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WTF Happened to James Woods?

WTF Happened to James Woods?
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Last Updated on January 22, 2024

Just one month before the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001, a man was on a flight and noticed something suspicious. This man who witnesses this event that what might of been a dry rehearsal attack has been interviewed by the FBI several times and was able to identify some of the 9/11 hijackers. And this man just so happens to be one of the most reliable character actors of all time. It was James Woods. yea that James Woods! WTF?

In additon to working with the FBI on this case, this man has also worked with the greatest filmmakers of all time. Pumping out performances that are so raw and real that you question if the dude is really acting.

but in recent years his star has fallen significantly. Is it because his political affiliations have conflicted with that of the Hollywood Elite or his unfitted politically incorrect don’t give a funkiness? or is it because his films quite simply stopped making money? Join us as we ask that ever important question: WTF Happened to James Woods!

But as always we must begin at the beginning and the beginning began on his birthday April 18, 1947 in Vernal, Utah. He would grow up in Rhode Island before attending MIT with the intent of becoming an eye surgeon. But dropped out in his final year to pursue acting when the theater bug bit him hard during college. He was done with that silly eye surgeon stuff trading it all in for trying to pay the bills through acting which is always a garnered road to success. But it worked for him. Until it didn’t.

Woods would make his transition to films as a reliable character actor, first appearing in the Elia Kazan film The Visitors (1972) then he worked with director Sydney Pollack in The Way We Were (1973). The 70’s really was the true College education of Woods, as he would slowly build his resume with smaller roles in films such as The Gambler (1974), Night Moves (1975), Alex & The Gypsy (1976) and The Choirboys (1977) while also appearing in scene stealing guest spots on TV series such as Kojak, the first episode of The Rockford Files, the first episode of Welcome Back, Kotter, The Streets of San Francisco and Barnaby Jones before actually making waves by receiving strong reviews opposite Meryl Streep in the 1978 miniseries Holocaust and finishing the decade strong with several Best Supporting Actor nominations including one from the Golden Globe’s for his transformative performance in The Onion Field. But if the 70’s was Woods’ film education, the 80’s was his full blown arrival! He would steal scenes in films such as Eyewitness (1981), Fast-Walking (1982), Split Image (1982),

Then came David Croneberg’s Videodrome (1983), It a disbursing piece of social commentary that exposes the dark side of technology and human kind. Woods demented yet frighten yet curious performance elevates the film to more sick twisted levels. His most not worthy leading role as of then and kinda technically his first. This was followed by a film called Against All Odds (1984), and that same year he worked with master filmmaker Sergio Leone for his gangster epic by joining the wonderful ensemble cast in Once Upon a Time in America (1984) where he steals scenes from the likes of a young Robert De Niro in his prime. Old age make up looks good cuz that kinda what these actors look like now. Woods also appeared in the first story segment of the mega self indulgent stephen king anthology flick Cat’s Eye (1985). Woods’ character literally watches another stephen king movie while in this stephen king movie.

But the film that would fully show the breadth of James Woods’ fast talking, slightly arrogant, yet brilliant ways would be when he first collaborated with Oliver Stone in 1986’s Salvador playing an American photo journalist covering the Salvadoran Civil War. Like Videodrome, this performance show that he can lead a feature film and do it quite well. His role was unlike anything we had ever seen before, a brash, fish out of water story with a performance that blurred the lines of acting and reality. Of course I’m not the only one to recognize that, Woods would receive accolades across the board including an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. But as with a lot of performers after they get that big Oscar Boost, and for Woods, this meant a series of financially under achieving lead roles in well done respected films such as Best Seller (1987) where he was nominated for Best Actor at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, Cop (1988), The Boost (1988) where he would again receive a nomination for Best Actor from the Film Independent Spirit Awards, True Believer (1989) and Immediate Family (1989). And he was killing it on the small screen with Emmy winning roles in the miniseries Promise (1987) and My Name is Bill W (1989). And then fired his agents after they turned down Reservoir Dogs without even showing him the script. Not sure which Dog he was gonna be but Woods would have been an interesting addition to this already perfect cast.

