Say Anything (1989)A review by Shlomoh Sherman
July 16, 2016
|This image which many reviewers call "iconic", embedded in the memories of American movie goers, is the quinessential visual representation of SAY ANYTHING which teen age lovers of all ages want to capture for their own personal romantic lives!|
Say Anything (1989)
Plot Synopsis: A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
Plot Summary - Plot Synopsis
Plot Keywords: father - daughter - teenage boy - teenage girl - teen romance
Taglines: To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court is about to know Lloyd Dobler; I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.
Genres: Comedy - Drama - Romance
Parents Guide: View content advisory below
Rating: PG 13
Release Date: April 14, 1989 (USA)
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA
Gross: $20,781,385 (USA)
Production Co: Gracie Films, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Runtime: 1h 40min
Sound Mix: Dolby
I think that I may have seen SAY ANYTHING a long time ago but I am not sure. Maybe I just saw the trailer. But the scene that most reviewers refer to as "iconic" is that amazing scene of John Kusak holding up the boombox playing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" to win back the girl he has lost. It makes me wonder how many teenagers in real life have tried to replicate that absolute image of an attempt to overcome the sadness of unrequited love. It's simple but haunting.
The boombox is as representative of the 1980s as the MP3 player, the tablet, and the cell phone are of the mid 20-teens.
SAY ANYTHING tells the tale, the theme of which movie audiences are familiar with - boy wins girl, boy loses girl, boy wins back girl, - but it tells it in such a beautifully uncomplicated and innocent way, that you just can't help loving this movie in spite of its defects.
The story is so 1980s that it would be difficult, if not impossible. to duplicate today. In fact today, movies are no longer innocent. The sex scenes in SAY ANYTHING are handled so delicately and sweetly, unlike what Hollywood thrusts in our faces today, with ongoing heavy breathings that are tedious. Don't get me wrong. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a big fan of sexuality. I'm far from a prude. But as far as I am concerned, sex scenes in today's films approach pornography. Nothing is understated or subtle.
As The_Wood says in her own March, 2002 review, "Who says teen romance needs to be perverse?" [See all her reviews at http://www.imdb.com/user/ur1195884/]
Not only that, but the teenagers represented in SAY ANYTHING are so wholesome, completely unlike the nasty and vicious caricatures portrayed in MEAN GIRLS, THE HEATHERS, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, and PORKY'S. In fact, it's more reminiscent of the atmosphere of CLUELESS and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.
Here's an excerpt from Roger Ebert's February, 2002 review:
Diane Court, the graduating high school valedictorian, is attractive and supposedly popular among her peers. But how popular can she really be since none of the boys approach her for dates, fearing that she will reject them for not being in her league.
Enter Lloyd Dobler, a fellow senior who constantly dreams of going out with Diane. Lloyd has several female friends who are his social advisors, and they all discourage him from even attempting to speak to Diane. The message is - he's not in her league.
Lloyd is undaunted, and eventually does call her and asks her out. Diane accepts a date with him, possibly for no other reason than that a boy has actually spoken to her and asked her out.
Luckily the date works out well. Diane is impressed when Lloyd steers her away from broken glass on the ground into which she about to step. Against all odds, Lloyd is her hero.
Lloyd takes Diane to a graduation night party where one of her acquaintances asks her, "Why'd you come with Lloyd Dobler?" She answers simply, "He made me laugh."
The second plot of SAY ANYTHING [maybe the main plot after all] concerns the relationship between Diane and her father, James Court. When her parents divorced, Diane chose to live with her father with whom she has established, she believes, a relationship of complete honesty. The agreement between them is that each can say anything to the other without fear of condemnation. Within this context, Diane reveals to him that after several dates, she and Lloyd have had sex. James may not be happy about this but he doesn't say anything negative to her.
Diane invites Lloyd to have dinner with her family, and it is in this sequence that the crux of the story evolves which will drive the movie forward.
Firstly, while Diane has been offered a scholarship to a prestigious school in England which will propel her career, Lloyd's future is not really well thought out. When asked by Diane's family what he intends to do after graduation, he replies weakly that he is thinking of becoming a kick boxer. As the camera pans over the faces of Diane's family members, the audience is painfully aware that Lloyd has lost their respect, - most importantly the respect of her father.
