Both Beyonce and Eminem suffer from crippling self-doubt on the new track “Walk on Water.” Stars they’re just like us. Also, on a day that was supposed to be about Taylor Swift it was funny that two arguably bigger stars dropped one song and stole the bluster that comes with all Taylor Swift album releases. Stars they’re still not like us.
Thought experiment. If an album drops in the forest and no one hears it, did it really drop? Did it really make a sound? Why would an album be dropping in a forest? Doesn’t matter. Taylor Swift’s latest, Reputation has dropped today, just not on Spotify or any streaming services. Apparently, the album sold 800,000 copies in one hour which is also what my debut solo record did so no big deal.
FWIW, I miss 1989, the album and the year.
Late last night Taylor Swift released her third single off her album Reputation. It sounds a whole lot more like what we’re used to from Swift. Whereas, “Look what You Made me Do” and “Ready for it” signaled a shift in sound “Gorgeous” feels more representative of her past work (most notably 1989). It’s a perfectly serviceable song but isn’t immediately winning like many of her other singles (every song off 1989 felt like a hit) have been over the course of her career. What does this mean for Reputation? Like this song, she’ll probably be fine.
The Mayor is a television show about a struggling rapper that somehow becomes the mayor of his hometown. If I had to guess, he probably becomes the mayor by reading an endless stream of tweets from the Donald, shrugging his shoulders, and deciding if a boring former reality television show personality can become president, becoming a mayor should be easy. Maybe. I don’t know yet because I haven’t watched. Let’s watch together.
1. T.K. and Jermaine are putting up a congratulations sign for Courtney. Valentina doesn’t know why they are doing that. Jermaine says he is trying to worm his way into Courtney’s inner circle. I was pretty sure he was already there since he got this job almost entirely because he is friends with Courtney. Both T.K. and Jermaine say the word worm a bunch and I shake my head because the worm is a dance that people do at weddings when they want to impress me.
2. Courtney wants to know whether people think of him as his own man or just another Obama. Courtney, Obama is a national treasure, you make average rap music and are a big proponent of nepotism.
3. Kitty has wet hair because she got stuck in the rain and also took a bath before coming. I didn’t know her name was Kitty. Dina complains that no one answers the phone. She tells Courtney he needs to get a receptionist. I prefer puppies to kitties.
4. There is a news report that recaps everything from the first two episodes and makes me think I didn’t need to recap the last two episodes myself. Then we learn Courtney’s approval ratings are at 23%. That’s about as popular as that ketchup that Heinz made that wasn’t red. TK shows up on the news report and says he doesn’t know if Courtney has what it takes. TK is very bad at his job and then he quotes Donald Trump and my head explodes.
5. Courtney is upset about his low approval ratings. Jermaine thinks they should find a defenseless country and wipe it off the map. Valentina thinks maybe they should get a small win for the people. Dina likes The Real Housewives of some place and makes that clear through an 8443 minute monologue where she recaps her favorite moments of the show.
6. Courtney notices Kitty is drying herself off with a tissue. He wants to make covered bus benches. To do that he needs to talk to David Spade. We learn that TK will be interviewing secretaries. Obviously, this will not go well. Then Courtney does a walk and talk with his group and they end up at the bathroom. He doesn’t know why they’ve been following him. It’s because they were raised on Aaron Sorkin shows.
7. Valentina was Ed’s former campaign manager. She says he likes to play dirty. We also learn that she does Krav Maga. I rarely exercise.
8. David Spade says he is going to block Courtney’s proposal. David Spade really wants to be mayor. David Spade asks Valentina if she wants to go back to working for him. Courtney doesn’t think Valentina stands up for him enough. And he’s right but also how can she when Courtney gave a job to TK.
9. Courtney is on a phone call and Jermaine and TK show up with potential receptionist. Both TK and Jermaine are terrible at their jobs. Courtney then asks them if he thinks that Valentina doesn’t think he can do the job of mayor. Valentina pops into the office and tells him that if he mandates that the bus stop covers are a safety issue than there is nothing that David Spade can do to stop it from going through. Valentina is the only one good at her job. That includes Courtney.
