Day 320: Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)

grosse-point-blankOne of my all time favorite actors from the 80’s is John Cusack who starred in such great films as Say Anything…, Tapeheads, One Crazy Summer, and even High Fidelity. So, I was cruising through Netflix trying to decide on a film when I came across Grosse Pointe Blank and decided on it for today. Martin Blank (Cusack) is a professional hitman who has sort of lost his way and just needs to be found or at least realize what he wants out of life. Against his intuition, he goes back home to Detroit where he’ll attend his ten year high school reunion. While there, he runs into his old high school sweetheart Debbie Newberry (Minnie Driver) that he ran out on ten years before and he decides to try and fix that relationship while letting go of his lifestyle. The film also stars Joan Cusack (Working Girl) as Marcela, Alan Arkin (Argo) as Dr. Oatman, Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters) as Grocer, Jeremy Piven (Smokin’ Aces) as Paul Spericki, Hank Azaria (Mystery Men) as Steven Lardner, K. Todd Freeman (The Cider House Rules) as Kenneth McCullers, Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead) as Bob Destepello, Mitchell Ryan (Lethal Weapon) as Mr. Bart Newberry, and the film was directed by George Armitage (Miami Blues).

john-cusackThere are things you should know about getting into a John Cusack film that is starring him and one is that Joan Cusack is probably in the film. The second one that you can expect is that the soundtrack to the film is probably incredible so you should pay attention to that. The film featured cuts from amazing bands like Echo & The Bunnymen and The Cure for example. The other thing you should expect from a Cusack film is that Cusack is going to be stealing the show by commanding the screen with his underdog like qualities. No matter the role, you are rooting for him to succeed and that is what I love about his films. This one adds the element that he is a professional assassin which means we get some bad ass action sequences in the film as well. The film itself is absolutely awesome and definitely a film I wish I had seen a heck of a lot sooner than I did. I really loved the fact that Alan Arkin was in the film as the scared psychiatrist who has to continuously deal with Cusack’s character throughout the film. It adds to the overall comedy of the film and Dan Aykroyd definitely does that as the rival hitman. So you can definitely see all the crazy directions this film goes, but it’s enjoyable because the story is awesome. Everybody normal hates the idea of going back to a high school reunion, but hey that’s how it goes. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because the acting was great and the soundtrack is amazing.

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Day 158: The Iron Giant (1999)

the iron giantI have always been a fan of animated films, but sometimes there are just films in the world that for some strange reason, you never get to watch them. The Iron Giant was certainly one of those films, but thanks to this challenge it is today’s film. It’s 1957 Rockwell, Maine where everything is pretty normal and nothing exciting happens until one faithful day. Something huge and gigantic hits the shores of Maine, but no one knows what it is except for one person. For Hogarth Hughes (Eli Marienthal), he is your typical horror movie loving kid who really has no friends until one day when he saves the Iron Giant (Vin Diesel) from electrocuting. Now as the two become close, Hogarth has to hide the Iron Giant from a paranoid government agent before he has the military sent to town to destroy it. The film also stars Jennifer Aniston (We’re The Millers) as Annie Hughes, Harry Connick, Jr. (The Godfather: Part III) as Dean McCoppin, James Gammon (Major League) as Foreman Marv Loach, Cloris Leachman (Castle In The Sky) as Mrs. Tensedge, Christopher McDonald (Requiem For A Dream) as Kent Mansley, John Mahoney (Say Anything…) as General Rogard, and the film was directed by Brad Bird (Tomorrowland).

iron gianrThere are a lot of films that I have viewed for this challenge that I do not know why it took me this long just to see them. I am sometimes baffled by myself and how I have ignored certain movies that are obviously classics like The Iron Giant. What I loved about this film is how they set against cold war America and how it shows you how paranoid people were during those times. There’s a line when Kent is telling Hogarth that they have to find out what it is and where it came from so they can destroy because it’s obviously not American. Meanwhile, Hogarth is having one hell of a time teaching the Iron Giant which I had no idea was voiced by Vin Diesel and that Hogarth’s mom was Jennifer Aniston. I have to agree with Kent, but only on one thing and that is what kind of name is Hogarth? Anyways, I have to admit that I am a sucker for this type of animation cause it’s old school and it was cool for it’s time. He could have gone with the new kind of animation that was around like The Toy Story, but he kicked it old school. Like I said, I loved the animation, but most certainly I loved the story overall. It’s a story that has a meaningful ending where one discovers who they truly are and they make the ultimate sacrifice. The title is available on the HBOGO app and I really suggest that you check out this movie. I am going to give The Iron Giant an A- for a final grade.

Day 156: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016)

popstarThere are moments that happen in the world that are just magical and if you don’t capitalize then you lose out. The Lonely Island was one of those moments that Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) needed to capitalize on and he did just that with today’s film Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping. The mockumentary style film follows former Style Bros member Connor4Real (Samberg) as he is about to embark on one of the biggest world tours of his career alongside his best friend Owen (Jorma Taccone) and his other 32 members of his entourage. Soon though, Connor will learn that fame doesn’t last forever as the problems begin to pour in for the popstar. He’ll have to dig in deep to try and figure out a way back to the top, but that could mean conjuring up some skeletons in the closet. The film also stars Akiva Schaffer (The Watch) as Lawrence, Sarah Silverman (Wreck-It Ralph) as Paula, Tim Meadows (Mean Girls) as Harry, Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids) as Deborah, Joan Cusack (Say Anything…) as Tilly, Imogen Poots (Need For Speed) as Ashley, Chris Redd (Empire) as Hunter, and the film features cameos from Ringo Starr, Usher, 50 Cent, RZA, Nas, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Mario Lopez, Simon Cowell, and so many more.

