Nicolas Marriott looks at a man who has survived aircraft hijacking and the end of the world.
#1 - Con Air
Con Air is the kind of action film Michael Bay wishes he could make. The film partners Cusack with Nicolas Cage as they work together to try and stop a prison plane which has been overtaken by America's nastiest maximum security prisoners. The characters are complete caricatures and the action is preposterous, (I counted four scenes of people walking away from explosions unharmed) but it doesn't matter because both the audience and everyone on screen loves the film for its originality.
#2 - Grosse Point Blank
The coolest film on the list, this starts with the concept of 'assassin goes to his high school reunion' and runs with it from there. Decked out in black and shades, Cusack's gun for hire Martin Blank runs around trying to rekindle his romance with high school girlfriend Minnie Driver, whilst avoiding other killers and the FBI. The supporting cast are brilliant, as is Joe Strummer's soundtrack.
#3 - Being John Malkovich
Cusack moves from assassin to puppeteer in Spike Jonze's directorial debut. Written by Charlie Kaufman, Being John Malkovich is part Inception, part Alice In Wonderland. Cusack's Craig Schwartz becomes a filer on the mysterious 7 1/2th floor, but when he finds a portal which takes him into John Malkovich's mind for 15 minutes, his life quickly slips out of his control. A work of genius.
This Chicago-based adaptation of Nick Hornby's British break-up novel won over sceptics and gained new converts. Cusack's broken-hearted record store owner divides his time between music elitism and reflection on past relationships, in a film which is equally moving and and hilarious. Also of note is a performance from Jack Black before his pompous acting style began to wear thin.
Not to everyone's taste; those who can overlook the poor script and hackneyed characters will find much to enjoy in Emmerich's disaster movie. It demands viewing on the biggest screen possible. Little is asked of Cusack beyond running away with family in tow, but he rises to the occasion. Highlights include a limo escape from a crumbling LA, and a collapsing Basilica.