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Why Private Mellish From Saving Private Ryan Looks So Familiar

Saving Private Ryan — Steven Spielberg's 1998 World War II epic — was big and bold, both in terms of production scale and its ambition to portray war with bloody realism. The Omaha beach sequence is famous among filmmakers and D-Day veterans alike for its graphic depiction of the U.S. invasion of Normandy in June 1944. But because Spielberg is a master of his craft, it's more likely a few of the movie's quieter scenes have stayed with you all these years — one in particular still haunts people today, over 20 years after the film's release.

In Saving Private Ryan, actor Adam Goldberg plays Private Stanley Mellish, a young Jewish soldier who accompanies the contingent to save Private James Ryan (Matt Damon). Goldberg's final scene — a slow, intimate death at the hands of an enemy soldier — is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking, painful scenes to watch in the entire film. And, according to The Los Angeles Times, it could have been even worse. "There was a lot more of what you saw in the rough cut," Goldberg told the newspaper in 2018. "It was so graphic that Steven's projectionist — who projected the dailies in Los Angeles — told him he can't leave the scene in the movie. It's too painful to watch."

Impressive, then, that a guy whose pivotal scene in Saving Private Ryan you tried very hard not to see can still look so darn familiar. It turns out that there are any number of ways you might recognize Adam Goldberg, as the actor has delved into filmmaking, music projects, and photography over the years. (Just don't confuse him with the other Adam Goldberg, please and thank you.)

Here's why you might think Private Mellish from Saving Private Ryan looks familiar.

Because he fell in love with a fish on Friends

People talk about Sharon Stone's turn in Basic Instinct as making them wary of having an affair. Rosamund Pike's transformation in Gone Girl inspired us all to take a good, long look at the relationship we were in. But it's Adam Goldberg's performance as Eddie in Friends that really sent a chill up your spine and made you rethink that Craigslist ad you posted looking for a roommate. If a guy that sweet could turn out to be a goldfish-cracker-obsessed psychopath who watches you while you sleep, what hope do any of us have for a nice, normal roommate?

Goldberg played Eddie in a three-episode arc of the beloved TV show, moving in with Chandler (Matthew Perry) when Joey (Matt LeBlanc) temporarily moved out. Unfortunately, it only took Chandler an episode or two to realize that Eddie was a few friends short of a full cast, and it's not long before Goldberg leaves the world of Central Perk forever. In a brilliant twist of fate, Chandler and Joey use Eddie's delusions against him, convincing him that he never lived in the apartment to begin with. Sources say this may be the episode that inspired the movie Shutter Island. (Note: Just kidding.)

Because he's a great sidekick

Need to lose a guy in ten days? Or lose a few imaginary friends who won't stop following you around? Adam Goldberg's your man. 

Goldberg played Matthew McConaughey's buddy Tony, in the 2003 romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, which found McConaughey's character Benjamin Barry making a bet that he could get any woman he chose to fall in love with him in just over a week. Little did ol' Ben know at the time that the woman he selected, Kate Hudson's beautiful and bold Andie Anderson, also chose him to be the victim of an experiment she's conducting in order to write a magazine article entitled "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days," 

Two years earlier, Goldberg portrayed Russell Crowe's colleague Richard Sol in A Beautiful Mind, the biographical drama about mathematician John Nash. Both projects proved that Goldberg can hold strong as a dependable, wise-cracking minor character. 

Interestingly enough, Goldberg also revisited the Friends universe when he starred in the short-lived spin-off Joey, playing a former best friend of the eponymous lead who, thankfully, bore no relation to Eddie.

Because he's a bit of a drama king

More recently, Goldberg learned American Sign Language to play a hitman in season 1 of FX's Fargo, and did a stint as a computer hacker on NBC's Taken. But it's CBS' upcoming reboot of The Equalizer that puts Goldberg back in the presence of royalty. Queen Latifah stars in this remake of a 1980s television series about an intelligence officer with a mysterious past (you may also remember the two films, starring Denzel Washington, that hit the silver screen between that series and this one). Goldberg will play Harry Keshigian in the pilot episode, which is set to premiere after the Super Bowl on February 7, 2021.

Will Goldberg lean on his military training from his role as Private Mellish for this new endeavor? Or draw inspiration from Eddie's dark side, in preparation for his part in the new drama? Only time will tell. But you can be sure of one thing: If he gets stabbed in the heart again, we're definitely going to be covering our eyes.