John Cusak’s new movie

Quintessential Gen X actor, John Cusack has a new movie coming out, according to an article on

The new movie is called War, Inc., a dark comedy/political satire in which the 41-year-old Cusak plays a corporate-hired assassin to take out a rival company’s CEO. It’s good to see Cusak taking up this kind of role again. Some of his best work has been in darker, off-beat comedies, beginning with the 80s teen angst film, Better Off Dead, one of the best of this type of movie, as good as anything John Hughes ever made, and perhaps even better. Only Cusak could make teen suicide this funny. And no one plays a better clueless parent than David Oged Stiers, bets known for his portrayal of Charles in the hit TV show MASH. More recently, Cusak stared in the Harold Ramis dark comedy noir, The Ice Harvest, based on a little known novel by Scott Phillips, matching him with Billy Bob Thorton (in one of his good performances) and Oliver Platt who plays a great drunk. This may not be Ramis’ most popular directorial effort but it is one of his best. Funny and chilling at the same time is hard to pull of, but Ramis does it. But for my money, Cusak’s best movie of this type has got to be Grosse Pointe Blank, maybe because of the Michigan connection, although the movie was not filmed in Grosse Point, except for the parting shot along Lake Shore Drive, unless I’m mistaken. The rumor I recall was that Grosse Point, a notoriously pretensious city, wouldn’t allow the movie to be filmed there, but it could have easily been a money issue. Only recently has Michigan made it inexpensive for movies to be filmed here in the state.

According to the CNN article, Cusak co-wrote the screenplay for War, Inc. with Jeremy Pikser, and Mark Leyner, whom I believe is originally from Michigan — Flint I think. Cusak also helped write the screenplay for Blank. Also, as with Blank, Cusak sib, Joan, has a role in War, Inc. Though probably irrational, I find these similarities encouraging; this will be a very cool movie, although it is likely to be under appreciated, which seems to be Cusak’s fate, one of the many reasons that tags him as a Gen X player.

The movie, a labor of love and political passion, was made for only $10 million, particularly impressive when you consider that in addition to Cusak the movie features Ben Kingsley, Marisa Tomei and Hilary Duff (whom I won’t fault for sharing a first name with Hilary Clinton — as my gramps used to say, “I don’t blame a man for the way his asshole smells.” Actually, my grandfather never said that, but it makes the joke work better, I think. Don’t you?)

In Cusak’s words: “So out of that sense of outrage we decided to try to make a little punk rock movie.”

If that ain’t signature Gen X than I don’t know what is.


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