Review: ‘Say Anything…’ on Blu-ray
You never know when something will come along and click with the pop culture zeitgeist. A line, a performance, even a single image, can leap off the page or screen and become emblematic for an era. The sight of John Cusack, holding a boom box over his head, trying to woo back Iona Skye, has become one of those moments now indelibly used to visualize the 1980s.
Here we are, 20 years later, and the moment has been repeated endlessly in real life and parodied throughout movies and television. Now, we can relive that moment in the 20th anniversary edition of Say Anything
…, released this week by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Written and directed by the wonderfully gifted Cameron Crowe, the movie avoided all the clichés inherent in the romance and teen comedy films of the decade. Instead, he found fresh characters in Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court and avoided expectations by enriching every character with complexity.
Diane was the driven class brain, “in the body of a game show hostess”, who was so focused on class work that she missed out on connecting with her peers. Her awkwardness at addressing the student body at graduation punctuates that point. Interestingly, it is only after the ceremony and her forced dealings with them have come to an end that she actually gets to know them.
When love struck Lloyd calls her a fate, he wears down her reluctance until she acquiesces. After hanging up the phone, she looks up his picture in the yearbook; uncertain of whom she has committed herself. As it turns out, she finds herself enjoying the party antics while Lloyd watches her in action, relegated to being the key master, holding everyone else’s car keys so they can freely get drunk.
Lloyd is uncertain of his future, a kickboxer without a real plan, but he’s a decent guy as seen in his dealings with his young nephew or the residents of the old folks’ home owned by Diane’s father, played with gusto by John Mahoney. Meantime, Mr. Court disapproves of Lloyd, seeing him as being beneath Diane but puts her happiness ahead of his own misgivings.
Diane’s relationship with her father provides an emotional spine to the film that helps separate it from similar tales. They clearly love and trust one another, and while Diane can tell her father anything, he chooses not to reciprocate. As a result, when he comes under investigation by the IRS, his lack of moral judgment crushes her, leaving her no one but Lloyd to turn to.
The tale is of a young couple falling in love for the first time, complete with the ups and downs that happen. Crowe, who captures voices and emotions so well in his works, treats his characters with respect and is rewarded by strong performances.
After 20 years, it largely holds up and maintains its strong grasp on the viewer. The video transfer looks and sounds good. The new edition comes complete with Crowe and his cast reminiscing in a 21 minute featurette, An Iconic Film Revisited: Say Anything…20 Years Later. The director continues to chat about the making of the film in his own 9 minute A Conversation with Cameron Crowe. Also exclusive to the Blu-ray edition is To Know Say Anything…is to Love It! Trivia Track containing over 200 fun questions. Carried over from previous editions are the alternate scenes, deleted scenes, and extended scenes, trailers, original featurette, and a gallery.
The story of Lloyd meets girl is well worth revisiting.