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Every John Malkovich Movie Ranked Worst To Best

For five decades now, John Galvin Malkovich has delivered an unquantifiable characteristic to indies and blockbusters, period films and explorations of profound quirk, always bringing something to the role — even when he has had very little with which to work. His "wafting, whispering, and reedy" voice, his disconcerting smirk, his 27 award nominations (including two Oscars and three Golden Globes), all the trademarks of a career marking one of the greatest character actors of his generation. And, of course, he was spectacular in that one movie where he played a jewel thief.

Born in Illinois in 1953, Malkovich has dabbled in directing and fashion design as well. But it was his ability to hold the camera that would make him famous. 

Malkovich has spent the majority of his career as a supporting actor, and in doing so he has accumulated nearly 100 films on his resume; some are more prominent than others, however, and some films exercised his ability to make the most of a few moments of screentime. With that in mind, here is a selection of the most prominent Malkovich roles — his essential films, if you will — ranked worst to best.

25. The Survivalist (2021)

A little-seen effort that made a grand total of $8000 at the worldwide box office (perhaps just enough to break even with what Malkovich ate at the craft services table), this post-apocalyptic thriller may have been the victim of its non-theatrical, catch-it-on-streaming times, but it is no less worth tracking down.

Directed by Jon Keeyes (who also released the equally-obscure "Rogue Hostage" with Malkovich and Tyrese Gibson the very same year), "The Survivalist" depicts a world on the brink of collapse following a viral outbreak that wiped out a large swath of the population. A young woman (played by Ruby Modine) who is apparently immune to the disease is being hunted by a deadly cult, led by Malkovich. Sarah seeks shelter at the farmhouse of a former FBI agent (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), who vows to protect the young woman at all costs.

Though some critics praised the film's cinematography, as well as the talents of the lead cast, the movie proved somewhat underwhelming in the eyes of critics. If you're a Malkovich completist, you already know how to proceed. If not, you might want to skip his 2021 Keeyes collaborations.

24. Valley of the Gods (2019)

Intended as a commentary on extreme wealth versus poverty, "Valley of the Gods" is a stylistic, abstract drama from Polish director Lech Majewski. The film stars Josh Hartnett as a writer and Malkovich as the eccentric wealthiest man in the world. Taking place against the backdrop of scenic Navajo land in Utah, "Valley of the Gods" blends together Native American mythology, Lynchian visuals and a haunting tone for an ambitious, other-worldly form of storytelling.

With its unique visuals and, at times, bizarre symbolism, many critics didn't know what to make of "Valley of the Gods." Douglas Davidson of "Elements of Madness" wrote that while the film had its moments, as a whole it seemed to lose its way: "The end result [of 'Valley of the Gods'] is something fantastical and wondrous, yet leaves the audience absolutely disoriented due to a lack of clear focus and structure." 

"Old-fashioned Euro cinema meets Navajo mythology, wrestles with it in the dirt, and soils itself," summed up Liam Lacey of "Original Cin." While "Valley of the Gods" stretches impressively to bring sophisticated allegory to American cinema, whether that reach is successful depends on the viewer.

23. Drunkboat (2010)

Though the title might sound like a reality TV series, "Drunkboat" is a tale of redemption based on a play by Bob Meyer, who also directed the film. The result is a touching little film, with solid work from Malkovich and John Goodman.

Malkovich stars as a recovering alcoholic who reunites with his estranged sister (Dana Delaney), on the condition that he continue his sobriety. While staying at their home, the quirky shell of a soul bonds with Eileen's unmoored teenage son, who coerces him into purchasing a boat from a local salesman (Goodman). With hopes of sailing around the world, the duo set out to rebuild the seacraft and their lives —  but the boat might not be as seaworthy as it appears.

Though Malkovich's work is impressive, critics were unimpressed with playwright Meyer's directorial debut, ironically enough citing his poor writing as the main culprit. John Semley of "Slant" gave the movie one out of four stars, writing: "Pros like Malkovich and Goodman don't so much elevate this off-off-off-Broadway material as much as they get mired in it, wading through the slop of the script."