Luckily the 90’s were right around the corner, and with it came the rise of the type of films that Woods really shined in. Fast talking, slightly sleazy, curmudgeonly sheisters! He would kick off the 90’s by appearing opposite Michael J. Fox in the 1991 buddy cop action comedy The Hard Way. Critics took note of the chemistry Fox and Woods had on screen with audiences showing up to the tune of $65 million. After veering off into the romantic comedy territory with 1992’s Straight Talk, Woods would continue his string of playing lovable sheister characters in films such as Diggstown (1992) (sheister con man), Chaplin (1992) (sheister lawyer), The Getaway (1994) (sheister mob boss) and The Specialist (1994) (sheister Colonel) while also showing his range as a character actor in projects such as the Sam Shepard adaptation Curse of the Starving Class (1994), the Jason Alexander (yes, Costanza) directed For Better or Worse (1995), the Oliver Stone Executive Produced Killer: A Journal of Murder (1995), the TV movieIndictment: The McMartin Trial which he would be nominated for an Emmy for and his most daring role yet: playing James Woods who takes over the Kwik E. Mart in an episode of The Simpsons. And appeared as himself 8 times times on Family Guy throughout the years, even they high school in that show is named after Mr. Woods. Perfect way to handle a cartoon celebrity appearances. James woods is probably the funniest Family Guy joke maybe i think.

But it was really the year 1995 that would bring us peak Woods. First he would play the sleazy pimp/ drug dealer Lester Diamond in Martin Scorsese’s Casino, which really was Woods at his grimiest best. You hate the character, but you love the performance, which kind of sums up a lot of James Woods’ roles! He would next be seen in Oliver Stone’s 3 hour and 12 minute biopic Nixon. Woods would next earn rave reviews and his second (and to date last) Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actor for playing another deplorable character in the Rob Reiner directed Ghosts of Mississippi. Again, this is another one of those roles where you realize just how good James Woods is at playing bad! The character he plays is a real life white supremecist murderer who in the hands of a lessor performer would have been played without any depth, but Woods has a way of playing these types of characters that lets you dig down deep into the character and experience the character and the performance from several angles.

After appearing in the comedy Kicked in the Head (1997), Woods would tackle the role that to this day he says is still his absolute favorite: voicing Hades in the Disney animated Hercules. He even tweeted in April of 2022 that he will do every job he is asked to do that involves the voice of Hades. He has lived up to that quote, returning to the role several times over the years, most notably in 30 episodes of the TV spin-off series where he would win a Daytime Emmy Award for his voice work.

Woods would finish out the 90’s by continuing to do what he does best: elevate every film he is in. Whether playing the National Security Advisor in the Jodie Foster fronted Contact (1997), leading one of the best Vampire movies of the last 25 years in John Carpenter’s Vampires where again he plays a kind of sheister dude, but like, he is killing Vampires, so its the cool vampire killing type of sheister this time, which paid off as he would win the Saturn Award for Best Actor. He would follow that up by appearing and producing the $1 million grossing Another Day in Paradise followed by the Clint Eastwood box office bomb True Crime. But then came 1999, and Woods would give us three of his best performances and films ever. First up was his heartbreaking performance as the grieving father in Sofia Coppola’s tremendous debut The Virgin Suicides followed by another tragic yet flawed character as Colonel Bob Moore in the $150 million grossing The General’s Daughter. Critics called the film “over the top” but Woods delivers a calculated, cool, calm and even heartbroken performance. James Woods would reunite with Oliver Stone to play another sheister character, this time the sheister orthopedist who uses questionable tactics on the players in the film the NFL doesn’t want you to see Any Given Sunday. One of the best football movies ever. Again, Woods is pitch perfect here as the rich doctor that doesn’t care one bit about the people in his care just the money and prestige that comes along with the title. Everyone is great in this movie, but man, this is quintessential James Woods because you absolutely hate the character, yet again love the performance!

