Ahhh, Jeff Daniels. What a perfect conglomeration of artistic talent, musical ability, and comical prowess. Wait, you didn't know he's been playing guitar for the past 30 years? Did you completely forget about movie gems like Dumb & Dumber hidden behind way-too-family-friendly films like Because of Winn-Dixie and 101 Dalmations?
"I don't think you can walk on stage having done a whole bunch of movies and ask the people to forget all that or say, 'You need to take me seriously as a serious musician based on the fact that you've seen me in the movies,'" Daniels said recently. "You can't ignore that baggage. So I embrace it."
Said baggage leads to songs about being shot and killed by Clint Eastwood, having a good life (and then dying), and what exactly happens in "the middle of the night." We can't make this stuff up.
We get that it's probably hard to remember Daniels being anything more than completely sincere because of films like Pleasantville and the Squid and the Whale. Well, that's what we're here for.
Daniels is coming to the Broward Center on January 14 to show us how much talent he really has, and we've dished out five reasons why all of this makes us bizarrely excited to see him. Check 'em out and tell us if you agree after the jump.
He writes ridiculous songs with ridiculous messages.
He's written about hitting pedestrians. He's even written about celebs becoming rock 'n' roll stars. Oh, the irony. But what really caught our eye? He managed to make booty calls sound beautiful with lyrics like "These empty arms of mine are thinking of you/ I miss you most/ In the middle of the night." Awww.
He can actually sing.
You probably wouldn't guess it, but songs of his like "Grandfather's Hat" are actually quite soothing, with lyrics like "You stood out in the crowd/ you were one of a kind/ the life of the party/ you were never behind." His crooning abilities are quite folksy, too. Try not to lift up a lighter or a lit cell phone to this track.
He can act.
Have you seen Pleasantville or the Squid and the Whale? We've come across few actors who can portray the victim of a relationship quite like him. He actually made us hope he landed Anna Paquin's much younger character (which he totally did). Plus, have you ever seen an actor that started as a comedian go back to his original craft? Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, and Bill Cosby were definitely better the second time around.
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Dumb and Dumber is still one of the funniest go-to films in our collection.
He made us laugh so hard juice came out of our noses when we were kids. Sure, he was only a trusty sidekick in that film. But he was still our favorite by far. Did you forget how memorable that cane fight was?
He's kind of mysterious.
How does an actor actually cross over and manage to do comedy, family films, TV, music, and dramas? We're not really sure, but there's still a lot we don't know about Daniels, apparently, and that makes us even more curious to see him live.
Jeff Daniels, Friday, January 14, 2011, at 8:30pm. At the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center, 201 SW Fifth Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale. Tickets are $25 plus fees, via the Broward Center's box office (954-462-0222) or browardcenter.org.