Oscar winner Jamie Foxx has flitted between different genres of movies and music for a very long time. When he isn’t playing beefy action heroes, he is playing timid President. When he isn’t portraying icon jazz musicians, he is actually nerdy and awkward. He also sings and started off doing comedy. Plus, if you’ve seen one of these films you’ll know that he definitely isn’t lacking (to be entirely crude). Most recently, he has a stellar turn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Not only was he able to give normal plain Max an endearing quality that could induce second hand embarrassment but he was also ferocious as Electro. But before you get your mitts on the web-slinging DVD’s, why not have a look at some Jamie Foxx essentials?
Honourable Mention: Dreamgirls but it was cut like Effie because it was too repetitive. And Law Abiding Citizen but that’s a bad guilty pleasure film.
When it comes to Quentin Tarantino’s ultra-violent Western where Foxx plays the titular hero, many people, in turn, mention Christoph Waltz’s Oscar Winning King Schultz and Leondaro DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie. What they fail to mention was how fantastic Foxx was as the freed slaved out on a revenge mission to rescue his wife. Not only is he able to convey a layer of determination to Django, giving him sincerity and heart as he strives for justice. But Foxx develops him from a timid and beaten slave into an intelligent hero who toils in manipulation, gun-slinging and sacrifice. While you may go away wrapped up in the sultry voiced lingo of Waltz, you’ll still remember Foxx’s endurance. Just watch the bullet flipping, line slipping sass from the final scenes and compare them to the quiet and revered Django at the beginning, you’ll see his progress.
One of the first Oscar worthy performances (he lost out to Morgan Freeman which, well, ok,) Collateral saw Tom Cruise rise back to prominence as the amazing actor that he is. However, it really was Foxx who stole the show as the shocked, alarmed and conflicted taxi driver Max ferrying around a hit-man Vincent (Cruise) who is literally not ashamed to showcase his murderous choice of job. Tied to the wheel and forced to ferry Vincent to his next hit, Foxx allows Max to be filled with dread, uncertainty and an undeniable resolve to survive. Playing opposite one of the most famous actors of all time (with one of the most ridiculous haircuts,) Foxx steals every scene.
The film that ousted Dreamgirls but included for its unforgettable rage and manliness in the face of war. Also starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Skarsgaard, Jarhead revolves around the lives of U.S Marines on the cusp of Operation Desert Storm. As they battle throw training, differences, missing home and the bloody loom of death, Jarhead sees Foxx play Sergeant Syke who is a “lifer” and opposes Gyllenhaal’s rambunctious Swoff. Having a towering presence that sparks an acute portrayal of someone who has lived in the Marines, breathed it and knows nothing else, Foxx is, again, of the better performances here.
Foxx being a musician means when he has a chance to perform as a musician, he can do it phenomenally well. While you are all chomping at the bit to get to epitomes Foxx-as-a-musician-role Well, this is the other one and it is helped with the charisma of Robert Downey Jr. The Soloist may teeter too much on the sickly sweet underdog trope but the pairing is insatiable enough to keep you going. Based on a true story, Foxx plays Nathaniel Ayers, a musical prodigy who, through a series of events leads to schizophrenia and being booted out of Juiliard. Now homeless and performing on the streets, down on hard times journalist Lopez stumbles upon his beautiful playing. The pairing is intense and wonderful even if the story is a bit naff. Foxx excels as Ayers faces his demons, both future and past.
This is it. This is the one that I bet a lot of you were waiting for. And why wouldn’t you? After all, this is the performance that gave Jamie Foxx his first Best Actor Oscar. While I don’t want to gush (after all, the musician he is playing here is one of my favourites,) Ray is a timeless and unforgettable music based biopic depicting the live of jazz singer Ray Charles. Foxx is the titular character and not only does he replicate the vocals of the piano singer, but also the nuances. Much more than this, he is able to battle the issues such as drug abuse, affairs and of course, his blindness that caused many to treat him with a lack of respect. Yet the rise of fame isn’t where Fox entirely excels, it is when his heroin addiction takes a hold. It’s an evocative and emotive performance, quite rightly earning Foxx the gong.
What Do You Think?
Are these the best that Jamie Foxx can offer?
Or is there others you can think of?
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