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Home » Culture and Criticism

The Poppy-Fields Movie Couch Of Fame: Grosse Pointe Blank

Submitted by on January 12, 2015 – 9:05 AM19 Comments
Photo: Hollywood Pictures

Photo: Hollywood Pictures

Reader Rayvyn is shooting to kill with a Cusack joint.

Welcome back to the PFM CoF, you guys! Our first nominee of 2015 is Grosse Pointe Blank; let's let Rayvyn make the case.

From IMDb: Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

The mission is to kill the 'girl he left behind's' father. He's also pursued by another hitman (Grocer) who wants him to join a union of hit men. So, definitely caperish.

Running time: 107 minutes, so not VERY long.

John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd, Joan Cusack, Alan Arkin. This movie is hilarious and I stop every time it's on. I bought the video tape and played it over and over. Then I bought the DVD when it came out.

Sooo many great lines but my favorite: "Thanks for the pen." (He used the pen to kill someone who tried to kill him.)

It won a couple of minor awards. It has the big payoff/longshot victory when Martin overcomes Grocer, saves Debi's father instead of killing him, and gets the girl.

Thanks, Rayvyn! I've never seen this and I probably won't — my feelings about John Cusack continue to curdle as the years go by, though I'm told I would enjoy him in this — but let's review some of the criteria:

  • lengthy? 107 minutes, so not really.
  • familiar/frequent? Also not really, currently, but it used to be on cable every single weekend.
  • classic/award-winner? No awards you've heard of. May hold up better than some of its mid-nineties brethren.
  • "Greetings, Professor Falken" (big payoff/long-shot victory a la WarGames)? See above.
  • "Wanna have a catch?" (Pavlovian tear-jerk; anything with dads opens the ducts for this guy)? See above; it's a comedy, so unlikely.
  • quote-fest? See above.
  • caper-ish or -adjacent camaraderie? See above.
  • "forget you, melon farmer" (you own it, but will still watch bowdlerized TV verzh) Check.

Haven't seen this one, but again, based on my recollection that it was on TNT once a weekend for years, I'm betting many of y'all have, and will cast your votes accordingly. Rayvyn, thanks again for submitting and congrats on your new shirt!

[Update, 1/23/15: Despite some capable dissent, this one's in there.]

The Poppy-Fields Movie Couch Of Fame is here. To nominate your own PFM, email bunting at tomatonation dot com with a rundown of the criteria and your argument for why it deserves a cushion. If I use your entry, free loot shall be thine.

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19 Comments »

  • Deanna says:

    Oh, HELL YES.

    "Will there be meetings?" "Of course!" "No meetings." [gunfire]

    I really, REALLY loathe John Cusack. I hated Say Anything and after my near-blinding rage while watching High Fidelity, I swore off anything else he's ever made.

    But, this is the exception. I love this movie. I love everything about it.

  • scout1222 says:

    I remember seeing this in the theater but then have never seen it again, so this is a surprising choice to me.

  • Cora says:

    Enh…. It's a fun movie because of the dialogue — upon receiving a bouquet of roses from JC, Minnie Driver smiles and "awws" and says, "I'm going to put these in some rubbing alcohol"; and use of "alternative" music before it became standard fare (Violent Femmes). Also bonus Hank Azaria! But Poppy Fields material? I hear you Deanna, but the 'Sack is SUCH a DICK that it kind of cancels this one out for me.

  • Jack says:

    John Cusack was my favorite actor before I found out what an unbelievable asshole he is. Now I can't stand him. But god damn, this is a great movie.

    I especially love the running gag where people ask him what he does for a living and he straight-up tells them he's a hitman and everyone assumes he's joking and goes along with it. But the whole movie is basically a quotefest.

    "You're a psycopath."
    "No, psychopaths kill for no reason. I kill for MONEY, it's a JOB– that didn't come out right."

  • As long as he's not a Mel Gibson-level asshole in real life, the only thing that matters to me about Cusack is the quality of his movies, and he hasn't made a good one in a while, but this is one of the good ones (and just to show there's one in every crowd, I love SAY ANYTHING and HIGH FIDELITY). And yes, this is a quote fest, and not just from Cusack; there's also Jeremy Piven ("Ten years, man! TEN YEARS!"), Dan Aykroyd ("Hey, if you want a father figure, I'll give you a fucking spanking!"), Alan Arkin ("Don't give it a shot. Don't shoot anything!"), and Minnie Driver ("I say forget about forgiving, just accept").

  • Beth C. says:

    Joan Cusack as John's secretary is my favorite part of the movie. It's the usual salty, wise-beyond-her-years, go to the carpet for the boss assistant schtick but she does it so well. I love the scene where she's "shutting down the office".

  • Tyliag says:

    I'm just going to leave these two here.

