We watched most of the film Being John Malkovich over the weekend. Well, maybe not most. Half at least. I gave up and had to get some sleep right after John Malkovich was John Malkovich, a disturbing statement on a person’s inability to back up from his/her own point of view in order to gain perspective.
This film represents our ongoing quest to exhaust the John Cusack option. The reason I was too tired to finish BJM was that we’d tried to watch Cradle Will Rock first. Twenty-six minutes in, however, Rob invoked a recent film viewing rule we have put in place and pulled the plug.
I am not sure if it was the truly awful acting, or the fact that one of seemingly major sub-plots involved a musical playwright who was talking to someone who could have only been his dead wife – we never did get clarification on that* – but Susan Sarandon’s Transylvanian inspired accent pretty much did the film in for me and poor old Johnny (who was portraying Nelson Rockefeller, really) barely spoke three lines before Rob invoked the rule.
If either of us is bored past coherent thought, the movie is over.
The premise of Being John Malkovich is people entering a portal into his mind to be John rather than themselves for 15 minutes, a cute twist on the 15 minutes of fame thing. Cusack’s character goes further in that he manages to hijack Malkovich and live through him rather than merely be a vicarious spectator, again interesting indictments of the preoccupation society has with the rich and the famous.
Being me, I went to Wikipedia and found a synopsis of the movie and preferring reading to watching, I find I am satisfied and don’t need to finish viewing. But the idea lingers. Who is my John Malkovich? Whose brain would I crawl into and eyes would I peer out of if given the opportunity?
I really don’t know. There is a line in Sondheim’s Into the Woods where the characters admit that once upon a time they would have traded their lives for someone else’s but that was before their wishes were granted. I felt too once that I would have traded lives with anyone really, but that was before.
Do you have a John Malkovich? Or are you okay looking at life through your own eyes?
*Ah, the streak lives and to compound the matter for family movie night, we watched Nim’s Island with Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. ED gave it to us for Christmas. Within the first minutes the little Nim loses her mother in a tragic whale encounter of biblical proportion. Seriously, can we pick movies or what?