Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New poll:
Top Five John Cusack Movies.

I haven't had a poll here at Lotsa 'Splainin' 2 Do in a very long time, so I say it's time for a new one.

What are your five favorite films of John Cusack? Back in the 1980s and 1990s, he made some great movies, mostly comedies, and while a lot of the stuff he's done this decade has been big budget cheese, he has still had some interesting choices in more offbeat stuff.

Here are twelve choices, listed in chronological order, with short explanations of each. There are some big movies like Stand By Me and Broadcast News I left off the list because his roles were too minor to be counted as John Cusack movies.

The Sure Thing (1985) An early Rob Reiner romantic comedy with Daphne Zuniga. Also the first time he worked with Tim Robbins, who shows up in several films on this list.

Eight Men Out (1988) Directed by John Sayles. The story of the players from the Black Sox who were thrown out of baseball for fixing games in the World Series. Cusack plays Buck Weaver, who was banned from the game not for taking money but for not ratting on his teammates.

Say Anything… (1989) Directed by Cameron Crowe. The picture of Cusack as Lloyd Dobler holding the boom box over his head is his most iconic image from his career.

The Grifters (1990) Directed by Stephen Frears. Co-starring Angelica Huston and Annette Bening, easily one of the darkest movies of Cusack's early career.

Bullets Over Broadway (1994) One of the first Woody Allen movies where the role Allen would have played years earlier is played by another actor. Unlike other actors including Kenneth Brannagh, Cusack does not try to do a Woody Allen impression in this film.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) Directed by George Armitrage. A hit man goes to his 10 year high school reunion. Co-starring Minnie Driver at her most adorable. The hit man is seeing a shrink, a plot device used later in Analyze This and The Sopranos.

Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil (1997) Directed by Clint Eastwood. The movie version of this popular book didn't do great business, but I still think it deserves to be included on the list.

Cradle Will Rock (1999) Directed by Tim Robbins. Cusack had a small role in Robbins' Bob Roberts years before, but this time he plays Nelson Rockefeller in this story about the art scene in the mid 1930s, when the public theater projects started by F.D.R. are being accused of un-American activities nearly a generation before Joe McCarthy makes his name with similar accusations after World War II.

Being John Malkovich (1999) Directed by Spike Jonze, written by Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman has written some of the most off-beat screenplays that Hollywood has produced over the past twenty years and Being John Malkovich is his biggest success.

High Fidelity (2000) Directed by Stephen Frears. This movie is why I decided on this poll. Nick Hornby didn't think his novel about a record collector would translate out of its original English setting, but Cusack and a wonderful cast, including Jack Black, the Danish actress Iben Hjejle, Tim Robbins, Todd Louiso and Cusack's sister Joan make this one of my favorite movies about music.

Max (2002) Directed by Menno Meyjes. Cusack plays Max Rothman, a Jewish art dealer in Germany after World War I trying to befriend a difficult artist named Adolf Hitler, played by Noah Taylor. One of the least known movies on this list, but one of my personal favorites.

Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) Directed by Steve Pink. A silly comedy to be sure, but it made me laugh. I put it on the list to round it out to an even dozen.

The poll will be up until the 19th, a week from Friday. You can vote for more than one film, since it's supposed to be a top five list.


dguzman said...

Oh come on, people! Grosse Point Blank! Although I had a tough time picking it over Being John Malkovich. And for some reason, Better Off Dead is not even here!


Matty Boy said...

I never saw Better Off Dead or The Thin Red Line. I'll have to try them on Netflix.

P.S. You can vote for more than one.

sfmike said...

"Say Anything..." is about the only Cameron Crowe directed movie I can see without wanting to vomit. And you've never seen "The Thin Red Line"? Totally arty and totally fabulous. I watched it over the course of about three nights at home, and repeated sections, and ended up loving it. Made me a Malick fan, finally, though I don't remember Cusack even being in it. Jim Caveziel, doing an early tryout for Jesus, is the most interesting person to watch.

Interesting that nobody seems to like Woody Allen's "Bullets Over Broadway." And yes, that is my vote for "Hot Tub Time Machine."