Appreciating Will Smith
He is the actor who has been entertaining his fans with multiple roles which were mixed with comedy, action, tragedy and romance in every film he has taken. That actor is none other than Will Smith who has been entertaining us for a very very long time.
This birthday must be the most awaited birthday that people have been looking forward to. An actor who has both inspired and brought us to points in our lives to change with roles that he took up in his wonderful career of being an actor.
Starting from a career in music to our favorite The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to being one of our most favored actors in Hollywood today. Will Smith transitioned from successful rapper to Hollywood A-lister, starring on 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air before headlining such films as 'Independence Day,' 'Men in Black' and 'Ali.'
Who Is Will Smith?
Will Smith was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1968. After he met Jeff Townes at age 16, the duo launched a highly successful rap career as DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. Smith starred on the sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air for six seasons, before establishing himself as a Hollywood A-lister with Bad Boys (1995) and Independence Day (1996). He has since headlined such popular films as Men in Black (1997) and Hitch (2005), and earned Oscar nominations for Ali (2001) and The Pursuit of Happyness (2006).
As teens, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince began producing music, but steered clear of the gangsta rap sound that was emerging from the West Coast by groups like N.W.A. The Fresh Prince rapped about teenage preoccupations in a clean, curse-free style that middle America found safe and entertaining. The pair's first single, "Girls Ain't Nothing But Trouble," was a hit in 1986. Their 1987 debut album, Rock the House, hit the Billboard Top 200, and made Smith a millionaire before the age of 18. The early success put any thoughts of attending college out of Smith's mind.
Early on, it was reported that Smith had turned down a scholarship to Boston's elite Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but Smith later dispelled the rumor when he told an interviewer: "My mother, who worked for the School Board of Philadelphia, had a friend who was the admissions officer at MIT. I had pretty high SAT scores and they needed black kids, so I probably could have gotten in. But I had no intention of going to college."
In 1988 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince continued their success with the album He's The DJ, I'm The Rapper. Featuring the radio-friendly singles "Parents Just Don't Understand," "Brand New Funk," and "Nightmare on My Street," the album won the first ever Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance. It was followed in 1989 by And In This Corner..., which continued the pair's rise to stardom.
Movies and TV Shows
'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
Two years later, Smith began his remarkable crossover into acting. Drawing on his experiences with fledgling stardom, NBC signed Smith to headline a sitcom about a street-smart kid from Philadelphia who moves in with stuffy relatives in the posh Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel-Air. Playing on his rapper persona, and at times featuring his friend Towne, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a huge success that ran for six seasons.
Meanwhile, Smith and Towne continued producing music, their 1991 album Homebase producing the hits "Summertime" and "Ring My Bell." Their final album together, 1993's Code Red, was notable for "Boom! Shake the Room."
While still making The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smith began a second crossover into movies. Small roles in the drama Where The Day Takes You (1992) and the comedy Made In America (1993) were followed by a critically acclaimed lead in Six Degrees of Separation (1993). Holding his own alongside Donald Sutherland, Stockard Channing and Ian McKellen, Smith played a street-wise gay hustler who cons his way through elite circles.
Smith's first steps into superstardom came with his next film, Bad Boys (1995). The high-budget cop movie saw him team up with comic Martin Lawrence, breaking away from the black-cop-white-cop formula that had been so successful for Beverly Hills Cop and the Lethal Weapon series. The two black leads proved an instant success and Smith — playing the smooth lady killer to Lawrence's clown — was established as leading man material.
Smith next took on the epic sci-fi flick Independence Day (1996), a role that confirmed him as a major player in Hollywood and the go-to guy for summer blockbusters. He played an Air Force pilot leading the counterattack against invading alien forces, and his comedic talents effortlessly transformed into the pithy one-liners all action heroes need to be able to drop while dispatching their enemies.
Smith fought aliens again in his next blockbuster, the comic sci-fi action film, Men in Black (1997). Playing opposite Tommy Lee Jones, Smith chewed up the screen as the new recruit to Jones' old hand. Smith rapped the theme song, and its inclusion on his 1997 solo album, Big Willie Style, brought the multi-talented actor more success. Another blockbuster followed with the slick conspiracy thriller Enemy of the State (1998), which earned Smith an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.
The string of hits came to an end in 1999 with Wild Wild West, a sci-fi cowboy Western co-starring Kevin Kline. Despite the film's lackluster box-office performance, the track Smith cut for the film became a hit on his 1999 album, Willennium. The golf movie The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000) was his next big film, with Smith playing the caddie to Matt Damon's out-of-sorts swinger.
The 2001 biopic Ali, based on boxing legend Muhammad Ali, gave Smith the opportunity to regain his big-screen swagger. His turn as the charismatic boxing great saw Smith put in the performance of his life, training and disciplining himself to extraordinary lengths to do justice to the athleticism — and ego — of the titular character. The film underwhelmed at the box office despite a record-breaking opening day, but Smith's performance was strong enough to garner him his first Academy Award nomination.
A couple of sequels were next, with Smith reprising his roles in Men In Black II (2002) and Bad Boys II (2003). Neither was a flop, but neither matched the impressive box-office take of its predecessor. Staying with the sci-fi action theme, Smith moved on to I, Robot in 2004. The Isaac Asimov adaptation featured Smith as a futuristic cop investigating a murder by a robot and then battling a robot insurgency. The film performed well, grossing more than $144 million domestically.
