Thursday, July 14, 2011
façade: John Goodman
I first noticed the remarkable character actor John Goodman in David Byrne's 1986 new-style film musical, "True Stories," a film that Goodman made after having just scored big on Broadway in Roger Miller's 1985 musical, "Big River," and having played small roles in such films as "Sweet Dreams" and "Revenge of the Nerds."
He became a staple in some of the best films of the late 1980s and a household name on the TV series, "Roseanne." The choice supporting roles continued to roll in, but in the early '90s, Goodman started to score lead roles, starting with Frank Marshall's "Arachnophobia" in 1990. His name was suddenly above the title - for a while - and then things went back to the way they had been.
I was reminded of this by "The Babe," the 1992 Arthur Hiller film in which Goodman played Babe Ruth and which pops up occasionaly on HBO. Around this time, Goodman had the star roles in Joe Dante's "Matinee," David S. Ward's "King Ralph" (opposite Peter O'Toole, no less), Brian Levant's "The Flintstones" and Luis Mandoki's remake of "Born Yesterday" (in which Goodman replaced Nick Nolte). He was also Bette Midler's leading man in "Stella," a re-do of "Stella Dallas."
But as dazzling as these roles may have been for Goodman, they paled beside the exceptional supporting turns he did, particularly those for the Coen Brothers -"Raising Arizona," "The Hudsucker Proxy," "Barton Fink," "The Big Lebowski" and "O Brother, Where art Thou?"
More recently, Goodman single-handedly rescued Andy and Larry Wachowski's "Speed Racer," as only he can.
A true supporting player, invaluable.
Posted by joe baltake at 1:24 PM