Secondly, at that particular moment, the doorbell rings. James opens the door and is confronted by agents from the Internal Revenue Department. The agents inform him that he is under investigation for stealing money from the residents of the nursing home he owns and administers. James denies the accusation but the agents warn him to get his books in order since they will be conducting a thorough audit of the nursing home and of is assets.
Diane discovers the IRS investigation and approaches the agents to assure them of her father's innocence, but the agents tell her, "No, he's guilty."
Diane confronts James and he keeps denying that he is guilty. When Diane asks him to swear his innocence to God, "I swear to God", he blatantly lies.
The scene is jarring, at least to me and probably to anyone watching the film. The story, after all, is about honesty; honesty between lovers and honesty between parent and child.
When James' dishonesty is introduced, compounded by swearing falsely to God, the audience loses whatever admiration it may have initially felt toward him. The situation worsens for Diane when she finds a stash of money that her father has hidden away in one of his personal desk drawers.
At this point, Diane tells Lloyd that they should stop seeing one another. She doesn't say why, and the audience is left wondering why. It might be that she comes to feel that Lloyd is really not in her league. After all, she has a brilliant future in store for her while Lloyd's only ambition is to be a kick boxer. But this all sounds hollow and unreal. Diane had to have been aware of Lloyd's lack of direction even before he made his announcement at the dinner table. He and Diane had to have discussed what their plans were post-graduation, with no ill affect on the relationship. To me, the breakup seems to serve no other purpose than to inject tension into the plot. The scene looks contrived. It is a serious flaw in the movie, in my opinion, because it is clumsily handled.
Lloyd's painfull response to Diane's rejection is powerfully conveyed to the audience. Cusack's performance delivers the excruciating feeling that only a love rejected teenager can feel.
Then comes the scene we all remember and love; the scene that gives the audience hope that Diane will reignite her love for Lloyd and welcome him back into her arms.
Lloyd stands beneath her window [shades of Cyrano], holding aloft his boombox, playing "their song", IN YOUR EYES.
The scene takes place at twilight. Behind lloyd, we see the sky darkening. Light is fading as are Lloyd's hopes when Diane refuses to respond to this romantic moment. Cameron Crowe's use of this cinematic device is priceless. It just heightens the poinancy of the scene.
But the audience feels more than cheated when Diane does not respond to this acting out of love and longing. We can actually almost feel the anger rising within us for her callousness, all the more so because we are never given her real reason for parting from him.
When Diane again changes her mind and wants Lloyd back again, we may be happy for him, or them, but we are less than impressed by her declaration that she needs him rather than that she loves him. Her father has wound up in prison for tax evasion and under the circumstances, she probably does need someone to embrace her.
Lloyd's response? "Because you need someone, or because you need me?" he asks. But then he is so thankful to have her back that he immediately says, "Forget it. I don't care."
In the last sequence, we see Diane and Lloyd aboard the airplane that will take them to England, Diane to attend to her graduate studies, and Lloyd to attend to Diane, his career goals still unclear.
Earlier in the film, Diane had stated that she has a fear of flying. Lloyd now assures her and guides her away from her apprehension in a way similar to having guided her away from the broken glass in the street.
I could not help but come away from this film viewing Lloyd as a real hero while seeing Diane as somewhat less than heroic.
I cannot recommend this movie highly enough. If you are tired of the smut and the disgusting teenage bullying that 21st century Hollywood is producing, then you will breathe a sigh for the sweet nostalgia of the 1980s when America was losing its innocence.
KUDOS to John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler. It's no secret that I absolutely love Cusack as an actor, and he is the perfect choice for the role of Lloyd. Some of my favorites that he has apeared in are: 2012, 1408, RUNAWAY JURY, DENTITY, MAX, GROSSE POINTE BLANK, CITY HALL, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, and STAND BY ME.
KUDOS to Ione Skye as Diane Court. I don't remember seeing her in anythng else, and after looking up her filmography, I still can't remember seeing her before. Although the casting folks could have chosen any one of many young actresses to portray Diane, I think that her subtle, understated performance was just right.
Many other good looking actresses might have come across as too dynamic. Diane's soft personality was best presented by Ione.
