Quick, Let's Make Love Before You Die: Cusack, Spader or on the CuSp?
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Quick, Let's Make Love Before You Die: Cusack, Spader or on the CuSp?

By Cindy Davis | Case Study In Hotness | August 23, 2012 | Comments ()


They're a few years apart, but John Cusack and James Spader came through the film ranks together, flitting in and around the same circles, and the Brat Pack crowd. Spader did Pretty in Pink; Cusack, Sixteen Candles; Cusack did "Frasier," Spader, "Seinfeld," and in between, they came together for True Colors. Talk to anyone about her 80s crush and one or the other's name is sure to come up. They share a certain onscreen intensity and intelligence, and neither is afraid to step outside the box. So which way do you tend--Cusackive or Spaderesque? Sadly, middle age seems to be taking them to the same place...

Walk with me and make your choice.

Bryce (Sixteen Candles):



Morgan (Tuff Turf):


Gib (The Sure Thing):



Dutra (The New Kids):


Lane (Better Off Dead):



Steff (Pretty in Pink):


Dan (Hot Pursuit):



Richards (Mannequin):


Buck (Eight Men Out):



Rip (Less Than Zero):


Lloyd (Say Anything):



Graham (Sex, Lies and Videotape):


Roy (The Grifters):



Michael (Bad Influence):


Tim or Peter (True Colors):


Max (Max):



Max (White Palace):


David (Bullets Over Broadway):



Jack (The Music of Chance):


Martin (Grosse Pointe Blank):



Lee (Two Days in the Valley):


Craig (Being John Malcovich):



Campbell (The Watcher):


Rob (High Fidelity):



Roger (Speaking of Sex):


Jonathan (Serendipity):



Mr. Grey (Secretary):


Jake (Must Love Dogs):



Alan ("The Practice"):


Mike (1408):



Alan ("Boston Legal"):


Mike (The Factory):



Robert ("The Office"):


Cusack 2012



Spader 2012


Le sigh. What happened, boys?

Cindy Davis chooses warm Spaderette

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • ravingmadscientists

    Cusack, no contest. It began with The Journey of Natty Gann and will never end.

  • frank247

    Joan Cusack, no question about it.

  • QueBarbara

    "What happened, boys?"
    Um, they got older? They aged? I mean, really - what the fuck?

  • Always Cusack, no matter how crazy.

  • Lloyd Dobler for evah- NO QUESTION ( you can tell from the ALLCAPS)

    Even and IN SPITE (more all caps mean that I mean bizness here) of 2012.

    Now. where did I put that duster, boom box and Peter Gabriel "So" cassette? , Me thinks its time for a little role play.... Happy FRIDAY (I rilly mean it)

  • Strand

    Cusack. James Spader's always creeped me the hell out. Then I saw Secretary a few years back and a light bulb in my head. That's now how I imagine his private life to be.

  • LM

    John Cusack all the way, even tho I'm a gay gal..I love JC and always have even when I was a teenager - Grosse Point Blank is one of my fav movies ever!

  • Blake

    Cusack... Why? Martin Blank and Llyod Dobler... That is all.

  • Shonda aka fpkillkill

    Oh, Cusack... I want to go and play pool, and flirt, and have too many beers, and stay up until last call, talking about the things we have in common and make plans for brunch tomorrow. Then I'mma call your best friend, Spader, on the way home and booty-call, hate-fuck the shit out of him. Twice. And then two more times Sunday before brunch. Love you!

  • Eve

    Spader. That shouldn't even be a question.

  • I_Sell_Books

    Holy crap, I love Spader but it's going to be Cusack. On an aside, Two Days in the Valley is a funny flick.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Cusack, even if he is a lefty pinko cocoapuff in real life. Walter "Gib" Gibson? COME ON!
    P.S. All of the above is bullshit. I'm floundering in a sea of confusion and total despair, but, knock on wood, I still have my health.

  • zgaleazzi

    Cusack but only if he deletes his Twitter account and doesn't talk.

  • Spader. A thousand times Spader. And I'd still go there, godtopus help me. His looks may have faded, but he still has that prowly voice.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Next Question.

