John Cusack

Under Construction

I feel like I've grown up with John Cusack. He's just a few years older than me, and I saw him for the first time (playing a high schooler), when I was in high school. Absurdist fare like Better Off Dead and The Sure Thing appealed to my sense of humor and were given gravity by Cusack's deadpan delivery and undeniable screen presence. He was THE geeky but smart, funny and above all decent representative of my generation on the big screen. All the more disturbing then, to watch The Grifters and see him play completely against type as an emotionally stunted lowlife with an Oedipus complex and do it so well. Cusack's range has been proven to be wide, and he has a promising future ahead of him. I just hope he avoids more dreck like Con Air and America's Sweethearts, which I assume he took on for the money to support his work in more experimental movies like Max.

A note on my notes: I've avoided complicating things with a number or star scale. My "Good" and "Not So Good" ratings simply indicate whether I recommend a film or not, based on my individual tastes in acting, direction, cinematography, etc. My notes explain why. These evaluations are not set in stone. I may change my mind about some of them. But this is what I think as of now.

Because I haven't seen them yet, the following movies aren't on this page:

  • Grandview, U.S.A. (1984)
  • The Journey of Natty Gann (1985)
  • Hot Pursuit (1987)
  • Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)
  • Elvis Stories (1989)
  • True Colors (1991)
  • Shadows and Fog (1992)
  • Roadside Prophets (1992)
  • Map of the Human Heart (1992)
  • Money for Nothing (1993)
  • The Road to Wellville (1994)
  • Floundering (1994)
  • Chicago Cab (aka Hellcab) (1998)
  • This Is My Father (1998)
  • The Jack Bull (1999)
  • Pushing Tin (1999)
  • The Cradle Will Rock (1999)
  • Serendipity (2001)
  • Max (2002)

Sixteen Candles
1984  |  Directed by John Hughes  |  Cusack plays Bryce 

The Sure Thing
1985  |  Directed by Rob Reiner  |  Cusack plays Walter "Gib" Gibson  

Better Off Dead
1985  |  Directed by Savage Steve Holland |  Cusack plays Lane Myer 

Stand By Me
1986  |  Directed by Rob Reiner  |  Cusack plays Denny Lachance 

Broadcast News
1987  |  Directed by Jim Brooks  |  Cusack plays Angry Messenger

I recently watched this movie again, and to tell you the truth didn't even notice Cusack in it (though his sister Joan Cusack has a small but memorable role). This is just a great movie.

1988  |  Directed by Bill Fishman  |  Cusack plays Ivan Alexeev 

Say Anything
1989  |  Directed by Cameron Crowe  |  Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler

The Grifters
1990  |  Directed by Stephen Frears  |  Cusack plays Roy Dillon 

The Player
1992  |  Directed by Robert Altman  |  Cusack plays Himself

Bob Roberts
1992  |  Directed by Tim Robbins  |  Cusack plays Cutting Edge Host 

Grosse Pointe Blank
1997  |  Directed by George Armitage  |  Cusack plays Martin Q. Blank

The Thin Red Line
1998  |  Directed by Terrence Malick  |  Cusack plays Captain John Gaff

Being John Malkovich
1999  |  Directed by Spike Jonze  |  Cusack plays Craig Schwartz 

High Fidelity
2000  |  Directed by Stephen Frears  |  Cusack plays Rob Gordon 

1983  |  Directed by Lewis John Carlino  |  Cusack plays Roscoe

One Crazy Summer
1986  |  Directed by Savage Steve Holland  |  Cusack plays Hoops McCann

All the stupidity of Better Off Dead, but none of the humor. This is a LAME movie.

Eight Men Out
1988  |  Directed by John Sayles  |  Cusack plays Buck Weaver 

Bullets Over Broadway
1994  |  Directed by Woody Allen  |  Cusack plays David Shayne 

City Hall
1996  |  Directed by Harold Becker  |  Cusack plays Kevin Calhoun 

Con Air
1997  |  Directed by Simon West  |  Cusack plays Vince Larkin

Action movie schlock that fails to amuse.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
1997  |  Directed by Clint Eastwood  |  Cusack plays John Kelso

How can it be so bad when it has so many of my favorite actors in it? I still struggle to understand.

America's Sweethearts
2001  |  Directed by Joe Roth  |  Cusack plays Eddie Thomas

Provides a few laughs on the way to a totally crap ending that ruins the whole film.

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