From the Vaults: John Goodman's Very Good Year
John Goodman adds zest to Flight, Argo, and Trouble With the Curve
By Marjorie Baumgarten, 10:00AM, Sat. Nov. 3, 2012
2012 has been a very good year for the actor John Goodman. In three films that have debuted in just the last quarter – Flight, Argo, and Trouble With the Curve – Goodman has turned supporting character roles into memorable story ingredients. And if you count his small role in The Artist, 2011's December-released Oscar winner, then things are very good indeed.
Opening this weekend, Flight provides Goodman with a part that's as distinctive as his notable turn in The Big Lebowski. Wearing his hair in a big ponytail and baring his legs in perennial shorts, Goodman is the Doctor Feelgood to Denzel Washington's high-functioning addict. Always arriving on the scene carrying his goody bag, Goodman's Harling Mays is so much more than a drug dealer: The correct prescription of illegal cocktails is his art form. The character is funny and terrifying in equal proportions.
Ben Affleck's Argo provides Goodman with his juiciest role in a while. He plays John Chambers, the Hollywood special-effects wizard who helps Affleck's CIA agent spirit out six American hostages from Iran in 1980 during the height of the insurgency. Again, his character injects a sense of welcome humor and panache to the wild but serious caper at the heart of the story.
In Trouble With the Curve, Goodman plays the best friend of Clint Eastwood's old-time baseball scout. It's a fairly straight-up role but one that stands out for the character's loyalty and conviction. The character makes for a stark contrast with the avaricious studio executive Goodman plays in The Artist. Add to these roles, Goodman's vocal work in 2012's ParaNorman and 2011's Happy Feet Two, as well as a small part as a doorman in 2011's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and it appears that John Goodman's film career is in serious play.