Lloyd Dobbler Lives! ‘Say Anything’ at 20

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I like Say Anything, though I don’t have the sustained, ooey-gooey affection for it that some do. I think I first saw it at a difficult age where I was apt to misprize any film that wasn’t either a) a bold formal experiment, or b) directed by Robert Bresson. That said, the film’s 20th anniversary — which Fox is commemorating with a deluxe Blu-Ray out next week — is sufficient incentive for me to want to revisit it. It was Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut after all, as well as John Cusack’s last teen role (The Grifters was just around the corner), and features what I’m sure Lili Taylor hates to hear is still her most memorable screen role to date.

In the Los Angeles Times today, Sam Adams pays a nice tribute to the picture, digging up a few choice tidbits about the film that, if nothing else, were news to me.

● John Cusack did not want to accept the role, having already completed 8 Men Out, and thinking that it was time for him to transition into more adult roles. Co-star (in both pix) John Mahoney encouraged him to reconsider.

● Ione Skye could not relate very intimately to the part of poor, straight-laced valedictorian Diane Court, having grown up both a lousy student and the daughter of psychedelic folk icon Donovan.

Say Anything was one of the last clutch of films that Pauline Kael reviewed before the end of her tenure at The New Yorker. She liked the film, particularly the scene in which Lloyd (Cusack) narrates the history of his failed romance into a tape recorder.

Whether or not it’s one of my favorites, it’s hard to deny the film’s enduring popularity. In no way is this just another teen throwaway. I’ll be keen to see where it is in another 20 years.