A Fine Romance Friday: Say Anything

For the end of summer, today’s fine romance is the best teen romance ever: Cameron Crowe’s 1989 masterpiece Say Anything. It’s another film I can’t be rational about, perhaps because of its resemblance to my own love story; however, on frequent repeat viewings, it holds up remarkably well. I find it every bit as honest and sweet as it more lauded contemporaries by John Hughes and it features the best teen party scene ever. Plus, there is the beta hero glory of John Cusack — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Opening on the day of graduation, Cusack (here, the “basic” underachiever Lloyd Dobler) decides that it’s finally time to approach Ione Skye, playing Diane Court, the smart but shy girl he’s been pining after for years. He invites her to the aforementioned party and for reasons that aren’t clear to her she says yes. They start dating, her family issues unwind, he stands by her, they face complications, they overcome them, and that’s pretty much it.

If you love Say Anything, it’s not for the machinations of the plot, which are few. It’s for the hilarious but realistic dialogue, the brilliant secondary characters played by Joan Cusack, Lili Taylor, and Jeremy Piven, and the music, notably Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”

So grab your boombox and revisit the 80s tonight with Say Anything.

6 thoughts on “A Fine Romance Friday: Say Anything

    1. I absolutely hate that scene where he takes her back and he says something like, “Is this about me or about what’s happening with your father? No wait, never mind, I don’t care.” I’m always yelling at the screen, “No, don’t take her back so fast — she needs to grovel!” But that’s what’s so perfect about Lloyd Dobler.

  1. I love John Cusack and I’ve never seen this film!!! Something new to look forward to.

    Have you seen my favourite John Cusack film, the tragic and brilliant MAX? Though it’s not “romantic,” the scenes between Max and his wife, played by the divine Molly Parker, are so poignant. And the scene between Max and his mistress has the best line ever. When she’s helping him put his shirt on because he lost an arm in the Great War, he says, “Half man, half doll. What every woman wants.” Cynical. But he’s hurting.

      1. Oh, double :0!! You are in for a treat: MAX is Max Rothman, a Jewish art dealer in post-Great-War Berlin who meets a young, angry, aspiring artist, vet of the Great War in a soup kitchen queue and strikes a most peculiar friendship with him. The ragged vet is Adolf Hitler, played brilliantly by Noah Taylor.

        Sigh. John Cusack. It is lovely to trade thus :).

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