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.