Most romantic films #14: Grosse Point Blank (1997)

I admit, most people would think a film about a hit man returning to his tenth high school reunion while hired assassins try to kill him and his ex-girlfriend’s father… might be a stretch as a “romantic” film.

But I love John Cusack in this, and the combination of dark humor and oddball romance just works.

And who doesn’t wish their high school reunion would be disrupted by hit men? Or at least that you’d be distracted from the awfulness of seeing what ten years wrought by something?

First, of course, the movie soundtrack actually encapulates the years after my high school “experience,” so there’s that. Second, his high school reunion was worse than mine, so, again, there’s that.

I don’t actually know what the funniest part of the film is. It could be the scene where the convenience store built on the site of Cusack’s unhappy boyhood home blows up after Cusack and one of the hitmen have at it. Or Joan Cusack happily blowing up the “offices” of their HQ. or Cusack’s explanation of his existential angst to Debi, his former girlfriend (Minnie Driver), while G-men and hit men alike at trying to kill Cusack and Debi’s father. Or Dan Ackroyd as the demented Grocer, who wants to start a hit man union, sort of on the premise of “join or else.”

Cusack is smart, funny, and rather brilliant as the disaffected loner with a horrible childhood who left the suburbs and found a talent for killing. He is now re-contemplating his life, and goes home to find meaning and redemption. Or at least Debi.

And, thank God, Debi is nearly as demented and disaffected as he is. She has remained in town, becoming a d.j. on the local radio station and sort of wasting her life. Cusack’s return gives her a well-needed jolt of… uh… energy? And lust and excitement and her own brand of redemption. They’re obviously a couple made for each other… which in another context would be scary as hell.

Okay, maybe the funniest element of the film is Joan Cusack’s wardrobe: a combination of Michael-Jackson-meets-Talbots. In-sane. Watching her take down the office however, is inspiring.


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