What the Hell Happened to Martin Lawrence?

martin lawrence 2013

In the mid-90′s, Martin Lawrence had a hit TV show and a burgeoning movie career.  He went on to establish himself as a Hollywood A-lister in big screen action movies and comedies.  But by the end of the decade, Lawrence was surrounded by scandal.  Since then, his movie career has slowed down considerably.  His last box office hit was in 2007. What the hell happened? Lawrence began boxing after high school.  He was a Golden Gloves contender until he suffered an eye injury that  made him reconsider his career.  Lawrence moved from Maryland to Colorado where he started performing at the Kings Wood comedy club.  Not long after, Lawrence appeared on the televised talent competition, Star Search aka American Idol for the 80′s..  Here he is facing against the show’s then-champion, Jason Stuart.

You have to feel for the guy.  He had no idea he was competing against a future giant of comedy.  Lawrence was very successful on Star Search.  He went on to the show’s final round, but he did not win.  However, his performance caught the eye of executives at Columbia TriStar Television.  This lead to Lawrence being cast on the sitcom, What’s Happening Now!!

lawrence - what's happening

What’s Happening Now!! was a follow-up to the 1970′s sitcom, What’s Happening!!  

The original show was only moderately successful on ABC.  But it did very well in reruns which is a bit ironic given that the most popular character on the show was actually named Rerun.  This lead to the show being revived in 1985 as What’s Happening Now!!

Lawrence joined the cast in the show’s third and final season from 1987-1988.  He played a teenager who worked as a busboy at the restaurant owned by the show’s main characters.  Lawrence was actually 22 at the time.

lawrence - do the right thing

Lawrence made his big screen debut with a small role in Spike Lee’s comedy/drama, Do the Right Thing.

Do the Right Thing told the story of a neighborhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn that erupts in racial tensions.  Lee wrote, directed and co-starred opposite Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, John Turturro, Samuel L. Jackson and Rosie Pérez who was also making her film debut.  Lawrence is basically a background character in the neighborhood as seen in this NSF clip:

The ending to Do the Right Thing sparked controversy.  The message of the movie is intentionally mixed.  But many feared that the movie would incite violence.  In spite of the controversy, reviews were very positive and it was a hit at the box office.

lawrence - house party

In 1991, Lawrence appeared opposite hip hop duo, Kid’n Play in Reginald Hudlin’s comedy, House Party.

The title pretty much tells you everything you need to know.  A couple of teens throw a house party.  Lawrence plays the DJ.  The cast also included comedian Robin Harris in his last film role before he died and Lawrence’s future TV co-star, Tisha Campbell.

House Party was originally written for DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith and “that other guy”).  But by then, Smith was already on the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

Hudlin made House Party as his thesis film for his Harvard University degree. Reviews were positive and House Party was a hit at the box office.  It launched a series that includes two sequels which were released in theaters and two more that went direct-to-video.

lawrence - talkin dirty after dark

Lawrence got his first starring role in the 1991 comedy, Talkin’ Dirty After Dark.

In what I’m sure was a stretch for Lawrence, he played a stand-up comedian trying to earn $67 to pay his phone bill.

Talkin’ Dirty After Dark was written and directed by Topper Carew.  Although the film was not a hit, Carrew would go on to create and produce Lawrence’s hit TV show, Martin.  At the time of its release, reviews were mostly negative.  But the film has grown a cult following on video.

lawrence - house party 2

Later that year, Martin returned for the sequel, House Party 2.

Most of the original cast from the 1990 movie returned.  Hudlin passed directing duties on to Doug McHenry and George Jackson.  The movie is exactly what you expect from a quicky sequel to a low budget comedy.  The kids throw another house party of course.  This time they are in college and need to raise money for tuition.  So naturally they throw a “pajama jammy jam”.  That’s how I plan to put my kids through school.

