Happy 45th Birthday, John Cusack! What's His Finest Onscreen Moment?

On this day back in 1966, a baby boy named John Cusack was born in Evanston, Ill. Within two decades, Cusack had moved to Hollywood and was building the foundation for his long-lasting career on a series of '80s films like Better Off Dead, One Crazy Summer and Say Anything. Three decades later, Cusack remains one of our most beloved actors, capable of charming audiences as a lovelorn audiophile, a depressed puppeteer, a neurotic hitman, and a variety of onscreen personas in between. In celebration of the actor's 45th birthday, why don't you dust off your copy of Hey Soul Classics and join us below to decide which of Cusack's cinematic moments is his best.

So many good moments to pick from, ranging from his breakthrough role in Cameron Crowe's Say Anything (below) to last year's Hot Tub Time Machine. OK, no one is allowed to choose a moment from Hot Tub Time Machine or Must Love Dogs because we have standards at Movieline and we'd like to believe that you do too. But any scene from Eight Men Out, Grifters, Bullets Over Broadway, Grosse Pointe Blank, Being John Malkovich, High Fidelity (also below), and the rest of Cusack's filmography is fair game.

Celebrate the day by sharing your favorite Cusack scene below.

[Photo: Getty Images]


  • Mari says:

    Favorites are "Eight Men Out," "High Fidelity" and "Say Anything." But I remember he was also great in a forgotten movie called "The Journey of Natty Gann." Anyone?

  • CL says:

    From Mr. Cusack's early career, The Sure Thing is the best!

  • trafalgar says:

    There is no way that his finest onscreen moment could be ANYTHING but holding the boombox over his head in "Say Anything" to serenade Ione Skye with "In Your Eyes."

  • Sarah says:

    Not forgotten by me, I assure you! Love that movie!

  • metroville says:

    (Thanks for playing, previous commenters; no true Cusack-originalist would consider THE JOURNEY OF NATTTY GANN as "forgotten" sooner than he would confuse Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes with Neneh Cherry's Buffalo Stance (or "Savage" Steve Holland's ONE CRAZY SUMMER with "Savage" Steve Holland's BETTER OFF DEAD).
    Career-Defining Cusack Moment: Minnie Driver slaps him in the face (in GROSSE POINTE BLANK); he literally, briefly, puts his tongue in his cheek.

  • Jamie says:

    Anything from Grosse Pointe Blank. Freakin' awesome, on every level.

  • diggles says:

    "You can't go home again Altman...but you can shop there."

  • Martini Shark says:

    C'mon --
    His monologue in "The Sure Thing", appealing for Daphnie Zuniga to tutor him, while she is swimming -- priceless. "When I get out of jail I'm 36 years old. Living in a flop house: No job, no home, no upward mobility --very few teeth. . ."

  • snideproject says:

    "Nice dog."
    "He's not a dog. He's a wolf."

  • Strawberry Pain says:

    Agree with Metro.
    And Grosse Pointe Blank is a top 10 for me.
    Martin: Who's the ghoul.
    Marcella: Felix LaPoubelle. An accomplished amateur with the Basque Nationalists. Few odd jobs with the Algerian Separatists. Went pro with a stunning debut aboard an elite caribbean cruise liner.
    Martin: Oh, that's where I remember him from; that guy's an asshole.
    And, though it's not John, the part with Joan clicking over between her ammunition round order/shouting match and her recipe swap with Amelia.

  • Strawberry Pain says:

    This moment for me in "High Fidelity." When he has been imagining the great sex his ex has been having with Ian every night, and he asks her when she comes to his apartment to pick some things up, "Is it better?" She is confused, and he explains he wants to know if the sex is better. "Is that what's bothering you?" she says, "I don't know. I haven't had sex with him yet. But the sleeping together is better."
    I--and every other girl I know who's watched this--gasped! OUCH. Poor John Cusack! She likes cuddling with Ian better than her long-term boyfriend!
    And then he nods his head, repeats what she's said--CLEARLY in agony and disbelief, right?--and walks out
    And does a victory dance.
    I was agog. And the guys I quizzed about this? Yeah. That's pretty much how it is.
    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how John Cusack taught me the difference between heterosexual men and women.

  • Martini Shark says:

    Ok now, THAT ^ . . . is awesome.

  • Erica says:

    "Female Extraterrestrial? How do you tell if it's a female?" and Better of Dead is still hilarious.

  • wsapnin says:

    The Sure Thing in the bar with the drunk guys.

  • Deb says:

    The scene in The Sure Thing when he's saving Daphne Zuniga from the cowboy who picked her up hitchhiking. (Also, the bar scene - I totally agree with Wsapnin)

  • New Age Granny says:

    Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. Perfect underplayed ensemble stuff--develops the character without grandstanding. Portrays spectator without phoning it in, piques our curiosity. Hard to hold your chops in that bunch (yay Clint, too)

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