After finally seeing Say Anything, I understand why it’s considered one of the best modern movie romances. The formula of an overachieving young woman falling for a bad influence of a young man has been treaded many times since this movie, but it’s great to see one of it’s origins. I didn’t know beforehand that Cameron Crowe directed this, but his trademarks are all over it. This was his first movie, and I can definitely tell he was inspired by John Hughes, who made movies about growing up and being a teen in the 1980’s. As Almost Famous and Jerry Maguire show, he went on to be more than someone trying to replicate that same feeling. Say Anything is a great example of how Crowe uses human characters and great actors to tell a simple but beautiful love story.
Say Anything begins at the end of high school. Slacker Lloyd Dobbler wants nothing more than to ask out Diane Court, valedictorian at their high school. His friends tell him he doesn’t have a chance, because she’s a ‘brain’, and she’s gorgeous, but he’s persistent. After her valedictorian speech, he calls her up and asks her if she’ll go to a graduation party with him, as he insists it’s a ‘date’. Reluctantly, she agrees to go, and their relationship begins. As they become closer, Diane’s father grows more and more cautious of Lloyd, as his daughter is supposed to go to England in the fall for a fellowship program. He wants nothing but his daughter’s success, and tells her many times that Lloyd is a distraction. There are some pretty unexpected turns in the 2nd and 3rd acts, where the story deals with Diane’s father, but it’s all in aiding the primary plot of Lloyd and Diane’s relationship. I was expecting that it wasn’t going to end well for either of them, but the ending is probably my favorite part of the movie. *Ding*
John Cusack is absolutely perfect in this movie. I’m glad I didn’t see this movie before his others, because I would probably think Lloyd Dobler was playing all those characters. He’s a kind, romantic, fast-talking kick boxer and I found a lot of similarities between him and Sutter Keely in Spectacular Now. They both live in the moment, and don’t really have plans for their future, but they both absolutely love their women (who may or may not be better off without them). Another part I loved was Diane’s relationship with her father. Most movies about teenagers love to antagonize the parents, and I love that Diane and her father have such a great and honest relationship (at least in the beginning). It’d be so easy for Diane to yell at her father that she’s in love and he doesn’t know anything, but they’re relationship is more mature than that.
I don’t typically enjoy romance movies (especially rom-coms) because they just feel so far off-point from reality. Their characters are often one dimensional cardboard cut-outs, instead of inspired characters that feel human. Say Anything is one of those movies that avoids falling into the usual tropes and easy ways out, and does something more than the usual fare. It’s one Cameron Crowes best for sure, and of the best romantic-comedy films I’ve seen in a long time.
Thanks for reading guys! There ought to be another write-up posted later tonight after I’m off work. It’s been a busy weekend but I’m diving back into the sea of movies again today, so stay tuned!