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The Michael Keaton Bio

The Michael Keaton Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:

Batman / Beetle Juice

When Keaton was asked to do Batman, he thought it would be a camp version similar to the '60s tv show. After all, why would Tim Burton cast him, both he and the rest of the world, particularly comic fans, wondered. Somehow all those strange quirks, psychoses, and deep-seated anger that is Bruce Wayne were putty in Keaton's hands. Likewise, one of the great comic caricatures of all time, Beetlejuice was the same character (okay, a slight exaggeration) in comic form.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Mr. Mom (the title character, fired, who must switch roles with wife Teri Garr)
Jack Frost (comes back from the dead as a snowman to be with his son)
Johnny Dangerously (the title '30s gangster)
Much Ado About Nothing (Dogberry, the malapropped cop)
One Good Cop (a cop trying to adopt his dead partner's kids)
Live from Baghdad (a CNN producer in its groundbreaking coverage of the 1991 Persian Gulf War)
The Last Time (cynical salesman out for Brendan Fraser's fiancée)
A Shot at Glory (American owner of a struggling Scottish soccer team)
The Company (inside story of the CIA)
Gung Ho (the head of an American factory that has to start doing things the Japanese way)
The Merry Gentleman (suicidal hit man, opposite Kelly Macdonald, his directorial debut)
Multiplicity (a guy with several clones of himself)
The Dream Team (a crazy guy with Christopher Lloyd, Peter Boyle and Stephen Furst)
Clean and Sober (a real-estate agent and coke addict in way over his head)
Batman (Batman, against Jack Nicholson as the Joker)
Batman Returns (Batman, against Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman)
Beetle Juice (the expert scaremeister Beetle Juice)
Night Shift (crazy entrepreneur determined to profit from his morgue job by turning it into a brothel)
Jackie Brown (Ray Nicolette, an ATF agent)
The Other Guys (a police captain, boss of Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell)
The Paper (an editor at a NYC tabloid)
The Real Michael Keaton:
Much Ado About Nothing >

Not so much the silly mixed-up sheriff, but the method of getting there. In the strict construction of his works, Shakespeare left room for improv of sorts in his base players. Thankfully taking them off rhyme and meter, he let vagabonds be vagabonds. So, the best could improvise, creating characters that would stand apart from the play in more ways than one. This is Keaton in Much Ado, where maybe technique, intelligence, and comic timing come through in equal measures to the scene itself.
Acting Style:
As with his two best films, Keaton plays best at two extremes. On the crazy end are the comic roles that demand a physical eccentricity, with never before seen moves and spasms. On the crazier end are the psychotic roles such as Pacific Heights and even Clean and Sober.
Bits and Quirks:
Great mastery of both facial and physical quirks. Works the eyebrows and the intense eyes for psychotic effect. Pulls them back for the clueless look, with a great slack jaw and pursed lips. Quick jerks of the head, often combined with a jerky dialogue. Jerks his whole body around similarly. Talking fast with his lips barely moving.
Great Scenes:
Much Ado About Nothing

> Riding the fake horse a la Monty Python
> Turning over the prisoners
> Interrogating the prisoners
> Putting his men on the watch

Beetle Juice

> Multiple scenes of great mischief
> Putting the moves on Geena Davis
> His first appearance and demonstrations of his talents
> Causing the famous "Day O" scene
> the thorns coming out of him
> the merry go round

Clean And Sober

> Using the phone and getting kicked out of treatment by Morgan Freeman


> Dinner with Kim Basinger
> Dancing with Michelle Pfeiffer in II
> Fighting Pfeiffer
> goes off the deep end as Bruce Wayne, talking with Jack Nicholson
> the rooftop showy poses
> the great wings-spread entrances