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The Movie John Cusack Regrets Filming

There are few figures in the annals of film history quite as well-loved as John Cusack. Likewise, for the better part of his career few have been better respected by his peers, with Cusack boasting a string of classic films to his credit that would be the envy of any actor in the game. Indeed, Cusack spent the bulk of the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s starring in hits of all shapes and sizes, including teen comedies ("The Sure Thing"), heartrending teen romances ("Say Anything"), stark indie dramas ("The Grifters"), bombastic blockbuster offerings ("Con Air"), and seriously out there prestige fare ("Being John Malkovich"). Along the way, he even found time to co-write a pair of his most enduring films in 1997's "Grosse Pointe Blank," and 2000's "High Fidelity."

Since the onset of the 2010s, however, the wayward actor has seen his output become been spotty at best, with only a handful of projects ("Maps to the Stars," "Love & Mercy," and "Chi-Raq" among them) holding a candle to his prior work. As for the dozen or so other films Cusack has made over that period, even his most devoted fans might agree mistakes were made. Even as the actor himself no doubt has regrets about some of his choices, it seems one of the biggest regrets of his storied career actually came closer to the beginning of it. And believe it or not, the film John Cusack reportedly most regrets making is widely regarded as one of his best from the early days, 1985's pitch-black screwball rom-com "Better Off Dead." 

According to Better Off Dead's director, John Cusack really hated the movie

In fact, if John Cusack's "Better Off Dead" director Savage Steve Holland is to be believed, the actor thought the '80s comedy classic was one of the worst movies he'd ever seen. Savage Steve himself recounted Cusack's apparent hatred for "Better Off Dead" in vivid detail for a 2004 interview with The Sneeze, claiming the actor had a few unkind words for him after the film's first screening. "The night before we started shooting 'One Crazy Summer,' we screened 'Better Off Dead' for everyone that was up there because it was mostly the same crew, and a lot of the same cast. ... And John walked out of the movie. About 20 minutes into it, he walked out, and he never came back." 

Holland went on to explain he didn't see his star until the next day, when Cusack told him how he really felt about the movie. "The next morning, he basically walked up to me and was like, 'You know, you tricked me. 'Better Off Dead' was the worst thing I have ever seen. I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don't speak to me. ... And I was just stunned, because it was as funny as s**t. And he was great in it."

Those are harsh words indeed. And they're certainly not the sort you want to hear from the actor you about to start working with on a new film. Though Holland claims he was seriously shaken by Cusack's reaction to "Better Off Dead," the pair managed to get through the "One Crazy Summer" production without incident, delivering another kooky genre romp to boot. By all accounts, Cusack and Holland parted ways for good once "One Crazy Summer" wrapped though. And even after "Better Off Dead" premiered to mostly glowing reviews in 1985, Cusack essentially refused to promote either film. 

Cusack has softened his stance on Better Off Dead over the years

"Better Off Dead" has remained a point of contention for John Cusack, with the actor rarely speaking of it in public. During a 2013 Reddit AMA session, however, a brave fan addressed Cusack directly about his hatred of the film. Put on the spot, Cusack replied frankly, "I just thought it could have been better but I think that about almost all my films. I have nothing against the film...Glad people love it still."

As covered by Pajiba, Cusack was again asked about "Better Off Dead" in a 2015 Nerdist podcast interview and gave a refreshingly frank assessment about his feelings toward the film. "It was one of those things where I made it, and I didn't really have a feel for it. But it was fine. It was good. But what happens is that you have to go [to your press tour] and they'd want to talk to you about 'The Sure Thing' or that movie instead of what you were there to talk about. So, it wasn't that I hated the movie or hated anything. I just didn't want to keep talking about it."

Three decades later, Cusack is still begrudgingly talking about "Better Off Dead." And as the film continues to find fans young and old, he'll likely be doing so for years to come. Either way, the often controversial actor went on to claim he ultimately regrets how he handled the whole "Better Off Dead" situation. "I felt terrible about it, because if the actors or the director [thought that I hated it], that was on me. I never really thought about it. I was just on to the next thing. I was like 17 years old I just felt bad. I had nothing [against the movie]. If people dig it, that's great!" And that's as glowing an endorsement of "Better Off Dead" as John Cusack has ever given.