The Brunching Shuttlecocks Features

The difficulty in trying to review the movie Being John Malkovich is getting over the fear that I'm not the one actually writing the review.

The plot of the movie is simple. John Cusack plays a puppeteer who gets a job as a filing clerk and finds a three foot door behind a file cabinet which leads into John Malkovich's head.

OK, maybe it's not so simple.

But the idea that somehow, somewhere, someone could crawl down a tunnel into my head, bothers me for some reason. I mean, what if they already have? What if I haven't been me in years? What if The Editor crawled into my head three years ago and has been controlling me ever since? What if I haven't actually ever written a single review?

Would anyone care?

Don't answer that.

See, in the movie, this mystical portal takes you into acclaimed actor John Malkovich. You know him, you saw him in Dangerous Liaisons, In The Line of Fire, Of Mice and Men, Con Air, The Man In The Iron Mask and other movies. He's a huge star, but not quite the leading man. High up on the Hollywood food chain, but not quite at the top. Sorta like me, The Self-Made Critic. High up on the movie-critic food chain, but not quite at the pinnacle. Heck, if John has a portal, I could just as easily have a portal.

And if I have a portal, it begs the question, who's going for a ride in my mind? Am I popular? Am I a bargain basement amusement or an E-Ticket? (Not E-Ticket as in what you use now when you fly. A long time ago, Disneyland gave out tickets for their rides. You couldn't just ride anything, you had to have that ride's ticket type (A-E). The best rides - Matterhorn, Space Mountain, etc. - were the E-Ticket Rides. A little history lesson for the younguns.)

You can begin to see the paranoia inherent in this movie. This strange, odd, bizarre movie. It's really, really strange. It's also very, very funny. A friend of mine (yes, I have friends) said he felt it was a movie that, more than most movies, people were either going to really like, or really hate. No real middle ground here. You either revel in the brilliance of this subversive masterpiece or are totally unimpressed with this meaningless drivel.

I liked it.

But you have to wonder if the movie would have been half as interesting had it been called Being Angela Lansbury.

There is something intangible about John Cusack which makes him very enjoyable to watch. There is also something marvelously intangible about John Malkovich, especially when he's playing himself, that makes him wonderful to watch. The Cameron Diaz thing is totally tangible.

Would you like this movie? Did you like There's Something About Mary? Did you like American Pie? Did you like Brazil? Did you like The Blair Witch Project? Did you like Saving Private Ryan? Did you like The Exorsist? Did you like Roots? Did you like Gone With the Wind?

That's nice. I still have no idea if you'll like this movie.

I'm giving Being John Malkovich 4 1/5 Babylons. Or maybe someone else is in my mind right now and they liked the movie. Maybe I hated the movie and want to give it zero Babylons but I'm unable to, because I'm not in control of myself. See, I just don't know! I just don't know!

Editor's note:

The SMC can be sure that I have not crawled into his head. I would never write such imbecilic movie reviews.

Being John Malkovich
Rated: R
Directed By: Spike Jonze
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich and the Id.

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