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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

quick list: five great Jeff Goldblum performances

I’m off in a few minutes to see The Switch, which I was not invited to screen in advance. I expect to hate it — though of course, as always, I will be delighted to be wrong about that — so I plan on consoling myself throughout with visions of Patrick Wilson and Jeff Goldblum, however briefly they may appear. (Wilson is, I believe, Jennifer Aniston’s intended sperm donor; Goldblum appears to taking a backseat best-friend-to-Jason Bateman role.)

I remember when Jeff Goldblum used to be the star of movies. Now, rumor has it that we’re losing him from his current high-profile TV role, too: supposedly he’s turning in his Law and Order: Criminal Intent badge already, barely after he reinvigorated that series. At least we’ll always have these five great performances (and many others, too), to keep us amused and properly Goldblum-ized.
The Fly
There are some things in which Jeff Goldblum is not meant to meddle. He does anyway, to horrifically entertaining results.

Earth Girls Are Easy
Only Goldblum could make a furry alien so sexy that, a year after he went Brundlfly on her, he could still make Geena Davis swoon.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension
Goldblum’s New Jersey — that’s his name — is a neurosurgeon on a par with Buckaroo himself in this gonzo sci-fi comedy; plus, he’s also a cowboy. And they save the world and stuff.

One of the Hollywood Ten
In a rare serious role for the actor, Goldblum portrays a blacklisted screenwriter in the commie-crazed 1950s. If you think Goldblum is only a goofball, don’t miss this criminally unknown movie.

The Tall Guy
Goldblum’s American actor in London falls in love with Emma Thompson. Who wouldn’t? A must-see for its parody West End musical Elephant! (the Elephant Man via Andrew Lloyd Webber) and its hilarious sex scene.



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  • Althea

    I was impressed as hell with his short-lived TV series, “Raines.” The premise was great, he was perfect for it, and as far as I could see, there was nothing wrong with it. Presumably the only reason it didn’t fly was because Goldblum didn’t appeal to the right demographics, but it wasn’t given a chance. Only 7 episodes were made, which had me thinking it was meant to be limited, but it didn’t have that kind of arc or closure.

    Frankly JG could still go back to it and I’d watch…

  • Walter

    I just saw a movie called “Adam Resurrected” directed by Paul Schrader and starring Jeff Goldblum wherein he played a Holocaust survivor. It was barely released a couple of years ago and it’s not bad.

  • Adam Resurrected was at the Toronto Film Festival when I was there, but we weren’t able to fit it into our schedule. I heard it’s very good.

    I mentioned “Raines” the other day, and I went so far as to find some clips of it online and re-watch. It was a great show. 13 episodes were ordered, but only 7 were produced. You can view them on Amazon On Demand, I believe. Or through various other, more nefarious means.

  • I_Sell_Books

    I’m so bummed he’s leaving L&O:CI.

  • Drave

    I freaking LOVE The Tall Guy. Best sex scene ever. So happy you mentioned it!

  • JoshDM

    Fail for no ID4. His witty banter with Judd Hirsch on the drive into Washington is some of the most Oscar-worthy dialogue put to film.

  • CoriAnn

    Don’t forget Thank God It’s Friday–I think he’s the only actor who made it out of that movie with his career intact. Not even remotely a good movie, but you have to give him props for moving on to bigger and better things from there.

    I’ll always love him for Jurassic Park and Independence Day, though not so much The Lost World, because I’m still mad about that movie.

  • Muzz

    Although it’s a bit of a missfire as a film (albeit with a ton of funny and satirical ideas), he’s also hilarious in Great White Hype.

  • Phil

    He was brilliant as Troy McClure’s agent on The Simpsons.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    He’s not in it for long enough, but I love him as Bill Murray’s “half-gay” love rival in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou.

  • Lisa

    Yeah I always enjoy watching Jeff Goldblum – I like him in the movies you mentioned Maj but I also enjoy him in those big dumb blockbusters he makes. He’s been doing a bit of theatre in the UK recently, maybe he wants to re-connect with his theatre roots a little.

  • MaryAnn

    Fail for no ID4.

    I specifically indicated this was not meant to be an exhaustive list.

  • Rykker

    not so much The Lost World, because I’m still mad about that movie.

    Please explain, CoriAnn, of the cutest name.

  • CoriAnn

    Usually I am pretty good about accepting that a book-to-movie adaptation is going be a different creature (in the case of Hitchhiker’s, I love it all the more expressly for that), but for some reason, all of the changes they made from The Lost World the book to The Lost World the movie just irked me to no end. I loved that book even more than Jurassic Park though, so that may be part of it. I was soooooo excited about the movie and then I felt like it just stomped all over my expectations. To this day I still get irritated when I stumble across the movie on TV or something.

  • goodness… i hated the book of Lost World. it seemed like a string of NYTimes Science Section articles with some dialogue thrown in. i thought the movie a big improvement (and not just because of jeff goldblum). it was a bit of a rolick, but nothing wrong in that.

  • “…a string of NYTimes Science Section articles with some dialogue thrown in.”

    In other words, a Michael Crichton novel? ;)

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