Posts Tagged ‘Will Smith’

The White Stars and Celebs Who Punched People Live on TV or at Awards

April 2, 2022

Much of the news and debate on the interwebs this week was about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a joke about his wife’s baldness. Jada Pinckett-Smith had shaved her head because she has aloepecia. Rock joked about her doing G.I. Jane 2, so Smith got out of his chair, walked up to Rock and slapped him. After sitting back down, Smith told Rock to keep his wife out of his ‘f***ing mouth’. And then the outrage and speculation began. People have condemned Smith for assaulting Rock, who has not pressed charges. There has been speculation that the incident was somehow staged, as the ratings for the Oscars has been falling with something like only 10 per cent of the American public watching the last one. Hence the suggestion that the kefuffle was set up to add a bit of drama and boost viewing figures. I doubt it very much – it all seemed genuine to me. And if it was set up, it hasn’t worked because the figures for the Oscars were still the second lowest they’ve been.

People have also been wondering how much of it was due to Will Smith’s own unconventional marriage and the influence of his wife, Jada. Smith and his wife have an open marriage, though this is due to Jada having an affair with a Rapper called August. Smith doesn’t seem to have done anything to initiate the open marriage, except put up with his wife’s affair. And phone camera footage from someone in the audience shows Jada laughing immediately after the attack. The conservative commenter Matt Walsh has argued that this definitely shows she isn’t a good wife, as part of a wife’s responsibilities are to stop their husbands behaving like idiots and destroying their careers. In this view, a real wife in the circumstances would have told Smith to sit down, not to be stupid and that they weren’t going to the after show part as she wanted to have a long talk with him when they got home.

And then there was the response of History Debunked to all this. Webb put up a video with a title about this being something to do with increased diversity at the Oscars.

I don’t think so, because I don’t believe that people are violent or otherwise simply because of their ethnicity. Whatever the real motives behind the slap were, it definitely wasn’t the result of urban Black ghetto culture. It simply seems to be a man reacting, or overreacting, to a gibe about his wife. And besides, there have been plenty of White stars and personalities, who’ve punch or tried to punch someone either on camera or at an awards show. Here’s four.

  1. John Wayne vs Barry Norman.

Way back in the 1970s, John Wayne, the star of so many classic westerns, tried to punch the late, genial host of Film (fill in name of the year). But why, I hear you ask, given Norman’s calm, laid back and generally placid demeanour? Apparently it was during various student protests in America. Wayne, who had very right-wing views, started ranting about Communists. Bazza thought he was joking and started to laugh. Wayne got angry and was about to swing a punch at him when someone pressed another whisky in his hand and he settled down. And why not?

2. Angry Husband vs Bernard Levin on That Was The Week That Was.

This is quite similar to Smith’s attack on Rock at the Oscars. Every so often one of clip shows on TV shows this incident from the classic 60s satirical show, created by David Frost. A man comes out of the audience and walks towards Bernard Levin, one of the show’s other hosts. He politely asks Levin to stand up. Levin rises from his seat behind a desk with an expression that shows he has absolutely no idea what’s going on. The man then punches the Times journo and walks off. He angrily tells Levin that it’s because he gave a bad review to a play his wife was in.

3. Jeremy Clarkson vs. Piers Morgan.

This was at an awards ceremony, though I’ve forgotten what it was about. Clarkson’s talked about this on television himself, and said he’s genuinely not proud of his behaviour. Morgan had apparently walked up to Clarkson and accused him of having an affair. Understandably, Clarkson got annoyed and punched the former Mirror editor. At which point, in Clarkson’s telling of the incident, a crowd formed around them. A man smoking a cigar told them to take it outside. A small bloke suddenly rushed up, tore his shirt off and said, ‘No-one mess with me – I’m from Newcastle’.

4. Argy-Bargy between Guardian and Mirror Journalists at the Newspaper of the Year Awards

This was reported in the ‘Street of Shame’ column in Private Eye, way back in the ’90s. The two groups of journalists from the above papers had already been shouting insults at each other and getting increasingly drunk at the press awards. Things came to a disastrous head when the Guardian/Observer team won an award for best investigative reporting. The Mirror crew, who believed it should have gone to them, stormed the stage and tried to grab the much-coveted glass trophy. This slipped from their hands, fell to the floor and smashed. The evening’s corporate sponsor was understandably not amused, and withdrew their sponsorship. However, it would sponsor Young Journalist of the Year, who they clearly trusted to be better behaved.

These incidents aren’t at the same, global level of the Oscars, but they definitely show that irate members of the public, film and TV stars and journalists have been trying to cause bovver on TV and at awards ceremonies long before Smith and Rock. Race doesn’t have anything to do with it. If there’s any common factor here, it’s often men getting angry at what they consider to be outrageous attacks on their wives or marriage, or, in the last case, simply a mixture of intense professional rivalry and copious amounts of alcohol. Which may also have played a factor in Smith’s case.

