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Being John Malkovich - Special Edition (1999)

John Cusack , Cameron Diaz , Spike Jonze  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (527 customer reviews)

List Price: $14.98
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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich, Mary Kay Place
  • Directors: Spike Jonze
  • Writers: Charlie Kaufman
  • Producers: Steve Golin, Vincent Landay, Sandy Stern, Michael Stipe, Charlie Kaufman
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2002
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (527 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007AJF8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,144 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Being John Malkovich - Special Edition" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) is a struggling street puppeteer. In order to make some money, Craig takes a job as a filing clerk. One day he accidentally discovers a door… a portal into the mind of John Malkovich (played by John Malkovich)! For 15 minutes, he experiences the ultimate head trip – HE is John Malkovich! Then he’s dumped out onto the New Jersey turnpike! With his beautiful office mate Maxine (Catherine Keener) and his pet-obsessed wife (Cameron Diaz), they hatch a plan to let others into John’s brain for just $200 a trip. See what all the critics are talking about.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
156 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I agree with Roger Ebert- THE film of 1999. April 1, 2000
Format:DVD
Don't get me wrong- I loved American Beauty. I was shocked by The Sixth Sense. I was moved by Magnolia. But for me, the movie in 1999 that made me sit back and say "wow" was Being John Malkovich.
I am sure you know the plot, and words wouldn't help to describe how original (and ingenious) it is. The film works on so many levels- it is a screwball comedy, an existential discussion of the nature of existence, a study of sexual identity, and a satire of the modern desire to "escape" from life. On top of all of that, it is darn entertaining to watch!
The characters (played to perfection but Cusack, Diaz, Keener, and Malkovich himself) are all well-drawn, and the actors do a fantastic job- wait until you see Diaz, unrecognizable in frizzy hair and frumpy dress.
The directing is top notch as well. Spike Jonze (of Three Kings fame) has made a wise choice- he recognizes the script is the star and has directed a film without any flashy camera work, which would detract from the real focal point. That is not to say the work is pedestrian- he did everything that had to be done to make the film, and he did it well (note his Oscar nod for best director).
The production design is a big star here as well. The 7 1/2 floor is almost "Gilliam-esque"- in fact, when I first saw the preview I assumed it was Terry Gilliam's (Brazil, 12 Monkeys) newest film.
The best word to describe this film is "giddy." I saw that because that is what I brought away from it- I felt giddy watching it, and you can teel the cast and crew felt the same making it. The best thing I have read about the film was from a rejection letter from another studio, which neglected to option the screenplay: "I'm sure Being John Malkovich would be regarded as a work of genius on whatever planet it was written." If that doesn't make you want to see the thing, nothing will.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
"Well, there's this guy...." That's all that some viewers could really come up with when asked to describe "Being John Malkovich", the latest film starring Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener and John Cusack. Oh...and John Malkovich is in it, too. This movie is so original, I can't even begin to explain this movie, other than that it was intelligent, fascinating, and hilarious. Because of the originality, it is completely unpredictable: you are so completely in the dark trying to guess what is going to happen next, that you end up not even bothering to guess-which makes a great movie-going experience.
Cusack plays Craig Schwartz, a puppeteer who believes he is not just a puppeteer, but an artist. Diaz, in a wig that makes her nearly unrecognizable, plays Schwartz' animal-loving wife, Lotte. Cusack, upon the realization that he might not make it as a puppeteer, decides to get a day job, at a place on the seventh and half floor of a New York skyscraper. It is here at this odd office floor, that Cusack stumbles upon a portal to John Malkovich's brain-where he is allowed to experience what it is like to be a celebrity for 15 minutes, and then be spit out somewhere outside the New Jersey turnpike. Hilarity ensues, and metaphysical questions are asked.
This movie is like a dream-and not in the sense that it's an incredibly great movie, although it is. It's like a dream because of the way that the logic is formatted. Things that have seemingly little significance, have a large significance by the movie's end. We are whisked away from plotline to plotline, that soon the rhythm of the rapidfire plot becomes catchy. Things that would not make sense in most movies makes complete sense here.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I think; I feel; I suffer; I like this movie December 9, 2004
Format:DVD
Being John Malkovich is one of the most thematically ambitious films of the 1990's. It delves figuratively and literally into the weaknesses and complexities of the human psyche through the self-revealing and often comical actions of the main characters. Through bizarre situations, a subtle but emotional soundtrack, and a tiny portal on the 7 1/2 floor of an office building, Malkovich investigates the multi-faceted aspects of human beings, and the troubles they face in trying to find themselves.

Each character in this film is aware, sometimes painfully aware, of his or her identity, and the extremes that they reach in trying to change, control, and manipulate their identities suggest that consciousness is perhaps more trouble than it's worth. Craig Schwartz, played by John Cusack, is a talented puppeteer, and therefore a master at adopting multiple personalities, but until he finds a real person to imitate, he remains in his workshop, alone and unsatisfied with his life. That is, until he meets the magnetic Maxine, who's confidence and boldness enchants Craig for the entirety of the movie.

It seems logical to assume that if Craig is unhappy with his identity, then he could be happier if he wasn't aware of himself at all. As Craig says, "Consciousness is a terrible curse - I think; I feel; I suffer." Once Craig discovers the Malkovich portal in his office, people start lining up, literally, to partake in the life-altering experience; everyone, that is, except Maxine. Not once does she reveal the slightest interest in going through the portal. Maxine is comfortable in her own skin - a quality which Craig, and pretty much everyone who meets her, greatly admires - but it is not a comfort that comes from being ignorant of her own identity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Being John Malkovich
This is one of the classics. You really need to see this movie a couple of times to understand what is happening. It is worth your time. Great movie!
Published 1 month ago by tr
5.0 out of 5 stars Being John Malkovich -- surrealism
I saw this film many years ago and was happy to now find it on disc. It an interesting mix of reality, science fiction, and their mix. It's certainly worth a see.
Published 2 months ago by R. Larson
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like quirky...
If you like quirky scripts, actors working out of their comfort zone, and good directing you should see this film. Read more
Published 3 months ago by asylum sound
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant film!
Great pressing of one of the best movies of 1999. The supplemental interview with John Malkovich and John Hodgeman is really great if only to watch Malkovich impersonate the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Andrew
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Interesting but also confusing. How can a group of people have individuality sharing the same personality (the "vessel" presumably exhibits one distinct personality to the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Steven B. Nichols
2.0 out of 5 stars I just could not like it
It sounded great and had many great elements, however for me it just did not work. It was not enjoyable to watch and and was unmemorable. Read more
Published 7 months ago by C. R. Markley
5.0 out of 5 stars genius!
this is a film that defies description - it is so clever and sly and witty and whimsical and weird... Read more
Published 7 months ago by amf0001
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Nonsense
Its a great movie! I rate a 4 out of 5 stars because the whole movie make no sense! This movie will mess with your mind!
Published 7 months ago by rbpepper90
5.0 out of 5 stars wierd!
This is a great movie. Fun to see Cusak and Diaz early in their careers. Try it, you'll like it!
Published 8 months ago by Darter
5.0 out of 5 stars Being John Malkovich Begins With A Flashback Which Becomes The Plot...
This is an unusual way to present two films which share many of the same actors. But don't be surprised because we have Charlie Kaufman as writer and Spike Jonze as director, who... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Zarathustra
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