Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think of Will Smith?

“Men In Black 3″ opens this weekend, and so I thought we’d turn our discussion this week to one Mr Will Smith.

“MIB:3″ is his first movie in four years, so it’s only natural to wonder if he still has the kind of box office power that he’s demonstrated in the past. Smith has shown a knack for turning box office straw into gold, making massive moneymakers out of occasionally suspect films.

He began his career as a rapper and quickly earned a sitcom for himself (“The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”), which catapulted him to fame. He transitioned to the big screen with roles in such films as “Six Degrees of Separation”, “Bad Boys”, “Independence Day”, and of course, the original “Men in Black”. Smith continued to maintain his musical career throughout, and his crossover appeal helped fuel the box office success that his films enjoyed. In addition to summer blockbusters, though, Smith occasionally makes bids at “serious” roles, and in fact has earned two Oscar nominations – one for “Ali” and one for “The Pursuit of Happyness”.

So what’s YOUR take on Will Smith? Are you a fan? Take him or leave him? Does his acting impress you or no, when he takes on his serious roles? Let us hear it!

What do YOU think of Will Smith?

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78 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think of Will Smith?

  1. Something about him bugs me on a personal level, I think he comes off as incredibly arrogant or something. Still, I’ve been a fan since I was a kid so it’s hard not to like him.

    • I think the only thing that really bugged me personally was when he got the Karate Kid remake for his son. That was pretty annoying, just seeing nepotism at work in a movie I love… but, whatever. LOL

  2. First, MIB:3 was totally unnecessary. Instead of trying to tap into older successes, why not invent something new for a different generation?

    Also, Smith is starting to veer into Tom Cruise territory (i.e. publicity stunts, odd behavior, etc.) Will Smith has tremendous talent, as seen in his serious roles (as you pointed out), but every time I see the trailer for MIB:3, I wince a little. He should focus on being a major acting great, not a blockbuster machine.

    • It’s funny you mention Cruise. Not necessarily from the publicity angle, but I was thinking they’re both at kind of similar points where the shine is off of their star at the box office. We’ll see I guess with how big MIB:3 opens. I wouldnt have thought Hancock would have done as well as it did, but it did, so…

      Meanwhile, so many sequels are totally unnecessary. Hell, thats the story with half of Hollywood’s offerings nowadays. I dont know if there’s anything we can do…

  3. minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, and comes to a number of games.

    I too have been a fan since I was young (and just got my son hooked on his early music; Parents just don’t Understand can be heard every night from his bedroom) and think it is difficult not to find him charismatic and enjoyable on screen.

    • He definitely does have that “It” factor doesn’t he? I remember laughing along with Fresh Prince. he was fun enough. LOL

      I didn’t know that about the 6ers, I’m not a hoops fan really.

      • I still watch Fresh Prince when I come across it. He most definitely does have ‘It”, I only wish he’s do something against form. I want to see him in an epic, something where he can show his full range of talent (without rapping).

  4. I can take him or leave him. I really don’t have anything more intelligent to add, so I’ll leave it at that. I also totally agree with you about the Karate Kid thing….

  5. I am very much looking forward to Men In Black 3. It is the perfect mix of action, comedy and badass coolness for him. I also liked him in Independence Day and Ali. Not a big fan of the Bad Boys films though (I think I caught part of one on tv once and didn’t even finish it.)

    • Michael Bay, baby!! WHOOOO!! Booom!!

      Ok, you’re the first to vote strong yes on MIB:3. In all honesty I’m kind of underwhelmed over it, although Brolin as TLJ is going to be pretty funny! :D

  6. I think Will is a terrific actor. He makes some bad decisions sometimes (Wild Wild West, Men in Black 2), but when he knocks it out of the park, he knocks it out of the park. I mean who else could go from 90s sitcom star to Oscar nominated actor? It’s just a shame that he hadn’t won one though.

    Here’s hoping that MIB3 is not the nail in his coffin…

    • He is pretty good when he wants to be, thats for sure. I can distinctly remember being like Will Smith as Muhammed Ali? No F’ing way. And then… sure enough, by the end of that movie I was going “Ali, bumaye! Ali, bumaye!” :D

      And he was excellent in “Pursuit of Happyness”, without a doubt… that’s a really good flick.

  7. Even though he sometimes stars in crappy movies, I’m a fan of Will Smith and think he has a great presence on screen. He’s able to make so-so movies a lot more watchable and has natural charisma. My favorite performances are when he tries something a bit different, especially his underrated portrayal of Ali. He brings life to that character and underplays it really well without making him seem like a saint. As others have mentioned, the disappointing thing is that he doesn’t get involved in more roles like that one. He’s on cruise control right now.

    • “Ali, bumaye! Ali, bumaye!” LOL :D I’m gonna bust that out frequently today…

      I dont even know if it’s cruise control, Dan! MIB:3 is his first flick in FOUR YEARS! Since 2008!! I mean, wow. I know he doesn’t NEED to work, I’m sure… but if you want to maintain your star status dont you have to offer some movies up? Geez.