22. Klimt (2006)

A fictional account of acclaimed symbolist artist Gustav Klimt, this tale, set in the late 19th/early 20th century, is one of sex, seduction and splatterings across canvasses. It also seems to tap into two of Malkovich's favorite realms: tortured artists and period drama.

Telling the life of the man in a series of vignettes as he nears the end of his years, "Klimt" depicts the artist receiving treatment for syphilis in a Vienna hospital — and much like Tom Hardy's 2020 hallucinatory biopic "Capone," the affliction has begun to cloud his mind and blur together his recollections. Klimt recalls his greatest loves — Emilie Floege (Veronica Ferres) and Lea de Castro (Saffron Burrows) — as well as a life filled with art and beauty and sex, and the praise and admiration of high society, even if it never fulfilled him.

Appropriately enough for the subject, director Raul Ruiz turned "Klimt" into a film more interested in visuals than the chore of storytelling. Critics accused the film of lacking any real substance, with the San Francisco Chronicle saying in its review that "A good bio of any historical character has to have a compelling story, whether evil or good. Klimt appears to have had that story. I sure would have liked to know what it was."

21. Ava (2020)

This 2020 Netflix action flick cast Jessica Chastain as a Bourne/Bond/Hunt-type trained agent whose life is threatened when she appears to hesitate in her duties and is subsequently marked for death. Her personal life is even more complicated, as she discovers that her ex-fiance is now married to her sister. With not only her own life in danger, but also the lives of her loved ones, Ava must stay one step ahead of her killers. Malkovich plays Duke, Ava's handler and an affectionate father figure, desperate to keep her safe. It is also quite possibly the least Boston set-in-Boston movie ever made.

Unfortunately, even an impressive cast consisting of Chastain, Malkovich, Colin Farrell, and Geena Davis isn't enough to elevate "Ava" above such similarly mediocre thrillers as "The Protege," "Vanquish," "Red Sparrow," "Anna" and the rest. Critics found the film unoriginal and dull, with a meandering plot that failed to hold its viewers' attention. "'Ava' is a napping-on-the-couch movie through and through, with recognizable names and a sexy premise but no distinct personality," wrote the AV Club.

20. Making Mr. Right (1987)

When thinking of Malkovich movies, one rarely thinks of romantic comedy — but yup, this versatile actor even has a rom-com under his belt. "Making Mr. Right," has Malkovich playing dual roles: genius scientist Jeff Peters and an android named Ulysses. When Peters creates an artificially intelligent robot facsimile of himself, he asks his assistant (Ann Magnuson) to spend time with the robot and teach him how to be human. As a result, Ulysses the android starts to evolve into something more akin to human than his maker.

"Making Mr. Right" had a mixed response from critics. Some found the quirky comedy to be refreshingly unique. Roger Ebert called it "A smart, quick-witted, wicked and genuinely funny movie." Janet Maslin of the "New York Times" wrote: "[Making Mr. Right] adds up to somewhat less than the sum of its parts, but the parts are often delightful." For Malkovich fans who may be looking for one of the actor's more obscure early roles, this one is a hidden gem.

19. The Object of Beauty (1991)

Malkovich took another stab at being a romantic leading man with this drama, opposite Andie MacDowell. Telling the tale of a couple who go on a romantic holiday at an extravagant London hotel together, only to discover that his assets have been frozen and they can longer afford their lavish lifestyle, the film explores issues of trust and loyalty as they try to remain strong as a couple. The duo concoct a scheme involving an expensive statuette, but when it devolves into suspicion and paranoia, they begin to question the value of love over money.

Film critics enjoyed = the chemistry between Malkovich and MacDowell on screen, although many reviews for "The Object of Beauty" were fairly mixed. Metacritic currently shows an average score of 58 for the film, citing a quote from "The Seattle Times" which calls it "a spirited, sumptuously crafted tale." Alternatively, David Gritten of "Empire" wrote: "This looks lustrous (thanks to cinematographer David Watkin) but it's bankrupt in terms of ideas and execution and both leads seem uninspired."

