In honor of the release of Denzel Washington’s latest movie Safe House, I have decided to take a look back at the past decade of Denzel movies, as well as celebrate the ten year anniversary of Denzel’s Academy Award win. Being a huge Denzel fan (I have even watched The George McKenna Story i.e. Hard Lessons, a TV movie that was a precursor of Lean On Me, except incredibly bad) I’ve got to say this has been quite a turbulent decade since his award winning turn in Training Day (pay specific attention around the one minute mark). So without further ado let’s get to the rundown of Denzel’s career for the past decade.
2002 – Denzel comes out strong with two dramatic roles in John Q and Antwone Fisher (in which he made his directorial debut). Now I am of course aware that these movies were made before he won the award but who cares. Denzel is in 20th gear the whole time in John Q as he is basically a good guy trying to make threats that he clearly is not willing to keep while the movie rails against the health care system. The only real thing I have to say about Antwone Fisher is that Boobie Miles is in it (sorry Derek Luke but you’ll always be Boobie to me).
2003 – Following up a dramatic year, Denzel only appears in the perfectly average Out of Time. Maybe as more of a favor to Carl Franklin (Franklin directed Devil in a Blue Dress in 1995 that also starred Denzel), the thriller lacks most of the suspense and Denzel himself sort of half asses it. And so the spiral begins.
2004 – And the love affair begins. Denzel stars in two movies (remakes no less) released in 2004, Man on Fire and The Manchurian Candidate. The Tony Scott and Denzel Washington empire begins here in Man on Fire, which is basically an awesome way for Denzel to get to be a huge badass south of the border. Then along comes the highly publicized and fairly disappointing Manchurian Candidate, a movie that was more glitz than substance and really, REALLY enjoyed repeating people’s names (I know it is the hypnotic mechanism but still).
2005 – Denzel takes a year off to collect his thoughts and explode onto the scene in 2006 with…
2006 – …Inside Man and Deja Vu. Boy oh boy, what a year what a year. Denzel teams back up with Spike Lee (as they previously paired up for Mo’ Better Blues and the FUCKING SWEET He Got Game, and yes I actually analyzed this scene for a film class) in a return to form for both actor and director. Denzel and Spike probably have not been as good since. But then along comes Tony Scott, making sure he claimed his Denzel territory before Spike Lee reignited the flame. With a plot based around time travel and co-stars like Val Kilmer and Jim Caviezel how could you go wrong.
2007 – Not to be outdone by his lesser brother, Ridley Scott makes sure to tab Denzel for the much hyped American Gangster, where Denzel is more Frank Lucas than Ludacris (even though some people aren’t tryin to diss or snitch here). Ridley also made sure to go back to his boy Russell Crowe in hopes of epic Oscar goodness, instead it turned out to be a rather long and somewhat boring movie about 1970’s crime. After so much time with the Scott brothers Denzel decides to go back behind the camera and direct his second movie, The Great Debaters. Unfortunately I did not see this movie so there’s not much I can say, although it definitely seemed like your typical “pre-civil rights racial divide where blacks prove themselves to be just as good as whites movie” (although unfortunately this one doesn’t revolve around a football or basketball).
2008 – Denzel takes another break so he can focus all his energy on the release of…
2009 – THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3. Another Tony Scott directed movie, see a pattern here? Instead of a line of my thoughts I’ll just give you a personal anecdote of when I first watched this movie. I and my HS friend and current roommate David took a week long trip to Austin, TX to search for a place to live, as we were moving a month later. We stayed in a hostel, of which one of the hostellers was an incredibly excited and chipper guitar playing hipster. Every morning for that entire week he would wish David luck as David left to be trained for his upcoming internship. Until the night David and I decided to rent The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 from the redbox and watch it in the common area. Once our guitar playing comrade found out what we were watching he didn’t say another word to us, for another two days.
2010 – Denzel changes the game, again. Tony Scott and Denzel decided to go around again, not just as a director and actor pair, but also made sure to return to the tracks (not one side or the other, mind you) in yet another “high-octane thriller” regarding transportation that needed a track to run on in the ridiculous Unstoppable (which had a trailer spoofed brilliantly by Saturday Night Live, although is it really a spoof if you use two exact lines from the movie?). The 2010 Denzel also came out with a post-apocalyptic model in The Book of Eli. And SPOILER ALERT, Denzel is blind the ENTIRE TIME, which makes a great joke for any ridiculous plot twist that doesn’t really make any sense based on what you’ve seen thus far throughout the movie. Although the fact that Titus Pullo (member of the OB, or original bromance) is in the movie does give it a slight bump. Denzl also made an appearance in some TV show called “Cubed”. Don’t worry I don’t know what that is either.
2011 – Denzel takes yet another hiatus anxiously anticipating the end of the Earth.
Wowie, wow, wow Denzel has had quite a decade. I won’t lie and tell you he hasn’t made some stinkers but who doesn’t? All I know is that as long as Denzel keeps making movies I’ll watch them, no matter how many times he teams up with Tony Scott and a form of transportation that requires a rail (we still have trolleys, cable cars, and monorails to go!). In any case come on back on Monday because In The Bagg will have a fresh review of Denzel’s latest vehicle, Safe House. And for the love of god watch He Got Game if you haven’t seen it, or else how you gonna make it?