Say Anything… Turns 25!

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Posted by Cameron on April 14, 2014 at 10:05 am
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Going through boxes recently, we found the very first draft of “Say Anything….”  It began as a story about a golden girl, Diane Court, who also worked in her father’s nursing home, helping the residents through their “Golden Years.”  Over time, and many more drafts, the story also became about the lovelorn kick-boxing suitor — Lloyd Dobler — who identified himself and his mission in the very first scene.  Lloyd was so much fun to write as a character, and the collaboration to come with actor John Cusack remains a crackling reminder of what happens when the right people come together.

Thanks to James L. Brooks who nurtured the film with an inspiring process, and the gift of something he said very early on.  “Never forget the privilege it is to be able tell a story to people.”   The story became “Say Anything….”

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Happy anniversary and BIG thanks to Jim, Johnny C, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Lili Taylor, Amy Brooks, Philip Baker-Hall, Laszlo Kovacs, Diane Brooks, Clay Griffith, Peter Gabriel, Polly Platt, Richard Sakai and everybody else who made “Say Anything…” a privilege and a blast.  Oh and thanks also to Lowell Marchant, my neighbor at the time, who knocked on the door one day when I was trying to write and introduced himself.  “I’m Lowell,” he said, extending a handshake.  “I’m a kick boxer, sport of the future… “

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Please share your thoughts on Say Anything… Did you see it for the first time in theaters or home video? Does it still resonate with you?

You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.

53 Comments

  • On April 14, 2014 at 10:08 am Greg said

    I distinctly remember seeing the film back in the Spring of 1989. Like Lloyd Dobler, I was a senior in High School (in the Seattle area) and the film really spoke to me on many levels. Even though I was working at a video store back then, I never realized that the same guy who wrote and directed Say Anything… also wrote Fast Times at Ridgemont High! Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that 25 years later, I would have the honor of helping to preserve and share Cameron’s journalism and film history on the Internet. Thanks CC!

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 10:49 am Joseph said

    It’s a film so specific to the characters and their lives that the greater whole of the movie becomes something different to those who see it, depending upon who they are and who/what they identify with. It was a movie I sort of grew up with, and I wasn’t sure I really got it because the girls I knew growing up saw the movie in ways I didn’t see it as. It wasn’t until I saw “Jerry Maguire” when it was released my senior year of high school that I felt I understood “Say Anything…” after all, how the virtues of living a life of honesty and hope, and the sacrifices one makes for such an achievement, can make for a true love but still, can that be enough? Both films leave you feeling that these characters are being true to themselves and each other yet you’re not assured that things will be easy, and there’s the possibility change could possibly send them on different paths (just such change had brought them together.) But because you believe in these people in the moment, the moment makes you happy just as it does them. It’s enough for them, and it’s enough for you.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 10:52 am Tara said

    … saw it for the first time in a theater; at that moment my heart belonged to Lloyd Dobler. I have owned the movie on every medium since it’s release and no matter what I’m doing if it’s on TV (commercial or premium) I have to stop and watch and wonder – where on earth are the real Lloyd Doblers of the world.

    Although, truth be told, my major crush on Jeremy Piven was confirmed during that movie.

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  • One of my favs.

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  • I love Lloyd Dobler, forever!

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  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:05 am Michelle Ovalle Harrison via Facebook said

    Joe Lies!!!

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  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:06 am Joseph said

    In addition, it’s kinda funny that a film where one character’s downfall is due to cheating on their taxes was released the weekend before Tax Day. ;)

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:13 am Rob said

    I recently watched the movie for the first time a few weeks back on Netflix. I’m big fan of Singles and Almost Famous (both of which resonated with me for years and really pushed me onto the music scene) and I hadn’t watched Say Anything… for so long because I thought it was a typical 80s chick flick. I should’ve known better coming from Cameron Crowe. After I watched the movie it was yet another movie for me to add to my every growing blu-ray/DVD collection. It seems to be a common thing where I can relate to a lot of the characters John Cusack plays (namely High Fidelity. A brokenhearted record store owner who loves music and is also conveniently named Rob. It was like it was written for me). Say Anything… was nothing short of a classic and I kick myself for not seeing it sooner than I did. I don’t know what it is about Cameron Crowe and John Cusack movies but they always resonate with me. The amount of times I’ve gone to my friends and yelled “YOU MUST CHILL!!!” and still makes them laugh every time. And the soundtrack? Phenomenal. The best debut movie since…I don’t know when. I can’t name one. Say Anything… is another memorable movie and I’ll cherish it right along with Singles and Almost Famous. I could live without so much, but Cameron Crowe movies I can’t live without.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:15 am Michelle Harrison said

