DAR Films: The 5 Best And Worst Will Smith Movies

By @TrueGodImmortal 

Once upon a time, Will Smith was one of the biggest actors in Hollywood and the most viable leading man in film. He would have a streak of 100 million dollar earners consecutively and it seemed like Will couldn't lose. Up until about 2007, Will could literally do no wrong. After 2007, not so much. Since his decline, Will has graced the screen in some of the worst movies of the year, and the quality of the roles he's taken continue to dwindle. After his role in the middle of the road film Suicide Squad, it seems like it's possible that he could be turning the corner (Collateral Beauty aside), with some of his next rumored projects. Regardless, today we wanted to take a look back at his film career and rank his films. Like we usually do on DAR Films Sunday, we will rank his top 5 and the 5 worst in his catalog. Let's get into it.

The Worst
There's so many choices here. Will has a long history of successful films, but he also has a long history of bad films. Early on in his career, he would be a part of a few duds, and throughout his long run as a big box office star, he had a few as well. Since about 2008 however, from Hancock to Concussion (which was a good role for him, but a poorly directed film), nearly every film he's been in has either came across as boring, incomplete, or ended up as lackluster. Narrowing it down to the 5 worst was no easy task, but here are my choices.

5. Made In America (1993)

-A forgotten movie in his filmography, this film showcases Will in a smaller role and not a leading role. Ted Danson, Nia Long, and Whoopi Goldberg all have roles in this film as well, but Will doesn't really fit in here. It's almost as if his character is meant to be out of place in this story of a young black girl finding out her father is a white man who donated sperm many years ago. Will has a smaller but still significant role in this movie, but it's really tough to sit through and watch the entire thing. Will is good in his scenes, but the movie itself is horrible from top to bottom.

4. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)

-I don't have much to say about this movie, outside of the fact that it is one of the strangest films I've ever witnessed personally. The golfing premise isn't all that strange, but the way the story is told in the movie just doesn't make much sense or work for me. The Robert Redford directed film is ridiculously boring, lacks a true identifiable character, and Will is underutilized, even in a starring role. It was the first movie that I felt Will was somehow pandering to the Oscars crowd, and despite him trying to make the best of his role, it was really not a joy to watch Will in the "Negro who helps the white people" role in such a bad film.

3. Wild Wild West (1999)

-This was just a bad idea from the start. While the soundtrack boasted a hilarious and catchy song of the same name that featured Sisqo singing his heart out (for virtually nothing), the movie itself is just horrible. Will doesn't seem comfortable in this role, as crazy as that sounds. Playing James West, a Civil War hero gunslinger with a reputation, Will tries to balance funny with his action packed persona in this movie, and we get mixed results. Where the movie gets really bad is when you see Kevin Kline as both former President Ulysses  Grant and U.S. Marshal Artemus Gordon. Kline is cringe worthy bad, and though that's probably the point, it sticks out badly in the film, as do the villains. The villains were laughable and the only saving grace really is the beautiful Salma Hayes making an appearance as Rita Escobar. Though this movie was slightly successful, it's still considered a disappointment by many.

2. Seven Pounds (2008)

-I remember seeing the preview for this and thinking to myself "is this Will attempting to go for an Oscar", and when I watched the film I thought to myself "there's no way he thought this was Oscar worthy" or even relatively good. The premise is one based around a man riddled with guilt due to a fatal accident that left him without his soon to be wife, and you can sort of tell where the story is going from there... but the journey to get there is painstakingly bad. Playing Tim Thomas (what a name), Will is on a mission to donate his organs to people who need them as a last will and testament of giving back for causing the careless accident that killed his fiancee and several strangers. Rosario Dawson is oddly off here as Emily and there's really nothing to root for. You don't want to see Tim and Emily make it really, you don't want to see Tim die, and you don't really care about the premise by the end of the movie. It's a noble concept I guess, but the movie is just not good at all. It's not remotely entertaining and despite the "message" behind it, it's depressing to see someone commit suicide via jellyfish. It really is.