Next he appeared in the TV movie Dirty Pictures (2000) where he would receive a Golden Globe and SAG Award nomination for Best Actor in a mini series, and taking over for a very ill Marlon Brando as Father McFeeley in Scary Movie 2. But it was his unmistakable voice that would endear him to a new generation of fans. Whether voicing General Hein in Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2001) or Dr. Phillium Benedict in Recess: School’s Out to voicing Major Baklava in Clerks: The Animated Series and Mike Toreno in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Woods continuously finds ways to reinvent himself. He would play the mayor of NY Rudy Giuliani in the TV film Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story – Woods would receive an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of the mayor. a dude he would kinda team up with later to expose whatever the fuck twitter has been doing. His TV career was going fairly strong popping up in shows such as Odd Job Jack, ER and Entourage before committing full time to network television in 2006 with the CBS legal drama Shark which ran for two seasons while still maintains a healthy presence in theaters by appearing in films such as Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), John Q (2002), Northfork (2003), This Girl’s Life (2003), Pretty Persuasion (2005) and the Get Shorty sequel Be Cool (2005). But it would seem that Woods was having more fun on TV than in the movies as his output started to slow down on the big screen. But on TV he was still impressing us all whether it was with Emmy and SAG Award Nominated performances in the excellent HBO film Too Big To Fail (2011) or his 6 episodes of Showtime series Ray Donovan.

It would seem that since 2010, Woods’ output has slowed down quite a bit. He will pop up in films such as Straw Dogs yes they remade straw dogs (2011), Officer Down (2013), Jobs which was over showdown by the far superior Steve Jobs. (2013) White House Down (2013) it was overshadowed by the more serious Olympus Has Fallen but White House Down is a silly die hard rip off which i seemed to enjoy more than everyone else cuz all of those films failed to really make an impression at the box office or with critics

So of course declining box office could be a reason we see less of James Woods these days, but also… twitter! We all love the performances that many talented people give, and we enjoy seeing their cookie cutter appearances on talk shows, but with the rise of social media, where your every thought can be put out to the world as soon as it enters your head without any filter or vetting, James Woods has emerged as one of those people who can’t seem to turn his thumbs off. for better or worse.

Once upon a time, James Woods was a Democrat; actually, for over 30 years, he was a Democrat until Bill Clinton sickened him into changing to Independent, where he would remain for 16 years. In 2015, he would change affiliations again to Republican. Woods has said that his transition to being a conservative-led to his being blacklisted in Hollywood. He says that there are many other conservative actors who don’t speak up out of fear of being blacklisted. But perhaps his blacklisting and being dropped by his Agents, plus twitter trolling for which Woods is a master. Love him or hate him, you gotta respect the passion and dedication he has to trolling anyone who comes in his sights. Whether it be a politician or a fellow actor, James Woods shows no mercy.

there was a funny James Woods moment at the 2017 Writers Guild Awards when Woods ran on stage to joke around with Patton Oswald which was probably the last time all politics sides laughed together…

And as recently as December 2022, Woods has announced his intentions to sue the Democratic National Committee and Twitter for censoring him. And that’s kind of where we are at with James Woods. Don’t get me wrong, for all things that some Twitter people have considered bad, he has used his platform for some good things that are universally considered good. Like the time he used his Twitter account to help people find their missing loved ones and even saving the lives of several people and animals amidst the 2018 California Wildfires.

For decades it was his acting that got us all talking about him, but now it his rebellious i don’t give a fuck political believes that comes to mind when one hears the name James Woods. He was once one of the biggest performers in Hollywood because he was so good at playing many different types of roles, but many of those characters had an underline of being, well, kind of assholes! They were trolls before social media and maybe thats why he was so good at making those characters come to life. Is it possible his political views have made him persona non grata in Hollywood? Is that why they stopped inviting him to the parties? But the funny thing is that James Woods doesn’t seem to give a fuck about going to that party anymore. He did his thing in hollywerid, and apparently, it was a little too weird for him. And the left wing politics that seem be popular in the film industry seems not be what Woods was looking for and now he’s doing his own thing. That is kind of where we are at right now with James Woods and it seems like he is enjoying every second of every controversial tweet!



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