Tag Archives: John Malkovich

The Set of 400: #248 – My Favorite Jewel Thief

Today! Because nobody’s looking for a puppeteer in today’s wintry economic climate –

Being John Malkovich (1999)

Directed by Spike Jonze

Starring John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener (x2), John Malkovich (x2), Orson Bean, Mary Kay Place, Charlie Sheen (x2), Willie Garson (x5), W. Earl Brown (x2), Octavia Spencer (x2)

Featuring the greatest single performance where someone is credited playing himself, Being John Malkovich’s crazy premise could’ve easily overwhelmed the movie. Seriously, it feels like this film was one casting misstep away from Being Charlie Sheen, and who knows how it would’ve played out. Hey, maybe great – maybe that’s all Sheen would’ve needed to re-jumpstart the film career, never do Two and a Half Men, never have catastrophic public meltdowns, and would now be regarded as one of the pillars of the acting community. Instead, he starred in a sitcom on FX for a few years and lost his damn mind. This is all speculation about what could’ve been, of course.

Instead…

By all indications, it was Being John Malkovich the whole way across, and we are better for it as a people. Wildly creative, and surprisingly touching, this movie bends reality to the near breaking point while still grounding it in a believable-ish reality. Finding a door that leads into another person’s head! And making the decision that not only is it a famous actor’s head, but have them gamely play themselves and in such extraordinary fashion as to blur this 4th wall (5th wall?) and create something so indelibly new and unpredictable. Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #335 – My Favorite JFK Assassination Guilt

Today! Because good men like you and me are destined to walk a lonely road –

In the Line of Fire (1993)

Directed by Wolfgang Petersen

Starring Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo, Dylan McDermott, Fred Thompson (x2), John Mahoney, Gary Cole, Tobin Bell, John Heard, Steve Railsback, Gregory Alan Williams, Jim Curley

Following on the heels of his gigantic Oscar and box office success with Unforgiven in ’92, Eastwood cemented his Hollywood comeback with this taut, terrific thriller, pitting his secret service agent against Malkovich’s taunting assassin. And really, the only thing in the way of Malkovich taking home his own Oscar was this happened to land in the same year as Tommy Lee Jones work much discussed in this space in The Fugitive (see this explanation in my extensive justification for #337’s Under Siege earlier this week). ’93 was a pretty great year for action adventures – there are nine films from the year on this list, and starting here the next five are all thrills and explosions and monsters! Up until now, it’s been Robin Hood: Men in Tights (#395), The Nightmare Before Christmas (#379), and The Sandlot (#339) though. Stay tuned from here through to the 2020 Vernal Equinox (March 20th, dummies!) to cover the next five! Continue reading

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