10. Dina comes into the office and she sees TK and Jermaine doing stuff in hopes of getting in the graces of Courtney. They haven’t yet found a receptionist. TK explains that they are worried Courtney is going to cut them because he is mayor. Or maybe he’ll fire you because you haven’t hired a receptionist yet.
11. I want to hang out with Dina. She says all the right things always.
12. Courtney enters Valentina’s office. She asks if he got the job done. Courtney decided not to do Valentina’s plan. Instead, he decides he is going on some political show. This is a terrible idea and everyone knows it and honestly Valentina should leave to work for someone else or leave so that she can take more krav maga classes.
13. Courtney notices that Valentina still hasn’t unpacked her office. And that’s a good point. Cardboard boxes are dumb and shouldn’t be in places where high level business is taking place. I want Valentina to sing some Glee style songs.
14. We learn Valentina hasn’t even taking off the protective film of her phone. This is a metaphor. I’m sure of it.
15. On “The Grey Area,” the political show that Courtney has decided to go on, it goes poorly. Real poorly. I haven’t even watched the scene and I’m confident that things will not end well. Also, Courtney is probably pretty confident and that confidence will be torn to shreds by whoever is hosting the “The Grey Area.” Terrible name for a show. I bet they have very low ratings.
16. I was right. Also, Valentina doesn’t like Soul Cycle. She prefers walking on a treadmill.
17. David Spade calls in on the show. The transportation director kills Courtney’s program idea. This is so sad. TK says the recording of this tape will never see the light of day. It is of course live. Sigh.
18. Courtney rides his bike home and finds his mother sitting on the couch watching television. She’s going to say something meaningful and important and everything is going to turn around for Courtney. They go get food. Dina loves ketchup packets.
19. Courtney thinks that maybe he’s not cut out to be mayor. He doesn’t want to fight dirty or go for the throat. This a fundamental flaw in the episode. Nothing Valentina offered to do was dirty politics. Courtney has managed to conflate getting stuff done and being prepared for his job as evil. He didn’t know about the trash for cash program. He didn’t take Valentina’s advice on going to the transportation bureau. He’s making Valentina out as the scapegoat when really the only person standing in the way of Courtney being a successful mayor is Courtney. Whoa. That’s deep.
20. Dina says that meaningful stuff I promised she would and everything is about to turn around for Courtney.
21. Courtney walks into David Spade’s office. He has a look of confidence. Courtney shows a billboard of him and David Spade. This is him reaching across the aisle. Sharing credit. IDK (my BFF Jill) it seems unlikely that David Spade would be so accepting of this idea. Didn’t he get the transportation head to already say they can’t do this project? In the elevator Valentina and Courtney bump fists. I feel like he should apologize for saying that she had one foot out the door. He doesn’t. We go on living our lives.
22. TK and Jermaine have failed to hire a receptionist. Again, they are bad at their jobs. Courtney answers his own phone. He is less bad at his job. Later that night he sees that Valentina has unpacked her office. He smiles and turns off the lights. I want more walk and talks.
Some genius once said, “You can get with this or you can get with that.” (shout out to Black Sheep) This statement has never been more true when it comes to the defining boy bands of the late 90s and early 00s. Draw a line. Choose a side. Get with this or get with that.
Back before smart phones and iPods, back even before Rio audio players and Dell Digital Jukeboxes, our lives were inundated with an avalanche of teen pop music. Besides the CDs you purchased or ripped illegally this music played everywhere. You heard it on Top 40 radio stations, MTV (especially on TRL), at the mall when you walked by Hot Topic, pizza places on Fridays, in the hallways as groups of people were choreographing their own dances, Saturday nights in your best friends’ bedroom, and basically anywhere else. There was no hiding from the boy band craze that swept a nation (or at least some select suburbs). There were hundreds of them out there (shout out to O’Town’s “All or Nothing” which to this day remains my karaoke song of choice alongside “Hero” by Enrique Iglesias). But in your heart you knew there were only two choices.
