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Best Comedy Films of John Malkovich

Updated on December 3, 2012

John Malkovich is a theater, film, and television actor whose credits include three Broadway productions and 64 films. He is an Oscar nominee, Emmy recipient, and AFI winning producer.

Some of his greatest performances include roles in Dangerous Liaisons, Death of a Salesman, In the Line of Fire, Heart of Darkness, and RKO 281. Yet, he also has some outstanding comedy films to his credit.

What follows are the top five comedy films of John Malkovich.

! Warning: May contain Spoilers!

Number Five

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) as Humma Kavula.

Also Starring: Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, Alan Rickman

Synopsis: An average guy gets a chance to travel around the galaxy with a hitchhiker from another world.

In Detail: When Arthur (Freeman) is forced to leave Earth with his buddy Ford (Def), they hitch a ride on various space ships. On their journey Arthur is exposed to many alien races including one with multiple arms, one that values Bureaucracy over all else, and one that runs a factory where planets are made.

Truly a feast for the imagination. A wonderful re-imagining of Douglas Adams' book of the same name.

The Best: Ford (Def) and Arthur (Freeman) are picked up by the Star-ship Heart of Gold while the Improbability Drive is in use. The drive is used to travel quickly in Hyperspace but has a draw-back that it may cause a metamorphosis of the people on board into something else. Due to this draw-back they arrive on board as talking sofas the color of their clothing.

Malkovich on the Tonight Show Top Ten

Number Four

Red (2010) as Marvin Boggs.

Also Starring: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Karl Urban, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren

Synopsis: A retired black-ops agent is in danger from the agency he once worked for; and must try to stop the unending attacks on his life.

In Detail: Frank Moses (Willis) is not an exciting guy. The highlight of his life is calling in to the Social Security office and pretending he has not received a check. When he calls he always talks to the same operator, Sarah Ross (Parker), whose life is also unexciting. On the phone they talk about the current sappy romance novel Ross is reading. At night, Moses reads the romance novel himself so he can talk about it next time he calls, which seems to be often.

Suddenly there is a major attack on Frank's life. He realizes he has been watched for some time and knows that the calls to Sarah have put her in danger. Frank kidnaps Sarah and begins contacting members of his old team to try to diffuse the situation. Many fights and gun battles follow.

The best: When Frank enlists the help of Marvin (Malkovich) his response is to shout "I'm getting the pig!"

Number Three

Burn After Reading (2008) as Osborne Cox

Also Starring: George Clooney, Frances McDormand, Brad Pitt

Synopsis: After being fired from the CIA, things only get worse for Osborne Cox when the notes for his memoirs are held for ransom.

In Detail: Linda (McDormand) and Chad (Pitt) are employees of a gym called Hardbodies. Linda desperately wants plastic surgery and is fighting her insurance company to pay for it. When a computer disc belonging to a CIA agent is found in the locker room of the gym; Chad convinces Linda that they should blackmail the owner to get the money.

The owner of the disc is Osborne Cox (Malkovich), who has just quit his job at the CIA and has begun writing his memoirs. This, along with some personal financial spreadsheets is the data contained on the CD and Cox is unwilling to pay for its return. He instead threatens Chad with legal action. Since Chad and Linda didn't get money from Cox, they decide to sell the information to someone at the Russian Embassy.

The Best: Chad arrives at Linda's apartment to tell her he has found the owner of the computer disc. He was able to obtain the owner's name and phone number but can't just say this, he dances and sings "I got his number!"

Number Two

Color Me Kubrick (2005) as Alan Conway.

Also Starring: Jim Davidson, Richard E. Grant

Synopsis: Alan Conway cons people into giving him money and gifts by convincing them he is the famous director Stanley Kubrick.

In Detail: Actually based on a true story. There should be nothing to like about this man, Alan Conway, who is constantly working his con, mostly to get people to buy dinners and drinks for him. Yet, he is portrayed in such a way that one does feel sorry for him. Why does he feel the need to be someone else? It doesn't seem to be just about the money. It really seems as though Conway thinks people would not like him for who he is. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as people he conned turn their backs on Conway when they learn the truth. No, they don't like this man that has tricked them into believing he is something he's not, and has promised them things he can't deliver.

The Best: Conway is in a restaurant with a group of people who believe he's Kubrick. He overhears a conversation at the next table between two people who didn't enjoy a play they had just seen. Conway finds out that one of them is a critic. He is so bold that he walks up to them and begins expressing his displeasure for a negative review of himself (Kubrick) in the critics' publication.

Number One

Being John Malkovich (1999) as John Horatio Malkovich.

Also Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener

Synopsis: People are given a unique opportunity to learn what it is like to be John Malkovich.

In Detail: The story line of this movie is so off the wall and creative. There are things that happen in this world that would not happen anywhere else. At least no place outside of an insanity-fueled delusion.

The Best: Eventually John Malkovich realizes what is being done to him and demands to test it out for himself. Instead of the experience others have, he is thrown into a scenario where everyone in the world looks exactly like him. Men and Women all with his exact face and body. They also have a deeply annoying language which consists of only one word, "Malkovich."

Check out various movie clips of John Malkovich at:

Written By: Jeanette Cline

June 2012


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    • profile image

      Travis Mcgee 10 months ago

      As the maker of which is a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fan site, I think it is terribly underrated so it's nice to see it on your list

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      I like John's work in films. That Letterman segment was hilarious! Thanks for a good capsule.