Say Anything (1989)

 

Highlights

  • Written and Directed by Cameron Crowe in his directorial debut movie.
  • Starring John Cusack, Ione Skye and John Mahoney.
  • Top soundtrack featuring- Peter Gabriel, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Depeche Mode.
  • Grossed over $21m in the US Box Office in 1989.
  • Contains iconic scene where a boombox is playing ‘In Your Eyes’ by Peter Gabriel under Ione Skye’s open bedroom window.

 

Say Anything … is a 1989 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe in his directorial debut. The film follows the romance between Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), an average student, and Diane Court (Ione Skye), the class valedictorian, immediately after their graduation from high school. In 2002, Entertainment Weekly ranked Say Anything … as the greatest modern movie romance, and it was ranked number 11 on Entertainment Weekly‘s list of the 50 best high-school movies.

Noble underachiever Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) falls for valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye) at their high-school graduation ceremony. Lloyd lives with his sister Constance (Cusack’s real-life sister Joan Cusack), a single mother, and has no plans for his future. Diane comes from a sheltered academic upbringing and lives with her doting divorced father Jim (John Mahoney), who owns the retirement home where she works. She is due to take up a fellowship in England at the end of the summer.

Diane accompanies Lloyd to a party, surprising their classmates. During a dinner at the Court household, where Lloyd fails to impress Diane’s family, Jim is informed that he is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Diane takes Lloyd to meet the residents of the retirement home and he teaches her to drive her manual-transmission car. Their relationship grows intimate and they have sex, to her father’s concern. Lloyd’s musician friend Corey (Lili Taylor), who has never gotten over her cheating ex-boyfriend, Joe (Loren Dean), warns him to take care of Diane.

Jim urges Diane to break up with Lloyd, feeling he is not an appropriate match, and suggests she give Lloyd a pen as a parting gift. Diane tells Lloyd she wants to stop seeing him and concentrate on her studies, and tells him to take her pen. Devastated, Lloyd seeks advice from Corey, who tells him to “be a man”. Jim’s credit cards are declined when he tries to buy Diane a luggage set.

At dawn, Lloyd plays “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, the song that was playing the first time they slept together, on a boombox under her open bedroom window. The next day, Diane meets with the IRS investigator (Philip Baker Hall), who explains that they have evidence suggesting Jim has been embezzling funds from his retirement-home residents. He advises her to accept the fellowship as matters with her father will worsen. After Diane discovers cash concealed at home, Jim tells her he stole the money to give her financial independence, justifying it by saying he provided better care to the victims of his embezzlement than their families did. Distraught, she reconciles with Lloyd at the gym where he trains.

Some time later, Jim is incarcerated. Lloyd visits him in a federal penitentiary and tells him that he will go with Diane to England; Jim reacts with anger. Lloyd gives him a letter from Diane saying she cannot forgive him, but she arrives to say goodbye and they embrace. She gives him a pen, asking him to write to her in England. Lloyd escorts Diane, who is afraid of flying, on her flight.

Cast

  • John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler, an eternal optimist
  • Ione Skye as Diane Court, a high-achieving student
  • John Mahoney as Jim Court, Diane’s divorced father
  • Lili Taylor as Corey Flood, Lloyd’s friend
  • Polly Platt as Mrs. Flood, Corey’s mother
  • Bebe Neuwirth as Mrs. Evans, a guidance counselor at Diane’s and Lloyd’s school
  • Amy Brooks as D.C., Lloyd’s friend
  • Loren Dean as Joe
  • Pamela Adlon as Rebecca
  • Chynna Phillips as Mimi
  • Jeremy Piven as Mark
  • Eric Stoltz as Vahlere
  • Jason Gould as Mike Cameron
  • Philip Baker Hall as IRS Boss
  • Joanna Frank as Mrs. Kerwin
  • Lois Chiles as Diane’s mother (uncredited)
  • Joan Cusack as Constance Dobler, Lloyd’s sister (uncredited)
  • Dan Castellaneta as Diane’s teacher (uncredited)

Soundtrack

No.TitleArtistLength
1.“All For Love”Nancy Wilson4:37
2.“Cult of Personality”Living Colour5:07
3.“One Big Rush”Joe Satriani3:25
4.“You Want It”Cheap Trick3:43
5.“Taste the Pain”Red Hot Chili Peppers5:04
6.“In Your Eyes”Peter Gabriel5:23
7.“Stripped”Depeche Mode6:41
8.“Skankin’ to the Beat”Fishbone2:49
9.“Within Your Reach”The Replacements4:26
10.“Keeping the Dream Alive”Freiheit4:14
11.“Lloyd Dobler Rap”John Cusack0:33
Total length:45:29

 

The film features one of the most culturally recognizable scenes in American movie history, in which John Cusack holds a boombox above his head outside Diane’s bedroom window to let her know that he hasn’t given up on her. Crowe and producer James L. Brooks believed the scene could become a hallmark of the movie, though Crowe found it difficult to film because Cusack felt it was “too passive”. The scene was first scored with Fishbone’s “Question of Life”, but after viewing the scene, Crowe opted to replace it with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” to better fit the mood that he wished to convey. Gabriel initially turned down Crowe because he confused the film with another film in production at the time, a John Belushi biography called Wired.

A television series based on the movie was planned by NBC and 20th Century Fox, but producers Aaron Kaplan and Justin Adler did not know that Crowe had not approved of the project. When they found out his views, the show was dropped.

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