Bob Balaban - Rotten Tomatoes

Bob Balaban

Highest Rated:   100% Everything Is Copy (2016)
Lowest Rated:   14% My Boyfriend's Back (1993)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Chicago, Illinois
Playing a succession of bespectacled, soft-spoken, yet vaguely superior characters, Bob Balaban carved himself a niche as a reliable character actor in the last quarter of the 20th century, while also getting the occasional opportunity to write and direct for the screen. The nephew and cousin of industry personages, Balaban got the acting bug at Colgate University and N.Y.U., inspiring him to study with Uta Hagen and Viola Spolin. After some exposure on and off-Broadway in the late 1960s, Balaban made his film debut in Midnight Cowboy (1969), playing the high school student who meets Jon Voight in the movie theater for a tryst. Working sporadically through the '70s, more in theater and TV than film, Balaban developed a more familiar face with such roles as the cartographer and French translator from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978) and the attorney hired to help Richard Dreyfuss' quadriplegic choose to die in Whose Life Is It Anyway? (1981). Balaban's major contribution to the industry in the 1980s was as a director, first of the disappointing Showtime movie The Brass Ring (1983) and then of the macabre weekly TV series Tales of the Darkside (1984) and Amazing Stories (1985). His big-screen directorial debut, the cannibal-themed black comedy Parents (1989), was considered either an objectionable failure by some or a devious cult classic by others; two later forays into directing (My Boyfriend's Back in 1993, The Last Good Time in 1994) were better received.In the 1990s, Balaban returned his focus to acting, especially as he caught on with more regular parts in the latter half of the decade. His most widely seen role was the NBC executive who accepts, then declines, then accepts again the pilot written by George and Jerry on the popular sitcom Seinfeld. His Russell Dalrymple appeared in only six episodes in the 1992-1993 season but was featured prominently in the season finale, lost at sea and presumed dead in his all-consuming quest to win Elaine's affections. It was this Seinfeld gig that netted Balaban the most regular and prominent work of his career in the years that followed. Although often still appearing in serious roles, Balaban indulged his talent for subtle comedy by linking up with actor/director Christopher Guest and appearing in two of his acclaimed faux documentaries, Waiting for Guffman (1996) and Best in Show (2000).Balaban scored a major art-house and critical successes producing and playing one of the main characters in Robert Altman's murder-mystery Gosford Park, and appearing as an ineffective father in Ghost World. That same year he appeared in important supporting roles in such big-budget fare as The Mexican and The Majestic. He maintained his carer in the independent world hooking up again with Christopher Guest for A Mighty Wind, and making a cameo appearance in the Oscar nominated Capote. Balaban appeared in and helped produce the animated Hollywood satire Hopeless Pictures, which ran on IFC in 2005. 2006 proved to be a very busy year for the multi-talented Balaban. In addition to another ollaboration with Guest, For Your Consideration, he played a film critic in M. Nght Shyamalan's The Lady in the Water. He also directed Ralph Finnes and Susan Sarandon in Doris and Bernard.Over the coming years, Balaban would continue to find outlets for his unique screen presence, appearing on the popular comedy series Web Therapy, and narrating the Wes Anderson comedy Moonrise Kingdom.

