Joan Cusack

After my rant on serious movies, I decided to treat myself to a night of thoroughly un-serious movies, a romantic comedy and a film starring Jack Black (don't worry, they weren't the same movie): Cameron Crowe's Say Anything and Richard Linklater's School of Rock. I do admit, they can stir a giddiness I seldom experience when watching serious movies, unless you count Bride of Frankenstein as "serious". I'll probably devote separate posts to them, in any case to the first one. But first:

Joan Cusack.

I can't ask "why doesn't she get more work?", because she actually works quite a bit: she's in two or three movies almost every year. But why doesn't she get bigger parts? Why is she always relegated to be the best friend, the sister, on occasion the girlfriend?

Joan Cusack is, and I'm not afraid to say it, one of the best comedic actresses working today. She's sometimes a little broad, almost veers towards the shrill sometimes, but I don't think she's ever played a one-dimensional character: there's always a deeper layer of hurt and vulnerability and/or of humor in her performances, there's a sense that these aren't just characters there to serve a purpose, but they're characters with a history and an interesting story of their own. That, and of course she's absolutely hilarious.

It's interesting, in both films, she's someone who's lost her sense of fun. In Say Anything, John Cusack (both her on- and off-screen brother) says to her: "You used to be warped and twisted and hilarious. And I mean that in the best way". She kind of wistfully replies: "I was hilarious once, wasn't I?". In School of Rock, she confesses to Jack Black "I wasn't always like this, you know. I wasn't always wound up this tight. There was a time when I was funny. I was fun. I was".

She is funny still, of course. So please, someone write a starring role for her. Something funny and poignant where she can show she can be more than just comic relief, something that will finally raise her status above just being "sister of".

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