He Said/She Said #15: Say Anthing
He Said/She Said is a bi-weekly column where a male and female reviewer from the site team up to debate the merits of a particular film.
I’ve never actually met anyone that didn’t like the quintessential 80’s teen romantic film SAY ANYTHING, so I find myself in new territory having to defend it. I keep wanting to write “but it’s SAY ANYTHING!” over and over and somehow, I don’t think that’s going to get my point across. There are so many things that make this film great, but keep in mind that it came out in a time of John Hughes movies where the characters were interesting but fake in a way that distanced them from the audience. I’m a big Hughes fan, but I never felt he captured the reality behind all the teenage angst and drama he so often focused on. Cameron Crowe, however, perfectly captured it.
Cameron Crowe has made three films with three different characters that so accurately capture what it means to be those people that every audience member instantly relates to them. Of course, those characters are; Lloyd Dobler (SAY ANYTHING), Jerry Maguire (JERRY MAGUIRE) and William Miller (ALMOST FAMOUS). But the focus here is on SAY ANYTHING. Dobler is not a loser or nerd and is definitely not a popular jock. He, like 98% of the world, falls somewhere in-between; caught between the two extremes. As most of us know, that middle ground has its own drama and that’s what Crowe captures so well, all set to a great soundtrack.
It didn’t hurt that he had a young John Cusack that turns in a performance that makes you instantly like him. We root for the love between Dobler and Diane Court and the father is instantly vilified for trying to keep our lovers apart. Of course, all of this is highlighted by the amazing scene of Cusack holding the boombox above his head while Peter Gabriel sings out ‘In Your Eyes’. A great song, an incredible movie moment and worth the price of admission alone.
The first time I saw this film I was in my mid-20’s and I was excited because I had heard so many good things about it. It was supposed to have a great story, great characters and of course the famous scene with the boombox and I was looking forward to falling in love with it just like the rest of America. However, I just didn’t like it. I couldn’t relate with the characters, with their love-torn plight and quite honestly I thought the entire boombox scene was absolutely ridiculous. Who would do such a corny thing? Is that supposed to be romantic? It was so over the top I laugh and cringe every single time I see it. I almost feel embarrassed for Cusak for having to live with it for the rest of his life.
I think what really bothered me about the film was Diane Court played by Ione Skye-I hated her. I found her to be extremely snotty and was unable to relate with her, and I couldn’t understand what Dobler found so interesting in her character. I love Cameron Crowe, and in all of his other films I could sympathize or connect to his characters but none of the characters in SAY ANTHING rang true with me. This film really isn’t that different from what John Hughes was doing, it’s just not done as well as we’re used to. These characters are basically the same and deal with the same things as anyone in a Hughes film. SAY ANYTHING is just too far-fetched and sappy.