I became a serious Will Smith fan 24 1/2 years ago, after seeing Fred Schepisi and John Guare‘s Six Degrees of Separation. He was pulsing in that film, going for it; I sang his praises high and low. As it turned out Six Degrees was the only film he ever made that was aimed at people like me. 16 months later the first Will Smith popcorn movie — Michael Bay‘s Bad Boys — opened in plexes, and that was all she wrote. He thereafter became a showboater who was only in it for the popularity.

Posted on 12.6.08: “Beware of all Will Smith manifestations, now and forever. The man’s smile is too quick to appear. Smith is too engaging, too eager to charm, too emotional, too funny, too likable, too coddled and way too insulated. He seems incapable of simply ‘being’ because he’s too hungry for affection. He can’t not perform. Such men may not be dangerous in the Shakespearean sense of the term, but you sure as hell can’t trust or believe them.

“As Charles Bukwoski once wrote, “Beware of those constantly seeking love and approval from a crowd — they are nothing alone.”

“And double-beware any big-name actor who asks a film-series moderator for a hug, as Smith did a couple of days ago with Pete Hammond.

“I’ve been in a room with Smith and he’s like this all the time with everyone, with or without an audience of any size. I’m not saying this indicates Seven Pounds might be a problem, but I’ve been told by a Los Angeles journalist friend who’s been known to occasionally give this and that film a compassionate pass that Seven Pounds is in fact an El Problemo. The word this person used, in fact, is ‘awful.’ A word that another viewer used is ‘contrived.'”

Smith’s next is David Ayer‘s Bright (Netflix, 12.17), a futuristic actioner in which Smith plays a Los Angeles cop who teams up with an Orc cop in a world of both human and mythical creatures. Written by Max Landis; costarring Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace and Lucy Fry.

Rex Harrison to Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra: “I’m not sure I want to be rubbed by you at all.”