Blu-ray Review: SAY ANYTHING.

Fox Home Entertainment
Release date: November 3rd, 2009
MSRP: DVD: $19.98, Blu-ray: $34.98

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney, Joan Cusack, Lili Taylor
Writer: Cameron Crowe.

The word classic is bandied about quite a bit these days, all-time classic, modern-day classic, cult-classic, but believe me when I say that Cameron Crowe’s SAY ANYTHING is a classic. A truly great film that should be occasionally revisited, if only to remind ourselves how good a romantic comedy can be.

For those that are not familiar with SAY ANYTHING, Lloyd Dobler has just graduated from high school and has no idea what he wants to do with his life. He trains at kickboxing, something he sees as the sport of the future, but has no other focus in his life, except dating Diane Court. Diane is, as one of Lloyd’s friends describes her, a brain trapped in the body of a game show hostess. She lives with her father and everything she has done has been to prepare for college and her very bright future. Because she spent most of her high school years taking college courses, she missed out on most of the typical teen experiences. Her fellow classmates knew of her, but did not know her.

Lloyd convinces her to accompany him to a graduation party (hosted by Crowe pal Eric Stoltz, who has appeared in almost every Crowe film) and thus, despite the reservations of Diane’s father (played by John Mahoney) begins a magical romance. Neither Lloyd nor Diane has ever been in love, so they carefully stumble forward. The scene in which they first make love is touching, sweet and a tad awkward.

In a few months, Diane is heading to London on a scholarship. She decides she should not get too involved at this time and opt crush Lloyd’s heart. Her father does not approve of Lloyd, feeling he is only a distraction, and pushes for said heart crushing.

Things happen that leave Diane confused and feeling as though everything she knew is false. Not knowing what to do, she turns to the one person she can be sure of: Lloyd.

Crowe, in his directorial debut, shows the skills of a veteran director and also clearly remembers the pain and joy of being a teen. He crafted a collection of very real characters that don’t play as idealizations or caricatures, but as honest to goodness folk that we might actually know.

This is also the film where John Cusack really came into his own. His performance is truly something to behold and makes Lloyd special. With a lesser actor, Lloyd could have been a bit of a loser, but John fleshes him out and you believe this is a good guy that simply lacks a goal in life.

As good as John is, credit must go to many others. Ione Skye and John Mahoney have nice chemistry, I have no trouble believing they are daughter and father. John does a balancing act of playing loving father yet still letting the flaws of the character come through. Lili Taylor as ASDSA, Lloyd’s damaged singer/songwriter friend. None of these characters is perfect and that is part of what makes them special. They make the same mistakes we all do, are stubborn and occasionally too self-oriented…they are just like the people around us.

I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I
don’t want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or
processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything
sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don’t want to do that.

In my opinion, this is the greatest romantic teen comedy ever made. If we are talking just comedy, Ferris Bueller might have it beat, but no other film captures the pain and magis of love quite the way SA does. It is what films like 16 Candles can only aspire to be.

Video:
This looks good, especially for a 20 year old film. I would guess part of this is the fact that it is a fairly popular film and thus the negatives have likely been taken care of. There is very little noticeable wear. I also did not see any DNR or other signs of tampering. The colors look good as do the details. The first time Diane and Lloyd are together (in the biblical sense), is in a car and looks great. Lloyd is overcome with emotion and is shivering, the clarity makes the scene all the more touching.

Audio:
To me, this is more important than the image. This is, after all, a Cameron Crowe film so the music plays a major role. I am happy to say it sounds great! The track is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and it really highlights the music. One can’t help but sit back and bask in the audio glow of In Your Eyes while Lloyd is standing outside of Diane’s room, boombox held over his head. And while that music sounds great, it never drowns out any dialogue.
In addition to the 5.1 track, there is also a Dolby Digital stereo track as well as mono tracks for Spanish and French. Subtitles are in English, Spanish, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Extras
We are given three new featurettes, all in HD, that look back at SA and feature comments from Crowe, Skye and Cusack, among others. It is clear this film still means a lot to all involved, with John Mahoney stating it is one of the proudest achievements as an actor.

Other extras include deleted/extended scenes, a commentary track with Crowe, Cusack and Skye, a trivia track, television promos, trailers and a photo gallery.

Order SAY ANYTHING on Blu-ray. Or on DVD.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.