What’s Samuel L. Jackson‘s next badass role? Staunch protector of a teenage killer. The legendary actor stars in the upcoming film KITE, a cult classic anime that’s been adapted into an action-packed thriller starring India Eisley (best known for her role on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager). Directed by Ralph Ziman, KITE tells the story of Sawa (Eisley), a young girl whose parents get killed in a gruesome double murder.
In 1994, director Quentin Tarantino premiered a instant-classic film, Pulp Fiction. The crime movie did several unexpected things that year: it revitalized the careers of John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Samuel L Jackson, launched long-standing accolades for Tarantino, and helped cultivate an extended Easter Egg of pop culture references that would appear in not only Tarantino films but also in TV, music and other films alike. As the film celebrates the 20th anniversary of the film’s debut at the Cannes Film Festival, VH1 digs up all the fun facts that fans may have not known about the landmark Tarantino film. Read more…
Life as a celebrity must be pretty sweet, but what is life like if you happen to have the same name as a major star? When you think about it, names like Robin Williams and Janet Jackson are relatively common, prompting us to go on a search for everyday people who live life with well-known monikers.
Happy birthday, Samuel L. Jackson! We can barely believe that Hollywood’s baddest motherf—ing actor is turning 65 today, and we figure he has to be celebrating in the most awesome way imaginable. We decided to mark the day by looking back at the actor’s roles where he takes heads, lays down the law, and sometimes, gets downright devious.
We’re now convinced that Samuel L. Jackson is actually The One Who Knocks, Carey Mulligan might be the favorite for a major Hollywood role, and Adam Sandler reveals five things we never knew about him.
Quentin Tarantino’s idea of American slavery pictures Jamie Foxx riding horseback and spinning a pistol on his index finger while wearing a ridiculous blue getup with white ruffles, spewing corny-if-rebellious catch phrases like, “I like the way you die, boy.” Yes, the godfather of motion picture vengeance’s latest, Django Unchained, reverts to a significant era in history to swap victim with victor (much like 2009’s Holocaust-based Inglorious Basterds). Instead of a group of Jewish soldiers vengefully plotting against Nazi leaders, Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave turned bounty hunter, guns down any white man who impedes in the rescue of his enslaved wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Despite Tarantino being an equal opportunity history books trivializer, the problem with Django Unchained is it’s being presented as the “hip-hop generation’s Roots” as opposed to the feel-good revisionist history it is.
Per usual, Tarantino wanted to make his audience uncomfortable. I cringed as I sat through an early December screening of Django amongst a predominantly white audience in New York City’s School of Visual Arts Theatre watching horrific, graphic scenes that included freshly welted black backs and canines eating an enslaved man alive. Even more unbearable, though, were the snickers heard during such a visually intense movie that makes light of centuries of injustice. Jonah Hill’s three-minute cameo scores cheap laughs off an amateur racist sect’s poorly constructed masks (“I can’t see sh*t!” one Klansman blurts). The word “nigger” is spat more than 100 times through the film’s two-hour-and-45-minute span.
To save you the $13 cost of admission, here’s a rundown of the plot: Two years before the Civil War in the antebellum south, German bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) purchases Django to identify three murdering thieves known as the Brittle brothers who have price tags on their heads. In exchange, Dr. Schultz mentors Django in the art of murder, playing Batman to Django’s Robin in the pursuit of his lady. They take off for Mississippi when they learn of Broomhilda’s whereabouts, at Calvin Candie’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) vast Candyland plantation deep in the racism-rich South. It’s like the King of Diamonds of plantations—female house slaves dress in fine bouffant dresses and his right-hand house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), gives insight on business matters, and even sasses white visitors. Candie himself is a sarcastic, slick-talking overseer who indulges in violent Mandingo fights while his slave mistress watches, cocktail in hand. As the film nears its end, Tarantino’s signature twists lead to an expected bout of bloody, gory action.
All trigger-happy abolitionist fun, right? A good ol’ spaghetti western complete with Rick Ross and a James Brown/2pac mash-up on the soundtrack. You’ve got to wonder how many moviegoers will watch, munching on nachos and popcorn, and depart their seats thinking, “Slavery wasn’t too bad after all,” or worse, “Why didn’t all slaves just revolt?” Let’s get real. Django’s opportunity to shoot down slavemasters one-by-one would’ve never happened—he’d be hung after the first white man he killed, but most likely would’ve never sought revenge at all. The institution of slavery was deeper than whips and chains; it was a deep-rooted mental oppression that psychologically suppressed its sufferers.
