my Internet time. What can you do? :/

Anyway, it's just about the time to give thanks, and I wanted to give well wishes to everyone, especially dear friends like Geri and Yen. Happy Thanksgiving again, and I hope your holiday is a truly great one! :)

Speaking of those who should give thanks, I submit Will Ferrell. Much as I like the guy, and he can be truly funny at times, Forbes Magazine listed him as #1 of the top ten most overpaid actors in Hollywood. (Which means, he's very highly paid in spite of the fact his movies, especially recently, haven't made a profit.) Some would call that distinction of most overpaid harsh, while others would say that's like calling the sky blue. I'm somewhere in between. I don't have a high opinion of the creative powers of be more blunt, there isn't a helluva lot of creativity in the movie capitol of the world these days. Will hasn't exactly added to the lack of creativity, but he hasn't brought a lot of creativity to his films, either. Showing my age, I'd call him the new millenium's take-it-or-leave-it talent, like Chevy Chase. (Will and Chevy don't just have Saturday Night Live in their histories, they're mostly plain vanilla when they don't show flashes of genuine brilliance...or is it better to say they've only been ALLOWED to show flashes of brilliance?)

Anyway, let me get to another actor on the Most Overpaid Top 10. No, I'm not about to talk about Tom Cruise. I mean Samuel L. Jackson, which might be a surprise to many of you. It wasn't to me...I'll explain in a moment.

Sam Jackson entered into the millenium as the modern King of Cool, thanks mainly to his performance as Jules 'Bad Motherfucker' Winnfield in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" (1994). I'll grant that was one helluva movie, and Sam earned all the praise he got. And yet he never won an Oscar for his performance. Go figure. But here's why his standing as King of Cool is threatened and he earned his place in the Most Overpaid list...he hasn't exactly set the world on fire since.

Think about it, and notice I'm not for a moment taking away a thing from Sam Jackson. Name me one movie after "Pulp Fiction" that has been as enduringly popular or a role he played that was as...well, cool. The "Star Wars" prequels? Fans of the original films, and I'm among them, think the prequels are total wastes of time outside of their ushering in the digital age of filmmaking. Sam's Mace Windu was one of the few saving graces of the trilogy from George 'I'm cashing in on the legacy of better movies!' Lucas, and holy shit, HE HAD A PURPLE LIGHTSABER! Only Sam Jackson could pack a PURPLE LIGHTSABER and remain cool. Still...he wasn't in any of the movies enough to redeem them. The "Shaft" flick from 2000? Even fans weren't exactly knocked out of their socks...I sure wasn't. "Snakes on a Plane"? The online meme it created was HUGE, but when the movie came fizzled out, maybe from too much overexposure. Or it just wasn't as good as most hoped for, in spite of Sam, and word got out about it's lack of greatness fast. It's been the same for most of his films since..."Unbreakable", "XXX" and its sequel, "Coach Carter", the list goes on...he's been worthy enough, but such films have been deemed categorically unworthy as time passed.

A previous generation's King of Cool, Steve McQueen, earned his reputation with truly cool roles in great movies. So did Samuel L. Jackson for this generation...but where Steve passed away and therefore left the throne empty, the man currently taking his seat there has a different peril from death to threaten his reign. That peril is the lack of creativity in Hollywood, but like death, I don't know how Sam Jackson can fight that and keep his throne.