Monday, March 23, 2015

Goldblum Fest: The Attraction to Intellectual Men


Welcome to Day One of the Goldblum Fest!

It's remarkable what can happen in a single weekend. I just returned from visiting Charity since we only live a few hours from one another. She agreed, most kindly I think, to spend much of our time together watching Jeff Goldblum movies and television programs. I re-introduced her to the awesomeness that is Independence Day, forced her to watch the undeniably B-grade Hideaway, then she showed me multiple episodes of his seasons in Law and Order: Criminal Intent, finishing off with a scrumptious viewing of Jurassic Park: The Lost World. I swear, we did more than just watch television, no worries.

But I realized how fun it is to sit down with your best friend and indulge oneself in an actor's accomplishments. During our foray into the world of Jeff Goldblum, it hit me that intellectual men are attractive. Not just mildly attractive, but abundantly attractive. I've watched Jeff play practically everything over the last month. He did a ton of B grade work in the 70s and 80s before finally branching out into more solid fare in the mid 90s. He's played a stupid PI in Tenspeed and Brown Shoe, a dude who gets morphed into a pod person in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, a guy who gets sent to investigate monster sightings in Transylvania 6-5000, and a man who works for a home shopping television station opposite Eddie Murphy in Holy Man, to say nothing of the countless roles I didn't watch because I looked at them and went "What the . . . ?"

So, yes, never kid yourself into thinking that he hasn't done B grade work because he has, a lot of it, probably more than he's ever done serious acting. But that's really okay because I look at the few truly stellar performances he's given and I am impressed. I'm actually beyond impressed . . . I LOVE him. What makes those roles stand out from the rest?

His intellect.

Smart men are sexy. Take it or leave it, accept it or not, but it's true. When Goldblum accepted the roles of Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park franchise, Zachary Nichols in Law and Order: CI, and David Levinson in Independence Day, he did the world and himself a massive favor. He transformed himself beyond the mere B grade film star to an actor not only capable of playing intellectual characters, but an actor who excels at them.

Has anyone ever seen him in Jurassic Park? Since the first Goldblum film I ever really saw is Jurassic Park, I'm extremely fond of Ian Malcolm, both because he's hilarious and because he's an intellectual. As Malcolm, Goldblum is an astute chaos theorist who realizes that if something can go wrong, then it will go wrong on Isla Nublar where a man named Hammond hopes to open his dinosaur park. In his words to Hammond, "your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should." He is literally the first person in the film to realize that things are going to go awry . . . terribly, grossly awry. Ian Malcolm is no fool, but no one is really willing to listen to him until people actually start dying.

In the sequel, Malcolm gets roped into yet another of Hammond's schemes and finds himself on the sister island to Isla Nublar, attempting to rescue his girlfriend, Sarah Harding, who Hammond sent to the island as part of a research team. Malcolm has seen all of this before. He knows that dinosaur = death. But does anyone listen to him? Nope. Not even Sarah who should have learned to trust his instincts by this point since it sounds like they've been together quite a while.

During my re-watch of the sequel yesterday, it became painfully obvious that Malcolm is the only one speaking any sense at all. Everyone else is acting like they're on a pleasure cruise while he's warning them "Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming." Turns out he's right, as always. Ian Malcolm is hands down the only man with a lick of common sense in the entire Jurassic Park series. Not even Sam Neill's character Dr. Grant holds a candle to him.

While not quite as smart or clever as Malcolm, Goldblum's role as David Levinson in Independence Day is equally as alluring, for two reasons. One, he is the only person to figure out there is a count down to death that the aliens are using for their invasion. Two, he refuses to forget the woman he loves even though they've been divorced for three years. He's got these two things going for him in ways that most people only dream about.

There are scientists and engineers and brilliant strategists involved in trying to stop the alien invasion. But David Levinson is the only man who first realized that there is an actual threat, and ultimately discovers a way to stop the invasion. Plus, his ex-wife comes back to him by the end of the film, which absolutely thrills me to pieces. David is the kind of clever that is not arrogant. It's just who he is. He knows how to fix things as a strategist, and he is capable of looking outside the box for solutions to really important problems, like say, aliens attacking earth. Once he figures out that he can upload a virus to the alien ships bringing down their protective shields, well, it makes you wonder why no one else thought of trying. He finds relatively non-violent solutions to major problems. Fewer people die because he finds a solution that does not entail nuking the ships, meaning fallback on the people and cities below. You've gotta love him!


