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I rented this movie solely based on the excellent reviews that it has gotten
everywhere. I missed it during its theatrical release (as so many others
did) and had the hardest time finding a copy of it at our local video rental
stores. Not because it wasn't popular but b/c, according to the clerks,
people kept stealing or "losing" their copies...especially around Valentines
Day. When I finally got my hands on a copy I was blown away. I had thought
this was going to be just another in a long link of Pretty in Pinkish movies
with predictable characters and a bad case of puppy love, but what I got was
a surprisingly refreshing, unconventional story with a complicated and
well-developed emotional depth flawlessly captured by the actors and Cameron
And talk about role reversals! I'm so used to seeing the man take the assertive and mature role while courting a woman of limited financial or intellectual means...but in this film it's the girl that's got her future together and the guy who's more than willing to concentrate his attention on making her happy. And Lloyd Dobler isn't just a shiftless man with no future. He's an eternal optimist who lives in the present and recognizes, admires, and compliments the qualities in Diane that go beyond her amazing intellect. She becomes his dare-to-be-great situation and his absolute love and devotion to her is anything but unmanly. The force of it is palatable and immensely erotic without being reduced to cheap teenage lust. The sight of Lloyd in the shadows defiantly blasting out the truth of their love through the boombox is a scene which would have seemed awkward and goofy in any other movie but this one. It's easy to understand why even the critics of the time gave Say Anything two enthusiastic thumbs up. This is one of the few films that really captures the feeling of love.
Very few films have even tried to be as smart and honest as Say Anything. The film, which is more then 10 years old, still remains to be one of the strongest pieces of romantic cinema. Not only do John Cusack and Ione Skye have perfect chemistry; not only is John Mahoney's character one of the most complicated father figures in the history of film; not only is the screen play delightfully honest; but everything just seems to fit right in this movie. A true treasure
The magic, the heart of Say Anything, is that it dares to be normal. You
remember the 80 teen romantic comedy genre. It was a nice idea that
an epidemic, but once and awhile there was a gem like Some Kind of
Wonderful. But here is the major difference, the lack of cliche, the lack
formula, the lack of cute dialogue, and saying things without any words.
Instead it is said with a look, a touch, a smile, and a tear falling down
face. It allows these talented young actors to _act_!
John Cusack plays Lloyd and it is the fact that Lloyd dares to be normal that explains why the film works. Lloyd is just a regular guy who dares to just call the beautiful class brain Diane (Ione Skye) after they graduate. It is the genuine "niceness" and persistence of Lloyd's phone call, that is responsible for her caving and saying yes. And it goes from there. What is a friendship, a respect for each other, grows into "friends with potential", and then goes even farther. Writer-director Cameron Crowe is famous for not pushing it and he perfected that style here. He doesn't try to make John and Ione look and feel "hot", he lets them continue to play young adults, who would by all rights still be awkward, nervous, testing the waters of life, love, and trust.
In a brilliant parallel, we learn of Diane's relationship with her father Jim (John Mahoney) which she has always been sure of, even when she needed to chose between her parents after their divorce. The subtle and detailed scenes between Diane and Jim are important to the twists in the story when Diane grows to trust someone other than her father and finds deceit with something she had faith in. Jim, is not your typical teen movie father. He's real and normal as well. His car is not backed into a house, he is not thrown into a great body of water, and he is not a typical ogre. He is allowed to be a three dimensional character, a driving force and an obstacle in the teen romance. Jim runs a nursing home and wants the best for Diane. He holds their relationship very dear, as it is all a part of Diane being the best she can be. That desire will end up being a double edged sword as Diane's growing pre-occupation with Lloyd the summer before she is set to go to England, threatens his plans for her. And although Jim seems to respect how Lloyd treats his daughter and him, he is bothered by Lloyd's lack of drive, that the only thing that drives Lloyd is the then almost unheard of sport of kick-boxing and Diane.