Smith's smooth-talking charmer persona was put to use in the 2005 romantic comedy Hitch, playing a dating consultant who helps luckless guys with their romantic moves. Smith also penned the theme song and included it on his 2005 album, Lost and Found. Hitch was a massive success, and it was followed in 2006 by another critical and financial hit, The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). Starring alongside his real-life son Jaden, Smith captivated audiences with the story of a single father who has to build a life from scratch. He received his second Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his performance.
In 2007 Smith starred in I Am Legend, a remake of the Charlton Heston film Omega Man, in which he battled bloodthirsty vampires. The film became a national and international hit.
Smith then took on the dual role of actor and producer for Hancock (2008), in which he played an alcoholic anti-superhero, and for Seven Pounds (2008), about a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. He also helped produce two more films released that year, Lakeview Terrace and The Secret Life of Bees.
After a hiatus, Smith returned to the big screen in 2012 with Men in Black 3, followed by a turn as a military commander in the critically panned M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi flick After Earth, which co-starred Smith's son Jaden. He then made a cameo as Lucifer in the film Winter's Tale (2014).
Smith's next leading role came with the 2015 heist caper Focus, co-starring Margot Robbie. Later in the year he starred as Dr. Bennet Omalu in the sports drama Concussion, earning a Golden Globe nomination for his role as a doctor fighting to raise awareness about head trauma in NFL players. In 2016 Smith starred in the DC Comics blockbuster hit Suicide Squad, which became his most successful film since 1996's Independence Day. The same year, he also took on a more somber role as a father who loses his young daughter in the drama, Collateral Beauty.
Although his next endeavor Bright (2017), which was released on Netflix, was thoroughly panned by critics, audiences responded more positively to the urban fantasy crime flick.
Smith is set to star as Genie in Guy Ritchie's live-action adaptation of Disney's Aladdin in May 2019.
All the movies that Will Smith has starred in has either taken our breath away of made us cry due to his amazing acting skills. On the occasion of his birthday let us also look at just 5, but 5 amazing scenes where he took our breath away.
1. Seven Pounds
Let’s start with Smith’s last feature film. Smith’s character is on a mission to redeem himself by positively touching seven people’s lives. I won’t tell you the reason why he’s seeking redemption, as that would give away the entire plot. However, I can focus on one of the standout scenes from the flick.
Woody Harrelson plays a blind meat salesman who gets harassed by Smith as part of a cruel, yet necessary, personality test. Over the phone, Smith is trying to get Harrelson to react in any manner, but Harrelson is able to keep his cool and remain patient with the mean-spirited Smith. During this scene, it is evident that Harrelson is hurting, but he puts on a strong front. When Smith ends his verbal assault and hangs up the phone, you see him breakdown in genuine shame. Because Harrelson passes Smith’s test, Smith decides Harrelson is worthy of receiving a generous gift. Once again, you’ll have to watch the movie to see what the gift is.
During this biographical project as boxer Muhammad Ali, Smith has a powerful rap about Joe Frazier. It’s a cool sports moment, but it also reminds us why Smith earned an Oscar nomination for the role.
It’s unfortunate that this film wasn’t more liked. Some people praised it, some people just weren’t taken by it. That’s a shame because Smith worked very hard to get Ali’s mannerisms, build and speech patterns down. The swagger Smith put into his Ali character is impressive.
3. The Pursuit of Happyness
Smith’s character gives a memorable motivational talk to his son in this 2006 motion picture. It’s fitting because Smith’s real-life son, Jaden, plays his character’s son. So it makes for an even bigger impact.
While it could be argued the entire project is emotional, this particular scene may be the best standalone segment. Smith gives a great delivery that clearly resonates with Jaden.
4. I Am Legend
The plot for this flick revolves around an incurable virus that has wiped out New York City’s population. Smith plays Robert Neville, a scientist who is immune to the virus and who is quite possibly mankind’s last hope. By Neville’s side is his loyal dog. After an unfortunate turn of events, the pooch is infected with the virus, and Smith is forced to put her down following a touching moment of song.
Putting down any pet is hard enough. Putting down your one remaining connection in the world would be nearly impossible. Smith’s tears definitely tug at the heart strings.
5. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
I saved this for last because it is my favorite. “The Fresh Prince” is, of course, built around comedy. But every once in a while, the television show changed the pace. In my opinion, the TV program did its best work in the episode “Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse.”
In the episode, Smith meets his dad, who abandoned him as a kid. Promising to take him on a long-overdue trip, Smith’s dad, Lou, falls back on his deadbeat ways and eventually cancels it. The subsequent scene allowed Smith to show heartbreaking emotion, where he goes from anger to defiance to complete sadness in a matter of minutes. It may be some of Smith’s best dramatic acting to date. Don’t believe me? View this "Papa’s Got a Brand New Excuse" clip for yourself.
This list cannot stop here, and i am not one to say that it Should. but let us take out the time to be in awe of the wonderful actor that Will Smith is and celebrate his big FIVE O with him.
Meet the author
An amateur slam poet and pursuing to become a writer. For years now, literature has become an art of gaining knowledge on different things for me. Completely against E-books and believed in the wildest of imaginations. And to add on some motivation, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing" - Benjamin Franklin.
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