It is possible that some of you never even realized Goldblum was in Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Or if you knew, maybe you're not a crime drama fan. More's the pity for you because Detective Zachary Nichols is AMAZING. If you ever wondered what a truly healthy ISTP looks like (Myers-Briggs Personality type reference), just look at Zach. For reference, Sherlock Holmes, the greatest literary detective of all time, was an ISTP. Detective Nichols, just like Holmes, collects data in incredible quantities. He takes seemingly unrelated facts, plucks threads out of thin air, and finds connections that most people, myself included, would never even dream of making.

Out of all three characters, I'd lay odds on Zach Nichols being the smartest. Whether the role was written for Goldblum or whether he auditioned for it, I don't know. But combining this type of high-ranking intellectual detective with an actor like Goldblum who interjects humor almost everywhere he goes was a match made in heaven. Nichols keeps his lips locked until he has all the pieces  to the puzzle and then he blows the minds of his fellow police officers and the audience. If you're at all curious, he's in seasons 8 and 9 of CI only. I wish for more now that I know he put in an appearance, but oh well, we live with what we have.

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a smart guy who knows he's smart and is snide about it. That type of behavior is not at all attractive, and, fortunate for Goldblum, that is not how he plays his intellectual characters Yes, I admit that Malcolm is a smart-ass along with being a genius, but it works for the black leather wearing character. Having a sarcastic sense of humor livens the mood of many films, and lifts an otherwise dark aura from certain stories. People getting eaten by dinosaurs is really a scary thing until you have Goldblum popping off with some hilarious comment that makes it a little less terrifying. As Nichols, he takes great delight in observing the people around him, and there is almost always a smirk lurking somewhere on those lips, ready to burst forth at any moment because someone said or did something that amused him. And David? Well, David just manages to grin at his ex-wife while he cracks a joke about how he's always trying to save the planet by recycling, so maybe here's his chance on a larger scale.

Goldblum plays the intellectual with an endearing sense of humor that makes him sexy. The age doesn't matter. I mean, he played Nichols 6 years ago and Ian Malcolm 16 years ago. Nope, age has almost no effect on how sexy a man can be when he's a genius. For those of us that appreciate smart guys, it's fun to just sit back, eyes wide, and admire how they get from Point A to Point B. You might want to reconsider ever telling them that you admire them, however. Wouldn't want to puff up someone's ego more than strictly necessary, after all!

Coming up tomorrow, a post from Charity on either Jurassic Park or expounding further upon the brilliant Detective Nichols, which I will make sure to share on my blog!

For all blog posts related to this Goldblum Fest, visit THIS page for a complete set of links, updated as posts are released!

6 comments:

  1. YES! I count Ian and David up there with Spock and Sherlock Holmes in the level of smart-is-sexy-ness. I love Independence Day dearly, and I saw it before Jurassic Park, so when I saw JP I was already a Goldblum fan and eager to root for him.

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    1. I just can't get over the fact that I never even knew about the man until a year ago. How did that even happen?

      Looking forward to your post on Silverado!

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  2. Jurassic Park tomorrow. Finally hit on an angle that I like. :)

    Jeff plays intellectual characters very well, because he is also somewhat intellectual in presentation. I'm not really attracted to him as an actor but I do enjoy his best-known characters, because all of them are indeed intelligent, insightful, and charming. I remember when first watching his seasons of CI being surprised at how quickly he won me over, and replaced Goren in my affections. He's far different from Bobby ... much quieter and more introspective, not as impulsive, but ruminating on cases until he can lay them out in detail.

    Though, my favorite will always be Ian Malcolm ... for the sheer hilarity of the part. He's intelligent ... and freaking out most of the time. For good reason, but that's genuinely FUNNY. And totally realistic under the circumstances.

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    1. Awesome, glad you found something that worked.

      I remember how much I liked Bobby when I was watching CI, but I can also see how Nichols would easily win over a fandom. You just can't help liking the man, partially because of the writing, but also because it's Goldblum bringing the character to life. Via any other actor, it's possible the character would be flat. He just doesn't, probably can't, play flat characters anymore. I love that about him!

      And yes, you really can't beat Malcolm for humor. That man makes me laugh so much, it's a relief in an otherwise serious and terrifying set of films. He just makes Jurassic Park less scary. You gotta love him for it!

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  3. You're making me want to watch all of these! I think I've seen Jurassic Park, but it was a long time ago. I definitely agree smart men are more attractive!

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    1. Well, these are all incredible films! I hope you get a chance to give them a try, Lizzie. If you enjoy sci-fi, definitely get your hands on Independence Day, particularly the extended version. It's so much better than the theatrical release and I keep hoping that they'll release the extended on blu-ray for the 20 years anniversary next year. Just in time for the sequel, also with Goldblum!

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