      I agree with your assessment on him, he’s got charisma to spare, I just hope he shifts into this next phase of his career with grace, you know buddy? That’s what I’m hoping…

  8. Not ashamed to say I frequently played the “He’s the DJ, I’m the rapper” album when I was younger. His music just seemed to mash well with younger crowd. “There’s no need to argue, parents just don’t understand!”
    Loved the Fresh Prince show, thought it was a good transition from his music to acting. ID4 was the first movie that I really enjoyed him. That movie remains in I’d say my top 30. ID4 just seem to capture his personality and at the same time show how he was growing up. The next two I enjoyed as well, MIB and Enemy of the State I thought was a good action suspense movie.

    Since Enemy, I’ve tanked with Will Smith. I’m not saying he hasn’t made good movies (glad he tried some serious roles), just think he’s beyond what most of us have grew to like about him. I think he still has the star power, but as alleyandthemovies stated, it would be nice to get something “fresh” out of him instead on MIB 3. Make some movies that appeal to all audiences!

    • “Not ashamed to say I frequently played the “He’s the DJ, I’m the rapper” album when I was younger”

      What? You? Cmon… get outta here… LOL

      That somehow not surprising in the least.

      What is surprising is that you seem to have soured on him. Although, I can understand. Definitely. He hasn’t chosen the best projects, exactly, thats for sure.

      • I’m not sure how to explain it.
        It’s kinda like I enjoyed him so much when he was young that the older Will just hasn’t translated that same kinda feeling. I enjoyed I Robot, Ali, but he’s also laid some stinkers like Hancock and Wild Wild West.
        Got a feeling, there will be a franchise come along yet that will suit him good.

  9. Wastes his talent on seriously mediocre movies. Would love to see him in a really brilliant movie. And why does he not age?

  10. Three things rank me as a Fan; MIB any of it. His charm humor and wit in Hitch. The depth and controlled nature of his despair in I am Legend. When he blew up at that young woman in the film, it was palpable and set in my mind as a very capable actor!

    • Yeah, he’s definitely capable. I mean, Pursuit of Happyness was about as dramatic as it gets he was pretty vulnerable there. So he’s got it in him. I think he just winds up coasting a little too much on that “charm and humor” you mention… although, shit, I cant blame him. LOL :D I would too!

      • Superb reference on Pursuit of Happyness Fogs! That underscores it! Hey if you can dazzle them with bullshit … ;-)

  11. OVERRATED.
    Always Has Been…
    …Always Will Be.
    I Admit To Enjoying Him SLIGHTLY When He Was The “FRESH PRINCE…”
    …But I’ve Always HATED HIM In Movies.
    I Hear Plots and Characters that Sound GREAT…
    …Then They Say…
    “Oh, And Will Smith Is The Star!”
    …And My Reaction Is Generally…
    “Well, It’ll Be Another ALMOST Good Movie… Maybe.”
    hehehe
    But Yes…
    …OVERRATED Is The Best Word To Use In Describing Him.
    -BRAD

    • “Over-rated (Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap) Over-rated (Clap, Clap, Clap-Clap-Clap)”

      -Brad

      LOL. I understand where you’re coming from. I do think it takes a certain something to be so beloved by the public though. There’s definitely something he’s got thats endearing to people. Plus, IMO, he’s done a really good job in the few attempts he’s made at serious roles… so thats where I’m at…

  12. I think he’s a great leading man in thrillers (Enemy of the State, I am Legend) and terrific in the comedies I’ve seen, so I am a fan. I’ve avoided the bombs and don’t hold him responsible for Men in Black 2 being such a disappointing sequel. But he really is a man that can carry a movie and that’s no small feat. His performance in Six Degrees of Separation was really, really good. I’m happy he’s out there.

    • There you go, Jan, that’s a good way of putting it. Sometimes we just need “Movie Stars” in the mix, too.

      He has done some good work in thrillers (Although “I Robot” would probably have to be included) he should bust out some more of those!

      • Yeah, those studio execs should get busy greenlighting some more thriller star vehicles, like we like ‘em. And something original would be swell, while we’re wishing here.

  13. Ok, here’s the thing, every actor, director, writer and producer have made their share of bad movies. Will Smith is a decent enough actor to pull off a serious role & keep us entertained in a comedy; he’s even not half bad in crappy movies he’s been in.

    I’ll admit it, I’m a Will Smith fan.

    Has he made some bad movie choices? Yes. Can he come off a bit pompous? Yes, what big Hollywood star doesn’t? This is a guy who has been in a lot of blockbusters. I can’t even knock him for the whole nepotism thing, heck, if i were uber-famous & my kid wanted to be in movies & I had the resources to produce a movie for him/her I sure would do it.

    As for the 4 year lapse in movie-making, it’s not unheard of; especially for a cross-over actor/singer and plus he’s producing & the entire family (excepting his oldest son) is in showbiz, so I’m sure work schedules need to be juggled.

