What’s Wrong With John Cusack?Posted: October 2, 2008
I’m a lady of a certain age, so you know I have a fondness for John Cusack. I’m not saying I need him to be Lloyd Dobler every time, heck I don’t even think that was his greatest role, but I would like to know — who is guiding this man’s career? Does he not typically read a script before he signs on? Sometimes I think he must just want to work with certain people and signs on before there’s a script. How else could one explain America’s Sweethearts? Here’s a bit of career advice for John (and any actor for that matter) and by the way, this is for free: never sign on to do any script in which there is a bit where a dog humps someone’s leg. I don’t care if it’s Billy Crystal’s leg, hell I don’t care if Scorsese is directing. I don’t care if it’s Scorsese’s leg. Never take a part in a film that calls for a dog to hump someone’s leg anywhere in the script. Maybe that scene was ad-libbed. Perhaps it wasn’t in the script. I can give you the benefit of the doubt. If that was case, my advice would be, on the day that the scene is filmed, and every day thereafter….refuse to come out of your trailer. In fact, I would put that stipulation as a rider in any contract I sign. If a dog humps a leg, I don’t have to come out of my trailer.
To be fair, while America’s Sweethearts is a crappy movie, you can tell Cusack is working really hard there with what he’s got. It does show. And I think the same would be said for Must Love Dogs, which, let’s face it…woof. (It was a mediocre book. Somewhat interesting adding the computer element as well as the man’s perspective, but overall, dogs come and go for no reason – much like Christopher Plummer’s Irish brogue, Diane Lane’s got too many siblings and not enough for them to do, she comes off like some kind of PMS-bitch, oh, it’s a mess.)
I say this out of love, really. Heck, I am a person who saw Pushing Tin on opening weekend. I think there’s potential there, but he’s not utilizing it in films like The Martian Child. I figured this past weekend, I would take Edison to see Igor. And this is actually why I am writing this piece. I still haven’t seen Igor, because the reviews kept me away. I know I shouldn’t feel sorry for Cusack, he’s doing alright, but the man can’t even pick an animated movie. His sister was Jesse in Toy Story 2! He did Anastasia. Where’s his Toy Story 2? I have faith that John Cusack will have a Toy Story 2 in his career. I don’t know why I have this faith. He turned down Bill Paxton’s part in Apollo 13, but around that same period, he did make Bullets Over Broadway, so…
So, I figured, I would put his movies into four catagories:
Grosse Point Blank
Eight Men Out
Bullets Over Broadway
Being John Malkovich
The Sure Thing
Better Off Dead
Must Love Dogs
The Martian Child
The Ice Harvest
Con Air (though good for some laughs, especially Nick Cage’s hairpiece)
Cradle Will Rock
Map of the Human Heart
Stand By Me
Shadows and Fog
ON THE FENCE (NOTHING ELSE TO WATCH ON A RAINY SUNDAY AFTERNOON, AND I MIGHT NOT WATCH THE WHOLE THING)
Fat Man and Little Boy
The Jack Bull
The Thin Red Line
Midnight In The Garden of Good And Evil
The Road to Wellville
By the way, I have not seen 1408, War Inc., or Grace is Gone yet, so I can’t really put those in any of these catagories. Also, to be fair, I don’t remember much of Money For Nothing, which I think I watched at the video store where I used to work,(a different job than the record store, but still had the feel of Championship Vinyl, only in a video kind of way, let’s say Championship Video), while I was working, so I can’t really form a solid opinion of that one. And I am also going to leave off some early roles, like Tapeheads and The Journey of Natty Gann because I think they are kind of dated and don’t really want to comment on them. Plus, there’s The Contract, with Morgan Freeman, which I think was straight-to-DVD. Ouch.
But I think that’s a fairly reasonable assessment of his career. There were a few that could go into different categories, perhaps, depending on your personal taste. This is just my opinion. He’s got some good ones in there, and you have to give the man credit for not over-reaching, doing something like Troy, where he’d have to do an accent and run around with his shirt off. I doubt he was offered Troy, but I have faith that if he had been, he’d know better. Though based on his choices lately, that faith may be a blind one.
Update: 11/20/09 — I did try to watch War Inc. by the way. Couldn’t get through it. I had high hopes, but ultimately found it contrived. Cusack is currently filming one called 2012, which Roland Emmerich is directing. I saw a teaser trailer for it last night when we went to see the new Bond. Doesn’t look promising, I have to say. Looks like a big budget disaster movie with more effects than believable dialog.
Here you go. Based on the script of this trailer, I think I can prove my point: