Say Anything... (1989)

Say Anything... (1989), written and directed by Cameron Crowe.

I suspect most people's experience with First Love is that you don't get out with dignity. Only after a wretched period of tears and begging do you resolve: "I'm not going through this again. Next time: just say ok and walk".

That's almost Lloyd and Diane's story: brave and good-hearted as they are, love humbles them. That they actually seem to make it in the end, that their First Love is True Love Forever: a Hollywood ending. I suppose it really happens.

In my high school there was no social ease between boys and girls, and the different cliques were always at war. That doesn't happen here, and I'm jealous. The school celebrates its freakdom at graduation and hard-working, fellowship-winning Diane finally gets a social life at the wild all-night party. Where she is accepted. She was too busy before.

It's great that Lloyd Dobler, who at first seems like an unmotivated slacker (though a good brother and uncle) who is enthusiastic only about (a) kickboxing, the sport of the future, and (b) getting a date with unobtainable valedictorian Diane, turns out to be well-respected by a wide community. At the party he is the designated responsible adult holding a big bag of car keys and judging sobriety.

A favorite bit at the party: drunken Mark (Jeremy Piven) tackles the Keymaster:


Mark: Give me my Firebird keys!

Lloyd: You must chill! You must chill! I have hidden your keys! Chill!

Mark: I love you, man!

What I don't get: the guidance counselor shows up and throws her keys in the bag. Really?

Lloyd turns out to be the perfect escort, a gentleman protective without being smothering. He's actually a good role model for lesser mortals who are not top of the class, team captain, etc.

John Cusack is Lloyd and Ione Skye, last seen in River's Edge (1986), her first film, is Diane.

Joan Cusack fanclub!

Photographed by László Kovács.

Available on Blu-ray, but my thumbnails are from the DVD.

The chatty commentary track with the director (his first film), Cusack and Skye is not very information-dense, but has good stories and details. They do a lot of shout-outs to supporting actors.

The iconic image of Cusack holding the boom-box was shot on the last day, last scene, last minute of the daylight. The music: "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel.