Last night I was alerted to the fact that today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of the movie Say Anything by the headline on this post in NPR’s MonkeySee blog. I haven’t actually read it yet because I decided I wanted to get my own thoughts about the movie down before I did, so any similarities are purely coincidental. Not that I expect there to be a lot because my reflections on the movie are mostly going to be my personal experiences with it rather than stuff about the movie itself. Weirdly this morning at work in helping a theatre professor convert some recordings of productions from this year onto DVD I noticed a scene in one of the plays they put on included an homage to the scene in Say Anything where John Cusack holds the boom box playing “In Your Eyes” over his head. Part of me wonders if the college students watching the play even got the reference. I hope they did, but given that none of them were alive when this movie came out I have my doubts. I thought it was too funny though that I was already thinking about writing this post today and then I saw that. It was like a sign. Of what exactly I’m not sure, but a sign nonetheless.
The first time I saw Say Anything was a few years after its theatrical release. For the two and half years my family lived in Massachusetts due to some error we had free Cinemax with our cable. My parents never subscribed to any of the movie channels when I was growing up, so this short period was the only time we ever had access to any of them. I remember watching Say Anything when it was on Cinemax and loving it so much I recorded a copy of it onto a VHS tape. I upgraded to a for real VHS tape of the movie when I went away to college. I remember special ordering a copy of it from the Sam Goody in the mall my freshman year of college. (Man this paragraph is making me sound super old.) At some point I upgraded my VHS copy to a DVD, and now Say Anything is streaming on Netflix Instant.
No matter how many more format changes occur during my lifetime I have no doubt that Say Anything will remain one of my favorite movies. I couldn’t even possibly tell you how many times I have seen that movie. My friend Lauren and I must have watched it a hundred times when we were in high school. I also remember buying the soundtrack to the movie while on a trip to the mall with her. I have listened to that CD a lot over the years as well.
There are so many things I love about that movie, but the relationships between the characters really are what makes it a great movie. You have Diane and Lloyd obviously, but also Diane and her father, Lloyd and his sister, and Lloyd and his friends. All seem like real relationships rooted in all the things that actual relationships are based on. I don’t know one girl from my generation who did not want Lloyd Dobler to be her boyfriend, and who would not count the famous “In Your Eyes” boom box scene as one of the most romantic scenes in a movie ever. And just in case you forgot or didn’t ever see this video, let me remind you about the time John Cusack gave Peter Gabriel a boom box while attending one of his concerts. It makes me so happy, and it’s all obviously because of this movie.
That moment is obviously what made me fall head over heals in love with this movie, but there are so many other great moments in it too. If I sat here and listed them all out from the humorous to the heartbreaking I would essentially be recreating the script here, so I will just leave you with one more of my favorites which is towards the end when Diane goes to see Lloyd after their break up and after she finds out about her father’s misdeeds. Lloyd asks her if she’s there because she needed him or because she needed someone and I always thought that was such a poignant question. I really do just want to keep listing things, but I’m going to stop because really you should quit reading things about Say Anything and just go watch the movie.
I now realize it has been far too long since I have watched Say Anything. That is something I’m definitely going to have to remedy soon.