    Better Soundtrack:

    Less Than Zero or High Fidelity?

  • Anna von Beav

    Spader. Always, Spader.
    Now, I must away; my DVD of Secretary is calling my name.

    BRB, 'questioning my morals'

  • AngelenoEwok

    Oh, and because some poor nerd had to say it: you left out Stargate. And that makes 11 year old me very sad.

  • $27019454

    Spader. Forever and always Graham. Ugh. WTF exactly happened when she turned off the videocamera??? Kills me.

  • AngelenoEwok

    Gotta go Spader. But pre-Twitter, it was a toss-up.

  • hippyherb

    Cusack all the way for me. Spader is a great actor, but he always sounds so sleazy.

  • $27019454

    you say that like its a bad thing.

  • Muhnah_Muhnah

    See...I'm a lips girl. Yes, there's such a thing. I love lips on a man...not like...Stephen Tyler lips, but strong, defined, yet soft and plump lips that...well, you get my point. So...Spader all the way. Hell even into the Bloated Ages.

  • JenVegas

    godhelpmecusakforeverandalways...even though i know he's a thunderous douchebag in real life. sigh

  • Wembley

    ION has been playing 'Runaway Jury' the last couple of weeks The ad gets to the cast and is all:
    "Academy Award Winner Dustin Hoffman"
    "Academy Award Winner Gene Hackman"

    "Academy Award Winner Rachel Weisz"

    "and John Cusack"

    I crack up every time-it was supposed to be his movie wasn't it?

  • foolsage

    Does it freak anyone else out that Spader is (apparently) slowly turning into Christopher Walken? Those last two pics of James are especially troubling. :/

  • $27019454

    This is not troubling in the least.

  • marya

    Spader! Not even sure how this is a debate. Charisma trumps looks every time.

    Beside, it won't much matter how bloated he is if I'm blindfolded and bent over an armchair.

    ...I'm just sayin'.

  • SugarSmak

    Since Jake Ryan disappeared (better to leave me with my teenage memories), I have to stick with Bryce (as a 15-year-old geek when "Sixteen Candles" came out, Bryce was cute AND attainable, so thus beginneth the Cusack love.) Since I'll never get the chance to sit and chat with him about anything, and I'm just basing my assessment on Gib, Lane and Lloyd...it's Cusack 4 EVA for me!

  • fartygirl

    i vote spader up until ten years ago. cusak aged better.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Tough Turf.

  • Spader wins, with a couple exceptions. Wow, he really has done a ton of great stuff. But he really has a presence that is somehow 'more' - whether it's a heightened sense of stakes or danger, or perhaps a bit more potential for mischief. And, when he's doing funny/absurd, he nails it. It doesn't take anything away from Cusack at his best, but there are fewer instances and they are more conventional.

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    Cusack. Any and all times. We're the same age and I think he looks pretty good now—except that his colorist is doing him no favors with the unrealistically ultra-black hair.

  • e jerry powell

    Spader. Always Spader.

    Especially with Elias Koteas in the real Crash. SO creepy-hot.

  • Jerce



    I mean, there's nothing wrong with Cusack's looks; but how can anyone look at that very first pair of photos and not go *SPADERSPADER*?

    And White Palace...Oh God...I am not going to get ANY work done this afternoon.

  • the other courtney

    Spader. He has a very dirty, scary air about him that would be fun to explore naked. Cusack strikes me as the kind of guy you'd get sick of hearing speak and likely likes to look at himself in the mirror when he fucks.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    You're not far off. A friend of mine interviewed Cusak a while back and said he was the worst person she'd ever dealt with.

  • Puddin

    Have you seen his twitter account? Home boy is cray cray.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    Ooh, not yet. But guess who'll be following cray cray home boy as of about 5 minutes from now?!

  • Maguita NYC

    I'd be looking at him in the mirror too.

  • WeeeeeDC

    That's a tough one. Spader's got the dick thing down pat, which we all hate to love. Cusack's too nice, which we all love to hate. Le sigh. If my dating history has anything to say about it, I'd go Spader.

