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Decades later, we're still crazy for Cusack

He's handsome, but approachable. Chatty, but reserved. He's been a Hollywood star for three decades now, but this definitive child of the '80s remains shrouded in lost-boy wisecracks and angsty hunkdom. For all his hit movies (and notable quotables), John Cusack isn't exactly a regular on Access Hollywood. • And that's why we love him. • This month, the 43-year-old reminds us of his charm, his endurance, his offbeat choices in movie roles. Last week, 1989's Cameron Crowe coming-of-ager Say Anything… ("I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen") received the luxe anniversary treatment on a shiny new DVD release. And this Friday, Cusack plays the lead in Roland Emmerich's disaster-porn flick 2012. • The Stuck in the '80s team of Sean Daly and Steve Spears doesn't have high hopes for that destructo epic, but the boys still dig their patron saint anyway. On a new tribute podcast to Cusack (now available on iTunes), Sean and Steve pick their favorite Cusack movies. Per usual, they disagree on everything:

Sean's Top 5 Cusack Movies

One Crazy Summer (1986) Cusack + Nantucket + Bobcat Goldthwait = a pretty good way to spend a hungover Saturday.

Say Anything … (1989) Did you know that Cusack hated the classic "boom box" scene? The then 22-year-old actor thought neither the action nor the song choice (Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes) jibed with Lloyd Dobler's character. Yep, this is why we also love director Cameron Crowe.

Grosse Pointe Blank (1997) Cusack's best, no debate. It's a puckishly veiled examination of the '80s generation trying to cope with growing up and older … and killing the president of Paraguay with a fork. Popcorn!

Con Air (1997) Leave it to Cusack to play his first big action role — peacenik-y U.S. Marshal Vince Larkin — in a pair of hippie sandals. Great sartorial touch in a big bad Bruckheimer flick.

Being John Malkovich (1999) It's bizarre, chaotic; as if Dr. Seuss had bipolar disorder. Cusack's pathetic puppeteer is sniveling, unlikable. But in 100 years, it could be the movie he's remembered for. Well, this or next year's Hot Tub Time Machine.

Steve's Top 5 Cusack Movies

The Sure Thing (1985): On a cross-country quest for carefree lovin', Cusack teaches us two vital life lessons: (1) how to shotgun a beer and (2) the recommended daily allowance of riboflavin in pork rinds. (It's 2 percent.)

Better Off Dead (1985): While everyone was wooing over Michael J. Fox and his time machine in '85, Cusack went dark as a lovesick lad equally inefficient at sweet-talking, skiing and suicide.

Eight Men Out (1988): Our hero climbs out of his teen roles to play Buck Weaver, the Chicago "Black Sox" third baseman banned for life. Try not to weep into your mitt at his final line: "Those fellas are all gone now."

True Colors (1991): Cusack is a villain and the always-creepy James Spader is the hero playing college friends corrupted by D.C. politics. Yeah, you gotta rent it just to see how it all plays out.

High Fidelity (2000): Forget what Sean says about the aptly named Grosse Pointe. Cusack is at his best as a mopey record store owner given to spouting top 5 lists on any subject. It'd be irritating … if we didn't do the same thing ourselves every day.

To hear Stuck in the '80s podcast tribute to John Cusack, go to blogs.tampabay.com/80s. Sean Daly's Pop Life blog is at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic.

'2012' review online

Read Times Film Critic Steve Persall's review of John Cusack's new movie 2012 at entertainment.tampabay.com.

Decades later, we're still crazy for Cusack 11/09/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 7:43am]

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