18. Mary Reilly (1996)

Notorious for years as the first great bomb of Julia Roberts' career, this Stephen Frears drama operated on the periphery of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tale.

Based on the gothic novel by Valerie Martin, "Mary Reilly" was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Malkovich plays the dual roles of Jekyll and Hyde, while Roberts stars as the titular character, Mary Reilly. A timid housemaid who works for Dr. Henry Jekyll, Mary becomes fascinated by the doctor's mysterious houseguest, Edward Hyde. When Mary begins to suspect that there are dark machinations happening behind the closed doors of Jekyll's laboratory, she loyally keeps his secrets — even as she finds herself sinking more deeply into peril.

Met with mixed reviews and a tepid box office, the worst crime of "Mary Reilly" was simply that it was just too boring. Peter Stack of the "San Francisco Chronicle" accused the movie of being "morose to the point of tedium" and "too stuffy." Yet not all reviews for the film were negative; in his write-up for the "Chicago Sun-Times," Roger Ebert penned: " 'Mary Reilly' works as Gothic melodrama because it understands the genre so well." While a departure for Roberts, "Mary Reilly" is on point with Malkovich's talent for unsettling, yet somehow intriguing, characters.

17. The Convent (1995)

Once hailed as the oldest filmmaker in the world, Portuguese director Manoel de Oliveira presented the timeless theme of good and evil in his eerie 1996 drama, "The Convent." The film stars Malkovich as Michael Padovic, an American professor who travels to Spain with his wife (Catherine Deneuve). Michael is conducting research in the hopes of proving that renowned playwright William Shakespeare actually hailed from Spain rather than England. The pair find accommodations in a remote convent, headed by the mysterious priest Baltar (Luis Miguel Cintra).

The film is a modern-day take of Goethe's "Faust," but even with the inspiring source material, "The Convent" left some critics scratching their heads. It is heavy with metaphor and allegory, leaving the audience to ponder what is real and what is not. Marjorie Baumgarten of the "Austin Chronicle" praised the performances of the lead actors, but ultimately concluded: " 'The Convent' is still a wisp of a story — more evocation than elucidation." However, Australian film critic Adrian Martin enjoyed the movie's ominous ambiance, saying: "There's something odd and amazing going on in every virtually every moment of this film — if you can gear yourself into its mood and rhythm."  

16. Casanova Variations (2014)

"Casanova Variations" is a play within a play within a play — with a smattering of opera thrown in for good measure. Malkovich plays notorious lover Giacomo Casanova, as well as himself, in this lavish comedic farce. The film is based on the memoirs of Casanova himself, with some tongue-in-cheek winks to the audience provided by writer and director Michael Sturminger. As the movie showcases the life and loves of the historical figure, it also offers a sneak peek backstage, with Malkovich having an amusing encounter with a gushing superfan, and a producer who insists that "Casanova Variations" will never be made into a movie.

"Casanova Variations" received mixed reviews from critics. A review from "The Hollywood Reporter" called it "flawed" and "sluggish," while "Variety" critic Jay Weissberg claimed that beyond the meta-storytelling and a few fourth wall jokes, the film had nothing to say. However, the movie appeared to have a more welcome reception with worldwide audiences. Benjamin Harguindey, reviewer for the "Escribiendo Cine," wrote: "The film sounds pretentious on paper, but on the spot it's a hilarious experience, heightened by the very fun its actors and singers are clearly having, and by John Malkovich's intensely impressionistic portrayal of Giacomo Casanova."

15. Color Me Kubrick (2005)

A wild comedy that has Malkovich playing conman Alan Conway — who in real life impersonated famous, reclusive filmmaker Stanley Kubrick in a series of scams that tricked unsuspecting victims out of cash and favors — "Color me Kubrick" might be the most fun you're likely to see Malkovich having in a starring role.

