3 Movies Like Ali (2001)

Staff & contributors

Spike Lee’s adaptation of Richard Price’s novel might appear lesser next to his best work, but it still a gorgeous showcase for all of his talents as a director. Its case is further bolstered by a stacked cast including Delroy Lindo, Harvey Keitel, Mekhi Pfifer, Isaiah Washington, and John Turturro. 

Clockers is set in the world of small-time drug-dealers during the crack epidemic, and much like The Wire (which Price would go on to write for) applies a multifaceted lens to the material. Lee’s uncompromising and emphatic direction lends a gorgeous gravity to the taut drama while top-notch performances fuel the emotional furnace at its core.

 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Anthony Nocerino, Arthur J. Nascarella, Bray Poor, Brendan Kelly, Brian Konowal, Carlo Vogel, Christopher Wynkoop, David Batiste, Delroy Lindo, Elvis Nolasco, Frances Foster, Fredro Starr, Ginny Yang, Graham Brown, Hal Sherman, Harry Lennix, Harvey Keitel, Harvey Williams, Hassan Johnson, Isaiah Washington, J. C. MacKenzie, James Saxenmeyer, Jeff Ward, John Fletcher, John Turturro, Jordan Brown, Keith David, Ken Garito, L.B. Williams, Lawrence B. Adisa, Leonard L. Thomas, Lisa Arrindell, Lord Kayson, Marc Webster, Maurice Sneed, Mekhi Phifer, Michael Badalucco, Michael Cullen, Michael Imperioli, Michael McGruther, Mike Starr, Norman Matlock, Orran Farmer, Patrick Ferraro, Paul Calderon, Paul DuBois, Paul Schulze, Peewee Love, Regina Taylor, Richard Ziman, Rick Aiello, Ron Brice, Scot Anthony Robinson, Shawn McLean, Skipp Sudduth, Spike Lee, Steve White, Sticky Fingaz, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Tim Kelleher

Director: Spike Lee

Rating: R

The story of Antwone Fisher as told by Denzel Washington (in his directorial debut) may be a bit too straightforward for its own good, but it only proves the strength of his eye and ear for performance. In addition to turning in his own understated yet authoritative performance, Washington gets a powerhouse turn out of Derek Luke, who allows every new revelation about Fisher to strengthen every aspect of his work. What the film gets right about talking about mental health (that other movies get so wrong) is that it knows that providing an explanation for why someone is the way they are shouldn't be a dramatic climax. What Antwone Fisher emphasizes is healing, community, and the dignity of the person working through these issues.

Genre: Drama, History, Romance

Actor: Charles Robinson, Cory Hodges, De'Angelo Wilson, Denzel Washington, Derek Luke, Earl Billings, Gary A. Jones, James Brolin, Joy Bryant, Kente Scott, Kevin Connolly, Kim Johnson, Leonard Earl Howze, Malcolm David Kelley, Novella Nelson, Rainoldo Gooding, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Stephen Snedden, Sung Kang, Vernee Watson-Johnson, Viola Davis, Yolonda Ross

Director: Denzel Washington

, 2004

While it plays the standard beats of the musician biopic, Ray is a fairly entertaining biopic centered on Ray Charles, the man that pioneered soul music, mixing in rhythm and blues, jazz, and gospel into a brand new sound. It goes through plenty of the melodramatic moments familiar to the genre– the prior hardships, the drug addiction, and of course, the moments of musical bliss– and there are some fictionalized moments, but Jamie Foxx’s excellent portrayal and Charles’ tunes are able to carry the film all the way through. Though the way Charles was parented in childhood is a tough watch, and isn't the best way to parent, Ray sticks true to the singer’s life, with every scene personally approved by the legend before his death.

Genre: Drama, Music

Actor: Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, Bokeem Woodbine, Carol Sutton, Chris Thomas King, Clifton Powell, Curtis Armstrong, David Krumholtz, Denise Dowse, Gary Grubbs, Harry Lennix, Jamie Foxx, Jedda Jones, Kerry Washington, Kurt Fuller, Larenz Tate, Patrick Bauchau, Paula Jai Parker, Regina King, Richard Schiff, Rick Gomez, Robert Wisdom, Sharon Warren, Tequan Richmond, Terrence Howard, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Warwick Davis, Wendell Pierce

Director: Taylor Hackford

Rating: PG-13