With his new film Smokin’ Aces about to be released (make sure to check back tomorrow for our review) this seemed like a good chance to take a look back at the actor who went from Cusack’s bud to Cupid, to super Hollywood agent, to the big man on campus, to a man who everyone wants dead. Not too shabby for a dude from Evanston, Illinois.
So for fans, and those who are just curious, here’s a look at some of high (and not so high) points in the career of John Cusack’s number one hombre – Jeremy Piven.
Keeping Up with the Steins – Not a great flick, but an okay one. Piven stars as the father who is dealing with his son’s Bar Mitzvah and the sudden return of his own father (Gary Marshall) into his life. Kind of a niche film, but it has some nice performances all around including Larry Miller, Jami Gertz, Cheryl Hines, and Daryl Hannah. Read the full review here. Now available on DVD.
PCU – Piven stars as the leader of “the Pit” – the wildest house on the campus of the much, too much Politically Correct University. Not great, but funnier than it has any right to be. Megan Ward, Jon Favreau, Alex Desert, and David Spade also star. Available on DVD and often shown on Comedy Central.
Very Bad Things – A very bad idea for a movie. Good cast including Piven, Cameron Diaz, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Daniel Stern, and Christain Slater are all wasted here on this dark comedy that includes quartering and burying a dead hooker. Yeah, when the highlight and low point of a film are the same thing…well, let’s just say it’s not a good thing. A low point in his career; sadly, it is available on DVD.
Entourage – The role of super agent Ari Gold won Piven an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The on-goning HBO series follows a small group of friends trying to cash in on the Hollywood dream of stardom. A well received show all around, and Piven’s chance to earn some well deserved praise. Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Debi Mazar, Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Dillon also star. The first two seasons are available on DVD.
Cupid – If you blinked you probably missed 1998’s Cupid which starred Piven as a possilby mentally ill man convinced he is Cupid and has been banished to Earth from Mount Olympus until he unites 100 couples without magic. Yeah, the premise is skaky, but Piven proved up to the task as did his leading lady, the wonderful Paula Marshall who starred as Cupid’s psychiatrist. The episodes were generally good and, for me, a single episode ”Heart of the Matter“ stands out as one of the best single hours of television in recent memory. The show only lasted part of one season and is not currently available on DVD.
Ellen – I was never much of a fan of Ellen DeGeneres’s sitcom (silly me, I expect sitcoms to be funny). Piven did have a supporting role as Ellen’s pal Spence. All five seasons are available on DVD.
As John Cusack’s sidekick – There are a so many of these films, so I just thought I’d list a few of them all together – Serendipity – the camaraderie between Cusack and Piven almost makes up for the lackluster love story, Runaway Jury – Piven has a small role as the assistant to Dustin Hoffman, Grosse Point Blank – Piven is great as Cusack’s long lost friend of “10 Years!”, the wonderful Say Anything… (my favorite Cameron Crowe flick) as one of the guys hanging out at the gas ‘n sip, and the funny but forgettable One Crazy Summer with Bobcat Goldwait (in a smoking Godzilla costume destroying mini-Tokyo) and Demi Moore – singing. All are now available on DVD.