This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


50 Cent, serious actor.

50 Cent, serious actor. (photo)

Posted by on

More so than many rappers, 50 Cent has made a good-faith, surprisingly sustained attempt to transform himself into a legitimate actor, working at a steady clip despite overwhelming critical disregard.

The performer — ever the intelligent businessman, he of the Vitamin Water brand and MSNBC appearances — appears to understand that the shelf life of hip-hop artists can be limited, something he’s learned with his own increasingly declining record sales (better than that of most, but still on the downswing).

His latest effort, though, is supremely hardcore: losing 54 pounds to realistically portray an emaciated cancer patient in “Things Fall Apart,” a drama he co-wrote, set to be directed by Mario Van Peebles. This means he can now forever be linked with Christian Bale and “Hunger”‘s Michael Fassbender, not a grouping I would have expected.

50’s filmography can make your head spin, his choices an apparent elaborate non sequitur. It’s particularly impressive that this year he’ll star in both “Twelve” and “13,” which will hopefully be released as an elaborate four-hour “Grindhouse” style double-feature.

50 also made his directorial debut “Before I Self-Destruct,” which no one will describe better than Nathan Rabin at the AV Club. I’ve only seen 50’s first two thespian roles — in 2005’s “Get Rich or Die Tryin'” and 2006’s “Home of the Brave” — about which it can most briefly be said that he could only have improved as an actor since then.

It’s tempting to cut him some slack for “Get Rich or Die Tryin’,” since it was his debut. At that point in his career, 50’s acting was as monotoned and uninflected as his sleepy rapping voice; the entire dramatic heft of the film (which I’d still call marginally more entertaining than Eminem’s dour “8 Mile”) is carried by Terrence Howard. If nothing else, the scene when the two meet and become friends in prison — naked, being forced to lie down on the prison shower floor — is memorably homoerotic. 50 appeared to be completely unaware what kind of movie Jim Sheridan was attempting to make.

05272010_home.jpgIt was in “Home of the Brave” that his limitations became clearer. A serious candidate for Worst Film of the Aughts, “Brave” is one of those coming-home-from-Iraq movies in which clueless civilians ask veterans how many people they shot. 50 is supposed to be one of four equally balanced stories, but apparently his performance was so inadequate (or so poorly initially conceived) that he only ends up with about four scenes. (Chad Michael Murray gets more screen time.) He’s supposed to be traumatized, but his only convincing line delivery is “I love my gun.”

But there’s reason to hope that 50 is stepping up his acting game. It has to do with his voice. During his fame-making days, his performances were as one-track as his vocals, but of late, his songs feature all kinds of weird, campy multi-tracked voices suggesting a desire to be nothing so much as the Vincent Price of rap. On a track like “Straight To The Bank,” he multi-tracks sinister laughter; on “So Disrespectful,” he appears to be trying to pick a fight by being as vocally annoying as possible. These developments seems to offer the possibility that as an actor, he may yet learn to project something other than gravelly brooding.

[Photos: 50 Cent, from; “Before I Self Destruct,” Cheetah Vision, 2009; “Home of the Brave,” MGM Home Entertainment, 2006]

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More