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1989 say anything
Say Anything
★★★★☆

The directorial début of screenwriter Cameron Crowe (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Wild Life) is the story of two mismatched young lovers who get together right after graduating high school. Underachiever Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) takes a chance on asking out the brainy and beautiful class valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). Though the two have little in common and seem to be on very different trajectories, they strike up a summer romance, and as their high school experience quickly falls away, they focus on what they have in common. Both are typical of their generation in myriad ways. They’re individualists who long ago broke free from whatever cliques they may have been part of. Both have unusual home lives—Lloyd lives with his sister (Joan Cusack), a single mom raising a young son, and Diane lives with her dad (John Mahoney), a single father facing more troubles than just the fact that his only child will soon be leaving the nest. They are each disconnected from society in unique ways, but both are well liked and respected by their peers and by adults. The characters are extremely well developed and highly relatable. Cusack and Skye give outstanding performances, as does the wonderful Mahoney (Tin Men, Moonstruck, Suspect).

Say Anything feels like a first film in that it’s a little unsure of itself, but that inexperienced quality fits with the story and the characters. Crowe works under the wing of the great filmmaker and TV producer James L. Brooks, who serves as executive producer and brings much of his Gracie Films production crew to the project: including editor Richard Marks (Pennies from Heaven, Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News), and producer Polly Platt (one of the greatest unsung heroes of ‘70s and ‘80s cinema). Brooks and Platt provide Crowe’s movie a subtle polish without altering its diamond-in-the-rough quality. The great Hungarian cinematographer László Kovács (who worked with Platt on What's Up, Doc? and Paper Moon) shoots Say Anything with elegant simplicity. And many in the marvelous supporting cast, including Lili Taylor, Amy Brooks, Bebe Neuwirth, Jason Gould, and Eric Stoltz, come from the Brooks/Platt connection. Many from Cusack’s cadre of young Chicago actors also populate the film, such as Jeremy Piven, Patrick O'Neill, and Gregory Sporleder.

While the picture is both romantic and funny it can hardly be classified as a RomCom in that it tells a dramatic story and takes its emotions seriously and fervently. The film caps off a decade over-stuffed with movies aimed at young adults: from earnest high school coming-of-age pictures like All The Right Moves (1983), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Pretty in Pink (1986), to teen sex-comedies like The Last American Virgin (1982), Porky's (1982), and Revenge of the Nerds (1984), to contemplative young adult dramas and satires like Risky Business (1983), River's Edge (1986), and Heathers (1989). Say Anything is far from the ultimate ‘80s high school movie; rather it plays like the final entry in the genre made just before every kid born of this era transitioned into adulthood.

NOTE: Say Anything is one of my 100 favorite films.
For a more in-depth appreciation click here:
www.film5000.com/my-100-favorite-films/say-anything/4187


Twitter Capsule:
Crowe’s directorial début is a wonderful, slightly unsure of itself tale of first love and first heartbreak set at the transitional time immediately following high school graduation. Cusack, Skye, and Mahoney deliver iconic, career-defining performances.

Directed by Cameron Crowe
Produced by Polly Platt

Written by Cameron Crowe

With: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Amy Brooks, Pamela Adlon, Jason Gould, Loren Dean, Jeremy Piven, Polly Platt, Bebe Neuwirth, Philip Baker Hall, Lois Chiles, Eric Stoltz, Joan Cusack, and Dan Castellaneta

Cinematography: László Kovács
Editing: Richard Marks
Music: Anne Dudley and Richard Gibbs

Runtime: 100 min
Release Date: 14 April 1989
Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Color