When Comics take on more serious roles...the good the bad and the hideous!

Arnold is wooden in anything that does not require action and killing. Wait he is wooden in them too.
Dennis Miller has a look at me I am acting quality.
Tom Arnold plays a second banana ass kisser well. Kinda like when he was married to Rozanne.practice practice practice
Larry Miller plays a pricky boss well.
Most seem to pull off TV acting fairly well. Like Tim Allen ,Seinfeld atc. Why does TV acting come easier?

Steve Martin has been quite good in a variety of roles ranging from comic (The Three Amigos, Bowfinger) to serious (Roxanne, Shopgirl. He’s also done a lot of stinkers (e.g,. The Pink Panther), too.

I thought he carried himself pretty well with Nicholson in Hoffa.

Yeah, but the two most common words. “ot” is my usual written shorthand for that word combo, anyway, I think I used it by reflex, like using slashes for “or”.

Maybe you’re thinking of The Corpse Bride?

I like Bill Murray just fine in serious roles. I’m one of the three people who enjoyed The Razor’s Edge. He also did good work in Broken Flowers, says I, and turned in a nice nuanced performance in Rushmore.

Count me among those who just don’t buy Jim Carrey in a serious role. The only such role where he is remotely tolerable is Eternal Sunshine, and there it was the strength of the movie as a whole that won me over.

I also don’t really buy Will Smith in serious roles. He’s fine as a comic actor, but that’s as far as it goes for me.

Adam Sandler doesn’t really work for me in either comic or serious roles.

I think Jennifer Anniston does well in either comic or serious roles.

The first time I ever saw him in a movie (after being a rapper, and on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”) was in the movie Six Degrees of Separation (an adaptation of a stage play). He was great in it, especially in contrast to what I pictured him as at the time, I remember being quite impressed.

I can’t think of too many “serious” roles I’ve seen him in since then (i.e., outside of comedy or action flicks), though Ali does come to mind, where I also thought he was pretty good.

He was brilliant on In Living Color. Made the show.

Michael Keaton has done well at a few pretty heavy dramatic roles. He is always my first answer when a topic simlar to this comes up. In particular his character in Pacific Heights was (for me) the least funny person ever played (and played well)by a comic.

I happened to catch a series of scenes that Stanley Kramer shot with a number of comedic actors who were in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World. It was a long time ago and I was very young and it was shown by Kramer for a friend’s father.

And it had a number of the actors from that wonderful slapstick comedy in serious scenes. I remember Sid Caesar doing Willie Loman from Death of a Salesman and Jonathan Winters doing Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Milton Berle did something and so did Buddy Hackett. As I said I was pretty young so it was quite awhile ago.

I remember just how good those guys were. These were raw scenes - just the actor in front of the camera doing serious drama. A couple of times I remember one or two of them bailing out with humor, but the scenes were powerful even to a young kid.

I have often wondered what ever happened to that film.

Regarding the discussion on Bill Murray: I thought he was excellent in The Razor’s Edge. It is a character that is not heroic in the traditional sense. It is a character that is shallow and vapid who grows despite of who he is and what he tries not to be. Murray captures that.

I have seen two other versions of the book and in both of those, the actors try to make this man a somebody. He not somebody until the end and even then the point is very zen (I guess) and that somebody is still nobody and there is a point in that realization for the character.

For me it is like Suziki (probably the wrong person) who said trying to explain zen is trying to explain the unexplainable and then he wrote 13 books or so trying to explain it.

In “the good”, I have to vote for Thomas Hayden Church . As Lowell the mechanic, he was, IMHO, the only good thing about the sitcom Wings . I was pleasantly surprised at how effective he was playing a more serious (though still comedic) role in the film Sideways .

I’m watching Hugh Laurie in the sarcastic, curmudgeonly role he plays on the drama series House MD, and also watching him much earlier in his hilarious role as Wooster in Jeeves & Wooster. He can definitely handle both types of roles quite well.