Late to the Party: Say Anything

This week I decided to review Say Anything. It was among one of the movies suggested to me by the good people of Twitter, and it’s been in my collection for a couple of months now. It’s one of many movies I’ve bought without having seen it before, but I’d only ever heard good things about it, so it seemed worth the gamble.

Be warned: I’m a total sap for cheesy romance movies, so I’ll likely ramble on about how much I loved this.

I’ve created a Twitter account specifically to do reviews for Geekin’ Out, which you can follow here. For the live-tweeting stream, click here. Scroll to the very bottom (giving it time to load all of the tweets) to start at the beginning of the feed. It should be noted that you will not be able to view all of the tweets unless you are logged into Twitter. I only found this out today, so I apologize for any non-Twitterers.

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Lloyd Dobler, believed to be a bit of a misfit by almost everyone who knows him, has a crush with Diane Court, one of the smartest and prettiest girls in his class. After their high-school graduation, she agrees to go on a date with him. Despite her plans to leave in a matter of weeks to attend college abroad, their relationship flourishes until her father falls under investigation by the government. Everyone involved doubts that their relationship can withstand the pressure of Diane supporting her father while knowing she will be leaving Lloyd behind — except for Lloyd.

Thoughts

I really have no idea where to start here. This movie seems to be much more about its characters than its plot, so I’m thinking that’s where I’ll keep my focus.

I fell in like with Lloyd within moments of first hearing him talk about Diane. A lot of the movies I’ve seen in which a teenage guy falls for a girl consists of him talking to his buddies about how hot he thinks the most popular girl in school is while completely leaving out the girl he ends up falling for in the end. Not Lloyd. He knows that he loves Diane right from the start; he’s smart, even though he hasn’t applied himself to a line of work aside from kickboxing; he’s honest in his feelings; he doesn’t let the more chauvinistic guys influence how he views the state of affairs (so to speak) between him and Diane; and it comes naturally to him to send Diane a letter that was short but sweet enough that I thought I was developing a cavity. Even when she’s slighted him, he fails to think badly of her and isn’t a jerk when she comes running to him for help. I think, even out of all of these things, his adorable rambling when he’s nervous was one of the things I liked most about his character. There is absolutely nothing that I disliked about him.

The same can’t be said for the two girls he spent his time with when he wasn’t with Diane, though. Corey’s character irritated me to no end and I sat through her scenes just waiting for her to shut up about Joe What’s-His-Nuts. Nearer to the end of the movie she became a little more bearable, and it was only at that point that I realized I had no idea what the other girl’s name was. I still don’t, as a matter of fact, and that doesn’t really bother me.

Driving Lessons

Break-up aside, these two seemed to have a ridiculous amount of fun in cars.

Diane’s character was familiar and relatable to me in a number of ways. (This part may sound like me tooting my own horn, and for that I apologize.) While I wasn’t one of the prettier girls in school, I was very conscious about my grades and how well I behaved in contrast to my fellow students who didn’t give a rip about school or getting into trouble. In that sense, as Diane lamented after going to a party with Lloyd, I missed out on doing a lot of things that most teenagers make a point of getting to, which I won’t list here, for the sake of my shame. I’ll just say that being the goody-two-shoes seemed to work out better for Diane than it did for me. Also, she had a great relationship with her father (or so she thought, before the investigation), as I do with both of my parents, which also seems to be a bit of a rarity among young adults. Watching her go to bat for him before she discovers what he’s been up to, and seeing how fast she is to distance herself after confronting him, really strengthened my fondness of her character.

It wasn’t until after I was finished writing this review (nearly, anyway) that I happened upon another review that said that Lloyd and Diane’s characters are dull — two-dimensional and uninteresting. In a way I can understand what they mean. Lloyd has no ambition, and almost no life, really, outside of courting Diane, unless you count kickboxing; and Diane as her father (with his many issues) and her trip to England to focus on. That’s it, that’s all. Perhaps it’s this flatness of the characters that makes them interesting to watch in terms of how they handle the bumps in the road of their relationship, but I have to say that a more critical viewer’s eye has made me question my own here.

… Anyway.

Moving on to the slightly more interesting character of Diane’s father … he is a real piece of work. He comes across as quite likable for the first little while, but as time wore on, things bothered me about him. I never had a curfew, mostly because I almost never went out — especially not all night unless it was a planned thing that my parents knew about — but even if I had, I can’t imagine my father taking a strip off me for not letting me know where I’d been. He would’ve been worried, sure, but he would never yell — mostly because he trusts me and would have known that, being the good kid I am, I would already feel guilty for not calling, as Diane did.

The iconic shot of Lloyd with his boombox

How long did he stand there before his arms got tired?

The issue of trust is something that’s explored relatively thoroughly in this movie. Diane is close enough to her father to tell him rather openly that she slept with Lloyd, but all the while, her father has been embezzling the clients of the seniors’ centre that he owns/runs/whatever it is he does with it. When Diane finds out and confronts him, he tries to guilt-trip her about not siding with him about what he did. I found myself growling (no lie, I actually growl sometimes when characters piss me off) when he defended his actions, saying that it was for her and that he does more for the seniors than their families did. Seeing him get his comeuppance was more than satisfying.

This is longer than I’d expected it to be, so I’m going to close by saying two things: 1) I wish Lloyd could teach me to drive stick-shift. I’ve never had so much fun watching a driving scene in my life. 2) The famous stereo shot, short as it was, was no less epic than I expected it to be.

The Verdict

I can’t think of much else to say, aside from that I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this film. The plot was a realistic one, the characters were relatable and very believable, and I will definitely watch this movie again — alone next time, though, so I won’t have to worry about annoying my sister with my ‘awwwww!’s.

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
iTunes – Unavailable
IMDB – 7.5 / 10
Toria – 4 / 5

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One Comment

  1. Ben
    Posted July 29, 2011 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Great review. I have seen this movie at various times in my life and have always enjoyed it, definitely more emotionally layered than most romantic comedies of this era. The breakdown of trust between Diane and her father was one of the most interesting aspects of the movie for me, almost more than the main plot.

    Anyway, excellent analysis. Keep them (and the feverish life-tweeting) coming 🙂

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