Say Anything…but another romantic comedy

We’ve all seen it…the iconic image of a young John Cusack holding a boombox above his head. This image has burned in the collective consciousness of anyone over 17. So annoyed by this image in my head I decided to finally watch the film from it sprung – Say Anything.

Say Anything poster

John Cusack plays the completely directionless Lloyd Dobler who at 19, has returned to America after spending the last couple semesters over seas. He kickboxes and has a fetish for trench coats. He lives with his sister (played by his real sister Joan Cusack) and his nephew. His home life contrasts sharply with his love interest Diane Court, played by Ione Skye, whose Father and her future is her world. Diane is an over-acheiver who has everything going for her – she’s the class valedictorian, a dedicated worker at her Father’s senior home, and to top it all off is drop-dead gorgeous. Her parents are divorced (Apparently she had to choose between the two of them in court at 13. No wonder she’s so responsible.), and her Father offers her the love and stability that her Mother could not. Besides that Diane is so wrapped up in her future, pleasing her Father, she has in many ways neglected simply being a teenager.

Mahoney in the middle.

Diane’s father played by John Mahoney (also seen in the 1987 film Moonstruck) is everything a parent should be – sensitive, supportive, and proud. However as the film progresses we see his fragile facade crumble, as it is revealed he is not so righteous a man. The IRS pursues Diane’s father on suspicion that he has embezzled money out of the senior’s at his home.

Ione Skye and John Cusack

Through a stalkerish phone call, mildly charming rambling, and a few chivalrous gestures, Lloyd manages to snag a date with Diane at a graduation party. Despite his over-protectiveness Diane’s father, James allows her to go out on a date with determined Lloyd. They attend their graduation party together where Lloyd serves as the “key-master” looking out for young drunkards, most notably a young Jeremy Piven, who repeatedly tackles Lloyd out of sheer joy.

Hey it's that guy from Entourage!

Through the party we also come to understand the source of Corey Flood’s pain, and why she bitterly trashes her ex-boyfriend Joe, who took her virginity then left her for another girl. She wines about him throughout the entire film. This entire pointless vignette did nothing to serve the direction of the film, and was forgotten as soon as it over. They film honestly could have done without 2/3 of Lloyd’s friends too…Corey’s pointless subplot was enough to make me reconsider watching Say Anything altogether.

Corey needs to build a bridge and GET OVER IT.

From here the movie progresses with astounding predictability. Montages of Diane and Lloyd necking underneath trees ensue, bringing us to the moment that they consummate their two-month-long relationship in a car by the beach. Diane has such a close relationship with her father that she actually tells him the truth of her whereabouts the night before. I found the most interesting aspect of this movie not to be Lloyd and Diane’s predictable boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-gets-girl-back-plot, but John Mahoney’s crumbling from a respected member of his community and proud father. To the grey-haired, cigarette-smoking, embittered man we meet at the end of movie. HE ALMOST CRIES IN A BATHTUB FOR PETE’S SAKE. He gave the most emotionally-solid performance in an otherwise flimsy film, with a few endearing moments. (Although I will say I enjoyed the film’s iconic boombox scene in which John plays the song that he and Diane first made love to…Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”.)


All-in-all, if you’re up for big hair, some memorable lines rambled by John Cusack, this scene in particular, and buckets of teen angst, I encourage you to tune in to Say Anything. If you’re not in the mood for adult-decisions made by inexperienced teens, then opt for the more-adult Moonstruck.

So dumb.

Say Anything…

Standing outside your bedroom with a boom box. This statement is referenced in almost all media outlets of teen pop culture. It is the whole reason I chose to watch the movie Say Anything starring John Cusack (Lloyd Dobler). I personally loved this film. Because it is so intertextual, I assumed that it would be good. It is your typical coming of age, young love, timeless story.

I made my roommate watch it with me. My roommate is not someone who really appreciates pop culture from before the year 2000. She was not exactly thrilled when I made her watch it, but she ended up loving the entire film. The humor in this movie is still amusing to this day. It captures the essence of being in high school and the uncertainty of the future. In my opinion, what makes this film distinctly 80s is the relationship between the parents and the children.  For example, the relationship between Cusack’s love interest, Diane Court and her father is unfathomable in this day in age. When Diane would go out at night, she would not come back until the next morning. Her father, for the most part, was completely fine with this. There was not argument, no set curfew, etc. I am a senior in college and have a cell phone. My father would absolutely freak out if I came home from a party the next day. As long as I am living in his house, I will have a curfew of no later than 2am.

I would definitely recommend this movie to friends if they have not already seen it. It is a very funny movie, a little unrealistic, but funny regardless. It is a film that teenagers, no matter what decade, can relate to and appreciate. Even though this film has not been remade, it is referenced in so many different television shows, movies, and even some songs, that it does not need to be remade. Apparently a sequel was rumored in the past year or so, but I highly doubt that will happen. The remake of Footloose failed, and the sequel to Wall Street was not a huge success either.  Say Anything  is a classic that should not be messed with.