Everyone’s favorite competition show judge Terry Crews has just finished another action-packed season of America’s Got Talent. The actor has many talents himself, having a massive range of acting roles from gang member to sitcom dad. In addition, he can play the flute and was a fine arts major, making him a master at pencil drawings as he recently flaunted on TikTok.
Many will also recognize Crews from a multitude of cameos in comedy films, including Click and White Chicks. With over 90 credits to his name, IMDb has ranked each one, however, fans will be disappointed to learn that his turn as President Camacho in the cult classic, Idiocracy, unfortunately, did not make the cut.
The Expendables 2 (2012) – 6.6
Crews reprises his role in the better-regarded sequel to The Expendables, the action movie star cross-over event of the century. Bruce Willis’s Mr. Church recruits icons Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Jason Statham, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a mission against Jean-Claude Van Damme’s international criminal arms dealer.
Crews plays heavy weapons specialist Hale Cesar.Stallone picked him for the role, although he admits that he was probably his fourth choice for the ‘manliest manly movie of all time’, in an interview with GQ. A huge hit, The Expendables 2solidified his worldwide star status, with his endlessly quotable quips.
Draft Day (2014) – 6.8
Draft Day is the underrated final film from Ivan Reitman starring Kevin Costner as a Cleveland Browns General Manager, with difficult decisions to make for the team. It also stars the late great Chadwick Boseman as a promising new linebacker. Although the film received mixed reviews upon release, it is well regarded by audiences.
Crews was actually a defensive end and linebacker in the NFL before he became an actor, having played for Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. Fittingly, he plays Earl Jennings, a Cleveland Browns legendary Hall of Fame player. It is a taste of an alternative reality in which he continued to play football, instead of pursuing his passion for acting.
Bridesmaids (2011) – 6.8
In the female-led comedy smash, Bridesmaids, Crews undertakes one of his scene-stealing comedic cameos. Before the chaos that comes with being maid of honor descends on Kristin Wiig’s Annie, she and her best friend, bride-to-be Maya Rudolph, spend the day together. To save money, they exercise in the park by watching a class from afar and the instructor, played by Crews, is hilariously infuriated when he spots them.
To GQ, Crews says that this film is an example of his preference to have a little part in an awesome gigantic movie than be the star in a sub-par film. Bridesmaids was gigantic indeed, boosting the careers of Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig and creating a much-needed trend of leading women in big-budget comedy films such as Pitch Perfect.andThe Heat.
Sorry To Bother You (2018) – 6.9
Michigan native Crews was massively enthusiastic about starring in this Michigan-filmed movie, Sorry To Bother You. Noting the themes of the Black experience in the movie, he comments to Build: ‘I would have paid him [director Boots Riley] to be in it.’
The surrealist urban fantasy film with an unexpected plot twist concerns Lakieth Stansfield’s Cassius Green, as he starts a new job as a telemarketer with a special skill, which is his “white voice”. He lives with his uncle Sergio, played by Crews, who he loved that the part reminded him of many people he knew growing up. A massive success, the movie was adored by critics and fans alike, with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93%.
Everybody Hates Chris (2005 – 2009) – 7.5
Crews plays the penny-pinching patriarch of the family, in Everybody Hates Chris, a sitcom inspired by the memories of Chris Rock’s teenage hood. As Julius, he keeps their finances under control in crazy ways, such as posting a Polaroid of the contents of the fridge to the front, to save on lighting the inside.
The show ran for four brilliant seasons and was much loved by both kids and their parents. Crews’ role as Julius has been so well received by critics and audiences alike and has been nominated for awards for the role on quite a few occasions.
Deadpool 2 (2018) – 7.7
Crews’s only turn in the superhero realm, he has one of his famous cameos in a sequence loaded with them in Deadpool 2. When Ryan Reynold’s foul-mouthed R-rated anti-hero Deadpool assembles a team to fight Josh Brolin’s villainous Cable, Crews joins as Bedlam.
His powers allow him to manipulate electromagnetic fields, although he doesn’t get to show off his powers for long. He is hilariously hit by a bus before they can team up, as high winds sabotage X-Force’s heroic entrance by parachute. Some may say this is one of the best scenes in the movie, in a sequel that had fans yearning for more. It was a smash hit, earning over $785 million at the box office.
Training Day (2001) – 7.7
Training Day features an Oscar-winning performance from Denzel Washington, in the crime drama with Ethan Hawke on his first day as a narcotics officer. A tense and thrilling movie by writer David Ayer, now famous as the director of Suicide Squad, the film is the gold standard for screenplays taking place over a defined time period.
Crews got his big break in this film as a gang member, however, he was only on set as a visitor. As a security guard for productions, he had a friend that took him along to see Denzel in action. The director liked his look and asked him to take part as an extra, launching his career.
Portlandia (2011 – 2018), 7.8
In Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s sketch comedy parody of the residents of Portland, Crews shows up as one of many great cameos throughout the series in the season 8 premiere. He plays a Border Guard named Crews, in perhaps another alternative life for him, and interrogates a confused Fred Armisen.
In an episode that also stars Black Flag’s Henry Rollins, Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic and Fugazi’s Brendan Canty, Crews shines in the way he does best: a surprise cameo.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013 – 2021) – 8.4
Perhaps his most recognizable and most loved character, Crews plays Sergeant (later Lieutenant) Terry Jeffords in the police procedural comedy show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Alongside SNL comedy veterans Andy Samberg, and Chelsea Peretti, Crews shows off his significant comedy chops in the role that was named after him.
Co-created by Parks and Recreation makers Michael Schur and Dan Goor, it was loved so much that it was revived from cancelation by fan outrage. It’s also well regarded by critics and the industry, having received two Golden Globes.
The Newsroom (2012 – 2014) – 8.6
The Newsroom was created by acclaimed Oscar-winning writer Aaron Sorkin, as a searing drama set in a 24 hr news office and starring Jeff Daniels. Crews guest stars in an episode in the first season, playing Lonny a security guard for a reporter receiving death threats. He is being immorally detained by the police, and tells them that ‘there’s nothing I can do about being big and black at the same time.’
This is an example of the social and political commentary that The Newsroom became notable for, and why it received so many accolades as a poignant mirror of US life. The HBO series was awarded two Critics Choice Awards and Jeff Daniels was given an Emmy for his performance.
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