261 Great Directors: Spike Jonze

“There was definitely a point in my thirties when I thought, ‘Oh, wow, I’m not the youngest person on the set anymore. But I like it. Working with younger artists is totally exciting.”

What Got This Director Here?
: He appeals very strongly to a certain subset of cinephile.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: Where the Wild Things Are, by leaps and bounds. (Her is terrible, Adaptation is one that I should probably revisit in a few years but that is very much a script that is both clever and not at the same time.)

What Did I Watch: Being John Malkovich, the only unseen work.

Where Does He Fit: Happily, Being John Malkovich is Spike Jonze’s finest hour as a director and among Kaufman’s best as a screenwriter to boot. One of those movies that I’m frankly amazed that anyone could have made, and it shows, right down to an ending that is conceptually vigorous just as much as it is a perfect condemnation to hell of a sad, pathetic man. The titular character’s performance may be the most layered, but John Cusack and Cameron Diaz have been overshadowed, and Catherine Keener is simply brilliant, a force of bitchy confidence giving way to emotionally complicated con artist work. Also, my alma mater gets a reference!


Most Valuable Asset: Taking other people’s visions into stranger territories.
Most Excited For: Does he have something new coming up?
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Maybe in a little while.

Coming Up Next: Korea’s foremost director, Bong Joon-ho.


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