*Whoa – $7.42 billion dollars in revenue.

Think about that for a second. That’s more than the revenue of Major League Baseball in 2011. Sam L. Jackson’s  box-office clout isn’t going to decrease any time soon, either – not with roles as Nick Fury in the sure-blockbuster The Avengers and a part in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained coming up in 2012.

Let’s ignore the big roles in XXX and Pulp Fiction and all those unfortunate Star Wars prequels for a second, shall we, and go over some of Mr. Jackson’s most underappreciated roles?

JUNGLE FEVER (1991) – His first true breakout role, as the drug-addicted brother of Flipper Purify (Wesley Snipes) in this underrated Spike Lee film about an interracial romance. Paired up with a then-unknown Halle Berry as a fellow crack addict, Jackson is a charming, terrifying tragic figure.


HARD EIGHT (1996) – The first film of Paul Thomas Anderson (who would go on to do Magnolia, Boogie Nights and There Will Be Blood) is a hard-boiled thriller with Jackson stealing the show as a threatening hustler.

EVE’S BAYOU (1997) – Jackson is at his best in this criminally-overlooked drama with tinges of the supernatural, starring as a philandering Louisiana doctor. Watch for a young Jurnee Smollett (the Friday Night Lights star) in her first big role.


THE SUNSET LIMTED (2011) – This HBO production, adapted from a searing play by Cormac McCarthy (The Road author) stars Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones as characters named Black and White, discussing all manner of topics in a New York apartment. There are few things more gripping than seeing these two acting titans rip up the screen.