John Cusack has made a career by playing characters and making choices that are off the beaten path. He lends a real intelligence to every character he plays. He tends to turn down major blockbuster movies (i.e. Appollo 13, Indecent Proposal) to take more independent, character driven films. He is on a short list of actors, for me, that if I see he is in a movie I will give it a shot.
Here is a list, in no particular order, of my favorite performances from John Cusack.
John Cusack gives us one of thee iconic moments in movies. Everyone remembers Lloyd Dobbler standing, boombox raised overhead, Peter Gabriel blasting from the speakers. The character of Lloyd Dobbler for most is what we think of when we think of John Cusack. This movie put Cusack on the map as a leading man. A few fun facts about this film it marks the directorial debut of Cameron Crowe as well as the film debut of Bebe Neuwirth. Also the dojo we see Lloyd in with the kids is the same dojo used by the Cobra Kai in The Karate Kid (1984).
In The Grifters Cusack plays Roy Dillon a two-bit hustler who wants to be a true grifter. There’s a mother, a girlfriend and cons trying to be pulled off by all. In the movie Cusack really hones who he is and what he does as an actor.
High Fidelity is considered one of Cusack’s best films by most. The character of Rob Gordon in High Fidelity is having to deal with a fact that most of us in our thirties deal with; We have to grow up. One of the central characters of this movie has to be the music. Nominated for the Grammy for “Best Compilation Soundtrack Album” losing out to the soundtrack for “Almost Famous”.
This movie is going to show up on at least one other 5 Or Mores… It is one of my favorites Rom Coms and hold a special place in my collection. Not much to say about it except, I love it!
This movie is probably best know not for what took place on-screen but what happened off. This is the film that Billy Bob met Angelina and that tabloid filled relationship. That aside, this is a well acted film and has some of the best back and forth banter between John and Billy Bob.
One of the few big Hollywood movies Cusack has done. Part of an ensemble cast that includes Nic Cage, Ving Rhames, Colm Meaney and of course John Malkovich whom Cusack will work with on a future project “Being John Malkovich”. (A film which is not on the list but will get an honorable mention)
Grosse Pointe Blank
This is possible my favorite John Cusack movie. One of the 10 movies he has done with both his sister Joan Cusack and one of his best friends and former roommate Jeremy Piven, it is also his screenwriting debut as well as the first film he co-produced. As hitman Martin Q. Blank, Cusack really shines in his signature role as a neurotic. (And again a great soundtrack)
Honorable mentions go to Being John Malkovich, Identity, Must Love Dogs, One Crazy Summer, 2012, and Hot Tub Time Machine.
There it is, for better or worse. That is my list of John Cusack movies.
Let me know…