    So, in answer to your question, what do you think of Will Smith? I think he is a hard working, successful entertainer who when he has the right script can be an astounding actor. I also think he’s a man who loves his family very much & wants to see them happy as well. I enjoy his music (especially the comedy raps we grew up on) & I enjoy his movies.

    • Awwww… you WUV him!! :D

      LOL.

      It’s ok, Kim. He’s cool. Although I kind of see differently on the Karate Kid thing – kid should have to earn his own shot. Although I hear he did alright with it.

      I think he’s got a mixed track record, a 4 year hiatus he’s coming off of, and a suspect movie opening up this weekend. So I’m a little shaky on where he’s at at the moment. But he’s definitely had a lot of good movies in his day, and he CAN put out a really star turn when he has the opportunity. So I’d just like to see that happen…

  14. I’m not a huge ‘automatic’ type fan. I can take him or leave him. I’m mos’ def (:D) not a fan of his music, or of the Fresh Prince, but I quite liked him in the MIB films and ID4. I think he comes across as quite likable on film, smart, funny etc. He has the type of on screen presence and charisma that works quite well for comedy and action, but maybe not so much for drama. Hancock left me quite cold, as did 7 pounds. And of course he still is tainted by his unfortunate participation in The Wild Wild West. I am Legend was pretty good though. I’ve never seen Pursuit of Happyness, but I’ve heard tis quite good.

    All that being said, I’m looking forward to MIB3

    • His filmography is a bit scattershot… I mean, just using the portion of his filmography you touch on you can see mixed results… I’ve never seen “7 Pounds” but I havent heard god things. Wild Wild West was terrible, and I wasn’t a big fan of Hancock. On the other side of things, The Pursuit of Happyness was pretty moving. That’s a really good movie, and he’s got the blockbusters that WERE good out there like ID4 and MIB.

      So he can be hit and miss, I think the thing is when he hits, people love it, and when he misses, theyre willing to forgive it.

  15. It seems like he is always playing the same character, in just about every film I have seen him in. Look out here comes the Will Smith sarcastic look at the camera and witty comment. Ali being the exception.

    Also there is this, I was living in a crappy apartment after college. The one good thing about this place was it was within walking distance of about 15 bars. Anyhow, these super loud and annoying broads moved into the apartment above us. The only song they owned was Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” they would crank this song up at unbeliveable volume at all hours of the day and night on repeat over and over again. This went on for a good solid two months until they got booted for not paying rent and selling crack or something.

    Everytime I see Will Smith’s face I have a flashback of wanting to kill those two dumb broads.

    • I think the shame of it is that if he worked more on being taken more seriously as an actor, he could be considered a great actor. I think he’s content just to be a huge star. Not that I can blame him of course. LOL :D

  16. I’ve always been a huge fan. I think he’s underrated because he does some films that seem a bit too “throwaway” or for lack of a better word “silly.” He is the best thing in Independence Day, I love Bad Boys (and think Bad Boys 2 is ok) and though he got cocky with Wild Wild West, Hancock and Hitch showed he can still do comedy and crazy effectively.

    I think he’s picked his “serious” roles really well too. Pursuit of Happiness is brilliant, he’s good in Ali, even if the film is slightly dull, and he even pulls off Seven Pounds too considering it was film specifically designed to make people cry!

    I wouldn’t have done Men in Black 3 though and would have concentrated on something more dramatic, think that’s where his career should be heading now. Will still pretty much watch anything he’s in though.

    • Well… I think that the fact that he does movies that people would like to “Throw Away” leads his rating to be tarnished, you know? I think if he more consistently attempted to do high quality flicks, he probably would have a better rep as an actor.

      I wonder if his presence has actually weakened any of his movies, like if they were like, ok, we have Will Smith, we’re all set now… LOL

      • I reckon that was definitely the case with Wild Wild West. I reckon the producers just thought “Will Smith will goof around for two hours and people will lap it up” but it just wasn’t as good as what he’d done before. I don’t actually think Wild Wild West is awful though!

  17. I very much enjoy Will Smith’s movies. While I wasn’t a fan of Seven Pounds, so many of his other films are great IMO. (Wild Wild West is stricken from all cinematic memory).

    I am very glad to see Jaden following in his footsteps. But, back on Will, I love his movie choices, I love that he involves his family in his projects, and the fact that he can play such a wide range of ages in his movies so believably well. –Hitch to Pursuit of Happyness to Hancock.

    • Haven’t seen “Seven Pounds”. And I’m boycotting the new “Karate Kid”

      Aside from that, I agree with you. LOL. He does juggle his roles to a good degree. He just has too many misfires, you know? For me…

  18. I think he’s a decent actor (and I was surprised to see he hasn’t starred in a film in four years), but I can’t really say his presence in a film sways me one way or the other. I don’t go to see a film because he’s in it, I don’t stay away because he’s in it. And I haven’t seen MIB II, so MIB 3 is probably not going to get my money any time soon either.

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