Tag Archives: Remember the Titans

Denzel Washington’s 10 Best Movies

Denzel WashingtonDenzel Washington and Tom Hanks are, in my mind, the two best actors of their generation.  Both started in TV, Hanks in comedy with Bosom Buddies, and Washington in drama on St. Elsewhere.  Where Hanks’ career has exceeded Washington’s is not in talent, it is in project selection.  Washington elevates anything he’s in, no matter how mediocre, but he’s unfortunately had stretches of his career where he’s picked projects way beneath his astounding talent level.  Lately, though, Washington has been on a roll balancing commercial successes like The Equalizer and The Magnificent Seven with astounding dramatic performances in films like Flight and Fences.  Like the best actors, there is no limit to what he can achieve if paired with the right cast, project, and director.  He can be eminently likable, intensely despicable, sympathetic, heroic, noble and fallen all with an ease that lulls the audience until he turns it up and he grabs the screen by the throat and sears a moment into your mind forever.  Glory, Philadelphia, The Hurricane, Flight, Fences, all of these films have moments that transcend what even great actors can do, and you realize that you’re watching someone whose work will be remembered as long as they’re showing films.  He’s that good, and he keeps getting better.  Washington is also a talented director, helming Antwone Fisher, The Great Debaters, and Fences
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Ryan Gosling’s 10 Best Movies

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling is finally moving from mostly indie films into the big time, and over the last five years has been an integral part of some of the best films produced.  Gosling’s talent stretches from comedy (The Nice Guys, Crazy Stupid Love) to hard drama (Half-Nelson, The Ides of March) to action (Blade Runner 2049) and even song and dance (La La Land).  Gosling’s dedication to his roles is such that he learned to play the piano for La La Land.  With Blade Runner 2049’s critical success, Gosling can really do whatever he wants and join the elite ranks of Hollywood’s leading men.

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Top 5: Sports Movies of All-Time

hockey, baseball, basketball, football, soccer
With playoffs getting underway in hockey and basketball, let’s turn our attention to sports movies. First of all, why the heck is it so hard to make a good movie about such a dominant part of culture? Sports movies are almost uniformly awful and the most acclaimed ones are about boxing (which I’ve excluded because then the whole list would be boxing movies) or things that are “games” rather than “sports” like poker or pool (so no Hustler or Rounders). I want to keep it to team sports.  For that reason I also excluded Jerry Maguire because I don’t think of it as a sports movie so much I do a relationship movie.  You could argue either way, but very little of the movie takes place on-the-field. Continue reading Top 5: Sports Movies of All-Time

Denzel Washington’s Latest 10 Movies vs. Greatest 10 Movies

Denzel WashingtonLatest vs. Greatest is a relatively new feature here at Killing Time.  We’re going to look at directors, actors and actresses and assess the state of their career as it stands.  We’ll look back at the last 10 movies the artist has done, give it a grade and then average them out to see where they stand today.  We’ll also rank their 10 best movies and give it the same treatment to see what they have been doing compares to their very best work.  (A quick side-note: if an artist is also a regular on a TV show we’ll grade the seasons as individuals and, clearly, artists need 10 projects to qualify).

Denzel Washington’s projects over the last few years have either been amazing exhibitions of his prowess (Flight) or safe, easy-going action films where Denzel is essentially playing the Denzel that Jay Pharaoh mocks so eerily on Saturday Night Live (2 Guns, Safe House, etc.).

Washington CAN do anything.  For a long time he pigeon-holed himself as a hero, but he bucked that with Training Day (which I don’t particularly even think is a good movie) and got the leading man Oscar he’s deserved on several occasions.  His big break, like George Clooney who we looked at last week, came playing a doctor in a hospital drama.  Washington moved from his role on St. Elsewhere into features and quickly became one of the most popular and charismatic actors in Hollywood.

flight-denzel-washingtonWashington’s dramatic range has no parallel.  The gamut of emotions and places he can take himself in a role is as wide as any actor ever.  He’s a gifted comic actor with excellent timing to pair with a natural likability, but he’s never really had a comedic role that matches the prestige worthy of him.  I’d love to see him do a smart comedy.  He can make buddy action movies and cash $30 million checks until he’s 65, but I’ve seen enough of those from him.  They feel a little lazy compared to what we know he can do.  Let’s look at his last 10 films:

WASHINGTON’S LATEST TEN:
1. 2 Guns (2013) ………………………………………………………………… 5.00
2. Flight (2012) ………………………………………………………………….. 9.25
3. Safe House (2012) ………………………………………………………….. 6.75
4. Unstoppable (2010) ……………………………………………………….. 8.00
5. The Book of Eli (2010) ……………………………………………………. 4.50
6. The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3 (2009)……………………………………. 4.75
7. The Great Debaters (2007) ………………………………………………. 8.50
8. American Gangster (2007) ……………………………………………….. 7.00
9. Deja Vu (2006) ……………………………………………………………….. 6.50
10. Inside Man (2006) …………………………………………………………. 9.50
DENZEL WASHINGTON’S CURRENT WORKING AVERAGE: 6.975

Not too bad.  For as many duds as he’s had, he’s had two legitimately great movies and some very good ones.  But, honestly, Denzel’s better than a hair shy of a 7!  I honestly don’t know why, I suppose it’s because he won his Oscar with him, but Washington continues to make films with Antoine Fuqua, who has never impressed me.  I thought Safe House was dumb fun (I even own it), but he’s not a director that stretches Washington at all.  I mention this because the next time you’ll see Denzel onscreen is in 2014’s The Equalizer with Melissa Leo and Chloe Moretz Grace and it’s another Fuqua….Fuqua.  He’re’s the best of what Denzel has done:

WASHINGTON’S GREATEST TEN:
Glory (1989) ………………………………………………………………………10.00
Courage Under Fire (1996) …………………………………………………….9.75
Inside Man (2006) ………………………………………………………………..9.50
Flight (2012) ………………………………………………………………………..9.25
The Hurricane (1999) ……………………………………………………………9.00
Crimson Tide (1995) ……………………………………………………………..9.00
Remember the Titans (2000) ………………………………………………….9.00
Philadelphia (1993) ……………………………………………………………….8.50
The Preacher’s Wife (1996) …………………………………………………….8.50
The Great Debaters (2007) ……………………………………………………..8.50
DENZEL WASHINGTON’S CURRENT GREATEST AVERAGE: 9.125

Clooney had 9.425 last week and in a much shorter career on the big screen, though Washington is, in my opinion, by far the better actor.  The problem often is that Denzel is excellent in films that, overall, aren’t.  American Gangster is a perfect example.  Washington is outstanding and incendiary, but the movie is extremely flawed.  Training Day, same story, but even more so.  Washington doesn’t work as often as most leading men and when he chooses his projects, there’s a frustrating lack of logic, but when the right role meets his limitless talent….magic.
Denzel Washington