Movies/Entertainment,  Quick 5/Top 10

G-S-T Quick 5 – Favorite Michael Keaton Roles

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:

Keaton was offered the role of either “Peter Venkman” or “Egon Spengler” in Ghost Busters (1984) but turned down both parts, which went to Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, respectively.

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??


  • rtm

    As I glance through your list, my first thought when I saw Batman was, well, until Bale came along Keaton was pretty good. So yeah, agree with you there, though I also like Val Kilmer as Batman. Keaton is quite under-appreciated IMO, he’s far more versatile than people give him credit for. Glad you mentioned Multiplicity as it’s one of my guilty pleasure.

    I forgot he was in The Other Guys. The trailer looks funny so yeah, I might check it out in the theater.

  • Dan

    Keaton was great in comedic roles. I also liked him when he was playing those dark characters too – Pacific Heights springs to mind. But have you seen him in Night Shift with Henry Winkler – 80s comedy classic! Keaton: “I’m an idea man Chuck, I get ideas, sometimes I get so many ideas that I can’t even fight them off!”

  • Heather

    I know this is probably not anyone elses favorite because the movie wasn’t brilliant, but I loved him in Pacific Heights. He was truly maniacal in it.

    My choices would have gone like this:

    My Life, BeatleJuice, Batman, Mr. Mom, and then a coin flip between Multiplicity and Night Shift………..ooh frick and Gung Ho.

    AND THIS is precisely why I do top tens. Hahahaha!

  • MarcC

    @Dan…Haven’t seen Jackie Brown but maybe its because I knew Keaton wasn’t in it much;)

    @Ruth…I read you liked Keaton in your Other Guys review. I think I’ll check it out this weekend!

    @Ross…”convincing” on story or assurance of a big pay day?

    @Dan…I remember laughing quite a bit at Night Shift, though I haven’t seen it in years and hope it stands up as good as my memory made it to be.

    @Heather…I couldn’t get into Keaton as I view him like Harrison Ford…certain actors can’t be bad guys. But you’re right, you add my Honorable Mentions and this is pretty much a Top 10:P