KUDOS to John Mahoney as James Court. John has the type of face that causes the audience to say, "Yeah, he is familiar. Where have I seen him before?" John reminds me of the Murray Hamilton type of supporting actor [although I know where I have seen Hamilton before: JAWS, THE BOSTON STRANGLER, NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY, SECONDS, and ofcourse, THE GRADUATE]
KUDOS to Lili Taylor as Corey Flood, Lloyd's confident. We have seen Lili as the "crazy woman" in many horror movies and it's nice to see her as a very sympathetic character.
KUDOS to Joan Cusack as Lloyd's sister. Why this pretty actress agreed to act in a movie where her name does not appear in the credits is beyond me. Her role was small but well acted. In real life, John and Joan are siblings.
KUDOS to the music production department for choosing Peter Gabriel's IN YOUR EYES as the background for romantic scenes.
Did You Know?:
Sex and Nudity:
Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, language, some sexual content, and teen drinking. There is no nudity in this film. There are a couple of scenes depicting two teenagers kissing and embracing in the back seat of a car. In both scenes Diane is wearing a loose tank top. In one scene, Lloyd comes close to holding the girl's breast. In another scene, it is implied that they have had sex. We do not see anything resembling sex happening, though. At one point some characters are talking about how having sex can really change relationships. At one point we see Diane lying in bed as Lloyd stands outside. It is clear that she is not wearing a bra, but just a light shirt.
People are seen practicing martial arts fighting.
One use of "fuck".
Two uses of "shit".
One use each of "Jesus Christ", "Jesus", and "Christ" in a profane context.
One use of "goddamn".
Three or four uses of "dick".
Frequent use of God's name in vain.
Teenagers are depicted drinking alcohol at a party and getting drunk. The two main characters, however, are not shown getting drunk, and are shown to be very responsible about drunk driving. Lloyd is the designated key holder for one party, and decides to drive a party member home, rather than let him drive himself home. He does drink one beer with the implication that one beer is not enough to get him drunk. There are no drugs in the film, nor is there any reference to illegal drug use.
Frequently Asked Questions:
SO THE BOOMBOX SCENE...? 2 QUESTIONS - KINGKOOPA77
I have seen the boombox scene referenced over and over, parodied numerous times etc etc. So when i finally got round to watching the film today, i was quite surprised at how fleeting and underwhelming it actually was. I get what it meant, he was so desperate to win her back, he plunged into his soul and played the song in the hope it would rekindle the love they shared etc. But it was so just so quick, she was lying in bed, he held the box over his head and played the song. She tossed and turned a bit and then it quickly moved on to her in the FBI offices, completely removed from the moment. Did I see the scene in its entirety? I dont know, just with it being such a famous and recreated image, i was expecting a lot more to happen.
ANY SONG U COULD HAVE PLAYED - COCONUTPETE05
Girls, if you could have a guy stand on your lawn and have any song in his boombox palying what would itd be?
Guys, if you could have any girl stand on your lawn and have any song in her boombox what would it be?
Konstantine" by Something Corporate, Colorblind by Counting Crows, Come Away With Me by Nora Jones, Foolish Games by Jewel, Everything by Lifehouse, Love Of A Lifetime by Firehouse, Kiss from a Rose by Seal, Wild Horses by The Rolling Stones.
VERY DISAPPOINTING - DOGMA66605
I was horribly disappointed by this movie. It just seemed like nothing was happening for a reason. Nothing blended. Nothing meshed. The movie just seemed equally mindless. It had no aim. No direction. I'm not saying it was badly written... just badly put together. The response to this movie confuses me so much. It's a love story with no reason behind the love and no depth behind the story. It's just an unrealistic look into the love lives of some really unrealistic kids. WHICH OF IONE SKYE'S BOYFRIENDS DISLIKED JOHN CUSACK? - RIAND66
In either the DVD commentary or the behind-the-scenes feaurette, Cusack recalls that Skye's boyfriend would visit the set (and even shadowed John and Ione's first meeting) and was quite the prick to him. Anthony Kiedis from what I hear was her boyfriend during the set.
IONE SKYE LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE - DOURPUSSDORA
Ione Skye looks exactly like Christa B Allen (Charlotte Grayson in Revenge)in this film. Everything about her is the same as Christa! - She kind of looks like Amy Brehmen - A young Barbara Hershey too. http://favimages.com/image/198044/. Shades of Laurie Patridge/Susan Dey in her too.
