Say Anything...

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Say Anything ...
Say Anything.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCameron Crowe
Produced byPolly Platt
Written byCameron Crowe
Music byAnne Dudley
Richard Gibbs
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited byRichard Marks
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • April 14, 1989 (1989-04-14)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$16 million[1]
Box office$21.5 million[2]

Say Anything ... is a 1989 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe in his directorial debut. The film follows the romance between Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), an average student, and Diane Court (Ione Skye), the valedictorian, immediately after their graduation from high school. In 2002, Entertainment Weekly ranked Say Anything ... as the greatest modern movie romance, and it was ranked number 11 on Entertainment Weekly's list of the 50 best high-school movies.[3]


Noble underachiever Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) falls for valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye) at their high school graduation ceremony. Lloyd lives with his sister Constance (Joan Cusack real life sister), a single mother, and has no plans for his future. Diane has had a sheltered academic upbringing and lives with her doting divorced father Jim (John Mahoney), who owns the retirement home where she works. She is due to take up a fellowship in England at the end of the summer.

Diane accompanies Lloyd to a party, surprising their classmates. During a dinner at the Court household, where Lloyd fails to impress Diane's family, Jim is informed that he is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service. Diane takes Lloyd to meet the residents of the retirement home and he teaches her to drive her stickshift car. Their relationship grows intimate and they have sex, to her father's concern. Lloyd's musician friend Corey (Lili Taylor), who has never gotten over her cheating ex-boyfriend, Joe (Loren Dean), warns him to take care of Diane.

Jim urges Diane to break up with Lloyd, feeling he is not an appropriate match, and suggests she give Lloyd a pen as a parting gift. Diane tells Lloyd she wants to stop seeing him and concentrate on her studies, and tells him to take her pen. Devastated, Lloyd seeks advice from Corey, who tells him to "be a man". Jim's credit cards are declined when he tries to buy Diane a luggage set.

At dawn, Lloyd plays "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel, the song that was playing the first time they slept together, on a boombox under her open bedroom window. The next day, Diane meets with the IRS investigator (Philip Baker Hall), who explains that they have evidence suggesting Jim has been embezzling funds from his retirement home residents. He advises her to accept the fellowship as matters with her father will worsen. After Diane discovers cash concealed at home, Jim tells her he stole the money to give her financial independence, justifying it by saying he provided better care to the victims of his embezzlement than their families did. Distraught, she reconciles with Lloyd at the gym where he trains.

Some time later, Jim is incarcerated. Lloyd visits him in a federal penitentiary and tells him that he will go with Diane to England; Jim reacts with anger. Lloyd gives him a letter from Diane saying she cannot forgive him, but she arrives to say goodbye and they embrace. She gives him a pen, asking him to write to her in England. Lloyd escorts Diane, who is afraid of flying, on her flight.



Allmusic said the soundtrack, like the film, is "much smarter than the standard teen fare of the era."[4] The soundtrack consists of these songs:

1."All For Love"Nancy Wilson4:37
2."Cult of Personality"Living Colour5:07
3."One Big Rush"Joe Satriani3:25
4."You Want It"Cheap Trick3:43
5."Taste the Pain"Red Hot Chili Peppers5:04
6."In Your Eyes"Peter Gabriel5:23
7."Stripped"Depeche Mode6:41
8."Skankin' to the Beat"Fishbone2:49
9."Within Your Reach"The Replacements4:26
10."Keeping the Dream Alive"Freiheit4:14
11."Lloyd Dobler Rap"John Cusack0:33
Total length:45:29

Critical reception[edit]

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert called Say Anything ... "one of the best films of the year—a film that is really about something, that cares deeply about the issues it contains—and yet it also works wonderfully as a funny, warmhearted romantic comedy."[5] He later included it on his 2002 Great Movie list, writing, "Say Anything exists entirely in a real world, is not a fantasy or a pious parable, has characters who we sort of recognize, and is directed with care for the human feelings involved."[6]

The film also had detractors. Variety called it a "half-baked love story, full of good intentions but uneven in the telling." But, the review also called the film an "[a]ppealing tale of an undirected army brat proving himself worthy of the most exceptional girl in high school elicits a few laughs, plenty of smiles and some genuine feeling."[7] In a mixed review, Caryn James of The New York Times wrote:

[The film] resembles a first-rate production of a children's story. Its sense of parents and the summer after high school is myopic, presented totally from the teen-agers' point of view. Yet its melodrama—Will Dad go to prison? Will Diane go to England?—distorts that perspective, so the film doesn't have much to offer an actual adult, not even a sense of what it's truly like to be just out of high school these days. The film is all charming performances and grace notes, but there are plenty of worse things to be.[8]

It holds a "98% Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus reading: "One of the definitive Generation X movies, Say Anything is equally funny and heartfelt—and it established John Cusack as an icon for left-of-center types everywhere."[9]

Cultural Impact[edit]

The film features one of the most culturally recognizable scenes in American movie history, in which John Cusack holds a boombox above his head outside Diane's bedroom window. The move serves as a sort of signal flare, to let Diane know Lloyd hasn't given up on her. Crowe and producer James L. Brooks believed the scene could become a hallmark of the movie.

The American Film Institute states that, "after reviewing the footage ... Crowe realized the [original] music did not match the mood he wished to capture, and determined to use Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes," instead.[10]

TV series[edit]

A television series based on the movie was planned by NBC and 20th Century Fox, but producers Aaron Kaplan and Justin Adler did not know that Crowe had not approved of the project. When they found out his views, the show was dropped.[11]


  1. ^ Box Office Information for Say Anything.. Archived 2013-12-11 at the Wayback Machine,; retrieved April 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Box Office Information for Say Anything..,; retrieved April 4, 2013.
  3. ^ "50 Best High School Movies". 2006-09-15. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
  4. ^ Say Anything ... (soundtrack) at AllMusic
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 14, 1989). "Say Anything". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 17, 2002). "Great Movie: Say Anything". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  7. ^ Variety Staff (December 31, 1988). "Say Anything ..." Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  8. ^ James, Caryn (April 14, 1989). "Mismatched Teen-Agers Fall in Love, Of Course". The New York Times. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  9. ^ "Say Anything... (1989)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Elavksy, Cindy (October 23, 2014). "Celebrity Extra". King Features. Retrieved October 23, 2014.

External links[edit]