Sure, Django Unchained is not a documentary intended to inform. But even though Tarantino has stated that he was “uncomfortable” presenting the slave experience, the whipping scenes and BS phrenologist comparisons of a slave’s skull to that of a free man don’t always play that way on screen. I wish that he would have put the same level of thought into developing Jackson’s well-acted role, which hardly surpasses the “house nigger” caricature. Or avoiding the Great White Hope meme (see: Glory, Dangerous Minds, Blind Side, The Help) that finds Foxx playing sidekick and Washington as a voiceless damsel. In reality, there was no nice German savior swooping in to emancipate the enslaved. Freedom was an impossible task seldom achieved by slaves making ultimate sacrifices.
Tarantino lauded himself for being familiar enough with the subject of slavery and black culture to critique Roots, Alex Haley’s thorough cinematic exploration of American slavery. “When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” he told The Daily Beast of the film adapted from literary fiction masterpiece Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The enslavement of Africans in the U.S. for more than 400 years was much worse than could ever be portrayed on screen, yet Roots is still the closest depiction of the often-closeted atrocity. Django Unchained is no Roots. The problem, however, is Tarantino’s packaging of his latest effort as some type of eye-opening, thought-provoking, progressive piece of art.
Slavery has long been America’s dirty little secret that’s often left untouched. Most Americans aren’t versed enough on the effects that unfortunately linger today. Any film, entertainment or not, has a responsibility to address the topic with a certain level of information—and acknowledgement of slavery’s lasting effects—presented.
Jamie Foxx told VIBE magazine that “Every two, three years there is a movie about the holocaust because they want you to remember and they want you to be reminded of what it was.” He argued African-Americans should recall slavery with the same urgency, and that’s why this film must be supported. Difference is, America doesn’t wish to forget the Holocaust. And Django Unchained may very well remind America of its dark twisted past, it does so by misinforming and making the masses feel good about it first.
Lena Dunham: killing it in the name of democracy! Cramming an entire Girls episode worth of jokes into one short promo, Dunham hypes President Obama in a new video comparing her first time voting to her first time..yeah, you know what we’re getting at. Of course Lena isn’t the first funny lady or gent to rep the president for four more years.
If you are only mildly interested in the Olympics, feel free to skip this post. If you have to restrain yourself from talking to everyone on your subway car about the Serbian men’s volleyball team (humina humina, are we right? Ladies? Gentlemen?), please continue with our blessing and get your 24/7 Olympics fix courtesy of Samuel L. Jackson‘s hilarious, NSFW live-tweeting of the Games. Like, all the games. “Told y’all, ladies weightlifting drama! Lil’ babes, picking up heavy s–!” the Avengers actor gushed. “Dope A– start for the women gymnasts! Feeling’ good about our chances! These “judgement” sports are sketchy…@ best!” So good. While no one is offering up-to-the second opinions like Mr. Jackson (yet), there are a number of other celeb Twitter we’re going to go ahead and ask you to also follow if you are as sincerely obsessed with the Olympics are we are:
Samuel L. Jackson is notorious for his forcefully loud voice, not to mention the expletives he drops whenever the bleep he feels like it. Since he’s hosting this year’s BET Awards on July 1 we’re wondering which version of Jackson will be in full force. Will it be Long Kiss Goodnight Jackson, Losing Isiah Jackson or Pulp Fiction Jackson? Perhaps it will be a combination, but after watching his promo spoof of Nicki Minaj we’re hoping he’s going to be, well, himself. No toned down PC Jackson, please. Read more…
Tell us how you really feel! Samuel L. Jackson says what the hell he wants, usually with a few expletives for good measure. So why would anyone expect him to bite his tongue about what he feels was a bad review of his new film The Avengers by New York Times writer A.O. Scott? Negating any good he held for the publication after The New York Times Magazine did a cover story on Jackson last weekend, Scott’s take on The Avengers did not please him, and he felt the writer (and the world) should know.
The review, which praises the movie’s comic bits cast but points out flaws like its “grinding, hectic emptiness” and “bloated cynicism,” prompted Jackson to tweet, “#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let’s help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!”
And in response to someone asking if people are entitled to their own opinion, Jackson struck back, “That is My Opinion! @TheFilmNest & what’s irrational about it? They aren’t going to fire his jaundiced ass & You & I Know It!”
In a Twitter conversation with New Yorker music critic Alex Ross, Scott expressed his reaction to Jackson’s outburst, “thanks @alexrossmusic and yet I have to say I feel more flattered than threatened. which may prove the point a different way.”
Twitter wars are never the way to settle a beef, gentleman. Although we secretly wished Jackson would have turned into Mitch from The Long Kiss Goodnight, these guys should take notes from President Obama. The only way to settle this once and for all is for the two of them to join Obama at the White House for a good old fashioned beer.