    This just brought me to tears! For 25 years, this movie has been my ideal. Lloyd Dobler my ideal. “In Your Eyes” my ideal. You get the picture. I saw it in the theater with my friend Jessica. I was in 8th grade and she was a freshman and I felt cool having a friend in high school. I’ve watched it repeatedly – too many times to count. And a few months ago, I had the pleasure of watching it with my husband who – gasp – had never seen it! (How did I marry him??) I quote it daily. Just saw the Modern Family where Dylan and Phil play out the modernized boom box scene. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Cameron Crowe and everyone who brought this to fruition.

    Reply

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

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  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:28 am Guillermo Pussetto via Facebook said

    Great movie. As a general comment, it is very difficult to find photos of the backstage or live action of movies, if they are more than 10 years old or so. How many great photos could have been taken with the actual technology?

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:31 am Kathy Cargill via Facebook said

    Kick boxing – sport of the future!!

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  • Now cut that out. I am quite capable of feeling really old on my own, thank you very much!

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:46 am Claire said

    My boyfriend (now husband) introduced me to Say Anything around 10 years ago. It is still my favorite of your films and inspires me in a new way everytime I watch it. I have a poster if Lloyd at my desk to remind me that the seemingly impossible may be far closer than I think. Thank you.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:53 am Reuben Roman via Facebook said

    I quote this movie at least once a day.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 12:12 pm David R. said

    Any update on an iTunes release?

    Reply

    • On April 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm Greg said

      Good question. Kind of strange that one isn’t on iTunes yet. I’ll check. thanks

      Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 12:20 pm Stacey said

    This is my all time favorite movie and also has my all time favorite song In Your Eyes. It is everything that is good and I will always have it at the top of my list. Now excuse me I must go watch it for the nth time!!

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm Iliana said

    I saw Say Anything on home video right after graduating from H.S. and about two weeks before moving to FL from NY. The movie mirrored so much of what was going on in my life: I was 17; it was 1990; and I was deeply in love for the 1st time. In Your Eyes was already a favorite song; I’d heard it in ’86 on WLIR. Such a beautiful story. Classic Film. Best wishes & to many more years. BTW: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in my very 1st class I attended @ University of Miami. Fate. Destiny. To what’s written in your stars…

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm Michael Shank said

    I saw this movie in ’89 mainly because I was/am a John Cusack fan. I really enjoyed the fact that you get to understand all the character’s viewpoints and recognize why they make the decisions they make. I was surprised to learn from this article, that the story evolved to include the Lloyd Dobler character later on. I cant imagine the movie any other way. I think you (Cameron Crowe) had said “Write what you know” and that real life is stranger than fiction. Its awesome that you had a neighbor named Lloyd who was a kick boxer. I wonder if he liked the film?

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm Lynn Dunkak Feller via Facebook said

    25. Man, do I feel old…

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm Chris Perrin via Facebook said

    That was the one that hooked me on the works of Cameron Crowe.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 3:43 pm Van Partible said

    I just wanted to thank you for not only creating the greatest post-high school movie of all time, but also for creating a shared experience that I can draw from when I’m looking to connect with someone on a completely random level. Your movie has the ability to take me back to the place where everything was possible and my driving force in life revolved around being “liked” by someone who truly understood me. I am a HUGE FAN of your storytelling and can only hope to someday create something that resonates with people the way your movies have with me. Finally, I just have to say, your movie keeps “The Greatest Love Of All” alive in my subconscious more than the original Whitney Houston version.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm Debi Luna Marshall via Facebook said

    “I’m looking for a dare to be great situation.”

