GOT Blog

Big Willie Style: Actor vs Musician

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There is a list of movies at my house that my youngest sister has not seen yet like Caddyshack, Animal House, and The Departed, just to name a few. Every few weeks we try to get together and knock a few off that list. Well this past weekend she came over and we watched I Am Legend. A great movie starring one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Will Smith. As we were watching Will survive in a post-apocalyptic New York it got me thinking, who is better Will Smith the actor or Will Smith the musician aka The Fresh Prince? Like Karl Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, you could call Will Smith a unicorn, a guy who has excelled at more then one thing while in Hollywood. I have also never met anyone who doesn't like the guy. Put on Gettin' Jiggy With It and everyone loses their minds or put in Men in Black and everyone will sit down to watch. I will give a brief background on his music and movie career, with the hits and the flops and ultimately one side of Will shall reign supreme.

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Music Career

Will got his start in music in 1985 by accidentally running into DJ Jazzy Jeff at a house party while Jeff was waiting for his hype man so Will stepped in. There was instant chemistry between the two and The Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff duo was formed. Their first single,Girls Ain't Nothing but Trouble, was released in 1986 and set the tone for their music style. Prince and Jeff had a light hearted and fun story telling style of two kids in high school that people could relate to. In 1989 they received the first ever Grammy for Best Rap Performance for the single,Parents Just Don't Understand, which is still a classic today. The duo received their second Grammy in 1991 for the jamSummertime and it also landed them on the Billboard Hot 100 list topping out at #4. In '97 the duo decided to split, Will went on to do solo music and exploded onto the scene. He released the Men in Black theme and his albumBig Willie Style.Big Willie Style got into the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and went platinum nine times with jams likeGettin' Jiggy With It, Miami, Just the Two of Us, Big Willie Style, and Men In Black. He also did the Wild, Wild, West theme song from the albumWillennium and the Men In Black 2 theme,Black Suits Comin'.Willennium might not have been as popular asBig Willie Style but damn is that a great album name. He released his last albumLost and Found in 2005 which landed at #6 on the Billboard 200 and features the songSwitch.

Music Hits
1. Parents Just Don't Understand: "You know parents are the same/No matter time nor place/ They don't understand that us kids/Are going to make some mistakes" Everyone at some point in their life has listened to this song and said, "damn Fresh Prince your right my parents don't understand high school or girls or etc." There aren't many songs you can look at and say that's some real talk right there.

2. Summertime: Probably the best song to cruise to when summer is just starting out, maybe the best song about any of the 4 seasons. Just a chill song that talks about the best season there is.

3. Gettin' Jiggy With It: Quite possibly my wife's favorite all time song and honestly I don't blame her at all. If this isn't played at a wedding reception did the reception even happen?

4. Miami: I have only been to Miami once and it was to catch a connecting flight, but the way Will talks about it in this song it sounds like an awesome place everyone should visit. "I only came for two days of playing/But every time I come I always wind up stayin'/This the type of town I could spend a few days in/ Miami the city that keeps the roof blazin'."

5. Wild, Wild, West and Men In Black: Both classic songs to go with some solid movies, everyone knows the words to MIB and if you don't I 100% do not believe you. He also has a dance off with an alien in the video that is pretty great.

Music Flops
1. Switch: It got good reviews and everything but when you have songs like the ones above this just does not compare at all.

2. Get Lit: He released this in 2017 and I hope you have never heard it. I had no idea this existed so I checked it out on YouTube and wish I could turn back time.

3. Wild, Wild, West: I know, I know I included this on both lists but wait till you see what he turned down to take the role in WWW.

4. Every other Will Smith song we have never heard of: He has released 9 albums (9 ALBUMS) which I did not realize so that is a lot of songs I had no idea existed. Now they could be alright but I am not giving them the benefit of the doubt.

