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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 27.16%
Average: 3.7%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 1.23%

6 reviews, 45 user ratings

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Say Anything...
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by Dennis Swennumson

"I held a boombox playing 'Slow Motion' over my head- didn't get the girl."
5 stars

“Say Anything” is generally considered to be one of the best in a genre that strikes fear into self-respecting alpha-males (including this writer) everywhere; the romantic comedy. Or worse yet, the quintessential film of the romantic comedy’s dreaded offspring: the chick flick. True, it’s a movie about a guy and a girl each exploring their first true love and dealing with all of the adversity that comes with it. The movie does have more basic elements that can be seen as blatant and uncompromising chick flick foundations. However “Say Anything” is a film that carefully maneuvers around the formulas and transcends all of the unfortunate cinematic stigmas that come with its unfortunate genre labeling.

John Cusack is Lloyd Dobler, an average guy who resonates with the impression that he just barely squeaked by to become a high school graduate. It’ll likely be his life’s greatest achievement for decades, but this is a prospect he probably doesn’t mind too much. He does have Diane Court (Ione Skye), the current object of his attraction; she’s the most celebrated over-achiever in the Class of 1988. Graduating high school is just another obstacle on her way to becoming a succesful, productive and highly respected citizen. That’s the way her father, James (John Mahoney) has established and expects it to be, anyway. In a scene that took place before the film starts, Lloyd sat down with Diane and had lunch in a mall food court. Lloyd sees the deeper connection and calls her; Diane didn’t take the “first date” too seriously and reluctantly agrees to see Lloyd again.

Most of the movie’s plot centers around Lloyd and Diane just simply getting to know each other. The establishment and progression of Lloyd and Diane’s relationship is examined honestly, it’s one of the most realistic portrayals of a teenage relationship ever seen on film. There’s that initial stage of paradise where they want to be in each other’s presence constantly, the anxiety for the potential disaster that is meeting the family over dinner, how every single sentence spoken can be labored over but still comes out wrong every time. This may sound like bile-inducing fluff, but it never plays that way, they’re just scenes of experiences we have all had. The detrimental issues eventually come into play, the urgency of the fact that Diane will be attending college in England come fall. And the fact that her father was never really impressed with Lloyd, he pressures her to end with him before the connection becomes completely unbreakable.

Among the movie’s greatest qualities is its love for its characters, and how writer-director Cameron Crowe- writer of another landmark teen movie, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”- allows the audience to identify with them. Characters in most romantic comedies are people we don’t encounter in regular day-to-day life, what makes “Say Anything” a great film is that these people occupying the screen are not even exaggerations of the typical people most of us associate with, they are the people we normally have in our friendships, relationships and families. All of these roles break major genre molds, but the most noteworthy comes in the role of Diane’s father. James Mahoney creates a complex character, he has well-meaning, rarely constricting, intentions for his daughter, and he is convinced of any way necessary to carry them out. He’s knowingly accepts his flaws and tries to erase them through his daughter, it’s hard to forgive them but we fully understand them.

“Say Anything” contains a lot of qualities that ensures its value, including the scene that has become a contemporary icon of film: Lloyd holding a boom box over his head, Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” playing through the speakers and into Diane’s bedroom window and consciousness. Sure this is a desperate, latch ditch effort on Lloyd’s part to bring her back, and probably something that would be greeted with ridicule if any of us ever tried it, but not words could carry the impact Lloyd’s actions do. In the typical romantic movie this would be the scene where he instantly wins the girl back, but Lloyd’s personal testament of his devotion goes without a response.

Ultimately the film’s greatest achievement is that it serves as the curtain call to one of American cinema’s most nostalgic sub-genres, “Say Anything” is the pinnacle of 80’s teen movies.

