Posted : 3 years, 9 months ago on 10 March 2010 08:42
Being John Malkovich is one of the weirdest films that I have ever seen. It has a very weird story which is a very heard thinking plot in a motion picture because of how effective it can be if one enters another person's mind and how it can work. On the weird side to the story, it is both sick and weird that a portal is invented and can control a person's mind. Actually, it is also pretty insane. This is a very imaginative film that people can just think of out of their heads. I have to say that Being John Malkovich is, yes, one of the weirdest but it is the best weird film that has adapted together the best. I ws confused and puzzled what was with the small offices in the film and the low roofs. A question that I have asked myself alot before and after I watched the film and that I still don't know the answer to. Why is it John Malkovich as himself? Why him? There can be any actor in the world who can portray themself but John Malkovich was chosen.
I have never been a strong admirer of John Cusack at all. After watching this film, I don't like him at all now. Just think he should just give up acting just like his sister Joan Cusack. He isn't as bad as her though. I haven't seen many films from John but I have to say that he is one of the weakest actors. I was really impressed with Cameron Diaz's performance because it was absolutely fantastic which is very rare froim her. She had that absolutely nuts side to her personality as far as her sexuality is concerned. Also, her transgender side aswell. Cameron's appearance was a real fascination to me because she looked like a 70-80 year old bag but Cameron is really a young, hot and very attractive actress. She should have had an Oscar nomination either instead of or alongside Catherine Keener in this film. Catherine's performance was even better than Cameron Diaz's because not so much that the character was more powerful but because she made a slightly better impression of the character she was portraying. John Malkovich was the best because he was only portraying his normal self. In the scenes where Malkovich is questioned by a fan, it seems like an ordinary interview or walking into the public in real life either in front or not in front of the screen. He made me laugh a lot as he has always done.
I have now started to become very admired by Spike Jonze's work for quite a few reasons. Those reasons include he hasn't done a bad film yet for me, he was married to great director but terrible actress Sofia Coppola. Most importantly, he has done very bizarre films that truly have become masterpieces just like Stanley Kubrick and especially David Lynch which is where I find Jonze's work so fascinating. The script was very well adapted and is a mixture between genres comedy, drama and fantasy.
I loved Cameron Diaz in this film but liked her more in Gangs Of New York and Shrek. This is my second favourite film from John Malkovich. I do still love him in Johnny English though. I loved both Being John Malkovich and Adaptation so can't say what my favourite is from Spike Jonze. It will probably be Being John Malkovich. I think it should have been a contender for Best Picture. Masterpiece! Bring us more masterpieces, Jonze.
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Posted : 4 years, 11 months ago on 26 December 2008 03:43
"You see the world through John Malkovich's eyes. Then after about 15 minutes, you're spit out into a ditch on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike!"
"Nobody's looking for a puppeteer in today's wintry economic climate."
Feature films as remarkably audacious and endlessly inventive as Being John Malkovich are few and far between. This reassuringly unique movie denotes the feature film debut of director Spike Jonze, who had previously been responsible for cutting-edge music videos. Jonze (who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on this film) works from a wonderfully imaginative screenplay penned by Charlie Kaufman. Kaufman's script brilliantly expounds on an oddball premise by presenting a steady stream of twists and an outrageous succession of unpredictable developments. Being John Malkovich is not inaccessible to an average movie-goer, but it certainly won't be summarily devoured by tastes of all stripes. It's an extremely strange and peculiar film; a dark comedy of the absurd featuring sinister undertones. It adheres to the style established by Terry Gilliam in such films as Brazil; in fact die-hard fans of Gilliam's work are the ideal audience for such a film as this. Being John Malkovich is gruelling to stomach as it occasionally lacks an entertainment value and it's notoriously unenjoyable from time to time, yet the joint efforts of Kaufman and Jonze have spawned an irresistibly bizarre and original movie.
The story tracks struggling, dishevelled street puppeteer Craig Schwartz (Cusack). He's a brilliant puppeteer, but he's unable to find work. Dowdy wife Lotte (Diaz) persuades Craig to seek an alternative job in order to acquire a steady income. He lands a job as a filing clerk for an enigmatic company located on the 7½th floor of an office building. It's here - while working for loopy boss Lester (Bean) and lusting after colleague Maxine (Keener) - that Craig encounters a portal that sucks an unsuspecting individual into the head of actor John Malkovich (giving possibly the performance of a lifetime as, well, himself). For fifteen minutes a person literally "becomes" Malkovich - sees through his eyes, hears what he hears, and feels what he feels - before being spewed out adjacent to the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig consults Maxine who subsequently decides to go commercial, allowing paying customers to experience fifteen minutes inside Malkovich. But this money-spinning novelty quickly descends into utter insanity. Lotte realises the joys of the portal, Maxine indulges in the pleasures of Malkovich, Craig aspires to permanently inhabit Malkovich's brain in order to establish a successful career as a puppeteer, and Malkovich twigs that strangers are messing with his head.