  • Skyler Durden is not logged in

    Wait...Spader's character in Secretary is named Mr. Grey?!? Hmmmmmm.

    And I feel bad about this, but Spader lost it with me when he appeared on The Office. You can't be balding AND puffy. Pick a side.

  • LibraryChick

    I believe the character's name was E. Edward Grey. No, Fifty Shades of
    Grey does not do justice to him. Puffy, balding, it doesn't matter to me. In my mind I will always think of him as he was in White Palace.

  • Puddin

    Build a time machine. Go back to 87, hate screw Steff. Reboard time machine. Go back to 99, screw High Fidelity Rob. Stay in current era and screw Martin Blank. Continue to stay in said era and find the real life Cusack and Spader and warn them off the dangers of simple carbohydrates. Reboard time machine, travel to present day. Enjoy harem of grateful and svelte Spaders and Cusacks. Patent machine. Make billions. Become ruler of the galaxy. Expand harem. Make sexy sex with gorgeous men. Receive many high fives.

  • There are days that I want to write short fiction stories based on comments I read. This comment has made one of those days.

  • Uriah_Creep

    This needs to be made into a movie. Get on it, Puddin.

  • pretty sure Cusak tried in that time machine movie....

  • Uriah_Creep

    And he needs to try again, because that movie sucked.

  • MG

    Spader - yesterday, today and tomorrow. Even puffy Spader. The only place I might deviate from that is Martin Blank. Cause damn. You're a handsome devil, what's your name?

  • Rocabarra

    Spader. Even in the Office, I still felt an irresistable attraction. Cusack, for whatever reason, just doesn't cut it for me. I think Spader could get freaky ;)

  • Kate at June

    Are you kidding? Cusack 2012 = Spader 2012? No, no no no no. I'm not into pretty (boy) blondes anyway, but one look at The Office pic of Spader makes my face do funny things in reaction.

    Cusack all the way.

  • msjennijennjenn

    Early Spader played too many creepy, power hungry, do-anything-to-get-ahead-doesn't-care-who-gets-hurt-in-the-process roles (Baby Boom, Mannequin, Pretty in Pink) but was so dang good at it. Cusak was really good at playing a geek, but not in a cute,hot kind of way. More of a "get away from me nerd" type.
    I'll take Boston Legal era Spader. I'd love to hold him in contempt of court.

  • John G.

    today, they both look like they might smell like old cheese

  • Maguita NYC

    Like fine wine, some cheese get better with age.

  • e jerry powell

    Yes, and like wines, some just get nasty.

  • Johnny C. - Grosse Point Blank nails it....

  • damnitjanet

    Cusack, now and forever.


  • Samantha Klein

    Spader, Spader, a thousand times Spader. I'm sad you didn't include Stargate. Siiiiigh.

  • Tinkerville

    "It's not 'door to heaven'... it's.. 'stargate!'" DUN DUN DUNN.

  • L.E.

    So totally Spader. And old Spader can still make me quiver with his dulcet tones.
    Old Cusack is just annoying and paranoid.

  • Grrl Interrupted

    Spader's current hairline hurts my feelings but I'd still be his secretary any day.

  • Alice

    @7b9e2567fba38d8ab99932af429aef26:disqus "current hairline hurts my feelings" That is a hilarious and appropriate way to put it!

  • Wednesday

    Not that it was ever close -- I adore the ridiculous The Sure Thing with a passion born of 100% uncut nostalgia -- but after Spader's run on The Office, he takes himself out of the running for good.

  • llp

    Cusack, definitely. Also, I love Dianne Weist. Just looking at her in that picture makes me happy.

  • Arran

    I love Spader as an actor, but he's always come across slightly creepy and predatory, whereas Cusack is low key and appealing. Let's go with marry Cusack, boff Spader, kill William Zabka.

  • Puddin

    If you touch one golden hair on William Zabka's head, so help me God I will put you in a body bag, tulip.

  • Arran

    Hey man, he faked an injury when the diving team needed him. HE'S A JERK AND COULD NEVER PULL OFF THE TRIPLE LINDY.

