If there’s any justice in this world, Birdman, a new movie out Oct. 17 starring Michael Keaton as a once-famous actor attempting a comeback, will mark the beginning of a new start for Keaton’s own career. Hilarious and versatile, Keaton showed he was capable of playing an everyman or a famous billionaire superhero in the 80s and 90s, but has been flying under the radar since around 2000. his return might not be quite like a last year’s Academy Award–worthy “McConaissance,” but a level of cultural appreciation the likes of which we tend to reserve for guys like Bill Murray might still be in order.
In anticipation of the forthcoming Keaton comeback, here are his six best performances that you should watch over again to get reacquainted with the greatness that is Michael Keaton.
6. Night Shift
Keaton’s first starring role as Bill “Blaze” Blazejowski starting a prostitution service out of a city morgue is still as hilarious as it was when it came out in 1982.
Sorry to Christian Bale and Val Kilmer, but Keaton played the Caped Crusader better than anybody. He didn’t make his voice sound all hoarse, and he probably would have walked off the set if they’d offered him a suit with a pair of nipples like they did with George Clooney.
This 1996 Harold Ramis–directed comedy might not have done well at the box office or with the critics, but give it another chance; you get Keaton playing a few clone versions of his main character. How can you go wrong with that?
3. Clean and Sober
Keaton gets somber in this 1988 drama you don’t hear too much about, but which really portrays 1980s excess better than almost anything else to come out during the decade.
2. Mr. Mom
This 1983 comedy shows Keaton balancing heartwarming with humor in that unique way only he could really pull off. For a movie that’s over 30, this one still holds up.
Keaton as the sleazy “ghost with the most” stands as Keaton’s most off-the-wall and unforgettable performance to date. He’s great in a lot of other films, but he truly owns his role as the bio-exorcist in the striped suit, turning in one of the funniest performances you’ll ever see.