To brand Being John Malkovich
as bizarre or absurdist would be an understatement. This is a comedy in the off kilter tradition of Terry Gilliam (and Monty Python, for that matter). The characters are all eccentric oddballs, and the situations they deal with are jaunt and far-fetched. Surprisingly, though, it all hangs together. Nothing can prepare you for how astoundingly original this movie is. Jonze takes an idea which could have been stretched beyond breaking point - or simply fallen flat in the wrong hands - and transforms it into a simply startling picture. Being John Malkovich
manages to be hysterically funny and achingly poignant while also making life as a crabby, pompous movie star seem like the most attractive prospect in the world.
The unusual premise is an attention-grabber in itself, yet Being John Malkovich
offers more than just a gimmick to win over its audience. Charlie Kaufman's screenplay is brilliant, bringing to the forefront numerous issues in contemporary philosophy of mind; such as the nature of consciousness, the mind-body dichotomy, and sensory perception. It's doubtful that anyone expected Being John Malkovich
to be any sort of hit - critical or otherwise. Regardless of only pulling in $23 million at the box office, critics lauded it - esteemed American critic Roger Ebert even selected it as the best film of 1999. The film was praised particularly for the originality evident in Kaufman's magnificent screenplay. His script even earned him an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay, and an Oscar nomination. Young Jonze's direction is also rampant in originality. Jokes exist in several layers, from the obvious guffaw to sly visual gags (floor 7½ takes a bow in this respect). It's amusing to witness an army of office workers reduced to bending over at the waist in order to accommodate the low ceiling. No-one says a word about it...it's just accepted. In order to get to said floor, one must press the emergency stop button in the elevator as it becomes equidistant between floors 7 and 8, and then pry open the elevator doors using a crowbar. Craig even beholds a plaque detailing floor 7½ at the 7½th minute of the movie!
Jonze and Kaufman continue to throw new surrealistic ideas at the audience. Commonly, the level of originality in a film reduces as time goes by. However, Being John Malkovich
retains its creativity - which even continues to heighten as the movie progresses. John Malkovich experiencing the portal himself is a masterpiece, but other ideas aren't so golden (a chimp regressing into its own childhood is, frankly, beyond the pale). Perhaps the greatest inclusion is a brief mockumentary featured as a way to chronicle the rise of Malkovich's career as a puppeteer. An interview with Sean Penn is even included for the sake of authenticity. Other more subtle additions are included, such as Cusack murmuring a succession of names which prove significant later into the story. It's certainly a movie which demands to be viewed multiple times in order to adequately glean the subtleties that are in abundance. However the continually dim, bleak tone and the sometimes leisurely pace is quite detrimental. Being John Malkovich
isn't an overly enjoyable picture, and its re-watchable value is astonishingly depleted.
As for morals, messages, or topics explored within the film...the filmmakers may or may not be conveying messages regarding the negative consequences of people wanting to be somebody else, questioning their own identity, and exploiting others.
As the freakish premise grows more grotesque and repugnant, the apparent enthusiasm of the cast keeps the film afloat. Cusack is intensely watchable as the scruffy puppeteer who becomes ceaselessly bemused, frantic and close to homicidal by the film's dénouement. He's virtually unrecognisable in the role. As Lotte, an unrecognisable Cameron Diaz is featured. She brilliantly immerses herself into the character, generating utterly wonderful results. Catherine Keener has never been better as the opportunistic Maxine who's appropriately underhanded and scheming. Keener was even nominated for an Oscar. Seasoned comic Orson Bean plays Dr. Lester - Craig's boss - as a fuzzy-brained Leslie Nielson. Charlie Sheen and Sean Penn also appear in cameos as themselves, with Sheen usually parodying his own womanising lifestyle and Penn featuring in the mockumentary mentioned earlier.
But this is John Malkovich's movie, and it's a joy to witness him lampoon himself on such an alarming scale; coming across as the kind of obnoxious, self-absorbed idiot no actor would ever want to appear to be. Malkovich seems to be having an absolute ball in this career-defining performance as himself.
Essentially a wildly twisted trip into a strange world, Being John Malkovich
is a greatly realised fantasy from the multi-talented Spike Jonze. This is a bizarre yet engaging movie; an outstanding segment of celluloid analogous to the works of Coen Brothers and Terry Gilliam that isn't easily forgotten. Its dim nature may prevent an overly enjoyable experience, but its continuous stream of creative ideas makes this picture worth watching once at the very least.
"I think it's kinda sexy that John Malkovich has a portal, y'know, sort of like, it's like, like he has a vagina. It's sort of vaginal, y'know, like he has a, he has a penis AND a vagina. I mean, it's sort of like... Malkovich's... feminine side. I like that."
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