2/27/2009

Milestones: Say Anything (and the Dobbler backlash)



Obviously, with every passing year there are quite a few significant anniversaries that come to mind. But for some reason 2009 has made us quite aware of more than the usual share. (It probably has to do with various friends and family members respectively turning 20, 30, 40, and 50, this year.)




There are a few pop culture milestones we've either already brought up (Nine Inch Nails' debut album, Pretty Hate Machine turning 20) or are thinking about (Kurt Cobain died 15 years ago this April),
and among the latter group was the quintessential Generation-X romantic comedy, Say Anything, released in 1989.

More than any other, the '80s were the decade of the teen movie. Amidst the mountain of dreck from that era--remember Porky's?--there are some choice flicks (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Sixteen Candles, among them) but writer/director Cameron Crowe's nuanced Say Anything is is still considered tops by many, including critic Roger Ebert who called it

...[O]ne of those rare movies that has something to teach us about life. It doesn't have a "lesson" or a "message," but it observes its moral choices so carefully that it helps us see our own. That such intelligence could be contained in a movie that is simultaneously so funny and so entertaining is some kind of a miracle...one of the wisest and most touching movies about teenagers I have seen.

(Then again, he hated Crowe's Fast Times at Ridgemont High, so...)

Now, let's be fair: high praise alone--coupled with its iconic boom box scene and happening soundtrack--is not what has made this movie an enduring favorite. One of the main reasons it has remained a perennial rom-com darling lies with the ladies of Gen-X--and younger--who took to the leading male character Lloyd Dobler (played by John Cusack, in the role that made his career) in a big way, and have over the years awarded Dobbler perfect boyfriend archetype status.

Which is why we were very surprised to find the sensitive martial artist on Lemondrop's acidy "Beta Males" gallery, which is for the most part, comprised of some of the lamest on-screen dudes ever.

Oh, Lloyd Dobler. Now that we know that kickboxing was not, indeed, the sport of the future, following gorgeous, smart Diane Court to college in England without a job or prospects of his own just seems kinda pathetic.

Ouch!

Now, we are clearly fans of this flick. Which is why--aside from Dobbler taking back the girl when it's patently obvious she returns to him waaaaay more out of necessity than love, which would eventually bite him on the ass and leave scars that would surely take years to get over--we've always believed it hit all the right notes and understood why the ladies loved Lloyd. But maybe they've reconsidered. Or perhaps they may have surmised Lloyd Dobbler subsequently turned into Rob Gordon. Either way, it sucks.

It's rough out there, guys.

[Theatrical poster courtesy of Wikipedia.]

1 comment:

David said...

I recently put together a list of the 10 best Gen X Movies ever. I left Say Anything off, even though it was a personal favorite. Drop by and give me your opinion.