Best of Adam Goldberg

Adam Goldberg’s 9 Funniest Roles


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Everyone’s favorite “that guy” actor Adam Goldberg guest stars on tonight’s Maron, and it gave us a chance to dive into the very diverse filmography of this hard-to-pigeonhole actor.

His breakthrough came in Saving Private Ryan and he’s done plenty of drama and even horror, but he also has a powerful knack for the comedic. Here are our picks for the funniest parts Adam Goldberg has played during his diverse career.

1. Dazed and Confused

It’s tough to stand out in an ensemble cast as great as the one Richard Linklater assembled for Dazed and Confused, but as nebbishy geek Mike Newhouse Goldberg does a fantastic job. The character is defined by the moment at the kegger when he just can’t take the abuse of the jocks anymore and sucker-punches the odious Clint.

2. Friends

Goldberg’s appeared in more sitcoms than we can count, but his three episodes of Friends were classics. When Joey moves out on Chandler to get his own place, Goldberg’s Eddie Menuek moves in to fill the void. Menuek is a classic comedy lunatic who dries fruit for fun and loses his mind over a dead goldfish.

3. The Hebrew Hammer

Goldberg’s notorious for playing explicitly Jewish roles, and he turned that up to 11 with his starring role in this 2003 “Jewsploitation” flick. As the title character, detective Mordechai Jefferson Carver, Goldberg goes up against the evil son of Santa Claus in a battle to save Hannukah (and Kwanzaa while he’s at it).

4. Sunset Strip

This cult classic plunges viewers into a relentlessly sleazy take on 1970s Los Angeles, rife with drugs and venereal disease. Goldberg grew out his Jew-fro to play Marty Shapiro, a record producer with the gift of gab who is always on the hustle.

5. Joey

Goldberg’s Friends connection got him a semi-regular gig on the Joey spin-off as Jimmy Costa, the father of Joey’s nephew who comes back into his life to make a huge mess of things. This is a classic Adam Goldberg role, fusing high intelligence with a complete lack of any moral compass for big laughs. (Or as big as the laughs got during Joey‘s brief run.)

6. The Trivial Pursuits Of Arthur Banks

This oddball comedy made for AMC was a black & white satire on the literary world starring Goldberg as the titular playwright and the great Jeffrey Tambor as his therapist. Goldberg’s great at playing characters high on their own supply, and we wish there were more than three episodes of this.

7. The Unusuals

As is often the case, Adam Goldberg is the best part of many of the short-lived TV shows he’s been involved in. One show that didn’t get a fair shake was ABC’s The Unusuals, a quirky cop drama where he played a detective with brain cancer that he refuses to treat because he hates doctors.

8. Entourage

As Nick Rubenstein, the moneyman behind Medellin on HBO’s Entourage, Adam Goldberg wallowed in Hollywood depravity. Spoiled son of a multimillionare Hollywood producer, Nick blew the GDP of a small country up his nose in cocaine every episode and eventually got paid $1 for his involvement in the film.

9. A Monster In Paris

Goldberg has done a bunch of voice acting over his career, but easily the high point is as the character Raoul in this lovely French film loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera. Goldberg has a lot of fun playing a manic inventor with tons of goofy ideas.

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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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Byrning Down the House

Everything You Need to Know About the Film That Inspired “Final Transmission”

Documentary Now! pays tribute to "Stop Making Sense" this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Cinecom/courtesy Everett Collection

This week Documentary Now! is with the band. For everyone who’s ever wanted to be a roadie without leaving the couch, “Final Transmission” pulls back the curtain on experimental rock group Test Pattern’s final concert. Before you tune in Wednesday at 10P on IFC, plug your amp into this guide for Stop Making Sense, the acclaimed 1984 Talking Heads concert documentary.

Put on Your Dancing Shoes

Hailed as one of the best concert films ever created, director Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) captured the energy and eccentricities of a band known for pushing the limits of music and performance.

Make an Entrance

Lead singer David Byrne treats the concert like a story: He enters an empty stage with a boom box and sings the first song on the setlist solo, then welcomes the other members of the group to the stage one song at a time.

Steal the Spotlight

David Byrne Dancing
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Always a physical performer, Byrne infuses the stage and the film with contagious joy — jogging in place, dancing with lamps, and generally carrying the show’s high energy on his shoulders.

Suit Yourself

Byrne makes a splash in his “big suit,” a boxy business suit that grows with each song until he looks like a boy who raided his father’s closet. Don’t overthink it; on the DVD, the singer explains, “Music is very physical, and often the body understands it before the head.”

View from the Front Row

Stop Making Sense Band On Stage
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Demme (who also helmed 1987’s Swimming to Cambodia, the inspiration for this season’s Documentary Now! episode “Parker Gail’s Location is Everything”) films the show by putting viewers in the audience’s shoes. The camera rarely shows the crowd and never cuts to interviews or talking heads — except the ones onstage.

Let’s Get Digital

Tina Weymouth Keyboard
Cinecom/Everett Collection

Stop Making Sense isn’t just a good time — it’s also the first rock movie to be recorded entirely using digital audio techniques. The sound holds up more than 30 years later.

Out of Pocket

Talk about investing in your art: Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz told Rolling Stone that the members of the band “basically put [their] life savings” into the movie, and they didn’t regret it.

Catch Documentary Now!’s tribute to Stop Making Sense when “Final Transmission” premieres Wednesday, October 12 at 10P on IFC.

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