Movie Review: Say Anything… (1989)

TitleSay Anything…
Release Date: April 14, 1989
Director: Cameron Crowe
Production Company: Gracie Films

Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is a well-liked teenager with a lot of nervous energy and a passion for kickboxing, who lives with his older sister (Joan Cusack) and young nephew. Diane Court (Ione Skye) is a academic high achiever who feels she’s missed out on the social connections of high school.  At the time of their high school graduation, Lloyd decides he wants to ask Diane out although his friends Corey (Lili Taylor) and D.C. (Amy Brooks) say she’s out of his league. Nevertheless, with persistence, Lloyd and Diane form a bond and begin a whirlwind romance in the summer before she leaves for a fellowship in England.  Things hit a snag when Diane’s close relationship with her divorced father Jim (John Mahoney, soon to remain in Seattle and be Fraser’s father) is shaken by an IRS investigation into his embezzling funds from the residents of the retirement home he operates.

That’s the basic plot of the movie, but it really doesn’t say anything  (ha!) about why this movie is so special.  More than any other teen movie of the period, the characters feel like real human beings with natural behaviors and motivations.  Cameron Crowe’s script is sharp with lots of memorable dialogue.  And the editing is interesting, really showing the development of a relationship over a period of time without excessive exposition.  Then there’s the iconic soundtrack featuring songs by Fishbone, The Replacements, and, of course, “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel.  But seriously, this movie is sooooo much more than that boombox scene.

Rating: ****1/2

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