Behold The Smooth, Scene-Stealing Wisdom Of Jeff Goldblum!
Entertainment junkies know all about “the zen of Bill Murray” – or the “Dudeism” of Jeff Bridges…but Hollywood’s latest spiritual Guru of “everything hip” is, without a doubt, Jeff Goldblum!
I’m taking part in a Jeff Goldblum Blogathon, which focuses on his performances across many different types of movies – and my choice is a great 1983 film that captured the uncertainty, self-reflection, and ultimately the selfishness of a group of friends who are pondering life…
“The Big Chill”!
Director Lawrence Kasdan has said the title, “The Big Chill” is about this:
“A cooling process that takes place for every generation when they move from the outward-directed, more idealistic concerns of their youth to a kind of self-absorption, a self-interest which places their personal desires above those of the society or even an ideal”.
Here is the trailer for “The Big Chill”:
The film has a terrific cast including Kevin Kline, JoBeth Williams, Glenn Close, William Hurt, Meg Tilly, Mary Kay Place and Tim Berenger. But, the person who steals the film is Jeff Goldblum…
The Snark Of Jeff!
As serious as much of this film is, there is one character who is always “cracking wise”, and that is Jeff Goldblum, who runs away with the movie with hilarious barbs that begin when these long-time friends all reunite at the funeral for one of the group, who just committed suicide…so, what does Jeff say to one of them at the wake?
“Amazing tradition. They throw a great party for you on the one day they know you can’t come.”
And when Glenn Close has this to say…
“You’ll never get this many people to come to my funeral.”
Goldblum comes right back with this witty reply:
“Ohh, Karen, I’ll come. And, you know… I’ll bring a date.”
One reason we love him in the film is that, as the others focus on their self-absorption, he sees the whole thing as a chance to get another story in People magazine, where he works. We hear him on the phone explaining to his editor at People Magazine why he’s delaying his interview with a 14-year-old blind baton twirler in order to tell the story of his friends:
“Jim, Jim, give me a break. I’ll fly to Dallas on Monday. She won’t regain her eyesight over the weekend. I know, but I think I’ve got something good right here. I don’t know, it’s about everything: Um… suicide, despair, where did our hope go? Lost hope, that’s it, lost hope. Yeah, well, you think everything is boring. I mean, you know, you wouldn’t say that if it was the Lost Hope Diet.”
And he delivers the entire scene with a delicious subtlety, which makes his comments pop off the screen…
Later, when they are all together, the group gives him a hard time about writing for People…
“How about you Michael? So tell us about the world of big time journalism.”
“Well, where I work we only have one editorial rule. You can’t write anything longer than it takes your average person to take an average crap.”
“I’m getting tired of everything I write being read in the can.”
Kevin Kline chimes in:
“You can read Dostoyevsky in the can.”
To which Goldblum replies:
“Yes, but they can’t finish it.”
Goldblum’s obvious cynicism and opportunism is actually refreshing, since the other characters are shown completely absorbed with figuring out “the meaning of life.”
As he says at one point:
“Everyone does everything just to get laid.”
JoBeth Willaims replies:
“Who said that? Freud?”
Without missing a beat, Goldblum replies flatly:
“No, I did.”
He dominates every scene with a sly aside, a telling comment, or a subtle dig at everyone – including himself…
And of course, what did Goldblum note as he walked through a meadow with Kevin Kline?
“That’s the great thing about the outdoors, it’s one giant toilet.”
And this was how Goldblum described a Musician he was writing about:
“Eventually he was hospitalized for being such a nerd.”
“The Big Chill” was nominated for Best Picture of 1983, as well as Glenn Close for Best Supporting Actress, and Lawrence Kasdan and Barbara Benedek for Best Original Screenplay.
The script is terrific, but it’s Goldblum’s performance that gives it a much-needed burst of wit and self-awareness – a terrific performance by one of our greatest, seemingly most effortless Actors…who also happens to be a Musician!
That’s right, I saw Goldblum performing with his “big band” – The Mildred Snitzer Orchestra – at the Bottle Rock music festival, and he was terrific!
If you want to “swing with Jeff”, click on my story to see two great live performances I captured:
You know why I am sharing this story, right?
Yes, there’s a Jeff Goldblum Blogathon underway! Click here to see more about it, and links to all of the stories about Jeff:
My first post was all about the “Quan Of Jeff”:
I mean, who else gets a giant balloon like this – and deserves it? Read my story here:
Let me know your favorite Jeff Goldblum films!
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Thanks so much for reading!