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on March 19, 2001
"Say Anything" pinpoints a different kind of 80s love story movie, with less ridiculous attempts at comedy and more of a meaningfull plot. John Cusack spent most of the 80s spinning out classic teenaged comedy, but cuts down on the often needless immature and spastic humor in this movie. His trademark I think is his nervous and eager personality as the classic underachiever. Playing C student Lloyd Dobbler about to graduate from high school, he falls helplessly in love with the shy and lacking of self-esteem validictorian Diane Cort, played by Ione Skye. Lloyd lives with his sister Constance, a single mother and an un-credited part played by John's sister Joan Cusack, and focuses his life around kick-boxing. Lloyd and Diane wind up falling in love despite their differences, but are torn apart by the legal troubles of Diane's father, played excellently by John Mahoney. The movie centers around Cusack's determination to hold on to his relationship with Skye, doing everything it takes for them to stay together. The performances and original storyline are what make "Say Anything" great, and the movie is full of scenes that will never die. Scenes like Cusack holding a radio above his head outside Skye's bedroom window one night playing "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. No one by John Cusack could've done something better and more effective in a film. "Say Anything" in my mind is a new classic, a movie worth having when the box office keeps pucking up the same romantic attempt at garbage every year, I give the movie 5 stars.
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on March 6, 2002
Say Anything is, in my opinion, the shining film in Cusack's incredible career. Funny, charming, and original, Cameron Crowe wrote and directed a "teen" movie that appeals to any generation without using any of the typical "adolescent" flair. No cheesy humor, no stereotypical characters, and certainly no cookie-cutter plot. What we see is an emotional masterpiece: Lloyd Dobler, a nervous but charming 18-year-old, and Diane Court, the beautiful valedictorian. Portrayed by Cusack and Skye, their on-screen chemistry convinces you of their true desire and love for one another.
The DVD is PACKED with extra goods: ten deleted scenes, thirteen extended scenes, and five alternate scenes. The extended scenes even change between color and black & white so you can tell what's new, and what's in the movie. Not to mention two full length trailers, eight TV spots, and of course the best of all, the commentary! John Cusack, Ione Skye, and Cameron Crowe all reunite to pay tribute to and reminisce the wonderful film from 1989. The picture and sound quality are perfect; this is well worth your hard earned money.
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on March 5, 2001
If you're seeking an antidote to "American Pie" or some other incredibly vulgar teen flick, you can't possibly do better than "Say Anything," which balances its robust humor with tenderness and delicacy of feeling. This would be the greatest date movie of all time, if only girls wouldn't punch their boyfriends at the end and say, "Why can't YOU be more like Lloyd Dobler?" As played by John Cusack, Lloyd is probably the most lovable fictional teen since Huckleberry Finn, and Ione Skye, as Diane Court, is equally memorable as the inaccessible dream girl who is really sweet and vulnerable at heart. Add John Mahoney's masterful performance as the overprotective dad who turns out to be a thieving, manipulative liar, as well as the frisky supporting performances of Lili Taylor, Joan Cusack, Eric Stoltz, Loren Dean, Jason Gould and others, and you have one of the great teen romantic comedies of all time. "Say Anything" actually dares to take the feelings of its characters seriously, and to create genuine laughs that arise naturally from the characters.
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on February 16, 2005
I tried holding the boombox blasting In Your Eyes outside of my girlfriend's house one night. She looked out her window, said what the hell are you doing? And that was that. She'd never seen the bloody movie!! **Update** She's not my girlfriend anymore!
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on July 4, 2004
It's so pertinent for our times. I think almost anyone can relate something similar in their lives to the scenes in this movie. That's why it's so appealing. In a world where not every guy gets the girl, this is the stuff of dreams...and for a little while, somebody out there who is watching it gets to live that dream.
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on November 8, 2006
I rented Say Anything from the library because I read all of the good ratings it received from both the people and critics. I could see why they felt the way they did about this film, it truly is a sweet story to watch. John Cusack plays a wonderful performance for the cool Lloyd Dobler as well as the beautiful Ione Skye as valedictorian Diane Court. It is a great experience about true love between two different high school graduates in the same class: one who is sophisticated yet trapped in her own world and the other remaining hopeful of becoming a kick boxer. Say Anything in my opinion, is Cameron Crowe's best film with Jerry Maguire coming in second, that is how good it is. It is a teen romantic comedy with a genuine heart and intelligence that I just had to buy the DVD. The John Hughes "brat pack" films are great, but Say Anything is one of the best you'll ever find.
