Today! Because I believe in God, and the only thing that scares me is Keyser Soze –
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Directed by Bryan Singer (x2)
Starring Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio Del Toro, Pete Postlethwaite, Giancarlo Esposito, Suzy Amis (x2), Dan Hedaya (x2), Clark Gregg, Louis Lombardi
A cast and crew simply bursting with purported monsters, The Usual Suspects is nonetheless an amazing movie, if you can get past its baggage. Dazzling, Oscar winning screenplay by apparent Tom Cruise captive Christopher McQuarrie (seriously, his resume over the last 15 years is almost exclusively writing and/or directing Cruise pictures), breakout movie for director Singer (accused of much, the most mild of which being on-set difficulty), and Oscar winning role from subsequent huge movie star Kevin Spacey (who did his level best to top Harvey Weinstein as Biggest Scumbag of 2017 – verdict still out, as of this writing! Who won? None of us, right?).
So with all that – not to mention fervent Trump supporter Stephen Baldwin – can you still wrap your arms around The Usual Suspects and praise it to the heavens like this was 1995? Again, in putting together this list, I’ve tried to be honest with myself. How much does actor/director off-screen drama affect my enjoyment of their films? And the answer is – probably some? Probably less than it should? I mean, I’m not going to run out and see a new Kevin Spacey film, but ones previously existing and beloved? Movies cement themselves for me basically when I first see them – my estimation might rise or fall over time, but that’s still based on film criteria almost exclusively. I might not agree with Clint Eastwood’s politics, but that doesn’t change how much I like In the Line of Fire, get me? I can stay out of my own way in that regard. Pretty much.