Movie: Say Anything…
Release Date: April 14, 1989
Director: Cameron Crowe
Starring: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack.
Tag Lines: “To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court is about to know Lloyd Dobler.”
“She’s got every thing going for her. He’s going for her with every thing he’s got.”
“A Lloyd meets girl story.”
Relevance: I graduated high school in June of 1989. With all of the hubbub surrounding the impending ceremony, I missed ‘Say Anything…’ when it was in theaters. I’m not exactly sure when I saw it via rental, probably sometime in the late Fall or early Winter of 1989, but when I did I knew that it was a movie I would cherish forever.
The movie was a teen romantic comedy-drama centered around a new summer romance between two recently graduating high school seniors. Just graduating myself, I definitely related to the ideas, themes and premise presented in the film. What drew me in immediately was the realistic world the movie laid out for me, mostly surrounding the characters that I completely recognized. More than recognized, I had just graduated with them. They were my friends, classmates and peers. For me, the screenplay had a certain John Hughes quality to it. Mr. Hughes was a director and writer of many of my favorite films from the 1980’s. So this was a complement in the highest regards.
The movie wasn’t written, directed or produced by John Hughes though, it was someone I had never heard of before. Yes, ‘Say Anything…’ introduced me to Cameron Crowe, one of my favorite filmmakers. This is his second film on my list of most influential movies of all time (see 303. Almost Famous) with one more that will show up later this year. His storytelling and character development, especially in this film, is absolutely impeccable. He had a definite voice for that generation – my generation – similar to Mr. Hughes, and that made it easy for me to fall in love with his characters and his films.
The movie also solidified my love and admiration for John Cusack. Although he only as two “starring” roles on my list (see 295. Being John Malkovich for the other), he pops up in many other movies as a supporting player. When I first saw ‘Say Anything…’, I of course knew who he was, but in my opinion his performance in this film solidified him as a truly talented actor. He made Lloyd Dobler so incredibly likable and he played both the comedic and dramatic scenes flawlessly. More importantly, I recognized a lot of his traits, both good and bad, in me at the time.
‘Say Anything…’ has remained one of my favorite films, obviously as it is a part of this project, and is one that I have watched hundreds of times throughout the years. Not only did it begin my love affair with Cameron Crowe, continue my love affair with John Cusack but it is also a snapshot of me as an eighteen year old just starting life. It doesn’t get more relevant than that.
Today’s Thoughts: ‘Say Anything…’ is such an important film to me and my generation, it is hard to imagine that it was not a huge box office hit. Regardless of its financial shortcomings, it has become one of the most iconic films of the 1980’s, thanks to one particular scene, and is one that I was super excited to watch again.
I love this movie and loved watching it today. It not only took me back to my youth and gave me some “nostalgic feels,” it also made me smile, laugh and cry, three of my favorite things to do during a movie. The cast is absolutely wonderful. Mr. Cusack is always such a joy to watch, as is Ione Skye. Her performance is lovely and at times heartbreaking. She is absolutely stunning. John Mahoney was one of my favorite actors way before “Frasier,” thanks in part to this film. It was bittersweet seeing him today as unfortunately he is no longer on this planet. The rest of the ensemble is quite impressive as well. Joan Cusack, Jeremy Piven and Eric Stoltz are each great in their limited screen time. Lili Taylor though has to be my favorite. I so wanted a friend like Corey Flood when I was growing up. Actually, I still do.
Now let’s talk about that iconic scene. Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” is one of my favorite songs of all times by any artist. “So” was an album that I owned on cassette in 1986 and later on CD in 1989. So I was a fan way before Mr. Crowe used it in the film. But that scene was absolute perfection. It is arguably one of the most recognized and iconic moments in film history, at least for the 1980’s. Even if one hasn’t seen the movie, they know the visual of John Cusack holding a boombox over his head. It has been parodied numerous times, and that just proves its genius. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
I love the song. I love the moment. And I love the movie.
Ways to Watch: YouTube, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime, DVD Availability.