Is That All You’ve Got? 8 Stars Who Might Want to Spruce Up Their Acting Skills
While there are a million reality television shows out there, I still enjoy the comfort of the cinematic experience and a good sitcom here and there.
Nowadays, things are on the up and up, as there are many great black actors who are bringing serious talent to the big and small screens. Take for instance the very fine Michael Ealy in the buddy-cop comedy “Common Law” (one of my favorite shows of the summer), and Jamie Foxx in the new Tarantino western Django Unchained (dropping this Christmas). But while very talented black actors and actresses are getting the chance to flex their acting chops and do so very well, there are still some actors that seem to fall short on the big and small screen.
Here are a few seasoned actors who should work on their craft, and really try to break form the norm so they can end up in A-List bliss instead of the black hole that is reality television, or even worse: Doomed to being seen solely in Thursday night BET movies.
I don’t know if doing Player’s Club held Lisa Raye back creatively, but every performance I see of the star seems to be Diamond all over again (talking like she’s reading off of a cue card). You might be able to blame it on the lack of diverse roles, but it seems that the all-white lover only plays the sassy sista, and even on her show, “Single Ladies,” it’s more of the same. If you’re going to be the sassy sista every time, at least put your foot in it and make us want to keep watching! Oh Lisa, you’ve been in the game since ’95 and there still hasn’t been much evolution. But we’ll keep our fingers crossed…
Keshia Knight Pulliam
A former child actress, and most recently known as one of the stars of Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne,” Pulliam only has just a few movie titles to her name (Motives, The Gospel, Beauty Shop). But in recent years, her work just hasn’t been that memorable. In Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail, Pulliam played a prostitute and a drug addict, which is sadly a staple that will get any actor recognized- but she still remained pretty forgettable. And during her time on “House of Payne,” Pulliam gave her best shot as Miranda, but came off somewhat stale. She has all the makings of a star (as an adult this time), but a better delivery is the key to that.
Terry Crews is a funny guy–remember when he played Daryl, the crazy fitness addict on “My Wife and Kids”? However, the actor (reality TV star too) has played the same buff-meets-goofy-meets-sensitive character in almost all of his movies, including White Chicks, Balls of Fury, The Longest Yard and Lottery Ticket. And if he doesn’t take a minute to stop and dance a little bit on-screen, well, he wouldn’t be Terry Crews now would he? The muscular actor has done just a few action films, including The Expendables last year and Terminator Salvation in 2009, but who’s to say that with a little more practice he can’t carry his own action film? Well, we can all dream..right?
We can all agree that Paula Patton is one of the most adorable black women in Hollywood. She always seems like a ball of sunshine when she hits the red carpet, and that’s all good and dandy. However, it hurts my soul to see that she’s a fan of playing the ditsy role like no other. She’s shined a little bit in movies like Deja Vu and Precious, and made it big in mainstream Hollywood thanks to her role alongside Tom Cruise in the latest Mission Impossible flick, but a majority of the time, she never really seems to “get in character.” The chick I see talking and giggling on talk shows promoting her films is the same chick I see in Jumping the Broom and Just Wright. Let’s hope with time and her new stardom, she will be doing some Oscar-worthy work. Until then…
Columbus Short falls into a role where he is supposed to be that funny cool guy, but he rarely pulls that off. I absolutely loved him in Stomp the Yard, but Death at a Funeral and The Losers were just the worst. We saw a glimpse at his greatness in Cadillac Records as Little Walter, but other than that, it has been the same ‘ol thing. You’re cute, AND you can dance, but what else can you do on-screen?
I miss Val so much on “Single Ladies”!! Whether it was her choice to leave or not, that character had to be the only one she played right. But it also reminded me of another character she played in a straight-to-DVD movie called “Getting Played” with Vivica A. Fox that was the definition of an absolute mess. Her acting in that film was pretty forgettable. And after years of playing high school students and doing movies nobody would dare watch (Gang of Roses? Really???), Dash needs to broaden her range and show us what she can do if she’s ever trying to get back on TV or the big, BIG screen. Dash is beautiful–but looks can’t always carry a role. Which leads me to…
Good has starred in a variety of roles, from her big break in the classic Eve’s Bayou, to roles in horror films such as Venom, Saw V, and recently the romantic comedy Think like a Man. While Good has often said in interviews that she doesn’t want to play the sexpot forever, she does so in almost every role. I know there are some things that you can’t mask (when you’re hot, you’re hot) but even in the few dramatic roles she’s had, serious Meagan hasn’t been much different from sex symbol Meagan. But with her new TV show “Notorious,” we’re hoping she’ll get her big break and really show folks her talents.
Tasha Smith got her start on TV shows like “All of Us,” and “The Tom Show,” and transitioned into movies like The Whole Ten Yards and ATL. It wasn’t until Tyler Perry cast her in Daddy’s Little Girls and Why Did I get Married as the loud angry black woman stereotype that people actually noticed her (and that I noticed that this is the only role I see her play…). Smith can be a good actor if she decided to step out of that spectrum. Maybe if she steps out into a different kind of comedy or even tries her hand at drama we can get a better idea at what she’s capable of. Either way, there has to be another way to make people laugh other than screaming her head off in every movie and TV show.
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