Friday, February 6, 2009

Rediscovering the Past: One Small Problem with "Say Anything..."

During the Super Bowl, my friends and I got to talking about how we all actually quite liked what Cameron Crowe does when he's at his best. Obviously, "his best" does not include or Elizabethtown or Vanilla Sky. I would extend that exclusion to the likes of Jerry Maguire and even Singles*, which I can understand other people liking but never did much for me. But, much to my surprise, we all were fans of Almost Famous, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (yes, I know he only wrote it, but he also fucking lived it, so I'll give it to him), and Say Anything...

*One of my main qualms with Singles is the fact that none of the cast strike me as being even remotely twenty-something. Matt Dillon seemed much more like a 33-year-old in the grunge scene. Campbell Scott was born 35 years old and had the job of a 35-year-old. If he walks like a duck, and talks like a duck... Has Kyra Sedgwick ever seemed young? I guess maybe Bridget Fonda seemed that young, but if she's the only one of the principle cast then I think my complaint is legitimized. Side-note (within a sidenote--I know--ironic): Jim True-Frost (Prezbo from "The Wire") was in this movie. It's weird when you find out that someone you grew to appreciate so much later in their career turns out to have been in something like Singles.

Now, I absolutely loved Say Anything... I think Cusack is fucking great in it. He really captures the vulnerability and uncertainty of being a high school grad with a blank slate for a future. Ione Skye is plain-looking enough that you can actually buy her as "the brain" that would have felt like just enough of an outsider to warrant her lack of popularity, while being attractive enough for Lloyd Dobler to have become infatuated with her from afar.

My love for the film aside, I happened to catch it the other morning on TV and noticed a problem with it. At the end of the film, Lloyd and Diane go to prison to visit her father. Lloyd and Diane started dating as school let out, after graduation. She was expected to leave early for school in England. They had, what, two months together?

Now for a good chunk of that two months--or for the sake of narrative leniency, let's say three months--Lloyd and Diane are together. Then they break up, and she gives him a pen. She discovers her dad (does this also mean that Diane Court is Frasier and Niles' sister?...) has been stealing from the elderly. Then suddenly, his lawyer is cutting a deal and Mr. Court is in jail.

It just seems to me that he is escorted through the bowels of the American legal system way too quickly. Obviously, it's a movie and there's a timeline that needs to be met. This isn't even an issue that bothers me enough to take away from the immense enjoyment I derive from the film, but it seems like Cameron Crowe did not have a firm grasp on the lethargy inherent in the proceedings of the legal system when he wrote the screenplay.


KRD said...

OK, there are several reasons why this does not bother me. 1) Is Mr. Court in prison or in jail? If they are just visiting him in JAIL then that would make total sense in terms of the timeline (particularly since his assets would have been seized due to the nature of his crimes, and the movie makes it clear that Diane and her father are really on their own. This makes it unlikely that he would be able to come up with any kind of bail.) 2) You have a problem with the American justice part of the timeline, but it may be partially a problem with the romance timeline. After all, the entire Diane/Lloyd relationship could only take about a month to cycle through. They are 18, after all. Love moves fast when you are that old. I know that montages make it seem like they are falling in love for a long time, but . . . 3) Finally, does the film actually say that Diane leaves for England in the Fall? Certainly she could have deferred a term---

You know, by the way, that this is an evil movie, right? It made a whole generation of young and impressionable girls like yours truly believe that they should hold out for a Lloyd--

KRD said...

1. Lloyd slightly dim? Seriously? 2. How did you know that I still don't know how to drive a stick? 3. The only man who really comes close is David Addison. I've been waiting for him to kiss me in an underground parking garage in LA for just as long.

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