Grosse Pointe Blank
Directed by George Armitage
Written by Tom Jankiewicz, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink & John Cusack
I remember seeing this movie pretty soon after it came out, I don’t remember if I saw it in the cinemas or on video but it’s always in my mind intrinsically linked to The Big Hit, which I certainly did see at the cinema. It’s such an artifact of the late nineties, from the flashback soundtrack to the fashion to the stars of the movie. John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Jeremy Piven and Dan Ackroyd. It’s pretty sweet to watch, if grainy and a little cringey. Anna had never seen it and was a bit suspicious of it being a romantic comedy/black comedy but she did laugh during it at various points.
I am tempted to try and track down the soundtrack. I really like the start of this movie but at some point it lost my interest. I think it’s actually when the reunion starts and things start falling apart, which generally should be interesting but I just kind of… ehhh. To be fair though, there was a thread on facebook I felt I had to contribute to so it was pretty distracting.
Does it make me love the people? Yeah it does, John Cusack is cute, suave and stylish (again, it’s the American Psycho template, but this time he’s a lost soul, paving the way for the Garden State breed of sad white men). It’s very hard not to be on his side, because he’s just so charismatic. Debi is an interesting character because she is pretty much the love interest, but she’s a sassy soul who doesn’t just fall in line meekly with Martin’s plans to rekindle the flame.
That said, Debi is shown to be ‘better than’, the other women in the movie. She is idolised, the ultimate girl that Martin left behind and who hasn’t exactly been waiting around for him but she is conveniently single when he arrives. She’s sarcastic, bitter and snarky, as well as playful and funny but she does still let Martin back in, and fulfills the proper love interest role. Ultimately this movie is about embracing the American dream of marrying the highschool sweetheart, settling down and having babies. So… meh.
Marcella is pretty fun as Martin’s receptionist/P.A, she’s funny and concerned.
Bechdel test: Sadly no. Marcella is shown on the phone to women she uses the names of but it’s only her side of things. Debi is in a conversation with a couple of the women in the reunion, but Martin is always there too and whatever the other women say it is generally treated as pathetic/ridiculous usually followed by Debi turning to Martin and saying ‘let’s get out of here’ or ‘let’s go somewhere else’. So, she still talks to him rather than to women. It also emphasises the ‘cool girl’ persona she has where she’s categorically better than the other women portrayed because she’s not like them.
Dr. Oatman: Don’t kill anybody for a few days. See what it feels like.
Martin Q. Blank: Alright, I’ll give it a shot.
Dr. Oatman: No, don’t give it a shot! Don’t shoot anything!
State of Mind: It’s a cute enough movie, very much a child of it’s time. Not sure what it’s doing on the 500 list as I don’t feel like it’s particularly seminal or game changing in terms of genre, but… eh. It was a nice watch for a Saturday morning.