Cameron Crowe, 1989
reviewed by Sergiu Gustus
Sunday, February 5th, 2012
First of all, let me start by saying that I’m a big Cameron Crowe fan. He manages to capture human emotions in a way that makes it very easy for the viewer to relate to. His particular trade marks include the use of great pop/rock music and the promotion of the outcast, or ‘the uncool,’ as in Almost Famous. Crowe has a talented flair for portraying the agonizing emotions that are part of approaching adulthood. With movies such as Jerry Maguire, Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, one can say that Cameron Crowe has established himself as a respected and well-known director.
His directorial debut was in 1989 with the coming-of-age movie Say Anything…. Starring John Cusack and Ione Skye, this Generation X motion picture became an instant classic and is widely regarded as one of the best modern romance movies.
The story is pretty basic: Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) an average student falls for the valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye) and they both end up spending the summer after graduating high-school together. The story takes place in post-grunge Seattle, a time when love was still in its most innocent stages. Without giving too much away I’ll make this as short as possible. The entire cast, from the two leads to even the brief cameo appearance of Joane Cusack makes the job so much easier for the audience to relate to virtually every scene in the film. Lloyd is an aspiring kick-boxer lost in his struggle to find a meaning for his future while Diane just won a prestigious fellowship to Reed University in England and will be going there at the end of summer. Although she is lovable and intelligent, she can’t seem to manage well at a social level. Intrigued by high-school misfit Lloyd’s boldness to ask her out on a date, she accepts, and their relationship flourishes after seeing each other on a regular basis. I’ll stop here, because giving away more details about the story would ruin your viewing experience. I will however encourage you to keep a sharp eye throughout the movie, as you will recognize actors such as Jeremy Piven, Eric Stoltz and a brief cameo of Pearl Jam’s rhythm guitarist Stone Gossard.
The film really begins to shine in the important moments of Lloyd’s and Diane’s relationship; that’s when you see how different this movie is from the average Hollywood tear-jerking ‘chick flick.’ The script is also top-notch, ranging from subtle jokes and remarks to plenty of memorable quotes. Cameron has a way of turning a simple scene into something beautiful and iconic. You’ll know which one I’m talking about once you see it.
Needless to say, the soundtrack plays a huge role in Say Anything..., as with most of Crowe’s films. His choice of songs never disappoints; from teen party rock songs to the most heartbreaking howls of guitar solos, it’s all there. My only complaint about this movie is the way it aged – it does feel a little outdated.
To fully understand Say Anything… you must take a deeper look into the roots of the film’s main theme: love. What is love? Is it a desire to share one’s deepest secrets and feelings? Is it a longing to depend on someone and not be alone? Better yet, another question: how far are you willing to go for love? – You may or may not find some of these answers in this movie, but all in all it will act as a reminder about falling in love for the first time, without all the hurt and misbelief that usually comes with it.
Anyway, enough rambling; this is a perfect date movie that’s well worth renting and enjoying.