Sometimes I get an idea for a column and when I sit down to write it I find that there are no good examples to illustrate my point floating around in my less-than-400 screen domain. The topic currently burning in my brain requires a few films that are still playing in the upper reaches, so while I wait for them to tumble down to me, I've decided to write a few lines about actors I admire. The first name that pops up is John Cusack's, currently appearing in 1408 (218 screens). Though it's based on a Stephen King story and features some decent thrills and chills, it's the kind of one-man performance that runs the gamut and could earn Cusack his very first Oscar nomination.

It's odd to think of this veteran actor, a favorite for over 20 years, having never earned so much as a nomination. But then that factor also adds to Cusack's outlaw, outsider status. Cusack somehow managed to become an everyman to almost every man. He's a nerd, but he's not a hopeless nerd; he's unique enough to be cool at the same time. He's smart, but also appeals to jocks and dropouts. A typical Cusack character might be seen tossing a football around or failing a trigonometry quiz. Best of all, although he always has romantic troubles, he always has something cool to say to girls. At the same time, this interchangeable quality keeps him slightly on the edge; you can't ever pin him down

categories Columns, Cinematical