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The Good, The Bad & The Badass: Jeff Goldblum

06.07.2015
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Last week, we took a look at the career of action superstar Jackie Chan. This week’s badass is an unlikely but awesome addition to this column (suggested by JoBlo video editor Nick Bosworth) – that multi-generational icon known as Jeff Goldblum ...
Jeff Goldblum
Jeff Goldblum Jurassic park

Jeff Goldblum was always a little ahead of his time. Nowadays, the “nerd” hero is all the rage. That was not necessarily so forty years ago when Goldblum started his career. Despite his unconventional vibe, Goldblum carved out a real niche for himself as a kind of alpha smart-guy hero. He’s the kind of star who looks equally at home in a lab coat, romancing the beautiful Geena Davis, running from dinosaurs or fighting aliens with mad computer skills. That’s not necessarily the easiest range to exhibit, but Goldblum always made it look easy, establishing a truly unique screen persona that’s made him one of the most easily identifiable, cult-like guys out there.

 

Jeff Goldblum death wish

What’s really cool about Goldblum’s filmography is that you can see how for the first decade or so of his screen career, Hollywood didn’t quite know what to do with him. He actually made his debut in a really atypical way, with the usually personable Goldblum playing “freak #1” in DEATH WISH. He’s the ringleader of the main thugs who attack Charles Bronson’s family, giving him the titular “Death Wish.” From there, Goldblum eased into character parts in a couple of great Philip Kauffman movies, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and THE RIGHT STUFF, before really making a mark as part of the main ensemble in THE BIG CHILL. This gave him a big boost, but outside of his amazing star-turn in David Cronenberg’s THE FLY, Goldblum’s career was hit and miss until he got the call from Steven Spielberg to be in JURASSIC PARK, where his Ian Malcolm stole the show from the dinosaurs to such an extent that when the sequel rolled around his supporting player suddenly became the lead (although Malcolm lost something when they turned him into a more conventional hero).

Jeff Goldblum will smith independence day

Goldblum’s performance in INDEPENDENCE DAY shouldn’t be overlooked either. While Will Smith was the one who became a megastar, third-billed Goldblum gave the movie the everyman hero the film is remembered for now and appropriately enough he’s coming back for the much-anticipated sequel. Truly, Goldblum’s one of those iconic Hollywood character actors and even when his parts are small (like in Wes Anderson movies) he always makes a huge impression on the audience  - to the extent that many of us are terribly disappointed he's not back for JURASSIC WORLD (barring a cameo). Sigh, oh well.

His Best Film
Jeff Goldblum  the fly

While some of you might be expecting me to list JURASSIC PARK, I can’t  - in all good conscience – not put in THE FLY as both Goldblum’s best film and performance. David Cronenberg’s remake (produced by Mel Brooks!) of the old-timey horror flick is the perfect example of a remake done right – in that it’s barely one at all. Rather, Cronenberg and his writers turned the old “man-becomes-fly” gimmick into a kind of gothic romance. Goldblum’s chemistry with one-time wife Geena Davis is white-hot, but it’s his gradual decline that gives the film its pathos. Once Seth Brundle starts his torturous transformation into the hideous Brundlefly it’s hard not to sympathize with him, even as he’s using digestive enzymes to burn off John Getz’s limbs. Horror movies don’t typically scare me, but Cronenberg – with his emphasis on body horror – has always been the exception that that rule. Goldblum’s performance is so good that it’s a crime he didn’t cop an Oscar nomination, no doubt due to the way the Academy’s always regarded horror.

His Most Underrated Film
Jeff Goldblum david bowie into the night

One of Goldblum’s best – but most under seen – movies is John LandisINTO THE NIGHT. A madcap romantic comedy/thriller, INTO THE NIGHT stars Goldblum as an insomniac who crosses paths with a beautiful con-woman (a young Michelle Pfeiffer) and winds up being chased through Los Angeles by all manner of hit-men (including David Bowie), crooked cops, gangsters and more. It’s a fast-paced flick and tons of fun, with dynamite chemistry between the two leads.

His Most Overrated Film
Jeff Goldblum the lost world

I know THE LOST WORLD has its fans, but I’m not one of them. While a reasonably entertaining popcorn movie, it’s far (FAR) from the classic JURASSIC PARK was. It’s one of the worst Spielberg movies ever made and it feels like everyone involved only did it for the paycheck. What’s worse is how Goldblum’s Malcolm is made into an ultra-generic hero, to the extent that he’s turned into a family man, something the swaggering mathematician from the first film certainly never seemed like. Heck, they didn’t even let Malcolm wear his cool transition glasses and leather jacket!

