Friday on My Mind: Happy Birthday, John Cusack

It’s time again for Friday on My Mind. Our weekly blog post where we look at videos centered around one common theme. This is a collaborative effort between KEXP and King 5 News.

John Cusack celebrates his 48th birthday tomorrow. That’s right – let that one sink in. Lloyd Dobler is almost 50. Originally born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, the fourth of five kids, Cusack has been going strong in the movie industry since 1983 and has gone on to become a symbol of the outsider that we all love to route for. Cusack celebrating a birthday gives us the perfect excuse to take this week’s Friday on My Mind to look back on some our favorite songs associated with the movies that he has been a part of in one way or another. Many are KEXP favorites…

Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes

John Cusack’s role as Lloyd Dobler in Cameron Crowe’s Say Anything is the leading role that really brought him to the forefront as the underground’s leading man. Cusack has said in interviews that the character of Dobler is the one role that is most like himself. Forever etched in the brains of most late 80’s and 90’s kids is the iconic image of Cusack holding a boombox over his head, while blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”. Gabriel was concerned about the integrity of his song being compromised had to be convinced by director Cameron Crowe. After viewing the movie, Gabriel was more than willing to lend his song to the movie which has now been immortalized. Here is Gabriel’s official music video for the song:

The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom

Cusack co-produced, co-wrote, and starred in 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank, in which he plays a hitman coming up on his 30s who decides to attend his 10 year high school reunion in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. None other than the one and only Joe Strummer was brought on to supervise the music of Grosse Pointe Blank. The impressive soundtrack features old school favorites from Violent Femmes, Faith No More, and even Guns N Roses as well as “Mirror in the Bathroom” by The English Beat…

Van Halen – Everybody Wants Some

While Cusack’s Say Anything character was a more self realized older teen, he has played his share of teens, many of which were not a part of the cool crowd. You may vaguely remember young John Cusack as one of Anthony Michael Hall’s geek disciples in Sixteen Candles. The 1985 teen flick Better Off Dead is one that maybe didn’t quite makeit onto everyone’s radar, but if you are into 80’s teen movies, this one is definitely worth checking out. The movie is so over the top ridiculous, you can’t help but love it. Check out this state of the art hamburger claymation scene from Better Off Dead soundtracked by Van Halen:

Honorable Mentions:

The Specials – A Message to You Rudy

Another from the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack.

Siouxie and the Banshees – Cities in Dust

And yet another favorite found in Grosse Pointe Blank. It’s the soundtrack that keeps on giving.

13th Floor Elevators – You’re Gonna Miss Me

Here is footage of The 13th Floor Elevators performing their single “You’re Gonna Miss Me”, which was used during the opening scene in High Fidelity as Cusack’s character, Rob Gordon, is being left by his girlfriend.

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