Get ready for Independence Day: Resurgence with a look at the best Jeff Goldblum movies and TV roles
Jeff Goldblum has given us some of the most famous smart characters of our time, from his work as scientist Jeff Brundle in The Fly to Dr. Ian Malcolm in Jurassic Park to Detective Zach Nicholas in the final two seasons of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Now he’s reprising his Independence Day role of computer expert David Levinson in 20th Century Fox‘s upcoming sequel Independence Day: Resurgence. Let’s take a look back at some of his best roles.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: The Big Chill (1983)
In this classic film about friends reuniting later in life after the suicide of a friend, Goldblum plays a People Magazine reporter. Along with old buddies played by Glenn Close, Tom Berenger, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Meg Tilly and JoBeth Williams to name a few, they discover that, though you can’t go back again, you can certainly start over. His final joking line about the vacation house they’re all staying in says it all; “Sarah, Harold. We took a secret vote. We’re not leaving. We’re never leaving.”
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: The Fly (1986)
The Fly is a classic horror film directed and co-written by David Cronenberg and starring Goldblum as scientist Seth Brundle and Geena Davis as journalist Veronica Quaife (who he met on the film and later married, then divorced). Brundle has come up with something called a “Telepod,” which can teleport inanimate objects through teleportation. However, when you try it with a living thing, it doesn’t exactly work correctly. When he tries it on himself, a housefly is stuck in there with him. He slowly turns into a hybrid of a human and a fly as he goes insane. Stock footage of Goldblum from the first film was used in the 1989 sequel The Fly II, though he didn’t otherwise reprise his role.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
This musical rom com was based on the Julie Brown song “Earth Girls Are Easy” and also starred Geena Davis, Julie Brown, Damon Wayans, and Jim Carrey. In it, Goldblum plays a furry blue alien named Mac (Wayans plays the yellow one and Carey plays the red one) who hasn’t had a lady friend in a while. The guys see a broadcast showing human women and they decide to go try their luck with the ladies of Southern California. After meeting Valerie (Davis), they shave themselves and get into all sorts of trouble. Of course, Mac gets the girl.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: Jurassic Park (1993)
John Hammond, CEO of a bioengineering company has created a theme park full of bioengineered dinosaurs and after a death caused by a velociraptor, a group of people are brought in to investigate. Goldblum plays Dr. Ian Malcolm, a mathematician who doesn’t think this is a good idea. Sure, the dinosaurs are all female and shouldn’t be able to breed, but as he says, “Nature will find a way.” Goldblum reprised his role in the 1997 sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: Powder (1995)
Victor Salva’s Powder is the story of a young albino man named Jeremy “Powder” Reed (Sean Patrick Flanery) who’s mother was struck by lightening when she was pregnant. Not only does he have the power to hear the thoughts of others, but he can make people feel the pain of those they’ve harmed. He develops more powers as the film goes on while sympathetic physics teacher Donald Ripley (Goldblum) helps him discover himself and what he can do. When it’s clear that there is nowhere for him to be truly accepted, despite the support from Ripley and others, he runs into a field and becomes pure energy, something Ripley had predicted would happen.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: Independence Day (1996)
A huge alien ship and 36 smaller ships appear above the earth and MIT-trailed satellite expert David Levinson (Goldblum) intercepts a signal which tells him these aliens are here to take over. He gets the information to the White House as they begin to attack. Gevinson realizes that he has to interrupt their force field and gives humanity its last hope of redemption. The defeat of the aliens brings the world together. Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner are all returning for the upcoming sequel, which takes place twenty years after the first film.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)
This film, directed by Wes Anderson stars Bill Murray as oceanographer Steve Zissou who is making a documentary about the “jaguar shark” that ate his partner. Quirky in a way that most Wes Anderson films are, this one is a “love it or hate it” kind of film. However, no one can argue that Goldblum’s role as Zissou’s more successful rival who keeps trying to mess with his career is a highlight.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: Law & Order: Criminal Intent (2009-2010)
In 2009, Goldblum surprised his fans by taking the role of Detective Zach Nicholas, he of the shadowy past, on the ninth and tenth season of NBC‘s Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He replaced Chris Noth’s character, and added his wise-cracking ways to the show. Though fans responded well to his character, he left the show citing concerns about its future.
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: Portlandia (2012-2015)
Goldblum’s quirky personality fits in well in the five episodes of the show Portlandia. He’s probably best remembered as the owner of the story Artisian Knots which sold, you guessed it, ropes and iPhone earphone cords tied in sailors knots, explaining, in his very pink suit, how the artist who works in the cords shoves them in their pockets. “It just comes out like this.”
Jeff Goldblum Movies and TV Spotlight: The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Another Wes Anderson film starring pretty much everyone you love. It’s the story of a hotel concierge Monsieur Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) who, alongside bell boy Zero (Tony Revolori), tries to prove he’s innocent of the crime of murder. Goldblum plays Deputy Vilmos Kovacs, He passes messages from the unknown owner of the hotel to Gustave as well as the executor of the will of Gustave’s much, much older lover (Tilda Swinton).
Which Jeff Goldblum role was your favorite? What did we miss? Independence Day: Resurgence will hit theaters on June 24, 2016.