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Every John Cusack-Written Film, Ranked – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Every John Cusack-Written Film, Ranked



John Cusack is a distinguished actor, producer, and screenwriter who gained prominence in the 1980s through classic films such as Say Anything… and The Sure Thing. He made his cinematic debut in 1983 with the dramedy Class and gradually established himself as a dynamic and charismatic performer. His notable appearances include popular movies like The Thin Red Line, Anastasia, Con Air, and Being John Malkovich. In 1997, Cusack ventured into screenwriting and co-wrote the screenplay for the black comedy Grosse Pointe Blank, showcasing his skills both behind and in front of the camera for the underrated cult hit. He continued to write and produce three more projects, which he also starred in, namely High Fidelity, War, Inc., and We Are Not Animals, cementing his triple-threat status in Hollywood.

While Cusack’s career has slowed down since the 1980s and 1990s, he has stayed busy in recent years with prominent roles in films such as Hot Tub Time Machine, The Raven, The Butler, and Never Grow Old. His most recent screen credit was in the 2022 action movie Pursuit, and the 2020 sci-fi series Utopia. In this article, we take a closer look at every John Cusack-written film.

We Are Not Animals is a 2013 dramedy co-written by Cusack. In the film, he portrays a disillusioned actor who grows tired of making unfulfilling movies and moves to Argentina to find meaning and pride in his work. Al Pacino plays the driving force behind the new movie that Cusack’s character Tony agrees to do in the country. The movie follows Tony as he becomes captivated by the beautiful country and its vibrant people. We Are Not Animals employs the “film within a film” trope and features its stars loosely following the script. Although the movie did not receive an official American release, it hit streaming platforms in 2017, where viewers enjoyed the meta approach to storytelling and laid-back nature of the plot and characters.

War, Inc. is a 2008 political action comedy co-written by Cusack, Mark Leyner, and Jeremy Pikser. The film features a dynamic cast including Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, and Ben Kingsley. It follows CIA-trained assassin Brand Hauser (Cusack) as he is hired to perform a hit on a Middle Eastern politician and pretends to be a trade show host to get close to his target. Cusack described the film as a “spiritual cousin to Grosse Pointe Blank” and showcases Brand’s struggles with his career choice and unresolved past traumas. War, Inc. premiered worldwide at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it earned mixed reviews. Critics praised its uncompromising approach to political satire but criticized its clunky and uneven delivery and pacing.

Grosse Pointe Blank is a 1997 black comedy co-written by Cusack. It centers on professional hitman Martin Q. Blank as he contemplates returning home and attending his ten-year high school reunion after discovering it coincides with a job he is assigned to do. When he reconnects with an old girlfriend (Minnie Driver), Martin begins to question the direction his life is going in, all while being targeted by another assassin and two NSA agents. Featuring the additional talents of Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, and Joan Cusack, Grosse Pointe Blank was a modest success at the box office and earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.

High Fidelity is a 2000 romantic dramedy based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name. The film famously follows lovelorn record store owner Rob Gordon as he reflects on his past failed relationships and attempts to discover the root of their shortcomings and his unhappiness. Jack Black’s role as the wild and music-loving record store employee Barry Judd was the beloved actor’s breakthrough performance. Cusack expressed that one of his biggest hurdles when adapting the novel was breaking the fourth wall and directly addressing the audience. They ultimately decided to use Michael Caine’s technique in Alfie as inspiration. Cusack earned a Golden Globe nomination for his celebrated picture, and it has since landed on numerous critics’ lists for the greatest movies and best romantic comedies of all time. It remains one of Cusack’s most memorable films and an influential cult classic.

In conclusion, John Cusack is not only a talented actor but also a skilled writer and producer. He has written and produced several notable films that have left a lasting impact on audiences. From the black comedy of Grosse Pointe Blank to the romantic dramedy of High Fidelity, Cusack has shown his versatility and creativity as a writer. Fans of his work can look forward to more exciting projects from this triple-threat in the future.

John Cusack is a veteran actor, producer, and screenwriter who first rose to prominence in ‘80s classics like Say Anything… and The Sure Thing. After making his cinematic debut in the 1983 dramedy Class, Cusack steadily established himself as a charismatic and dynamic performer, memorably appearing in popular films including The Thin Red Line, Anastasia, Con Air, and Being John Malkovich.


