Archive for July 3rd, 2014

By Pat Perry

Diane: “Nobody thinks it will work, do they?”
Lloyd: “No. You just described every great success story.”

– final lines of Say Anything

That’s right – I’m starting with the final scene.
Because whenever I see that closing shot of Say Anything, I fully believe something I’ve never believed of any other teen romantic film couple: Lloyd Dobbler (John Cusack) and Diane Court b(Ione Skye) are heading into a long and happy shared future.
As Lloyd protectively clutches Diane’s white-knuckled hand (to help her past her terror of flying), I can envision them still together in some alternate universe where fictional characters dwell, still holding each other’s hand through the trials and challenges of encroaching middle age.  Maybe they’re raising teenagers now.  Lloyd may be running a kickboxing school while Diane works as a college professor or research scientist. We can’t be sure; after all, these two really only exist in the imagination of writer/director Cameron Crowe, and their story ended on a flight to England in 1989.  But sometimes I wish Crowe had done a Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight kind of thing with these characters, because I’d love to see what they’re doing now.
And isn’t that what you should feel about a couple in any romantic film with a happy ending?  If you’re not invested in the lead couple’s happiness,  if you can’t feel the electric spark of their chemistry crackling off the screen, if you aren’t absolutely convinced that they belong together till death does them part, …then what you’re looking at is a tepid time-waster, not a film that will stand the test of time.  And while Say Anything touches on many familiar tropes and hits many of the same comic beats as other well-remembered teen romances of the 1980s, it stands above and apart from them chiefly in the unforced sweetness and naturalism of the lead characters’ relationship. While many other films of that decade – Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, and so on – feel much like films of their own time, quaint and slightly dated – Say Anything has a core of emotional authenticity that continues to resonate.


Read Full Post »