On Wednesday’s Late Show, Samuel L. Jackson did the requisite plugging on behalf of his newest film, the wheezy and awkwardly titled Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. As Stephen Colbert noted, “You’ve gotta pay the bills.” (Colbert was talking about those credit card commercials the perpetually busy Jackson does, but that’s also the conclusion our own A.A. Down came to upon watching Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.) Regardless, Jackson was more than happy to go off on whatever conversational tangent Colbert threw at him after their pandemic-long time away from the interview arena, eventually settling in for a discussion of Samuel L. Jackson’s favorites among the some 150 screen credits of legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Speaking from the Atlanta set of the upcoming streaming series The Last Days Of Ptolemy Grey (based on the Walter Mosley novel), Jackson went deep into his own voluminous filmography to pluck out the following, in order: The Long Kiss Goodnight, A Time To Kill, Jackie Brown, The Red Violin, and, finally, 187. Now, as all list-makers and -readers know, such ranked pronouncements are magnets for debate and/or abusive cries of “What about [movie X], you idiot! This list is invalid, etc!” And if anyone out there want’s to risk the wrath of Mr. Jackson, well, that’s what the comment section is for. It’s your funeral. It’s an interesting list, at any rate, and since Jackson himself didn’t elaborate why, for example, his turn as the guy chasing down a fabled musical instrument (and occasionally chewing out room service) in the obscure Canadian sort-of anthology film The Red Violin makes his personal top five, we’re left to speculate. (Just to get the comment fire going, here’s an alternate five in Jungle Fever, I Am Not Your Negro, The Hateful Eight, Hard Eight, and The Caveman’s Valentine. Discuss.)
Jackson, who notably but understandably did not single out either Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard or The Hitman’s Bodyguard for special mention, also confessed to Colbert that he does, in fact, have movie favorites that he does not star in. (He also spared some praise for some young actor named John David Washington, who, as Jackson noted, he and pal Denzel have “been grooming” to be the next Samuel L. Jackson essentially since birth.) Apart from all the binge-streaming he’s done while not leaving his house for the past year (thank goodness for remote voice-over work), including British crime series like Gangs Of London and ZeroZeroZero, Jackson thought long and hard before picking out his favorite non-Jackson films of all time as well. In keeping with the actor’s penchant for “violent and crazy things,” that top five is made up of The Raid: Redemption, The Godfather, Hard Boiled, Hoodlums, and South Korean action thriller The Berlin File. Again, a few dark horses in there, but, also again, nobody here is going to take issue with the agelessly prolific Mr. Jackson.