6 Scenes We Love From ‘Say Anything…’

By  · Published on August 4th, 2013

6 Scenes We Love From ‘Say Anything…’

No, there’s no special anniversary for Cameron Crowe’s directorial debut. At least not for another eight months, when Say Anything… turns 25. The reason it’s a Scenes We Love pick this week is because of all the recognition it’s been getting lately as a major influence on The Spectacular Now. The new indie teen movie’s male lead, Miles Teller, has been called the John Cusack of his generation, and the movie itself is being celebrated for a mix of comedy and drama and romance not achieved so well since the genre’s heyday in the 1980s.

Say Anything… came about at the end of the decade and is considered by many to be the best, even considering all the exemplary works of John Hughes. Strangely, there’s a severe lack of clips from the film on the Internet. Maybe it’s because of Fox ordering them removed from YouTube and elsewhere, because there’s not even a proper version of the famous boombox serenade to be found. Not that this would be my first choice of a scene. The movie is full of a lot more than just Cusack being Cusack in a trenchcoat and a Clash t-shirt, giving his heart to Ione Skye and getting a pen in return. We’ve selected a handful of favorites from what could be found, but as always please tell us the scenes you love from the movie below.

65 Songs

My favorite character and actor in the film is Lili Taylor’s Corey Flood, and my favorite song is not “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel but her own “That’ll Never Be Me” (presumed title?). Lloyd (Cusack’s character) shouldn’t have been too protective of his buddy, as her constant drama with Joe (Loren Dean) very well may have led her to a great career had she developed her talents a little more. It’s funny, if you search for Taylor and “That’ll Never Be Me” you’re likely to get at least one result for a Taylor Swift song. Swift may not have 65 songs about one guy, but she’s on track to have 65 songs about 65 different exes given how far along she is at such a young age. Also notable in this clip, which is from part of the thoroughly perfect first date/house party scene, is Pamela Adlon, who plays another of Lloyd’s female pals, Rebecca. You probably know Adlon better now for roles on Louie and Californication (and the voice of Bobby on King of the Hill).

Gas and Sip on a Friday Night

Another scene with Loren Dean, who’d go on to be Billy Bathgate, along with Gregory Sporleder, who was later in The Rock and on True Blood, and yes, making his usual Cusack movie appearance, young Jeremy Piven. I love this scene because it’s more akin to what I was probably doing while others were out dating and at parties. But I was drinking a Slurpee instead of a beer. You can tell this is a memorable moment not just because it’s one of the only scenes from the movie with multiple (bad quality) YouTube clips, but it’s also featured in the really fun Bouncing Souls song “These Are the Quotes From Our Favorite ’80s Movies.” And not just as a lyric. A sample!

“You Must Chill”

This one’s just filler. More Jeremy Piven. More party scene. Did anyone else have a “keymaster” at high school parties? I find the whole thing a little too chaste to buy it entirely. But it does provide some good comedy involving underage drinking…

Plans for the Future

Another scene I can relate to. I similarly never wanted to ever sell, buy or process anything (or buy anything sold or processed… ), and Lloyd’s speech about his future hit home for me. I’m not sure if I succeeded. I write about movie scenes I love. That’s sort of selling something. Anyway, we know what happened to Lloyd after this movie (and after going to England with Diane): he joined the army (like his dad) and ended up a professional hit man. That’s all seen in the pseudo sequel Grosse Pointe Blank. It’s a real shame that this is the most we can really find of John Mahoney’s character on the streaming web. Taking some cue from Pretty in Pink perhaps, this movie particularly shines for the subplot involving the female lead and her father. But he has a whole lot more going on than just a paternal role. What other teen movie focuses so much on a parent and even features one having a breakdown in the bathtub?

“Are You Shaking?”

Speaking of Jim Court crying in the tub, for a teen movie this one really went for displaying emotionality from its male characters. Lloyd doesn’t want to admit that he’s shaking, from the cold and from the experience of making love to Diane, but he clearly is. “I don’t know. I’m happy,” he tells her. Even though it’s plenty sweet and adequately awkward and believably vulnerable, it’s still maybe a bit too romantic to be called a realistic first time scene with teen characters, but it’s the romantic part that makes us love the scene and Lloyd Dobler so much. It is a movie, after all.

Boom Box Serenade

Okay, here it is. Isn’t it always the least believable scenes that end up being the most iconic? Well, of course, realism is never iconic or memorable. It’s too familiar. The boom box serenade with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” is one of the most famous moments in all of the history of cinema, for better or worse. And because of this, I can’t simply share the actual scene, which isn’t properly online anyway. And which you already can play out completely in your mind. I have to share one of the billion parodies/tributes that have been done over the past 25 years. This one from Saturday Night Live featuring Joseph Gordon Levitt as Lloyd makes fun of just how unbelievable and silly the bit is.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.