Samuel L. Jackson, The Avengers
The Avengers actor Samuel L. Jackson, whose self-righteous Nick Fury looks like an amateur next to Tom Hiddleston's brilliantly wicked Loki, has gone the James Cameron way. It's “either you like my movie, or you have no job writing about movies.”
In response to an unenthusiastic The Avengers review by the New York Times' A.O. Scott, a couple of hours ago Jackson tweeted to his 823,000 followers: “#Avengers fans,NY Times critic AO Scott needs a new job! Let's help him find one! One he can ACTUALLY do!"
In his review, Scott opines that The Avengers' “best scenes are not the overblown, skull-assaulting action sequences – which add remarkably little that will be fresh or surprising to devotees of the Transformers franchise – but the moments in between, when the assembled heroes have the opportunity to brag, banter, flirt and bicker.”
Scott then goes on to compare The Avengers' word-play among Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, et al. to the repartee among John Wayne, Angie Dickinson, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson in Howard Hawks' classic 1959 Western Rio Bravo. Summing it up, Scott says that “while The Avengers is hardly worth raging about, its failures are significant and dispiriting. The light, amusing bits cannot overcome the grinding, hectic emptiness, the bloated cynicism that is less a shortcoming of this particular film than a feature of the genre.”
Obviously, comparisons to Rio Bravo aren't enough for Samuel L. Jackson. Or the fact that The Avengers has an 84 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics. Perhaps a comparison to High Noon would have been more to his liking? And nothing short of 100 percent approval rating?
Really, is Jackson afraid that The Avengers' domestic box office prospects will be hurt by Scott's review? He shouldn't. Ask yourself: do the vast majority of people who'll pay to watch The Avengers in North America next weekend read movie reviews? And really, how many of those people are able to read anything longer than a 140-word tweet?
Samuel L. Jackson: Top-Grossing Actor
So, Samuel L. Jackson, the actor whose film oeuvre the Guinness Book of World Records has (absurdly) named as the most lucrative ever, wants – even if in jest – a film critic out of his job. This at a time when most movie critics are indeed losing their jobs. Cool.
Just as cool as when James Cameron demanded in a 1998 letter to the editor that Kenneth Turan be fired from the Los Angeles Times because Turan dared to dislike Titanic. “Forget about Clinton,” Cameron ranted, “how do we impeach Kenneth Turan?"
The Avengers, which cost a reportedly $220 million, has earned $280 million after opening in about 40 territories last week. Box-office prognosticators are expecting that The Avengers will open to the tune of $150+ million in North America. We should all feel sorry for Samuel L. Jackson.
Directed by Joss Whedon, The Avengers features The Iceman's Chris Evans as Captain America, Sherlock Holmes' Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Shutter Island's Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk, Vicky Cristina Barcelona's Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, and Snow White and the Huntsman's Chris Hemsworth as Thor.
Also: The Bourne Legacy's Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, War Horse's Tom Hiddleston as Loki, The Storm Awaits' Cobie Smulders as Maria Hill, Django Unchained's Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, Country Strong's Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts, Much Ado About Nothing's Clark Gregg as agent Phil Coulson, and Mamma Mia!'s Stellan Skarsgård.
And finally: Powers Boothe, Alexis Denisof, veteran Jenny Agutter (Walkabout / Logan's Run), and Deep End director / Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water screenwriter Jerzy Skolimowski, in addition to the voices of Paul Bettany and Lou Ferrigno.
Samuel L. Jackson / The Avengers photo: Zade Rosenthal / Walt Disney Studios.