In 1997, Cusack branched out and helped co-write the screenplay for the black comedy Gros Pointe Blankshowcasing both his skills behind the camera and in front of it for the underrated cult flick. He would go on to write for three more projects that he also produced and starred in High Fidelity, War, Inc.,and We Are Not Animalssolidifying his status as a triple threat in Hollywood.

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While the actor has slowed down some since his booming career in the ‘80s and ‘90s, he nonetheless has kept himself quite busy in recent years with prominent roles in films like Hot Tub Time Machine, The Raven, The Butlerand Never Grow Old. His most recent screen credit was in the 2022 action movie Pursuit, and the 2020 sci-fi series Utopia. Let’s check out every John Cusack-written film.

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4 We Are Not Animals

We Are Not Animals
Netflix

John Cusack drew upon his own experiences and observations in Hollywood when he co-wrote the 2013 dramedy We Are Not Animalsin which he portrays a disillusioned actor who grows weary of making unfulfilling movies and sets out to find meaning and pride in his work by moving to Argentina and starting fresh in his career. Al Pacino appears as the driving force behind the new movie that Cusack’s character Tony agrees to do in the country, with the men and their crew providing their insights and commentary on Argentina in a very improvised fashion.

Related: Every John Cusack Rom-Com, Ranked

We Are Not Animals takes on the “film within a film” trope and features its stars loosely following the script, and chronicles Tony as he becomes captivated by the beautiful country and its vibrant people. The dramedy did not receive an official American release but hit streaming platforms in 2017, where viewers enjoyed the meta approach to storytelling and laid-back nature of the plot and characters.

3 War, Inc.

War, Inc
First Look Studios

Touting a dynamic cast including Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, and Ben Kingsley, the 2008 political action comedy War, Inc. follows the CIA-trained assassin Brand Hauser (Cusack) as he is hired to perform a hit on a Middle Eastern politician and pretends to be a trade show host in order to get close to his target. Cusack described the film as a “spiritual cousin to Gros Pointe Blank” and showcases Brand’s struggles with his career choice and unresolved past traumas.

Cusack and his fellow writers Mark Leyner and Jeremy Pikser drew inspiration for the story from Naomi Klein’s article “Baghdad Year Zero” in Harper’s Magazine while also imagining where Martin Blank from Grosse would have ended up. War, Inc. had its worldwide premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it earned mixed reviews with critics praising its uncompromising approach to political satire but its clunky and uneven delivery and pacing.

2 Grosse Point Blank

John Cusack in Grosse Pointe Blank
Buena Vista Pictures

Cusack first demonstrated his skills as a screenwriter when he helped pen the 1997 black comedy Gros Pointe Blankcentering on professional hitman Martin Q. Blank as he contemplates returning home and attending his ten-year high school reunion after discovering it coincides with a job he is assigned to do. When he reconnects with an old girlfriend (Minnie Driver), Martin begins to question the direction his life is going in all the while being targeted by another assassin and two NSA agents.

Related: Why Grosse Pointe Blank is John Cusack’s Best Rom-Com

Featuring the additional talents of Alan Arkin, Dan Aykroyd, and Joan Cusack, Gros Pointe Blank was a modest success at the box office and earned rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, with many lauding its sharp dialogue, clever comedy, and compelling performance by Cusack as the restless assassin. Globe and Mail wrote in their review, “An entertaining oddity, an amiably black comedy whose bared teeth double as an engaging smile: It takes a satiric bite and leaves you laughing through the pain. For that, we can thank the writers.”

1 High Fidelity

High Fidelity
Buena Vista Pictures

Based on the Nick Hornby novel of the same name, the 2000 romantic dramedy High Fidelity famously follows lovelorn record store owner Rob Gordon as he reflects on his past failed relationships and attempts to discover the root of their shortcomings and his unhappiness. Jack Black’s role as the wild and music-loving record store employee Barry Judd was the beloved actor’s breakthrough performance, and he shared the screen with a gifted ensemble including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lisa Bonet, and Tim Robbins.

Cusack expressed that one of his biggest hurdles when adapting the novel was breaking the fourth wall and directly addressing the audience, and they ultimately decided to use Michael Caine’s technique in Alfie as inspiration. He went on to earn a Golden Globe nomination for his celebrated picture, and it has since landed on numerous critics’ lists for the greatest movies and best romantic comedies of all time. It remains one of Cusack’s most memorable films and an influential cult classic.

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