So let’s say, for the sake of argument, that Hollywood calls with the good news that yes, they’ve decided to make an epic documentary all about your life. So far, so good. In fact, they explain, it’s already been made – only one thing remains before it can open at your local cineplex. A narrator. Someone to do the voiceover throughout the story of your life. Oh, and Hollywood continues, the voice part is up to you. Who do you pick?
Who do you pick to narrate the story of your life? If you’re like me, you probably pick our next Favorite Movie Icon nominee: Morgan Freeman. Right? Doesn’t he make everything sound better? And wiser? And fairer?
When did you first become aware of the force that is Morgan Freeman? For me, it was all about The Electric Company, an educational TV show on PBS that ran during the 1970s. If you’re not familiar with it, The Electric Company was the more sophisticated program you were supposed to watch after you’d gone through the Sesame Street ranks and considered yourself too old for that cast and those Muppets. The Electric Company was looser, sketchier and it featured guys like Bill Cosby …and Morgan Freeman. With lots of cool songs. Thus, for all his amazing movie credits, Morgan Freeman was long-imbedded in the minds of countless people in their mid-forties thanks to Public Television - decades before he started hunting serial killers with Brad Pitt and driving Miss Daisy around.
With his incredibly soothing and measured voice that elicits almost instantaneous calm and comfort, it’s not surprising that a guy who helped a generation build their vocabulary would go on to play God. More than once.
Freeman won a Peoples Choice Awards in 2009 for The Dark Knight. He’s been nominated for five Oscars and he’s won one – for Million Dollar Baby. He’s already making the rounds of Lifetime Achievement Awards – and he’s still going very strong. It’s just been announced that he’s going to get some more major love at this year’s Golden Globe Awards. You know, with Ricky Gervais hosting. That’s right.Those Golden Globe Awards, thrown by the mysterious Hollywood Foreign Press Association. It’s one of my favorite shows because it’s usually funny and known for being informal and messy because everyone’s drunk and table hopping. Literally (it’s held in a hotel ballroom). BUT: does anyone remember how “deeply offended” everyone was by Ricky Gervais hosting and ridiculing people and getting in trouble? Does anyone remember the part where he probably wouldn’t be returning to that gig any time soon, if ever? Apparently the Hollywood Foreign Press Association doesn’t. Or, more likely, the HFPA’s public relations handlers realized but quick that the fastest way to get ratings besides being married for 72 days is to create a nasty scene, get in trouble and then revisit the crime the following year. It’s kind of smart, if you ask me, bringing Gervais back, because everyone is going to want to watch to see if he says something even more inflammatory. Nice going, HFPA. And that’s where millions and millions of eyes will be upon Morgan Freeman, honored yet again.
What’s your favorite Freeman film? There’s no doubt about it – his movies have made a fortune (The Dark Knight, Bruce Almighty and Batman Begins) but it’s probably his quieter, less blockbuster-ish films that have made him so incredibly beloved: The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy, Invictus, and Glory. On the other hand, the fact that he can move seamlessly between giant popcorn movies and intelligent, thoughtful morality (& Dolphin) tales makes him even more of an amazing performer.
Morgan Freeman - actor’s actor, movie legend and probably the most in-demand narrator the world has ever known. Is he your favorite Movie Icon? Be sure to vote and let us know!
1) Driving Miss Daisy
2) The Shawshank Redemption
4) The Dark Knight