Monday, August 8, 2011

Reel Insight Episode 57: John Cusack and David

A new guest!  David from Hoping for Something to Hope For was our guest.  He won the opportunity by playing our Anniversary Trivia game!  And he chose a favorite and remarkably prolific actor to discuss - John Cusack - making him and Joan the first sibling pair we've covered (make note for the next Anniversary!).  We also talk about Cowboys and Aliens, Thor and more discussion of Captain America.  Rachel and I are ALMOST finished with Twin Peaks, so please bear with us, we'll get there.   Have a listen and tell us what you think.  We love when you do that.

New movies with John Cusack:
The Grifters - This came out in 1990 and Angelica Huston was a big star and Annette Bening was really making her mark, and John Cusack was graduating from teen star.  Those are my only rationale behind the casting of this kooky movie that tries really hard to be serious, but I found to be really over the top, both in the violence and creepiness.  I like grifter movies, and this one didn't do a good job bringing us in on the grifting (a complicated odds-fixing scheme) and loses us for most of it. 2 of 5 stars

The Sure Thing -  I was recommended this by a college friend recently and was super excited to check it out.  And, Julie, you're totally right, I really liked it.  A very 80s version of It Happened One Night (check that one out too - BEST of the genre), it stars Cusack and Daphne Zuniga (Princess Vespa from Spaceballs) who are in English class together at a "Northeastern Ivy League School" and hate each other.  They end up sharing a ride to LA - Cusack to meet "The Sure Thing" his friend Anthony Edwards has set up for him, and Zuniga to see her stuffy boyfriend.  Of course shenanigans ensue and they have to rely on each other.  It's super cute, and they're both charming and relatable.  It doesn't really do anything new, but good fun.  4 of 5 stars/lambs

Better Off Dead - Personally, I found this movie way too quirky to be funny.  I know it's adored by many, but I just don't get the appeal.  1 of 5 stars/lambs

Eight Men Out - The story of the "Black Sox", players on the Chicago White Sox who took money from the mob to "throw" the 1919 World Series.  Shoeless Joe Jackson among them (and future star of Field of Dreams, those two films would make a TERRIFIC double feature).  The movie follows each of the players and shows some of their internal conflict about taking the money, tarnishing their reputations and the game of baseball.  It was good, but didn't blow me away and with all the drama it had to work with, I'm surprised it wasn't more dramatic.  3 of 5 stars/lambs

One Crazy Summer - Should have been called One Crazy Week since all the action wraps up in a week, and then text on the screen wraps up the rest of the summer.  Cusack is going to Nantucket for the summer with friends.  He meets Demi Moore on her way to claim an inherited house that owes $2000 on the mortgage or she loses the house.  She has a week to raise the money singing in clubs and Cusack and his friends help her.  It ultimately comes down to winning a regatta against the rich kids (including Jeremy Piven).  Very typical 80s teen comedy, completely with Bobcat Goldthwait.  2 of 5 stars/lambs


CS said...

While I really enjoy John Cusack, I find his choice in roles have become rather questionable as he has gotten older. There was a period in university where Cusack could do no wrong in my eyes. Now I find that I do not have that same “got to see it in theatres” type of love for Cusack anymore. I think if he took more care in his choices he would be an even bigger name than he already is.

My Top 3 Cusack films:
Grosse Point Blank
Being John Malkovich
Say Anything

The Grifters would be a close fourth. As for High Fidelity, I loved it in university but I find that I no longer have the desire to watch the film ever again. I find that the main love arc really does not hold up well for me.

Bottom 3:
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
American Sweethearts
War Inc.

Lastly, I hated The Thin Red Line. I thought The Thin Red Line was beautiful to look at but the story was rather hollow. Yet everyone seems to go back to the poetry excuse when defending the film (and pretty much every Malick film for that matter). Just because a film is poetic in tone does not mean that it is automatically good. Like anything else in life, there is great poetry and mundane poetry. I think The Thin Red Line falls into the latter category.

Great show ladies, keep up the exceptional work.

JBT said...

I watched 2012 for the first time last night and it was laugh-out-loud ridiculous. I agree that Cusack's film choices in the last few years have really declined in quality (although I've got a soft spot in my heart for Hot Tub Time Machine because it delivers on its intent - pure silliness and hilarity), but Must Love Dogs, Martian Child, 1408 and 2012 just aren't good films.

My favourite John Cusack films are Grosse Point Blank, Say Anything and High Fidelity. And Con Air will always be one of my favourite guilty pleasures. I hope he finds some great scripts and gets back to doing some good acting in some good films again because he's got a crap load of talent.