DAR Films: 8 Classic Samuel L. Jackson Roles

By @TrueGodImmortal

Samuel L. Jackson is one of the greatest actors of our time. Known for his numerous roles throughout a 30 plus year career, he has gone from smaller appearances in important films to leading man and integral part in some huge franchises. For many, his breakthrough role was in Pulp Fiction, but my first time seeing him was in Coming to America and in Juice. I would later watch him in Jungle Fever and Fresh, and I thought he excelled in every single role. As his career started to take off more and more, Samuel would end up obtaining some more important roles that helped shape his career and today we will look at a few of those career defining roles. Let's take a look at 8 classic Samuel L. Jackson movie roles. 

*Carl Lee Hailey
(A Time To Kill)

-The most infamous part about this role is of course the saying that made Samuel an instant star in different comedic circles. This movie isn't a comedy. Far from it, but Samuel delivered one of his most iconic lines, only for Dave Chappelle to make it so that you never hear the line without chuckling. When he says "yes they deserve to die and I hope they burn in hell" initially however, you feel the pain. His daughter was brutally raped in this film by Klan members and the pain and anger that Samuel's character goes through shines brightly in an excellent performance. This was the first leading dramatic performance where we saw just how talented he was as an actor overall (one could count his role as Gator in Jungle Fever, but that was a smaller role). He takes a mediocre movie and makes it much more engaging, which is a very big feat honestly.

*Louis Batiste
(Eve's Bayou)

-Many people don't seem to recognize this performance as one of his best, but in many ways, this is his most complex role. Samuel has shown he can be good in action roles, slightly comedic roles, and just as a badass, but there is perhaps no more complex performance than his work as Louis Batiste. As a womanizing father and husband in this movie, Samuel is essentially the antagonist of the movie, and while the movie does take a few odd turns throughout, it is a consistent performance from Samuel. It has the most dimensions of his dramatic performances, and before Louis meets an unfortunate demise, he is the best part of the entire movie by far.

*Nick Fury
(The Avengers, Marvel Cinematic Universe)

-Of course, his role as Nick Fury takes precedent over his role in another legendary series, Star Wars. Samuel was a bit miscasted as Mace Windu, but was perfectly casted as Nick Fury. While for many, he seems to be on autopilot here, he manages to make it work better than I expected. While his role in the films of the MCU are usually smaller than the titular characters, Jackson steals the show at times as Fury, allowing him to easily settle into the title of the best Nick Fury that Marvel has ever seen. It remains to be seen what the fate of Fury is after the events of Infinity War, but you will see a younger Nick Fury in the Captain Marvel movie at least.

*Doyle Gipson
(Changing Lanes)

-If Eve's Bayou is the apex of his dramatic roles, then perhaps Changing Lanes is the apex of his powerful performances. Playing the role of Doyle, a recovering alcoholic who sells insurance, Samuel taps into something here to bring this role to life in a major way. This movie is essentially a look into casual racism and how someone with more power tries to play a game, but is forced to do things the right way. After Doyle gets into a minor accident, which wasn't his fault to begin with, Ben Affleck's character leaves the scene and as a result, Doyle faces horrible consequences in relation to his wife and kids. In all honesty, I hated watching the events occur to Doyle for obvious reasons. He has his credit destroyed, loses his kids in a custody hearing, and for the most part, he suffers a majority of the movie. While the end gives a bit of hope, it takes poise to pull off a role that requires so much pain and Samuel surprisingly conveys exactly what you would expect him to in this movie and more.

*Elijah Price/Mr. Glass

-The Eastrail 177 trilogy by M. Night Shyamalan is interesting because it is essentially a comic book series that isn't derived from actual comics. Still, this has become an interesting trilogy that will culminate in one final film at the start of next year. Regardless, this initial entry in the trilogy plays out very well and actually pretty smart, as Samuel stars as Elijah Price, a disabled comic art gallery owner who has sinister intentions, but one would not know it offhand. Becoming the villain to the hero in this story is his destiny and when it all shapes up, the twist at the end can be seen from a mile away, but it is executed very well due to Samuel delivering such an intriguing performance as Mr. Glass. When the newest (and final) film comes out in 2019, we can only assume that Mr. Glass has more in store.

*Jules Winnfield
(Pulp Fiction)

-Of course. There was no question of this one. Of all the famous roles that Jackson has been a part of, there is no role in his catalog that is as iconic as this one. This movie was the one that IMO allowed Tarantino to become the respected director he would, and since then, all of his work has been criminally overrated due to this. Still, to me, this was a solid premise that was aided by the performances of a select few, none better than Samuel. As the gangster on his own spiritual entitlement journey Jules, he shines in every scene and leaves the audience with at least 3 quotes per scene. It isn't the dialogue alone, it is the delivery from Jackson himself that makes everything he says THAT much better. Of all the characters that Samuel has played, I think this has to be the biggest and the best of them all and most entertaining.

*Zeus Carver
(Die Hard With A Vengeance)

-For me, this is an underrated role for Sam and quite possibly his best overall. He plays the role of sidekick to Bruce Willis in this one, but he managed to add more energy and vibrance to a franchise that was teetering on the edge. As Zeus Carver, a Harlem storeowner that has to work alongside John McClane, Samuel steals the show with his comical delivery of lines, and he has numerous quotes throughout the movie.

*Coach Thomas Carter
(Coach Carter)

-Choosing this one over some of his other roles was more of a personal choice of course, but I think Samuel owned his role as Coach Carter with ease. The true story biopic on Thomas Carter gains more character and intrigue with Jackson as the coach. He brings the authority, the aggression, and the concern that was needed to make this performance special. The movie itself is your standard film, with feel good intentions and the usual ups and downs, but Jackson elevates it from start to finish, as he did with every role on this list.



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