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#396. Tim Allen

While it seems most actors strive to eventually escape from the small screen of television for the big screen of movies, some of these actors find the realm of Hollywood is a lot different from their experiences in television. Of course, Hollywood also scopes out actors who have proven themselves successful in television so the name-recognition can transfer over to the movies they’d star in, thus bringing in more money. This transition can often happen at the end of an actor’s popular television series, sometimes as a way to continue their career past the finale of the series. But what happens if the movie career doesn’t pan out? These actors will often fade into obscurity or will return to the medium that made them famous in the first place. Tim Allen seems to be just such an actor. This week’s two films highlight some of the best of Tim Allen’s movie roles.

Galaxy Quest!Galaxy Quest!
Year: 1999
Rating: PG-13
Length: 102 minutes / 1.70 hours

It’s truly no surprise that Tim Allen trended toward comedies during his time on the big screen. His origins in stand-up comedy helped land him the leading role in the television show, Home Improvement, after all. Perhaps due to the family-friendly nature of his television show, most of the roles he ended up portraying in cinema were in movies considered to be “family-friendly,” even if the humor in them was prominently slapstick in nature. Movies like Jungle 2 Jungle (1997), Galaxy Quest! (1999), Big Trouble (2002), Christmas with the Kranks (2004), and Wild Hogs (2007) all seem to exhibit these traits. By the time he directed his first film, Crazy on the Outside (2010), the novelty of his Home Improvement fame had mostly worn off. Since then, he has successfully transitioned back to television with the show Last Man Standing.

Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) has been riding high on the ego-stroking fan conventions for the cult science fiction television show, Galaxy Quest. While his co-stars have usually had to endure his off-screen antics with eye-rolling sighs, they inevitably go along for the conventions, since they were part of the show as well. When Jason is approached by some individuals he thinks are fans, he soon finds himself in outer space aboard a perfect—and functional—replica of the spaceship from the show. It’s at this point when the Thermians reveal themselves to be actual aliens in need of assistance. They are unaware of the fictional nature of the show and believe these actors can help them defeat the warlord who wants to see their race obliterated. With the initially-reluctant help of the other actors, Jason manages to re-live his time on Galaxy Quest by going on an actual galactic journey.

Toy Story 2Toy Story 2
Year: 1999
Rating: G
Length: 92 minutes / 1.53 hours

Tim Allen was fortunate enough during his movie career to have leading roles in at least two franchises. The Santa Clause (1994) was his first significant foray into cinema during the height of his popularity. This film spawned two sequels, The Santa Clause 2 (2002) and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006). While it’s been more than a decade since the last Santa Clause film, Tim Allen is still acting in the Toy Story franchise, with the fourth installment set to release this year. Much in the same way The Santa Clause propelled him into the movies, Toy Story (1995) has allowed Allen to expand his craft via voice acting. While most will know his performance as Buzz Lightyear in films like Toy Story 2 (1999), Toy Story 3 (2010), and Toy Story 4 (2019)—along with a smattering of short films set in the Toy Story universe—he also used this skill in the live-action film, The Shaggy Dog (2006).

After Woody (Tom Hanks) is accidentally sold at a garage sale, it’s up to Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) to rescue his friend from the cheese-snack-encrusted hands of the toy collector, Al McWhiggin (Wayne Knight). Buzz learns Al is the eponymous owner of “Al’s Toy Barn,” and sets out with the other toys to get Woody back. Meanwhile, Woody learns he’s actually the lead character from an iconic 1950s television show known as Woody’s Roundup. At this revelation, Woody decides that being on display in a museum wouldn’t be so bad since Andy would eventually grow up and get rid of him anyway. When Buzz finally arrives in Al’s apartment to save Woody, he has to remind the stuffed cowboy that toys are meant to be played with. Unfortunately, just as Woody is about to escape, he’s taken away to the airport. Buzz must race to catch the plane and make sure Woody isn’t on it.

2 sum it up: 2 films, 2 terrific Tim Allen roles

Bacon #: 2 (For Richer or Poorer / Wayne Knight -> JFK / Kevin Bacon)

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