Friday, November 02, 2007

1408, or On The Lonesome Death of Lloyd Dobler

Delightful and totally true movie trivia: the working title for this movie was I Like Shinings, But I Couldn’t Eat a Whole One.

The big question in 1408 is: How did John Cusack get to be stuck in this horrible situation, and what sins is he being punished for? As the picture progresses, it becomes increasingly apparent that 1408 is the place you get sent when you’ve lost touch with your higher self: it’s where you get stuck when you’ve been peddling your charmingly-burnt-out-cynic schtick for too long and the Universe figures you need a wakeup call. So how do you get out?

To which the answer would seem to be: maybe the guy just needs to drop it with the powerfully-average genre pics and do a good movie once in a while, passing mediocre dross like 1408 on to a Robert Patrick or a Jason Bateman or anyone more suited to its solidly okay brand of mildly perturbing silliness.

And silliness abounds in 1408: before the picture has run its course, Cusack will have screamed hysterically at a coke can, been attacked by a painting, and run around pursued by an illusory hobo with a claw-hammer, whose presence is never elaborated on.

It’s not hard to imagine Cusack between takes, having a touch-up on the makeup that bizarrely makes him look incredibly like an elderly lesbian, pondering how he got to this point.

And maybe Samuel L Jackson might have sidled up to him, and said something like, “Don’t sweat it, man. These kinda gigs don’t mean we’re compromising our integrity. Just look at Black Snake Moan, am I right?”

And Cusack, with a resigned sigh, would have explained that his next movie after this one was like K-Pax, only with a preschooler.

To which Jackson, quite rightly, would simply reply, “Motherfucker.”

[originally appeared on Flicks]

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