maxresdefault (1)If I had to find the right way to describe this film in one sentence it would be that the film is this generation’s This Is Spinal Tap or CB4.  What This Is Spinal Tap did for the 80’s, CB4 did for the 90’s, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is going to do the same for this generation that worships popstars who do not write their own material and take themselves way too serious. The film itself was based off of Justin Bieber’s life according to one report that I read and it certainly makes sense after seeing the film. Just as This Is Spinal Tap had hilarious and outrageous songs, this film certainly had it and they were hilarious. One of my favorite songs from the film is Finest Girl (Bin Laden), the song is so outrageous that I couldn’t stop laughing, but I was also singing along too. There’s also plenty of funny moments in the film like Justin Timberlake’s cameo as Connor’s soft spoken personal chef and some of the testimony from the celebrity cameos. One of the scenes that I thought was funny at first, but then in my opinion they dragged it out too long was the CMZ (instead of TMZ) segments. It was cool at first like I said, but they kept the joke going too long in one of the scenes leaving me wanting them to move on. They also tried hard to put in some drama in the film like Connor hitting rock bottom, but even that was too funny not to laugh at like Seal getting attacked by wolves. Nonetheless, I am proclaiming that this is a contender for Comedy Movie Of The Year in the Monster Entertainment Awards next year. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade because I loved it for what it was.

Day 137: Zodiac (2007)

zodiacI was searching for a film to watch and I was going through a whole entire list before the film I chose caught my eye. I have always been a sucker for films that are based on true stories because real life can be scarier than fiction. The film I chose for today is called Zodiac and it stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners) as San Francisco Newspaper cartoonist Robert Graysmith. In the late 1960’s into the 70′, a killer appeared in Northern California calling himself the Zodiac killer. He would murder his victims and he would send letters to local newspapers. Robert Graysmith became so intrigued with the case that he followed it. Unfortunately, a suspect was never found and no one was ever arrested. When everyone else stopped looking, Graysmith took the reigns and decided to investigate himself coming close to identifying the actual killer. The film stars Mark Ruffalo (Avengers: Age Of Ultron) as Inspector David Toschi, Anthony Edwards (Top Gun) as Inspector William Armstrong, Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) as Paul Avery, Brian Cox (Troy) as Melvin Belli, John Caroll Lynch (Ted 2) as Arthur Leigh Allen, Chloë Sevigny (American Psycho) as Melanie, Elias Koteas (Shutter Island) as Sgt. Jack Mulanax, Donal Logue (Blade) as Captain Ken Narlow, Ione Skye (Say Anything…) as Kathleen Johns, and the film was directed by David Fincher (Fight Club). 

zodiac 2This is a long film, but it’s a film that is very intriguing especially when it’s a true crime story that has never been solved to this very day. I watched the film because it starred Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo because all three men are some of personal favs. At first, I kept wondering how they would close a movie that has no ending in real life. The killer has never been caught so how do you write an ending to that especially when there is none? Do I like the way they ended the film? Essentially, I kind of do and I kind of don’t, but it’s something that I am willing to accept (of course, you’ll have to watch it for yourself). Jake Gyllenhaal is brilliant in the film as this kind of neurotic obsessed guy that kind of reminds me of his role a little in Nightcrawler. The case they are all investigating and researching is kind of destroying there lives because they are way to attached to the idea of breaking it open and catching the guy. You see the characters literally falling apart right in front of your fac while the killer stays free. There are several theories and several accusations that have been made as to who the killer was, but the characters in this film believe in the guy they are after. I have to admit that I was a little creeped out watching this film in the wee hours of the night so it definitely gets bonus points for that reason. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade based on performances and just the pure creepiness of the film.

Day Five: High Fidelity (2000)

high fidelityOne of my all time favorite actors from the 1980’s is definitely John Cusack who starred in many classics like One Crazy Summer, The Sure Thing, Tapeheads, Say Anything, and so many more. In 2000, he starred in the Stephen Frears (Philomena) film High Fidelity. In the film, he plays record store owner, compulsive list maker Rob Gordon, a man that could use a little growing up emotionally. One day, his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) leaves him and Rob can’t figure out for the life of him why it happens to him. So, he develops a top five list of break ups in his life and he gets to the bottom of them while trying to recuperate his own life along with his crazy employees. The film also stars Jack Black (Orange County) as Barry Judd, Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) as Roy, Todd Louiso (Thank You For Smoking) as Dick, Lisa Bonet (The Cosby Show) as Marie, Catherine Zeta-Jones (The Mask Of Zorro) as Charlie, Joan Cusack (Say Anything) as Liz, Lili Taylor (The Conjuring) as Sarah, Joelle Carter (American Pie 2) as Penny, Natasha Gregson Wagner (Urban Legend) as Caroline Fortus, and Sara Gilbert (Roseanne) as Anna.

high fidelity 3While this can be filed as a new age romantic comedy film for John Cusack, who was used to starring in those back in the 80’s, also manages to do one thing as well. That is it combines a love for music and vinyl which is right up my alley. This was one of those films that I had only seen bits and pieces of, but I am glad I saw this. If you know John Cusack films, then this is a pretty particular film for him because he is constantly breaking the fourth wall and talking to you which he has done plenty of times in the past. It’s that touch of the 80’s that they can’t seem to get rid of, but i like it because I like being talked to. The film sort of has it all from drama, romance,  a little comedy courtesy of Jack Black, kick ass music, and the amazing Catherine Zeta-Jones. The film did at times attack pop culture as to say that it wasn’t music with heart or a soul which can be true some of the time. One thing that I found pretty cool is that there is a list online of all the top five lists from the film which you can check out here. You should also be checking out the soundtrack which was as I mentioned before absolutely amazing. Meanwhile, I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.