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Movie Career

Will broke onto the movie scene in 1995 with a little movie called Bad Boys starring Will and Martin Lawrence and made $141 million world wide, not bad for your first lead. He followed that up with Independence Day in '96 and that was the highest grossing movie at the time of it's release and this really put him on the map for acting. In '97 he released Men In Black which made $588 million. Bad Boys to Independence Day to MIB in the span of three years might be the best three years of any actors career to start. In '99 he made a decision I am surprised did not ruin his career, he turned down the role of Neo in the Matrix and did Wild, Wild, West instead. (That is why the song WWW is on the hits and flops) I don't know if I can picture a Will Smith Neo but damn, turning that down could have been devastating. He bounced back pretty well however, portraying Muhammad Ali in 2001 and earned an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination. In 2003 he reprised his role with Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys II which earned $270 million. Will took a 3 year break between Bad Boys and Pursuit of Happiness which is one of my favorite Will movies. It has an incredible story and his acting was extremely personal and heartfelt. 2007 saw him in what could be his best acting performance, I Am Legend. For most of the movie he is the only human on screen and he does a phenomenal job. He did Hancock in '08 and then MIB3 in '12, both which earned over $600 million but were not great movies. In 2013 he did After Earth with his son Jaden, granted I have never seen the film but it is probably the biggest flop of his acting career. It has a 4.9 rating on IMDB and barely earned $100 million. For a movie produced by M. Night Shyamalan and starring Will Smith that is considered a failure. He starred opposite of Margot Robbie in 2015 in Focus. I don't know a single person who has seen this movie. If anyone out there has seen it please let me know if its worth seeing. I remember seeing commercials for it and then it disappeared. In 2016 he was in Concussion, a huge movie that brought him back into the spotlight for his acting. Suicide Squad came out in 2016 and while the movie was complete garbage, our man Will put on a good display as Deadshot. His last movie was Bright in 2017 which is the most expensive Netflix movie to date but was considered a flop and got raked over the coals.

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Movie Hits
1. Bad Boys: What a movie to break onto the scene with, one of his biggest and best movies. I can't believe this came out in '95 and you can still find it on cable TV. Extremely re-watchable and definitely a classic.

2. Independence Day: Along the same lines as Bad Boys, it's just a classic movie. If it is one TV and you find it, you will sit down and end up watching the whole movie. Bad Boys and Independence Day really set him up for his whole future.

3. Men In Black: Not only is this a great movie, it also set up his solo music career. I remember when this first came out and being scared of it, then growing up and finding it absolutely hilarious. If you haven't seen it recently I highly recommend dusting it off and re-watching it.

4. I Am Legend: Quite possibly the best acting of his career, he is the only human in most of the movie and really shows his acting skills. From his interactions with his dog to communicating with mannequins, I think this is my favorite Will Smith performance.

5. Concussion: Another movie that he really proved his acting skills. He portrays Dr. Bennet Omalu a Nigerian-American who led the charge against the brain disease CTE. Smith is fantastic in this film and was lauded for being "sensitive and understated" in his portrayal.

Movie Flops
1. Hancock: This is one of those films that earned a lot of money but no one has ever seen more than once. When you ask your friends about it they will say "it was fine but I would wait for it to come out on DVD or Netflix to see it."

2. After Earth: One of the worst movies of his career and I already went into detail on it above but yikes this was bad.

3. Suicide Squad: Will was fine in the movie so I'm not sure it should land here but Jesus, this was a flaming bag of shit. Someone tell me what Jared Leto was doing and now he has his own Joker movie coming out?

4. Bright: This has a 26% rating on Rotten Tomatoes......

Overall Decision

This is an incredibly difficult decision for me to choose the Actor Will or Musician Will; I love them both. Musician Will had some of the best songs when I was a kid and songs I still listen to today but Actor Will has some insanely good movies. His career is pretty phenomenal when you really look at it and not many people have been as accomplished in both acting and music. His acting career has probably been more profitable and well known but damn that music career is no joke. The way I am going to answer the question is this: If I was deserted on an island what would I want more, music from Will or movies from Will? For me personally, I am choosing the Fresh Prince over actor Will. There are a lot of Will songs I don't know but I could honestly have an iPod with about 10 Will songs and be alright. Give meGettin' Jiggy, Summertime, Nightmare on My Street, Parents Just Don't Understand, Miami, MIB, Wild, Wild, West,andThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.I could definitely survive with that and be extremely happy.

Nick DugganComment