Sunday, September 2, 2007

Say Anything (1989)

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Say Anything could be considered a teen movie classic for being one of the first of its kind, or a film travesty for inspiring the generation of terrible teen movies that followed. With Say Anything, Cameron Crowe became the first writer/director to use the teen romance/comedy as a platform to genuinely showcase the divergence within society known as Generation X. Released in 1989, the film start John Cusack as a confused post-high school graduate and his chase after an academic superstar and soon to be high school graduate played by Ione Skye. Before even mentioning any other cast members, it must be made clear that the only performance even worth noting briefly is Cusack; the acting is definitely not the strong point of this movie and at times is painful. Cheeseball performances paired with an even cheesier 80s-synth score create the typical atmosphere you would expect from an 80s film starring teenagers. Crowe's writing, however, pushes through the cheese at some points to cast light on relevant issues. The central theme is the confusion of which path to follow to adulthood that many 17-20 year old's experience. Lloyd, Cusack's character, struggles between joining the army, like his father, and becoming a professional kickboxer all while trying to coax a girl and her father. Although this may be a bit of a stretch, the dilemma of tradition and safety versus breaking the mold all while worrying about creating an image that will scare away others is presented surprisingly effectively through Cusack's performance. The side-plot involving John Mahoney (the dad from Frasier) as Diane Court's father seems unnecessary and the ending isn't particularly illuminating, but many of the scenes seem honest and real; much of the film could have actually happened. Say Anything should never surpass the Breakfast Club in terms of classic teen dramas, but does contain its fair share of memorable quotes and scenes, especially Lloyd holding the boombox over his head. For those who can look through the cloud of sappy 80s-ness, Say Anything will be a somewhat enjoyable experience.

Good For: teen comedy/romance fans, John Cusack fans, 80s movie fans, fans of Cameron Crowe

Bad For: anyone older (at heart) than 20

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