  • Puddin

    Yeah, but he looks fabulous in a skin tight skeleton onesie. So SHUT YOUR FACE.

  • chumpy

    What happened? It's called aging FFS. Lets do with a couple of females and watch the "OMG so sexist" comments.

    Cusack has aged way better though...

  • Alice

    Steff is the kind of guy in high school who would tell me that he thinks I need to bleach my mustache, he has a flatter stomach than I do, and he can't believe I'm wearing stockings with open-toed shoes. I would still make out with his face and hate myself later.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    You wear stockings with open-toed shoes?

  • Alice

    I did in high school because my mom made me. She always insisted on stockings. She's a very bossy, old school Jersey type. You didn't argue.

    Why, do you want to make out? Kidding! Sort of.

  • Captain_Tuttle

    I did too, in HS. A bossy, old school, Long Island mom here. The seam across the toes sticking out was so mortifying.

  • Jay

    Did Cusack ever do his thing with another man? a la Spader is Crash (with Elias Koteas). This important demographic needs to be able to consider the CuSp.

  • I like Alice's idea of a sammich. I'll take a Lane/Steff combo, pleaseandthankyou.

  • Baobabble

    I want to go steady with 80s Cusack BUT I would do SUCH filthy things to 80s Spader. Hmm.

  • Maguita NYC

    Eh, why do I get the creepy feeling that 80s Spader will be doing the filthy things TO you? Not the other way around...

  • linnyloo

    You say "creepy," I say "PLEASE"

  • Adrienne Marie

    I would be very okay with that.

  • $27019454

    with a capital PLEA...

  • Maguita NYC

    A Cusackive all the way back to shameful first crush. He is the anti-cute crush with a way about his speech pattern that is a turn on, especially in quirky characters such as in Grosse Pointe Blank.

    James Spader is dirty. The obscene disturbing kind, that grabs at your ass in the subway. And looks you straight in the eye while you're slapping at his hand. A degenerate Uncle, all the parents try to convince not to play Santa on Christmas.

  • Louise

    I've met James Spader and found him to be a very nice guy, but a little intimidating. For me it is James all the way...nobody else is even close!

  • Captain_Tuttle

    He'd look you straight in the eye no matter what you were doing to him, or what part of him you were slapping (or vice versa). Creepy and compelling all at once.

  • Puddin

    You say that like its a bad thing. I ain't his niece. Bring it on.

  • Tammy

    I agree completely with your assessment of Mr. Spader. And that is exactly why he turns me on. What is WRONG with me???

  • Maguita NYC

    Ladies, gents (?), I admit that some perverts are endearing, the bottom line is to do filthy things WITH you, not TO you... Although, I embarrassingly admit to wanting one Jason Momoa to do said filthy things to me. Preferably silently, because obviously, dumb wood.

    The difference is, I strongly believe Momoa to know where to draw the line, whereas Spader has no line. No limit.

    Wait, did that just turn you on Spader even more??

  • Tammy

    Guilty as charged.

  • BrassCupcake

    Whatever is wrong with you must be contagious....because I feel the same way.

  • jill

    Ditto to all. That man is mesmerizing.

  • Shonda aka fpkillkill

    Hell, yeah. I'd willingly go with Spader, knowing full well I shouldn't but wouldn't be able to stop myself.

    Damn. I'll go now.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    Why split the baby here? I'd love a Cusack-Me-Spader sandwich, but if forced to chose I'll only stipulate to early days Cusack, later days Spader. Cusack in his Lloyd Dobler/Better off Dead era was awesome, but in interviews he's kind of a dick about those movies which sort of retro-actively kills it for me. Spader in White Palace and Secretary is The Man (and as we all know, Secretary is the real deal to the 50 shades of softcore porn). Spader hasn't held up as well physically as Cusack, but I think he's more fun to hang around with these days. And, why yes, I did put far too much thought into this.

  • Alice

    Spader's hair line is a code red travesty. Some men look fine balding, some men are James Spader. The face bloat is playing a big role.

  • Alice

    I still pick Spader. He's pervy-hot.

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