You know you’re in for a good movie if Morgan Freeman’s involved.
Hollywood loves to promote its stars, and for a good reason. Having Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, or Tom Arnold, (just checking to see if you’re paying attention) headlining your film almost guarantees a big payday. But while we’ve been brainwashed into associating these stars with quality films, the reality is that, often times, we leave the theatre a little disappointed.
So forget whatever big budget blockbuster that Access Hollywood or US Weekly is promoting this week. Want to really know the key to almost guaranteeing that the movie you’re renting will be a quality flick? Check for “Starring Morgan Freeman” on the front cover. Seriously, the man has a nearly flawless track record for appearing in good films, with only two black marks on his resume: “Deep Impact” and “The Big Bounce”.
Deep Impact was a tragic result of the “meteor hurling towards earth” trend that was popular in the late ’90’s. A large part of its shame was due to the fact that it starred the infamous Elijah Wood, who used to film to jump from annoying kid to full-fledged loser. Despite its terribly crafted plot, Deep Impact managed to deliver a lone highlight – Morgan Freeman playing the President of the United States. In fact, Morgan’s performance single-handedly salvaged the film from becoming the single worst movie of all time, an honor which is currently held by Hugh Jackman’s “Kate and Leopold” (think Back to the Future with totally illogical time travel combined with any Meg Ryan film).
The Big Bounce was more of a disappointment than a truly horrible movie, so if that’s the second-worst piece you’ve produced as an actor, you’re doing pretty well for yourself.
But enough about the bad points, because Morgan Freeman’s two duds pale in comparison to the laundry list of amazing movies that he’s starred in. “Robin Hood: Prince of Theives”, “Kiss the Girls”, “Along Came a Spider”, “High Crimes”, “Bruce Almighty”, “Batman Begins”, “War of the Worlds”, “Million Dollar Baby” to name a few, even “March of the Penguins”, a movie you would expect to find on PBS, became a hit thanks to his narration. And of course…
The greatest movie of all time – The Shawshank Redemption. The movie was incredible to begin with, but Morgan took it to a level where no film will likely ever rival it. He was to Shawshank what Jim Carey was to Dumb and Dumber, plus more. You stick Will Ferrell in as Llyod Christmas and it’s still a Top 5 flick. You put anyone else in the role of “Red” other than Morgan Freeman and we’re not talking about this film twelve years later.
It’s his ability to consistently churn out quality movies, and in most cases, take those films to the next level that’s made Morgan Freeman my favorite actor, and an worthy inductee into the Hall of Legends. Let’s just hope that Hollywood decides to keep Deep Impact 2 on hold so things can stay that way.