This afternoon I watched the Emilo Estevez written and directed film Bobby.
During this movie, I has an important (to me) realization:
Lawrence Fishbourne is the most underrated actor working today.
I used to hold William H. Macy to this acclaim. Macy is in Bobby too as a matter of fact. But Macy, although still great, is no longer underrated. Macy gets big roles and big nominations.
What I like about Fishbourne can best be summed up on two small but distinct roles.
His role in Bobby (which made the movie for me) and his role in Mystic River. [My friend Stefan was first to discover his brilliance in that Clint Eastwood film, you all need to head over to his blog and download his first published short story. If you think what I write has any meat - let me tell you that his is all muscle.]
"Fish" shows such an incredible amount of depth in the characters he plays. Depth that makes you want to know more about the characters he portrays - but not in an "I wish they'd make a spinoff movie around him." No, more in a "I want to have a meaningful conversation with that man and attempt to soak up the wisdom."
I also give Fish a lot of credit for taking these small roles. Lord knows he doesn't have to ever work again post Matrix. He could also be big-headed enough to only accept top billing roles.
Mr. Fishbourne, we first saw you when you were a nobody on Martin Sheen's boat in apocalypse Now. Now we've seen you give a highlight to his son's good and honest effort to make a film about Robert Francis Kennedy. In the meantime you've brought high quality in an unprecedented range from Cowboy Curtis in Pee-Wee's Playhouse to Jason "Furious" Styles in Boyz n the Hood.
Nobody may ever salute you for what you bring to your craft, but I will.