|year: 1987 cast: John Cusack, Robert Loggia, Keith David, Ben Stiller, Wendy Gazelle rating: ***|
Cusack, fresh from feel-good classics like BETTER OFF DEAD, ONE CRAZY SUMMER and THE SURE THING, strays from his usual ever-likable persona as a jerk with a chip on his shoulder and has little patience for his girlfriend – or anyone else for that matter. But after getting a reprieve from his professor, he rushes to join his girl at the airport – and just misses her. He travels to the Caribbean and reluctantly teams up with a group of Rastafarians (including Keith David) and eventually boards the dilapidated vessel of endearing modern day pirate Robert Loggia.
Dan’s always a step away from reaching his seemingly impossible goal and in one overlong scene, where he and Loggia weather a formidable storm, the film turns from brat pack to Jack London. Directed by TRON creator Steve Lisberger, this isn’t a very funny picture but will keep your interest: There’s something new around every turn and once the villains are revealed – a father/son teaming of Jerry and the not-yet-famous Ben Stiller who kidnapped Dan’s future in-laws aboard a yacht – our shaggy hero morphs into the Cusack we know and love, becoming someone to actually root for.
|archive review: THE SURE THING year: 1985 cast: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga rating: ****|
Though it's a road film: polar opposites Cusack, as an endearing goof, and Zuniga, an uptight hidden beauty, journey cross country to Southern California... Cusack to meet a gorgeous blonde (the sure thing) and Zuniga to see her stuffy fiancee... the first half hour, taking place at the East Coast college, is where we really get to know their personalities before the trek begins: which, once underway, goes from one funny misadventure to the next, leading to a purposefully predictable turnout: boy and girl fall in love... till they reach their destination.
Director Rob Reiner keeps things rolling in this comfortably adventurous "rom-com" with creatively lustful reverie sequences thrown in for good measure.
|archive review: BEING JOHN MALKOVICH year: 1999 cast: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, rating: **1/2|
It's when Cusack, in lust with his fellow employee and married to a sweet-natured scientist, becoming pawn of a love triangle in which Malkovich's body is a sexual vessel, that the intriguing mind-trip becomes a bit too convoluted.
Yet it is all very unique... And the casting of Charlie Sheen as Malkovich's buddy/voice of reason would be become more ironic a decade later.