How come he don’t want me, man? – a Žižekian Analysis of Will Smith — Julian Paul Merrill

Article published in Žižekian Analysis

Žižekian Analysis

will(By) Picture by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0,https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50368808

There is something odd about Will Smith’s decline in popularity. How did one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, an actor once nicknamed ‘Mr. July’ for his incredible streak of summer blockbusters, lose his box office appeal? These are Smith’s latest films: Aladdin (2019), Bright (2017), Collateral Beauty (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Focus (2015), Concussion (2015) Winter’s Tale (2014), and After Earth (2013). With the possible exception of Aladdin, all more or less flopped or were panned by critics. (Fletcher 2017: unpaginated)

Some attribute Smith’s decline in popularity to the decline of the movie star in general. Among other things, social media and streaming platforms like Netflix have changed the way we consume films. Although this is true, in the case of Will Smith, this explanation misses the crucial point: the shift in the cultural significance of Smith himself.

To understand this, let…

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