His Most Memorable Scene

JURASSIC PARK is full of memorable scenes, but arguably the best bit belongs to Goldblum as he lectures Hammond (Richard Attenborough) on the short-sightedness of trying to genetically control living organisms, warning him that “life finds a way.” Obviously, Malcolm is proven right.

 
His Five Best Films (as a lead)

5.  THE ADVENTURES OF BUCKAROO BANZAI ACROSS THE EIGHTH DIMENSION

4. THE BIG CHILL

3. INTO THE NIGHT

2. JURASSIC PARK

1. THE FLY

Up Next

Goldblum’s busy as ever, with a starring role in the upcoming INDEPENDENCE DAY sequel. Hopefully he’ll continue to pop up on shows like Portlandia and Inside Amy Schumer, and who knows? If JURASSIC WORLD is a hit maybe we’ll get another Malcolm-centric sequel (preferably one that hems closer to his characterization in the first film). 

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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1:49AM on 06/09/2015
If I'm not mistaken didn't The Fly grab an Oscar® for Best Special Make Up? Its usually the technical categories that Horror movies are recognised.

As for Lost World, I loved it for its pure entertainment and also Jeff's revamped character who was self aware pointing out absurdities and clichés with epic one-liners/double entredres but yet somehow not sounding like a prick despite the movie's darker and grittier tone.

Any other actor would have sounded annoying but Jeff Goldblum pulled
If I'm not mistaken didn't The Fly grab an Oscar® for Best Special Make Up? Its usually the technical categories that Horror movies are recognised.

As for Lost World, I loved it for its pure entertainment and also Jeff's revamped character who was self aware pointing out absurdities and clichés with epic one-liners/double entredres but yet somehow not sounding like a prick despite the movie's darker and grittier tone.

Any other actor would have sounded annoying but Jeff Goldblum pulled it off effortlessly.
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3:18PM on 06/08/2015
I love Goldblum. Never puts a foot wrong!
I love Goldblum. Never puts a foot wrong!
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7:53AM on 06/08/2015
Love the guy, he's reached a point of fame that very few reach such as Christopher Walken, etc. A point where we look forward to seeing them no matter what the project may be.
Love the guy, he's reached a point of fame that very few reach such as Christopher Walken, etc. A point where we look forward to seeing them no matter what the project may be.
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2:10AM on 06/08/2015
It's always bothered me that Goldblum doesn't appear in more larger movies as of late. Aside from that, another lovely movie he pops up in is Life Aquatic.
It's always bothered me that Goldblum doesn't appear in more larger movies as of late. Aside from that, another lovely movie he pops up in is Life Aquatic.
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12:14AM on 06/08/2015

Goldblum is awesome

But I have to defend The Lost World. Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite films, and it's true that Lost World isn't as good, but I still like it. I would compare it to a series like Rocky. None of the Rocky sequels are as good as the original first movie, but I still enjoy most of them. The Lost World had a good cast (Moore and Postlethwaite were good additions), more dinos, and I like that it wasn't just one of those sequels that's a rehash of the first movie (although I wish they
But I have to defend The Lost World. Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite films, and it's true that Lost World isn't as good, but I still like it. I would compare it to a series like Rocky. None of the Rocky sequels are as good as the original first movie, but I still enjoy most of them. The Lost World had a good cast (Moore and Postlethwaite were good additions), more dinos, and I like that it wasn't just one of those sequels that's a rehash of the first movie (although I wish they stayed closer to the plot of the novel). I'm excited for Jurassic World, but I'm a bit concerned that so much of it looks to be repeating ideas from the first film. But I love this series and hope to enjoy it.
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11:50PM on 06/07/2015
I remember in college watching Death Wish and going "Holy shit, is that Jeff Goldblum?" Yeah, not who I would've expected.

Overall, terrific write-up on Goldblum. I'm 100% there about The Lost World (except for Pete Postlethwaite, who was maybe the only person there who wasn't phoning it in). Also, much respect for The Fly being his best movie. That was a movie I'd put off seeing for so long and then watched last October. WHOA!

One slight quibble with the writing, the word "truly" should
I remember in college watching Death Wish and going "Holy shit, is that Jeff Goldblum?" Yeah, not who I would've expected.

Overall, terrific write-up on Goldblum. I'm 100% there about The Lost World (except for Pete Postlethwaite, who was maybe the only person there who wasn't phoning it in). Also, much respect for The Fly being his best movie. That was a movie I'd put off seeing for so long and then watched last October. WHOA!

One slight quibble with the writing, the word "truly" should never occur twice in one sentence. It's redundant.
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11:44PM on 06/07/2015
Badass indeed. He's good in every role he's in, even the crazy villain who rape Charles Bronson's wife in the original Death Wish.
Badass indeed. He's good in every role he's in, even the crazy villain who rape Charles Bronson's wife in the original Death Wish.
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