When his character meets an aspiring performer (Jim Davidson), he offers to help the man make the big time as a headliner in Las Vegas — but the problem is, he's not really Kubrick. Eventually, such schemes catch up to him, as the "A Clockwork Orange" filmmaker gets wind of his exploits.

Reviews for "Color Me Kubrick" were mixed, with a score of 57 on Metacritic and a 52% score from Rotten Tomatoes. While many critics praised Malkovich's outlandish performance, some said that even the attention-grabbing actor couldn't save the film's redundant plot. "It literally has only one idea in its head," wrote Tasha Robinson of "AV Club," "and when that idea runs dry, it's as lost as Conway is without his plethora of Kubrick masks."

14. The Portrait of a Lady (1996)

A period drama from Jane Campion, "The Portrait of a Lady" stars Nicole Kidman as the independent Isabel Archer and John Malkovich as her conniving suitor. Though Isabel is approached by a number of eligible bachelors for her hand, it is the alluring Gilbert Osmond (Malkovich) who catches her heart. However, Osmond is in league with the devious Madame Serena Merle (Barbara Hershey), and the two are plotting behind closed doors to scheme Isabel out of her fortune. By the time Isabel realizes that she has been trapped into a prison of her own making, it is far too late.

A feminist re-telling of the Henry James novel of the same name, "The Portrait of a Lady" was met with mixed to fair reviews upon its release in 1996. Desson Thomson of the Washington Post declared: "'Portrait [of a Lady] feels like an elegant party, full of attractive people, beautiful finery and tremendous music (from Wojiech Kilar), yet no excitement." However, Ken Fox of TV Guide Magazine dubbed it a "bold and brilliant rendering of Henry James' masterpiece."

13. The Great Buck Howard (2008)

Cast as a frustrated mentalist, this film paired Malkovich alongside Colin Hanks (and a brief cameo by his famous father, Tom), who played an aspiring author acting as the mentalist's road manager. Though the shows are only performed in small-town venues, the young man becomes fascinated by one successful trick that might just get Malkovich's character (The titular Buck Howard) back into the spotlight. Emily Blunt also co-stars as a publicist promoting Howard, despite her strong dislike of him.

"The Great Buck Howard" received generally favorable to mixed reviews upon its 2008 release. Katey Rich of Cinema Blend had high praise for Malkovich's performance, stating: "John Malkovich plays the egomaniacal, washed-up magician so deliciously that the film gets lifted off its feet when he's on the screen." The Los Angeles Times called it "an affectionate though flawed comedy," and The New York Post proclaimed: "The film is a small-scale charmer that provides a tailor-made role for Malkovich, who is always fun to watch."

12. Disgrace (2008)

Following a successful premiere at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival, "Disgrace" cast Malkovich as a South African university professor who loses his job after having an affair with a student. He finds refuge while living at his daughter's farm, but things soon take a tragic turn when his daughter (Jessica Haines) is the victim of a violent rape. Feeling helpless and overcome with guilt, Malkovich's character begins to assess his own actions and tries to make things right.

"Disgrace" was given the award of Prize of the International Critics at TIFF, and was met with high praise by the critics. Both Malkovich and Haines were lauded for their performances. In the Chicago Reader, reviewer J.R. Jones wrote: "The thoughtful screenplay gives Malkovich a complex, increasingly reflective character arc that he plays with great feeling." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly said: "​​Newcomer Jessica Haines is transparent and heartbreaking as the prof's unorthodox daughter, a victim of violence as the old ways crumble." "Disgrace" isn't always an easy film to watch, but the historical context — and the powerful performances from the lead actors — is difficult to look away from.

11. Ripley's Game (2002)

In one of his most memorable performances, John Malkovich played a sociopathic hitman in the thriller "Ripley's Game." 

When an old acquaintance tries to hire Tom Ripley (Malkovich) to kill a rival mobster, Ripley sets up his unsuspecting neighbor (Dougray Scott) to perform the task instead. When the man finds himself in dire straits as his family falls under threat, Ripley steps in to offer his assistance. An unlikely, tense partnership follows as both men find themselves on the receiving end of mob justice.

