Friday, September 2, 2011

Say Anything... (1989): A Distraction with Potential

Say Anything...
If you don't like selling, buying or processing anything as a career, your only option seems to be kickboxing. Except for making a girl happy. As a career... As strange as this may sound, it's pretty much the main idea of Say Anything.... The movie has been turning itself into a romantic comedy classic over the years. And it has plenty to offer apart from its strangeness. Being directorial debut of Cameron Crowe (who is also the writer), the film deserves even more praise for its good execution and the freshness it provides. Say Anything... tells a conventional story with an unconventional approach and even at moments when the film lacks originality it is not boring at all.

The movie is a romantic teen comedy and this says a lot about its plot. But Say Anything... is also capable of surprises. The usual role of the more mature and purposeful partner in the relationship this time is given to the girl. The boy is the person who wants to dedicate his future to the woman. Lloyd (John Cusack) is a pretty simple guy who possesses the important knowledge he doesn't know what he wants to make with his life so after having a chance to spend some time with Diane (Ione Skye) he decides that making her happy is probably a good (if not the best) job for him. Diane is the valedictorian of her class who has won a scholarship for a famous college in England but after meeting with Lloyd she does not only find love for the first time but she also discovers beauty in the simple things.

Say Anything... sports many qualitative dialogues with plenty of memorable lines. A few examples could be Lloyd's thoughts on the "choosing a career" topic, the "being friends with potential" conversation and "I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen" quote but there is a lot more of ordinary, yet clever and effective talking throughout the movie. The writing does not offer any unexpected twists or a genuine plotline. What makes it good though, lies in the details as the already mentioned dialogues or the particular events that happen. The film is also spared from the cheap teenage humor plaguing the majority of other similar movies, which is a big plus for it.

The cast of Say Anything... is worthy as well. John Cusack makes one of his best performances and the scene showing him standing with a boombox in front of Diane's house is probably among his most memorable ones. Ione Skye is charming as Diane Court and John Mahoney is wonderful as her father James Court. Lili Taylor in the role of Corey, one of the female friends of Lloyd Dobler, portrays an interesting character although being a bit annoying with her constant talking and self-written 65 songs about her ex Joe. Cameron Crowe, except for the good writing job, should also be admired for the entire filmmaking of this movie including directing.

Of course, Say Anything... is not void of imperfections. The main plot is unoriginal. There are some scenes and characters that are not must-haves. Some of the events and a big part of the narrative although being possible are not among the most probable things to happen. But does someone really care about such flaws if the movie is entertaining and makes you a teenager again having a strong empathy with the screen couple? Do not say anything... If you love romcoms, this one is for you.


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