10 reasons to love Michael Keaton


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Why isn’t Michael Keaton in everything? That’s the question I often ask myself whenever I do manage to catch a glimpse of one of the most amusing and talented actors of this or any generation. That guy makes everything better. His sheer presence is a delight that spreads joy and good feelings to all who have the good fortune to experience it. He’s funny, he’s charming, he’s weird, and he’s not nearly in enough stuff these days. So here, for public record, are 10 reasons to love Michael Keaton and to start putting him in more movies again.

1. Stand Up Comedy

Before you ever heard of him, Michael Keaton was working the stand-up circuit, and if you pay attention to this excerpt of his act (which includes an amusing dramatic reading of Bazooka Joe comics), you can definitely hear the vocal stylings that would eventually form the core of the title character of a gangster move he’d do – you know, that guy whose last name is an adverb.

2. “Night Shift”

Keaton’s first big movie role came with this 1982 Ron Howard comedy. The former Richie Cunningham cast the former Fonz, Henry Winkler, as a put-upon mortician who Keaton convinces to start running a brothel out of the morgue, with the help of hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold Shelley Long. Much like our equally beloved national treasure Tom Hanks, Keaton started as a manic comedy machine before settling down into future dramatic roles, and that early energy is on full display in this hilarious film. Observe his stunning powers of bullshit here.

3. “Johnny Dangerously”

Yes, his last name is an adverb. Keaton shined in this ridiculous Amy Heckerling gangster farce that may also be the best thing Joe Piscopo ever accomplished. Using a lot of that James Cagney movie charm in service of a lot of zany slapstick schtick, Keaton’s Johnny is the coolest, smoothest and friendliest gangster in town, never tryin’ to hurt nobody, torn over the fact that his brother (Griffin Dunne) is a straight-laced anti-crime crusader.

4. “Mr. Mom”

In 1983, the concept of the stay-at-home dad was still pretty novel, and thus Keaton was able to make great hay out of a playing a guy who got laid off trying to make a go of it as the househusband and being constantly frazzled at every turn in his John Hughes-scripted comedy. With every mundane task seeming like a huge ordeal, Jack Butler was inevitably driven crazy by the pressure of it all, and nobody makes crazy as fun as Michael Keaton does.

5. “Beetlejuice”

Speaking of crazy – teaming Keaton up with Tim Burton for this story about a completely bonkers ghost named Betelgeuse showcases him at his absolute craziest – not to mention the perviest, too. Summoned by a pair of nice ghosts (Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis) to get rid of some annoying living people in their home, the maniac becomes an even bigger problem than young Winona Ryder’s family ever could’ve been. Keaton’s a tour-de-force in this one, showing us the frayed edges of sanity that he’s so good at harnessing – and he’s doing it at a mile a minute.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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