Ranking of each John Goodman character in a Coen brothers movie
Along with Frances McDormand and John Turturro, John Goodman is one of the Coen brothers’ closest collaborators. From the Coen’s second film, the classic slapstick comedy of 1987 Elevate Arizona, Goodman has played roles big and small in six of the duo’s films.
These roles include forgettable roles, such as an anonymous news announcer in The Hudsucker proxy, and memorable, as a furious Vietnam War veteran in The great Lebowski and a seemingly mild-mannered hotel guest who turns out to be a serial killer in Barton fink.
6 News Announcer (The Hudsucker Proxy)
Goodman’s smallest role in a Coen Brothers film is his appearance as a newscast in The Hudsucker proxy. As the only role of the unnamed actor in the Coen brothers, this news announcer is unsurprisingly the least memorable of all the characters he’s played for the duo.
As usual, Goodman brings every line out of the park, but this role was more a conscious nod to longtime Coen fans who expect the actor to appear in their films than a substantial role. in its own right.
5 Daniel “Big Dan” Teague (O brother, where are you?)
Following the structure of Homer Odyssey, O brother, where are you? has an episodic plot that allows actors to make appearances throughout the main trio’s journey, such as Holly Hunter as George Clooney’s ex-wife or Michael Badalucco as the hysterically insecure Baby Face Nelson.
Goodman puts on an unforgettable hilarious twist as Daniel “Big Dan” Teague, a one-eyed man who matches the source material’s Cyclops Polyphemus. Although he initially presents himself as a sympathetic Bible salesman, Big Dan turns out to be a mugger (and a Klansman) who uses this facade to lure people to a secluded place to steal them. Goodman brilliantly plays the brutal slapstick of the fight scene.
4 Roland Turner (Inside Llewyn Davis)
One of the Coen’s most nuanced and engaging character studies, Inside Llewyn Davis, stars Oscar Isaac as a Dylan-style folk singer in the early 1960s. Rather than a traditional three-act plot, Inside Llewyn Davis follows a series of vignettes as Llewyn drifts across America, struggling to make a living as a musician. In the middle of the film, Llewyn hits the road hoping to hitchhike to Chicago.
He ended up hitchhiking with beat poet Johnny Five, played by Garrett Hedlund, and jazz musician Roland Turner, played by Goodman. Goodman gives one of his more low-key, cerebral performances as Roland, who turns out to be a heroin addict and dies of a drug overdose halfway through.
3 Gale Snoats (Raise Arizona)
Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter present the Coen’s burlesque comedy Elevate Arizona as an ex-convict and cop who get married, want to start a family, and find out they can’t conceive or adopt a child. When a local businessman breeds quintuplets and jokes to the press that he has more children than he can handle, the couple decide to kidnap one and raise him as their own. .
The main conflict in the film is their struggle to adjust to parenthood (and to keep the bounty hunter from coming after them), but things get even worse when two fellow inmates, one of whom is played by Goodman, break down. escape from prison and come to stay. Goodman is hysterical in the film, both with dry deliveries like “We broke free on our own” and in more physical comedic beats like throwing Cage through the wall of his own bathroom during a fight.
2 Charlie Meadows / Karl Mundt (Barton Fink)
Goodman was the perfect cast to play guest in the hotel room next to Barton in Barton fink, because the warmth and sympathy of the actor lulls the audience into a false sense of security. At first, he just appears to be an intrusive neighbor whose chatty nature prevents Barton from doing any work, but the character turns out to be much darker than that.
When the film turns into real horror territory, Barton is visited by two detectives who inform him that “Charlie Meadows” is actually Karl Mundt, a serial killer whose MO is the beheading. After putting on a convincing facade in gentle manners throughout the first two acts, Goodman is genuinely unsettling in the grand finale as he takes on Barton in a hallway on fire.
1 Walter Sobchak (The Great Lebowski)
Jeff Bridges is the undisputed star of The great Lebowski as “The Dude,” a white drinking stoner and bowling enthusiast whose reckless existence is interrupted by a case of mistaken identity and a gang of kidnappers cutting off his toes. But Goodman offers an infinitely hysterical counterpoint to the Dude’s relaxed, zen demeanor as a raging hothead who resorts to screaming at some point in every conversation. Inspired by John Milius, Walter Sobchak is a Vietnam War veteran who manages to evoke his military experiences in any interaction.
He shoots a bowler who refuses to admit his foot has crossed the line, crushes a sports car he says belongs to a teenager, and cites a Supreme Court ruling when a cafe waitress asks him to keep it. Goodman nails every scene as Walter – it’s one of the funniest performances ever to be filmed.
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