Say Anything... (1989) (PG-13)

Cameron Crowe, who wrote "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", had his finger to the pulse of the upper adolescent audience. "Say Anything..." resonated with this demographic as well as the critics and placed itself in cinematic history for its sly script and its lovey-dovey scenes.
A teen romance that perhaps deal more honestly with how "little things" make big differences in a relationship, "Say Anything..." is about a low-brow guy with no clear future pursuing the girl of his dreams who is a socialite for all intents and purpose...and then the boat sinks—oh wait, wrong movie. Yes, there is nothing startling original about "Say Anything..." nor should there be, because romance is something so universal as to be included in every sub-genre imaginable.
The movie opens to Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) pining over Diane Court (Ione Skye). Lloyd is your average Joe while Diane is the queen of the brains. The valedictorian, Diane gives a speech at graduation which seems to fly over everyone's head: she is scared about her future. This girl, the one who has everything lined up for her, is frightened about all the possibilities of her future. Still, the movie doesn't dwell on this little aspect too long before plowing on into the cute nothingness of a romance.
Lloyd, still obsessed with Diane even though they really haven't gone on an official date, calls her up and leaves his name and number with her dad, played by John Mahoney.
Diane and her father have an interesting relationship. They seem to be perfect together; but he seems to be living vicariously through her. Her scholarships that roll in and his lack of genuine accomplishment buts an odd tint on their otherwise ideal bond.
So Lloyd drives into the picture and he is completely different than anything Diane has ever come across. She goes to a party with him and people bombard her with questions like "Why are you with Lloyd Dobler?" and she responds once with "because he made me laugh".
Ah, so adorable.
Anyways, the two of them hit it off really well and then they start to see more and more of each other...a love blooms between them. As the two grow closer and Lloyd's future is as hazy as Diane's is clear, Diane's father starts to grow more and more hostile about Lloyd. He starts to pressure her to remove herself from Lloyd's life and Diane starts to agree with him; but will true love win out?
"Say Anything..." is not a particularly powerful movie because it doesn't have a lot of complexity to it. It is a fluff piece about a nice and cute what makes it special?
What makes "Say Anything..." better than most romantic pieces is its performances and its likability. We don't just have cookie-cutter characters who say and think the right things at the right times. Lloyd and Diane are challenging and true characters, ones who don't always act like "they should".
But in the end of it all, it's a slight piece and one that doesn't stick with you as much as individual aspects of it does: like John Cusack standing in a yard with a stereo over his head or the advice he receives from his bro-friends.
Neither haunting nor complex, "Say Anything..." also proves that family issues play a larger role in romance than just the two parties involved. It's not an individual romance, it has to encompass other people too.
"Say Anything..." made a star out of John Cusack and it remains his best work. He's fantastic as the kick-boxing, sensationally romantic teen who only wants to spend his life with Diane. As the larger prude, Diane also gives Ione Skye a great role to embody.
You watch "Say Anything..." for senseless escapism and a fairy tale is quite good at both.

Score: ★★★

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