Why is George Clooney worth so much, you may well ask? Someone did, on Google, and the answer was not only because of his acting and producing work, but also because of the sale of his tequila company, property investments and endorsements, all of which put him at the half-a-billion-dollar mark.
Not too shabby for someone whose early career included a role in Return of the Killer Tomatoes, the 1988 sequel to the 1978 original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes – movies so utterly ridiculous they earned their place in the cult of movies so bad they’re hilarious.
On television, Clooney racked up a number of guest appearances on various shows like Murder, She Wrote, The Golden Girls and Roseanne before landing the role of Dr Doug Ross on ER for 109 episodes.
Clooney, known for his humanitarian projects, a pot-bellied pig, and rambunctious bromances with the likes of Brad Pitt, is a respected actor, director and producer. His filmography is diverse and prolific, ranging from the commercially viable Ocean’s (11, 12, 13) films, to the serious like Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck, to family flicks like Spy Kids, to the downright whacky, like Men Who Stare At Goats.
We’ve found five movies starring gorgeous George on Netflix, and two series on Showmax that he produced.
Burn After Reading (Netflix)
Buddy Brad Pitt is higher up on the star bill than Clooney in this Joel and Ethan Coen black comedy. To answer to Google users’ question as to the point of the movie, GQ replied: “The plot of Burn After Reading is overly complicated, but that’s the point. The movie looks at how something completely pointless (the worthless data stolen from Cox’s computer contains a draft of his pretentious memoirs) can spiral out of control when the parties don’t realize what information they have or don’t have.”
The review also says, “This one of the funniest—if not the funniest—Coen brothers’ films, and its plot about bumbling CIA agents, stolen information, and Russian spies could not be more fitting for the present moment.” That was in 2017, about a 2008 movie. In 2020, anything and everything could be relevant.
Clooney executive produced the whole thing, directed two episodes, and appeared in three.
“The Catch-22 series is successful in almost every way. It is beautifully shot, thoughtfully written and incredibly well acted. It takes plenty of liberties with Joseph Heller’s book– there are approximately 25 fewer characters, almost no flashbacks and the ending is entirely different – but, having seen the series, I have come to the conclusion that these changes are exactly what make it sing,” said The Guardian.
This is spot on; the 1961 book can be heavy going but the miniseries – six episodes – is far more accessible and it doesn’t hurt that Christopher Abbot as John Yossarian is easy on the eye.
The phrase “Catch-22” was coined by Heller for the book, and refers to a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contradictory rules or limitations.
O Brother Where Art Thou (Netflix)
Another Coen brothers collaboration, with a bluegrass soundtrack, the story is set the Depression-era Deep South, where three convicts – Ulysses (Clooney), Pete (John Turturro) and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) – break out of their chain gang and go on the run.
A full two decades old this year, this is a film that never loses its appeal. Says The Guardian: “Absurdly entertaining and witty, this singular film spills over into magical realism as it entangles history with mythology – and, of course, music.”
On Becoming A God In Central Florida (Showmax)
This series starring Kirsten Dunst is Clooney’s most recent television outing – as executive producer. Dunst plays Krystal Stubbs, “a minimum-wage water park employee who lies, schemes and cons her way up the ranks of the cultish, multibillion-dollar pyramid scheme that drove her family to ruin in the first place” – from Showtime, which renewed the series for a second season a year ago, before it became a Covid casualty.
“It’s a gem of a performance from Dunst, boasting a different accent but reminiscent of her second-season work on Fargo. Overworked and under-supported, Krystal starts from a place of malaise, with the show reveling in finding the big and small moments that bring her joy, whether it’s coaching poolside exercise or revisiting the unexpected talent that made her a pageant queen.” – The Hollywood Reporter.
Out of Sight (Netflix)
This is still one of my favourites. Clooney stars opposite Jennifer Lopez. He’s an escaped convict, she’s a US Marshal in a delectable tale of cat and mouse. “Clooney has never looked so cool or acted with such silken-tongued charm, holding the screen with all the debonair magnetism of a late-breaking Cary Grant,” said Empire.
Steven Soderbergh directed the film, the first of seven he and Clooney worked on together. It’s based on the Elmore Leonard book of the same name so you’ve got excellent source material right there. If you enjoy this, watch the Get Shorty series, a spinoff of the movie of the same name and also based on a book written by Elmore Leonard, on Showmax.
The Ides of March (Netflix)
Clooney produces, directs and stars in this one, with a cast including Ryan Gosling, the late great Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti (Billions), Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld), Marisa Tomei and Jeffrey Wright, who is in Westworld too. The theme is politics, but even if you couldn’t care less about the workings of US government, these actors bring such viewing pleasure to the screen.
The Guardian was impressed: “George Clooney’s impressive thriller about corruption among America’s Democrats places him as the heir to Robert Redford.” Noting it was Clooney’s fourth outing as director and his second political movie, the review continues: “The Ides of March is his version of The Candidate, Redford’s 1972 picture about democratic politics and the sacrifices and compromises involved in winning elections.”
Up In The Air (Netflix)
Lightening the mood slightly, but not entirely, Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, whose job it is to travel all over America to fire people for companies that don’t want to do their own dirty work. He is a corporate assassin and the title refers to how much time Bingham spends flying across the States.
Of Clooney’s scenes with Vera Farmiga (Psycho), the New York Times had this to say: “He hasn’t been this well matched with a woman since Jennifer Lopez in the 1998 caper film Out of Sight.”
Also in the cast are Jason Bateman (Ozark), Anna Kendrick (Love Life) and JK Simmons.