Sunday, May 21, 2017

Auteur Watch - Morgan Freeman

FINALLY!!!  I get to someone I can talk at length about... okay, moving on.  Seriously, though, what do you give the guy who's got everything?  If not Morgan Freeman, then who?  Also, when you've got a bedrock of this industry like Easy Reader... sorry, but for me this clip is worth it because Morgan Freeman cracks up at about precisely 1:59 or so.  I'm shocked!  I thought the top comment would be about... you know.  Anyway, back on track here.  As many of you who use the IMDb regularly might have noticed, there's this handy dandy feature now called the "IMDb Top 4."  It's all part of the internet narrowing our fields of consciousness.  And somehow, his four titles that are up there now don't seem to do him justice.  At least, not for me.  For one, I'm not one of these movie nuts that thinks The Shawshank Redemption is the end-all be-all movie.  I mean, God bless the cast and crew involved and all that... and sure, Se7en was all that and what not, and it's like Morgan Freeman were in a Coen brothers movie or something... frankly, I'd prefer their interpretation of the same material.  I guess No Country For Old Men will have to suffice.  Then of course, there's Driving Miss Daisy, because, you know, Bruce Beresford just wanted to leave his Barry McKenzie days behind him... and HARD.  I'll bet Morgan's close friends still give him sh... guff about that one.  And finally, there's Million Dollar Baby.  I'll confess it: I fell asleep in the theater during that one.  The Good Shepherd as well.  Well, living in the big city and having an extraordinarily bad diet was starting to take its toll.  Go figure!  Okay, so what would my top 4 be?  Oh, I don't know... didn't anyone like him in the 1991 incarnation of Robin Hood?  I also liked him in The Bonfire of the Vanities... sorry, but his part in it just came to mind.  I mean, how can you not like his last line in it?  I guess Americans in general still struggle with his advice.  Okay, so he doesn't get a lot of starring roles, just in things like 10 Items or Less.
Which is probably why a brutha would try turning to directing, just to mix it up.  I mean, working with Edward Zwick was great and all, but you can't help but look at him and go... well, Hell!  If that n... guy can direct, why not me?  Me, Morgan Freeman?  However, he didn't want to pick just anything, and he didn't want to just pander to that flaky, pesky American audience either.  And so we got 1993's Bopha!  I have yet to hear Trevor Noah give this one a shout out... just sayin'.  Well, hopefully it was fun making the movie, if not terribly profitable, and only Ebert would go out on a limb for it.  Bloody critics.  But Freeman was clearly a humble enough guy to realize his position in life in general, and in Hollywood in particular, and he'd seen too many of his fellow thespians get one taste of the Hollywood director chair and turn into complete monsters, thereby, as Chris Rock once quipped, a-holing their way out of the biz completely.  Not so for Freeman, and so it was back to work in the proverbial sulfur mines where all actors toil.
But hey!  Hope springs eternal, and it's a different cinematic landscape than it was 25 years ago, that's for sure.  These days, people go to the cinema and say "WHERE'S THE CLOSED CAPTIONING?  IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE ON THE NET-FLEX?"  And so, the guy who has everything... an Oscar(TM)(R), all the narration and/or host of science shows gigs he could ever want, as much movie work as he could want... I guess he doesn't like staying at home as much anymore as he once said in an interview... still, he can't help but look around the "Madam Secretary" set and think to himself... seriously?  Eric Stoltz?  Cameron Crowe won't even put him in movies anymore!!!  And Eriq La Salle?  Seriously?  The Jheri Curl guy from Coming to America?  Gimme that damn director's chair...

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