Critics didn’t like the sequel which they considered raunchy and lacking the sweetness of the original.  But the movie was a hit with audiences anyway. House Party 3 was released three years later in 1994.  Lawrence was a bona fide TV star at the time and opted not to return.  Tisha Campbell appeared only in a cameo.   That was the final film of the House Party series to be released theatrically, but two direct-to-video sequels have also been released.

Next: Boomerang and “Martin”

Posted on November 23, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. I’m very surprised that you, LeBeau didn’t bring up Martin Lawrence’s hosting stint on “Saturday Night Live”, in which due to his monologue (in which he did this routine about women having bad personal hygiene), Martin basically got banned from (I think at least initially from NBC, not just “SNL”). The whole monologue has been removed from reruns and replaced by this disclaimer talking about how people almost lost their jobs (literally) over what Martin Lawrence said.

    Anyway, I think that based on a lot of the negative reviews that Martin has received during his career, it’s quite obvious that he couldn’t pick a quality script to save his life. I think another problem w/ Martin is that you can argue that he at the end of the day, didn’t really evolve in his comedy and/or performances in general. Martin basically, mugs and gives out a broad physicality in just about anything he does. What really doesn’t help is that Martin’s speciality so to speak, is in low-brow humor (a la, the aforementioned “SNL” monologue).

    I just think that Martin was at the end of the day, undone by his lack of range so to speak (which more or less, arguably made him “box office poison” and made him seem stale comedic-wise), poor script choices, and of course, his erratic behavior. I’ve heard rumors that Martin has bi-polar disorder and depression issues.

    • I didn’t come across the SNL story. But I love a good SNL story as much as anyone. I’ll have to look it up and update the article. Thanks.

      • Here’s the transcript for Martin Lawrence’s now infamous “SNL” monologue:

        Martin Lawrence: Yeah! Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. Thank you, uh-huh. Yeah! Man, man oh man, look at all these white people.

        No, I guess this ain’t the Def Jam, right, so I-I guess I better be cool, huh? I got some black folks out there to back me up though. (Cheers)

        Woo! All right, all right. Man, I-I am so happy to be here, this is a dream come true for me. I mean, hostin’ Saturday Night Live, I watched everybody. All of ‘em on here, and I was like “when I’m gonna get my chance? When I’m gonna get my chance?” Well dammit, now is my chance. Ain’t no stoppin me now, I tell you.

        It’s crazy though, I gotta talk about some things that the daggone censors are followin’ me everywhere around, wish they’d get off my ass- oops, damn, did I slip?

        It’s botherin’ me, man. You know, “you can’t say this, you can’t say that,” I’m like, well, how am I gonna talk about the world? You know? I mean I need to talk about something to you all, can I- can I do it? Can I talk to y’all? (Cheers & applause) I mean, I-I hope the kids are in bed, you know, because I got to talk, y’all.

        Um… Something concerns me real deeply. You know, uh, and it’s crazy, uh, and no fella has come up to me, none of the brothers, anybody, has acted like it concerns them as much as it has me.

        Um… The ladies, in the 90s, have license to cut off the pilly-packers. (Laughs)Yep. They got license to cut your thing off, man. And this scares me, OK? Because I know women are mad in the 90s, especially white women, I mean, this is the year where they smash your knees and cutting the pilly-packers off.

        You know what I’m saying? But I mean, I feel for that man though, man. I feel for him. cause she took his thang man, you know what I’m saying? He can’t do this (mimes intercourse). He ain’t ever gonna really be able to do this. You know, if you can’t do this in your life somethin’s missin’. You know what I’m saying? And the lady cut it off, man, and cut it off while he was asleep and he ain’t even know it was gone. He was asleep, just chillin’, you know, rubbing, having one of them dreams, (mimes sleeping man feeling for penis) and woke up and wasn’t nothin’ there.

        Now what got me about the whole thing was, if she’s gonna cut it off at least she coulda left it around his bed or somethin’, you know what I’m sayin’, the man woke up with no options, couldn’t find the peely- pilly packer nowhere, you know what I’m sayin?

