June 3, 2013

"Is it fair for me to dump on a fourteen-year-old kid like this? In this context, it is."

"We’re not talking about people taking a hands-off approach to Chelsea Clinton or the Obama girls when they just happen to be the President’s daughters."
Will Smith is using his clout to make a $130 million movie for his son to star in, and he’s throwing him to the wolves.

In this sense, “After Earth” is no better than Rebecca Black’s “Friday” video. It’s a bought-and-paid-for vanity piece for a spoiled teenager who probably doesn’t know any better. The only difference is that Rebecca Black’s family did theirs for a limited audience before it went viral. Will Smith is actually trying to make Jaden Smith a bona fide movie star.
If Smith is "throwing [Jaden] to the wolves," why then it's fair to be a wolf, no?

45 comments:

joethefatman said...

Totally fair.

Drago said...

As long as it doesn't involve government funds, Will Smith is free (and it's fair) to engage financiers and the movie industry in whatever way he wishes.

And we are free (and it's fair) to criticize him or not for it since it is such a "public" activity.

Kev said...

(the whole kev)

If Smith puts his kid in publicly distributed movie he should have no expectations of special treatment.

Anyone remember Jake Lloyd? Everyone but George Lucas knew he was a disaster on film, and I heard Lucas took that personally as well.

edutcher said...

If it's bad, it's bad.

Just because Agent J didn't want to raise the kid properly doesn't mean the rest of us have to be complicit.

Better he learns now than later.

bpm4532 said...

Yes, fair. If the son or the father didn't want to face reviews, neither one should have willingly been in the movie.

I felt very misled by the movie, Will Smith had a relatively minor role and he acted like a robot. If I knew it was a movie for kids and young teenagers, I wouldn't have wasted the money.

YoungHegelian said...

Who cares about the kid? The real crime is why does anyone 1) let M. Night Shyamalan anywhere near a camera & 2) why does anyone pay Will Smith & his commie-promoting wife big bucks to do much of anything?

Will Smith "peaked" years ago, and while he may bring in a certain set of young eyeballs (does anyone else still go to theaters?), to criticize him for being formulaic is like criticizing 'Back(door) in the USSR: Anal Sluts, Vol 16" for being formulaic.

Methadras said...

Hey, no tax payer money involved as far as I know. It's his and his backers money to waste. DJ Jazzy Jeff wasn't available for comment.

Heather said...

Fathers are not the best judge of talent. If the kid is bad the critics should be harsh, then he can find a job he is better suited for.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Sophia Coppola was pretty bad as a foisted actress but excelled in other aspects of the movie industry.

Synova said...

The dumping is due to "unearned success" and some people just have to hate on that because of envy.

What I've heard about the movie is that about the only sort of decent thing was Jaden Smith's acting. Does it matter if he's not brilliant? Does it matter that it *matters* if your parents pave the way in Hollywood?

There are any number of professions, all the way from politics to trash collection that young people go into because it's what their parents know and their parents know who to say, "Hey, hire my kid" to get their foot in the door.

Ben said...

I thought he was pretty good in the Karate Kid. Can't we just have people make a bad movie without it having to be about nepotism?

Sometimes movies bomb....

Synova said...

And really... no one expected this movie to be any good. Everyone *knew* Smith was backing it so his son could star in it. It's got two people in it and one is injured and stuck not doing anything. We knew this last year. If it was just a case of having the option to spend that much father-son time and taking it... fabulous.

I skimmed the "review." It wasn't even "this movie sucks", it was "it sucks that this person got to even make this movie." What a vile dog-in-the-manger. It wasn't about saying that Jaden Smith didn't do a good enough job, it was about hating on Jaden Smith.

What do reviewers usually say about child actors if they can't act? (ALL of whom are pushed out there by their parents and guardians.)

Joan said...

Synova, go beyond skimming, and you'll find the reviewer spent most of his time blasting the "premise" (such as it is) of the film, which is, "Fear is a choice." The Professor quoted just about all of the Jaden-related prose in her post here, the rest of the review is more broadly focused.

About 3/4s of the (short) comment thread jumps all over the reviewer for dumping on Jaden, though.

