Remember last week, when I said that this week we’d be talking about an entertaining movie for a change? Well, I lied, because today I’m here to tell you about Silverado.
Here we are, at Jeff Goldblum’s first starring role: Into the Night. Top billing. No ensemble. It’s all him! Too bad it’s in such a mess of a movie.
Goldblum is an insomniac who’s fucking up at work and discovers his wife is cheating on him. So, one night, he jumps in the car and drives to the airport. To escape? Mindlessly filling the hours? It’s hard to tell. What he does manage to do is rescue Michelle Pfeiffer from a group of pratfalling Iranian bad guys and then go driving aimlessly around Los Angeles while she tries to offload the emeralds she smuggled into the country. (Director John Landis plays one of the Iranians, so that might give you a sense of how responsibly they’re portrayed.)
Hoo boy. I don’t even know where to start.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. It’s a sci-fi action comedy. Buckaroo Banzai, of course, is a practicing neurosurgeon theoretical physicist test pilot who also fronts the world’s most low-energy band (until the Decemberists sprout from a pile of peat moss roughly fifteen years later) and invents a device that lets him drive through a mountain/other dimension, which means that the bad aliens can finally go home (somehow) and the good aliens have to get Buckaroo to stop them. Or something.
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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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?