        What she did with it, got in the car, then she got in the car with- held it in one hand drove the car with the other. Drove down the damn street and threw it in the neighbor’s yard. “Here, he’d like to visit your ass.”

        It scares me, y’all. It’s sad, man, a-and how I found out, I found a brother, I heard a brother found it. You know, and it was scary cause they say he was just walkin’ down the street, mindin’ his own business, he’s chillin’, he… (mimes walking and stopping in surprise)… cause he saw this he said “Wait a minute, is that a pilly-packer? Damn.” And it was white and little, so he had to squint. (Laughs & applause)

        He ain’t really know, you know, he said “Damn, well I don’t really know that person,” he wanted to pick it up but he said “I don’t know the person.” So uh, what he did was run and get a stick and scooped it up, you know and said “All right, cool, what can I do with it, can- what can I do with it,” you know, “what can I do with it?” You know?

        And he thought, and he said “what would a white man do, what would a white man do?” You know, and the first thing came to the brother’s head was get it on ice, you know. So he saw an ice cream truck, you know, threw the pilly-packer on some sno-cones, you know. It scares me so bad I don’t go to bed without a Nutty Buddy by my side, y’all.

        Something else concerns me and it hurts, see I’m, I’m single, I’m a single man, I don’t have nobody, I’m looking for somebody and- but I’m meeting a lot of women out there, and you got some beautiful women, but you got some out there that, uh, I gotta say somethin’. Um… some of you are not washing your ass properly.* (laughter & applause) OK? Don’t- don’t get me wrong, not all, some of you, you know what I’m sayin’, uh… I’m sorry, ‘Cause uh, listen, now, I don’t know what it is a woman got to do to keep up the hygiene on the body I know, uh, I’m watching douche commercials on television, and I’m wonderin’ if some of you are reading the instructions. I don’t think so. Y’know, ’cause I’m getting with some of the ladies, smelling odors, going “Wait a minute. (gestures with index finger) Girl, smell this! This you! Smell yourself, girl.”

        Smell yourself! I tell a woman in a minute, douche! douche! Some women don’t like when you tell them that, when you straightforward with them. “Douche!” They, (imitating woman) “Forget you! You cannot douche all the time, you’re gonna wash all the natural juices out the body.” I say, well, I dont give a damn what you do, put a Tic-Tac in your ass. Put a Cert in your ass. Oh, oh, y’know, this look like a good damn place for a Stick-up up in your ass.

        I’m sorry, y’all. You got to wash properly. You know, and then, you know, ’cause I’m a man, I like to kiss on women, you know, I like to kiss all over their bodies, you know. But if you’re not clean in your proper areas I can’t… you know… kiss all over the places I wanna kiss. You know, some women’ll let you go down, you know what I’m sayin’, knowin’ they got a yeast infection. (Some audience disgust) I’m sorry. Sorry. Come up with dough all on your damn lip… Got a bagel and a croissant on your lip. “Anybody got any butter?” I like jelly on mine.

        Well look here, y’all, we got a great show for you tonight, cause I’m here. (Cheers and applause) That’s right. I’m here, Crash- yo, yo! Crash Test Dummies are here so yo, we’ll be back, hang on, we gonna be back, we gonna do our thing!

        (removes shirt and conducts martial arts moves)

        * In all repeat airings of this episode, the show cuts away here to a series of text screens with voiceover reading the following:

        V/O: [ SUPER: ] “At this point in his monologue, Martin begins a commentary on what he considers the decline in standards of feminine hygiene in this country. Although we at Saturday Night Live take no stand on this issue one way or the other, network policy prevents us from re-broadcasting this portion of his remarks.

        In summary, Martin feels, or felt at the time, that the failure of many young women to bathe thoroughly is a serious problem that demands our attention. He explores this problem, citing numerous examples from his personal experience, and ends by proposing several imaginative solutions.

        It was a frank and lively presentation, and nearly cost us all our jobs. We now return to the conclusion of Martin’s monologue.”

