Being John Malkovich

I worked for a long time on the material for my class. One of the other teacher introduced herself to me after several years, which was rather funny. I should have bought some groceries, but I didn’t. I was distressed that the copy machine wasn’t working. I gave a lecture that covered a lot, but I used up only half of the class period. I handed out the first quiz of the semester and hoped that the students would do well. I asked the security guard what kind of pizza would be good to get for the Super Bowl. I returned to watch a bit of television before browsing through the record store. I bought the CDs of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Conor Oberst’s “Upside Down Mountain.” I watched the new episode of The Big Bang Theory and thought it was rather lacking in inspiration. I walked over to the theater to catch the week’s Flashback Feature, “Being John Malkovich.” Because I’d already seen it several times, it didn’t have the great impact on me that it had years ago. It still had the fascinating quality to it, and it was hilarious to see Malkovich and Charlie Sheen. This was one of John Cusack’s best movies, along with “The Grifters” and “High Fidelity.” I could see that this movie was from a while ago, because Cusack used the classified ads to look for a new job. Cameron Diaz was certainly quite funny as Craig’s wife. An old Orson Bean played an important character. Mary Kay Place played an unusual woman. This movie could not have worked without the presence of John Malkovich himself. I thought it was one of his most memorable performances, especially when Cusack enters his brain. The change in Malkovich’s career was hilarious. I had to question, however, how Craig could stay in Malkovich for such a long time. I imagined he smelled awful afterwards. The scene everyone remembers is Malkovich entering his own brain. It was actually suspenseful for a while. I didn’t see why everyone found Maxine so desirable. She seemed exceptionally sharp-tongued and cold. I wondered if Cameron’s chimp might get violent. The portal seemed like it was slippery and dirty, and a place you’d want to avoid. It seemed like the path to being born. I wondered why the people were dumped to that site by the New Jersey Turnpike. One of the things that is very funny is how Malkovich entrances everyone. Is he really that great an actor? With the passage of time, I recall only a few films that he’s done. I thought about the 7 ½ floor and how there should be an alternate way of getting to it besides stopping the elevator. It seems that fire regulations should dictate that. I wondered why the police didn’t catch on to this activity with the portal. John and Catherine were running a business presumably without a license, and they had a handwritten sign like they were two kids running a lemonade stand. The part where Cameron and Catherine are going through the scenes in Malkovich’s life was reminiscent of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Craig’s job was dealing with files, and he found the portal after one of those files fell behind the cabinet. His job would figure to be obsolete sixteen years later. What is he doing dealing with a lot of paper, anyway? Craig was a passive figure, letting Maxine lead the way and not discovering the Malkovich room as his wife did. Malkovich reportedly did not want to appear in this movie, but it turned out to be just about the best one he’s ever done. Charlie Kaufman was in his best form with “Adaptation,” “Being John Malkovich,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” He should have deconstructed his entire approach to writing after these movies. You can’t spend your whole life doing the same thing. I wondered why Kaufman chose John Malkovich as opposed to people like, say, Christopher Walken, Madonna, or Bill Clinton. It turned out that the future Charlie Sheen in the movie wasn’t realistic, because actually Charlie Sheen didn’t change very much except for a bit of age in his face. I thought that Malkovich acted like a man who was older than 44. I wondered that there wasn’t something else in that portal. No one really examined it because it was so slippery, but perhaps there was a portal within the portal. I guess you can go on endlessly with the possibilities. The movie was short and sweet compared with the epic “Saving Private Ryan” last week. I like movies that are lean and get to the point. It was eleven o’clock when the movie ended. I thought back on the 1990s and how quickly it all passed. I recall watching “Silver Streak” on New Year’s Eve of 1989. I remember movies like “Dances with Wolves,” “The Silence of the Lambs,” “Schindler’s List,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Titanic.” I remember listening to Sinéad O’Connor, Nirvana, Beck, Oasis, and Alanis Morissette. The Chicago Bulls won six championships. Before I knew it, it was New Year’s Eve of 1999. “Being John Malkovich” and “American Beauty” were two of the last movies of the 90s that were worth watching. Instead of John Cusack and Cameron Diaz, we would see Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in the Kaufman creation “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Carrey would talk about vaccinations and autism, and Winslet would speak in a fake accent. I don’t know what’s happening with the Kaufman world these days. I watched the news and Jimmy Kimmel until This Week in Unnecessary Censorship. This morning I heard about the death of Rod McKuen. Some of the people who died on January 30 include Betsy Ross (1836), Mahatma Gandhi (1948), Stanley Holloway (1982), Lightnin’ Hopkins (1982), and John Barry (2011). Today is a birthday for Phil Collins (64), Marty Balin (73), Vanessa Redgrave (78), Gene Hackman (85), and Dorothy Malone (90). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 30, “The Incredible Shrinking Woman” was released in 1981. In 1987, “Outrageous Fortune” was released. In 1988, INXS hit Number One on the singles chart with “Need You Tonight.” In 2011, John Barry died of a heart attack at age 77.

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