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#142. Jamie Foxx

Comedian, musician, actor. Jamie Foxx is one of Hollywood’s best examples of rising through the ranks to become a well-known and household name, even if it’s his stage name. Working his way up from being a stand-up comedian to a television actor, Jamie Foxx made the jump to the big screen while still working on television. Once he completed the run of his own, eponymous show, Foxx had more time to commit to movies, which meant that, as a result, he landed a few roles in more serious, dramatic films (like Ali (2001) Dreamgirls (2006), and The Soloist (2009)) which propelled him forward toward some amazing performances. Even though he also stars in some popcorn fodder like Stealth (2005), White House Down (2013) and this last summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the fact remains that he’s won an Oscar for his acting. This week’s two films focus on some Jamie Foxx roles.

CollateralCollateral
Year: 2004
Rating: R
Length: 120 minutes / 2 hours

If there was a defining year for Jamie Foxx as a movie actor, it would be 2004. In a rare occurrence, Foxx was nominated for two acting Oscars in the same year. While he didn’t win for Best Supporting Actor in Collateral, he did win Best Actor in the bio-pic Ray about the life of Ray Charles. From that point on, all future trailers could market Jamie Foxx as an Academy Award Winning Actor. Of course, there have been many great actors who have yet to win an Oscar, so it’s really saying something when someone wins an Oscar so soon after delving into dramatic roles. And yet, Director Michael Mann saw Foxx’s talent when he cast him in Ali, and continued to cast him after Collateral in Miami Vice. This Director/Actor pairing really pushed Foxx into the spotlight of Hollywood’s elite.

Sometimes we take a job just to earn a living. However, when that job means we’re aiding a hitman, we soon realize that the money he has offered isn’t worth it anymore. Taxi driver Max Durocher (Jamie Foxx) has been driving Vincent (Tom Cruise) around Los Angeles in order to kill six people on his hit list. As the night progresses, Max attempts to stop Vincent on several occasions, even going so far as to destroy the hit list. However, since Vincent wanted Max to maintain his routine for the night, he now has Max’s mother used as leverage in order to get the rest of the list back. Max is helpless as he interfaces with a drug lord to retrieve the last few names, but he is almost saved by a LAPD detective, who is killed by Vincent. After crashing his cab, Max and Vincent race into the subway after the last victim. Will Max save the day, or die trying?

Django UnchainedDjango Unchained
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Length: 165 minutes / 2.75 hours

With his Best Actor Oscar for Ray securing his ability to act in a lead role, Jamie Foxx has seen very few leading roles since then. Aside from being the titular cello player in The Soloist five years later, it took another four years for Foxx to star in an eponymous role. This role was Django. While he has played real-life musicians with certain limitations (blindness in Ray and schizophrenia in The Soloist), he has also been in quite a few action roles (like Stealth and Miami Vice). So when Foxx was cast in a historical action role, you knew he could handle it. Still, it doesn’t hurt to have a well-renown Director like Quentin Tarantino behind the helm of this film in order to get Jamie Foxx’s name out there even more. After all, it worked for the careers of Uma Thurman and Samuel L. Jackson before.

In the opening scenes of this film, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) buys Django (Jamie Foxx) and gives him his freedom in exchange for help on collecting a bounty. After killing the Brittle Brothers (from the aforementioned bounty), Django is trained by Dr. Schultz to become a bounty hunter like himself. This is all done so that Django can rescue his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Unfortunately, Broomhilda is owned by one of the most notorious slave owners of the south: Calvin J. Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). As a result, Dr. Schultz thinks up a plan to get onto Candie’s plantation, Candyland, by pretending to be interested in purchasing a slave fighter known as a Mandingo. Unfortunately, the whole plan is put in jeopardy when the head house slave, Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) smells something fishy. Can Django save Broomhilda, or is the whole operation about to explode?

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 fantastic Foxx performances

Bacon #: 2 (Collateral / Tom Cruise -> A Few Good Men / Kevin Bacon)

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3 responses to “#142. Jamie Foxx

  1. Pingback: End of Act Three | Cinema Connections

  2. Pingback: MOVIE: Collateral (2004) – BMW the Creative

  3. Pingback: #252. Will Smith | Cinema Connections

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