        The episode then cuts back to the live monologue, beginning with “Well look here, y’all.”

      • Martin Lawrence’s comedy, particularly his stand-up act, tends to be very blue and raunchy. I read Leonard Maltin say about “You So Crazy” (Maltin gave the movie a 1 * or 1/2 * I believe in his annual film guide due to how embarrassingly crude and off-color the whole thing was) that it lacked the wit and observational insights of Richard Pryor’s classic stand-up films. This is kind of funny since Martin has said that Richard Pryor was his biggest influence as a comedian (I guess right down to the trainwreck of a personal life). Pryor even once showed up on Martin’s sitcom:

        I think what got him in trouble on “SNL” however, had more to do w/ the believe that he didn’t run by what he was going to say past the writers. I mean, if you ask Martin Lawrence to appear on your show, you pretty much get what you paid for. It’s pretty well known that Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of “SNL” doesn’t like it when his performance engage in ab-libbing/improv behind his back.

        With that being said, I think Martin’s style of comedy is another reason why his career faltered. Many of Martin’s latter movies were PG-13 and thus, he was forced to neuter himself so to speak. Granted, he had to “neuter” himself too on his sitcom but he at least had a significant amount of control over the final product.

    • Perhaps another problem w/ Martin Lawrence is that he never really took a lot of chances or risks (outside of his “comfort zone”) like say his “Bad Boys” co-star Will Smith. Martin seemed to me, that he could simply coast on his large personality and that could in return, elevate the otherwise poor material. Martin could get away w/ such a thing on his sitcom because it was only a half hour long when compared to a feature length film (thus, it was harder for his shtick to grow tired). Plus, Martin would normally play numerous characters on his show and not simply one person.

      But even if you look at the latter episodes of Martin’s show, it seemed like he was starting to get lazy. The final season is absolutely unwatchable. We all know about the backstage issues involving Martin and Tisha Campbell, but besides that, Martin was quite obviously phoning it in, and in return, his comedic timing was off (I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin was under the influence. Plus, the plots got more and more ridiculous and stupid.

  2. I went to see Do the Right Thing on opening night and was a big fan of the film.

    Unfortunately, not long after its release, we had a bad situation crop up in my home town of Virginia Beach. There was a yearly week of frivolity attended by all African-American fraternities held there. I’m not sure how many times the event had been held previously, but it had in fact been held before without any significant troubles. For some reason the local police force and the members of the fraternities had a particularly bad time with one another that time around. The frustration amongst those who had come to the shore to spend their money boiled over and we ended up with looting and destruction of property. Trash cans were thrown through the front windows of stores. I don’t believe that Do the Right Thing motivated the behavior, but it did seem to guide the specifics when it was time to act out.

    I’ve met members of the Virginia Beach police force (in social situations) who made me understand the frustrations of the folks who reacted so badly. The language and attitudes were disheartening.

    I don’t really have anything to add about Lawrence’s career because Do the Right Thing is the only film of his that I am sure that I have seen from start to finish. I know I saw parts of Death at a Funeral, Bad Boys (or was it Bad Boys II? I’m not sure) and Boomerang on cable. Clearly, I’m not his target demographic.

    Based on your write-up, it appears that his talent is relatively thin while his psychology is a little unstable. He performed pretty well at the box office, so he continued to work well past when his behavior should have sent his star south already.

    A team-up with Grammar sounds like a big time win/lose proposition. Grammar has had his own struggles with substance abuse and bad behavior. I hope they both have recovered.

    • I find myself wondering about Lawrence’s level of talent. What the guy has going for him is charisma. I remember seeing Bad Boys. It was one of those movies I screened before it opened. I had zero expectations. I wasn’t familiar with Smith or Lawrence at the time, but I knew lots of people who were fans. I wasn’t especially impressed with the movie itself. It was the prototype for the modern day Michael Bay movie which is to say it’s too big, too loud and too dumb, but entertaining if that’s your thing. But I was very impressed with the natural screen presence of Smith, Lawrence and Leoni.

