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Friday, September 26, 2014

The Denzel Washington Lists

Denzel Washington is a terrific actor with a career spanning 30 plus years and over 40 films. In that time, he has turned in numerous standout performances and netted 6 Oscar nominations with 2 wins. He's had hits, misses, pay check flicks, and the uncanny ability to deliver fantastic performances just when you've almost forgotten he is one of the best actors alive.

With his new film The Equalizer hitting theaters today, North/South takes a look back at his career:    

The Denzel Washington Lists

Chris's List

5 - (tie) Malcolm X and Inside Man
These two Spike Lee joints tie here... I really like Inside Man, but it is tough to call the ensemble film a true "Denzel Washington movie." It's pretty great regardless. And while I don't love Malcolm X as much, it really is one of Washington's best overall performances.

4 - Man on Fire
Co-star Christopher Walken said it best, "A man can be an artist... in anything, food, whatever. It depends on how good he is at it. Creasey's art is death. He's about to paint his masterpiece."

3 - Glory
Denzel's real breakout film and his first Oscar win. 
In a film full emotional and powerful performances, he stood out.

2 - Remember the TitanS
I'll admit, this is not a great film, but I just can't help but love it. It's Denzel being Denzel (at his best), and the film is the absolute gold-standard of formulaic Disney sports movies.

 1 - Training Day
I have always loved this film. Denzel's larger-than-life performance, as well as standout turns from Ethan Hawke and Scott Glenn. The story is engrossing and the action is enthralling. Denzel has probably, and director, Antoine Fuqua, has definitely not, done anything as good since. We'll see if their re-team this week can live up to it (possible spoiler alert - I doubt it).

Dan's List

5. Training Day
When a character says stuff like "King Kong ain't got nothing on me." it's hard to keep the lack of subtly from becoming absurd. Denzel manages to go the edge of crazy without becoming comical and won an Oscar for his performance. He is great in it, but Training Day became heavily overrated after his win and a huge second life on DVD and TV. End Of Watch makes Training Day look like Cop And A Half.

4. Malcom X
We often associate Denzel Washington with director Tony Scott (Crimson Tide, Man On Fire and three others), but he has also had huge success with Spike Lee at the helm.
He has starred in four Spike Lee Joints, including two on my list.
Malcom X is a heavy film. It strips away any kind of made for TV version of the civil rights movement and captures the bleakness of the time. It’s powerful and worth watching if you've got three and a half hours.

3. Remember The Titans
"Coach Boone is the new head coach in town. They tried to make him leave, but Denzel ain't no clown." Those immortal words from Froggy Fresh's epic song "Denzel Washington" say it all.
He wouldn't let hatred, crooked referees or the loss of a star player derail him from winning a title.
"Fake 23 Blast with a Backside George Reverse" is such a great play call in that spot. My sandlot go to was the Double Reverse Pass with the throw going to the original Quarterback . . . great minds thinks alike.

2. Flight
One of the aforementioned "comeback" performances, Denzel proved he could still bring it with this role. I liked Flight as a nice Saturday matinee. Sure, it was predictable and had a bad ending, but it was far better than average. And this scene was well worth the price of admission.

1. He Got Game
I love He Got Game and Jake Shuttlesworth.
Sure, he's the definition of an overbearing sports parent, but he is magnetic.
Denzel takes the tortured soul of Jake and redeems him as much as possible.
It's a movie about New York basketball from the most famous New York basketball fan alive.
I'm not sure if it's my favorite Spike Lee movie, but it's my favorite Denzel and I will forever drop
"I think I'll go around again" during games of one on one . . .

Now Cue The Track!

Thanks For Reading!
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And Check Out Our Other Best Of Lists:
Robin WilliamsChristian Bale – Matt Damon – Johnny Depp – Jamie Foxx
Wes Anderson - Ron Howard – Tony Scott – Michael Bay – Stanley Kubrick 
Badass Ladies – Movie Lawyers – Movie Bars – Concert Movies
Baseball Movies – Films From 2000-Now – Movie/Video Game Combos - Kill Bill 

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