Friday, July 13, 2007

Top 5 John Cusack Movies

His character in what will inevitably be the #1 on everybody's list is the inspiration for Top 5 list. Also, he's one of the best actors of our generation. A John Cusack's character tribute list.

Tory's Top 5:

1. High Fidelity - As the introduction states, it's the reason for the lists, and it is his funniest performance that I have see

2. Grosse Pointe Blank - The premise alone is funny, but with the traditional depressed John Cusack personality thrown in it is pure gold.

3. The Ice Harvest - I haven't seen all of the high school Cusack movie's (besides Say Anything...) so, though it is a rather new movie, it mixes the classic Cusack with a darker kind of humor and a rather good plot for an excellent product.

4. Say Anything... - The most memorable scene in any John Cusack film, and perhaps any film (laughs to himself nonchalantly.) It is seriously a good movie, and one of Cameron Crowe's crowning achievements.

5. Being John Malcovich - Like the Ice Harvest it mixes a much darker sense of humor with Cusack's usual acting style. The only thing that put it at number five was the saddest ending a John Cusack character has ever seen.

Dan's Top 5:

1. Better Off Dead... - This movie could not exist without John Cusack in the lead role. One of the funniest, blatantly over-the-top, cliche movies ever, it makes me proud to have been born in the 80's.

2. High Fidelity - I considered putting this at #1, but a fair share of the quality of this movie comes from Hornby's original writing as well as the supporting cast. That and I wanted to go for a bold move.

3. Being John Malkovich - A quality Cusack performance, making the gradual shift from protagonist to antagonist. Also a much better movie to weird out and philosophize to than The Matrix.

4. Say Anything... - I know nothing about this movie other than it's famous for the scene where Cusack is trying to win back a girl by blasting Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." Hell, he could win me over with that song, and I'm a straight man.

5. 1408 - I have not seen this movie, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt, as it is a Stephen King story which also features Samuel L. Jackson and Tony Shalhoub. Gets bonus points for being a "chilling" movie rather than a "slasher" film, the latter being way to popular these days.

(I should note that of all John Cusack's movies, I have only seen numbers one through three.)

Ryan's Top 5:

This sounded like a good idea but, like Dan, I realized I haven't seen a whole lot of Cusack. Here goes...

1. High Fidelity - Tory, I concur. "WHAT FUCKING IAN GUY?!"

2. Say Anything... - A nice 80's teen romance. What year did it become impossible to make good teen romances? I'm guessing She's All That ruined it, along with my faith in humanity (I saw it in the fucking theater).

3. Better Off Dead - They had me at dancing cheeseburgers. This movie would be #2 if it didn't become uneven toward the devolves from quirky comedy to standard teen you-can-do-it movie like that (::snaps fingers::).

4. One Crazy Summer - I loved this movie when I was little. A nice interspersing of live action and cartoon. I probably couldn't tell you anything else about it, other than at one point, one of the characters gets buried up to his head in sand on a beach.

5. Serendipity - It was this, The Thin Red Line, or Identity. I had problems with the latter, and not quite as many problems with the former. Man, I really need to see more Cusack...can I put his appearance on David Letterman in this spot?

Notable movies I haven't, but probably should've, seen: Grosse Point Blank, Pushing Tin, Being John Malkovich. I'm guessing two of these three would at least supplant #'s 4-5.

Tim's Top 5:
DISCLAIMER My favorite movie that has John Cusack in it is Bob Roberts, but it's not a John Cusack movie in any sense. END DISCLAIMER

1) The Grifters - Wow. I apparently have seen a ton of John Cusack movies that I don't think of as John Cusack movies simply because they're not lighthearted. I'd initially left this off the list entirely, but I can't honestly rank it any lower than #1. Aside from Chinatown and LA Confidential, this is the best neo-noir I've seen, directed ably by Stephen Frears (High Fidelity). Cusack plays a small-time con man who gets in over his head with his girlfriend and mother both sparring in their own grifting over him. It definitely ranks among his best work.

2) Being John Malkovich - I won't watch it nearly as much as I'll watch High Fidelity in my lifetime, but this movie is fantastic simply because it's so unprecedented and unparalleled. The downside -- this began reality TV dreck like The Osbournes, The Simple Life, and the Surreal Life, because people realized that celebrities could play themselves without being themselves. The scene where everyone is John Malkovich is so utterly bizarre that I can't help but love it, it's an absurdist exercise that actually works well. And, let's admit it, it means a lot to see ... um... retards ...portrayed on the screen with compassion. And we loved him in that jewel thief movie.

3) High Fidelity - The first time I saw this movie on a date with a girlfriend, I hated it. This speaks volumes about the ability of a bad relationship to ruin perfectly good things. Your food tastes worse, your days less sunny, and your John Cusack movies far more inadequate versions of beloved novels. Then I saw it not dating her and loved it. Now I'm somewhere in between -- the talking to the camera is overdone and is a total cop-out, but the movie is hilarious, Jack Black and Todd Louiso are perfect, and Tim Robbins deserves not one, but seven or eight Academy Awards. The ending is the best execution Hornby could have asked for, and the movie's barely even out of place in Chicago.

4) Bullets Over Broadway - I'll wager heavily no one else contemplated this for their list. Cusack does a better job playing the Woody Allen character in this movie than any of the lengthy list of actors hired by Woody Allen to play himself. It's not without its flaws, but it's a funny film with a funnier premise that is well acted throughout.

5) The Sure Thing - A remake of sorts of It Happened One Night that works more often than it doesn't. Cusack plays, of course, the teenager traveling across the country to find an easy lay, only to, of course, fall in love with, of course, Daphne Zuniga -- because who doesn't want to find someone who would later be in Spaceballs? It's a surprisingly funny teen comedy, particularly given the absolute death knell to culture (in other words, the year 1985) that birthed it.

This was actually my easiest list thus far once I finished consulting the IMDb. Eight Men Out is a good baseball film, Gross Pointe Blank is pretty good, and Bob Roberts is by far my favorite movie that John Cusack graces the presence of, but I'm trying to exercise some intellectual honesty by restricting this to movies he starred in, not cameoed in. Tapeheads, on the other hand, is awful.

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