      If you would have asked me at the time who had more of a future in movies, I would have had a hard time picking between Lawrence and Smith. They seemed on even footing. Neither was classically handsome, but both were good looking in their own way. Smith more so. Both had an easy going charm. They both seemed to be destined for big things.

      But Smith was determined to forge himself into the next big movie star. He did so with cunning and single-minded determination. A few short summers later, he was the king of the 4th of July. On the other hand, Lawrence just went berserk and imploded.

      If Lawrence had followed Smith’s strategy, there’s no guarantee he would have been a big international movie star. But I do think he would have been bigger. He has a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses as Smith. He just needed to make more savvy choices.

      • I think the main drawing point of the first “Bad Boys” movie (and I recall Will Smith himself saying this on MTV when reflecting on his career) was that you had arguably the two biggest black actors on TV at the time joining forces. I do for one thing, find it incredibly funny that Martin Lawrence was billed ahead of Will Smith since I automatically assumed that Smith was a bigger name even back then (especially considering that “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” debuted about two years prior to “Martin”). Even in “Bad Boys II”, Lawrence was billed ahead of Smith.

        I wonder if another issue w/ Martin Lawrence in regards to why his film career reach its full potential if you want to call it that, is that maybe he really can’t carry a film by himself (I’ve already said that perhaps part of Martin’s problem was that he couldn’t evolve in his performances and/or comedic approach and thus, quickly became stale) unlike Will Smith. If you’ve noticed, much of Martin’s best reviewed and/or most commercially successful films either had him as part of an ensemble (e.g. “Do the Right Thing”, “House Party”, and “Wild Hogs”) or was paired w/ just as (if not even more) charismatic co-star like Will Smith and to a lesser extent, Eddie Murphy (“Life”). Even on his TV show (at least the first few years), Martin had a solid supporting cast to feed/play off of. It’s interesting that the biggest box office hit of Martin Lawrence’s career in which he had to rely on his name alone was the first “Big Momma’s House” (which was basically, “Mrs. Doubtfire” meets “Stakeout”).

        • The pairing of Smith and Lawrence was definitely the main selling point of Bad Boys. I think general audiences were only vaguely aware of Martin. But most folks at least knew of The Fresh Prince. But to the target demo, these guys were big stars and Bad Boys was a BIG movie. I remember the anticipation for Bad Boys very clearly. People who watched those shows were jazzed. People who didn’t probably caught it on video.

      • I think that part of Martin Lawrence’s initial appeal so to speak was that he was this brash, energetic guy. Unfortunately, that sort of thing only has such a shelf-life before people get worn out of your act. Just like other comedians on the WTHHT list part of Martin’s problem is that he really is no longer “cool”. He’s just this awfully pathetic middle-aged guy now, who let himself go physically.

        • I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. I never considered Lawrence and Chevy Chase before, but there are definitely similarities.

          • I actually wasn’t really thinking specifically of any sort of comparison or analogy between Martin Lawrence and Chevy Chase other than maybe, both never really evolved or modified their respective comedic styles as they got older. Martin like Chevy Chase, has put on a significant amount of weight in recent years, which of course doesn’t help much.

      • “I find myself wondering about Lawrence’s level of talent. What the guy has going for him is charisma.”

        Bullseye! That’s it right there. Lawrence, while talented, was always more of a personality than an actor.

        I always felt that Richard Pryor was a better stand-up comic than actor, although part of the problem in that regard was when he tried to show range audiences weren’t interested.. But as a comedian, he was pretty much peerless (George Carlin his only true rival).

        While Lawrence was very funny and a very good performer, the type of comedy he did lacked the depth of a Pryor or Carlin. In some ways, he’s closer to Eddie Murphy as a comedian, albeit even raunchier.

        But his limitations as an actor, combined with his psychological implosion, meant that he was stuck once his moment had passed.

