At one time Daniel Stern was one of the funniest actors around and could easily hang with the comedians of his era since he didn’t need to try that hard to be amusing and could switch from drama to comedy fairly easily. He’s never been much of an action star and comedy and drama have been his specialties since anything else just feels as though it’s not suited for his style of acting. This isn’t to say he can’t be a part of such movies or shows at all, but his strengths definitely lie in comedy. After the 90s and 2000s though it became kind of obvious that his career was still solid but his reputation for being the funny guy was going about the same way as the rest of those that he’d starred alongside over the years. Things needed to change or he was bound to see his career plateau in a way since despite still being famous, which he is, Daniel has become kind of a side note in the acting world of today that’s easy to find but harder to justify as a relevant actor sometimes. He’s still out and about, as his career has continued and he’s still quite funny when he wants to be, but having reached his 60s at this point it almost feels that he’s slowed down on the more energetic movies that he used to be a part of such as City Slickers and the Home Alone movies.
In fact, one fun tidbit is that he refused to take part in Home Alone 4 back in 2002 since he felt that it was an insult to the original script. That might sound a little snobbish and egotistical, but the fact is that the Home Alone movies were better being left as they were and the talk of making another one is still iffy at best since it does feel that things would have to be one hundred percent perfect to make it work in any well-defined way. But his role in the first two Home Alone movies was great since as Marv he was one of the dumbest criminals on record and somehow he still functioned as one of the funniest characters ever since he kind of just followed Harry, played by Joe Pesci, wherever he was led. Marv was the kind of crook that loved being bad and didn’t mind doing what was needed to get the job done, but still had some sort of mental block that kept him from figuring out when he should just cut and run and not worry about what Harry thought. Of course, the thought of Marv trying to survive on his own without Harry’s dubious guidance is kind of amusing in itself since he was also a pretty dim-witted individual. This is even funnier since Daniel Stern is a pretty smart guy and the fact that he can dumb himself down in such a manner is amazing and extremely funny.
Another fun role that some folks might remember was that of Phil Berquist, one of the main characters from the comedy City Slickers that decided to spend time at a dude ranch for fun, only to find out that it’s not quite that much fun and a whole lot of work. Phil was the kind of guy that had a miserable life even if he tried to pretend that everything was okay, at least until things started falling apart since it was revealed that he was having an affair and the woman he was having it with turned up pregnant. Yes, this was how things happened in the 90s too and the movies didn’t always handle things that well back then either. But the point is that the comedic performance he put in alongside Billy Crystal and Bruno Kirby was great enough that it was easy for some people to relate to while others were able to sit back and laugh as Stern played a character that wasn’t perfect but was still impressive since he immersed himself within the role.
One more role that kind of deviates from his more comedic side, even though it was a dark, nearly pitch-black comedy, is that of Adam Berkow from Very Bad Things. This is the kind of movie that could be used as a cautionary tale for when a bachelor party goes horribly, HORRIBLY wrong since teamed up with Christian Slater, Jon Favreau, Jeremey Piven, and Leland Orser, Stern ends up being part of the killing of a prostitute and a security guard before becoming a casualty himself. Of course, by the end of the movie, most of the group is dead and those that are left are all kinds of messed up since the story takes a few very jagged turns that leave everyone worse off than anyone could imagine. But it was another test of his acting ability that actually saw him do quite well. He’s still acting to this day, but that spark that he used to have has mellowed a bit.