N’Sync or Backstreet Boys is like Coke or Pepsi. McDonald’s or Burger King (I now realize all these examples are bad for you unlike N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys). It’s a litmus test for who you are as a person (or who you were if you now deny ever buying those albums at $20 a pop at the local Borders Books, FYE, Tower Records, Sam Goody, or Coconuts). Let’s jump in.
(As always hat tip to Dr. Jack Ramsey and Bill Simmons)
The word iconic is oftentimes thrown around when describing stuff that doesn’t merit that kind of diction choice. For instance, one time I heard a teenage boy say that Wildberry Poptarts are iconic. Now while I love Poptarts, Wildberry especially, I know that toaster pastries don’t necessitate that kind of adulation. This is all just my roundabout way of explaining that I know the importance of the word iconic (DJ Khaled voice). I don’t throw that word around lightly (Ovaltine is iconic. Except for there). So when I tell you that N’Sync and the Backstreet Boys have some truly important songs I’m not just saying it for the benefit of this article. I’m saying it because those are the facts.
Right off the bat N’Sync comes with the hits (wordplay is important). Here is the list of the songs you should know off their US debut album. 1. “Tearin’ Up My Heart” 2. “(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You” 3. “I Want You Back” 4. “I Drive Myself Crazy” (more on this one later) Pretty good. But wait…
Backstreet Boys throws out: 1. “Quit Playing Games with my Heart” 2. “As Long as You Love Me” 3. “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” 4. “All I Have to Give” (which is a perfect song)
When measured this way, single against single, the groups wind up being pretty even. For every “The One” there is a “It’s Going to be Me.” For every “This I Promise You” there is a “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.” So perhaps the best way to look at this is through the most iconic of the songs. The way I’ve selected this is through my carefully created algorithm called, “Don’t over think it hipster.” When I say the groups name what song do you think of? Play a little word association except with songs while your bored refreshing your slack channel at work. The ones you probably came up with, if you’re not being a hipster, are “I Want it that Way” and “Bye Bye Bye.”
I’ll be honest, I love both of these songs, just like I love both of these groups, but the truth is only one of them stands the test of time as an important song (notice how I didn’t say music video). No matter how many times I practiced singing, “Just hit me with the truth” in my best Justin Timberlake voice, I feel like “I Want It That Way” remains important outside of the late 90s early 00s context. It’s a perfectly written pop song that once you start humming you physically can’t stop. It doesn’t rely on cheap ploys or dance moves. We just get some dudes singing very earnestly about I’m not sure what. And for me, the what never mattered, just as long as I could listen to it every single second of every single day. N’Sync may have had the perfect school slow dance song “This I Promise You” but Backstreet Boys had the perfect song period.
Also, people forget that “The Shape of My Heart” is a perfect song.
EDGE: Backstreet Boys
Music videos were as important or more important than just about anything having to do with the boy band brand. Songs on the radio were great but in order to be the world dominating stars that these labels wanted their groups to be you had to generate music videos. I always thought that the Backstreet Boys played it a little safe.Walking around in airports, dressing up in Halloween costumes, and face morphing like in that one Michael Jackson music video.
N’Sync was willing to take more chances. Jumping off tops of trains, transforming into plastic dolls, and pretending to be in insane asylums (some of these risks ended up being not so great as the case with “I Drive Myself Crazy”). However, there is no risk without reward. I think that’s what people say.
Dancing is important. I know boy bands don’t do it anymore (I’m looking at you One Direction. Does PrettyMuch dance? Is that the new boy band of choice. I’m very old). The immediate reaction is just to give this to N’Sync and move onto the next category. They have Justin Timberlake and they have JC Chasez who was a host on some dance show that I never watched (America’s Best Dance Crew). However, Chris Kirkpatrick, Lance Bass, and Joey Fatone were not exactly earth stoppers with their moves. Also, I’ve tried to do the chair dance the Backstreet Boys did in “As Long As You Love Me” many times. As far as chair dances go, its probably as important as the hora (maybe not). And even with all that thrown into the mix you still have to give it to N’Sync. I mean B2K once said they wanted to model themselves after N’Sync because they continued to keep dancing even after the first album (I think they said this it might have just been a fever dream I had hosted by Carson Daly and Ananda Lewis).
