Can we just give Will Smith a fucking Oscar? They give out honorary Oscars all the time. I think the entire movie industry needs to give him an Oscar, so he’ll stop making fucking movies like King Richard.
At one time, Smith was an impressive actor considering he had taken the role on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to pay back the IRS for millions in taxes owed. And the show got great ratings and a fanbase as well as turning character actor James Avery into a household name and making Uncle Phil Banks one of the best TV dads ever. You can’t not mention that one scene in which Will breaks down after his biological father played by Ben Vereen shows up and leaves again almost as fast. Hurt and angry, Will vents and in a final moment says, “How come he don’t want me?’ before Phil grabs him embracing him in a hug. It was a powerful moment.
Smith had already acted in some dramatic supporting roles in Six Degrees of Separation and Where The Day Takes You, but he had mostly been given the lead in sci-fi action movies like Men in Black, Independence Day and the awful Wild, Wild West. Then, he was cast as Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali in Ali and earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination, not bad from someone “in West Philly born and raised.”
Naturally over the remainder of the 2000s, Smith worked on his image becoming an A-lister and even making some movies like Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness in hopes of getting that Oscar gold. But both films reek of Oscarbait stink. I liked Seven Pounds better because Smith played a more complex character.
He took four years off and strangely, no one really noticed. He was approached by Quentin Tarantino to play the lead in Django Unchained but rejected the role because he wouldn’t get to kill the villainous Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) even though Django kills everyone else. The narcissist of Smith was coming back. After making a third Men in Black, he shoved his son, Jaden, into another movie, After Earth. It bombed. And Jaden hasn’t made a movie since.
I mention Jaden, because I got the impression, there’s not much different between Smith and Richard Williams, at the center of King Richard, one of the most nauseous, arrogant, narcissistic vanity projects I’ve ever seen and quite possibly ever made. John Wayne could only make movies so full of themselves like this.
Richard Williams, if you’ve been living under a rock since the early 1990s, is the father of Venus and Serena. And within the first five minutes of this movie, you would shove a tennis racket up his ass and I’m not talking about the handle/grip end. I couldn’t even finish this movie. I got about 50 minutes into a two-and-a-half (!?!?!?!?) movie in which we already know the fucking outcome. Venus and Serena go on to become big-time tennis pros.
But here, Venus and Serena are reduced to one-dimensional supporting characters I found them so hard to tell apart. They’re not really necessary to the movie from what I can gather. The title is King Richard not Venus and Serena, but anyone who has criticized them can clearly see where they got some of their behaviors.
I couldn’t finish watching this movie because it romanticizes the behavior of toxic parents who see their children as investments and retirement annuities. It’s clear that Richard Williams only pushed Venus and Serena for the goal of them being rich one day. He’s an awful parent and I’ve seen many of them in my time as in the news business. There are like locust whenever someone can throw a football or run fast. Even if their kids aren’t that great, they have called, harassed and even criticized coverage.
Why? Because they want their kids to get the big scholarships because they may get the big professional deals. And with Venus and Serena doing well still as teens, parents are skipping the middle man and wanting their kids to go professional before they even have their driver’s license. Look at LaVona Golden in I, Tonya.
Earlier this year, Jamie Spears was removed as being in charge of Britney Spears’ conservatorship. Millions rallied for her to get on with her life. But now, we’re expecting to cheer while another horrible parent is given the spotlight through rose-colored glasses.
People like Richard Williams, Jamie Spears, Kit Culkin, and even Rose Hovick shouldn’t be held to great esteem. Hollywood is loaded with parents who dragged their kids into auditions and then slapped, hit and beat them when they didn’t get the roles. Richard Williams is no different. Abuse comes in many forms.
King Richard has gotten a lot of rave reviews and I’m certain it’ll probably get a lot of award nominations. But I’m almost certain Smith won’t win. This only means, we’ll have to endure more of these vanity projects until they give him an Oscar. But hopefully, he’ll stop making these movies. Or worse, he’ll try to win more Oscars.