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Today in Movie History: April 11

There’s good musicals, there’s great musicals… and then there’s Singin’ in the Rain. Stanley Donan’s ode to the Golden Age of Hollywood and the hilarity that ensues when a silent movie studio makes the transition to sound stands as a testament to everything the genre should be. Gene Kelly received co-director credit for choreographing the dance scenes — topped by the title number which he famously performed with a raging fever — and co-stars Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor both hit career highs. It opened today in 1952.

Generation X never had a better spokesperson than John Cusack, and Cusack’s essential Gen-X-ness was never on better display than in Grosse Pointe Blank a romantic comedy about a successful hitman (yes, really) who returns home for his high school reunion in hopes of finding his soul again. The disparate elements come together beautifully (Dan Aykroyd gives his best performance in years), and for those of us of a certain age, the goggle-eyed disbelief with which Cusack approaches the world here looks painfully familiar. It opened today in 1997.

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