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The Sundance Rav strikes Again... GRACE IS GONE with John Cusack!

Hey folks, Harry here with Quint's concubine in Sundance - Rav. Heat is hard to come by in that frozen tundra - so Quint took along the warmest most cuddily thing, this side of a Kraken. Rav is of course the biggest movie lover out there - and I have to say - this sounds fantastic. The film was picked up at Sundance shortly after this screening by The Weinstein Company. Harvey's plan seems to be this, he feels it's an Award season flick, to be released in November - for a awards push for John Cusack, saying, "It's Cusack's Turn!" Here's what Rav has to say, here ya go...

Heya Guys, Sorry for my slacking off on writing reviews here in Sundance, it’s really hard to cram six to seven movies a day as well as keep up with writing, eating, and sleep. I tried just skipping eating and a little bit of sleep, but it yielded perhaps the worst review ever of Chicago 10. The thing was so bad I refuse to send it in, if you think my grammar and writing sucks here, you should see my writing at four AM while sitting outside in the snow. I may still attach that poor excuse of a review to the end of one of my other sundance articles for laughs later. I’d rewrite it if it wasn’t for the fact that I feel very indifferent about the movie and don’t want to spend another minute thinking about it, the only reason I wrote it in the first place was because it had been the only movie screened at the time. I am going to review a movie here that I saw late last night at the end of a depressing six movie day where every movie seemed to deal with torture, suicide, murder, more suicide, murder/suicide, crappy park posey movies, and finally coping with death, that last film is Grace is Gone by James Strouse, starring John Cusack. Grace is Gone - written and directed by James Strouse Stanley Phillips (John Cusack) is an ordinary guy, he manages a home improvement store where he comes in everyday chanting and getting everyone excited about another mundane day selling shit. He’s taking care of his two daughters, Heidi (around five or six) and Dawn (around fourteen) while his wife is serving in Iraq. Understandably the family has trouble coming to terms with her absence, Stanley tries to deal with it by going to a support group for wives of soldiers where he feels like a complete misfit being the only husband there. The girls deal with it in their own way. One morning after the girls had left for school and Stanley was getting ready for work he’s greeted by two soldiers at his door informing him that his wife had been killed in the line of duty. When the kids get home from school Stanley struggles with how to tell them the news as he’s still struggling to accept it himself. He keeps coming up with ways to delay the inevitable and cheer them up to soften the blow. He goes so far to give in to the little one’s pleas to go to a disney-land-like amusement park, dropping everything to drive to Florida and that’s the roadtrip that’s the basis for the film. This film made me cry at a couple of moments (and I rarely cry at movies), it’s hard not to feel for Stanley’s character at such a trying moment facing being alone with his girls and having to tell them that they’ll never see their mother again. I think you’d have to be a heartless bastard to sit through this movie and not get at very least a little tear swelling in your eyeduct. The two girls apparently haven’t acted in a film before, which is quite surprising as they are very natural, particularly the older one, she’s got a bright future ahead of her. John Cusack gives his best performance since Being John Malkovich. One of the very bright moments of the film is when they meet up with Stanley’s brother played by Allesandro Nivola. His brother is very liberal and anti-war, which is quite a clash as Stanley is ex-military himself and supports the war as his wife does as well. When his brother criticizes he war in front of his children it’s an emotional wound for Stanley as he feels it insults his wife and he can’t live with the idea that she may have just died for no good reason at all. It’s an amazing part of the film that’s deeply affecting and the only part of the film that really discusses the politics of the matter, for the most part its just a simple journey of a man trying to tell cope with the death of his wife and tell his children. The film was shot by Jean Louis-Bompoint (Science of Sleep), it’s a very beautiful looking natural movie with it’s photography never feeling showy or flat. It seems to have been shot with very on-the-fly style that suits the story perfectly. I loved the film and I wouldn’t be surprised if it won the jury award this year, but that may be me talking too early, I’ve only seen half the dramatic competition films so far. Rav

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 21, 2007, 4:52 p.m. CST


    by Westonian

    and a bottle of rum

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 5:09 p.m. CST

    My doctor says no more Cusack

    by BannedOnTheRun

    I suffered from Cusack overexposure in the '80s and '90s and may relapse.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Looking forward to this one

    by Bronx Cheer

    I have always loved Cusack, and now I finally get my wish, which is to see him in a dramatic film playing a character that is not the hundred and second version of the typical Cusack character.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST

    TOO SOON....

    by Hella say JOHN CUSACKS GOTTA EAT?!

