The Color Purple
In Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Goldberg gives the dramatic performance of her career as Celie, a poor woman in the early 1900s South who gives birth to two of her own father’s children in her teens and survives incredible abuse and bigotry. She preserves, holding onto her dream of one day being reunited with her sister in Africa. The affirmation at the end of the film is so joyous, no longer inspiring tears of despair but tears of happiness. The film has the distinction of being the most Oscar-nominated movie in history to not take home a single gold statue, including one for Goldberg who deserved the award that year.
Sister Act was one of the best movies to come out of the ‘90s. The film stars Goldberg as a Reno lounge singer who has been put under protective custody in a San Francisco convent of Poor Clares. She has to pretend to be a nun after she walks in on murder and a mob boss puts her on his hit list, forcing her into protective custody. Goldberg is a horrible nun, but she’s also a great musician, transforming the humdrum choir with a bit of rock-and-roll spirit. The film is pure comedy, and its silliness is what makes it so fun.
Goldberg won an Oscar for best supporting actress and the film became one of the highest-grossing movies of that year, for good reason. While Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore star as the film’s leads, Goldberg steals the show. She plays huckster psychic Oda Mae Brown, who makes unwitting contact with a murdered Swayze’s ghost. Oda Mae can’t shake the presence of his spirit, who needs her to help catch his murderer and save his girlfriend. Ghost is one of Goldberg’s best comedic performances of her career, and one in which she has to pretend to be acting in a room with a person she can’t see.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
This film is hugely underrated and a must-see for all those who haven’t. In the film, Goldberg plays quirky but bored office worker Terry Dolittle, who is thrust into the world of spies and international espionage. It almost seems like the role was tailor made for the actress. Mix director Penny Marshall’s focus on Goldberg’s fish-out-of water adventure with an assortment of amusing supporting characters, you have a recipe for comedic genius. While this may not have been one of Goldberg's most successful films, it definitely has its moments.
After the death of his wife, Manny Singer (Ray Liotta) is left to care for his young daughter, Molly who is receptive to very few people until Goldberg shows up. Molly and she have an instant connection, and while Goldberg's character isn’t exactly the person the broken family was looking for, she was exactly what they need. The film takes on some pretty powerful themes, including interracial romance during a period where few were receptive to it. The film also showcases Goldberg’s sweet side, and is one of her more serious roles.
Goldberg stars in this funny, well-written story which parodies life in the world of soap opera TV. Starring a brilliant ensemble cast, including Sally Field and Kevin Kline and Robert Downey Jr. In the film, an ambitious TV soap actress connives with her producer to scuttle the career of the show’s long time star but nothing goes as planned. Though the film is star-studded, Goldberg can’t be hidden in the film’s backdrop. The real-life problems of the cast are so over the top, they are funny.