Say Anything... (1989)
November 14, 2022 10:32 AM - Subscribe

"To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court is about to know Lloyd Dobler."

John Cusack and Ione Skye star in this movie written and directed by Cameron Crowe. The film also features Lily Taylor, Jeremy Piven, Bebe Neuwirth, Eric Stoltz, and John Mahoney. Joan Cusack is uncredited in this movie as she did it as a favor to her brother John. Joan, John, and Jeremy Piven would reunite again in Grosse Point Blank.

Boasting 98% at Rotten Tomatoes. Available for stream or rent at various services-check Justwatch.
posted by miss-lapin (21 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Looked up this scene earlier and realized there wasn't a FF post. Decided to rectify that.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:33 AM on November 14, 2022

Lloyd’s sparring partner in the kickboxing scenes (filmed on the same set as the dojo from “The Karate Kid,” and shot while Cusack had a raging hangover, after going out on the town with pal Jeremy Piven — who also pops up in the film) is sporting legend Don “The Dragon” Wilson, who would go on and star in Roger Corman‘s eight-strong series of “Bloodfist” actioners. Crowe also brought in friends from the music world he knew so well: Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam plays a cab driver, Chynna Phillips from Wilson-Phillips plays Joe’s girlfriend, and the director makes a walk-on cameo along with his then-wife, Heart member Nancy Wilson, in the shopping mall scene. Also worth keeping out for: producer Polly Platt and “Cheers” star Bebe Neuwirth, Paul Thomas Anderson favorite Philip Baker Hall, and Dan Castellaneta, who was about to become the legendary voice of Homer Simpson.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:35 AM on November 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

Crowe had scripted the song in the iconic boombox scene to be Billy Idol’s “To Be A Lover,” and commissioned a number of bands to write possible themes. The Smithereens were one, and they turned in the track that would become their big hit, “A Girl Like You,” but Crowe felt that it stayed too close to the plot. When the time came to film the scene, Cusack was actually playing “Bonin’ In The Boneyard” by one of his favourite bands, Fishbone, but only because they knew they’d be dubbing over it. Eventually, Crowe rediscovered “In Your Eyes” on a tape he’d made for Nancy Wilson for their wedding, and approached Gabriel. The musician sent a note back saying he liked the film, although disapproved of the lead character’s drug overdose: a puzzled Crowe swiftly discovered that Gabriel had accidentally been sent a copy of John Belushi biopic “Wired” instead. It was put right, and the rest was movie-music history.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:38 AM on November 14, 2022 [11 favorites]

I like the movie, but from the perspective that it's really more about Diane than about Lloyd; my favorite scene in the movie is when Diane goes into the IRS office to confront the agent (played by Philip Baker Hall) and ask him why he's acting like her dad is guilty, and he's like, because he is guilty, we've got everything we need to convict. I also love the scene where Lili Taylor's character, Corey, is singing one of the umpteen songs that she's written about her ex-boyfriend Joe; it's one of the nicer ones, but the instant she sees Joe she switches to one of the hate songs.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:56 AM on November 14, 2022 [8 favorites]

As I recall Crowe said the title of the movie about how Diane thinks she has this "say anything" relationship to her dad and realizes no she doesn't. She has it with Lloyd.
posted by miss-lapin at 11:35 AM on November 14, 2022 [8 favorites]

A few years back they did a 30th-anniversary screening of this at the Tribeca Film Festival, and I went; they were supposed to have John Cusack, Ione Skye and Cameron Crowe do a talkback after, but John had to stay put in Chicago and work on filming something, so he Skyped in; seeing a 20-foot-tall John Cusack face looming over Ione Skye's shoulder was kinda surreal. The talkback was only mediocre at best anyway.

Two moments caught me during the screening itself:

1. The first time Lloyd came on screen, this little gaspy murmur ran through the audience as people reacted to holy shit look it's baby John Cusack.

2. When The Scene came on, there were a couple people that tried snapping cameraphone pictures of the screen with John and the boombox on it, and I rolled my eyes. Then after a few seconds, I faintly heard someone three rows behind me softly start singing along with "In Your Eyes." Then a few seconds later someone about 5 seats to my left joined in, and then someone to my right, and then a few seconds later a couple different people in front of me. So of course I joined in too.

...Everyone always goes for the Boombox scene or "I don't want to buy anything sold or processed...." scene when mentioning favorites. Excellent ones both, but I also like to show a little love to this one:

"You must CHILL! You MUST CHILL! I have hidden your keys! CHILL!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on November 14, 2022 [14 favorites]

Cusack was actually playing “Bonin’ In The Boneyard” by one of his favourite bands, Fishbone

mind. blown

is there a more perfect factoid for today? I think not.
posted by elkevelvet at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

"You must CHILL! You MUST CHILL! I have hidden your keys! CHILL!"

You forgot (slap) I LOVE YOU MAN!
posted by miss-lapin at 1:54 PM on November 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

“I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.”

― Lloyd Dobler "Say Anything"

This quote has stuck with me all my life.
it's something I still strive towards.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:18 PM on November 14, 2022 [7 favorites]

As a Smart Girl, once upon a time I thought I'd have to have a Lloyd in order to have a relationship. I never got one to keep, obviously, but one ex was rather like that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:44 PM on November 14, 2022

"If you guys know so much about women, what are you doing drinking beers in the parking lot behind the Gas N' Sip on Saturday night, alone, with no women anywhere?"
posted by bartleby at 5:18 PM on November 14, 2022 [7 favorites]

Ooh, now I'm curious about what 'a Lloyd' is (never having dated boys).

I just remember being very saddened by "Wait. Are you here because you need someone? Or because you need me? Y'know'what, I don't care." But I was overly romantic, so.
posted by bartleby at 5:23 PM on November 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

For purposes of this conversation, a guy who wasn't at all intimidated at loving a girl smarter than he is. They are rare finds.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:28 PM on November 14, 2022 [4 favorites]

I just remember being very saddened by "Wait. Are you here because you need someone? Or because you need me? Y'know'what, I don't care."

But she answers him - she says she needs him.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:46 PM on November 14, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oh, and just a bit of fun -

John Cusack and Peter Gabriel have had a couple of conversations and bonded a little over being mutually associated with what is effectively a sort of proto-meme. But they have a sense of humor about it - to the point that when Peter Gabriel did a tour commemorating the 20th anniversary of his album So, from which "In Your Eyes" came, they set something up so that at the Hollywood Bowl gig, just as the band was starting to play the intro to "In Your Eyes," John walked out from the wings and handed Peter a boom box.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:52 PM on November 14, 2022 [6 favorites]

I love this movie. The quote that stuck with me is Joan Cusack saying "there's no food in your food!". I always think it when someone is talking/presenting, but there's no actual useful content in what they are saying. Happened a lot when I worked in consulting.
posted by Kris10_b at 12:55 AM on November 15, 2022 [4 favorites]

"If you guys know so much about women, what are you doing drinking beers in the parking lot behind the Gas N' Sip on Saturday night, alone, with no women anywhere?"

By choice, man!
posted by kirkaracha at 11:55 AM on November 15, 2022 [7 favorites]

Conscious choice!
posted by Etrigan at 12:01 PM on November 15, 2022 [3 favorites]

"I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen."

I also went to the 30th anniversary (!) screening in my town, and one thing that really jumped out at me was that kids today (tm) will never understand what it's like to have to fight for the one phone in the house and streeeeetch the cord as far as it will go to shut yourself up in the bathroom to get some privacy, or have to face the gauntlet of having someone's parent answer when you call, or know that *everyone* will listen if you leave a message on the answering machine... So many challenges to dating back then!
posted by TwoStride at 6:55 AM on November 16, 2022 [2 favorites]

I absolutely love this movie, I don't even know how many times I've seen it. It has a magical place in my heart based around the person I saw it with the first time, and how romantic I think we both felt afterward, like the movie jump-started our relationship with its depiction of Lloyd and Diane. Especially the way she begins to see who he is at the graduation party.

And it's also got this magical imprint of the Seattle that used to be, before the tech industry turned it into this nightmare of unaffordable housing and population density. Just the wandering through neighborhoods, the landmarks in the driving routes, that gorgeous shot of the city at night coming up northbound on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which is no longer here so you can never replicate that view... I get very nostalgic when I watch it now, not just for personal reasons but because of that memento of the Seattle I loved.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 2:59 PM on November 16, 2022 [1 favorite]

Something they said in the 30th-anniversary talkback stuck with me. It was when they were in the early actors-figuring-things-out stage, and one of the things that helped John Cusack come to grips with Lloyd was Cameron Crowe telling him that Lloyd wasn't just a sort of Pollyanna - he was actively engaging in positivity as a radical and conscious act. Lloyd doesn't have the kind of positive rose-colored glasses "oh, everything's going to be okay!" attitude - it was more of a determined, deliberate choice to be positive - "yes, you're right, life is kicking me in the teeth right now. But dammit, I am not going to let that pull me under. I am going to stand up and assert my right to joy and happiness despite the stuff that sucks, so there."

It's a subtle difference, but a real one. And from what they said, when Cameron Crowe explained it that way, John's face lit up like "oh, okay, now I get him" and he got really excited about the part.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:08 PM on November 18, 2022 [2 favorites]

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