Growing up, older, and wiser with John Cusack’s Movies

Growing up, older, and wiser with John Cusack’s Movies

mixed tape

I am a big film nerd. I got into film school and then decided to not go and become a psychologists instead. Looking back at my psychologist colleagues throughout the years, I wonder what made me make that turn.  I suppose if I had indeed followed through with film school, I might have ended up hating film and media. This way, I get to have my in-depth knowledge of film and still love it and use it when I watch jeopardy at home. My son thinks I am a genius as a result. Anyway, I love movies. I went through a period of time -namely that of when he was a kid- that I disconnected from movies. I didn’t have the drive in me to sit for two hours watching a slow podding plot.  Now, I am back-somewhat.

I have been movie binging at midnight these days. I have spent much time with Tom Cruise as of late. However, I got to thinking about John Cusack. See, some of the darkest comedies that I have loved have starred Jon Cusack.  As I started taking count of his movies, I realized I grew up with him.

First off, there is Better off Dead (1985). Till this day, when I see a kid on a bike I want to scream “I want my 2 dollars.” It’s a funny scene. Its a funny movie-at least, for the first hour.  I didn’t see the movie when it first came out. I had no clue that it existed then went I went to college I watched it in my dorm and just could not stop giggling. The movie tells the story of high school student Lane Myer who is suicidal after his girlfriend breaks up with him. His suicide attempts are nutty and eventually the french exchange student gets him out of that funk of losing his first love.

Then there is Say Anything (1989).   Who doesn’t know of that scene where he has the boom box over his head, while he stands outside the window of his crush, blasting “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.   The movie takes us on a journey with   Lloyd Dobler, an average student, as he tries to win the heart of smarty-pants (valedictorian) Diane Court, immediately after their graduation from high school. This movie is about being all in and pursing that love interest.

There is Grosse Pointe Blank (1997). It is the best version of a high school reunion.  Cusack plays a professional assassin Martin Blank who is  depressed, disenchanted and bored with his work; prompting him to attend his 10th year high school reunion where he catches up with the love he left behind when he went off to become an assassin (which is a growth industry, by the way, according to his ex-girlfriend’s father). The movie is about how there are cycles we go through in finding ourselves. Its funny and dark humored. Love it.

In 2000, there was High Fidelity.  The movie features Cusack as Rob Gordon  who is a self-confessed music lover that goes from woman to woman believing the grass is greener elsewhere. Eventually he realizes that the girl of his life has been there with him and he makes her a mixed tape. By the way, is that the last time we see a movie of the times showing a mixed tape? Sadly, I myself have lost all my previous mixed tapes.  This movie showcases a moment when someone reaches that moment of maturity.

Hot Tub Time Machine, a film that I would note seems quite uncharacteristic for John Cusack, came out in 2010. In between 2000 and 2010, Cusack had several movies- a few quite maudlin (i.e. Grace is Gone) where he learned to deal with death, divorce and darkness. Then he did Hot Tub Time Machine that was just wacky and about second chances and how you need to not let them pass you by. It is a gross-out comedy that, honestly, doesn’t have many redeeming features other than making one think of “what ifs”. It has a great soundtrack highlighting The Safety Dance.  Who doesn’t find that fun and silly?  Second chances, yes, we all need them.

2012 -a film about a world-wide geological catastrophe that references the Mayan calendar. The film was actually released in 2009 and as such is quite confusing. Also, the film violates my 90 minute rule clocking in at 158 minutes. What happened John Cusack? What killed me in this movie, is that Cusack plays a dad to two kids. A dad!  He is truly grown up now. As am I.

Now, I have to move on.

Most of Cusack’s films have a great soundtracks that make you a bit nostalgic. Just yesterday, I was wondering how it could be that it is 20 years since You Ougta Know.

6 replies »

  1. I LOVED high fidelity! The book too though. Nick Hornby has another book about a music lover called Juliet Naked which was quite lovely too!


  2. Mimi, I’m interested to read that you were interested in a career in film. I’m quite interested in the choices people make, the roads that they take and then as we get older , the looking back. I’ve been doing quite a lot of looking back lately. I think it must be a mid-life crisis of sorts but unfortunately, I can’t afford a sports car. Might have to get myself a sports bra instead LOL. I was on the train reading my book when all of a sudden there was this huge noise in the carriage. It turned out that something like 50 boys from the school I used to admire when I was at school had just got on the train and I had this whack of realisation hit me on the head. Not only am I not 15 anymore, I don’t see life through the eyes of a 15 year old anymore either and it’s lost some of it’s appeal. I still wouldn’t knock back being 15 again given the chance but I’d definitely play my cards differently. xx Rowena


  3. So Mimi, would you be interested in doing a retrospective of the films of John’s sister Joan. She came easily to my mind since, for some odd reason, one of the subscription movie channels has screened “Working Girl” a lot recently. If you’re not similarly inspired by the Cusack distaff side, maybe I’ll add this task to my own ridiculously long list of posts I could write based on mental and emotional stimulation provided by “Entertainment Weekly,” which is also one of MY favorite reads!

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