  3. Bad Boys (1995) : MAIN reason why THIS film was Great + Part 2 wasn’t:

    Mon Jun 30 2008 16:51:11

    You’re forgetting everything else that makes the second one fail. The action goes on for two long and generates no tension whatsoever. The film doesn’t have the same sweeping score that Mark Mancina did for the first film which adds so much. And this one was just the right length with a nice pared-down plot, but BBII was so overlong, and by the end of the film gets a bit too nationalistic for my taste. The first one was made on a shoestring budget and looks fantastic – the second is just excess baggage.

    Fri May 7 2010 23:22:37

    1. The first movie didn’t rely on overblown special effects and gross-out humor to get the attention of the audience.

    2. The first movie showed Martin and Will as equals. The second movie made Will Smith the main action hero and wrote Martin Lawrence as his comic sidekick. It should have been more balanced out with Martin becoming more the center of the action, especially when Marcus’s sister gets kidnapped.

    3. The first movie had more improvised lines between Martin and Will, making the humor more natural. The second movie had too many forced comic situations (the gay misunderstanding at the video store, the rat sex scene, and Marcus’s ecstasy mishap).

    4. The theme music and soundtrack was a lot better in the first movie. How many times can you hear “Shake Ya Tailfeather”?

    • Bad Boys II (2003) :This movie tried to ruin Marcus Burnett!


      Mon Feb 7 2011 02:58:49

      I don’t like how passive they made him in here. It seems like he took out maybe 2 people while Mike dropped scores. Why the hell did they sissify him so much? In Bad Boys I he was a badass. I’ll never forget the time he rolled that guys head in the urinal.

      I was so disappointed in how he was portrayed in BBII. If they make a part three they need to redeem Marcus and let him do some crazy crap too. It’s BS that Mike gets all the cool moments when in the first movie they both had their fair share.

      Fri Oct 5 2012 19:53:59

      I always liked the first movie for that reason. Both cops had their funny/unfocused moments and their smart/tough guy moments. They were equal. In the second movie, Mike is like the superhero and Marcus is his wimpy and sometimes incompetent partner. It didn’t seem like a true follow-up. I wonder if Martin Lawrence and Will Smith had a problem with the way Marcus was written. I hope the third movie they do is more like the original.

    • The Bad Boys movies:

      Post by agent817 on Jun 7, 2011 at 12:57pm
      What was your opinion about those two movies? While I liked both movies, I prefer the first one more these days because I noticed a lot of complaints about Bad Boys II. Okay, for starters, I do like BB2, and did enjoy it, but I can see a lot of the reasons for the complaints. One thing is that the movie was a little too long, another was the forced humor (Especially the electronics store scene and the scene when Martin and Will were interrogating the teenage boy at the door). Also, a lot of the explosions and action scenes were rather over the top.

      Post by The Booty Disciple on Jun 7, 2011 at 2:18pm
      The first one is enjoyable, and I dig the humor and interplay between Lawrence and Smith. It’s pretty much another buddy-cop movie ala Lethal Weapon, 48 Hours, or Beverly Hills Cop, but stuck in Miami this time and updated to the mid-90s. Big whoop in that department. Smith and Lawrence did a great job of making it their own, though, even with the predictable story elements.

      The second one was way over the top, and pushed suspension of disbelief way too far. It was over the top, seemed to push past good taste, and seemed needlessly brutal. I generally skip it, and was even disappointed when I saw it in theaters years ago.

      Post by agent817 on Jun 8, 2011 at 9:56am
      Well, I completed my Bad Boys marathon yesterday by watching both movies. Since I watched them in descending order, I can honestly say that while both films were over the top, I can say that the first one was definitely different and better than the second. I can see why people complained about the second movie. I still liked it, though, but I can understand the over-the-top stuff and the dark humor, like when Martin’s character unwittingly took X, same with the electronics store stuff, but I found that part to be sort of funny, but I still remember watching it at 17 and the part with the little boy, I was a little surprised about that bit.

      Post by The Booty Disciple on Oct 1, 2011 at 5:56pm
      The first one was a pretty slick film, all things considered. No one expected high brow entertainment, but it actually had a great combination of action, character interplay, and a reasonable plot.

      The second one was way too over the top, and pushed the inconceivability of things way too far. I’m willing to buy in to an extent, but the second one didn’t just make me take my rose colored glasses off, it made me take them back to the optometrist and tell him to give my money back.

      Post by Lick Ness Monster on Oct 2, 2011 at 9:31am
      IMO, both movies are quite atrocious. Having said that, the first is the superior of the two. The second might very well be the worst movie I’ve ever seen in a theater. Incomprehensible plot, unbelievably unfunny “humor,” and the usual Bay ADD shaki-cam at its MOST grating. It all adds up to one big s*** sandwich, but the humor is really where these movies fail. The Bad Boys flicks basically have one joke – Smith and Lawrence calling each other some variation of a moron. To me, it’s one of those things that’s funny for about five minutes but then gets old REALLY fast.

      Slightly OT, but I have never laughed at Martin Lawrence in anything. He might very well be the most unfunny human being on the planet.

    • I wasn’t a big enough fan of the first one to watch the second. Frankly, Leoni was my favorite thing about Bad Boys. Also, by the time the sequel came out, my Michael Bay ban was in effect.

  4. I honestly had no idea that Martin Lawrence got his start from Star Search. In retrospect it’s amazing how many people got their start from that show: according to Wikipedia, more than a few big names pop up as former contestants: Martin Lawrence, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Adam Sandler, Justin Timberlake, Kevin James, Alanis Morissette, Christina Aguilera, Dave Chapelle, Leann Rimes, Usher, Rosie O’Donnell, Drew Carey, Sharon Stone, and so on. Ironically, not a single one of the many Competition Winners ever became famous. I guess competing on Star Search would do wonders for your career, but if you won the whole thing it was the kiss of death.

  5. Bad Movie Beatdown (w/ Rap Critic): Big Mommas – Like Father:

    Film Brain reviews a movie so bad, he’s got back-up in the form of Rap Critic!

  6. I didn’t see the american version of “Death at a Funeral”, here it’s been released direct to video (like almost all Lawrence movies except “Bad Boys” and “Big Momma” franchise), but I saw the original version and it’s really one of the funnniest comedies of the last decade. I simply loved it

  7. How the heck did I miss a new WTHH post? No excuse other than that I’ve been mired in a very important week, in terms of college football. not only has the week been traumatic but earlier in the season, my longtime favorite football blog host decided to take time off to live a real life. I know… i know…. and anyway that necessitated finding a new football blog. So now…. after maybe a few more nights where i keep dreaming about The Game but the ending doesn’t change…. back to more creative pursuits. Enough about football. Great post as always Lebeau. Don’t ever leave. :)

    • Leave? Never. I take the occasional break. But as long as I am able, I’ll always come back. This is obviously a hobby. But I have a very long-term goal. I expect to be writing WTHH articles until my fingers don’t work any more.

      • Oh, LeBeau, I LOVED hearing this. Reading your WTHHT series quickly became a favorite pasttime of mine from the moment I came across it some 6 or so months ago. (In fact, it’s the only blog I frequent outside of my usual food ones. That’s how awesomely engaging I find your series. :) I’m probably not your usual or intended audience, but I hope you’ll have me, anyway. LOL). Though, my opinions sometimes differ from yours, I love the objectiveness with which you approach every one of your WTHHT posts and the humor you interject into each one. Even when I’m completely uninterested in one of the subjects, I read it anyway because I know it’ll be a good read, full of witty commentary and interesting facts. I’m so happy to hear that you plan on doing this for years to come. Of course, I’d manage and go on living without your WTHHT series, but, really, would I even WANT to? :)

        • Liz, you’re too too kind. This series is fun for me to write. The interactions the readers really make the experience. The reader response has been consistently overwhelming. It keeps me motivated. Any time real life drags me away from blogging for an extended period of time, I know I need to get back to my readers who are patiently waiting for more. Usually the New Year brings a pretty steady stream of new articles. I’m hoping 2014 will be no different.

