Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Best John Goodman Performances

Despite missing the last two months, I'm reviving my Movie List of the Month segment (December's list). It's incredible to think that the brilliant character actor, John Goodman, has never been nominated for an Academy Award. And to drive home the point even further, Goodman has only managed to secure a lone Golden Globe Nomination for a motion picture performance. So despite his many omissions from the awards season festivities, March's movie list of the month honors John Goodman's finest roles.

Honorable Mention: Arachnophobia, Inside Llewyn Davis and O Brother, Where Art Thou?

#5. Argo (2012)

Co-star, Alan Arkin, overshadowed Goodman's exceptional work in Ben Affleck's Best Picture winning film, Argo. As Hollywood make-up artist, John Chambers, it's Goodman's character that sets the CIA's outrageous extraction plan into motion in this gripping true story. Goodman creates an endearing character that helps breed life into the Oscar-winning film.

#4. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Considering the film reached theaters just last week, some may feel it's a bit premature labeling Goodman's work in the mysterious thriller, 10 Cloverfield Lane, as some of the best in his career. Truth be told, Goodman is given a bulk of the screen time and makes the most of this rare opportunity. He blends together a long list of emotions to develop a complex character that's difficult to truly identify. Perhaps it's because of the major platform he's given to work with, but Goodman's work here is clearly transcendent. 

#3. Flight (2012)

While John Goodman's work in Argo was worthy of admiration, it was even his best role of the year. The biggest letdown of the run-up to the 2013 Academy Awards was the regrettable omission of Goodman's energetic performance in Robert Zemeckis' Flight. Goodman gives an unforgettable turn as airline pilot, Whip Whitaker's (Denzel Washington), trusty drug dealer. Goodman commands every scene he's a part of and, although it was a crowded year in the Best Supporting Actor category, this performance stands toe-to-toe with the most notable ones of 2012.

#2. Barton Fink (1991)

John Goodman has become a staple in the storied filmography of writing and directing siblings, Joel & Ethan Coen. It wasn't Goodman's first collaboration with the brothers, but his role in Barton Fink certainly set the stage for a brilliant industry partnership with these clever filmmaking minds. In what stands as Goodman's only motion picture role to ever get nominated for a Golden Globe, he gives a hilarious performance as Charlie Meadows, an insurance salesman who tries to aid a Hollywood screenwriter suffering from severe writer's block. And believe me, in typical Coen brothers fashion hilarity ensues. 

#1. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Is there even a debate as to John Goodman's most memorable and effective performance? Sadly, the Coen brothers' instant colt classic, The Big Lebowski, never garner the same admiration from the Academy voters, leaving John Goodman as an afterthought during the awards season hoopla. However, we all know just how magnificent he is as Walter Sobchak, a temperamental Vietnam Vet who's always packing heat. Together with his bowling buddies "The Dude" Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) and Donny (Steve Buscemi), the trio embark on a wild journey of compensation for damages to The Dude's rug. The Big Lebowski is another film filled with scene-stealing moments from a largely overlooked acting talent. But no matter what the prestigious voting bodies may think, we all appreciate John Goodman for the wonderful onscreen memories he's provided over the years.

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