1. After Earth (2013)

-If you think there's a movie in his filmography that's worse than this, then you're wrong. Jaden Smith might one day grow to be a good actor, but that day is not today. Will is extremely cheesy in this film and while the premise wasn't that bad itself, the film execution was extremely lackluster. The acting was pretty bad, the action sequences and story of "finding yourself" that Jaden's character has to go through is really pointless. However, none of this should be a shock once you see this film was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, one of the worst directors in Hollywood. Add Jaden and Will to the mix with M. Night and you've got a trifecta for bad movies on the way. This is the worst movie I've seen of the 2010s honestly, and it's certainly at the top of Will's worst list.

The Best
For all the talk I make of Will making bad movies, once upon a time, he made good movies. From Independence Day to Men In Black to Bad Boys 2 all the way to I, Robot, Will has a nice set of hit movies in his arsenal. What would rank as his top 5? What are the 5 best Will Smith movies, in my opinion? Let's read on and find out.

5. I Am Legend (2007)

-One of the biggest earning films in his career, I Am Legend is based on a book of the same name that showcases a change in the world as we know it. A virus has led the human race to decline and turned into zombie like forms... but... different. They're faster, stronger, and not really dead vampire zombies, but more like... evolution vampires. It's a twisted story that showcases the vampire zombies (not sure what else to call them) build families and continuing to live despite the infection and Will's character is one of the few who wasn't infected or affected by it. He lost everything, and all he has is his dog, but unfortunately, that changes soon. This movie showcases Will literally alone carrying a film with a bunch of vampire zombies coming at him, and he holds it down very well in this film, earning a spot on the top 5 for doing so.

4. Bad Boys (1995)

-The chemistry of Will and Martin Lawrence is what puts this film high on the list. Out of the numerous movies that Will has made, there's nothing quite like this in his arsenal. Playing the Miami cop Mike Lowery, Will takes the role of a smooth talker and one of the cooler police characters I've watched this side of Axel Foley. The film sees Will and Martin (who plays Marcus Barnett) work together on a tough case to bring justice. Along the way, one of Mike's friends are shot, the privacy of Marcus is shattered, and a lot of gun fire goes off. This is essentially what the best action movies need to thrive and Bad Boys had that and then some.

3. Ali (2001)

-One of the greatest roles in his career saw Will tackle the heavy task of playing Muhammad Ali. While the film itself isn't paced as smoothly as it could have been, the role is one of the strongest ones in his entire career. Will gracefully glides through the ring as Ali, showcases the confidence and emotion within Ali, and he owns this role completely. There's not many people who could pull off the role of one of the greatest fighters ever, but Will took his role as Ali and achieved greatness. I believe that he could have won an Oscar for this film, similar to how Jamie Foxx (who is also in this film) did for Ray, but it was not meant to be. Still, this was a really good film with an even better performance from Will.

2. Enemy Of The State (1998)

-This is the most slept on film that Will has made and it's surprising that people don't appreciate it more. Starring alongside Gene Hackman, Will plays the role of a naive lawyer and family man named Robert Clayton Dean who thinks nothing can go wrong so to speak in his life. His family is good, he's good... but when an old friend slips a disc into his shopping bag and is murdered soon after, life changes instantly. He's under surveillance, he's being monitored and now he's caught in the middle of a murder cover up and the government watches his every move. What makes this film so great is the premise and the notion that we are being watched via surveillance and tracked by the government, which isn't just a movie premise.... it's the reality. Gene Hackman is solid in his role, Regina King is solid as Robert's wife, and Will gives a really superb performance in what is most underrated film without question.

1. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

-There's no Will Smith list without this movie. This is the most emotional role of his career and the one where he shows his vulnerability as an actor and does so next to his son Jaden. The film follows Will as Chris Gardner, a man down on his luck after a bad experiment selling bone density scanners (still hilarious) essentially ruins his life. He and his son are left alone and without a home, causing them to sleep in train stations and meager hotels when they can afford to. He persevered and overcame the odds and the way Will carries his emotion through every scene and lights up the screen with Jaden is amazing. It's his best role, his best acting job, and his best film, bar none. Simple as that.



Popular Posts