Bars

Five most Cusackian John Cusack movies -- celebrate the actor tonight

Join These Things Matter hosts Kevin O'Brien and Taylor Gonda tonight at the Lost Lake Lounge for These Things Matter Night, a live podcast recording dedicated to the films of John Cusack, whose Rob Gordon character in High Fidelity inspired both the title of the podcast and the obsession with pop-cultural minutiae that keeps it going. "Cusack was one of the first things Taylor and I bonded over," says O'Brien. "I've discovered there is a whole legion of man-boys and lady-dudes who, like myself, spent [their] teen years trying to replicate Cusack's angst." To celebrate the career of the actor who continues to inspire them, Gonda and O'Brien have programmed a full evening of Cusack-related entertainment, with screenings and musical performances from SPELLS and Lisa Prank. They'll also be conducting brief interviews with any guest who wants to lionize Cusack for the podcast. Explains O'Brien: "We figured, why not hear from all the other Cusack-philes out there?"

In honor of tonight's event, Westword revisited the filmography of John Cusack and hand-picked his most definitively Cusackian roles. These movies are each thoroughly entertaining on their own merits, but together they illuminate the precise nature of Cusack's appeal. Old-school Cusack fans may notice the conspicuous absence of his broader '80s comedies. Unlike the man himself, Cusack movies like Better Off Dead have aged very poorly. 1985's The Sure Thing is a film that, like promise rings and the music of Rush, is strictly intended to entertain virgins. True fans can hardly begrudge this list, however, as it covers every shade of Cusack, and includes a legitimate masterpiece, two beloved cult classics, a half-forgotten potboiler that deserves a critical reappraisal, and a movie that features what is arguably the best boyfriend of cinema history in its ranks.

See also: Five cult classic horror movies inspired by books -- and available now!

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Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham