People categorize personalities in a lot of different ways. You might be assigned a letter, like “Type A,” or maybe you get to be identified as “Intro” or “Extro.” If you’re a total badass like me, people call you an “Alpha” out of respect and subservience. Despite my high social standing, to these numerous designations, I say nah. Because, when it comes down to it, there is only one sure-fire way to tell what type of person you and your loved ones are. Today, we ask perhaps the most important question that faces modern society:
Which Cusack are you(sack)?
Disclaimer: I realize I’m skipping many landmark Cusack performances here, most notably Say Anything. Just shut up about it. This is the beginning of its Wikipedia summary:
Set in Seattle, Washington, the film features Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), an average student and aspiring kickboxer, who attempts a relationship with the sweet valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye) immediately after their graduation from the same high school. Diane has just won a major fellowship to study in England, and will be going there at the end of the summer.
I will not waste a second more talking about that horseshit.
Rob Gordon: High Fidelity (2000)
Summary: Everyone’s favorite elitist grump! He was obsessed with lists before click bait articles. There are at least three different scenes in this movie where Cusack is in the pouring rain, without an umbrella, getting soaked and being very dramatic. This just happens to be the only three times it rains in this entire movie. Also, a majority of the story consists of him breaking the fourth wall and talking directly into the camera, like a really sad and poor Frank Underwood.
Definitive scene: It’s not even close with this one. It’s the scene where ponytailed Tim Robbins comes in to Championship Vinyl and we get to see a bunch of different versions of hypothetical Cusack responses, including one where Robbins’ head is crushed by an air conditioning unit, for sure killing him. He has a beeper and a ponytail and his head gets crushed by an air conditioning unit. It’s a delight.
Is this Cusack you(sack): Do you think that admitting that you are a cynical jerk somehow makes it okay for you to be that way? Are you constantly making excuses for how awful you are? Are you much better the first time someone sees you, but come off as trying way too hard with each subsequent viewing? Then this Cusack might be you(sack)!
Ed Dakota: Identity (2003)
Summary: A psychological thriller written and designed to entertain even the most advanced thirteen year olds. The movie is about a serial killer methodically taking out a group of people who have been stranded at a motel because of an intense storm. We learn about three quarters of the way through the movie that the motel is actually (GASP) inside the head of a serial killer suffering from multiple personality disorder that was mentioned in the first scene of the movie. These people, including our hero Johnny C. Good, represent the killer’s personalities, and they must work together to find and kill whichever one of the personalities is the serial killer, or else the real-life serial killer will be executed at the stroke of midnight. That’s how the law works. Cusack is a mysterious and toothpick wielding ex-cop who sacrifices his own life in the end to save this other imaginary person. He’s the best imaginary friend you could ask for.
Definitive scene: When Q figures the whole thing out: someone mentions that their birthday is May 10th, and then everyone else confirms that their birthday is also May 10th. The last person the camera pans to is Cusack, and with that trademark “melting wax figure” look, he just says “yeah.” What a guy! He then proceeds to “figure out” something that the audience put together literally after seeing the trailer for the movie.
Is this Cusack you(sack): Do you hate Ray Liotta’s permanent eyeliner? Do you enjoy puzzles and mysteries designed for pre-teens? Is your birthday May 10th? Then this Cusack might be you(sack)!
Mike Enslin: 1408 (2007)
Summary: This is the one that I most identify with. You might call it my “Mesack.” He is equal parts alcoholic, washed up novelist turned cheesy horror book writer, and divorced father of a girl who fell victim to a terminal disease. His antagonist is an empty room and his best (only) friend is a sleazy, book-slinging Tony Shalhoub. Over 85% of this movie is John Cusack yelling at the walls of a hotel suite, and he is somehow out-acted by the room. Realizing this, he goes full Cusack and burns that motherfucker to the ground, declaring that he’s going to take the room with him. To where, is anyone’s guess.
Definitive scene: This entire movie is definitive. I want to point to the air duct scene when he is chased by a ghoul, or any scene where he is wearing that fedora that is oddly too small for his head. At one point a tidal wave bursts through the wall and wipes out our hero, serving as a metaphor for the drowning feeling one gets when watching this movie from start to finish. But the most important scene in this movie, perhaps the most important scene in all of cinema, is when he is in the post office towards the end of the movie and it is revealed that he never actually left the room. Plot twist! The camera spins around him as he gropes the sides of his face and his eyes roll back into his head, like a shark going in for the kill. His face-skin somehow becomes even looser than normal, resembling an old purse on the shelf of a dollar store, as he is hurled back into his nightmare. This scene is peak Cusack.
Is this Cusack you(sack): Do you have a hell-bent determination for underperforming in life? Are you a madman that yells at inanimate objects as a way of coping with your own inadequacies? Have you ever written an entire novel based on your experiences being trapped in a haunted hotel room, only to realize that you were STILL trapped in that hotel room? Then this Cusack might be you(sack)!
Special bonus section: The DVD copy of this movie that I purchased at a Blockbuster going-out-of-business sale (I really super enjoy this movie) came with actual post cards that you could send to people. They were supposed to be postcards from the hotel, which would be cool if they looked kind of vintage and realistic, but instead they have screen grabs from the movie with weird quotes or catch phrases printed over them. I have never loved or hated anyone enough to send one of these postcards. You really have to be sure with things like this.
Adam: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)
Summary: Very meta performance by John Cueball here. He is a mope on the wrong side of 40 that peaked in high school and is coming off yet another rough break up. Meanwhile, he is an unlikely mentor to his equally depressing nephew. This is Cusack’s “I’m still here, and sad as ever” performance. He eventually finds love, but it is with the sixteen years-younger and fourty-five thousand years-hotter Lizzy Caplan. What you might call, gross. Oh ALSO this movie has suicide attempts and fat Chevy Chase and a fucking time traveling hot tub. It’s really something else.
Definitive scene: There is this character in the movie played by Crispin Glover. He is a bellhop at the hotel the other characters are staying at, and in current day, he only has one arm. The running gag with Rice Crispin Treats is that we know at some point he loses an arm, so the entire movie is littered with scenes of the past where the audience is treated to a potential amputation scenario, such as slipping while carving ice with a chainsaw, or getting trapped in an elevator door. Every one of those scenes is the most definitive scene. John Cusack is hardly even in those scenes. I realize that and I just don’t care at all.
Is this Cusack you(sack): Would you be okay with the idea of wearing a mask of your teenage self in order to seduce other teenagers into dating you even though you are basically still your sad and creepy forty-year-old self? Are you currently the lamest version of yourself that you have ever been? Then this Cusack might be you(sack)!
That’s all you need to know. When you are updating your Tinder profiles tonight, attempting to quantify your entire personality into one core idea, skip over all of those personality test results and astrological signs. Instead, tell the world all about your Cusack.