4. Being John Malkovich (1999)

Image: Gramercy Films

The premise for Being John Malkovich is really only dumb on the surface. As you go further down this film’s rabbit hole, it’s more than a little weird and (at times) unnecessarily confusing, but it’s still an experience so unique that it’s hard not to enjoy it.

When puppeteer Craig Schwartz (John Cusack) takes a job as a file clerk, he stumbles across a tiny door that leads to the inside of actor John Malkovich’s mind. Along with his co-worker Maxine (Catherine Keener), Craig decides to exploit the doorway for profit, and somewhere along the way awakens the transgender identity of his wife, Lotte (Cameron Diaz).

As Being John Malkovich goes on, its narrative begins to wrap around itself, becoming something every bit as bizarre and mind-bending as you might expect.

That said, it’s a beautifully cerebral, darkly funny piece of film, and it’s enjoyable from start to finish. The premise might sound dumb, but the end result is a deeply entertaining watch with surprising depth.

Did it work? Yes. Being John Malkovich turned a bafflingly weird plot into a cinematic gem.