GREAT PERFORMANCES YOU MAY NOT HAVE SEEN:
Lakeview Terrace (an LAPD cop out to get an interracial couple)
Red Violin (a magnificent mystery spanning three centuries)
Changing Lanes (a vengeful oneupsmanship with Ben Affleck)
Unbreakable (the brittle alter-ego to Bruce Willis’s strength)
Resurrecting the Champ (a champion boxer down on his luck?)
Eve’s Bayou (father of a family in ‘60s Louisiana)
Jungle Fever (a crack addict)
A Time to Kill (father taking revenge for the rape of his daughter)
Jumper (a vigilante out to stop the jumpers)
Star Wars (I, II, III)
Die Hard: With a Vengeance
THE SPIKE LEE/ BLAXPLOITATION/ TARANTINO SAM:
Pulp Fiction (hit man)
Do The Right Thing (street deejay)
Menace II Society
Jungle Fever (crack addict)
Mo’ Better Blues
THE HEROIC SAMUEL L:
Coach Carter (coach)
The Negotiator (detective)
The Long Kiss Goodnight (detective)
Rules of Engagement (soldier)
Star Wars (wise man)
Die Hard: With A Vengeance (reluctant hero and shop owner)
Snakes on a Plane (Jackson asked to be in it; all the email buzz started around him)
Black Snake Moan (we’ll forgive him for making Christina Ricci to cut down on the sex)
THE REAL MR. JACKSON:
Coach Carter ...
Though you may want to say “Shaft,” the real Samuel Jackson plays by the rules, works harder than just about anyone in the business, and demands a level of commitment and professionalism from himself and those around him.
Tough. It’s hard to imagine a tougher persona than Samuel L. Jackson. It helps being over six foot two, when most action heroes can’t even see six feet, but, of course, it’s much more than that. Though he’s risen from playing strictly villains to mixing in heroes, he still conveys a piece of the street, maybe even in “Star Wars.” Not sassy, rappy street. No, his street is too quiet to be anything but threatening.
Jackson mixes this formidableness and that penetrating stare with a unique delivery, all based on heavy-duty stage experience. So, rather than go get more popcorn, we look forward to his speeches, the longer the better. To mix up the monologues a bit, he rises and falls up some kind of scale, overpronounces consonants, and then slams down on every word.
Because he is such a workaholic and so prolific, his forgettable films easily outnumber his unforgettable ones. Plus, as he proved with Eugene Levy in “The Man,” he’s not yet ready for comedy. But his is such an enjoyable, powerful presence that in most films it is utterly impossible to imagine anyone else playing his part.
BITS AND QUIRKS:
The eyes. Jackson uses them to shoot lasers or to give us a break as they widen from a cat’s pupils to a questioning, philosophical human’s. He also relies on a cock of the head to relieve the anxiety of his fellow players and the audience, too. And, those (few) times he smiles, well, that is something. The period. After. Every. Word. In. the. Sentence.
PULP FICTION -
Accidentally shooting Marvin in the back seat > Preaching to Brad before he blows him away.
Revealing the truth about his strange relationship with Bruce Willis > Falling down the stairs.
DIE HARD: WITH A VENGEANCE -
Another strange relationship with Bruce Willis. > Saving his near-naked butt in Harlem
CHANGING LANES -
“Give my time back to me” scene with Affleck. > Showing Affleck the tire iron just before his wheels come off.
DEEP BLUE SEA -
Getting eaten by the shark.
THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT -
The car scenes and chases with Geena Davis
GO TO THE... SAMUEL L. JACKSON BIO