Grand Piano

Rated 3.0

Elijah Wood, a.k.a. Frodo, also a.k.a. one of the movie stars who tazed Samberg in the butthole in the “Threw it On the Ground” video, plays pianist Tom Selznick. Selznick is making his grand return to concert performing five years after botching up a rendition of his mentor's “most unplayable piece.” While standing offstage ready to go, a mild mannered security guard (played by Alex Winter of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) hands him his charts (which he had forgotten) and disappears. Tom glances at them, only to see that somebody has written some strange notes in red sharpie on the pages. Those red notes are the setup for a rather clever gimmick that has Tom playing some extremely difficult piano pieces while somebody out in the distance alternately aims a rifle at him and his wife up in the balcony. The notes include the distinct warning that if he plays one bad note, he will die. None of this bodes well for Tom's stage fright. Tom is also forced to put an earpiece in, so his possible assassin speaks to him while he's trying to play. That voice is supplied by the one and only John Cusack. I won't tell you why the Cusack character is torturing Tom on stage. I will tell you that the more I think about it, the more ridiculous the whole setup is. Wood does a respectable job of miming piano playing and making us feel sorry for him, while Cusack's sinister vocals help things along. The movie is totally illogical, but passable fun. (Available for rent on and iTunes during a limited theatrical run.)