Driving through Georgia recently, the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil came to mind. After idly thinking about it for a while, I decided that it was an indicator as to what my next list should cover: my favorite movies featuring John Cusack. Cusack is one of those few actors that will cause me to go see a movie because he is in it. He is also one of the few actors that I have literally grown up with: he was born in 66, so is only 4 years older. The public was introduced to him in 16 Candles and hasn’t forgotten him. To narrow his extensive resume to 10 movies, I eliminated some people would include (1408, Say Anything) because I have not watched them; I also am not including Being John Malkovich because I did not like the movie at all. Even though my mom loved the movie, The Journey of Natty Gan will not be listed either.
So here they are, in release-year order:
The Sure Thing (1985)
This was the first movie having Cusack as a headliner; it was also Rob Reiner’s first major release after This Is Spinal Tap!. A fun movie that had a simple quest with escalating stakes and a likeable cast (look for a full-head-of-hair Anthony Edwards). It was a fun summer flick.
Better Off Dead (1985)
The one movie from the 80’s in Cusack’s list that is as recognizable, if not moreso, as Say Anything. We have all been Lane Meyer, and can feel his pain….
Eight Men Out (1988)
One of the most overlooked movies that Cusack has done. It centers around the Black Sox scandal, with Cusack as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. If you have not seen this movie, what are you waiting for?
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
I may have had to wait 10 years, but it was worth it. Over the past few years, I have myself identifying with his character many times…
Con Air (1997)
John Cusack: Action Star??? Developed for Nick Cage, Cusack’s quiet presence lends a sharp contrast to Michael Bay’s explosions…
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
Yes, it is a long movie, but worth the time. His reactions are dead-on to the craziness surrounding him. The fact that it was filmed on location in Savannah made it even better.
High Fidelity (2000)
This movie is one of the reasons I thought of doing lists for this site. Interesting study of relationships against the backdrop of music. Jack Black “broke out” in this movie, but it also highlights for me the one note of his career…
America’s Sweethearts (2001)
Back-to-back movies with Catherine Zeta-Jones can be interesting. This vehicle was used to launch Cusack’s run of romantic comedies — this one being the best of the bunch. The casting of Walken was great, but I loved the idea of Julia Roberts being cast as the “ugly”, insecure sister even more. Finally, Hank Azaria can do no wrong as a character actor. Look for Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office) as a journalist…
Interesting choice for Cusack during what was supposed to be his romantic comedy phase and what more than likely landed him the part in 1408. Great thriller that definitely was inspired by Hitchcock. To say any more would ruin the movie, but definitely worth watching…
Runaway Jury (2003)
Decent Grisham thriller-turned-movie. I loved seeing Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman square off, with John Cusack playing both sides.