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originally posted: 07/10/04 18:37:06
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User Comments

3/08/08 Pamela White Cusack is at his best 5 stars
3/03/08 ladavies John Cusak quivering in the backseat... oh baby 4 stars
10/21/07 Chris I like the movie, weird though because the girl he's after is not hot 4 stars
5/18/07 Nat Super poignant teen flick! Love that John Cusack..."In your eyes, the light the heat...." 5 stars
3/22/07 yooper Still a miracle after almost two decades! 5 stars
7/31/05 yuko john cusack is my ideal boy friend in the movie! 5 stars
4/23/05 Jeff Anderson The best movie of it's kind since THE SURE THING. John Cusack & Ione Skye RULE THIS FILM!!! 5 stars
10/13/04 chelsea my fav movie of all time! great quotes, great characters, great story! i love it!!! 5 stars
8/27/04 Mike Stanbridge best Cusack film of all time! 5 stars
7/17/04 legend On of John Cusacks better film choices. Very enjoyable. 4 stars
6/24/04 John McCarthy This is an amazing movie. Problem is that guys like Lloyd in real life never get the girl. 5 stars
4/10/04 IP Freeley this shit is totally gay 1 stars
10/14/03 Erik Van Sant Crowe's last great film. Jerry McGuire followed and made me hate people. 5 stars
10/12/03 laura paterson John cusack's best character. marry me lloyd! 5 stars
7/19/03 Rachel NOT a teen movie. For people who enjoy fun, but also serious dramas. One of my favs. 5 stars
12/19/02 Kyle Phenomenal, John Cusack gives a great performance. 5 stars
7/30/02 The Bomb 69 a movie that could actually happen in my hometown, REAL!!! 5 stars
4/02/02 Vitality1 John Cusack is a god. This movie is one of the best! 5 stars
3/27/02 carly anyone who can't relate to this movie hasn't been living 5 stars
2/06/02 Claxner Oxjaw Ione Skye so sweet - why's she since disappeared from movies? 4 stars
2/04/02 iallen I love watching the love story between these two characters, flawed but real. 5 stars
1/08/02 Kat Love it. Cusack's just adorable. I just discovered movie and can watch over & over. 5 stars
12/20/01 Will look, people always rave about this, frankly I don't see the big deal at all 3 stars
12/12/01 slappy jacks um yeah good! 5 stars
12/05/01 Sarah No matter how many times I watch this movie, it never gets old. 5 stars
12/04/01 Andrew Carden The Worst Rat Pack Flick, but Has It's Moments, and Segall Shines. 3 stars
7/27/01 Elvisfan Loved Lili Taylor/Loren Dean more than the leads, to be honest 5 stars
6/28/01 Steve Awww, dissed in the Malibu..that's your caste, man! 5 stars
6/26/01 ThatGuy Hands down, the best Brat Pack movie. 5 stars
5/24/01 moose I looved the romance, music, and humour. Brings out that "fluttery" feeling in your stomac 5 stars
1/28/01 Scott Awesome, I fall in love with Lloyd every time I watch this film. 5 stars
9/07/00 The Bomb 69 ultimate love story, Lloyd is a great character 5 stars
4/04/00 Casper Lloyd is the most endearing character penned in a long time. A modern day C.C. Baxter. 5 stars
6/25/99 Andrew P. In GPB Cusack kills Benny the Jet. In this, he mentions him. Coincidence? I think not. 5 stars
5/28/99 Lisa Perhaps the best "teen romance" movie ever! John Cusack is amazing. 5 stars
4/26/99 Blythe Lloyd is a God. Something about him just breaks my heart everytime. 5 stars
4/20/99 Lovebug Cusack is perfect as lovestruck Lloyd. Lili Taylor's guitar stylings are hilarious! 5 stars
4/19/99 byte me Cusak is amazing. rent it and smile 5 stars
4/06/99 Annearchy, Damme, Satanne This movie is every girls dream. Yet, alas, Lloyd Dobler fails to exist in reality. 5 stars
3/28/99 TJwills What can you say but John Cusack!!!!! 5 stars
2/07/99 roxy i want a lloyd dobler :( 5 stars
10/24/98 {{{OZ}}} You can't beat Cusack at any age. Some of his best stuff right here. 5 stars
9/26/98 Pat Flanagan The movie that introduced me to Cusack and led me to Grosse Point Blank. "You must chill!" 5 stars
9/17/98 cheryl_ann you can't get much better than this. john cusack is a god. 5 stars
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  01-Jan-1989 (PG-13)


  N/A (M)

Directed by
  Cameron Crowe

Written by
  Cameron Crowe

  John Cusack
  Ione Skye
  John Mahoney
  Lili Taylor
  Amy Brooks
  Pamela Segall

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