Samuel L. Jackson is starring in yet another film, in Stephen King’s “1408,” which I’m really looking forward to. I remembered how much I loved this actor, even before I discovered his debut in “Pulp Fiction,” once I took a look at the trailer, and I was inspired. Samuel L. Jackson just has a presence that makes even his worst films slightly watchable. From shit like “xXx,” to “The Man,” right down to the entertaining “Red Violin,” and “”Die Hard with a Vengeance,” Jackson’s constant appearance in films is really no surprise. So I figured, what the hell, why not a list of my favorite appearances from the man? Be warned: Spoilers are extremely fucking nigh.

Frozone was sadly one of the only under used and under-developed characters in, what I consider the masterpiece “The Incredibles.” It’s not to say that Frozone wasn’t a great character, and sure he has his spotlight in the climax, where he suits up for the first time in years to help out the Incredibles, and arguing with his wife, but I just wanted more from this character. Perhaps if there’s ever a sequel, we’ll see more from Frozone. We can hope, because his power was rather dazzling and his abilities to play the guardian while skiing and skating along his own snow was rather entertaining. The homage to “”Die Hard with a Vengeance” featuring Frozone and a water cooler was well worth the DVD price alone.

Hell, I loved “Unbreakable,” damn it. I can see why people don’t, but I found it to be an excellent look at the superhero if the mythology suddenly fell on to modern America. Basically, it was “Heroes” before “Heroes” arrived six years later. There was the moody photography, the low key but almost excellent story telling, and of course the villain: Mr. Glass. It was never evident what Mr. Glass’s intention was towards Willis’ character from the get go. At first he was the Obi Wan to Willis’ Luke, a man with weakness attempting to turn him into a hero, but then, as time went on, Mr. Glass became a much more apparent figure, and with the surprise twist, his own delusions had taken over, from years of comic book consumption. He was intent on being the Lex Luthor to Willis’ Superman. The classic paradox had taken shape under his acts of terror. It’s still one of Jackson’s best performances.

Apparently aware of Lucas’ ability to take great characters and minimize their potential a la Darth Maul’s unrealized potential, Boba Fett screaming like a bitch only to be swallowed whole by the pit monster and Han Solo’s transformation from hardcore pirate to lovable oaf, Mr. Jackson has stated repeatedly that he told Lucas to make sure his character didn’t go out like a punk. Not everyone enjoyed the prequels, but goddamn was Mace Windu ever a bad ass character. Jackson’s gravitas helped turn a throwaway character into a very important and entertaining aspect of the trilogy, even toppling what was supposed to be the best fight of the series: Anakin vs. Obi-Wan. Windu was an excellent character, and I’ll stand by that.

“The absence of evidence is not necessarily the evidence of absence!!” It’s a real treat to see something great these days that wasn’t already running years before. Beyond that, original garbage like “”Tim and Eric…” is usually painful to sit through. That’s why “The Boondocks” is such a great series, and Samuel L. Jackson’s appearance as Gin Rummy is priceless. Attempting to catch the X Box killer, Hewey and Riley team with young millionaire and wigger Ed Wuncler III, who enlists the help of friend Gin Rummy. They go out on a vigilante crusade and Rummy theorizes about the Iraq war, WMD’s, and how just because there’s evidence of absence doesn’t mean there’s absence of evidence, all of which leads into Jackson’s muttering of his famous monologue from “Pulp Fiction” to a confuse Riley; Truly one of the best moments of the series, so far.

Jackson stars as a samurai warrior with an impressive head of hair as he scours the land looking for an undead cowboy. Jackson as usual displays his consistent gravitas here, with a low-key and powerful performance as Afro, as he stalks the man who murdered his dad, played aptly by Ron Perlman. “Afro Samurai” is a lot like “Samurai Champloo” except not so frantic and confusing, with rather excellent animation, and the modern tech mixed with primitive settings like “Cowboy Bebop.” But you watch it for Samuel L. Jackson, period. It was my draw, and hell, it should be yours. Even though Afro is supposed to be the silent Clint Eastwood persona, with the Jim Kelly frame, he’s followed by Ninja Ninja, a talkative, obnoxious, and raucous cheerleader/antithesis played by: you guessed it, Samuel L. Jackson. If you ever come across this at a DVD store, pick it up. It simply doesn’t disappoint.

I personally enjoyed “Snakes on a Plane” even in the face of pure cynicism. It was a simple premise, and it resulted in a pretty entertaining and rather ridiculous killer animal movie with Samuel L. Jackson leading the charge. Though the high point of the movie just wasn’t his line as voted by the internet fan boys, it was watching the big boobed woman get her casabah’s chewed up, and a young man getting his trouser snake bitten off by a venomous snake. You just have to enjoy the movie, even on a guilty level.

I love “Pulp Fiction.” Sure, it’s smug and self-aware, the dialogue between Mia Wallace and Vinnie is often disingenuous, and so anxious to be cool, and the finale in the restaurant is tiresome after repeated viewings. But goddamn, anytime Jackson is on-screen, I’m watching with my attention undiverted. Jules was the best aspect of “Pulp Fiction,” and any time Jackson was on-screen, instantly the energy rose to a new level, and he just seemed even out Vinnie. Without Jules around Vinnie got stupider, and was killed, and Jules just kept him in check. Jackson gets the glory for the film, and it’s a shame the Academy didn’t feel the same.

So, what are your favorite Jackson moments?

Posted on June 5, 2007 in Blogs by

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  1. Mike Ferraro on Tue, 5th Jun 2007 6:04 am 

    Dude, you forgot his performance as Gator the Crackhead in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever.” It’s the performance that made him who is today, and the performance he has yet to top.

    If you haven’t seen it, go rent it right now. I’d tell you to buy it but the DVD sucks it.

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  2. Felix Vasquez Jr. on Tue, 5th Jun 2007 7:22 am 

    Havent seen it yet. I’ll have to, now.

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  3. Rory L. Aronsky on Wed, 6th Jun 2007 12:43 pm 

    Favorite Samuel L. Jackson moment? Well, one of them anyway.

    Dave Chappelle as Samuel L. Jackson in his advert on “Chappelle’s Show” for Samuel Jackson Beer.

    “It’ll get you drunk! You’ll be fucking fat girls in no time!”

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