Those who know me know that the Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai is one of my all time favorite films. Hell, it was in the first logo for this very site! When Barry of Cinematic Catharsis mentioned he was putting together this Goldblumathon, it was the perfect chance for me to talk about one of the main reasons why I loved this film so much.
Jeff Goldblum plays US (the everyman/woman) in this film.
You may say to yourself, "Is Lashley drunk again!?" Well, yeah a little bit, but hear me out here. There are several things that lead me to believe this theory.
1. He's in awe of Buckaroo
Buckaroo is the ultimate celebrity. Doctor, scientist, rock star, comic book hero...the man does it all. Everyday folk don't always get the chance to interact with major celebrities, so we live vicariously through films. THIS film knows that, so Goldblum (playing New Jersey) plays us by proxy...being in awe that Buckaroo could easily walk in and help him with a complicated operation, and then casually traveling through a mountain. And don't tell me you don't get a little star struck. I saw how you wet your pants when you met the puppet Madame. I saw EVERYTHING.
2. His outfit
After being asked to join the Hong Kong Cavaliers, Goldblum decides to dress the part of a music star. Sure most people wouldn't be caught dead in an oversized cowboy hat and assless chaps (I think they were assless), but dig a little deeper, shallow Hal. Country music is pure Americana...music for the working class and the schmoes like us, who are lazy bastards. His outfit tells us "Hey, I'm a man of the people...and I choose to represent them in this outfit". Bravo, sir.
3. His awkwardness in the HK Cavaliers
Now the Hong Kong Cavaliers are a group of guys who are pretty much Buckaroo's inner circle, so for an everyday guy like Goldblum to join up is both exciting and a bit nerve racking. Who here hasn't gotten to join an elite group (like following me on twitter) only to not know what to say or do? As an everyday person, one would also feel out of place and a bit apprehensive among these living TMZ headliners. New Jersey is playing out my joining the Spanish Club on the big screen, man.
4. He has a different way of viewing things.
So you're probably saying "Man, that Lashley really must be hitting the good stuff", to which I would reply "make me another drink or it's the back of my hand for you!" I'm sorry baby, I didn't mean that. Really. Let's start over.
At one point, the guys break into Yoyodine's computers and notice that they all have names that 3rd graders would snicker at. Names like John Big Bootay and John Small Berries. Hehehe. That means small balls. They noticed all these guys registered their date of birth on exactly the same day, October 31st, 1938, in Grover Mills, New Jersey. While the ego trippin celebs are trying vainly to figure out what it all means, our everyman by proxy figures out that This was the date of the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast. By knowing that, he figures out that the radio broadcast was real, but the aliens used some sort of mind control to say it was a hoax. Only a person with their ear to the grindstone could have figured that out. What celebrity do you think can do that? Bradley Cooper? Scarlett Johansson? Maybe Tara Reid, but that's it.
5. He's loyal
Buckaroo didn't have to choose Goldblum to join his band of merry men, but he did, so Goldblum is extremely loyal and helpful to Buckaroo. Examples including having a gun ready for him, and doing his damndest to save Penny after being tortured. The common everyday folk are a loyal bunch, preferring to stick to certain things, as they know it's what they like and has gotten a favorable response. I'm making everyday people sound more like pets now. This may not have been a good point.
Well there you have it, one drunken man's insane but 100% true theory about Jeff Goldblum playing the common man in this wonderful cult film. It says a lot of Jeff's acting ability to be able to sink himself to such depths to play us. It's like how million dollar celebrities play crack whores. That was a bit of self loathing I didn't expect from me. Time for another drink.
Read the rest of the Goldblumathon entries (including one by my much more talented wife) and remember, Goldblum is forever.