Cuba Gooding Jr. had a magnificent run when he was at the top of his game, but after a while he kind of seemed to phase out of the big time and started doing direct to DVD movies and other projects where he was recognized but wasn’t given quite the same chance at stardom that he’d had before. Whether it was because he was getting older, he didn’t want to be in the spotlight as much, or any other reason he started laying back, it was kind of hard to imagine where he’d gone and when he would show back up. He’s done more TV these days it seems than anything and he’s been just as good there as he is on the big screen, but it’s fair to say that it’s fun watching his older stuff and being just as impressed as we were when he was in his prime and belting out movies that made your eyes tear up and your heart flutter just a bit with emotion.
Here are some of his best movies.
5. What Dreams May Come
This film paints a rather vivid picture of what it might take and how far someone would go to reunite with those that have already passed on from the mortal coil. Chris and Annie were meant to be together, there’s no doubt of that, but when Chris is killed in a car accident he has to move on without her. Eventually though Annie commits suicide and is sent to hell. Chris seeks her out and is prepared to spend an eternity in hell with her for their love, but Annie remembers something from their shared past that allows her to remember who she is and thus ascend to heaven, taking Chris with her.
4. Jerry Maguire
Rod is the kind of guy you’d expect to find in the NFL at times, a bit too cocky and ready to get paid for the hits he’s taking. The best part about Rod though is that he can back up his attitude no matter that he’s smaller than most of the wide receivers in the league. What he lacks in size he more than makes up for in heart, though his attitude is a little hard for his agent to take sometimes. Throughout all that though, he and Jerry eventually become closer than just agent and athlete as they begin to understand what it means to be good friends as well as business associates. This was undoubtedly one of his best roles.
3. Boyz N the Hood
Tre was a young black man trying not to get caught up in the hood lifestyle even though he lived in it all the same. His father preached and preached as to why his son couldn’t allow himself to be wrapped up in the mess that some of his friends were into, and for the most part Tre stayed out of trouble. But when you hang around guys like Doughboy, who’s firmly into the hood scene, things are bound to happen one way or another and their grudges tend to envelop those around them without fail. The unfortunate part about this is that in the neighborhood where Tre comes from, everyone’s a potential victim.
This is one of the most touching and somehow tragic movies that he’s ever made since it is based on a true story and features a young man that was born developmentally challenged and can’t really relate to anyone. When a high school coach takes the time to get to know him however he finds out that Radio is someone quite special and is worth more to the town he belongs to than anyone can possibly understand. Through a lot of work and a great deal of patience and compassion Radio becomes a fixture within the town and to the school that many people come to value, which is nothing short of inspiring.
1. Men of Honor
Carl Brashear actually gave an interview in which he said there was no Billie Sunday when he was coming up through the ranks of the Navy, but that the character played by De Niro was an amalgam of different instructors that he had to go through on his way to his desired position. You can definitely see how, if the story has any accuracy, Carl went through hell to get what he wanted and likely had to endure a great deal when it came to the way he was treated. How much of the story is real is always a question, but how inspiring it was can’t possibly be measured since the act of coming back to active duty after losing his lower leg couldn’t have been easy on him or his family.
Cuba Gooding Jr. has been one among many that has been at his best when he was younger, but in all honesty he still hasn’t lost much as he’s gotten older.