Spike Jonze

My favorite music video director who isn't impressing me so far as a movie director.

Being John Malkovich (1999) -- Everything about this movie seemed perfect when I heard about it. My favorite music video director to direct a movie starring John Cusack and Cameron Diaz about becoming John Malkovich, and having the actor himself playing the part. But if you're going to have a fantastic story, then the only thing you have to do is follow the rules set up by the premise, which this movie eventually throws out the window, especially by the time Malkovich crawls into his own head to see himself over and over, and then when the two women crawl in and go into the most immature version of the unconscious. Also, the tone of this film is inconsistent, sometimes over the top comedy and sometimes taking itself too seriously philosophical and emotional discussions. Some might say that the confused nature of the story and the mixed tones are part of the point, but I just think it's bad movie-making. In the end, this comes out to feel like a feature-length movie video where the plot isn't as important as the impressive images and crazy idea behind the concept. D

Adaptation (2002) -- In a way the "sequel" to Being John Malkovich, this movie suffers from a lot of the same crap that the first movie did (combined this time with yet another incorrect version of how writers behave). Mostly, I think Charlie Kaufman is probably just a dickhead who thinks he's more clever than he is, and this movie shows autobiographical proof of that. Just watch Robert Altman's The Player or read/see any play by Tom Stoppard, and you'll see what Kaufman is trying to do but failing by miles. Nicholas Cage, however, is perfect, and in the end I at least have to give these guys credit for making movies that are different -- if not always better -- from most movies. C

Copyright (c) Nov 2001 by Rusty Likes Movies