  8. Lebeau, you have to edit this line I think?

    “If you look at Rotten Tomatoes, Lawrence has had a movie with more than 50% positive reviews since the first House Party in 1990!”

    And I am still biting my nails waiting for Stallone and JCVD.
    Man I remember when they (along with Arnold, SS, etc) used to rule the BO.

  9. If this TV pilot I was in gets sold, I hope my career doesn’t turn out like Martin’s!

  10. No offense but are you fucking kidding me with this?

  11. I think Martin Lawrence should do a comedy using Shenenehs in a movie on the way to the top meaning that she trying to be successful,buy trying to start her own business of doing hair in the big city,it probably be funny ads he’ll I will run to the movie to see that.

  12. I never realized Martin’s movies received such low ratings! What does it say about me that I enjoyed nearly all of them! He seems to be more of a “people’s” actor rather than a critics. Blue Streak is a classic! A CLASSIC! “He’s high!”

    • daffystardust

      I’ve never been a big fan of the variations on the term “people’s” actor/director/musician versus “critic’s”. It suggests that critics or those who tend to agree with them are not people.

      • I think it comes about when “experts” give their opinion — in contrast to the average person. The critics might say a movie is pure pabulum without any artistic merit whatsoever, total rubbish! And the guy down the street might think it’s a wonderful action packed comedy that made him smile and laugh for a few hours. You see that quite often on rotten tomatoes. Critics rate the film 20-30% and the viewers give it 70-90%

        • daffystardust

          I’m never going to ask anybody to not like the entertainment that makes them happy. That’s what it’s there for. But your use of the quotation marks around the word expert reveals a general contempt for those with knowledge in today’s society. If you’re reading the right critic, then you actually are dealing with an expert. These are often people who have degrees in film/music/literature. That doesn’t mean that you should have to like the same stuff they do, but it does mean that they have a knowledge base which lends some credibility to their opinions.

        • One thing that I think accounts for the differences between the average Joe’s opinion and that of professional film critics is the number of movies they watch. If you have to watch the majority of Hollywood releases as most film critics do, eventually, you get really sick of middle-of-the-road crap. Even a bad movie can be more interesting than watching another lazy action/comedy which relies on the lead actor’s star power instead of a halfway decent script.

          On the other hand, the average Joe watches a lot fewer movies. And for very different reasons. A Martin Lawrence fan seeks out these movies because they enjoy getting away from their daily life for 90 minutes. They’re not sick of him or this style of movie. They aren’t looking for anything more than a diversion.

          But for a critic, movies like Blue Streak are the daily grind they are trying to get away from. Sitting through a Martin Lawrence movie is that task you don’t really want to do. But there’s a deadline approaching and there’s no getting out of it. And unlike a fan, odds are the critic has had to sit through the majority of Lawrence’s films. Most fans have probably missed some of their favorite actor’s less successful efforts. But the critics have to sit through all of it.

          I’m with Daffy on this one. Critics get things wrong from time to time. But they tend to have a better track record than the public which flocks to crap on a regular basis. But I also understand the value of getting a couple hours of entertainment wherever you can find it.

          • That’s my thought on it as well. A critic generally thinks about more factors than “was it entertaining”? Which I believe is the regular person’s main criteria for if it’s a good movie or not.

            Even I feel a similar way from time to time — you’ll hear people talk about a new movie as if it were this great original piece, and here I am thinking “What?! That story has been done at least a dozen times before AND much better!” I’d agree the professional reviewers have a much larger database to compare the movies to on average. But… they probably couldn’t keep their job for long if all they wrote was “an enjoyable, but forgettable film.” Do most people prefer a trip to McDonald’s over some fancy high end and original food dish?

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