A look back at this day in film history
October 29
October 29, 2008
Being Different

Being John Malkovich, released 9 years ago today, was the (very literal) head trip that American audiences didn’t even know they needed. Written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by pop promo wiz kid Spike Jonze, both debutants, the movie told the story of schlubby puppeteer Craig (John Cusack) who finds a portal into the mind of the actor John Malkovich (brilliant as himself), sparking off a wonderfully surreal series of events involving Craig’s wife, Lotte (a frizzy-haired Cameron Diaz), and the workmate he lusts after, Maxine (Catherine Keener). The movie wowed critics with its idiosyncratic charm, took a hefty $24m at the box office and was part of a new era of creative, leftfield filmmaking within the Hollywood system lead by directors like Jonze, Wes Anderson, David O. Russell, Paul Thomas Anderson, Alexander Payne and Sofia Coppola (then Jonze’s wife). The movie also made Kaufman one of Hollywood’s hottest writers, and he continued his impressive run with Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and released his first film as director, Synecdoche, New York, earlier this month.

More Flashbacks
The Naked Kiss October 29, 1964
The Naked Kiss opens

A prostitute thrashes the drunken pimp who has stiffed her. As they fight, he reaches up and grabs her hair — and winds up with a fistful of her wig.

Read more »
October 29, 1993
The Nightmare before Christmas opens

Director Henry Selick made his feature directorial debut with The Nightmare Before Christmas, a stop-motion animated film about dual Christmas and Halloween worlds and the battle between them when the monsters and demons of the latter decide to place themselves in the world of the former.

Read more »