If any performer has a 100% approval rating it’s Rick Moranis, who turned 65 this week. And while he walked away from his highly successful career at an early age to be a stay-at-home dad, he still gave us a number of beloved, iconic performances. So to celebrate one of our favorite actors, who always had us rooting–and laughing with–some of cinema’s biggest nerds and unlikeliest heroes, here are his five most memorable movie roles.
Barney Coopersmith – My Blue Heaven
This should probably be in the top five, but unfortunately it has kind of been lost to time a little bit. It’s never on TV, and since it’s not for kids, new generations aren’t often introduced to it like some of his most famous films. It’s still a great straight man performance though, and it makes Steve Martin’s more over-the-top part funnier.
Barney Rubble – The Flintstones
This is a kids’ movie, but not one that was a big hit with audiences, plus this is only our second favorite Moranis’ “Barney.” And while he’s charming and lovable, the movie isn’t our favorite he’s been in.
5) Danny O’Shea – Little Giants
Little Giants remains one of the funniest pure kids sports movies ever made, and its emotional heart is Moranis’s Danny O’Shea, the overshadowed little brother of a former Heisman Trophy winner and the unfair coach of the town’s Pop Warner football team. Moranis was the perfect choice as the man who steps up to lead the town’s overlooked kids to victory against the more athletic kids. Moranis’s Danny is sincere, vulnerable, and brave, and that’s why you are going to be way more emotional than you’re prepared for re-watching him give this halftime speech.
4) Wayne Szalinski – Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Rick Moranis played a lot of nerds, and his smartest version was the brilliant Wayne Szalinski in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids franchise, which led to three movies (yes, there was a third, but we can pretend it didn’t happen). These sci-fi fantasy films were huge with kids, and no one is more associated with them than Moranis, who was the perfect choice to play the sweet but careless scientist. Who else could literally shrink their children without you getting mad at them?
3) Lord Dark Helmet – Spaceballs
Casting Rick Moranis to play his Darth Vader-esque character in his Star Wars parody was a truly inspired choice by Mel Brooks. Getting to play a bad guy for a change, Lord Dark Helmet stands as the funniest movie role of Moranis’s career. His naturally geeky persona made his oversized, overcompensating helmet that much funnier, and seeing his bespectacled real face every time he was frustrated, angry, or confused is an amazing recurring joke. He’s absolutely hysterical in every scene he’s in.
2) Louis Tully – Ghostbusters
Not only are the two Ghostbusters movies arguably the most popular of his career, the super geeky Louis Tully is one of the funniest characters in them. Everyone remembers him in the first film as the smitten neighbor in love with Dana, who then became the Keymaster, who then was turned into a dog beast, but his attempts at being a Ghostbuster in the second are maybe even more absurd. It’s impossible for any human to be any funnier than he is in this scene.
1) Seymour Krelborn – Little Shop of Horrors
A true cult classic that feels like it would be impossible to get made today (try pitching this musical in one sentence without sounding like a crazy person), this is everything you’d want from a Rick Moranis performance. He’s nerdy, smart, lovable, feeds people to a killer talking alien plant, defeats the bad guy, gets the girl, saves the world (maybe), and oh yeah, he sings.
We hope some day he returns to acting full time, because the world needs more Rick Moranis. And we definitely need more of Rick Moranis singing.
But what do you think? What other role should have made our list? What should be in the top spot? Share your favorite Rick Moranis part in our comments below.
Featured Image: Columbia/Warner Bros./MGM