Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling street puppeteer. In order to make some money, Craig takes a job as a filing clerk. One day he accidentally discovers a door… a portal into the brain of John Malkovich (played by John Malkovich)! For 15 minutes, he experiences the ultimate head trip – he is being John Malkovich! Then he’s dumped onto the New Jersey turnpike! With his beautiful office mate Maxine (Catherine Keener) and his pet-obsessed wife (Cameron Diaz), they hatch a plan to let others into John’s brain for just $200 a trip. See what all the critics are talking about.
1999 – Certificate: 15 – USA
I’ve got far too fat this year. Too much to do at work, along with a very slowing recovering ankle injury (sustained whilst trying to walk the South Downs Way, that well-known hiking equivalent of climbing K2), have somewhat curtailed my more extreme sporting aspirations over the past 18 months. It totally sucks, I must be the only fat vegan on the planet. Although some kinds of exercise do have an attraction (by which I mean ‘dancing’ at punk and ska gigs), eating less has very little to recommend it using just about every system devised for measuring human fun levels. Several years ago I didn’t eat anything for 35 days, which lead to my losing 23kg, but this didn’t exactly leave me with a lot of energy or get up and go; even less than normal, attributes which are often in short supply anyway. (Please insert joke here about my get up and go having got up and went years ago.) So this time I need a slightly different approach. Having considered the wide range of fad diets and other crap that’s published about how to lose weight, I’ve realised that what I actually need is a more industry-standard, heavy-duty model; less like a pair of scissors and more like a chainsaw. So for the last four days I’ve been following what I’ve dubbed the Husqvarna Diet; (other chainsaw-themed weight-loss programmes are available, probably). And yes, I’m afraid it was a Christmas present to myself. I need to lose 35kg, which will leave me weighing about the same as when I was born, I think. I’m not sure what that is in ‘old money’ but I suspect it’s quite a lot. At this point I’d like to reveal the details of the Husqvarna Diet, but I’m afraid I can’t; if it works I’ll be looking for a publishing deal to sell my brilliant idea to all the other obese, lazy, losers ‘out there’. If I’m looking forward to one thing, it’s being able to wear a lot of totally out of date clothing, which like many people I’ve kept in the wardrobe for years and years in the stupidly misguided hope that somehow it will fit me again one day. In fact, I’d go as far as to suggest that they’ll be so old-fashioned as to actually be cool and retro. Like my diet plan, this film is also truly unique and rather ridiculous.
I really like this movie. With what’s probably a one of a kind plot, it’s clever, amusing and watchable. Unfortunately, it’s also just a little bit too clever for its own good. Then again, the story doesn’t really make any sense, yet somehow is perfectly coherent and believable. It could come across as a bit freaky and gruesome, but it doesn’t. The characters could all easily seem quite unpleasant, but they aren’t. A bit like in Star Trek when they use a bit of techno-babble to get around problems, this film creates a whole mythology around its characters and living forever, but doesn’t bother to explain where most of it came from. You just need to accept things as is, but for all that it doesn’t really matter and it’s highly entertaining stuff. Cameron Diaz is almost unrecognisable as the pet fixated wife, whilst Catherine Keener just looks sexy.
Recommended for people who enjoy weird films; but weird in a good way.
1 cat, no chainsaws or decapitations. In a film featuring a lot of animals, it’s sad that the cat only has a brief cameo, but even so does introduce a classic continuity glitch. You can’t keep a good animal actor out of the limelight!
Top badass moment? This has to be John Malkovich playing (what I assume is a rather subtlety shallow version of) himself. That’s just weird and weird is badass.