Movies with Meaning – John Cusack edition

Weekly series. Do please send suggestions via email, twitter etc. You can send a theme and/or specific movies. Each week we feature three movies with meaning, so send in a movie with a sentence or two on the core meaning you take from it and a clip from the movie that speaks to that meaning.

Some weeks my theme is deep and meaningful, this week simply to honour one of my favourite actors with three movies of his that I love.

Say Anything (1988)

Already featured in a prior weekly post of “Movies with Meaning”, this is my absolute favourite late 80s / early 90s teen movie.

John Hughes pretty much created that genre with, among others, Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Some Kind of Wonderful, Sixteen Candles.

John Hughes created the genre, but Cameron Crowe, in his directorial debut, smashed it out of the park with Say Anything.

I love John Cusack, and I really love Lloyd Dobler.

This clip explains why. The first part of this clip is one of the most romantic things I’ve ever heard. The rest is simply uniquely brilliant writing.


High Fidelity (2000)

Many years ago I was reading the book by Nick Hornby in a very quiet cabin on a transatlantic flight. This book is a romantic comedy, and the comedy is SO funny. I got to the point where Barry announces the name of his band and I collapsed into hysterical laughter. You know, the kind you can’t repress, that keeps coming back. I just kept laughing non-stop for ages !

Now, a few years later, I heard they were making a movie and relocating the story from North London to the USA. That raised a warning flag for me, but then I heard that John Cusack was leading this and felt somehow safer. He moved it to Chicago.

As Cusack said: “When I read the book I knew where everything was in Chicago. I knew where the American Rob went to school and dropped out, where he used to spin records. I knew two or three different record shops when I was growing up that had a Rob, a Dick and a Barry in them”.[7] Charlotte Tudor, of the film’s distributor, Buena Vista, said: “Chicago has the same feel as north London, there is a vibrant music scene, a lot of the action is set in smoky bars and, of course, there is the climate. But everyone, including Nick, felt that geography was not the central issue. It has a universal appeal”

This movie saw Jack Black burst on the scene, had an all star cast, and John Cusack ? Simply brilliant. A romantic to the core. As regular readers can tell, I believe in romance, hence Say Anything and High Fidelity make the top of my John Cusack list !


Eight Men Out (1988)

One of my favourite ever movies is Field of Dreams, featured in a prior post.

However, to understand the resonance of the character “Shoeless Joe Jackson” in Field of Dreams, watch this little known film. I loved it. Great cast, resonant and sad story that will live in infamy forever in sports.

Oh, and Cusack in in there.

Another thought. On the Rotten Tomatoes review site, these three movies score 91%, 98%, 86% ratings. Basically I’ll watch pretty much anything with John Cusack in it, but here I’ve also picked three movies that many love for other reasons too !


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