Backstreet Boys > NSYNC
Millennium = No Strings Attached (yeah I’m not picking between these two)
Home for the Holidays > The Backstreet Boys hate the holidays
Black & Blue > Celebrity (Don’t @ me. “Girlfriend” is the precursor to Justin breaking off as the solo star that the world needed but even back then I knew “Pop” was corny)
The Entire rest of the Backstreet Boys catalog > The nothing else that N’Sync put out as a group after Celebrity.
EDGE: Backstreet Boys
After Black & Blue, the Backstreet Boys proceeded to drop four albums (some of the songs off these albums were pretty fun and probably would have been hit if they were released during the height of Backstreet mania. Take a listen to “Straight Through My Heart,” “Bigger,” and “In a World like This” if you don’t believe me ). They also made a cameo in the Seth Rogen movie This is the End.
N’Sync made a brief appearance during a Justin Timberlake performance at the VMAs. After they finished a 7 second medley, security escorted them out of the building, and they were never seen or heard from again.
EDGE: Backstreet Boys
Sick and tired of hearing all these people talk about
What’s the deal with this pop life and when is it gonna fade out
The thing you got to realize, what we doing is not a trend
We got the gift of melody, we gonna bring it ’til the end
“Pop” is a corny song. Don’t say it isn’t. Justin Timberlake beat boxing while Michael Jackson danced at the VMAs was also corny. The Backstreet Boys are inherently corn but “Pop” puts the corn unicorn. “Pop” puts the corn in cornerstone. “Pop” puts the corn in cornucopia. I never want to think about this song again.
It doesn’t matter,
‘Bout the car I drive or what I wear around my neck
All that matters,
Is that you recognize that its just about respect
It doesn’t matter,
About the clothes I wear and where I go and why
All that matters,
Is that you get hyped ’cause we’ll do it to you every time
(Come on now)
Do you ever wonder why, this music gets you high?
It takes you on a ride, feel it when your body starts to rock
(your body starts to rock)
Baby you can’t stop
(You can’t stop),
And the music’s all you got, come on now
This must be, pop
Why is this happening?
Too much sodium is bad for you.
So are too many disco balls.
Justin Timberlake is a pop legend. He’s iconic (like Ovaltine). Everyone else in N’Sync went onto moderate success. JC Chasez made an album and was a judge on a TV show. Lance Bass almost went to the moon. Joey Fatone hosted some stuff that I didn’t watch. Chris Kirkpatrick was in a show I didn’t know existed.
The Backstreet Boys did not have a breakout star. No matter how hard I thought Brian Littrell would be the hero the world needed, it never happened. Nick Carter did some solo stuff that I didn’t listen to. Kevin went to Broadway. Howie? AJ? I don’t know. Ultimately, the boys from the streets that were back worked better as a unit. The whole was greater than the sum of its parts. I think that’s what made them such a good group. When their powers combined no one else could shut down Time Square during the height of TRL like they could.
This is a battle between two groups of five singers who helped 90s kid work their way through puberty. Whatever happened after they split up means nothing. My argument was always that N’Sync was holding Justin Timberlake back. That was never true about any member of the Backstreet Boys. They were better together like peanut butter and jelly, like spaghetti and meatballs, like boys with bands.
EDGE: Backstreet Boys
Spending time with the Meyerowitz family sounds like a harrowing proposition. They argue, they scream, and they’re only cognizant of their own feelings (and sometimes not even those). The latest from writer director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) finds a way to an inject a universal nature into a very specific set of characters. Released directly to Netflix (and also now in theaters), the movie centers around three adult siblings and their sculptor father who has an upcoming show for his artwork.
Dustin Hoffman is a reliable Mets loving curmudgeon and Ben Stiller as well as Elizabeth Marvel work well within the confines of the roles they are given. Seeing Grace Van Patten (star of one of my favorite movies of the year Tramps) expand her range is also fun to see. However, the real stalwart is Adam Sandler. There’s no better feeling than seeing the man behind Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison actually try. Watching him as the quietly seething Daniel might not seem like a stretch but his skill comes in the muted moments of the film. Beats of silence and looks of desperate uncomfortableness work when played against his sequences of loud rage. Sandler’s idiosyncrasies (his shifting eyes and nose flaring) work to complete a character that uniquely stands out in Sandler’s filmography. It sounds weird but I think I could watch Sandler look for a parking spot in New York City for hours (watch the movie and it will make sense).
