Five Favorite Films with Terry Crews
The Expendables star chats about working with Stallone and becoming an action star.
Terry Crews may not yet be a household name, but chances are that most people will probably recognize his face. Whether it was the role of Chris Rock's father on the television sitcom Everybody Hates Chris, the family patriarch on TBS's Are We There Yet?, President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho in Idiocracy, or the pec-flexing, tiger-riding Old Spice spokesman in a series of recent Tim and Eric-directed commercials, Crews has steadily kept busy since 2000, when he made his big screen debut alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in The 6th Day. A former NFL player who majored in Art in college, Crews has built a reputation for himself as the musclebound hulk with impeccable comic timing, often stealing scenes in movies with bigger names. But Terry's star is rising, and earlier this year, Sylvester Stallone saw fit to cast him in his new actioner, The Expendables, which comes out on home video this week.
RT was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Terry, and what we quickly discovered was that he is a huge (literally and figuratively) movie lover, and like any movie lover, he found his favorites hard to pin down: "I just love movies so much, and I have so many reasons that I love certain things. It runs the whole gamut, but I'm going to give it a shot. I'm always going to feel like I left something out." He was so excited to talk about his Five Favorites, in fact, that he actually gave us six, as well as an Honorable Mention, and continued to geek out well into the second half of the interview. Since we aren't ones to argue with President Camacho, here are all seven of Terry Crews's Five Favorite Films!
First one on my list is Do the Right Thing. Spike Lee, man. I actually saw that twenty times in the theaters. That's before VCRs; I mean, that was like right when the VCRs were kind of happening, and you had to wait a year for something to come out on VHS. It wasn't the quick turnaround like we have right now. But Do the Right Thing changed my life in so many ways, because I had never seen... it was a movie that was comedic, yet so powerful. I didn't really have a definition, because I'd never seen black people on screen like that, and it was just one of those things. It was my era; it was my generation. There was a lot of blaxploitation before that, you know, and you could see people on TV, and all this stuff.
But I remember I was in college, and it was kind of like this empowerment. Spike had made She's Gotta Have It, but then Do the Right Thing really broke it down. It changed my life. It made me want to get into the business like never before. Totally. I was like, I am a Spike Lee nut; I want to do this. I thought it should have won Best Picture that year; it just meant so much. It just meant a lot to everybody. There was a lot of race relations stuff, and just think of the stars that came out of that: Sam Jackson, Martin Lawrence, and Spike himself, and Rosie Perez, and John Turturro. I mean, it's just... Whew! It just changed the game, changed the game.
Aliens (1986, 100% Tomatometer)
And then I'll go to my next one. Aliens. Jim Cameron, Sigourney Weaver. Dude, again, I am a "big movie" guy. I like the small, poignant indie, but you know, give me a Summer flick all day long. That's what I grew up on, that's my era. I mean, I remember seeing Star Wars at the drive-in; I'm that guy. But Aliens really upped the game for what the horror genre could be, you know what I mean? Because it was this weird mix of action and horror. You know, the first one was like straight horror, like oh my god, the creepiness, the ickiness of this thing. But then in Aliens, you're like, "Yo, they got Marines! It's like that? This is nuts!" It just created this frenzy in me that was like, oh, this is how it's supposed to be done. I'll never forget it. Any time Aliens is playing, I can't turn away. I cannot.
And then I'll go to my third one, which of course I would say... Most people would go with The Empire Strikes Back, but I gotta go with Star Wars, the original. The Summer tentpole, it was something we had never seen before. I remember, back in the day it was all those exorcism movies, you know, it was the same time when all that was going on when they were like, "The Tempter!" and you turn around and it's a scary movie. And then there was Taxi Driver, and all these weird... Everything had a weird aura to it, you know what I mean? And my mother was like, "I can't take you to the movies! You'll see something crazy!"
So my aunt took me to see Star Wars. That was the only thing that we could see as kids. It was either that or The Apple Dumpling Gang, and I was like, "We can't go that young!" [laughs] But Star Wars, man, I mean... It was really the sci-fi thing. Still to this day, I'm a sci-fi nut. I love it. It's one of those things that influences me to this day.
I want to go into another movie that I gotta bring up. The Pianist with Adrien Brody, Roman Polanski, the whole thing. Now, I don't endorse his moral behaviors, but I have to say man, that movie... What he did with that character put me there, and I had never been there. Literally, I'm in the theater, and dude, I'm crying, I'm like, "Yo, this is crazy!" I go by emotional moments; if I walk out of the theater and I'm actually changed, you know what I mean? You know, you see the world in a different way. That's the power of movies, to me. Like, when you go in and you saw the world one way, but when you walk out, I'm like, "I saw the world in a whole different way." And Adrien Brody's performance really taught me what an actor should do and should be. He gave everything he had. It was an awesome performance, an awesome movie, and I would just encourage everybody to see that one. That's one of my favorite movies of all time. I bought that sucker; I got it on Blu-Ray, you know? [laughs]
Another one that I have to say ? because I am an artist, I am a graphic designer and an art guy ? is 300. That literally was a seismic shift in filmmaking for me, because Zack Snyder took this thing in such a creative direction. It was like, every frame, you could frame on your wall. You could literally take each piece of that movie, frame it, and it would stand as a piece of art, and that's what I loved about that movie. Gerard [Butler] is my friend; we did Gamer together, and that's all I could talk about on set. I was like his 300 groupie on that whole movie, you know? [laughs] But the power and the simplicity of what it was all about, too. Zack got to the archetype of what all the characters were; the story was simple, it was powerful.
The next one is The Thing, the remake with Keith David. That was the first Rated-R movie my mother ever let me see, and oh, dude, I was scarred. I was scarred in a good way. [laughs] John Carpenter's The Thing took me to a whole other place, man. I was like, "Oh my god!" It was almost like losing your virginity. [laughs] Remember what I said about coming out of the theater a different way? The Thing was so violent and so creatively crazy, no one had ever seen anything like that on screen. You know, heads growing legs and walking away? I think Rob Bottin was the special effects guy on that. But, you know, heads ripping themselves off, dogs having three heads, it was just "Oh my god, there's no stopping this!" One of my favorite movies; if it's ever on, I can't turn it off. I just can't. It's impossible.
And the thing is, you see how most of the movies that I'm mentioning have always had copies, you know what I mean? It's like, any movie that's out there, you can see they're trying to be like The Thing, or they're trying to be like Aliens. It's so wild how you see this kind of dynamic, because it changed for those filmmakers when they saw it too. So those are my top five for today. I tell you, that's so hard to say. [laughs] Again, I love movies man. I just love it.
(1989, 100% Tomatometer) - Honorable Mention
Oh! I've got an Honorable Mention; can I get an Honorable Mention? Roger & Me, Michael Moore. I was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. For me, that changed the whole documentary game. Usually, docs were PBS specials or that sort of thing, but it was like, "Oh my god, this is actually entertaining!" [laughs] And Mike, you know, he made sure he crossed that line. I remember it was going up against Batman, so it was like Roger & Me and Batman, and actually, Do the Right Thing was coming out right around that same time. It was a real watershed moment for me. But my Honorable Mention is Roger & Me. What it did for the doc game, really made me respect the power of a great documentary. I could get the same great emotion from that as I did anything.
Next, Terry talks about being a sci-fi nut and what it was like working under Sylvester Stallone.