Is there anyone else out there who wouldn't recommend Being John Malkovich? I was disappointed when I first saw it in the theater, and thought I was perhaps let down as a reaction to the extreme tidal wave of positive buzz. Started watching it again and am immediately struck by how much more elegantly Charlie Kaufman's ideas developed in later scripts. This has all the subtly of a splat of jam.Being John Malkovich
1. Puppetry is an easy target to poke fun at. A puppeteer who insists on his own importance as an artist is hitting that target with a cannon.
2. Same with having a character who keeps a lot of animals around.
3. The hairstyles help this. Everybody has hair that's aggressively trying to push away other people.
4. I've never been a fan of John Cusack. He's not a bad actor. I just can't think of many performances where it seemed like he cared about being in the film.
One of the most highly-praised films I've ever been disappointed by. Re-watching it today after seeing other films by Jonze and screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, it's even worse. The film is praised for the constantly surprising story, the tone of surreal realism and the many rich comic performances. "Original" is the common word applied to this film. People have never seen anything like it and are amazed by the sheer intelligence of it all.
I can agree with all of that, but that originality is attached to one of the meanest, most unlikable films I've ever seen. Except for Malkovich, the characters are all morally ugly, petty, shallow and seem to enjoy inflicting cruelty on each other. Jonze was probably going for an unsafe, uneasy, uncomfortable comedy, but he over-succeeded. After a scene of a woman getting locked in a cage, I became just bummed out by the film's hostility. Jonze isn't yet capable of making sad dramatic moments fit with the humor.