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) is Baumbach’s attempt at displaying a real life family. Has he succeeded? Yes. Am I super happy I’m not part of that family? Yes again. Do I stan for Adam Sandler and Grace Van Patten? Uh huh. Okay, no more questions just go see the movie.
Sandra Bullock is the best. She makes movies. Here are my quick reviews of the Sandra Bullock movies that I’ve seen. Yay, Sandra Bullock.
Review: I saw this Sandra Bullock movie at nine in the morning on a Sunday in an empty theater. Even then I found the cinematography beautiful. The movie is called Gravity because it takes place in space.
Review: I don’t think you’re supposed to cry during this movie but I did.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Review: You’re supposed to cry during this movie but I didn’t.
The Blind Side
Review: I like this movie better than the NFL. You should too.
Review: Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock have chemistry in this movie. They run into each other while they’re naked. That’s how babies are made.
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
Review: The first movie is better.
Two Weeks Notice
Review: Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock are charming. I don’t remember much other than that.
Review: This movie made a lot of money so they made a sequel. The first one was better.
Forces of Nature
Review: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this movie upwards of 40 times. Sandra Bullock is a star and weather can be very fickle.
Review: The only thing I remember about this movie is the main character’s name is Birdee. Have you seen Bye Bye Birdie?
Speed 2: Cruise Control
Review: Boats aren’t as fun as city buses. Also, I miss Keanu Reeves.
Review: This movie gave me nightmares. The 90s were a different time. They didn’t know what a gif was back then.
While You Were Sleeping
Review: I like this movie. It might be creepy that she lied and said she was dating a man in a coma and then started dating that man’s brother.
Review: A perfect film. Remember when the bus goes really high in the air? Me too.
Love Potion #9
Review: This film makes me sing that old song by The Clovers. Jimmy Cooper from The OC is in this movie.
The Nanny Diaries and Uptown Girls are exactly the same movie. Just kidding. They’re not. But they’re similar enough so that we can put them up against each other and decide which is better based on multiple facts I just made up on the spot. Did anyone ask for this pop culture movie showdown? No. Am I going to spend too much time on it anyway? Yes. Yes, I am.
(Hat tip to Dr. Jack Ramsey and Bill Simmons).
The Nanny Diaries is a dramatic comedy that follows Annie (that’s neither that dramatic nor that comedic), a prospective anthropology student, taking on the position of nanny to a family living in the Upper East Side of New York City. The framing device through the story is told, is that this is a field experiment where she learns about a different culture she is not initially familiar with (the Scarlett Johansson voice over tells us this repeatedly as do the sometimes amusing breaks into magical realism). Annie becomes a nanny, grows to enjoy the child’s company, but is still befuddled by the family she works for.
Uptown Girls is so odd. I guess its about Molly Gunn, a young woman with Peter Pan Syndrome, who is equal parts quirky as she is frighteningly childish. Somehow she loses all the money her Dad made as a famous rock star (their money guy stole it all and ran away) and she must get a job to pay rent. She finds employment as a nanny to a child who acts like she is 60. From there its basically The Odd Couple.
Edge: The Nanny Diaries
Brittany Murphy does her best as a first draft of a Zooey Deschanel character. She’s appropriately weird playing a six year-old trapped in a 20 somethings body. Murphy has a manic energy about her performance and even when her character seems patently unsound, I still couldn’t help but watch. There is some gravitational hold she has over the viewer in this underdeveloped, half baked, totally meh, role.
Scarlett Johansson is perfectly competent as Annie. This isn’t Her or Lost In Translation, but it also isn’t Scarjo in The Spirit. She’s serviceable in a thankless role that doesn’t allow her to do much other than furrow her brow and run a surprising amount. The real issue is the support cast. Whereas Brittany Murphy how no one to steal her shine, Scarlett must deal with the legend that is Laura Linney. Laura Linney is fantastic in everything and makes every other actress look very okay. This is not Johansson’s fault. If Brittany Murphy had to share scenes with Linney I’m sure I’d have the same complaints.
