Here's a post that's totally out of left field because Being John Malkovich isn't relevant in any way whatsoever right now, I just happened to have re-watched it last night. That said, it is an incredibly interesting watch in 2018, and it still very much works.
(Just as a heads up, this isn't a review of the movie)
If you haven't seen it, then I warn you, it is not a movie for the faint of heart. It is extremely weird. Basically, a puppeteer (played by John Cusack) finds himself in a world where he can't find a job due to his extremely fringe passion of, well, puppeteering. There's reference to a "Tony Wonder"-esque puppeteer who is the superstar of puppeteering at the time, so in comparison, John Cusack is a sad, somewhat creepy, starving artist who just wants to get paid to sit in his workshop and do his work. It's worth mentioning that this movie is set in 1999, so becoming a puppeteering Youtube sensation isn't really an option either. His wife (played by Cameron Diaz) urges him to get a job, which he does. At his new job, which gives off weird vibes to begin with, he finds a tunnel, which if you crawl into it, you will find yourself in the head of John Malkovich.
Being a puppeteer, John Cusack eventually figures out how to control John Malkovich. As John Malkovich, he goes to John Malkovich's agent and claims he is giving up acting and shifting the John Malkovich brand into puppeteering. Due to John Malkovich's "existing notoriety", John Cusack's technical skill in controlling these creepy puppets is finally recognized. There's a hilarious clip of Sean Penn being interviewed where he talks about how he's about to shift his career toward puppeteering, although he will do it slowly, to avoid looking like he's copying the "genius" that is John Malkovich's career shift.
This movie put my head in about 1000 places. First, as I mentioned earlier, there was no internet. A weirdo puppeteer like John Cusack could have probably found an internet forum or audience in 2018, and probably would have a shot at being able to monetize is supposed technical prowess. Instead, he had to check out "Want Ads" to find some filing job, and live in a hopeless void where he would never be recognized.
This is all to say, this is the greatest time to be alive in human history. You can find a niche and make something of it from your smartphone. All John Cusack would have had to do is buy a camera and film his puppet shows, and he would have found an audience no doubt. If focused, an artist has options and is no longer limited to "waiting to be discovered". That gets me pumped.
The other thing about this movie, is that it has something to say about the idea of "genius", which I believe to be a myth. Sure, there are people who are smarter and more naturally, technically skilled, but "genius" is in the eye of the beholder. If John Cusack plays with puppets, it's weird. If John Malkovich plays with puppets, he's a genius that everyone wants to emulate. This should be a pretty re-assuring idea that indicates that no one has it figured out, and anyone who seems to have it figured out tried some stuff and something eventually worked. Life is trial and error. John Malkovich had made it, and John Cusack hadn't until he became John Malkovich.
This movie has about 30 different ideas going on, but those two are the ones that jumped out at me in my present moment. I just think about how much tougher being a pro photographer was before social media, and how many more opportunities I have to have my work seen all over the world. It's also reassuring as someone who learns by doing. I just have to start doing things in order to learn and get better. The more I do, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more successful I can be.
Basically, Being John Malkovich is a movie that's intended to be somewhat bleak, but I got some positivity out of it. I don't know what that necessarily says about me, but I really like that movie. Kudos to Spike Jonze for taking on such an off-the-wall project. I'd love to make something like that one day.