No no, that's a rhetorical question. You're not meant to answer it. If you don't like John Cusack, I don't even want to talk to you. Just ... go away.
What's to like about John Cusack? Well, just for starter there's his sister ... Joan Cusack. I am in total absolute love with Joan Cusack. Don't bother running to SWMBO with this breaking news. She already knows, and she can live with it.
This fondness for John Cusack (or more accurately, the characters which he so adroitly plays) didn't evolve slowly as I viewed all of his movies as they were produced. Instead, it happened in about two hours as I first watched "Grosse Point Blank" (1997). There he played Martin Q. Blank, an alumni of Grosse Point (Michigan) High School reacting to an invitation to his ten-year high school reunion.
It's not merely incidental that for the entire period since his high school graduation, after which he immediately disappeared, Blank has earned his living as an assassin. That's Professional Killer to the uninitiated. Blank's professional philosophy ("If I have to come see you, chances are you deserve it") has worn thin over the years, which is probably why he has hijacked Psychologist Dr. Oatman (frenetically played by Alan Arkin) into seeing him every Tuesday for one hour ... and Oatman must take Blank's neurotic phone calls because, see ... "You know what I do. If I couldn't trust you, I would have to kill you."
Blank's receptionist/secretary (Joan Cusack: "I ordered a thousand rounds of nine millimeter. What's so fucking hard about that?") is so rabidly over-the-top that you can't help but love her, even as she wanders around the office splashing gasoline from five-gallon containers, because "We've been exposed, we have to close the office."
I can put up with the execrable Minnie Driver as Blank's high-school sweetheart ("You kill people for a living! Don't you get it? You ... can't ... HAVE ... me!") because this is probably her Personal Best performance. Besides, Dan Akroyd plays Blank's nemisis ("What about that job up in Washington? Where you had to kill the dog? A Poodle? Hah ... Poodle Puncher!") and Akroyd is one of the best comics in the business: a veteran of the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players. (Think: Chevy Chase, Gilda, Belushi, etc.)
By the time the movie was over, I was surfing the net for my own personal copy of Grosse Point Blank.
But it got worse. I watched "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" because Cusack was in it. Serves me right. I even BOUGHT the DVD of "Pushing Tin", and put up with the inherent ugliness of both Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett. Heck, even Angelina Jolie (in what turns out to be her first "big" film) paled by comparison to Cusack's performance.
Cusack is often not credited for his contribution to the Nick Cage movie "Con Air" (1997), which came out immediately after "Blank". Surprisingly, this featured both Cusack and John Malkovich who were paired again in 1999 in "Being John Malcovich".
The point of this whole exposition is that today I found a website which purports to list "John Cusack's Most Memorable Performances". You can go there, read what THEY think are significant performances, and vote for your favorite.
You'll be surprised to learn that, of the 11,000+ votes registered to date, 23% agree with me. But nobody, NOBODY, has yet complained that "Con Air" wasn't on the list.
No problem. It was only his SECOND best performance (ignoring the fact that he played against Anette Bening and Anjelica Huston in 1990's depressing "The Grifters")
Other personal John Cusack Favorites:
- Sixteen Candles (1984)
- Stand By Me (1986)
- Eight Men Out (1988)
- Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)
- The Thin Red Line (1998)
(Get the Point?)