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on July 23, 2002
Right off the bat, if you've seen this movie and love it - get the DVD. It's one of the best DVDs I've seen, with deleted scenes, extensive audio commentary, trailers, etc. etc. etc. The four-star rating is for the movie itself; the DVD gets a solid five stars.
"Say Anything" is really two movies in one. The 'main' story is of sensitive, would-be-underachiever Lloyd Dobler's (Cusack) pursuit of beautiful overachiever Diane Court (Skye) after graduating from High School together. The story of how their relationship develops is quite realistic and the acting from Skye and Cusack is very subtle and effective. The other storyline in this film is between Diane and her father, played incredibly by John Mahoney (from TV's "Frasier"). Having chose to live with her father after her parent's divorce, Diane is incredibly close with him and is her only real friend before she meets Lloyd. However, her father's questionable business practices are called into question and her faith and trust in him are put on the line. This part of the movie, in my opinion, is more interesting than the love story between Lloyd and Diane if only for how realistic and fresh it seems compared to the typical "overbearing" fathers of movies that involve teenagers. John Mahoney really puts in a remarkable performance as the father. If you're a fan of his work, or even only casually familar with him, this is a movie worth checking out.
When I mentioned "Say Anything" to someone recently, they were kind of uncertain as to why it had achieved the 'classic' status that it has. Apart from being a very good movie, it really closed out the era of 80s teen comedies/dramas nicely. Kids that were in high school in the 80s watching and laughing at everything from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" to "The Breakfast Club" to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", were growing up and entering a new decade. Released in 1989, "Say Anything" reflected high school kids graduating and taking that next step towards the future, as well as dealing with serious everyday problems. Its accuracy and tenderness in displaying this is what makes it so enduring.
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on June 29, 2002
Long before he wowed audiences with "Vanilla Sky" or stole the hearts of moviegoers with "Jerry Maguire", Cameron Crowe left his mark on Gen X'ers with this early effort. On the heels of countless John Hughes films, Crowe's romantic comedy was a coming of age for X'ers weaned on "Pretty In Pink" and looking for one last teen fairy tale before graduating to the reality of grown up life. Crowe nabbed John Cusack to play Lloyd Dobbler, the loveable lead in his grown up teen romance. Poised on the verge of adulthood, and unsure what life holds, Lloyd takes his shot at greatness by asking out the girl of his dreams, Dianne Court. (Ione Skye)
This odd pair seem mismatched for reasons that go beyond the usual high school cliques. That these two characters are from vastly different worlds is brilliantly demonstrated by their respective families. Lloyd lives with his single mom older sister (Joan Cusack) and drifts aimlessly through life as the eternal optimist, looking for a "dare to be great" situation. Diane's life is much more structured and planned out in great deal by her doting single father. (John Mahoney in pre-Frasier days.) With everything she ever wanted, Dianne realizes that she has missed out on the kind of friendships that drive Lloyd's life.
Their unlikely romance gets off to the expected shaky start, but Cusack's machine gun delivery of Crowe's razor sharp dialog win her over. It seems impossible for Dianne to resist his charm and completely believable that she would fall for him. She struggles to keep her life in order and keep him at a distance, but eventually lets him in. This movie features one of the most memorable song placements of the era, with Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" playing at their most intimate moment and again later in a heart tugging scene outside Diane's window. (Admit it, how many guys have repeated this scene in the vain hope it might just win her back?)
As her new romance grows, Dianne has to watch as her father's world comes crumbling around them both. Torn between the two important relationships in her life and facing the culmination of her dreams, Dianne struggles with choices. Crowe writes one of the best and most realistic break up scenes ever captured on film. Who can forget the post break up line "I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen." From here the movie could easily have fallen into the trap that so many other teen love stories do, but Crowe uses the strong side characters to give the film an uncommon depth and genuine emotion.
With brilliant performances from Cusack, Skye and Mahoney, Crowe's dialog flows easily and gives "Say Anything" a beautiful realism from start to finish.
Included on this DVD are a number of bonus features including a running commentary by Crowe, Skye & Cusack. There are five alternate scenes that don't show much. The deleted scenes offer a lot more though, including a lengthy monologue by Mahoney about the quality of care for the elderly. A pair of theatrical trailers and full slate of TV spots combine nicely with a featurette complete a nice collection of bonus material.
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on June 14, 2002
This review will only talk about the features included on this DVD edition.
"Say Anything..." is one of my favourite films, and this new DVD, put lovingly together by the passionate Cameron Crowe, more than does the film justice.
