August 1, 2014

Goldblumathon: The Awesomess That IS Jeff Goldblum

I’m going to say this right up front: I like Jeff Goldblum.

Oh, sure, he’s a twitchy man whose movie choices sometimes leave me baffled (Earth Girls Are Easy, Independence Day – judge me all you want on that one; I stand by my belief that it’s not a very good film, although it is through no fault of the Goldblum himself…that one lays squarely at the feet of director/co-writer Roland Emmerich), but he’s also made it into some amazing films, as well (Jurassic Park, the incredible remake of The Fly), and, despite the fantastical storylines of a good many of them, he managed to give those roles the feel of a regular guy stuck in incredibly weird circumstances.

And that’s why I’m writing this piece as part of the multi-blog Goldblumathon presented by Cinematic Catharsis and talking about a few of my favorite Goldblum performances.

"Llllllllllllladies?"

Another thing I like about Goldblum is that he’s an actor, not an Actor. This may not seem like a big difference, but for me, this is a big deal. A lot of Actors tend to take themselves too seriously. They will only work in films that will highlight their Amazing Dramatic Abilities, often in an attempt to get their hands on a little gold statue of a naked guy. And when they try something even remotely comedic, they fall flat on their faces almost every time. (A rare exception that springs immediately to mind is Robert DeNiro’s turn as Harry Tuttle in Terry Gilliams astoundingly underrated Brazil. The guy who was in Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and countless Mafia-themed films, played a vigilante air conditioner repairman and pulled it off incredibly well, long before crashing and burning, in my opinion, in Meet The Parents and its various unwatchable sequels.) Also, he’s a freakin’ MENSA member genius!

Goldblum, on the other hand, seems very comfortable in both serious and comedic roles, as well as roles that manage to combine the two. One need only look at his performance in Jurassic Park for a perfect example. Whether it’s explaining how it is impossible to keep the dinosaurs in the park from breeding (“Life, uh, finds a way…”) or just commenting on his surroundings (“Now that is a big pile of shit…”), he makes you believe that Dr. Ian Malcolm is a real person, and one you might want to hang out with, at that.

"I was The Fly. I know shit when I see it."
As a huge movie nerd, as well as a lover of almost all things Science Fiction (although I must admit, I still can’t figure out the appeal of Dr. Who, but that’s my cross to bear), I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Goldblum’s performance in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. He plays New Jersey, a neurosurgeon and the newest member of Banzai’s band, The Hong Kong Cavaliers. Here he is, meeting the band.

Nice outfit. He could not possibly look more out of place, but that’s part of what endears him to the viewer.

Okay. I was trying to avoid because, as I pointed out earlier, I’m not a huge fan of the film Earth Girls Are Easy (although Julie Brown’s song “’Cause I’m a Blond” is catchy), but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t at least talk about it a little bit. Jim Carrey, Damon Wayans and Goldblum are aliens whose ship crashes in Geena Davis’s swimming pool. (Davis was Goldblum’s wife at the time, having married her after acting in Transylvania 6-5000 and The Fly with her.) All three aliens are covered in fur and this does not seem to bother Davis or her friends at all. Instead, they convince the three to shave off the fur and become surfer dudes so they will be inconspicuous on Earth while trying to fix their ship or some damn thing. I don’t know. To be honest, I can’t be bothered to remember the story, as it’s been done before and since (minus the surfer dude part, unless you count Jeff Bridges just being Jeff Bridges in Starman), with much better results. Really, the only reason to watch the movie, aside from Brown’s song, is Goldblum’s performance. Despite this being a ridiculous comedy, he creates a character that you can honestly believe is someone trying to learn to be human.

Nope. No other reason at all...
I could go on and on about the other great films Goldblum has been in, but really, you should go and seek them out yourselves. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anything bad about his performances, despite how questionable the material he’s been given to work with. (Again, I’m looking at YOU, Independence Day.)

Fun fact: Goldblum was considered for the role of Doc Brown in the Back to the Future trilogy. Tell me you wouldn’t want to watch that…

"GREAT SCOTT!"
All the best,

Derek and Bosco