Big Willie’s (Lost) Weekend

So it’s the anniversary of our nation’s independence and I’m thinking about all the movies that have been stewing in my little head for the last two weeks (reviews of Transformers 2, Taking of Pelham 123, Star Trek, and The Hangover coming soon to a computer near you).

Thoughts of movies and Independence Day always bring me around to Mr. July 4th Weekend himself, Will Smith. Remember when he told Matt Lauer on the TODAY show that he had dubbed it “Big Willie Weekend”?

Where's Willie, our perennial July 4th side dish?

Where's Willie, our perennial July 4th side dish?

Ever since Independence Day hit screens on July 2, 1996, the Fresh Prince has been as part of the tradition as grilled meat, sunshine, and illegal fireworks. Undoubtedly the most suited to its release date, ID4 had Will playing Captain Steven Hiller, an Air Force pilot  that teams with an adorably neurotic environmental scientist (Jeff Goldblum) and one of the baddest on-screen American presidents to date (Bill Pullman) to kick some tentacled alien arse.

In the years since, some of Will’s July 4 releases have been hits — 1997’s Men in Black and 2002’s MIB II. Last year’s Hancock grossed more than $62 million in its opening weekend alone. Some have also been colossal misses — 1999’s Wild Wild West…need I say more? Some, such as 2003’s Bad Boys II and 2004’s I-Robot, have even missed the weekend by a few days. You know, like those kids in your neighborhood who don’t seem to run out of bottle rockets for 10 days after the 4th.

So where the heck is our favorite big-eared action hero this year? Nothing goes with potato salad quite like his swagger.


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