Trailer for Remake of TV Series ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’

January 15, 2022

I found this trailer for a remake of the 90s comedy series, ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ on Will Smith’s channel on YouTube. Smith’s a great actor, who’s been in some great movies – Independence Day; I, Robot; and I Am Legend to name just three. But I think it was The Fresh Prince of Bel Air that launched his career. I never really watched it, but I caught the odd bits and pieces of various episodes while waiting for Star Trek to come on. Star Trek: The Next Generation and then Star Trek: Deep Space 9 used to be broadcast on BBC 2 on Wednesday, with the Fresh Prince just before it. From what I remember, the basis plot of Fresh Prince was that Will Smith was a bit of a tearaway from the ghetto, who kept getting into trouble. This wasn’t anything serious, just cheeky pranks. His family therefore sent him to live with his rich relatives in their mansion in Bel Air to straighten him out. The tone was generally light, and Smith had a naturally cheeky charm.

This, however, seems to be rather darker. It’s got cinematic production values, but the basic plot seems to be that the central character was in a fracas on the basketball court with a violent criminal, who has vowed to kill him. Hence he’s sent to live with his rich relatives to get him out of danger. There’s obviously a culture clash between his rough upbringing and the highly rarefied world of the superrich he now moves in. I think there’s also a comment on racial politics, as the characters amazed when I rich White lad gives him a Black ghetto greeting. The remake’s clearly had a very large budget and wants to explore some deep issues, and the lad cast for the Will Smith role certainly looks the part. I just don’t know if it should be darker and whether the concern with contemporary political issues will overshadow the comedy.

A few years ago there was an attempt to the 1980s werewolf comedy, Teen Wolf, into a TV series. This was originally a film starring Michael J. Fox as a teenager, who was afflicted with lycanthropy, It ran in his family. There’s a scene in which his father informs him while shaving that there an inherited problem condition in the family while Fox is shaving in the bathroom. When he opens the door, his father is there in full werewolf form. But the werewolf metamorphosis proved to be a benefit, as it helps him to lead his school basketball team to victory. It was a light, funny film. But when they planned to revive it, they decided they were going to make it darker. I don’t think it ever got made. I think there is a real problem when TV companies take old movies and TV series and try to make them darker for a modern audience. With all the economic pressure and the Covid lockdown make life tough for people, I think there’s a demand instead for more positive, cheerful stuff as well as grim dramas about serial killers.

And I hope that this remake preserves all the real comedy that made the original such a long-lasting hit.

Trailer for AppleTV’s ‘Foundation’ Series

June 24, 2020

Here’s another video that has zilch to do with politics. Apparently, the computer giant Apple has, or is launching, their own TV channel. And one of the shows they’ve made for it is an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s epic Foundation series of books. This is one of the works for which Asimov is best remembered, along with his Robot books – I, Robot, The Caves of Steel and others. I, Robot was filmed a few years ago with Will Smith playing a human detective investigating the suicide of a robotics scientist. Together with the chief suspect, a unique robot with free will and a mind of its own, Smith uncovers a conspiracy to take over the city with a new generation of robots. I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know how faithful the movie was to them. Something tells me that they took a few liberties, but I don’t know.

I haven’t read Foundation either, but I gather it’s an epic about an academic, Hari Seldon, who invents the science of psychohistory. Using its techniques, he predicts that the vast galactic empire that is so ancient, no-one actually knows where Earth is anymore, is about to fall into a new Dark Age. He prepares for this by setting up the eponymous Foundation on a barren planet with the intention of collecting all human knowledge in preparation for the restoration of civilization. It’s one of the major influences behind both Frank Herbert’s Dune and George Lucas’ Star Wars. The heart of the galactic empire is Trantor, a world that has become one vast, planet-wide city. This is the model for Coruscant, the city planet which is the capital of the Republic and then the Empire in Star Wars.

The video shows scenes from the new series along with clips of others as they were being shot. There’s also a comment from the director or one of the producers, who says that Asimov was keenly interested in technology, and so would have approved of Apple making the series. There have been attempts to adapt Foundation before, apparently, but they’ve all failed due to the complexity and immense time span covered by the books. I do remember way back in the ’70s there was an LP version, where it was read by William Shatner. Less reverently, back in the ’90s one of the Oxbridge theatre groups decided to stage a play which combined it and Dr. Strangelove, titled Fundament! This ended with a Nazi scientist shouting, ‘Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!’, just like the end of Kubrick’s movie.

Take a look at the trailer. It looks awesome, though unfortunately there have been movies where all the best bits were in the trailer, and the film itself actually dull. I hope this isn’t the case here. My problem with it at the moment is that it’s going to be on another streaming channel, which will mean having to subscribe to that, rather than getting it with a satellite/cable TV package.