    "It's as everyone had swelled." I mean, Joan Cusask single-handedly gave reasoning for why I will probably never attend any one of my high school reunions. Just. Gah. No. My best friend told me that my high school crush hit the spread and wore the 2014 equivalant of a Cosby sweater and I have absolutely no interest and this movie excellently sums up why.

    "In Awhile" This movie needs to be standard issue just for Micheal Cudlitz's excellent line reading of his own shitty poetry. Also effective tool for me never going to my high school reunion. No, I do not need to hear the dumb school jock who bullied me for most of my high school tenure reading me his horrible slam poetry. I'm good.

  • Megan in Seattle says:

    Oh yeah. I think it helps that this came out just as I was staring down the barrel of my own 20 year reunion. If nothing else, it gave me plenty of answers to "what do you do for a living?": pet psychiatrist, I sell couch insurance, I test-market positive thinking…

    It may have gotten harder to ignore what we know about Cusack and–not for nothing–Jeremy Piven, but for me it's pretty endlessly watchable, and I'll definitely get trapped on the couch if it shows up on TV.

  • Lisa says:

    I have an unholy love for John Cusack and have since Sixteen Candles (I fLOVE High Fidelity *fistbump to Sean*) and Grosse Pointe Blank is my 2nd favorite JC movie because HAWT. Love it.

  • Sue says:

    I remember seeing this at the high point of adoring John Cusack. Even then, I was meh on it. Now….I can only watch High Fidelity in limited doses. It's charming but not couch of fame for me.

  • Faux McCoy says:

    Favorite line (Cusack's character on how small talk might be awkward if he attends the reunion), "I killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. How have you been?"

  • AJ says:

    There's the part where he's looking at the baby and realizing he wants a future, maybe even could have one if he gets the hell out right then…sometimes it hits me as being cheesy, and other times I tear up.

    Love this movie. Could watch it every week for sure.

  • Shannon says:

    It makes me so terribly sad that Cusack is a dipshit, but man do I love this movie. Two of my friends and I can still go on quote-fests with this one for very long time periods. Faux McCoy has my favorite. I also enjoy:

    "You can't go home again, but I guess you can shop there."

    "I don't want to suggest anything that might be uncomfortable for you but you might consider – just consider – the possibility that part of the problem, part of the thing that's making you so miserable, is the angst over killing a lot of people… Just put it in the background there…"

    Also, I would watch Minnie Driver bag groceries at the grocery store. Love her.

  • bep says:

    Hmmmm. I'm torn. Grosse Point Blank is one of my favorite movies that I'd happily watch any time. The dialog is snappy and totally quotable, and Joan Cusack is worth the time to watch it. (I have no strong feelings about any of the other actors in it, positive or negative.) I just don't think it hits enough of the poppy fields criteria to make the hall of fame.

    Fabulous soundtrack, too. I'll out myself as really old and note that the GPB soundtrack was one of my go-to choices back in the days of the CD walkman.

    So I vote no on PFMCoF (but yes on Grosse Point Blank any time you have the opportunity).

  • MizShrew says:

    I love this movie, so I guess it lands on my own personal Couch of Fame even if it doesn't qualify for the Poppy Fields one. I know, Cusack's an ass. But he's a quotable ass in this film, and his sister Joan is so fun to watch. Plus, "under pressure" is one of my fave songs.

  • Sean says:

    Oh, love this. After I went to the movies to see this my freshman year in college, I wanted to drop out and be a professional killer. I just watched this on Netflix after not seeing it for years, and it surprisingly held up pretty well (although, as do all mid-90s movies, the cell phones date it horribly). I don't think it's a Poppy Fields movie, though, because it's not soothing enough for me to drift off to, but I can still watch the hell out of it.

    As memory serves, this came out around the same time as Romy and Michelle, right? There was a mini-spurt of reunion movies there in the mid-90s that this was a part of.

  • Josh says:

    Mitchell Ryan absolutely KILLS it in this film as Minnie Driver's dad. Love every scene he's in.

    It's a pretty fun flick, the casting is strong and it's eminently quotable. It's a classic soundtrack that using a lot of pop music that fits with the movie, which is unusual I think. Comedy is so subjective that it's always hard to fit one for HoF status but this is one that was smart without getting too far up in its own head.

    "Martin: How about you, how have the years been treating you?
    Mr. Newberry: Well, you know me, Martin. Still the same old sell-out, exploiting the oppressed…"

  • Jaybird says:

    Everything Deanna said. And how. This is one of about 3 Cusack movies I can watch without punching my grandmother in the throat. The knowledge that he is a weapons-grade bungstreamer has ruined him for me, EXCEPT for this and "Better Off Dead" and "One Crazy Summer".

    This movie is a work of art in spite of him, not because of him.

    "If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there." One of the best lines, tied for first with "Look…Sergeant…PEPPER."

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    "weapons-grade bungstreamer" should have a Couch Of Fame itself.

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