When the story comes to important moments that changes Jim, Diane, and Lloyd's world, this is when the story shines. This is when Lloyd's rambling and desperation to re-define his life due to his despair is a welcome change from the overbearing or over brooding of most teen flick "heroes". This is when Diane's confusion and discovery is so wonderfully done with little dialogue. This is when Jim, feeling his world is spiraling out of his control, grows quiet, and the power of un-showy direction from Crowe says all we need to see.
The supporting characters as well are gems, who are true supporting characters. Joan Cusack appeared uncredited as Lloyd's single mother sister who, once a blast is now uptight, but is still a supportive guardian for Lloyd. Lloyd's girl friends D.C. and Corey are like salt and pepper for Lloyd. Corey (played by Lili Taylor) is terminally depressed. She previously had attempted suicide due to fellow classmate, Joe, playing with her heart like a yo-yo and is always being the voice of negativity for Lloyd, always telling him what will go wrong, what can't happen, what should happen, and how he is different from Joe. D.C. is practically dwarfed by Corey, never being allowed to talk and never being able to steer Lloyd in a much more sane direction which Lloyd usually discovers on his own anyhow. All of the supporting characters of friends, former classmates, and residents at Jim's nursing home, are important, none are cardboard cut-out cliches. They all have dimension, depth, feeling, and we can understand their motivation, what drives them with carefully crafted scenes and dialogue.
When the ending comes, it is the subtle way they foreshadow the future instead of the standard frantic pacing most romantic comedies have when it comes to a conclusion. That in itself pretty much sums up the beauty of the film.
It is pure genius, this film is pure genius.
A wonderful film which made me laugh, cry and heavily identify with the
first time I ever saw it. Then, some 13 years later, after buying it on DVD
with faded memories, I watched it again and it all came
I laughed; I was moved; I cheered inside when things went well for the hero, and I even remembered things about my first love. Especially the shaking with happiness moment (Judith). This film has survived 13 years with me, and it's not all down to my own memories.
John Cusack and Ione Skye give such wonderful performances that are so believable there's not a second that you're thinking of them as actors. Everything they feel and do seems so real. John Mahoney portrays the over protective Father very well, and his understated struggle when he realises this is superbly done.
Cameron Crowe has excelled himself in capturing the feelings and moments that you can so easily identify with to make them just right, and seem so natural.
It's a wonderfully written film, with equal acting, to remind us all of falling in love for the first time without all the hurt, mistrust and disbelief in oneself. It even manages to provide one of the best endings I've ever seen.
If you have read my "Sixteen Candles" comment, I have been on a journey
to watch all of the classic teen 80's movies. The girls at my work have
been on my case with this, so now I have seen "Pretty in Pink", "The
Breakfast Club", and "Sixteen Candles", now "Say Anything...". When I
told one of the girls I rented this movie, she was excited. She said
this is one of the best teen movies of the 80's, and I'd have to agree.
It's not a real sappy love story, it's more normal and real. It has it doubt's, flaws, scary parts, fun parts, sexy parts, and the friendship. Ione and John clicked so well in this movie. I loved the scene where John is standing outside with the stereo blasting "In your eyes" by Peter Gabriel. What a fantastic scene, I mean what girl wouldn't like that? And poor John was only like 90 pounds, I was hoping Ione would have run to him to let him put that 1000 pound stereo down! It was the 80's, there was nothing smaller. :D This is a great movie. I think it should be watched by anyone. It's just a fun film to watch with friends or a date. So far, this is my favorite 80's teen flick.
A Seattle high-school graduate with no apparent future, tired and for most part abandoned Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) sets his sights on the lovely Diane Court (Ione Skye), the class valedictorian, whom he had a chance encounter with at the town mall. After numerous valiant attempts and apparent successes, the two fall in love; however, while Lloyd is head over heels, Diane seems hesitant to maintain their relationship considering her recent fellowship at an acclaimed university and her father's trouble with the Internal Revenue Service. The romance between Cusack's Lloyd and Skye's Diane, although seemingly coming from out of nowhere, is still palpable and, as far as teen romance is concerned, very believable, and writer-director Cameron Crowe's bizarre and motor-mouthed dialogue perfectly suits the character of Lloydl; however, most of the scenes are stolen by John Cusack in what likely is his best performance to date; he fumbles over his words to accentuate the attitude of his character, and there are other moments when Cusack suddenly becomes the ultimate hero, even more involving than Rocky Balboa or Luke Skywalker at times; through the climax of the film it seems impossible not to root for Cusack, particularly the iconic scene forever cemented in teen movie history in which Lloyd stands outside of Diane's house next to his car, holding a boom box over his head and blasting Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" with a look of desperate heartache and lost pride on his face. An iconic date movie.