Discuss Say Anything... (1989) on the IMDb message boards http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098258/?ref_=nv_sr_1
Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cusack ... Lloyd Dobler
Ione Skye ... Diane Court
John Mahoney ... James Court
Lili Taylor ... Corey Flood
Amy Brooks ... D.C.
Pamela Adlon ... Rebecca
Jason Gould ... Mike Cameron
Loren Dean ... Joe
Glenn Walker Harris Jr. ... Jason Dobler
Charles Walker ... Principal
Russel Lunday ... Parent
Polly Platt ... Mrs. Flood
Gloria Cromwell ... Ruth
Jeremy Piven ... Mark
Patrick O'Neill ... Denny
Joan Cusack ... Lloyd's Sister [uncredited]
18 Surprising Facts About SAY ANYTHING by Garin Pirnia
1. CAMERON CROWE BASED THE SCRIPT ON A REAL-LIFE HEARTBREAK.
2. JOHN CUSACK WAS AGAINST STARRING IN ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE.
3. LLOYD DOBLER WAS BASED ON CROWE’S NEIGHBOR, LOWELL MERCHANT, WHO CAME TO HIS DOOR ONE DAY AND INTRODUCED HIMSELF, SAYING HE WAS A KICKBOXER AND THAT KICKBOXING WAS THE SPORT OF THE FUTURE.
4. IONE SKYE WAS THE OPPOSITE OF DIANE COURT.
5. THEY MADE THE DAD GUILTY TO BE DIFFERENT FROM PRETTY IN PINK.
6. THE COREY CHARACTER IS BASED ON A COREY WHO WAS OBSESSED WITH A GUY NAMED JOE.
7. CUSACK KICKBOXES IN REAL LIFE.
8. THE PRODUCERS CREATED THE ROLE OF REBECCA JUST FOR PAMELA ADLON.
9. A DELETED SCENE INVOLVES A QUESTIONABLE STUDENT-TEACHER RELATIONSHIP.
10. PEOPLE STILL GIVE ERIC STOLTZ THEIR KEYS.
11. THE ROCK BAND SAY ANYTHING NAMED THEMSELVES AFTER THE MOVIE BECAUSE THEY RELATED TO LLOYD.
12. CUSACK ALMOST RECREATED THE BOOMBOX SCENE AT A PETER GABRIEL CONCERT.
13. A SITCOM VERSION OF SAY ANYTHING… WAS IN THE WORKS, UNTIL CROWE PUT A STOP TO IT.
14. CROWE HAS CONSIDERED WRITING A SEQUEL TO THE FILM.
15. IONE SKYE WAS QUITE TURNED ON BY CUSACK DURING THE CAR DRIVING SCENE, SAYING THAT — IF THEY DIDN’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND AND GIRLFRIEND IN REAL LIFE AT THE TIME — THAT’S THE DAY THEY PROBABLY WOULD’VE GONE HOME TOGETHER. IONE SAYS THAT, IN ANOTHER LIFE, SHE AND JOHN WOULD’VE BEEN A “GREAT LOVE.” IN SEVERAL POINTS DURING THE COMMENTARY, IONE AND CUSACK CONFESSED ROMANTIC ATTRACTION TOWARD ONE ANOTHER DURING FILMING.
16. THE LAST SCENE, WHICH ENDS WITH A CLOSE UP FOR LLOYD AND DIANE, WAS AN HOMAGE TO THE GRADUATE.
17. THE STUDIO HAD VERY LITTLE FAITH OR INTEREST IN THE MOVIE UNTIL SISKEL AND EBERT GAVE IT TWO THUMBS “WAY UP.”
18. AFTER OPENING NIGHT, CAMERON AND CUSACK WERE HANGING OUT AT A BAR, AND AN EXCITED WOMAN CAME UP TO CUSACK AND SAID, “ARE YOU LLOYD?” CUSACK RESPONDED, “ON MY BETTER DAYS, YES.” CROWE WOULD LATER USE THAT LINE IN ALMOST FAMOUS, WHEN SOMEONE APPROACHED RUSSELL HAMMOND AND ASKED, “ARE YOU RUSSELL HAMMOND,’ AND HE RESPONDED, “ON MY BETTER DAYS, YES.”
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