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Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Isle of Dogs
  • Actor
2018
81% Eva Hesse
  • Wilhelm Hesse
2016
100% Everything Is Copy
  • Actor
2016
53% Mascots
  • Sol Lumpkin
2016
60% I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
  • Mr. Waxcap
2016
95% Hitchcock/Truffaut
  • Actor
2015
55% Fading Gigolo
  • Sol
2014
92% The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • M. Martin "The Society of the Crossed Keys"
2014
30% The Monuments Men
  • Preston Savitz
2014
22% Girl Most Likely
  • Actor
2013
94% Moonrise Kingdom
  • The Narrator
2012
69% The Convincer (Thin Ice)
  • Leonard Dahl
2012
62% Howl
  • Judge Clayton Horn
2010
No Score Yet Georgia O'Keeffe
  • Director
2009
86% The Windmill Movie
  • Actor
2009
17% Rage
  • Mr. White
2009
76% Recount
  • Ben Ginsberg
2008
No Score Yet Bernard and Doris
  • Executive Producer
  • Producer
  • Director
2007
40% Dedication
  • Arthur Planck
2007
42% No Reservations
  • Therapist
2007
51% For Your Consideration
  • Philip Koontz
2006
27% Trust the Man
  • Actor
2006
24% Lady in the Water
  • Harry Farber
2006
No Score Yet No Money Down
  • Actor
2006
90% Capote
  • William Shawn
2005
No Score Yet The Exonerated
  • Director
2005
No Score Yet Marie and Bruce
  • Roger
2004
88% A Mighty Wind
  • Jonathan Steinbloom
2003
No Score Yet Monster Hunter
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Plan B
  • James
2002
22% The Tuxedo
  • CSA Director (uncredited)
2002
86% Gosford Park
  • Morris Weissman
  • Producer
2001
42% The Majestic
  • Majority Counsel Elvin Clyde
2001
92% Ghost World
  • Enid's Father
2001
56% The Mexican
  • Nayman
2001
95% Best in Show
  • Dr. Millbank
2000
50% Parents
  • Director
2000
No Score Yet The Monster Hunter
  • Actor
2000
65% Cradle Will Rock
  • Harry Hopkins
1999
28% Three to Tango
  • Decker
1999
29% Jakob the Liar
  • Kowalsky
1999
83% Clockwatchers
  • Milton Lasky
1998
71% Deconstructing Harry
  • Richard
1997
No Score Yet SUBWAYStories: Tales from the Underground
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet Subway Stories
  • Director
1997
No Score Yet No Money Down
  • Actor
1997
No Score Yet The Late Shift
  • Warren Littlefield
1996
91% Waiting for Guffman
  • Lloyd Miller
1996
No Score Yet Pie in the Sky
  • Paul
1996
89% The Last Good Time
  • Director
  • Screenwriter
  • Producer
1995
19% City Slickers 2 - The Legend of Curly's Gold
  • Radio Shrink
1994
29% Greedy
  • Ed
1994
32% For Love or Money
  • Drinkwater
1993
14% My Boyfriend's Back
  • Director
1993
21% Amos & Andrew
  • Dr. Fink
1993
100% Bob Roberts
  • Producer Michael Janes, `Cutting Edge Live'
1992
76% Little Man Tate
  • Odyssey of the Mind Questioner
1991
No Score Yet Unnatural Pursuits
  • Actor
1991
77% Alice
  • Sid Moscowitz
1990
No Score Yet The Face of Fear
  • Ira Preduski
1990
33% Dead Bang
  • Elliot Webly
1989
60% End of the Line
  • Gerber
1987
66% 2010
  • Dr. R. Chandra
1984
No Score Yet In Our Hands
  • Actor
1984
80% Whose Life Is It Anyway?
  • Carter Hill
1981
86% Absence Of Malice
  • Rosen
1981
95% Prince of the City
  • Santimassino
1981
86% Altered States
  • Arthur Rosenberg
1980
100% Girlfriends
  • Martin
1978
96% Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • David Laughlin
1977
No Score Yet Report to the Commissioner
  • Joey Egan
1975
No Score Yet Bank Shot
  • Victor Karp
1974
85% Catch-22
  • Capt. Orr
1970
No Score Yet The Strawberry Statement
  • Elliot
1970
No Score Yet Me, Natalie
  • Morris
1969
90% Midnight Cowboy
  • Young Student
1969

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Jimmy Kimmel Live
2003
  • Guest
Oz
1997-2003
  • Director
No Score Yet The West Wing
1999-2006
  • Ted Marcus
67% Entourage
2004-2011
  • Doctor
No Score Yet Alpha House #DEL
2013-2014
  • Director
97% Show Me a Hero
2015
  • Leonard Sand
84% Nurse Jackie
2009-2015
  • Director
93% Pitch
2016
  • Frank Reid
97% The Good Wife
2009-2016
  • Gordon Higgs
No Score Yet Last Week Tonight With John Oliver
2014
  • Appearing
The Twilight Zone
2002-2003
  • Director
88% Girls
2012
  • Dr. Rice
No Score Yet Seinfeld
1989-1998
  • Russell Dalrimple Dalrymple Russell Dalrymple

Quotes from Bob Balaban's Characters