Top Picks: Samuel L. Jackson

Quick: think of your favorite movie. There’s a good chance it features Samuel L. Jackson. He started out as a “that guy” in lots of movies, like his blink-and-you'll-miss-it roles in Goodfellas or Coming to America. He was also a fixture in several Spike Lee movies. In Do the Right Thing, he played Mister Señor Love Daddy, a disc jockey who called for peace during a volatile heat wave in New York City.  

Arguably, Jackson’s breakout role was in Pulp Fiction, directed by Quentin Tarantino. He played Jules Winnfield, a Bible-quoting criminal who stole every scene he was in. Initially, Jackson was supposed to have an Blaxploitation-style Afro, but a production assistant brought the wrong type of wig. The Jheri curl hairstyle plus an impeccable suit created a whole new type of cool and helped make Jackson a star. Since then, Jackson and Tarantino have collaborated on several movies, including my personal favorite, Jackie Brown

Jackson has also been in some blockbusters. According to Business Insider, he’s the actor with the highest box office earnings of all time. He’s very recognizable as Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequels or Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he’s also done some great voice work as well. I love him as Frozone in the The Incredibles movies. 

Even though Jackson isn’t always the star of his movies, he has a way of making even small roles memorable. Snakes on a Plane was an Internet sensation before it came out, due to the over-the-top premise and the casting of Jackson as an FBI agent who really hates snakes. And in The Other Guys, Jackson plays a super cop who makes a hilariously fateful decision.

Even though Jackson turns 70 on December 21, he shows no signs of slowing down. Please share your favorite movie by this productive actor in the comments!

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