Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Being John Malkovich 1999

If I were one of those real critics instead of just a forty-two year old woman giving her opinion, I'd have to give this one a D-. Yes, I know the movie is nine years old, but this is my blog and this is what's on my mind today . . .

I am probably one of the few women on the planet who prefers the guy who speaks the profound to the one who whispers sweet nothings. I like people who challenge my perspective without being insulting. Give me something to think about/talk to you about/argue about, and you've got my attention. Flowers and wine are great; books are better.

Now you know how I wound up married to a guy with a degree in philosophy.

I am the same about movies and actors. I like action adventure, science fiction (the weird stuff, the campy stuff, the profound stuff, the mainstream--just no unnecessary gore), comedies, classics (love old black and whites), very rarely does a chick-flick get my attention, but it does happen. I'll sit through love stories if Gary picks them and I'll enjoy them, but I rarely select them myself. Every romantic movie I list as a favorite is one I saw with him first. The quirky strange movies that are "Trying to say something" really appeal to me, though I get to watch those by myself. I expected this movie to be one of those before I ordered it, and I was right. Gary rolled his eyes when I read the description outloud and said, "I'm going to go play on the computer." That was okay. I popped popcorn and curled up on the couch by myself.

I am a staunch long-time fan of John Cusack. I think this as close to have a crush on a movie star as I've ever had and it started with "Say Anything" back in 1989. I confess, I was one of those hundreds of thousands of young women who wanted a guy to be so overcome with love that he would stand wordlessly on my front lawn with a boom box over his head, playing our song. Of course, in my case one of our large dogs would have chased him back to his car before he could hit the on button, but still . . .

I also like him because, in addition to the mainstream material like "Must Love Dogs", "Serendipity", "1408", he does intelligent movies like "Jack Bull", "Martian Child, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and "Grace is Gone" (which is next on the Netflix list) and the list goes on (To my delight, there are alot of Cusack movies and I haven't seen them yet so I'm working my way through them). But I also like him because I suspect from watching and reading interviews with him, he is a guy who seriously over thinks everything and drives the people around him crazy. It's a human quality I appreciate. I also like the fact that he fearlessly bankrolls and makes indie movies like "War Inc" because he believes in the message. I like to think of him as a fellow free spirit. (And I could be a 100% wrong--but please don't mess with my fantasy--I have so few of them left). He blogs occasionally on Huffington Post and drops in to blog on the War Inc My Space page as well. At the very least, he's an intelligent man whose take on the state of our government and Iraq mirror much of my own.

But today for the first time, I sat through 3/4s of a Cusack movie before I finally just gave up and sent it back to Netflix. This was sad because John Cusack delivered one of the best performances I've ever seen him give. It was easy to forget I was watching a favorite actor, and that's saying something about the acting. "Being John Malkovich" is an "alternate universe" satire that takes a pretty dim view of celebrity worship, our preoccupation with Hollywood and those who people it. I get it that we "sell out" every time we buy a ticket or rent a video to escape into someone else's life instead of living our own. That came across loud and clear and I completely agree.



BUT the entire message was degraded by the heavy-handed sex scenes (Didn't really need the latent to over lesbian thing either--that, frankly, just got on my nerves). The movie would have delivered its message without that. For the first time, I was disappointed in Cusack's tastes in scripts. In an odd way, he himself sold out to Hollywood when he made this one. It seems to me that He bought the message "Profound and important isn't enough by itself; it's got to have sex if it's going to sell tickets." If I'd seen this movie before I saw John's better stuff, I don't think I'd have bothered with the crush. Or any of his other movies. Maybe this movie was made for his male viewers because I don't think I know any women who wouldn't lose patience with it.

I get to wait for War Inc to come out on video in October as I don't live in any of the cities it's playing in, but I confess I'm a little worried that it's going to be the same kind of disappointment.

PS. Today's word count was 2000. Feels good to get up with a purpose every morning again.


Scotty said...

'Serendipity' and 'Must Love Dogs' - love 'em, especially the latter since it's got Diane Lane in it.


Mary Paddock said...

I agree Scotty. I just saw "Must Love Dogs" the other day. Very sweet story. I love the way Cusack's character motor mouthed when he was around her and how he said all the wrong things like real people do when they're nervous.

meggie said...

Not really a movie star buff. Rather like John Cusack, though. Couldnt stand the Malkovich thing.
I came here from Alice's & loved your comment, & the idea of your mother not wearing a bra. I am now 65, & well,.... 'comfy' is kind! I hate bras & hate shopping for them. I need to meet your brave Mom & ditch the uncomfortable constricting garments. I feel I am too damn old & independent to live by other's standards.
I once made my Doctor laugh uproariously, by telling him I was far more interested with what was between a man's ears, than what was between his legs.

Mary Paddock said...

Hi Meggie. Thanks for coming by. My mom is one of a kind and it sounds like you are too.