Say Anything… (1989)

(On TV, September 2017) There are a few reasons to go back to Say Anything … and they’re not strictly limited to this being one of John Cusack’s first big role, or that this is Cameron Crowe’s first movie as a writer/director. Even today, Say Anything does have an off-beat quality that distinguishes it from so many other teen romance movies. Most of the characters defy easy characterizations (indeed, one of the film’s strengths is in undermining the stereotypes it starts with, all the way to an incarceration that feels wildly daring for a movie of this type), the dialogues are witty and the conclusion ends, as it is, in mid-air without being unsatisfying. Cusack’s charm is apparent even at a young age, while Ione Skye distinguishes herself as a teenage heroine and John Mahoney handles a difficult role fairly well. Surprisingly enough, the iconic boombox moment is a fleeting scene without much pomp associated with it. Decently comparable to the slew of John Hughes high school romantic comedies, Say Anything may not be a perfect examples of the form, but it’s readily watchable even today, and it still feels somewhat more sophisticated than many of its contemporaries.

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