John Cusack (Lloyd Dobler), Ione Skye (Diane Court) and Camerone Crowe's (writer/director) commentary track acts as part reunion, part love fest, and part thoughtful discussion on a film they're all obviously proud to have been a part of. Crowe, as writer/directors are wont to do, takes the lead. The track begins with twenty minutes of reminiscences, before the movie even begins. When it finally does begin (I say finally, but really what preceded this was most welcome), Crowe effectively introduces scenes, relays their overall importance and their genesis, while always sharing the credit. At times I wondered why Cusack didn't get a screenplay credit, for all the times Crowe mentioned a line, or even just a word, that John came up with to help crystallize the character. Crowe's other strength is in allowing his co-commentators opportunities to shine, to give their side of the story. He draws on his experience as an ex-rock critic here, to great effect.
Cusack, to his credit, is open and honest about his misgivings about doing the movie. He didn't want to do another teen movie. But in hearing him tell about how his relationship with Crowe and the script deepened, he couldn't possibly turn the film down. Lloyd, a character women love and men want to be, was built out of an intense collaboration between these two men. They agreed on many thematic notions, such as the whole "optimism as a revolutionary act" worldview, spitballed new ideas, and allowed a nice middle ground between Lloyd's lighter and darker elements to prevail. Cusack is intelligent and intense here, without ever being pedantic.
Ione Skye, who often times gets criticized for her work in the movie (which makes a story she tells, about getting booed by a crowd of Down's patients in the nursing home the film was shot at, all the more poignant), is an easygoing revelation. She is unabashed in her love for the movie, her love for the script, her admiration of Crowe, and her schoolgirl crush on Cusack (which he reciprocates). It is this last point that makes me wonder if she deserves the criticism after all. The chemistry between these two is palpable, even to the actors on set. On more than one occasion Skye notes that the scene falls away, and she really believes that she is Diane and Cusack is Lloyd, and that they are in love. Cusack agrees, and that's more than enough proof for me to redeem Skye's work here.
Besides the commentary track, Crowe, a newly discovered DVD aficionado, revels in the medium's ability to present alternate, deleted, and extended scenes. He is generous with all three, warts and all.
The alternate scenes (11 minutes worth) for the most par, present versions that are obviously substandard to those perfect gems that appear in the movie proper. The phone booth scene and the post nose-breaking scene were all re-thought, re-shot, and done much better. Most tellingly, there are 5 versions of the boombox scene. In the two takes in Diane's bedroom, we hear an angry Elvis Costello song. In the three with Lloyd down below, it's a bouncy Fishbone number. This further illustrates Crowe's luck in finding Peter Gabriel's achingly perfect "In Your Eyes". In the Lloyd takes, Cusack experiments with standing and sitting positions, to try and gain the best tone for the scene. Mostly, he comes across as much angrier and more hurt than in the real scene.
The deleted scenes (13 minutes worth) are mainly short snippets, showing us information already covered better elsewhere. They're mostly clumsy and superfluous. Exceptions include a creepy scene where Diane must fend off the advances of one of her teachers at the party, Jim Court testifying before city council about the need for more personal nursing care like he provides, and several scenes of Detective Sims interacting with the old people at the nursing home that want to be heavy but come across rather comic, due to the amateurness of the actors involved.
The extended scenes (24 minutes worth) are uncomfortable to watch. They have no music, and periodically jump back and forth between black and white and colour. They mainly exist to show Crowe's prudence in editing.
Also included on this DVD are Crowe's on set photo gallery, some TV spots and trailers, and a quick featurette from 1989. This last bit is distinguished by Crowe's quick summation of Cusack's character: "Lloyd is a warrior for optimism". It's a perfect summation, for both the character and the movie.
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on January 20, 2014
I picked up this film while doing a review of romantic comedies. This is a somewhat unusual romcom, especially since it doesn't emphasize sexual excitement between the young lovers. This might have seemed strange to my 60s generation, and it is refreshingly strange to see a mature message in a romcom. Lloyd Dobler in this film, played by John Cusack, is well-liked and a "regular guy" and not a nerd - but he is the guy selected as the designated driver. He never does anything really wrong, and displays a strong character. While he seems to have mediocre career prospects - especially to his brilliant girlfriend's father - he actually has a character with leadership qualities and dependability that would bring him success without technical excellence. Without giving away the details, I especially liked a scene at the end when Dobler "pocketed an insult" (as Gandhi used to say) from his girlfriend's father. Thus, I consider this 1989 film to be morally and philosophically excellent - even though its technique is not brilliant, and it doesn't have the explosive chemistry more typical of a romcom. It's more like healthy wisdom!
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