Contributed by Andrew Buss
Today, we learned that Alan Arkin passed away at the age of 89. Obviously, Arkin was a highly respected dramatic actor. But the Academy Award winner was also versatile and one of the few actors who could seamlessly shift between drama and comedy.
Arkin, of course, got his start in the world of comedy at Chicago’s famed Second City comedy troupe. In honor of Arkin, we are going to take a look back at five of his best comedic performances from over the years.
1) Little Miss Sunshine
You can’t talk about Alan Arkin and not talk about Little Miss Sunshine. In the 2006 dark dramaedy, Arkin played a raunchy, foul-mouthed grandfather who also just so happened to have a love of heroin. The character proved to be one of his most memorable, and managed to get him a ton of accolades, including his only Academy Award.
2) The In-Laws
The In-Laws is another classic comedy that starred Arkin. Directed by Arthur Hiller and written by Andrew Bergman, the film saw Arkin play a dentist who becomes at odds with his daughter’s future father-in-law, played by Peter Falk. It’s a classic clash of families, and the chemistry between Arkin and Falk manages to drive the film home.
3) Grosse Pointe Blank
Arkin again co-stars in another dark comedy. This one revolves around a hitman, played by John Cusack, who goes back home for his 10th high school reunion. Here, Arkin plays his concerned therapist, who is getting more and more uncomfortable with his client’s day job.
4) Edward Scissorhands
On paper, the story of Edward Scissorhands is ridiculous at best. But part of what makes the film work and lends it its charm is just how convincing all of the actors are in the film, and just how seriously they treat Johnny Depp with sharp blades on his hands. Arkin is no exception, and manages to help lend credence to the narrative as Dianne Wiest’s husband.
5) The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming
Finally, we’ve got one of Arkin’s first cinematic roles, alongside comedy legend Carl Reiner and directed by Norman Jewison. In The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Arkin plays Rozanov, a Russian Lieutenant whose Soviet submarine gets stuck on a New England island. He seeks the helps of locals to try and get the submarine moving again, while claiming to be Norwegian sailors.