After his breakthrough role as Tre Styles in “Boyz n the Hood” (1991), Cuba Gooding Jr. etched his name as a top actor in the movie, “Jerry Maguire” in (1996).
This was one role that most critics would consider to be his career-defining moment. In the movie, he portrayed Rod Tidwell, an arrogant yet talented football player and co-starred with Tom Cruise as his agent.
It was a commercial success and was nominated for five Academy Awards, three Golden Globes, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
With Cuba Jr. now further thrown into the limelight, he went on to appear on the big screen in movies like “Boyz n the Hood,” “A Few Good Men,” and “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” to mention a few. Below are four movies Cuba Gooding Jr. Has starred in since “Jerry Maguire.”
Men Of Honor (2000)
The American drama film starred Cuba Gooding Jr. as Carl Brashear and Robert De Niro (Sunday) as his mentor. Set in the 1960s, Brashear would achieve the seemingly impossible by becoming the U.S. Navy’s first Black diver.
He had to overcome his educational shortcomings and racism, and became a national hero in the 1966 Palomares incident, for recovering a missing hydrogen bomb and for saving the lives of Navy crewmen.
Although he lost a leg in the incident, he relentlessly pushed through to return to active duty wanting to fulfill his dream of becoming a master diver. Until that time, no Navy man had ever returned to full active duty with a prosthetic limb.
Towards the end, Brashear became a master diver and did not retire from the Navy in another nine years. The movie can be summed up in a phrase, “No guts, no glory” meaning that success is not possible unless one takes risks.
“Selma” represented a fact-based story about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) who led a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and protested the law that did not allow Black people to vote at that time.
Gooding Jr. acted as a civil rights attorney and activist, Fred Gray, who convinced Federal Judge Frank Minis Johnson to let the march go forward without a hitch.
Directed by Ava DuVernay, this biopic is an important reference in the fight for racial equality around the world, and a representation of how black people must fight for their rights to succeed.
The protest anthem, “Glory” which was played as a background tune during the march was composed by singers, Common and John Legend. It earned both the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Selma itself received 81 nominations, winning 36 in total.
The Fighting Temptations (2003)
This romantic comedy was based on a New York advertising executive, Darrin (Gooding Jr.) who travelled to a small Atlanta town to collect on an inheritance, but shockingly found out that he must create a gospel choir and lead it to success before he can collect it.
His aunt stated in her will that he must direct the church choir and enter the annual “Gospel Explosion” competition to win the prize money of $10,000 and in doing so, will inherit her stock in the company that produced the show which was worth $150,000 at the time.
After several emotional scenes that must have brought tears to the audience, the choir got to win the competition and Darrin proposed to his sweetheart, Lily, an ex-R&B nightclub singer, and new choir leader.
The movie, an outstanding comedy, saw Gooding Jr working with pop-star Beyonce (Lily). It was an interesting piece to watch, as the choir songs were a delight to enjoy.
Rat Race (2001)
The movie took a leaf from Stanley Kramer’s 1963 film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and cast an eccentric group of Las Vegas casino clientele who were randomly selected in a $2 million money hunt waiting to be claimed in a train station locker.
At first, they refused, they were later moved by lust to join the race only to find the locker empty. An unexpected turn of events saw them finally locate the money and donate it all to charity.
Oscar-winner, Whoopi Goldberg, Cuba Gooding Jr. alongside the other hilarious ensemble made this movie a rib cracker for all those who watched it.