Five Favorite Films

JB Smoove's Five Favorite Films

The Actor Fills Us In On Mad Love for Diahann Carroll, Dirty Pants, and His New Film, Almost Christmas.

by | November 9, 2016 | Comments

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Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Waterkeeper Alliance

In our second of a two-part series on the Five Favorite Films of some of the very talented folks involved in Almost Christmas — opening Friday — we spoke to Mr. JB Smoove. Of course, you also know him from a bunch of other things like Barbershop: The Next Cut, Date Night and The MillersBut we are so excited about Christmas, that we gave ourselves a present — double the amount of Five Favorite Films coverage (including this one of producer Will Packer) — and are pleased to include this jovial, talented actor’s choices. You can see his list right here:

A Christmas Story (1983) 89%

Oh, you know what I love? I’m going to give you one of my holiday movies that I love, that I can’t stop watching. It goes on marathon every year. That’s A Christmas Story. That’s like on marathon all damn day. And I’ve watched that movie ten times. My favorite scene is when the dogs run in there and eat that damn turkey, man. I tell you, I’m in hysterics, man. That is one of my favorite movies.

The Game (1997) 74%

I like The Game; it’s one of my favorite movies. I love The Game. Oh, that movie was so good. I love not knowing what’s going to happen. I become a detective. My brain — I put myself in the character’s position. I sit there and I wonder how I would’ve reacted to this. You know, because there were parts of that movie that had me tripping. And you could not tell what was the part of the game and what wasn’t. That was the genius part of how they shot that movie. I just absolutely love it.

The Party (1968) 83%

I like a lot of older movies, too. I’m a big Peter Sellers fan. So I love — The Party is one of my favorite damn movies of all time. [If] you’ve never seen The Party, man, thank me later, man. Thank me later. When I tell you this movie is fabulous, man — it’s classic Peter Sellers, man. I love Peter Sellers so much. He’s one of my favorite actors of all time.

Claudine (1974) 50%

Another movie I love is a movie called Claudine. James L. Jones is in that movie. Diahann Carroll is in this movie. Oh man, I’m not a big crier, but the movie resonates and just stays with me the whole time. You know what? I used to love some Diahann Carroll, brother.

The movie was about a single mother who meets a guy and they end up falling in love. He takes on this whole family. She had like five kids, living in Harlem, with five kids, and this guy was a regular garbage man who had kids of his own. He was trying to balance his old life and the stress of being a father to his own kids. But at the same time he loved this woman, he loved her kids, and he wanted to do better for her. He wanted to be with her, but he just tried to work everything out. He ended up leaving her, and then coming back because he loved the kids, and they ended up getting married and all that kind of stuff. All the trial, the jubilation — it’s all about family and what they go through. The growing pains, you know, how the kids fell in love with him and they ended up looking for him, and he broke their heart.

Claudine is a beautiful movie. I went at 13 years old, man. I was in love with Diahann Carroll at 13 years old. I don’t know if I could’ve stepped in those shoes and been a daddy to these little kids, but I loved her, she was a beautiful lady.

Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985) 80%

For some reason, I love any movies that are the Mad Max genre. I freakin’ love me some Mad Max, man. Thunderdome. I like vehicles. I love trucks, I love cars, I love motorcycles, I love dirt. I love getting dirty, man. I like dirt on my face. I like dirt on my pants, on my socks.

You’re one of those kids; your mother must have loved that.

She loved it, man. She was like, “Just get in the bath tub.” She made us get in the bath tub when we’d come in the house. “Get in the bath tub. Get out of those clothes.” Man, I love that kind of stuff. I like when people are challenged and challenged through life and they get a chance to have survival mode, man.

Did you see the last one?

What? Did I see the [last] one? Man! That one was sick! It was so damn good, man. The stuff they did in that movie was groundbreaking. How do you even cover that? I mean, you got to really know, this type of photographer has got to be fabulous man. Because the stuff they captured was the beauty of it all and the shots were crazy. [Charlize Theron] was cold in that movie, man. She was cold, brother. That lady cold, man.

How do you feel about the new movie?

I love the movie, man. I’m happy that [writer/director] David Talbert really went in and allowed everyone — not just me, but everyone — to kind of do their thing, you know? I think they were smart with the casting, too. When you’re working with that many people you have to almost build and find the nuances of your character. You have to really find the nuances.

What helps a lot is when you’re already friends or familiar with most of your cast members. Me and [Mo’Nique] have known each other for years, almost thirty years. Me and Romany [Malco] have a relationship; we’ve been friends for forever. Me and Omar [Epps] know each other. So that helps a lot. We know each other. It just breaks the other wall down. The other wall comes down. Even though you’re acting, when you care about somebody off camera, your passion and your lines come across better on camera. The drama of it, the sadness of it, the humor of it — just comes across really clean. It doesn’t look like, “They’re just acting.” It doesn’t seem like that. And it comes across so well. I’m looking forward to seeing it tomorrow night. I like to be surprised.

Do you sit in the back and watch everyone’s reaction or do you get right up there close?

Well the premiere, I’m going to sit — we’ll probably be in the front. But when I go see it again, I’ll sit in the back. Most of the cast has seen the movie. I don’t like seeing it. I like to wait. I like to feel it when the audience feels it.

Almost Christmas opens Friday in wide release.

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