Outside of the In-Crowd – “What came first – the music, or the misery?”: Why John Cusack movies cannot cure your suffering

Courtney Enlow

Courtney Enlow

John Cusack. Hero. Icon. Unrealistic-but-god-we-desperately-want-it-to-be-possible love figure. And apparently only watchable when not in the throes of heartache.

This was a discovery I made almost two years ago, when for some unseen reason, I decided to watch High Fidelity almost immediately after a break-up. This proved to be the most idiotic decision I made over the course of my entire break-up period and BELIEVE me, I made some winners.

The thought process that lead me to put that particular disc in my player was a fairly logical one. I just broke up with someone, I’m bummed, I want to watch a funny movie about break-ups and feel good again. No, Past-Courtney. So innocent, and so wrong. I didn’t even make it through the Penny Hardwick story before I was a snotty red-eyed wreck.

It’s a similar line of thinking that could lead one to this equally ill-advised act: watching Say Anything.

Now it is common knowledge that I watch Say Anything when I’m happy, sad, hungry, sick, tired, when it’s 3 a.m., when it’s a Saturday, whenever. I’ve seen it hundreds of times, because I am a female born in the 80s and am typical. And it does the trick for all of those various watch-worthy reasons. But not, and I repeat NOT heartbreak.

After taking out High Fidelity and hiding it from myself until a later date in the far far away future, I decided that the film equivalent of my safety blanket would be ideal. NO, BEFORETIME-COURTNEY, STOP MAKING POOR DECISIONS.

In your happy place, in your default-mode of content pleasantness, Say Anything is a sweet love story. When you’re not that, it’s a painful stinging reminder of the pain of losing someone and a horror montage of what you’ll never have and you find yourself screaming things at the screen like “leave the phone booth, Lloyd, and run out into the rain and just throw yourself into the hood of a moving car and just kill yourself because you’re pathetic. ASSHOLE. * throws remote *

As you can see, these films take a person to the bad place.

After doing some thinking, I realized none of the Cusack Canon is remotely acceptable for a post-breakup viewing. Unless you’re in the mood for Eight Men Out or Tapeheads, you’re kind of screwed.

Better Off Dead – Dumped in the first ten minutes. I think not.

Serendipity – “They’re so right for each other and I’ll never have that / what fucking assholes! Lars and forgettable-brunette were good people and they broke their hearts. I hate you all.”

Journey of Natty Gann – “I don’t know what this movie is, just like I don’t know what my life is or where I am going, I hate you all.”

The Sure Thing – “They’re so right for each other and I’ll never have that / poor losery, be-glasseded, obviously 35 year old Jason! HE JUST WANTED TO LOVE HER AND BUY A FARMHOUSE AND RESTORE IT I HATE ALL OF YOU!”

Grosse Point Blank, Being John Malkovich, even One Crazy stupid ass Summer, the man gives us NOTHING. He builds this entire career based on the perfect guy and can’t even lift us up when we’re down? Just like a man. What am I supposed to do? Watch fucking Must Love Dogs? I’d sooner shoot myself in the face.

See? Even mere mention of these movies in this context can bring you to the crazies.

Of course there is the argument that no movie can bring you back from this kind of sads. That’s why God invented Sarah McLachlan, red wine, dark chocolate peanut M&Ms and that Buffy episode when she kills Angel (“Becoming Pt 2,” episode 222, I don’t know why I got vague and pretended like I was cool and didn’t know this, you people know me better than that). But that’s just not true. There is a cure. And her name is Molly Ringwald, and she kicks heartache in the crotch so hard that it falls right the hell over and throws up on itself and you are left with fresh daisy feelings.

I’m obviously not saying that Molly is better than Johnny C. But when your heart has been damaged by someone, who can fix you better than your ladies?

Yes, Molly Ringwald is “my ladies.” Honorary bestie for life.

Courtney Enlow is a writer living in Chicago and working as a corporate shill to pay the bills. You can contact her at courtney@hobotrashcan.com.

  1. CourtsDad March 16, 2009
  2. CourtsDad March 17, 2009
  3. J March 17, 2009
  4. dignan March 17, 2009
  5. Brian B March 17, 2009
  6. Eric March 23, 2009

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