This week we thought it would be fun to rank our favorite John Cusack roles. Did your favorite make the cut?
17. Bryce, Sixteen Candles
16. Adam, Hot Tub Time Machine
15. Dimitri, Anastasia
14. Capt. John Gaff, The Thin Red Line
13. David Shayne, Bullets Over Broadway
12. John Kelso, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil
11. Jake, Must Love Dogs
10. Student Jack, Shadows And Fog
9. Jonathan Trager, Serendipity
8. Hoops McCann, One Crazy Summer
7. Ed, Identity
6. Walter 'Gib' Gibson, The Sure Thing
The first John Cusack movie I ever saw was Better Off Dead. It was that movie that, with all due respect to Cusack's many other characters, set my expectations for what a "good" John Cusack role was: the lovable loser. The guy whose life kinda sucks because, no matter how hard he tries, he always ends up on the sidelines watching as everyone around him gets all the breaks. The quintessential nice guy who always finishes last... until the end of the movie, when he gets the hot girl because she realizes that losers are actually pretty okay.
Although there are aspects of every one of the lovable loser Cusack characters that I identified with, The Sure Thing's Walter Gibson is definitely at the top of the list. When I watched the movie for the first time, a lot of thoughts raced through my mind: Would I consider scraping every penny I had together and enduring a grueling cross-country trip for a chance at scoring with a hot girl? Would a hottie like Daphne Zuniga really fall for a dork like John Cusack? Does God exist? Who invented liquid soap, and why?
The answer to the first two at the time were, "Yes, show tunes and all," and "probably not." As for the other two? I'm just cribbing them from my favorite line in the movie.
Yeah, Gib was definitely my hero. If he could get an uptight snob like Alison to fall for him just by being his own, dorky self... well, there was hope for me, too. --Dave
5. Craig Schwartz, Being John Malkovich
Being John Malkovich is the only movie that I have ever watched twice in a row. As soon as it ended I watched it again, immediately, without hesitation. Everything about it blew me away: the plot, the concept, the cast of characters; the beginning, middle, and end. Cameron Diaz's big, permed hair and her chemistry with Catherine Keener's character blew me away, and Catherine Keener did, too. She was awesome as Maxine. And, of course, John Cusack as Craig Schwartz - lonely, desperate Craig Schwartz. John Cusack definitely blew me away.
Being John Malkovich is the movie that bumped him up to Serious Actor status for me. Craig Schwartz was such a complex, different, daring role, and Cusack made it look effortless. I loved the way he looks in the film: rugged and rough, run down, yet slightly crazed. I still get a kick out of Cusack as an actor when I watch him in the movie. I root for Craig every time, even though I know how it turns out in the end for the poor guy in the end.
I love this movie, and I love John Cusack in it. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing Craig but him. --Mamatulip
4. Rob Gordon, High Fidelity
It's very seldom when I feel like I can relate to a character. Rushmore's Max Fischer was one. High Fidelity's Rob Gordon is another.
Rob Gordon is a music lover who owns and runs his own record store, Championship Vinyl. He debates music and pop culture with his two co-workers while trying not to alienate the few customers that enter the store. They bust each others' balls in the process of creating top 5 lists.
And, most importantly, he understands and embraces the fine art of the mixtape.
At the heart of the story, though, is a man who's afraid to grow up, afraid to make a move, to take a chance. When we meet Rob, his girlfriend, Laura, is moving out of their apartment. He uses this event to launch a soul-searching journey where he tracks down ex-lovers in the hopes of learning from his past mistakes.
While High Fidelity is very funny, it's also quite moving to watch Rob wake up from his stagnant life and grow emotionally and take charge of his life. Not only is Rob Gordon one of my favorite John Cusack roles, Rob Gordon's also one of my favorite characters ever. --Chag
3. Lane Meyer, Better Off Dead
Better Off Dead has a lot of strikes against it. It's a comedy, yet the main character is suicidal. The climactic Good Guy vs. Bad Guy battle takes place on a ski slope. Curtis "Booger" Armstrong has a major role in the film.
And there's a song and dance number by a Claymation hamburger.
But it also has many pluses. A hilarious script. A quirky, but well-defined, supporting cast. Some great dialogue ("I want my two dollars!" "Suicide is never the answer, little trooper." "You make a gnarly run like that and girls will get sterile just looking at you.").
But of course, the glue that holds the film together is Lane Meyer, deftly portrayed by John Cusack. Lane is the stereotypical affable celluloid teenaged loser: he loses his girlfriend in the film's first few minutes, his best friend is a weirdo, and his parents are hopelessly out-of-touch. But Cusack brings an honesty to the role that rises above the stereotype. And in his hands, even the hokey "you were right there under my nose all this time" ending is a little less painful. --Chag
2. Martin Q. Blank, Grosse Pointe Blank
Frankly, I'm kind of miffed Martin Q. Blank is not number one on this list of John Cusack movies. That's right, I said miffed. Grosse Pointe Blank is my reason for living, probably in my Top 2 of favorite movies ever, and I'm very protective of it, which is strange since it's a movie about a hitman who travels with the suitcase of death.
Who else but John Cusack could make a professional killer so likable and sympathetic? I'll give you a minute to think about that since there are a lot of movies that try to make their professional killer characters likable, but first let me add this: who else could make a professional killer not only likable and sympathetic but also totally believable as a guy you might run into at your high school reunion? I'm not going to my reunion this year and it's a darn good thing because if I was I'd be really disappointed Marty wasn't there.
(The fact that the movie revolves around Martin and Debi's 10th reunion is something I'm trying not to acknowledge for fear of realizing just how old I really am getting. My reunion this year? Not my 10th. So let's just move on.)
Grosse Pointe Blank is a ridiculously quotable, extremely enjoyable romp through the seedy and really effed up side of life.
"I mean, they'll all have husbands and wives and children and houses and dogs, and, you know, they'll have made themselves a part of something, and they can talk about what they do. And what am I going to say? "I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How have you been?" I just think it'll be depressing."
I could go on, and I have. I try to work "This is me breathing" into conversation at least every week. Whenever a friend mentions she should have worn a skirt I have to stop myself from saying, "I should have brought my gun." You'd be amazed how often that comes up.
But enough lines from the movie, let's get back to Martin Q. Blank. Black-suit wearing, cold-blooded killer, still in love with the girl he ditched on prom night, tall drink of water Marty. For all his flaws, I'd still drive off into the sunset in a convertible Saab with him. Oh Martin, aren't you a handsome devil? --Tania
1. Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything...
First, let's just start off by saying that trying to wrap up the essence of everyone's most beloved underachiever in a paragraph or two is not possible.
Now, back to business.
Why is it that EVERYONE loves Lloyd Dobler? Is it the latent desire to see your lovesick dreamboy standing outside your window holding his grey metal radio while post-Genesis Peter Gabriel sings the things he feels? Perhaps the self-depreciating sense of humor and the almost otherworldly ability to see something greater? The best friend that composes endless songs about Joe's inability to tell the truth or the long tan raincoat?
Honestly, who the hell knows?
There is SOMETHING about Lloyd Dobler that inspires people. They LOVE him. He was the antihero who had a dream and went for it and in the end it all worked out for him and we cheered!
I could spend three hours here quoting lines and analyzing every frame of Say Anything... but I won't.
You love Lloyd Dobler and so I. It's THAT simple. --Dufmanno
We showed you ours, now show us yours. What's your favorite John Cusack role?