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”.)

JOHN MAHONEY IN A BATH TUB!

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 young...so dumb.

The Original Hangover

This is the decade Tom Hanks explodes onto the screen! Just fresh from his first major role in Splash, Tom stars in Bachelor Party. Far before The Davinci Code and The Hangover, Hanks plays Rick, a light hearted, rebellious, immature party boy looking to blow off some steam for the last time with his buddies before tying the knot.

(Cannot believe it has been 28 years since this came out!)

Just like any good group of friends would do, they deny he is getting married and once realize Rick is not joking, decide the only right thing to do is throw an epic party!

In a time where movies were not known to crude humor, this Bachelor Party breaks the mold with perverted, cheap slapstick comedy making this movie is definitely a must see!

Just like we all know in any relationship, Rick must deal with Debbie’s parents and her overbearing ex-boyfriend. Oh in-laws! Rick is despised for being his “charming” self a  bachelor party, this party is constantly having some sort of twist and turn, starting off with hookers being sent to Debbie’s party. Add Chippendale dancers, drugs, booze, and a horse and you got a party you should have RSVP’d to.

“Hey Bud, Let’s Party!”

The Fast Times at Ridgemont High clip we watched in class today peaked my curiosity! As soon as I got home, I set about trying to find a free version of the film to watch on my computer (I succeeded! It’s on Vimeo, for those of you who may want to watch it!). I have to admit, however, it was not exactly what I was expecting. At risk of offending some of you, I have to say that I did not think this was a particularly good film.

Cars, sex, and rock n’ roll… These were the overriding concerns of the students attending Ridgemont High School, sex taking first place in their list of priorities. If the girls weren’t giving blow jobs to carrots in the cafeteria, they were carelessly talking about losing their virginity in the hallways. Now, I see nothing wrong with this aspect of the movie; for the most part, it closely mirrors today’s high school experience. Amy Heckerling’s portrayal of high school life is spot-on, actually. The way she shows the audience different facets of teenagers’ everyday lives – from gossiping in the school cafeteria, to working jobs at the mall, to sneaking off at night – leaves nothing to be desired. However, since the movie revolved around so many “main” characters (Stacy, Brad, Mark, Mike, Jeff, etc.), I felt that I did not connect with a single one of them. There were no backstories given for any of the characters, which made them and the movie itself seem shallow to me.

In addition, I did not understand the attraction of Sean Penn’s character, Jeff Spicoli. Yes, he was a stoner, and yes, his antics were funny – I mean, who orders pizza in class? But other than that, I felt that his character was the shallowest of them all. After watching the entire film, all I know about him is that he was a stoner, he liked surfing, and that he had a little brother named Curtis who he did not get along with. When compared to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, another teenage-centered comedy, I find that this film loses simply due to the fact that it has such poor character developmentIf Ferris Bueller could strike a balance between comedy and character depth, why couldn’t Fast Times do likewise?

To complete what has now turned into a rant, I would add that there were many things about this film that were unrealistic. The biggest one was the obvious lack of parental figures. Bradley and Stacy Hamilton’s parents never seem to be home (I think we see their mom once, very early on in the movie); neither do we ever meet Jeff’s, Mark’s, or Mike’s parents. While the parents in Ferris Bueller are portrayed as clueless or aloof, at least they exist. In this movie, the teenagers might as well be living on their own!

I won’t deny that this movie was entertaining. However, a movie can be entertaining without necessarily being good.