The Jeff Goldblum Issue
THE PROBLEM with writing about Jeff Goldblum's speech patterns is that the things that make them so distinctive—the spoken italics, the stutter-step changes in pitch, the sense that he's parodying his own line readings, sometimes in the middle of said line—are almost impossible to replicate in print. Consider this valiant effort to transcribe Goldblum's Goldblumisms, taken from Independence Day: Crucible, a novel that serves as a prequel to Independence Day: Resurgence.
"I'm not—clearly not—the leader type. Evil counselor, I can do, you know, the guy plotting in the shadows, Cardinal Richelieu and so forth—"
Almost. Almost, but no.
For proof of what Goldblum's voice brings to the party, check out his brief appearance in 1977's The Sentinel. Seventeen minutes in and there he is, wearing a fatigue jacket/necklace combo that deserves its own essay. Then he opens his mouth, and out come the dubbed, flat tones of some everyday Hollywood jabroni. It's enough to put you off of your popcorn. Was Goldblum's delivery ahead of its time? Did recording technology not yet exist to pick up whatever he was laying down?
So instead, let us turn to the cherished films that knew how to take advantage of Goldblum's singular cadence. Take the ethics lecture from Jurassic Park, complete with strange trail-offs and random table-banging. Or the everyday, pre-pod scenes in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where Goldblum's phrasing occasionally seems too weird for even Donald Sutherland to handle. And there's The Fly, in which he somehow hits every aspect of the emotional and vocal spectrums simultaneously—a feat made even more impressive by the fact that, as a man transforming into a fly, he delivers his lines through a thorax full of unimaginable glop. This is not a thing that other people can do, or should even attempt.
In conclusion, please watch the video below. Play it loud and there's music playing. Play it soft and it's almost like praying.