Archives for posts with tag: John Cusack

If you took a Sunday newspaper op-ed on Chicago gang violence and tried to turn it into a feature-length motion picture, you would get something like “Chi-Raq” (2015). I don’t fault Spike Lee for trying. It’s a worthy subject and his idea of using the ancient Greek play “Lyisistrata,” in which women use sex as a weapon – withholding it until their men declare peace – is inspired. But as a movie, it seemed more like an unfinished work. Lee has a bunch of creative ideas he is trying to work out on film, but never develops any kind of narrative flow.

 

With the success of “The Hangover,” a whole new genre of R-rated, male-oriented comedies was unleashed. Fortunately, “Hot Tub Time Machine” (2010) saw “The Hangover” and raised it one better. Why? Great dialogue, a fully formed plot, it doesn’t try to be something it’s not, and it tries to be the best something it is. Trust me, I was there in the 1980s. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a lot of fun. Just ask the time-traveling protagonist, John Cusack. This is the perfect Friday night movie for a gen-Xer. Order a pizza, down some beers and laugh out loud.

Can a movie be enjoyably confusing? “Identity” (2003) is a cross between a Friday the 13th movie and a whodunit, since we have cops and ex-cops and people with mysterious pasts doing the whole film noir thing right in the middle of them getting killed one by one, which I guess makes it a “who’s doing it” instead of a whodunit. A whodoit? There’s also a subplot with a mass-murderer dude who is facing the electric chair and you’re trying to figure out if the whodoit part is a flashback, or a flash forward, or some other kind of flash.