The Soloist, for which we’ve been seeing the same trailer for what feels like over a year, finally comes out today. With powerhouse actors Robert Downey Jr. (Academy Award nominee), Jamie Foxx (Academy Award winner), and director Joe Wright (Atonement; Pride and Prejudice), this is surely a film that aims to “change the world.” But before it can do that, FSR’s sex columnist, Bethany Perryman and resident devil’s advocate Josh Radde discuss whether or not Jamie Foxx actually possesses raw ability or if his talent is simply a well-marketed illusion.
Opening Statement (Bethany):
I don’t care that Jamie Foxx has two-count-em-two X’s in his stage name, or that he topped out on “In Living Color” — Jamie Foxx is not a Good Actor. He may, however, be one of the world’s greatest hacks. With that, Josh, I’m sure you can relate. In my best estimation, Foxx put on a pair of sunglasses, bobbed about asymmetrically, and received his Academy Award for Ray. But I’m not buyin’. Show me a man who can play an archetype just-good-enough, and I will show you that same man, winning a Grammy with Ludacris for a song that is just that.
He picks good roles, I’ll give him that — I mean, who didn’t love Booty Call? But his acting chops would be tested if he was given a truly complex role — one that didn’t rely on his other talents (piano playing, regular playing, and making friends with the guy in the editing room so that his astigmatism looks like Serious Actor Glare). The mark of a good actor is not doing decent impressions of famous blind people, wearing fatigues, or delivering classic lines (and by “classic” here I mean “well written”), it is being cast in more than one episode of “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” – which Jamie Foxx was not.
Bethany, I wouldn’t give up your day job writing about how Sawyer on “Lost” makes your uterus quiver. Jamie Foxx isn’t a Good Actor?! Now, I wouldn’t necessarily put him in the pantheon of extraordinary Hollywood actors alongside Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart, but he’s brought the goods on more than one occasion. Yes, Ray was a hack job (by the Academy), but I wouldn’t put it in the “One Hit Wonder” category like Cuba Gooding Jr. for Jerry Maguire or Mira Sorvino for Mighty Aphrodite, because the dude also picked up a nom for Collateral, showing up the best performance Tom Cruise has given this decade, which seems to have slipped your obviously syphilis-riddled mind.
Though I don’t think it was Oscar-worthy, his work in Ray is commendable and, more than that, he made what would’ve been a crap-tacular movie better-than-expected. He overcame a bad makeup job in Ali, was the only actor who knew the meaning of the word “subtlety” in Any Given Sunday, and taught a 14-year-old Josh Radde that condoms were “good” in Booty Call. You say he picks good roles, I say him picking the right role makes said movie better. Know why? Jamie Foxx is a GOOD actor. That being said, I can’t defend Stealth. However, we never begrudged Edward Norton for making Death To Smoochy or Robert De Niro for making any movie after Heat, yet they’re still considered good actors. The same principle applies to Jamie Foxx.
Closing Argument (Bethany):
First of all, Josh — syphilis? Mind? Stop flirting with me. I’ve told you – it’s never gonna happen. Second, you hardly defend any of Foxx’s merit, and I gave you plenty of room to do so (“The Jamie Foxx Show,” Bait, “In Living Color,” that one episode of “Moesha” he did that time). But, sadly, there are more holes in your argument than there are…nevermind, Virgin. I don’t want to spoil it for you. You claim that Ray was a “hack job,” then say his work was “commendable”. You’re the type of guy that praises Wikipedia for being a fount of actual knowledge, aren’t you?
Also, upstaging Xenutard Cruise is not necessarily the feat of a Good Actor, but merely someone who’s not criminally insane. And your only defense of his performance in Ali is that he overcame bad makeup?! If that’s all it takes in Hollywood to get the go-ahead to be mediocre at your trade, I seriously need to switch careers. Look, Foxx’s pick of roles has more to do with his ability to promote himself and look like an American Badass (and now with The Soloist, A Super Deep American Badass) than it does with Foxx trying to push the boundaries of his medium talent. I leave you with this: Tom Hanks followed up Philadelphia with Forrest Gump; Crowe’s Insider brought us Gladiator. And from the man who gave us Ray, we get Stealth?! I rest my case.
Oh, and Cuba a “One Hit Wonder”? Whatever, dude. Radio was a great movie. That was a comedy, right?
Closing Haiku (Josh):
Say what you want. The
Academy has spoken.
Jamie Foxx is GOD.
We can go back and forth discussing this matter all day, making personal attacks and eventually getting into slap fights. What really matters is Do You Think Jamie Foxx is a Good Actor?