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 5:45 p.m. CST

    From the description, this sounds really good.

    by brokentusk

    This could be this year's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. By that I mean, a little film that goes a long way.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 6:37 p.m. CST

    Sounds good

    by grendel69

    Ill watch pretty much anything Cusack does, even when it seem lame. His early stuff made me a fan for life.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 7:02 p.m. CST

    I hope this fails...

    by rbatty024

    so that we're treated to a Better Off Dead sequel! I'll admit, I'm a fan of Cusack, and if this furthers his acting range (beyond the crappy chick flicks of late) then I'll have to check it out.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 7:24 p.m. CST

    IF I HEAR...

    by Hella more "this years little miss sunshine" reference, i might just have to drink a bottle of spf 25 and vomit on my self.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 7:33 p.m. CST

    I'm gay for Cusak

    by snomusic a strictly heterosexual kinda way. Ever since he admitted in an interview with Beyonce that he downloads most of his music and had no idea who she or Destiny's Child were, I've liked him even more. And forget the Better off Dead sequel - I want that Gross Pointe Blank sequel.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 7:44 p.m. CST

    maybe it could be a fusion-comeback.

    by occula

    cusack as a briefly-retired contract killer trying to escape a relationship with minnie driver - he hooks up with bobcat goldthwait and curtis armstrong and together they drive cross-country to nantucket so they can help demi moore save her grandfather's ranch from tom cruise, who wants to turn it into a scientology day spa!

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 8:39 p.m. CST

    I'll never put myself thru this

    by zekmoe

    What makes people think that human tragegy is entertainment? No desire AT ALL to see this. And I'm a huge Cusack fan.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Is Jeremy Piven in it?

    by theBigE

    As the smart-ass sidekick? Or is he too big for that now? <p> Been thinking a little about my own mortality lately, after going to a funeral for someone I know yesterday. Good review, Rav. I'm looking forward to this one.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Cusack, a demi-god amongst men.

    by Dick Nicely

    I would like to second the non-gay man crush on John Cusack. There is no shame in it. I grew up on Lloyd Dobler, Lane Meyer and Gib, but contrary to his fellow '80s teen stars, this bastard's gone and improved with age. The Grifters is one of my favourite movies. I don't even grudge him the chick flicks: he makes them relatively acceptible dating material, takes the paycheck and puts it into one of his own pet projects like Max or the much-anticipated Brand Hauser: Stuff Happens, in which he once again plays a hitman. I have reservations about the subject matter of Grace is Gone, but will see it anyway.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 10:55 p.m. CST

    What's going on here?!!!

    by rbatty024

    People are comfortable enough with their sexuality that they're admitting they have a heterosexual crush on another guy! Whaaaa? Where's all the Brokeback comments and gay bashing? I thought this was Ain't it Cool News. I suppose the fact that the subject of this article does not wear a cape will probably explain the more mature posting. I must admit, Cusack is the kind of guy you'd like to drink a beer with. Plus, he had Joe Strummer (RIP) do the soundtrack to Gross Point Blank, so that alone makes him one of the coolest guys in Hollywood.

  • Jan. 21, 2007, 11:11 p.m. CST

    wow you're right, everybody here seems amiable

    by Freakemovie I'll go ahead and add my name to the list of Cusack fans. Say Anything, Grosse Pointe Blank, High Fidelity...all excellent. Seeing him slightly outside his normal persona should be cool. This looks very good. And zekmoe, human tragedy isn't necessarily entertainment, which is why I still haven't seen United 93, but this is about the acceptance and growth, not the tragedy. It's (hopefully) cathartic.

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 2:07 a.m. CST

    Weird theBigE

    by snomusic

    I'm going to the funeral of a relative tommorow and have been working half of today on a DVD for a slideshow for the funeral. I have to perform as well, which wouldn't be so bad since it's an instrumental but I just found out my stepmother whom I've been heavily estranged from (to the point of her loathing me) and haven't seen in 7 years since my father died. STRESS. As for mortality, I'm about the only Christian in my family so I'm sad for the family not only for their grief, but....

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 2:19 a.m. CST


    by snomusic

    For posting that stupid video - I am SO sick of seeing that. Hugocita - may your mp3 repeat the same song over and over without explanation for 2 days!! ...and then inexplicably be fine.

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 2:22 a.m. CST

    Oh, and as for capes....

    by snomusic

    Cusack woulda made an awesome Johnny Blaze! Old costume, hellfire from the hands and hellcycle made completely of hellfire of course.

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 3:55 a.m. CST

    "This year's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE."

    by brokentusk

    I don't see the problem with comparing an independent film to LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE... another independent film. If this film becomes a big deal, the comparison is apt. Not only that, but LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE was a really nice little film, nothing wrong with it at all.

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 4:22 a.m. CST

    Cusack Has Missed His Moment

    by atleastwebrits

    Cusack seems to have aged poorly. His face looks bloated and drawn-looking. He's also not well-liked in the Industry, so pushing "Grace" for awards seems unlikely.

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 11:40 a.m. CST

    They filmed this in my city

    by clockpolitiks

    I live in St. Petersburg, Florida, right across the bay from Tampa, and they filmed the movie on a beach/park near my house. I thought that was pretty cool, and I'm glad the movie turned out good.

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Cusack would be good for CSI: TOLEDO

    by Mr Incredible

    Or maybe Michael Keaton. It's a toss-up. I don't have crush on him, but his sister Joan is suburban housewife hot!

  • Jan. 22, 2007, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Cusack doesn't act. He's John Cusack in every movie

    by RKDN Del Sol

    Lucky for him, we all love John Cusack.

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