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By The Baron
Some people respect doctors, but I think acting is the noblest career a
man can have. Can you think of another job where you make people’s
lives better and are also respected for it? Of course you can’t. This
series is dedicated to the best of the best in the acting field. These
are the greatest performers of our generation, they make us laugh and
cry and fall in love (with them). Be sure to have a tissue handy too,
because some of the movie memories I unearth are real tearjerkers. A
real man isn't afraid to cry.

Samuel Jackson

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There isn’t anyone on earth who will dispute Sammy Jackson’s appearance
on this list. This man is a goliath in the acting industry, and 2 years
of his work spans more amazing films and shows than most actors can
claim in a lifetime (move over Morgan Freeman!). On top of this, he
also has those trademark good looks and a wit so sharp that a bamboo
stalk would probably get cut apart if he told a joke while facing it,
and then he would probably crack off another joke about it falling
down! You would be wise not to cross him either, because he is so tough
he could probably beat the candy out of a piñata!

If I haven’t convinced you yet of Mr. Jackson’s greatness, here are some of what I call Quiq Piqs (his greatest achievements):

Star Wars One: The Phantom Menace

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Obviously this is the pick of any Jackson fan (and SciFi fan) when
asked about their favorite film. In the movie Jackson plays Mace Wandou
a tough talking future samurai in the vein of Akira Yamaoka’s Seven Samurai or Ikiru
(If you haven’t seen either of these films and are a fan of samurai
action I recommend checking them out because they are pretty decent).

But back to our hero: He truly makes this episode in the Star Wars
series amazing instead of simply great. He swats and swings and cuts
evil down with every stroke of his lightsabre, and looks good doing it!
Frankly I think he is underused, but who am I to question a God (GL, or
George Lucas for the uninitiated). He also adds some much-needed
“color” to the Star Wars franchise as well (if you didn’t get it, I put
that in quotes because he is the first black minority ever to appear in
a Star Wars film, congratulations guys!). In conclusion: See this movie!

Snakes on the Plane

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In case you haven’t heard, the verdict is in: Snakes on the Plane was
the best comedy of 2006. Let’s get these bleeping snakes out of this
mother bleeping place! :)

Changing Lanes

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Samuel Jackson and Ben Affleck. Personally I call them the dream team,
and you should too if you’ve seen this masterpiece. Now let me say that
I’m about as “manly” as they come. I have a heart of stone and don’t
cry often (not even at the so-called German tearjerker Schilders Liszt)
but this movie really yanked my tear chain. Can you imagine a more
heart-wrenching premise than a father of two who happens to have his
car hit by the car of a rich stock broker and then some other crazy
things happen? It really makes you take a step back, look at your life
and say “what the heck is this world we live in.”

I also have to give the director kudos for the brilliant ending in
which a rich white person takes time out of his busy and important
schedule to save the marriage of a poor struggling black man who
obviously needed a helping hand. This is why I am recommending Changing Lanes:
The uplifting message. Suck up your pride white people, sometimes a
minority just needs that rich white hand to reach down and him to help
him to his feet. I know the next time I see a racially affected
homeless person on the street; I am going to give him two dollars
instead of just one. Unity.

John Travolta

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In his thirty-something years on this green and black earth of ours,
Jonathan Travolta has garnered more kind words from critics than you
can shake a stick at. I’m not saying this is wrong, in fact, I think
perhaps he hasn’t gotten quite enough credit for all the joy he’s
brought into the world through his masterworks. I know he’s gotten some
flak for underrated gems such as Battlefield Earth and Pulp Fiction,
but I for one am going to stand up for what I believe in and say that I
enjoyed every one of Travolta’s films (those two included!) Here are a
few more recommended films you might have missed.

Urban Cowboy

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This amazing piece of work from the 70s stars Travolta as Buck and
Dustin Hoffman plays Ratsy Rizzo (probably a clever reference to the
character in Grease) as male
prostitutes who wander the city looking for work and a place to sleep.
It may not sound like much, but this is a beautiful and saddening film
which shows a harsh light on the glamorous perceptions people might
have about male prostitution (it’s not all wine and roses people). The
soundtrack is great as well, but I would like to see a few more
Japanese artists represented, maybe the early work of Nobuo Umetsu
(hey, a guy can dream can’t he?)

The Swordfish

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“What kind of movie is this, is it about a fish?” The average movie
viewer might humorfully exclaim as he looks at the poster for the film.
Well putting aside the knee-slappers for a minute, The Swordfish
is a film I highly recommend to anyone looking to have a rip roaring
high-falootin time at the movies. The plot is simple: John Travolta is
an evil hacker bent on world domination and destruction, and he’s going
to get just what he wants no matter how many things he has to cause to
become blown up in slow motion.

Although the movie's scriptwriter could use a degree in Computer
Science (you can't hack with a laptop!) most of the film is shockingly
realistic. I also give proops to my main man and techno record maker
Paul Van Dyk who does the doom and gloom electronic soundtrack for this
movie: Well done Paul! But when it all boils down to it, the amazing
special effects are what you should see this film for. This was the
Matrix before the Matrix was the Matrix. Cars blow up, the camera pans
around in a circle, this movie has it all. Also for those of you with a
sweet tooth, if you look carefully you might just catch a glimpse of
Haley Berry’s nude body! Shhh, don’t tell my mom...

Ladder 49

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I never actually got a chance to see this movie in the theaters, but
recently I spotted it in the bargain bin at my favorite mart (Wal,
anyone?) and picked it up for a song and a half. Just as soon as I get
around to unwrapping it I’m sure I’ll be enjoying it thoroughly.

Hairspray

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Let me start by saying I’m as straight as a road; I have never had sex
with a man, nor have I thought about it often. So you know that when I
say John Travolta is one good-looking man, I mean it! What does this
have to do with Hairspray,
you ask? Well in it, Travolta dresses up as a woman (and nearly the
spitting image of my girlfriend Tina if I can brag a bit!). Boy oh boy,
he must have had to fight the boys off with a stick when he went out
for lunch in that costume. Yowzer!

Granted, the woman he plays may be a little bit on the large side, but
there are plenty of men out there (myself included) who prefer their
peanut butter a little chunkier than the rest. I would be lying if I
didn’t admit that when I saw Travolta in this film there was a bit of
movement “belowdecks” if you know what I mean. I’m not ashamed of it;
he is playing a female role after all. You know what I call a man who
claims that he doesn’t get excited after seeing another man dressed as
a woman? A liar, that’s what.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson in actors and film, educating others
has been a passion of mine ever since I was a little tyke. Just
remember: See these movies, and keep a sharp lookout for more
installments of Astonishing Actors coming soon to a computer monitor
near you!
Baron, out.