Dakota Fanning plays one note this entire movie. She’s very annoying. None of this is her fault. It again feels like the first draft of a character. That being said, there are some genuine moments Fanning finds in the movie that transcends the character she plays. Somehow (I don’t know how) in the end we don’t hate her.
Grayer, played by Nicholas Art has less to do in this movie. Kick the shins of other people and be cute. That’s his job. He’s like a basketball player who is told to stand in the corner and only shoot threes. Don’t stretch yourself. Ultimately, Dakota’s character is more infuriating and is probably someone I never want to spend time near but the degree of difficulty is much higher. So this goes to Dakota.
EDGE: Uptown Girls
Uptown Girls almost put together the cast of Clueless for this movie. I guess not really. Brittany Murphy and Donald Faison are the only two. Both he and Marley Shelton do the best with what they’re given (which isn’t much). We couldn’t have found a spot for Alicia Silverstone or Stacey Dash in this? What were they up to at this point in life? I just want everyone to watch Clueless. I also just want Alicia Silverstone to be back in my life.
From one Alicia to the next, Alicia Keyes plays the best friend. She sang “No One.” This is a great song that people don’t talk enough about. This is the song I want playing whenever I walk into a farmer’s market.
EDGE: The Nanny Diaries
The Romantic Interest:
Captain America or Jessie Spencer. Captain America is generally a nice guy that for most of the movie we know as the Harvard Hottie. Jessie Spencer’s character is the worst human I’ve never met until the last 5 minutes of the film. So what do you think?
EDGE: The Nanny Diaries
The Rest of the Cast:
This isn’t close. Heather Locklear is in Uptown Girls for like 10 seconds (congratulations on that paycheck) whereas Laura Linney, playing Ms. X, the mother of Grayer does all the Laura Linney things you’d expect. Paul Giamatti plays Linney’s husband, an absentee husband and father, with no discernible qualities that make a human a human, who ultimately tries to make a sexual advance toward ScarJo (perhaps it bears mentioning that The Nanny Diaries was produced by the Weinstein Company).
EDGE: The Nanny Diaries
What scene will you remember years from now? Honestly, probably not any of them. Uptown Girls has a funny dance in the climax where Dakota Fanning’s and Jessie Spencer’s character arcs are both neatly tied up. It’s cute enough. The Nanny Diaries pays homage to Mary Poppins with a flying umbrella scene. That’s kind of fun to look at.
Use of New York:
Both movies are set in New York City and there is so much room for the directors to use it to their advantage. Neither one does, though Uptown Girls does dovetail Coney Island into the movie and I’m sucker for that.
EDGE: Uptown Girls
The director of Uptown Girls also did Remember the Titans. My mind was actually blown. Suffice it to say this movie is not Remember the Titans quality.
Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini directed The Nanny Diaries together. There are some visual flourishes and there are no bad performances from the actors.
EDGE: The Nanny Diaries
I don’t remember any musical moments in The Nanny Diaries. I guess Annie and Alicia Keyes character sing once when they’re driving into New York City. Mostly I’m upset because I didn’t get to hear Alicia Keyes belt out “No One.”
The song “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel is not mentioned in Uptown Girls. “Sheets of Egyptian Cotton” and “Molly Smiles” are though. This one is easy.
EDGE: Uptown Girls
I love Ken Cosgrove but Nas, Mark McGraff, and Dave Navvaro.
EDGE: Uptown Girls
Like with all things there is no accounting for taste. However, these are two radically different movies that sort of end up in the same place. The difference is that it feels like The Nanny Diaries planned on ending up there whereas Uptown Girls just sort of wondered there. Sure, The Nanny Diaries might take itself a little too seriously and for that reason loses it rewatchability, but at least the creators had a vision. There is some unintentional humor in Uptown Girls that I enjoyed but most of the time I had no idea why things were happening.