Based on a character created by author Patricia Highsmith, Tom Ripley has appeared in several novels, and has been portrayed by multiple high profile actors on screen — yet it was Malkovich's turn as the sleazy anti-hero that could be considered the most enduring. "Ripley's Game" was a hit with critics, and Malkovich's portrayal of the charming yet despicable Ripley was the film's biggest draw. Alan Morrison of Empire wrote: "Malkovich is perhaps the best, most chillingly precise Ripley to date," and Variety's David Rooney proclaimed: "Malkovich's elegantly malicious performance gives 'Ripley's Game' a magnetic center."

10. The Sheltering Sky (1990)

A romantic drama with a bittersweet tinge of tragedy, "The Sheltering Sky" starred John Malkovich and Debra Winger as a married couple on the brink of collapse. 

Just after World War II, Port (Malkovich) and Kit (Winger) Moresby travel to Algeria, hoping that an exotic getaway will be just the thing to restore their romance. However, the presence of a mutual friend, George Tunner (Campbell Scott), creates suspicion and tension between the couple, as Kit and Port's marriage continues to crumble among a shaky foundation. When tragedy strikes, Kit finds herself struggling for survival, as well as to maintain her sanity.

The reviews for "The Sheltering Sky" were fairly mixed upon its 1990 release. Some critics cited the movie's failings on the complexity of the source material (the existential novel of the same name, by author Paul Bowles), insisting that a comprehensible adaptation was nearly impossible to execute. In his review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert wrote: "The book is so complete, so deep and so self-contained that it shuts the movie out. [Director Bernardo] Bertolucci shows us the outsides and the surfaces, and a person seeing this movie without having read the book might ask what it is about." Still, others were impressed by the film's scenic landscapes, and praised it for its powerful — if depressing — themes.

9. The Ogre (1996)

A historical drama with heavy themes, "The Ogre" is based on a novel by French author Michel Tournier entitled "The Erl-King." Taking place in France and Germany during World War II, Malkovich plays Abel Tiffauges, a quiet, sensitive man with an affinity for children and animals. When his love of taking photographs of the local children is misconstrued, he is arrested by authorities, who then send him to fight on the front lines against Germany. After being taken captive by the enemy, German officers decide to utilize Abel's unique talents and place him in charge of recruiting young men into the Nazi party.

"The Ogre" was generally favored by critics, with plenty of praise for Malkovich's portrayal of the simplistic, yet thoughtful, Abel. Marc Savlov of the Austin Chronicle wrote: "Astonishing, disturbing, and altogether an affecting piece of work, 'The Ogre' is [Volker] Schlondorff [the director] — and everyone else involved — working in top form." The New York Times also praised the lead actor, saying "Malkovich gives an understated performance that captures the ambiguity of a character who does monstrous things yet remains a tender-hearted innocent."

8. Con Air (1997)

Sure, in many circles the movie is a longtime punchline and might just be the most popcorn-esque role Malkovich has ever accepted. But this Simon West/Scott Rosenberg-penned blockbuster is as unapologetically fun as they come, and if you want to get a glimpse of late-'90s movie excess in all its glory, look no further than Nicolas Cage's flowing locks.

A Jerry Bruckheimer production, "Con Air" features Malkovich as its spine-tingling antagonist. He grabs the role with both hands and tackles it as ably as any other project — leading a cast of late '90s notables that includes Cage, John Cusack, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames, Monica Potter, Dave Chapelle, Danny Trejo and more.

Cage plays Cameron Poe, a respected U.S. Army veteran who was jailed for accidentally killing his wife's attacker. Years later, he has been granted parole and is eager to return to his wife and meet his young daughter for the first time. Unfortunately, the plane intended to transport him and his fellow inmates to their scheduled destination is hijacked by nefarious criminal Cyrus Grissom (Malkovich), who plans to fly the plane to freedom with his lackeys, including fellow criminals Joe Parker (Chappelle) and "Diamond Dog" Jones (Rhames). Using clever tactics, Poe tries to take down the operation from the inside, while secretly getting a message out to U.S. Marshall Vince Larkin (Cusack).