IMO: critiquing Jaden's performance is perfectly fair. The kid is a professional, and if he wants to make it in the business (as opposed to just hang out with his dad), then he'd best get used to it.

kcom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kcom said...

"[to] criticize him for being formulaic is like criticizing 'Back(door) in the USSR: Anal Sluts, Vol 16" for being formulaic."

I don't know about 16, because I didn't see it, but 15 explored some very serious metaphysical questions about anal slutdom with a unique, refreshing point of view. I think it's on Netflix, if you're interested.

wyo sis said...

If he's good he'll get more movie offers. If he's not no amount of daddy's money will make people go watch his next movies.
At least he hasn't made a sex tape yet. (or has he and I'm just too uninterested to know about it, or care?)

EMD said...

At least he hasn't made a sex tape yet.

He's 14. He dresses like Iron Man on lunch 'dates'

Paddy O said...

Maybe Will Smith doesn't want his son to be a Hollywood star but he can't just say no...

Freeman Hunt said...

Can't we just have people make a bad movie without it having to be about nepotism?

Sometimes movies bomb....


This. If the reviewer doesn't like the performance, fine; put something in the review about that. But all this carping about the film being made when it's bad film? Most films are pretty bad films!

Freeman Hunt said...

(And it's okay that most of them are pretty bad. Making movies is a tough business, a tough art. One would expect most of them to be bad.)

Paddy O said...

Being against nepotism is one of the core American values. We hate royalty of any kind!

Paddy O said...

Have you seen the recent Will Smith video going around? Brings DJ Jazzy Jeff to a British talk show, sings Fresh Prince theme song, and even has a special guest at the end.

I note that here because it really does seem like Will Smith has a Mini-Me. I think that's what's jarring to people. But as people note, this happens in companies and kingdoms all the time. Those don't involve trying to get audiences to love them, our emotions are being lobbied and we just don't find movie sons all that affective.

Sam L. said...

I had to look up Jake Lloyd, name causing zero recognition. That's because I blame the movie, not the kid. Not impressed with the last 3 eps. At all. No Way. No How.

J. D. said...

I heard the inspiration for this was an episode of "I Shouldn't be Alive" that Will Smith saw, and thought that a story about a father and son whose car ran off the road in the middle of nowhere would make a compelling movie. Somehow from that, M. Night Shamalan got involved and the project turned from a relatively simple, character-driven story into a big-budget Sci-Fi thriller.

I don't blame Will Smith for wanting to work with his son, and I don't blame Jayden for the pile of crap this movie appears to be, but when you put yourself in the public eye, you open yourself up to all the good and bad things that go along with that. Politicians' kids usually get a pass, because they didn't ask to have famous parents and (if their parent is a Democrat) the press usually goes along with that. I give the Clintons a lot of credit for keeping Chelsea out of the spotlight when they were in office.

J. D. said...

I heard the inspiration for this was an episode of "I Shouldn't be Alive" that Will Smith saw, and thought that a story about a father and son whose car ran off the road in the middle of nowhere would make a compelling movie. Somehow from that, M. Night Shamalan got involved and the project turned from a relatively simple, character-driven story into a big-budget Sci-Fi thriller.

I don't blame Will Smith for wanting to work with his son, and I don't blame Jayden for the pile of crap this movie appears to be, but when you put yourself in the public eye, you open yourself up to all the good and bad things that go along with that. Politicians' kids usually get a pass, because they didn't ask to have famous parents and (if their parent is a Democrat) the press usually goes along with that. I give the Clintons a lot of credit for keeping Chelsea out of the spotlight when they were in office.

William said...

If the nose is just a millimeter off or the smile beams for a second too long, the charisma is gone. A lot of the major stars give their kids a leg up, but few of them surpass their parent.....It's tough enough being the fourteen year old son of a major star without casting the poor kid in a 130 million dollar flop. Will Smith isn't looking out for his kid--he's being narcissistic. Let the kid grow up on his own schedule.

Ben said...

I haven't seen it but I presume it's mostly CGI. Those movies have generally crappy acting. The fault is with a director and genre of CGI heavy stuff, the kid is fine in other films.

