Book Review: ‘Because He’s Jeff Goldblum: The Movies, Memes, and Meaning of Hollywood’s Most Enigmatic Actor’ By Travis M. Andrews

Review by Lauryn Angel

Are you a Jeff Goldblum fan?

Of course you are. But why are you a Jeff Goldblum fan?

Travis M. Andrews has the answer, and it’s coincidentally the title of his new book, which is part biography, part cultural study: Because He’s Jeff Goldblum.

Andrews, a writer for The Washington Post, sets out to uncover just what it is that makes Jeff Goldblum so, well, Goldblum-y. (If that adjective made you cringe, then this book is probably not for you, as it is just one example of how Andrews manipulates the actor’s name to serve as various parts of speech.) The book starts as biography, with Goldblum’s birth and childhood, then covers his career – mostly, but not exactly chronologically – from his days on the stage, to his debut in 1974’s Death Wish, to his iconic roles in The Big Chill (1983), The Fly (1986), and Jurassic Park (1993), to his current turn as a jazz pianist. There’s also a chapter about Goldblum’s popularity as one of the first Internet memes, in which we get a brief history of the genre. And though Andrews did not get to interview the man himself for this project, he was able to speak with several of the directors and actors Goldblum has worked with, along with pop culture experts suck as Chuck Klosterman.

If you’re a fan of Goldblum’s irreverent, whimsical, antic style, then you will enjoy this book. While it’s clear that Andrews has done quite a bit of research, this book is never dry, thanks to the author’s snarky, often self-deprecating style and often humorous footnotes. (If you’re the type who tends to skip footnotes, don’t skip these!) And even if you’re a huge Goldblum fan, you’ll probably learn at least one new thing from this book. Among the things I learned: Goldblum’s preferred brand of lozenge and how the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra is connected to one of my favorite movies, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I will offer a caveat: if you’re looking for salacious, scandalous content, this is not the book for you. This book is a light-hearted celebration of Goldblumishness (Now I’m doing it too!), not a Hollywood tell-all. And to that end, it doesn’t seem like there is anything bad to say about the guy. This book is aa quirky and charming as the man himself.

Available in stores now.

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