While "Con Air" was a thrilling ride of action and explosions beloved by its audience, some critics didn't quite know what to make of it. David Ansen of Newsweek exclaimed: "The saving grace of 'Con Air' is its sense of its own absurdity." Ron Wells of Film Threat called it "a big, silly film," yet also went on to say: "Is it full of explosions and one-liners? Of course. Is it entertaining? Of course."

7. Shadow of the Vampire (2000)

A blend of absurdist dark comedy and gothic horror, "Shadow of the Vampire" is the fictionalized account of the making of one of cinema's greatest silent horrors, "Nosferatu." Malkovich plays director Frederich Wilhelm Murnau, whose vision of a film based on the classic "Dracula" novel is upended when the lead actor, Max Schreck (Willem Dafoe), takes the role of vampire Count Orlock to new, disturbing levels. As Schreck's behavior on set intensifies and terrorizes the film's crew, Murnau struggles to keep production going, even at the cost of human lives.

"Shadow of the Vampire" earned high praise from critics, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Dafoe. Richard Brody of the New Yorker called the film "a gory and grandiose metaphor for the torments and sacrifices made, extracted, and endured in the name of art." Rolling Stone's Peter Travers labeled the film "a mesmerizing spectacle," while Jay Hoberman of the Village Voice said that the film "manages to turn a highly dubious concept into a subtle and deliciously mordant comedy (via Metacritic)."

6. Burn After Reading (2008)

From the quirk-filled minds of Joel and Ethan Coen, "Burn After Reading" is a 2008 dark comedy in which Malkovich plays former CIA analyst Osbourne Cox. 

Hoping to live out his twilight years in peace, Cox decides to spend his retirement writing his memoirs. Unfortunately, his wife Katie (Tilda Swinton) takes a copy of his memoir and accidentally leaves the disc at her local gym. When the disc is found by a bumbling fitness instructor (Brad Pitt) and his co-worker (Frances McDormand), they mistake its contents for government secrets, and decide to conduct a scheme to blackmail Cox in return for a big payoff. What ensues is a series of events filled with mayhem, murder, and utter chaos.

"Burn After Reading" was the follow-up to the Coen brothers' hugely successful "No Country for Old Men," and although it didn't quite live up to its predecessor, the film still managed to delight most fans of the Coens' work. USA Today called it "consistently funny — with witty dialogue and offbeat banter that stays in your head for days."

5. The Glass Menagerie (1987)

A dream-like adaptation of the classic Tennessee Williams stage play, "The Glass Menagerie" stars Malkovich as Tom Wingfield, and was the last of six films directed by Paul Newman. The story takes a look at themes of distorted memory and lost love, as Tom and his timid sister Laura (Karen Allen) are held under the crushing expectations of their mother, Amanda (Joanne Woodward). Amanda recalls fond memories of her younger days as a southern belle, in which suitors supposedly lined up outside her door. Wanting the same for her painfully shy daughter, she asks Tom to bring a young man home to meet Laura.

"The Glass Menagerie" currently holds a score of 73% on Rotten Tomatoes. James Ivory of Sight & Sound proclaimed it "The best 'Menagerie' I have ever seen on stage or screen." In a review from Espinof, Alberto Abuin praised Malkovich's performance as "splendid" and "nuanced." This dramatic work gives fans a glimpse of Malkovich early in his career, before he became a household name.

4. In the Line of Fire (1993)

The film that made Malkovich a household name, and often hailed as one of the greatest action thrillers of the early '90s, "In the Line of Fire" was nothing short of a sensation upon its release. His chilling performance as Mitch Leary earned him nominations for both an Academy Award and a BAFTA, as well as a spot on AFI's "100 Years. . . 100 Heroes and Villains" in 2003.

