Grosse Pointe Blank

Grosse Pointe Blank has an incredible soundtrack. The music is well curated from start to finish: everything is catchy and thematically on point. The movie is about a hitman who returns to his 10 year high school reunion, and most of the songs evoke the years in the mid 80's when he would have been in school without being the sort of overplayed radio hit that movies often turn to when they have to evoke a bygone time period. (In other words, this soundtrack has all the subtlety that Forrest Gump lacked.) It's one of the best mergers of movie and music I can think of.

So when I suggest an alternate song that should have been on the soundtrack you have to understand: I'm not implying that the music in the move was in anyway deficient, I'm just playing fantasy DJ. The song I'm thinking of wasn't even written when the movie was made, so there's no way it could have been included in the film. But that's a shame, because Neko Case's song "People Got a Lotta Nerve" would have been perfect for this movie.

The chorus in People Got a Lotta Nerve is amazing: "I'm a maneater / but you're still surprised when I eat you". That line is doing something that emotionally tricky: it's one of those "I'm sorry your feelings got hurt" non-apologies, but you could also see it as being self incriminating. Depending on the delivery of "I'm a maneater" the singer could convey that to mean "hey man, I gave you fair warning so all the bad stuff that I did was your fault" or it could mean "I'm a piece of shit, why did you bother with me?" There's a compact mixture of defiance, self loathing and humor in those words, and that's impressive given how concise it is.

That sentiment is perfect for Grosse Pointe Blank, because the hitman at the movie's center is very honest about the fact that he kills people for money. Every time someone asks him what he does for work these days these days- and because it's a reunion of course a lot of people are asking him what he does - he tells them the truth. Naturally, no one ever believes him; they just assume he grew a sense of humor in the ten years since he disappeared from their sleepy little town. That is until there are a few dead bodies next to the lockers, and suddenly, everyone's surprised that this self proclaimed hitman has actually killed some people...

Grosse Pointe Blank has quite a few good running gags, but him admitting that he kills people for a living is easily the best one. It never gets old, because everyone reacts to his declaration that he's a hitman differently. (The best response: a shrug and "Good for you. That's a growth industry.") Because that joke is already so blunt I wouldn't want them to add a song on top of it that would put too fine a point on it, but People Got a Lotta Nerve hits that terrain with the right mixture of directness and subtlety. It would be a good grace note to compliment the movie, I think.

Ah well, it's too late now. Maybe I'll just have to save that song for whatever film they make about me going back to my high school reunion. (Which I didn't do, but films are allowed creative license.) Although I'm not much of a maneater... Hmm. I wonder if Neko Case could write a song about telling people you're a movie reviewer? Nobody would ever believe that, right?

 

 

Grosse Pointe Blank on IMDB