EDGE: The Nanny Diaries
I don’t know if John Cusack is a great actor. I mean, I suspect he is since I like a many number of his films and even in his movies that I don’t like, I usually like his performance. Daniel Day Lewis is a great actor. The reason I can’t say this about John Cusack with the same kind of steadfast assuredness is because I’m too close to the subject matter. No, I don’t know John Cusack. It just feels like I do. I grew up with him on my television screen. I was raised on his characters. I root for John Cusack. I root for him even though he’s incredibly successful and doesn’t need randoms fist pumping when he’s in a hit. So saying John Cusack is a great actor feels odd. He feels more like a friend, which in my estimation is the greatest compliment you can give an actor. What follows are my favorite John Cusack movies. You might think of them as just films. I think of them as the time me and John hung out. Maybe that sounds weird. But let me live my life.
(Quick Note: These are movies that he starred in so a movie like Stand by Me would not count.)
5. Being John Malkovich
From the mind of Charlie Kaufman, this daring movie, that fuses all different kinds of genres, would have been completely watchable without John Cusack. However, Cusack elevates the work with his classic deadpan humor and ability to ground the movie in a way that lets the audience into the story. He is our human conduit into a film and world that is more often than not empirically strange.
4. The Sure Thing
Road trip movies can be tedious. They almost always hit the same beats. Two people who hate each other go cross country together and then along the way build some sort of foundation for friendship or romance. The Sure Thing is no different in this way. Except that somehow a movie that is set into motion because a college student simply wants to get laid happens to have a lot of heart. Credit must go to principals, director Rob Reiner, Cusack and Daphne Zuniga. The Sure Thing is the type of movie that could be made, has been made, and will be made again. Future iterations just won’t ever be as good.
3. Gross Pointe Blank
Gross Pointe Blank is the perfect vehicle for John Cusack. It’s funny. It’s romantic. It’s dark. The movie is incredibly rewatchable and doesn’t feel like it has aged a day. Nobody should ever make another movie about a hitman who goes back home for his 10 year reunion. If they do though, maybe think about putting John Cusack in it.
2. High Fidelity
It’s safe to assume that John Cusack’s character Rob Gordon would have supported this kind of list. Adapted from the Nick Hornby book of the same name High Fidelity finds Cusack playing a record store owner whose girlfriend has just broken up with him. For 95 percent of this film Cusack’s character is a dick. He’s selfish and heartless and if anyone else was playing him I’m not sure that we would accept how this movie ends. Cusack isn’t anyone else and anyone else isn’t Cusack.
1. Say Anything
Come on. Did you see this playing out any other way? Lloyd Dobbler is an iconic character in popular culture. The kickboxing, trench coat wearing, mumblecore before mumblecore was a thing, God, is here to give you all the feelings. There is absolutely no one else that could have played Lloyd Dobbler. People want to date him. People want to be him. People stand out in the rain with boom boxes over their heads in hopes of winning back a significant other just like him (it never works cause you’re not John Cusack). Say Anything is in the pantheon. It is canon. This is John Cusack at the height of his powers.
Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma has been in many movies. These Bollywood movies are pretty long. No worries. Here are three sentences (or less) about the ones I’ve seen. You’re welcome.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
Review: Shah Rukh Khan changes everything about himself in order to be with Anushka Sharma. It’s a good decision.
Band Baaja Baaraat
Review: Anushka Sharma wants to become a wedding planner like in the movie The Wedding Planner starring Jennifer Lopez. She’s good at her job and by the end of the movie she realizes she is in love with the romantic interest she sometimes argue with. Romantic comedies are fun.
Ladies vs Ricky Bahl
Review: If you have seen John Tucker Must Die you have seen this movie. If you haven’t John Tucker Must Die what is wrong with you?
Jab Tak Hai Jaan
Review: This movie is long and Anushka Sharma plays the James Mardsen to Katrina Kaif’s Ryan Gosling. If I’m a bird you’re a bird.
Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
Review: Drinking is bad for you. Don’t you dare do it.
Review: Faking your own death and pretending to have a twin sister is easier than you think. Dope.