With a career that spans over 25 years, John Cusack has had the chance to touch a lot of hearts – and he has succeeded in doing so. Plus, how can you help but love an actor who collaborates with family so often, and who plays such a wide range of characters. Though a “Top Five” list might be more apropos, this is a Top Ten website, and there are too many plum roles to choose from. Here they are, the top 10 John Cusack movie roles.
10. Craig Schwartz, Being John Malkovich
Willing to look less-than-his best? Yep. Willing to play a desperate and sniveling loser? Check. The leading role in Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich might be an acquired taste, but true fans appreciate the bizarre film, and the chance it gave us to see John play a little bit different kind of role. I guess we weren’t the only ones who liked it – John was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for the role.
9. Nick Easter, Runaway Jury
John in an action movie? Well, it worked for ConAir, even though John’s role was a supporting one. In Runaway Jury, Nick Easter’s character is in the thick of all the drama, all the action, and all the heart-pounding excitement. Extra points for the chemistry between our guy and Rachel Weisz, and kudos to John for staying true to form – even in those chase scenes.
8. John Kelso, Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil
What can we say? The man looks good in a tux. Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil, a movie based on the book by John Berendt, was not overwhelmingly received by critics. We’ll admit that much, but the chemistry between John and Alison Eastwood (who reportedly dated in real life during filming) is sizzling, and, well, he looks great in a tux!
7. Hoops McCann, One Crazy Summer
One Crazy Summer is a classic. Hoops and his friends are oppressed by the rich folks in Nantucket. Hilarity ensues. Released in 1986, John was at the tender age of 20, and looked about 4 years younger. The wacky ensemble cast, the come-to-life animation that invades Hoops’ world – it’s all a recipe for classic 80’s goodness. In fact, I think I want to go watch it right now.
6. Lane Meyer, Better Off Dead
Released the year before One Crazy Summer, Better Off Dead is the story of a spurned teenager with a bizzaro family, even weirder neighbors who is hounded by Howard Cosell-wannabe Asian dudes who want to race his crappy car. Then he falls in love with a hot French chick who knows how to fix cars (therefore making her that much hotter). Lane is another aspiring cartoonist, and Cusack’s portrayal makes him one of the most beloved characters to come out of the mid-eighties. “Gee Ricky, I’m really sorry your mom blew up.”
5. Max Rothman, Max
Not everybody’s seen this one. Cusack plays Max Rothman, an art dealer in post-World War I Europe who befriends a young aspiring artist by the name of Adolph Hitler. Max Rothman didn’t really exist, per se. He is an amalgam of several real people, but ol’ Johnny does a very good job playing him, and it is a movie worth seeing, despite it’s controversial nature. John’s quiet reticence shines.
4. Jonathan Trager, Serendipity
What do gloves, Love in the Time of Cholera, and that guy from Northern Exposure have in common? Why, Serendipity, of course. The 2001 romantic flick starred our Johnny as Jonathan Trager, a romantic who meets the girl of his dreams while shopping for his fiance. Another fabulous buddy role played by Cusack’s real-life buddy, Jeremy Piven, provides the comic relief in this modern-day fairy tale. Get ready to swoon, Ladies….
3. Rob Gordon, High Fidelity
Top Five Reasons to Love Rob Gordon. 5. He’s real – flawed and selfish and utterly believable. 4. He has great taste in music. 3. He, despite #5’s claims, is completely likable. 2. He has great taste in music. 1. He’s played by our #1 guy – John Cusack. In a film that was highly scrutinized for it’s selection of American actors (rather than British as they were in the book), John Cusack took High Fidelity and made it his own.
2. Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything
What girl between the ages of 14 and 40 hasn’t held every potential suitor up to the romantic standard of Lloyd Dobler? John Cusack’s tender interpretation of the character in Say Anything set the standard for generations of women. We still love him today, don’t we? He’s the antihero, he’s the romantic, he’s great with confusing rhetoric: “I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.”
1. Martin Q. Blank, Grosse Point Blank
John Cusack co-wrote the screenplay to Grosse Point Blank, and the movie is chock full of family members – sister Joan plays Marcella – assistant extraordinaire. Brother Bill plays the waiter at the bar where Martin and Debbie go for a drink, and sister Ann plays the adorable drunk at that bar. Fellow co-writer Steve Pink plays Terry, the n’er-do-well security guard, and Cusack pal and frequent costar Jeremy Piven plays Paul, Martin’s long-time buddy. It would seem that it was a lot, I mean a LOT, of fun to make this movie. And it shows. Martin Blank has some of the best Cusack lines ever (“I sell couch insurance”) and the chemistry between Martin and Minnie Driver’s Debbie is incomparable. It’s a win.