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The Good, The Bad & The Badass: Michael J. Fox

4 days ago

Michael J. Fox

Being a bad ass is about more than just brawn. Courage is a lot more bad ass than muscles, and Michael J. Fox, who’s struggled publicly with Parkinson’s Disease for twenty years, is an inspiration to anyone who’s ever faced adversity - all of us. But, as fits this column, he has made some great friggin’ movies.

Fox, a nice Canadian boy from Edmonton, became a household name in the eighties, first for playing Alex P. Keaton, the conservative son of hippie parents, in the iconic sitcom “Family Ties” (a staple of my early childhood). In ‘85, he broke through to massive international stardom with his iconic casting as Marty McFly opposite Christopher Lloyd’s Doc in Robert Zemeckis’s BACK TO THE FUTURE. Always grateful to his small-screen family, he stayed on “Family Ties’ until the end, but had two more big hits, the comedy TEEN WOLF and the eighties yuppie satire THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS. After a detour into drama, Fox made two back-to-back BTTF sequels, but then his big-screen career cooled off a bit, with a string of uninspiring vehicles broken only by a supporting part in THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT and the lead in Peter Jackson’s THE FRIGHTENERS.

Soon, he went back to TV on the massively successful “Spin City”, before handing off the reins to Charlie Sheen after the symptoms of his illness became too much. Soon though, Fox was back, with parts acknowledging his condition on “Rescue Me” and his own sitcom “The Michael J. Fox Show”.

His Best Work

I doubt there’s any movie out there, except maybe GHOSTBUSTERS or the James Bond film OCTOPUSSY (don’t ask) that I’ve seen more often than BACK TO THE FUTURE. It absolutely boggles the mind that the movie quite nearly came out with Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly than Michael J. Fox. This is no sleight on Stoltz, who’s a great actor (seriously - check out MASK from the same year), but Fox IS Marty. The character doesn’t work without him in the part, and he’s as essential to the film’s success as Robert Zemeckis’s script (with Bob Gale), his direction, Christopher Lloyd or the Alan Silverstri score. He’s magical in the part, and to my mind it ranks as one of the most iconic performances of all time, up there with Humphrey Bogart in CASABLANCA or Sean Connery as 007. The first film is, from the first second to the last, a masterpiece and a movie I watch at least once a year (in HD of course). I’ve even seen it theatrically a few times in revivals, and it remains a touchstone movie of mine, and one of the first films I can actually say I consciously watched as a child (on the Canadian HBO, First Choice). God bless everyone involved with this movie - it’s a gift.

His Most Overrated Work

Which brings me to the sequels. Many of you will think I’m nuts by calling them overrated, especially the beloved second, but to me neither fully recaptures the glory of the originals - although they have their moments and are certainly very good films. Yet, they’re just not classics like the first one is, but Fox is great, and his chemistry with Lloyd is superb. My feeling is that Zemeckis’s attention was too split between the two films in order to make one truly great sequel rather than two really good ones.

His Most Underrated Film

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY was Fox’s first attempt to be considered a “serious” actor, with this being an adaptation of the Jay McInerney yuppie-cocaine opus many of the Brat Packers wanted to make, but only Fox had the clout to get going. Here’s the thing - he’s miscast. Fox is too sympathetic and sweet for the part, and his co-star, Kiefer Sutherland, walks away with the movie. Still, it’s a fascinating time capsule. Fox would fare much better in drama a year later, in Brian De Palma’s CASUALTIES OF WAR, which I actually think he steals from Sean Penn, who chews too much scenery.

Another movie of Fox’s I loved growing up was the charming DOC HOLLYWOOD, where he plays a plastic surgeon blackmailed into being a small-town doctor for a month, only to find himself falling in love with the lifestyle (and his nurse - played by Julie Warner). This is a great little movie, with Fox at his winning best.

His Best Scene

The short statured Fox always said he admired the similarly built James Cagney, who was famous for punching out guys that dwarfed him in his movies. Fox does something like that with Biff in BACK TO THE FUTURE, kicking off a chase that had every kid who saw this immediately ask their folks for a skateboard.

His Five Best Roles

5. THE FRIGHTENERS
4. THE HARD WAY
3. BACK TO THE FUTURE PART 2 & 3
2. CASUALTIES OF WAR
1. BACK TO THE FUTURE

Up Next

Fox mostly sticks to voice-over parts these days, but is still active, showing up at the Oscars last month, where he exited the DeLorean with Seth Rogen. And if Hollywood ever dares go-back to the BACK TO THE FUTURE well, they better do it with Fox as Marty. They just better.