Liam Neeson and Ewan MacGregor were terribly bad in Phantom Menace too despite being great in many others. Give the kid a break. It's okay to rip a bad performance but it doesn't mean he's a talentless hack.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bah. I commented over there, and it's stuck in the moderation queue.

Freeman Hunt said...

Some guy wrote this in response to someone else:

"What makes you think a dog can even comprehend what a car is? have you gone inside a dog’s body, understood their thought process, and came back out to type your moronic comment?"

So I wrote:

"My curiosity piqued, I did, in fact, go inside a dog’s body, study its thought processes, and re-emerge to type this comment. It is less difficult than you might think to put on a dog. The zipper is very hard to find (front right paw, behind the third pad,) but once you figure that out, you’re golden… or a Golden, as the case may be. As the dog chased the squirrel, he thought only of the squirrel, and did not see the car. At this point, I exited the dog. And so here I am. Wearing a car."

Chris Lopes said...

To the issue of tax payer money not being involved, that's probably not true. Most Hollywood productions get pretty nice tax breaks on both the federal and local level. These tax breaks can then be sold to others to lower their tax burden. This trick is used quite a bit to help finance movies.

fivewheels said...

So ... Freeman's high tonight? Cool.

DEEBEE said...

Either the movie is good or it is not. Why are Will's intentions germane to the movie. We never seem to explore the minds of other producers. Would it have been OK if Will had taken 130M and started off his son into the world of business?

paminwi said...

After Earth & Scientology. According to a different reviewer who used to be a scientologist.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/a-scientologist-reviews-earth-guest-561310

Bart said...

I don't blame people for helping out their kids. I mean if your dad does not help you get a job who is supposed to?

My dad helped me get jobs when I was a kid, he knew people that did him a favors by hiring a 16 year old. In this case the dad can help by getting him a job in a $130m film. I also think it is the parents's job to put the kid in a position to be successful and this may not have been the best option.

jr565 said...

There probably was some nepotism getting Tom Hanks kid in movies and tv shows. But it seems like he's earned it more. He goes for smaller parts, not the big blockbuster movies. And he's been getting steady jobs.
Jaden just seems like he has no talent.

Karate Kid with Jackie Chan as Miyagi had potential. Karate Kid with Jaden as the Karate Kid was dead in the water And yet he was the lead.

Stop making this kid the lead. He doesn't have the chops for it.

jr565 said...

He would be better served getting a part in a small movie, or a bit part in a big movie, and see if the audience connects.
He should come at movie roles honestly, not simply because his dad is Will Smith.

pduggie said...

"considering Will Smith is a one-in-a-million type of star,"

racist.

Scott M said...

I've heard nothing good about this one. Supposedly it's dripping with Scientology.

Scott M said...

You really only need to know one thing about this movie.

It was directed by M. Night Shyamalan and it's neither "Sixth Sense", "Unbreakable", nor "Signs". In other words...unwatchable.

And, from what I've read about the making of the movie, Will Smith specifically sought M Night out for this.

Nuff said.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The comments at the bottom of the review are very entertaining!!

I haven't seen Jaden Smith in anything and probably won't do so... on purpose anyway. The whole nepotism thing, forcing your mildly talented or completely untalented child upon the public, just because YOU are a star is repulsive. Anyone remember Nancy Sinatra?? I didn't think it could be worse than that.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

HA HA. I didn't read the comments here....Freedman's comment about the dog was the best!!!

Mary Beth said...

His character's name, Kitai Raige, has to be one of the best ever.

By best, I mean it makes me laugh every time I read it.

Shawn Levasseur said...

Ben said...
I thought he was pretty good in the Karate Kid. Can't we just have people make a bad movie without it having to be about nepotism?

Sometimes movies bomb....


Agreed. I loved the Karate Kid remake. Also he had a supporting role aside his father in "The Pursuit of Happiness", which got very good reviews.

Also make note, after a brief musical career, Smith's daughter decided on stepping out of the spotlight. I'm sure that Will & Jada are willing to open doors for their kids, but I get the sense it's not being thrust upon these kids.

jr565 said...

The Onion weighs in:
Perhaps The Gimmick Of My Father And Me Starring In A Movie Is Actually More Annoying Than Appealing

Crunchy Frog said...

Kitty Rage!

*rawr*