Being John Malkovich

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:52 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Being John Malkovich
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich, Charlie Sheen
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: USA Films
Kiddie Movie: Let’s see? Sex. Nudity. Bad language. A fucked up story line. I don’t think so.
Date Movie: She might chuckle or hate you.
Gratuitous Sex: Some, and some nipple shots of Catherine.
Gratuitous Violence: Craig locks Lotte in a monkey cage.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Lots.
Memorable Scene: John Malkovich entering John Malkovich.
Memorable Quote: Too many to quote.
Directed By: Spike Jonze

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall listening in at this pitch meeting. “Well, the basic story of the movie goes like this. There’s this loser puppeteer. He can’t find a job as a puppeteer, is slightly perverted, and his wife is a little goofy and loves animals, especially taking care of a monkey who has ulcers and is in therapy, the monkey that is. Well, one day this puppeteer finds a job on the 7 ½ floor of an office building. The room is about 5 feet high so everybody has to crouch over. While there he finds the woman of his dreams but she has no interest in him. Then, one day he finds this door, crawls through, finds himself in John Malkovich’s head, and then after about 15 minutes he gets spit out on a ramp near the Jersey turnpike.” “Did you say ‘John Malkovich?'” “Yea, well, his nutty wife goes through the portal, thinks she’d like to be a man, falls in love with the hot chick his husband wants, and guess what, the hot chick falls in love with her, but only if she’s in John. But then the puppeteer realizes he can stay in John Malkovich and the hot chick doesn’t seem to care, sort of.” “That’s it?” “Well, you’ve also got a horny old boss who has this mysterious connection to John Malkovich.” “And we have to have John Malkovich?” “Well, yea, otherwise the title ‘Being John Malkovich’ will be pretty silly now, wouldn’t it?”

So, did you catch that? I can see you reading the basic gist of the movie above and going “Wow, that sounds pretty fucked up. I don’t know if I want to see that.” Well, “Being John Malkovich” is pretty fucked up, but totally enjoyable in a fucked up sort of way.

The movie has lots of laughs, mostly for the unbelievability of it all. First of all there is the 7 ½ floor, which you enter by hitting the stop button in the elevator as the light goes between 7 and 8 and prying open the doors with a crowbar. You can’t help but laugh as totally normal people walk around, hunched over, and find this normal. John Cusack as the wacky puppeteer, Craig, is great. Cameron Diaz does probably the only role I’ve ever seen her where I didn’t find her totally hot (just partially hot) as Lotte, Craig’s wife. Maxine (Catherine Keener) plays the “able to use any man” role just about perfect. And John Malkovich plays himself, which sounds bizarre enough, especially when John Malkovich isn’t really John Malkovich but is John Malkovich possessed by Craig. I know, it sounds twisted, but somehow it all comes together.

I guess going into any more of this movie won’t help because it probably won’t make any more sense than what I wrote above. Let’s just say that the humor isn’t the gut-busting kind, but there are lots of laughs and chuckles, mostly at the expense of John Malkovich and one at the expense of what Charlie Sheen will look like when male pattern baldness sets in.

I think you will come out of “Being John Malkovich” in one of two ways, either really liking the movie and saying it was twisted or really hating the movie and saying it was twisted. I’m on the liking side and give it 4 stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!


MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:34 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, Mary McCormack
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Dimension Films
Kiddie Movie: It’s a hard PG-13. Keep the kiddies at home.
Date Movie: She’ll probably get scared and snuggle.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: No real blood and gore.
Action: Some chasing.
Laughs: Nope.
Memorable Scene: The entire hour of hell.
Memorable Quote: Mr. Olin: "It’s an evil, fucking room."
Directed By: Mikael Hafstrom
Produced By: Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Is it possible to make a great horror/thriller film, with no real killings, no over-the-top gore, no psychopath trying to kill people? Could you also do so where the movie will only be rated PG-13? My answer is “Yes,” especially if it is a movie based on a Stephen King short story, and this movie is “1408.”

John Cusack is Mike Enslin. He appears to have written a decent novel at one point in his life, but now writes books geared at reviewing locations that are supposedly haunted, or at least infiltrated by something supernatural. In every case he has debunked the ghost stories, but still reviews the overall creepiness of the place giving it his “skull” rating. Psychologically-wise there is a reason for Mike’s searching out the supernatural, tied to the death of his daughter, but as of yet he has no reason to believe in the afterlife. Here comes room 1408.

In his mail is a postcard telling him to not enter room 1408 at The Dolphin Hotel in good old New York City, which he then researches finding out the room has been the location of many a death. Figuring it would be the perfect last stop for his next book, he heads east from the sun and surf of California only to find Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), the hotel manager, totally against Mike’s staying the night in the room. Mr. Olin states no one lasts longer than an hour in the room without something really bad happening to them, but Mike is undeterred.

Using his tape recorder, Mike begins his dictation as to the flavor of the room, from the bland paintings to it being like most other rooms he has stayed at. Things are a little creepy for him, which he accounts to parlor tricks, and as the air conditioning doesn’t seem to be working properly, he calls down to room service, they send up an engineer (the dude won’t enter the room, only tells Mike how to fix the thermostat), and suddenly Mike thinks he is in the middle of a big ruse by Mr. Olin, that is until the window slams his hand, the clock radio turns into a countdown timer starting at 60 minutes, and Mike is sent into an hour long bizarreness somewhere between a bad nightmare and a total mental breakdown. The walls bleed, his dead daughter comes back to life, he meets his father again, he sees ghosts jumping out windows, the room turns freezing cold, he can’t get help from room service, and his room is like Hotel California, where you can check out, but you can never leave.

“1408” is a refreshing horror movie in a time when slasher films seemed to have been ruling the roost. Not that I have anything against slasher films, and sure there are times I get creeped out when someone’s balls are in a vice, but for the most part I can laugh off most of the story of a slasher film. But “1408” is more like a nightmare you might have had, one you can’t wake up from, and when you do wake up you are freaked out and in a cold sweat. For a change a movie actually gave me goosebumps and chills, I suppose probably because for an hour of the film you knew at any moment something creepy could pop up, and I mean at any moment, and just as you let your guard down, there it is.

I’ve got to give it to John Cusack because he is fantastic as Mike, skeptical at first, but when he quickly gets spooked by the room during the first few minutes, he totally lets the room’s history spin him into total delusion. You would think he would be cool enough to go “This is just a giant parlor trick,” sit on the bed, and let the hour go by, but there is his deep-seeded hope that there is some sort of afterlife that keeps him trapped in the hell that has become room 1408.

If you are a little tired of the slasher horror genre and want a fantastic thriller, “1408” should really do the trick. The writing is smart, the acting is smart, and no one gets their balls in a vice, just a hand crushed by a window. It’s 4 ½ stars out of 5.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!