Whenever I hear the name Michael Keaton, I immediately think of 3 things: Batman, Beetlejuice, and Clean and Sober. Three completely different roles but three extremely complex roles…especially when you think of his humble beginnings as a stand-up comic. You won’t see Adam Sandler playing a super-hero (let’s just hope not). You won’t find Jerry Seinfeld playing a “bio-exorcist” and you won’t hear of Ray Romano playing the dramatic lead as a recovering drug addict.
So it’s with a very varied resume that Keaton finds himself spanning a career that, although a little slow as of late, will probably never die. And I’d bet on that…especially when you do work for Studio Ghibli (Porco Rosso) and Pixar (including the stellar work in Toy Story 3 and the not so stellar Cars); that means you’ve pretty much got tenure.
As much as I love the guy I want to see him in more roles. Kind of the way Sam Jackson was in literally EVERY OTHER MOVIE in the last 10 years. I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Michael Keaton!! But until that day comes, or until his newest film The Other Guys comes out next Friday, let’s look at the shinning (read my favorite) moments in his career.
Batman – So hard not to put this in the top spot but it’s my favorite and the best work he’s ever done. Such a well done performance coupled with Tim Burton’s decidedly different take on the caped crusader, it all just works. Again, funny to think of a stand up comedian playing one of the finest super heroes to grace the screen…and if that doesn’t convince you, just look at this entrance. Yeah, Keaton’s the best Batman by a long shot….that is until Bale came around.
Mr. Mom – Just like Beetlejuice, his comedic timing was perfectly used in this comedy that to me is equally as memorable and this is quite a good little movie. Although the premise is probably something that any father hopes will never befall him it is definitely a comical do’s and don’ts of being the stay at home dad. Also the soap Opera day dream sequence is a nice little touch (and a subtle “we understand” to all those stay at home parents). It’s there that Keaton shows he can over-act just as well too.
Clean and Sober – Seeing Micheal in this role is about as, well “sobering” as you could expect from someone who is known for making you laugh. Talk about a 180! It is such a game changer and while it doesn’t have quite the punch as Aronofsky‘s Requiem, but while that cast was fine, they just can’t touch Keaton’s gritty and gripping Daryl Poynter.
The Last Time – The one movie where the likeable Michael Keaton is kind of a dick…but interestingly enough, it’s not off-putting. The key here is that even though he’s a cut and dry, unflinching businessman, he also shows that he can have a change of heart and become a completely different person. This is further made more satifying by the twist ending that I’m pretty sure you won’t see coming. Not a great movie but one where Keaton sure is.
Johnny Dangerously – Probably the funniest movie on his resume and one that was perfectly written for his strengths. It was quirky and is quite a clever send up of the gangster era 1930’s. Aided by ensemble cast this was little more than a series of skits. However this probably felt very comfortably return to stand up comedy, but with better production value and some top drawer comedians. This is the one movie of his I really need to watch more and give Batman a breather:)
So those are the films that I immediatly go for when I need a Michael Keaton fix. While doing some homework for this post I cam across some interesting info on his IMDb page:
As much as I like him I’m not sure I couldn’t imagine him as a Ghostbuster, but I can see why they might have thought of him as “Peter”. Anyway I just think he’s one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood and I just think he can do no wrong. In closing, and for your consideration, here’s a few more that I do believe at the very least get Honorable Mentions: Gung Ho, The Paper, Night Shift, The Dream Team, Multiplicity and Game 6. But I’ll ask you all, which ones are your favorites?? Anyone excited for The Other Guys??