I've never cared for "teen movies" and this *isn't* one, so don't
worry. On the surface, this movie would appear to be about high school,
or growing up, or the 'loser' guy dares to get the 'winner' girl. This
movie is about truthfulness and it's liberating qualities and also
about the price one pays for success or greatness.
Diane Court is the valedictorian and the "most likely to succeed" in her high school. Lloyd Dobler is the well-liked underachiever with good character. Lloyd's low-pressure friends accept Diane at a party and she, at last, gets to let her hair down. This launches a romance that Diane's father disdains.
Always quick to shower her with praise, encouragements, and gifts Diane's father has visions of her earth-shattering success. On her part, Diane is getting a little self-conscious over her father's incessant chatter about what HE wants her to be.
Lloyd's attentions to Diane grow inconvenient to her father perhaps less for his romantic interest, but worse: he's diverting her from her greatness. Simultaneously, Lloyd has no outward indicators of achievement. He lacks direction and can't really say what his next moves are. Diane's father's agitation grows when investigators from the IRS launch a criminal investigation of him.
The acting in this film is so believable you feel like you are in the movie yourself. John Mahoney (the father)makes this role look so easy and his face conveys every emotion so clearly. John Cusack nails this role as the anxious-to-please, smitten teen with a sincere heart. His dialog sounds very natural. Ione Skye is lucky. Not many female rolls for teenage girls are as juicy as this one: no nudity, no ax murderers, and no entering into talent competitions. Additional endorsement: I danced with a naval officer from a nuclear sub to the main theme of this film and he immediately asked me if I had seen this film. We proceeded to have a conversation about how great this film is!
Most people I know loved Say anything and I am among the many who
thought this was a very good touching, funny movie for teens and young
people. It is a bit more wholesome then a lot of what's out there in
this genre and although it doesn't rank among my favorite teen movie it
definitely earned it's praise.
There are some terrific one liners in Say Anything and the male/female relationship is depicted in a touching and often very accurate-surprisingly accurate way. Plus there are moments of just pure hilarity and unforgettable lines, one of them being what I headed my Quote(my buddy and I still throw this line around to this day.) John Cussack stars here and was very good, it was my introduction to him. I'd recommend this movie to anyone who just wants to see a nice fresh teen movie with both touching and hilarious moments. My vote is 8 out of 10.
One of the rare 80's teen flicks that doesn't portray all teens as sex-crazed dimwits and all adults as lobotomized morons. An insightful, romantic comedy that only Cameron Crowe could give us.
In "Say Anything" Cameron Crowe has crafted a one-of-a-kind romantic
comedy which avoids at least 90% of the pitfalls one would commonly
associate with films within the genre. How does he do it? Simply by
avoiding sappy moments, by creating a script that more or less mirrors
the bittersweet experience of first love, and by simply, but tastefully
guiding the film's visuals and outstanding acting.
"Say Anything" is not completely anti-conventions, and actually uses some wildly popular rom-com conventions to its advantage, but the role reversal (Dobbler being the 'lost' one), interjection of successfully genuine drama, and simple, understated romantic moments make this a wild success. That's not to say that Crowe isn't successful when he goes for the wildly over-the-top sap, because he knows it's sappy, but it does happen in real life. I mean, the over-the-top gestures like the stereo outside the window do occur in reality, and they guys who do them usually are just like Lloyd Dobbler.
Great characters, a great cast, really good writing, and simple but solid direction make this a real winner that is deservedly recognized as a romantic classic.
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