Say Anything... Review
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Writer/director Cameron Crowe has made some pretty memorable (not to mention endlessly quotable) films. He’s the guy responsible for “You had me at ‘Hello’” and Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s Oscar. He’s also the guy who dreamed up Jeff Spicoli and Penny Lane. But, to me, he’ll always be known for Lloyd Dobler and his boom box—from his directorial debut, 1989’s Say Anything...

As aspiring kick-boxer Lloyd (John Cusack) graduates from high school, he has just one real goal for his future: to build up the courage to ask valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye) out on a date.

Diane is the perfect girl. She’s smart, pretty, and rich. But she’s also lonely. She’s spent so much of her life planning for her future that she never really took the time to enjoy high school. So when Lloyd asks her to a party, she surprises herself—and the rest of the school—by accepting.

Diane soon discovers that Lloyd is actually a great guy. He’s sweet and dependable and, well, basic. And she likes that. So she agrees to see him again—and he eagerly promises to devote his entire summer to spending time with her. But with just months to go until she leaves for England on a hard-earned fellowship—and with her father (John Mahoney) under investigation by the IRS—Diane’s not so sure that they should be together.

I can’t imagine that there’s anything left to say about this iconic ‘80s romance. It’s a film that movie lovers (and hopeless romantics) have been praising and debating and rehashing for two decades—and yet it never gets old. Despite the ‘80s styles, it still feels as fresh and as relevant today as it did in 1989 (even after multiple viewings).

Though new coming-of-age stories and against-all-odds romances pop up in theaters nearly every weekend, Say Anything… is different. It’s sweet and funny, but it’s also challenging. The characters aren’t always as they seem—and they don’t always do what you expect them to do. And while the ending is hopeful, it’s far from the naďvely happy ending that comes standard with most romances.

Still, what makes Say Anything… truly unforgettable (aside from the boom box scene, of course) is its cast—and the lovable characters they play. Cusack’s Lloyd, especially, is so clumsily charming that you can’t help but love him. He’s a complex character, yet, in so many ways, he’s just the average 19-year-old guy (especially back then). He’s nervous and fidgety, and he has a tendency to talk a lot when he’s uncomfortable. He’s unsure of his future. He doesn’t really understand what he’s feeling—or what he’s supposed to do about it. All he really knows is that he likes spending time with Diane—and he wants to do as much of it as possible. He’s such an adorably awkward character that you can’t help but love him—and hope that he’ll get the girl in the end.

In a way, Say Anything… is a lot like its beloved characters. It’s warm and thoughtful, lovable and funny. At times, it’s awkward and uncertain; at other times, it’s boldly optimistic. And once you spend some time with it, you’ll find that you just keep coming back for more.

Blu-ray Review:
Generally, when a studio releases an older film on Blu-ray, the special features are few and far between—but that’s not the case here. The 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release of Say Anything… is surprisingly loaded with extras—like 28 extended, deleted, and alternate scenes (including various takes of the infamous boom box scene). There’s a commentary track and a trivia track to enhance your movie-watching experience. There are trailers and TV spots and photo galleries—and even a “vintage” making-of featurette.

New 20th anniversary extras also include An Iconic Film Revisited, in which members of the cast and crew look back on the experience, the characters, their favorite scenes, and more. I Love Say Anything… feels like an episode of VH1’s I Love the [Your Favorite Decade Here], with various actors, comedians, and other personalities talking about their favorite parts of the movie. And, finally, there’s A Conversation with Cameron Crowe, which offers some insights into the process, the characters, the cast, and (best of all) his first day as a director.

The extras on this Blu-ray release are an unexpected treat—and fans of the film will want to explore them all.

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