Going for the Goldblum: The Big Chill

Last week, we saw what happened when Jeff Goldblum collected a bunch of rocket jocks for NASA in The Right Stuff. We don’t get too far from that “oh, weren’t the ’60s great for white guys!” vibe, but this time we’re coming at the decade from another angle. Goldblum’s still playing within type for this period in his career: gawky, cerebral at first glance, and slightly endearing. But, boy, is this a whole different beast.

Lawrence “Father of Jake” Kasdan’s The Big Chill is the kind of nostalgia piece that seems poignant and meaningful. In the movie, a bunch of thirtysomethings gather for the funeral of one of their friends, who committed suicide, and take stock of their lives fifteen years after they were in college together. It was absolutely catnip for the Baby Boomer audience it was aimed at.

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Goofus or Galavant?

For months I’ve been looking forward to Galavant, a strange little half-hour medieval musical comedy series on ABC. On paper, it’s a good fit for the home of repurposed Disney properties and toothless family-friendly sitcoms. There’s even a version that would fit with some of the network’s soapier fare, like Scandal and How To Get Away With Murder–one that’s hinted at with some of Alan Menken and Glen Slater’s more ribald verses. (If everyone involved could agree on a pronunciation of Galavant, I’d be super grateful, btw.)

If done right, Galavant would work well as a companion to Once Upon a Time or Modern Family. But it is … not really done right, at least not in these first two episodes.

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Going for the Goldblum: The Right Stuff

Here’s the thing about The Right Stuff: it’s great. It’s funny, exciting, rude, and—more than occasionally—cringe-inducing. And it holds up for the most part, even long after my first heady flush of “dang, these fake astronauts are hot” faded. (They were so hot, okay.) If you’re not into desert landscapes, aerial derring-do, or testosterone, you might find the first quarter of the movie skippable, though.

But we’re here to talk about Jeff Goldblum, aren’t we?

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Better Living Through List-making

There’s a lot of satisfaction in making a list of things you can cross off. Or so people tell me! I don’t make those kinds of lists, because I forget they exist before anything reaches a cross-off-able state.

I also don’t think much of New Year’s resolutions. Nothing about the arbitrary turning of one year to the next makes me likely to stick to a new diet, habit, or lifestyle. In fact, it’s usually the opposite. Time off work ushers in the kind of ludicrous optimism that leads to pledges like: no caffeine, no food after 6pm, no TV ever. I’ve known myself long enough to know not a single specific resolution is ever going to stick.

Instead, what I’m planning to do in the new year is step up what I’m already doing.

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Going for the Goldblum: Rehearsal for Murder

Who could ever forget Jeff Goldblum’s early and very minor roles in such gems as Death Wish, or in random episodes of Columbo, Laverne & Shirley, and Starsky & Hutch?

Well, everybody, really. Goldblum pops up from time to time in movies and TV in the mid-70s to the early 80s, without making much of an impression. He’s tall and good-looking, but weird, or menacing, or almost totally silent. But he did get two fairly major early breaks.

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