John Malkovich, John Cusack, Cameron Diaz and Catherine Keener
Directed by: Spike Jonz
Written by: Charlie Kaufman
This is one
of the cleverest movies made in quite a while. Just a fun, mentally
stimulating romp through the mind (literally) of Malkovich
as they would like us to see him.
Here's the tale. John -handsome as a fresh groomed poodle- Cusack
plays Craig. Craig's a down and out puppeteer who finds himself
accepting a sub-menial job in a whacko company filing stuff. We
never really know what kind of stuff...
droning day Craig discovers an odd rabbit-like hole behind a cabinet.
Very Alice Through the Looking Glass-ish. This hole takes us not
to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb but straight into the head of
world famous thespianarian John Malkovich.
Clever huh? Good thing they actually got the real Malkocabbitch
to play Maltomilkballvich huh? The man obviously knows a good
script when he sees one. Writer Charlie Kaufman's script needed
the guy to work - David Spade as Malkovich wasn't gonna cut it...
Back to our
tale. So Craig , being ever the capitalist, decides, "Hey
here's a way to make some extra dough off people who want to escape
reality for a few minutes." He'll invite people -for a few-
to hang out in Malkovitch's mind. They get a mere 15 minutes.
Hmm. I, would
rather have hung out in George Clooney's girlfriend de jour's
head personally, but Malkie ended up being surprisingly fun. There's
one scene that'll have you heavin' with laughter - it's cola snorting
time...Craig manipulates Malkovich's movements and makes him do
a freaky towel dance ala Martha Graham squared. You have not lived
till you've seen Malkovich do the towel dance. Okay. You have
but it's friggin' hilarious folks.
But things are about to get weirder...Malkovitch finds out about
the little start-up company involving his mind and gets all huffy.
He threatens to sue! Then in a film history moment, Malkovich
goes down the portal - himself - into himself. He finds himself
in a sea of Malkovichs! Heavy concept huh? A bit of movie TrigAlgebra.
John Cusack was in that Lame-o-Rama Pushing
Tin this year and he needed redemption. He found it.
Now, don't get me wrong. He is always superb, acting wise, as
well as cinnamon bun sweet on the retina, Pushing Tin's script
sucked twas all. Another attempted Cusack fix of mine went all
haywire, as the dear boy was seen way to briefly in The Thin
Red Line. I really did sit through a war movie, and I mean
a war movie for him. So, I was up for a little
Cusack fix. Know what I mean? Oh, his sure his extra-fab-talent-squared
sister Joan was in fabulous Arlington
Road, but alas, I am nay a clamdigger, so that was not
my idea of a Cusack fix. So the gods were cruel by granting
me this great movie with a great actor then he shows up all gruff
and sleazy; a Scum-A-Snarous Rex - visually in this. JC looked
like a Bohemian-espresso sipping-puppet master, with odious charm,
but I suppose at least I got to see him. Good work, John. Purr-Usual.
He's one of our best actors. Disagree? Get your own review!
John Malkovich, in case you're unfamiliar with him, is an act-tore.
That is to say, he gives one the appearance that he goes around
spewing Shakespeare quotes in daily conversation at the lesser,
common folk, and punctuates these verbal above-isms with grand
Thespian gestures of long ago West End idols. Well, not in this
movie. He sheds his PBS demeanor and seems to genuinely enjoy
frolicking around making a horse's arse of himself. What an actor!
To play yourself, as a character must be one of the hardest things
one can do. Very vulnerable position that was.
Oh, by the way, a dowdy-had-to-look-twice to verify, Cameron 'Perky
Smile' Diaz plays Craig's love Lotte. Cameron is one of those
"just cool" star-looking people. But here we see Cam's
got some real talent hidden behind all that beauty.
Then there's Catherine
Keener in the tasty talent pot. This chickbabe's oozing brilliance
in everything she does and here is no exception. Catherine makes
little girls want to act.
Jonz is someone to watch. He is best known for whacko-weird music
videos, off the wall commercials and such. I believe that'll change.
He's got that askew eyeball, like Tim Burton, only maybe, not
as macabre. Can't wait to see what he comes up with next.
Being John Malkovich is a twisted tale that shouldn't work,
but with the cast they've gotten to romp through this wacky brilliant
script by Charlie Kaufman, it does. Check it out immediately.
SNACK RECOMMENDATION: Take Out Sushi (It's brain food,
rich in Omega 3)