Actors’ Spotlight #57: John Goodman

John Goodman by Gage Skidmore.jpg

John Stephen Goodman (born June 20, 1952) is an American actor. Early in his career, he was best known for playing Dan Conner on the ABC TV series Roseanne (1988–1997), for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in 1993. He is also a regular collaborator with the Coen brothers on such films as Raising Arizona (1987), Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998), O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013). Goodman’s voice roles in animated films include Pacha in Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove (2000), and Sulley in Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. (2001), and Monsters University (2013).

His other film performances include lead roles in The Babe (1992), The Flintstones (1994) and 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016) and supporting roles in Coyote Ugly (2000), The Artist (2011), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011), Argo (2012), Flight (2012), The Hangover Part III (2013), and Patriots Day (2016). On television, he has had regular roles on Amazon Studios’ Alpha House and on the first season of HBO’s Treme and has been one of the most frequent hosts of Saturday Night Live, as well as guest roles on series such as Community. John Heilpern of Vanity Fair has called him “among our very finest actors”.

John Goodman has always been one of the definitive actors, when he shows up in a movie, he can easily increase the quality of a movie regardless of how terrible it is. Let’s prove that theory by looking at the worst movies John Goodman has attached himself to:

5. Love The Coopers

Yet another Family Stone esque Christmas dramedy…except the worst one of the bunch.

4. We’re Back! A Dinosaur Story

We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story was clearly meant to be something more than it ended up becoming, if you want to see a much better Amblin Entertainment dinosaur animated feature, go watch Land Before Time. Still, the animation is very nice, the voice acting is good but everything else is a really big misstep. There’s definitely stuff here that could’ve worked but overall, the film falters big time, this is probably one that should’ve stayed back in time with the dinosaurs.

3. The Babe

I guess the moral of Babe Ruth’s lifestory is don’t try to make a movie about Babe Ruth because this one and The Babe Ruth Story from the 1940s are really terrible portrayals of one of the greatest players in the history of baseball.

2. The Year Without A Santa Claus

One of the worst live-action adaptations of a property ever. Thought How The Grinch Stole Christmas was one of the worst Christmas movies of all time, just try to watch this 2006 TV movie adaptation of the 70s Rankin Bass special.

and the #1 worst John Goodman movie is…

Blues Brothers 2000

Blues Brothers 2000 doesn’t just go down in history as the second worst SNL movie ever made but it’s one of the single worst sequels ever produced, it’s that bad, folks. There’s no story, there’s no reason to bring these characters back, there’s no reason for this to exist, it’s wasted potential gone down the tubes. There’s nothing here, avoid this one like there’s no tomorrow.

Those are the worst, now let’s look at the best of Goodman:

5. The Flintstones

This movie is not that great so why am I defending it? Because beyond its’ flaws, The Flintstones does a much better job of adapting the TV series than most of the TV adaptations coming out at the time, is it on the level of The Addams Family? Oh, god, no. But is it better than something like Car 54, Where Are You? or The Honeymooners or The Smurfs or Scooby Doo or any of the shitty live-action/CG adaptations we’ve had since this? Absolutely. It’s a guilty pleasure movie to say the least, it’s got its’ flaws but is it really as bad as everybody puts it out to be, I sure as shit don’t believe that

4. Monsters Inc. & Monsters University

Two very good Pixar movies boasted heavily by their excellent chemistries of Goodman and Billy Crystal.

3. 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane is still a really damn good movie, a great suspenseful thriller with a lot of good tension, great performances, great music, and great cinematography. It’s not quite as good as Cloverfield but it still works as an overall enjoyable spiritual sequel to one of the big gamechanging movies of the last decade, this is definitely one you’ll want to check out.

2. Matinee

One of Joe Dante’s more underrated movies and one of the most underrated movies ever made, Goodman is excellent in this as Lawrence Woolsey in this satirical comedy about a William Castle-type independent filmmaker, with the home front in the Cuban Missile Crisis as a backdrop.

and the #1 best John Goodman movie is…

The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski is an absurd, weird, and hilarious dark comedy to make a perfect Coen brothers movie. The characters are great, the story’s really good, the comedy is sharp, witty, and hilarious, and it just all comes together to work into one great movie and one of the great examples of films that grow over the course of time. And rightfully so, a great movie that gets better and better as time goes on.

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