It's that time of the year when everybody huddles up in their living rooms to watch movies they've seen a thousand times before because - well, because it's Christmas. Who needs a reason?
But there's something we've noticed recently involving one of the stars of a couple of our favourite films, namely Trading Places and Shrek.
If you don't know what those two films have in common, we'll tell you: Eddie Murphy. In the former, the once-ubiquitous funnyman played Billy Ray Valentine in John Landis' classic 1983 Christmas comedy about a man who switches - sorry, trades - places with the uber-successful Louis Winthorpe III, played by Dan Aykroyd. Plenty of hilarity - and socio-economic commentary - ensues.
And then there's Shrek, in which Murphy voices the character of Donkey. Murphy was brilliant as the four-legged creature throughout all the Shrek films, including 2007's Christmas special Shrek The Halls, in which he tries to help Shrek find his Christmas spirit and 2010's final installment, Shrek Forever After.
But here's the thing. Eddie Murphy has been very, very quiet ever since then. In fact, a quick glance at his filmography on Wikipedia - the font of all knowledge - shows the 56 year-old actor has only been in three films since then - 2011's Tower Heist, 2012's A Thousand Words and 2016's Mr Church. Tower Heist, by the way, was his last film to get a worldwide release.
And that's it. It's not like he's had a role in a major TV series, either. And while a quick glimpse at his IMDB page suggests there are a few things in the works, including - wait for it - Beverly Hills Cop 4, that doesn't explain why one of the 80s' biggest stars has been so quiet.
Could it be that he reached his acting peak as Donkey? Probably not, although alongside Andy Serkis' Gollum, it's definitely one of the best non-human portrayals out there. But there's definitely something to be said for Eddie Murphy not being in the limelight.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a podcast interview from 2016 Murphy said that not only has he not read a newspaper for about 20 years, but he doesn't have an email address. In fact, he doesn't even have a computer.
Even more telling is this famous quote attributed to him: "I keep telling people I'll make movies until I'm 50 and then I'll go and do something else. I'm going to be a professional gentleman of leisure."
Which probably explains everything. After all, he started on Saturday Night Live when he was just 19, so the guy deserves a break. Will he get the hunger again once Beverly Hills Cop 4 comes out? Probably not, because it sounds like he's just living his best life. But at least we have the memories and the Christmas re-runs.
Words: Mischa Pearlman
Featured Image Credit: PA