Wednesday, June 2, 2010

By The Numbers: Eddie Murphy

The thing about reviewing Eddie Murphy's body of work is that it's like looking at two different people. There's good Eddie (48 hours, Beverly Hills Cop) and there's bad Eddie (Norbit, Klumps). The question is, which is the more dominant personality in a schizoid resume?

First a quick rundown for those new to how this works.

I take all the films an actor or actress has been in and break them down into three categories, 'Good' 'Bad' and 'Ok.' I do not count TV appearances or Made for TV movies. Afterwards a quick analysis will show whether or not they're a good actor by the numbers. Invariably there is a 2-3 +/- point bias on a person to person basis. Also, since 'ok' movies are not bad they count towards the positive column in the overall figuring. If by the numbers they fall in the 50 - 60% range, they're a bad actor; 61 - 70% good actor, and 71 - 80% great actor. Anything higher is unlikely, but will be classified as "elite."

Now let's see those numbers:

A lot of people are quick to jump on his case and say that at some point he gave up and stopped making good movies. They tend to present his early career as sparkling. In the past I tended to think highly of the early part of his career too. Then I actually looked through his credits and realized all the clunkers he's been in. I guess the true complaint here is that he doesn't really deliver the same edgy performances he used to. Other than Dreamgirls, he's really been lost in a maze of mostly fourth rate kid's films. I'm actually more generous than most of the people rating his movies, as I liked a few that were largely panned. But even with that, at only a measly 57% positive over 43% negative, he falls short of being categorized as good. I hope he'll get back to making some more good films and push that rating up, but for the time being his name is to me, synonymous with caution.

Thanks to Jerry for this week's pick! 

And if anyone has a suggestion for who they'd like to see covered in the future, just let me know.


  1. This is what annoys me about his film career. He was great early on in films like 'Trading Places' and '48' hours. It was when he got the power to oversee scripts that he thought that he was such a genius. I liked Dr. Doolittle but I don't need eight sequels. When he does such a great job in 'Dreamgirls' there is further proof that he CAN act. What he needs is to take all the decision making out of his hands. Show up, be DIRECTED by someone he respects and allow his talent to shine. His career slide bugs me the most of nearly anyone else that I can think of.

  2. Ts, it was very amusing to see your face on my follower list. To be frank about this, and shirley you jest, my blog is not quite what I would think you appreciate. But I will not stop you from looking.

    Now as for Eddie Murphy. Many actors seem to go through a "can my kid watch my movie phase of life." Give him a few more years for his kids to grow up and I think you will see better movies from him. Although I must say I watched his movie Imagine That with my kids and I liked it.

  3. You know, growing up I really dug Eddie. To me, he's a staple of the 1980s. I don't think it's his movies that went downhill, I think I just grew up out of him maybe???

  4. Cal, that's not a bad idea. For several actors actually. I think you and I should offer to hire ourselves out as consultants.

    Alaina, I appreciate a wide variety of interest. If someone comments over on my stretch of blog acreage and their blog has something I like, I follow and read the posts that interest me. In regards to Imagine That, I actually did like that one. And to be fare he has done some good kids movies. He just has to many Meet Daves lurking in the background.

    Ally, no. His movie choices are different. He went from grown up movies to children's fluff.

  5. I just had to check out Aliana to see what she is talking about. Sounded personal T.S.

    And you know if we were casting movies we would do a kick ass job - tweek the scripts a little and tell Tom Cruise he had the job then take it away from him a month later - just to screw with his head.

  6. I think the very best Murphy movie of all time came during the string of really bad ones from him. He was so friggin funny in Bowfinger.

    This is an interesting and insightful post.

  7. It really is like he was two people.

    I will pay you perfectly good money NEVER to do a chart like this about my "body of work."


  8. Murphy needs Bill Paxton's agent. I have never seen a horrible actor make it into as many good movies as he has. Murphy has talent, and so even though he still wouldn't have gotten a part in Apollo 13 (there's only so much you can stretch things) he still could have at least made it into Spy Kids rather than Haunted Mansion. Bill Paxton hurts my ears when he tries to act, but even when Murphy is at his worst, he can still make me laugh. And in a good way. Not in the way I laugh at Paxton when he tries to be all serious and intense. So yeah, get his agent since he/she is clearly a magician.

  9. I, like you, are split on Eddie. All his early great stuff I watched multiple times. Everything else...haven't seen any of it. Trading Places is one of my all-time favorites (mostly for Jamie Lee Curtis). But Eddie was great in it.

    If you haven't reviewed Bill Murray, I would appreciate seeing that...just make sure you agree with ME :) Start with Where The Buffalo Roam.

  10. Seriously? He was in Beverly Hills Cop? I didn't even notice, I thought that was a Bronson Pinchot flick...

  11. I have to say I liked old school Eddie better then the "fluffy" Eddie of recent. That being said, there are some recent movies that are down right decent. I would say BTN is continually sound on it's judgment.

  12. Oh I have a request, Chevy Chase. My husband loves him, or did, bad commercials and sitcoms lately. I even heard a line from Christmas Vacation pop up in our conversation last night.

    Is it a guy thing or my husband thing to use quotes from movies in everyday life?

  13. Lets be honest, BOWFINGER is a decently funny flick. Yellow all the way!

  14. Coming To America! One of the best movies ever! Just let your soul glo!

    Daddy Day Care not a horrible movie! Steve Zahn and Jeff Garlin are always funny....

    Meet Dave was the worst I've ever seen.... Even Elizabeth Banks couldn't save it....

    Norbit was bad.... Even though I laughed every time I say Eddie Murphy in the fat suit saying 'I ain't mad at him, HEEEEEEEEEYYYYY!'

    His animated voices are always funny.... Donkey is great, and you can't beat the dragon in Mulan....


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