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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9:10PM on 03/20/2017

Love Mr. Fox

Like many on here I've grown up watching his movies and wanting to go back in time in a Delorean. Having said that my favourite film of his is The Hard Way...there is just something about the chemistry between him and James Woods. Gotta love the scene with him and Stephen Lang in the cop [link]
Like many on here I've grown up watching his movies and wanting to go back in time in a Delorean. Having said that my favourite film of his is The Hard Way...there is just something about the chemistry between him and James Woods. Gotta love the scene with him and Stephen Lang in the cop [link]
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7:38PM on 03/20/2017
No love for Greedy? Got a soft spot for that one.
No love for Greedy? Got a soft spot for that one.
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+1
7:23PM on 03/20/2017
-STUART LITTLE 3 - 3/10
-ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE; MARS ATTACKS!; STUART LITTLE 2 - 6/10
-THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT; BACK TO THE FUTURE I & II - 9/10
-STUART LITTLE 3 - 3/10
-ATLANTIS: THE LOST EMPIRE; MARS ATTACKS!; STUART LITTLE 2 - 6/10
-THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT; BACK TO THE FUTURE I & II - 9/10
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7:24PM on 03/20/2017
I forgot this one:

STUART LITTLE 1 - 7/10
I forgot this one:

STUART LITTLE 1 - 7/10
1:24PM on 03/20/2017
The only actor to have the #1 and #2 movies in theaters (Back to the Future and Teen Wolf) as well as the #1 show on television (Family Ties) at the same time. I wish they would release the made for tv classic Poison Ivy starring Michael J Fox and Adam Baldwin, it desperately needs a blu-ray or at least a dvd.
The only actor to have the #1 and #2 movies in theaters (Back to the Future and Teen Wolf) as well as the #1 show on television (Family Ties) at the same time. I wish they would release the made for tv classic Poison Ivy starring Michael J Fox and Adam Baldwin, it desperately needs a blu-ray or at least a dvd.
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1:11PM on 03/20/2017
Great actor. I love just about everything he's ever done.
My top 5:
1. Back To The Future
2. Teen Wolf
3. The Secret Of My Success
4. The Frighteners
5. Back To The Future 2&3
Great actor. I love just about everything he's ever done.
My top 5:
1. Back To The Future
2. Teen Wolf
3. The Secret Of My Success
4. The Frighteners
5. Back To The Future 2&3
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12:13PM on 03/20/2017
Also enjoyed his guest starring arc on Scrubs.
Also enjoyed his guest starring arc on Scrubs.
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4:55PM on 03/20/2017
Hell yes - good call!
Hell yes - good call!
11:55AM on 03/20/2017

Also...

It seems like it would be worth mentioning some of his solid voice-acting over the years: Homeward Bound 1 & 2, Stuart Little 1-3, and the criminally underrated Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Fans of his tv work should also check out his recurring character on Boston Legal in the 2006 season.
It seems like it would be worth mentioning some of his solid voice-acting over the years: Homeward Bound 1 & 2, Stuart Little 1-3, and the criminally underrated Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Fans of his tv work should also check out his recurring character on Boston Legal in the 2006 season.
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1:25PM on 03/20/2017
and The Good Wife. He stole EVERY scene he was in on that show. He was the unbeatable lawyer. I NEVER watched that show, only the episodes he was in.
and The Good Wife. He stole EVERY scene he was in on that show. He was the unbeatable lawyer. I NEVER watched that show, only the episodes he was in.
11:41AM on 03/20/2017
If anyone deserves the title of badass, this guy does. Not was he perennially likable in almost everything he did back in the day, but that he's still making memorable guest appearances on TV, embracing his health constraints and reminding audiences that Michael J. Fox is first and foremost one hell of an actor.
If anyone deserves the title of badass, this guy does. Not was he perennially likable in almost everything he did back in the day, but that he's still making memorable guest appearances on TV, embracing his health constraints and reminding audiences that Michael J. Fox is first and foremost one hell of an actor.
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11:30AM on 03/20/2017
Badass indeed. Even some of his 90s movie aren't big hits, I still like them. I'd say his most underrated works are The Hard Way and Doc Hollywood. But yes, Back To The Future 1 is definitely his best work.
Badass indeed. Even some of his 90s movie aren't big hits, I still like them. I'd say his most underrated works are The Hard Way and Doc Hollywood. But yes, Back To The Future 1 is definitely his best work.
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