Classic Movie Review
Directed by Cameron Crowe
Starring John Cusask, Ione Skye
John Mahoney and Lili Taylor
An improbable couple hook up after high school graduation and must deal with their friends, family, and other pressures just to stay together. Lloyd Dobler is an average kickboxer with a good heart but limited ambition. Diane Court is an aloof genius who is very closely protected by her father. When Diane gets a scholarship to study in England, she has a weighty decision to make.
Say Anything is a terrific film. Bottom line! It might get bundled in with other teenage 80's films of that time in later years, but this reviewer hopes it stands out from the pack. If there is just one word to describe this film it would be 'truth'. No other film tells a better story about tennage angst and how people feel during that time after high school when you're suppose to figure out what to do with your life than this film. A must watch for everyone as this is one of the rare films that pretty much everyone can relate to in some sort of way.
Lloyd Dobler (John Cusask) knows that the question 'what I want to do with my life' is too a big question for him to answer quite yet because he just doesn't have all the facts right now. So for the present after high school graduation he's going to center his desires and passions two things: his kickboxing and to get the unatainable valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Syke) to be his girlfriend by simply doing something that most 18 years are not capable of doing: being himself.
This is Cameron Crowe's (Jerry Maguire, Vanilla Sky) first directed film. He was quoted afterwards saying that all he wanted to do was make a real teenage film with real female characters. He figured out what girl he wanted to write about and the story: A relationship between an overachiever who missed out on a lot of the high school existence to get good grades and her over-parented father who's running into trouble with the law with his old-age home business. Then a mysterious boy comes into her life and gives her the confidence she needs to move forward.
But Crowe was stuck for months writing the script because he couldn't write an actual male character who's 18, an eternal optimistic and who is actually worthy of this girl because he just had integrity. They just didn't exist in the United States he thought. Until one day he met a kid who wanted to be a writer and kept bothering him for advice. The kid would knock on his door day after day looking for information. At first Crowe was bothered by this kid and just wanted him to go away. Until one day after not seeing him for a few days, he spotted this kid all beat up. He had bruises on his face but still had that optimistic smile. Crowe aproached him and asked what happened. He was an amateur kickboxer and lost a 'close fight'. But I'll get him next time he said. Crowe looked in his eyes and saw total confidence. This was a kid that wouldn't give up. He found his 18 year old worthy of his female lead.
He wrote the character with this kid in mind and then begged John Cusask to play him and add his own insight. A great character was born and a great film was made.
What makes the John Cusask character so special is that he's aware of the 80's Reagan world and its faults but also is optimistic about his future eventhough he has no idea what he's going to do. He's your typical C student who realizes early on that school is a big waste and all you need to do is follow your passion and life will be okay eventhough the world is heading is a very corporate future with Reagan's groundwork.
Diane Court is also headed for a great future because she's playing the game: getting good grades, going to a Ivy league school, making the right contacts etc.. She likes Lloyd because he makes her laugh and he treats her with respect. When he looks at her he see who she really is, something that no one has done before. And she for him. Lloyd is the idealistic romantic to Diane's logical princess who just wants to be treated right. Both of these character obtain the quality of integrity and they're just so happy to find each other in the bullshit world they live in.
But life gets in their way and conflict ensues. And they're both kids with a whole lot of life experience to accomplish to really get too taken in with their relationship. Who knows what their future holds and Cameron Crowe knows that. He doesn't want to make a stupid love story where they will both live happily ever after. He knows life just ain't that easy. All he's showing is two people in love for the first time. The relationship that we all remember and is problably the most important relationships in a lot of people's lives.
The film is about their journey. Crowe doesn't know if they'll make it or not. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But it's definitely a film that everyone should see as it's as close to a perfect film as you'll ever find.