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm Ani Kambur via Facebook said

    Looove the movie. You did a masterful work on it!! Genius! :)

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 5:55 pm Francisco Gabaldón Hamm via Facebook said

    Still a classic to this day!

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:05 pm rose said

    Wow! I feel so very damn old now. 25 years!? Can I tell you how I loved John Cusack since I spotted him in Sixteen Candles? How I,a teenager in the 80′s in Chicago, came to idolize him? How I would see him locally on the music scene..a show at the Metro, a local band at Looking Glass Theatre. When I saw Say Anything I was already 2 years out of H.S. but seeing it opened a floodgate of memories. He was the ultimate bf. Funny, sweet,serious, devoted. Everything you couldn’t find in one guy. Or maybe you could, you were just looking for the wrong thing. It made me think ..about that awkward dude who tried so desperately to talk to me that my friends brushed him aside trying to protect me. Luckily I found my Lloyd while I was in high school. And my oldest daughter who will be 25 this year, counts this film among her favorites. Thank you Cameron Crowe for writing about what’s real and writing about real teenagers.There isn’t one scene of that movie that I haven’t actually lived or heard about.

    Reply

  • On April 14, 2014 at 11:51 pm Tommy Quirk via Facebook said

    I am Lloyd Dobler.

    Reply

  • Addie Whittet

    Reply

  • On April 17, 2014 at 9:19 pm Catherine Platt via Facebook said

    Omg… And we made it, relatively unscathed

    Reply

  • On April 20, 2014 at 7:23 pm Rebecca Vogel Pitts via Facebook said

    Class of 88 here. :) So real. So timeless. My favorite film of all time.

    Reply

  • On April 23, 2014 at 9:10 am Ms Mack said

    This movie makes me so happy every time I see it, which has been many many times. Really just such a sweet sweet film. And at the last Gabriel concert at the Hollywood Bowl John came out holding the boom box for In Your Eyes, which made us all squeal with delight. What a great scene that is. Thank you Cameron for telling that story.

    Reply

  • On April 24, 2014 at 9:43 am Reuben Roman via Facebook said

    Watched this again last night. The sincerity of this film is timeless.

    Reply

  • On April 24, 2014 at 9:43 am Reuben Roman via Facebook said

    Watched this again last night. The sincerity of this film is timeless.

    Reply

  • On April 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm John Gordon said

    As someone who “came of age” so to speak in the 80′s, I can say without hesitation that the two films I think captured that era best are “Fast Times” and “Say Anything.” Cameron, your portrayal of people that everyone of my generation went to school with and knew is so spot on it is genius. I mean, who didn’t know a loveable stoner like Jeff Spicoli? Who didn’t know Lloyd and Joe? The dialogue in both films is so well crafted and the characters so believable that they can only be aspired too, never to be outdone.

    Reply

  • On May 5, 2014 at 9:21 pm Drew Perry said

    I first saw Say Anything on VHS. I remember going to the video store, and not being able to find any new releases that I liked. I wandered through the staff favorites section and saw Say Anything. I watched it three times in a row. I was 15. I was amazed that I could relate to certain aspects of all of the characters on screen. Still to this day, I smile when the movie comes on, and I have to sit and watch the whole thing. In Your Eyes is still my favorite song. Everything about this movie is timeless. I find that I still relate. The cast is lightening in a bottle. That’s it, I’ve said my peace. Thank you Mr. Crowe. You’ve given us all so many poignant movie moments, but in my opinion this is your greatest film… and given your body of work, that says a lot.

    Reply

  • classic!

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  • On May 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm Jennifer Dant via Facebook said

    25 years! It seems like yesterday that I fell in love with that movie. Joe lies when he cries

    Reply

  • On May 28, 2014 at 12:27 am extra said

    Oh snap, thanks very much for posting this! It is going to be so helpful when I am thinking about going to Big Sky Drive-In in Fort Wayne! I am from Syracuse, NY so I am not familiar with Midland. Next time I see my family will be so much better! So Amazing!

    Reply

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