My 5 Favorite John Cusack Movies

Welcome to the weekend gang! Today I decided I'd take a break from enumerating things that I hate, and instead make a list of things I like. John Cusack, as you may or may not know, first encountered success in the early '80s, working alongside other notable members of the so-called 'brat pack' in Sixteen Candles. He avoided the crash and burn of those others however, and unlike other teen stars of the 80s continued to have a career into his adult life. So now, I give you, my five favorite works of Mr. Cusack.

My 5 Favorite John Cusack Movies
Who thought of this concept?

#5)Being John Malkovich:  While the person who gets most of the face time in this movie is of course John Malkovich, John Cusack plays the protagonist in this intensely strange movie. If you didn't know, the premise of this movie is that John Cusack, a really weird guy who puts on bizarrely sexual marionette shows on the street side, starts working in an office built in between two floors of a building. Hidden within this place is a door, that leads into the body of John Malkovich. It allows anyone who enters to well... be John Malkovich, for a short period of time, before they're dumped into a ditch near the Jersey turnpike. What follows is a bizarre drama/comedy involving Cusack's character Craig, his pet obsessed wife, and her growing attraction to Maxine, one of Craig's co-workers. There's a lot to be entertained by, I liked it specifically because it was the weirdest premise for a movie that I ever encountered. Frankly I don't know how they managed to get this movie green-lit, much less the fact that it was actually very well received (it was nominated for academy awards, just look at the picture!) Nonetheless, I am thankful for this weird ass movie.

Fun Fact: Cusack really dated Minnie Driver.
#4)Grosse Pointe Blank:  Grosse Pointe Blank was the first movie produced by New Crime Productions, a company that Cusack co-founded. It is again an... unusual film. Cusack stars as Martin Blank, a hitman returning to his hometown for his 10 year high school reunion. His secretary (played by his sister Joan Cusack) books him a job in his hometown as a means of goading him into attending the reunion. He arrives only to find that the contract is against his high school sweetheart Debi's (Minnie Driver) dad. Unwilling to carry out the job, Martin's life, and that of Debi and her dad are threatened when Martin's principal competitor Grocer (Dan Akroyd) arrives to carry out the job (and add killing Martin into the equation). This movie feature's Cusack doing what he does best: be a maladjusted underdog weirdo who's likable despite some clearly questionable moral and personal choices. Also you get to watch John Cusack get into a gunfight with Dan Akroyd, which is pretty funny. Spoilers, Dan Akroyd loses. It was also generally well received by critics, and was a box office success despite a modest showing of 28 million.

John Cusack did NOT date Demi Moore.
#3)One Crazy Summer: What I consider the to be the lesser of my two favorite John Cusack movies from the '80s (we'll eventually get to my favorite) One Crazy Summer stars Cusack as 'Hoops' Mccann. It is one of the movies from which some favorite '80s cliches might be drawn (not as much as the #1 movie on this list). Hoops goes to Nantucket with his friend George, intending to create an illustrated love story as means of application to RISD. During the course of the summer he becomes involved in a bid to raise money to save the house of local musician Cassandra's (Demi Moore) grandfather. This involves a lot of antics, several montages, and a boat race at the end of the film. Naturally in the end the good guys prevail over the ruthless Beckersteds, who want to turn the land the house is on into a chain hotel. Along the way we get to see a douche get attacked in his pool by lobsters, Demi Moore sing really badly on stage, and also Bobcat destroys a scale model of a hotel resort while trapped inside a smoking Godzilla costume. Frankly if that doesn't sound like high quality entertainment to you I have to question your judgement.

Pretty straightforward isn't it?

#2)Hot Tub Time Machine: When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was more than a bit underwhelmed. I did not expect much out of it, but went to see it anyway, on a whim. What I discovered was that it was in fact the dumbest movie I was likely to see that year. It was also funny as hell. Hot Tub Time Machine was about exactly what you think. Three friends turned distant, and also Jacob, John Cusack's character's nephew, decide to visit a ski resort that they frequented during their glory days in the 80s. They find it is not what it used to be, but after the use the hot tub (that is a time machine) they find themselves back in the 80s, during a pivotal weekend in their lives. They are stranded until the hot tub can be fixed, so in the meantime they set about mucking about with time, and trying to improve the outcome of the weekend. This movie is so great because it features John Cusack in a film that picks fun at many of the tropes that were so prominently featured in the movies that first made him famous in the '80s. Also he gets stabbed in the eye by his girlfriend. Also he loves cocks n' dicks (watch the movie you'll get it). Also Crispin Glover gets his arm sawed off. The point is, it's a really funny movie, and you should probably watch it. 

How cool is he eh? ehhh?
#1)Better Off Dead: We come at last to my #1 movie, Better Off Dead, the story of Lane Meyer (Cusack), an average high schooler who gets dumped by his girlfriend Beth who leaves him for resident ski-team captain douche Roy Stalin. Rather than tolerate this turn of events, Lane decides that he is going to kill himself, and repeatedly attempts to do so. He doesn't succeed of course, but in the process is almost hung by his mother vaccuuming, and causes his neighbors mom to get "blown up". Lane makes friends with the French Exchange student Monique, who is staying with same creepy neighbors, and she agrees to help him beat Stalin in a ski-off of the deadly K-12 slope. Along the way Lane is dogged by a paper boy who demands that Lane pay the outstanding two dollars that he owes, and also two Korean brothers who challenge him to drag races, one of whom learned to speak English by impersonating Howard Cosell. Also at one point in the movie there is a claymation interlude where a hamburger with a guitar performs Van Halen's "Everybody Wants Some", so that's a thing that happened. The movie is the perfect balance of '80s montages and showdowns, black humor, and John Cusack being a likable outcast. If you see one movie by him, this is the one.

And that's it! I hope you've enjoyed this list, and I'll see you on Tuesday, where we will return to regualrly scheduled programming.
Don't get suicidal, The Tagline will be back on Tuesday.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe I have to watch some of these movies (/for the first time) but I'm surprised High Fidelity wasn't on the list.


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