Charles Grodin Turned Down The New Muppet Movie?! NOOO!!!
It seriously cannot be expressed how much I worshiped and watched “The Great Muppet Caper” as a child. There had to be stress on the actual tape inside the VHS cassette that it was recorded on from the constant playing and rewinding of it. Naturally, I despised the arch-villain, Nicky Holiday, who was trying to get all up on Miss Piggy. That’s Kermit’s lady homie. You best step off.
This is all coming from the news that Charles Grodin (seen here as the aforementioned Holiday) has a) turned down a role in the upcoming Jason Segel-written Muppet movie and b) turned down a role in the upcoming sequel to “Midnight Run”. This is so upsetting to an unabashed fan of Grodin as I am. Then, I read the article linked here to find out that he stopped acting to be with his family and also volunteers to help rehabilitate first-time criminals who are sentence to overly-harsh prison terms. While I don’t agree with most of his politics, I have to admit that he practices what he preaches and is trying to help out some unfortunate people.
Enough of that noise, let’s talk Grodin’s filmography. For a guy whose first acting work came in 1958, he really hasn’t appeared in that much stuff. However, he has been in several great movies and had smaller parts in other movies that steal the show. He also made the “Beethoven” movies…which is almost unforgivable. But it’s hard to stay mad at The Duke. Here are my favorite Grodin roles:
- “Seems Like Old Times”
This was a Neil Simon screenplay set up to show off Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. As the assistant district attorney Ira Parks, Grodin not only steals the show from Chase and Hawn, he fires off more dryly hilarious lines than you can handle.
“Hitler. Adolf Hitler…on Candid Camera”
- “Heaven Can Wait”
As the assistant to Warren Beatty’s rich tycoon, Grodin plays another villain. This time, he’s a buffoon that, along with Beatty’s wife played by a hilarious Dyan Cannon, is trying to murder Beatty. At the time, there couldn’t be anyone better at dry smarminess.
Best line (well, exchange):
Tony Abbott (Grodin): Sorry to disturb you, Mr. Farnsworth. Mrs. Farnsworth saw a mouse.
Betty Logan: She just saw a mouse?
Abbott: No. Before. Outside. But she relives it.
- “So I Married An Axe Murderer”
Look, this movie is pretty awful…when the stars are on-screen. Oddly enough, when the tiny parts played by Anthony LaPaglia, Alan Arkin, and Grodin pop up, the movie is genius.
Best line (other than all of them):
“I happen to know for a fact that you don’t have the right to commandeer my vehicle.”
- “Midnight Run”
Without a doubt, this is the quintessential Grodin performance. The movie is fantastic and Robert DeNiro and Grodin are 100% gold in every single scene they share together. Grodin’s performance is good that I usually mention it as one of the reasons the Oscars piss me off so much. What about Grodin’s Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas wasn’t deserving of an Academy Award nomination? Comedic performances get hosed and this is another in a long, long of them.
Jonathan Mardukas (Grodin): I got money, y’know.
Jack Walsh (DeNiro): I’m sure you do.
Mardukas: I’ll give you whatever you want.
Walsh: Start by shutting up. I know you all of two minutes and already I don’t like ya.
Mardukas: Gee, that’s too bad. I really like you.