When asked about John Goodman, someone of our age and disposition is likely to tell you more than you ever wanted to know about his portrayal of Walter Sobchak in The Big Lebowski. While there is no denying the strength of his performance in that role, we don’t imagine you need to hear a litany of stale jokes about being out of your element or what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass. There is plenty of Goodman goodness to go around without more blunt trauma to that dead horse.
First of all, he is freaking Dan Conner. Most of us at deadman/party spent our formative years in one of the rust belt’s real-life Lanford, Illinois equivalents. Even if Rosanne wasn’t ever the hippest show and we might not have admitted it in our younger and cooler days, we appreciated our dirty little corner of America being in primetime and would spend an evening at the Lobo sucking back brews with Dan Conner any time. We imagine if the real Rosanne had hitched her wagon to John Goodman instead of Tom “Best Damn” Arnold, she would still be going strong.
There is plenty else to appreciate about Mr. Goodman’s career including a slew of non-Lebowski Coen brothers projects and perhaps most importantly, the greatest monologue in modern film. Still, the thing we like most about him is probably the sheer unlikelihood of his celebrity. We have taken a gander at the current crop of Missouri State Bears footballers and doubt that its ranks include any stars of Mr. Goodman’s caliber. Of course, it was probably equally unlikely during his tenure on the squad. Maybe Missouri State is the “Cradle of Character Actors.” In any event, it would be our distinct pleasure, despite never quite figuring out the line of succession that resulted in the coronation of King Ralph, to buy John Goodman a beer.