Malkovich plays opposite Clint Eastwood (who stars as Secret Service Agent Frank Horrigan) in a suspenseful cat-and-mouse game, as Horrigan attempts to thwart Leary's plans to assassinate the current President of the United States. Leary taunts the agent at every turn, toying with him even as he barely evades Horrigan's grasp. On top of high praise for the film itself, Malkovich managed to dazzle the critics in his breakthrough role.

"Malkovich does such wonderfully unexpected things, especially with his line readings, that he leaves us dumbfounded," raved the Washington Post's Hal Hinson. Jason Korsner of BBC proclaimed: "John Malkovich delivers one of the most deliciously creepy performances of his outstanding career," and James Berardinelli of ReelViews said: "Hands down, Malkovich's assassin is the best thing about this solid thriller — a villain that rivals Hannibal Lecter for intelligence and cold, calculated viciousness."

3. Of Mice and Men (1992)

Arguably the definitive filmed version of one of the all-time classics, Malkovich shined in this production of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." The film was directed by Gary Sinise, who also co-starred alongside Malkovich. Sinise plays George Milton, and Malkovich is the simple-minded, soft-hearted Lennie Small. While traversing the landscape of a Depression-era America, George and Lennie find work at a California ranch — as well as trouble in the form of the flirtatious wife of a malicious farmhand, Curley (Casey Siemaszko). George must keep Lennie out of trouble before he ruins things for the two of them, but the task proves more difficult than he could have anticipated.

Reviews for "Of Mice and Men" gave high praise to Sinise's direction, as well as his and Malkovich's performances. Entertainment Weekly called it "lyrical, stirring, and beautifully acted" (via Rotten Tomatoes), and Joe Pollack of St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote: "Sinise's direction is outstanding. The pacing is well-nigh perfect, and even though the story is familiar, it often seems new, and Malkovich obviously thrives on his direction" (via Metacritic).

2. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

This Stephen Frears classic cast Malkovich as the cunning libertine, Vicomte Sebastien de Valmont. Also starring Glenn Close as Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil and Michelle Pfeiffer as Madame Marie de Tourvel, the lush romantic period drama tells a story of seduction and betrayal, culminating in the tragic downfall of its main characters. Sebastien seeks to seduce his old flame, the beautiful Isabelle, but she has a scheme in mind to ruin the young virginal fiance of her most recent former lover. The two strike a deal in which Sebastien will seduce the wealthy wife of a Parliament member — Madame de Tourvel — and if he can provide proof of his success, then Isabelle will agree to sleep with him.

"Dangerous Liaisons" received positive reviews, along with an impressive number of award nominations. The New York Times dubbed the film "witty" and "entertaining," while the Washington Post hailed it as "tantalizingly wicked."

1. Being John Malkovich (1999)

It should come as no surprise to Malkovich fans to see this title at the top of the list — more than twenty years after it became a phenomenon, this Spike Jonze/Charlie Kauffman classic holds up as one of the most fiercely original films ever made

A surreal dark comedy, the film centers on a lonely puppeteer named Craig Schwartz (John Cusack), who is trapped in an unhappy marriage with Lotte (Cameron Diaz). When Craig takes a job in an unusual office building, he finds a secret door that leads into the mind of famous character actor John Malkovich (Malkovich). When he reveals the secret to his co-worker, Maxine (Catherine Keener), the latter forms a scheme to use the knowledge to their advantage. A strange love triangle ensues between Craig, Lotte, and Maxine, with the oblivious Malkovich at the center, having his mind rented out like a hotel that charges by the hour.

"Being John Malkovich" was hailed by critics for its fierce wit and originality. David Germain of the Associated Press wrote: "Fabulously funny and delightfully disturbed, 'Being John Malkovich' is the ultimate voyeur movie, a dark and at times malevolent take on what it's like to be in someone else's skull, looking out." The movie was nominated for several awards, landing Malkovich an American Comedy Awards win for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. If you call yourself a Malkovich fan and somehow haven't seen this classic ... well, you deserve to be spit out on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike.