written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Okay g33ks! Before you think that you may have missed some sort of sci fi or fantasy element in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 coming of age film Say Anything, allow me to save you the trouble… you didn’t. The reason behind this post and subsequent future posts is to shed a light on the film buffs of geek culture. You can be a geek about anything these days, and in a way this is spotlighting a geek; Lloyd Dobler (the film’s protagonist) is anything but the quintessential popular guy, but this unlikeliest of hero captures the heart of Diane Court, a girl who his friends continue to say is out of his league. Now sure, many of these posts will be lacking capes and phaser beams, but are nonetheless just as geeky.
This film is classic to me, it sits as one of my favorite movies and one that continues to endure. That iconic scene with Lloyd holding up a boom box outside Diane’s window is one of the main reasons this movie stays with me. Scenes like that just linger, as does the dialog; when Lloyd exclaims “I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen” or in one of the scenes post the breakup where Lloyd confides in some of his male friends about women, only to realize they know just as little. The story is attractive and the character is charming because Lloyd is the everyman, while not outwardly geeky or awkward, he isn’t the football player or the valedictorian. He’s just a regular guy who loves kickboxing and really long trench coats (oh and the Clash… can’t forget the Clash).
Diane says to Lloyd “Nobody thinks this will work, do they?” and Lloyd simply replies “No. You just described every great success story.”
From the rise and fall (and eventual reconciliation) of their relationship, Lloyd and Diane are a bit of a whirlwind. Amidst their love story swirls Diane’s apprehension to take a fellowship grant to go to school in England, Lloyd’s lack of a clear idea of what he wants to do with his life, and of course Diane’s father being prosecuted (and eventually charged) with tax fraud. It’s not your typical teen movie and if you’ve ever seen any other Cameron Crowe films like Singles (also taking place in Seattle) and Jerry Maguire, you’ll see from his IMDB page that the guy has contributed a lot to the greater collective of pop culture. Smartly written and gleefully entertaining, you find yourself pulling for Lloyd and wanting him to end up on top throughout the movie. Though he may lack direction, the overall character of Lloyd Dobler isn’t flawed; he’s just a guy who fell deeply in love with a girl facing all kinds of events that put her on an emotional rollercoaster. Even in one of the final scenes, when during the aftermath of learning of her father’s guilt, she seeks Lloyd out to express her sincerest apologies and to tell him that she loves him. Though initially the scene started out a bit argumentative, eventually in response to her telling him that she loves him and that she needs him, he replies with “One question: do you need… someone or do you need me?... Forget it, I don’t really care.” They kiss and all is right again in the world.
The setting has a soft spot in my heart, being a proud Seattleite; I proclaim my love for this city to anyone who’ll listen (and sometimes to those that don’t give a really care). Someone once told me that she knew I was from Seattle because “I was ordering black coffee on a hot day.” I was in Dallas for a convention and it was upper 90’s over 100 degrees. Anyway, back to Seattle. Sure there are some inconsistencies in the driving scenes, like how they end up in Fremont after being on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. But location based discrepancies aside; I love it when a film set in Seattle is actually shot in Seattle… and not Vancouver, B.C. I mean… I love VanCity and I can see how it share similarities to Seattle but scenes like the opening of 50/50 where Joseph Gordon-Levitt is running along “PIKE STREET” and somehow the Space Needle can be seen in the distance… sorry but that isn’t how Seattle works guys. Many very “Seattle” things make it into Say Anything, like the Westlake Center (identified as Bell Square) and the Guild 45th. Speaking of that scene, I attribute movie magic for the reason why Lloyd can go from heading west on 45th Ave in Wallingford and somehow get to the Westlake area… magic.
I love this film, and I can watch it again and again and not get tired of it. Sure I may cringe a little at some of the cheesier of scenes, or pretty much any scene where Corey sings a song about Joe. But when it comes down to it, I love that this movie just reminds me to live freely and love happily. The way that Lloyd just looks convention in the face and tells it to fuck off… I can get the girl! There’s a scene where Diane says to Lloyd “Nobody thinks this will work, do they?” and Lloyd simply replies “No. You just described every great success story.” I dare to be great, and I seek situations that give me the chance to be great. That’s what Say Anything means to me.