The John Goodman Story
I went to a local cinema last weekend with my partner, Nicole, and we saw The Artist, a beautifully crafted, nostalgic black and white romantic/comedy/drama from Michel Hazanavicius. The film was mesmerising for its cute, affable characterisation but also for its upbeat, prominent score. Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo were brilliant as George (a washed-up silent film actor) and Peppy (a fan-turned-film star), respectively. I was, however, impressed with John Goodman's performance as Al Zimmer, the narrative's authorial studio boss. His performance was a reminder of the great work he had been involved with up until Hazanavicius's film, but also an indicator that such work will continue well into the twilight of his career.
He is, arguably, most well-known for his role as working-class father and husband Dan Conner in long-running sitcom Roseanne. Then again, who could forget his work with the Coen brothers? He was brilliant as moronic convict Gale Snoats in Raising Arizona, awesome as the psychotic Karl Mundt in Barton Fink, sublime as gun-toting Vietname War veteran Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski, and extremely amusing as 'Big Dan' Teague in O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Goodman's voice artistry has been just as effective onscreen; his voice is resonant and rich. He won the hearts of audiences as 'Sulley' in Monsters, Inc. and as Pacha in The Emperor's New Groove, the latter of which is still, to this day, an underrated Disney gem. Sure, he has been involved in projects that barely pass as mediocre, such as Dirty Deeds and Big Brothers 2000 in the 1990s and 2000s, and even C.H.U.D. and Revenge of the Nerds in the 1980s. That being said, his good performances have always outweighed the bad.
Goodman's effective performance as Zimmer in new cinematic The Artist is a throttling reminder of the great career this man has had up until now. He's involved with Monsters University, a prequel to the Monsters, Inc. phenomenon, and he will feature as Mr. Prendergast in upcoming 3D flick ParaNorman. Keep on rocking, John!
By Chris Traficante