Being John Malkovich
What's it About
When down-and-out puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) gets a job as a file clerk on floor 7 1/2 of a large office building, he makes a startling discovery — behind an old cabinet, he finds a portal leading directly into the brain of actor John Malkovich (John Malkovich!). Soon, he's enlisted aloof co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener) and his dowdy, PETA-crazed wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz) in a scheme to charge admission for the novelty of "becoming" the famous thespian for 15 minutes.
Why We Love It
This strangely inventive surrealistic comedy was the inaugural collaboration between former music-video-director Jonze and talented screenwriter Charlie Kaufman. With such a bizarre concept, this film could have sent audiences home scratching their own noggins, but Cusack, Keener, and a (nearly unrecognizable) Diaz have a bright, wonderful chemistry that shines through all the head-trippiness. And who can deny that Malkovich, normally such a priggish presence, doesn't have a devilish sense of humor — especially in a hilarious scene where he enters his own head and freaks out? Clever, inspired, and extremely funny, "Malkovich" is cinema-as-funhouse-mirror, and the effect is dizzying.