Monday, November 29, 2010

F These Movies in Which John Cusack Collects a Paycheck

John Cusack is unassailably awesome, and an actor of unusual integrity -- that is, when he's not appearing in shitty movies for the purposes of making it rain. Let's f those movies. Dolla dolla bills, y'all.

1. 2012 (2009) - Roland Emmerich is incapable of making a movie that isn't ridiculous, so it's particularly incongruous to see John Cusack's deadpan awesomeness trying to outrun the end of the world in a tiny airplane in just one of 2012's documentary-like moments. The movie is so over-the-top that it needs someone like Cusack to ground it and be in on the joke. That doesn't stop it from being destruction porn. You're better than this, John Cusack. You're Lloyd Dobler for fuck's sake.

2. Must Love Dogs (2005) - Must kill self.

3. Con Air (1997) - The Citizen Kane of paycheck-cashing movies. In 1997, Con Air showed promise thanks to a cast of until-then respectable actors like Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich and, of course, Cusack -- it was a bunch of people who don't belong in a stupid action movie doing a stupid action movie, which made it seem like it would actually be a smart action movie only pretending to be a stupid action movie. Turns out it was just a stupid action movie, though, with most of the cast indulging their worst tendencies (this was the beginning of the end for Nicolas Cage). Cusack comes out unscathed, and the movie is still totally watchable and entertaining in spite of (or perhaps as a result of) its glorious stupidity.

4. Serendipity (2001) - John Cusack is way too good for this movie. It's one of those romantic comedies that tells us early on that two people are perfect for one another and then spends the rest of the film keeping them apart. Fuck those movies. It's one of those movies where the main characters are selfish, immature people that do awful things to the people they're supposed to care about (perfectly decent innocent bystanders like Bridget Moynihan's character). Fuck those movies. It's one of the movies with Kate Beckinsale. Almost always fuck those movies. Ironically, this is the one truly terrible movie on this list and is probably the best-loved of all of them. Some people don't know what the fuck they're talking about.

5. America's Sweethearts (2001) - John Cusack cashed in twice in 2001 with bad romantic comedies, but this one (badly directed by former studio head Joe Roth) at least has a few things to say about Hollywood (thanks to Billy Crystal's screenplay) and a strong cast. It also has Julia Roberts in a fat suit, because every thorn has other, fatter thorns. There are only about five good scenes in this whole movie, but I'm just stupid enough to watch it almost every time I come across it on TV. Such is the allure of John Cusack.

6. Runaway Jury (2003) - Speaking of movies I can't ever stop watching. As mediocre John Grisham courtroom dramas go, this one's pretty good (I'd put it second to The Rainmaker). That's because of an awesome cast, which includes Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz and Gene Hackman -- presumably the reason John Cusack signed on for his part. There's nothing that isn't ordinary about this movie. I know that, but still I love it.

7. Identity (2003) - John Cusack plays a limo drive who shows up at a motel with a bunch of strangers who all being to disappear and/or die. Director James Mangold (who has never made the same movie twice) does a good job with this horror movie take on Ten Little Indians, and this is two-thirds of a good movie -- until the last act, as written by Donald Kaufman. Truly stupid stuff.


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