Plot: What’s it about?
Diane Court (Ione Skye) has worked her entire life toward certain goals, to graduate first in her class, gain access to the finest colleges, and be a massive success. Her work has been bolstered by her father James (John Mahoney), who has pushed her hard, but remained nurturing and helped her progress in life. It has all started to come together too, as she has been named valedictorian and even won a special scholarship to England, making her the most sought after college freshman of the year, no small honor, to be sure. But her persistence has had a cost, as she has not been very social in school and outside of her father & his retirement home’s clients, she has no real friends and has never had a boyfriend. At the same time, fellow graduate Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) has no ambition for the future outside of one prospect, to go out with Diane. He throws caution to the wind and asks her to a party, to have her not only accept, but have the time of her life and see some real sparks between them. But with a disapproving father, hectic schedule, and problems with her father’s business, will the two ever have a chance?
Although his more recent efforts like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous have found more instant success, I think Say Anything is one of director Cameron Crowe’s most outstanding features, without a doubt. It might have fizzled in terms of box office, but this little gem found an audience on home video and maintained a solid fanbase ever since. And that means a high demand has been present to see this film release to Blu-ray and Fox has listened, with not only a disc of the flick, but an awesome total package to boot. But you can learn more about the disc itself in the technical sections, so back to the discussion of the main feature. Crowe spins a likable romantic comedy that defies the usual genre limitations, which means not only will guys not hate it, but more likely than not, they’ll love Say Anything. Like Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, there seems to be some magic evident that transcend the flaws of the material, very cool indeed. The story is well spun, the characters are realistic, the romance is on the mark, and in the end, Say Anything simply seems to have it all in order at all times. As such, this movie is highly recommended and since Fox has issued a terrific disc, this one is an easy candidate for purchase, even for first timers.
His career has taken an upswing in the past few years, but this is not the only era of John Cusack’s success. No, he was a frequent performer in the 1980s as well and even starred in some classics of the era, in terms of teen cinema, that is. This is certainly one of the staples of 80s teen movies and Cusack’s turn here is one of the best ones, as he captures the essence of the era without being too cliched. Yes, the clothes, music, and dialect are obvious, but Cusack relies more on his character’s inner person, as opposed to being a certain person in a certain situation in a certain time period. You could take Lloyd Dobler and transplant him into any era & it would still work out, which is a monumental compliment to the material and Cusack’s effort. Other films with Cusack include Better Off Dead, Tapeheads, One Crazy Summer, Grosse Pointe Blank, Being John Malkovich, and High Fidelity. The cast also includes Ione Skye (River’s Edge, Four Rooms), John Mahoney (She’s The One, In the Line of Fire), and Lili Taylor (Ransom, The Haunting).
Video: How does it look?
Say Anything is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a rock solid transfer, no real errors to speak of, but it also doesn’t dazzle. Even so, this offers a nice upgrade over the DVD with enhanced detail and refinement. The visuals might not pop off the screen, but the material has never looked this good on home video. Detail is solid, colors are consistent, and contrast is on the mark, no serious concerns whatsoever.
Audio: How does it sound?
This DTS HD 5.1 option sounds good, but this material simply isn’t an audio powerhouse. Even so, the great 80s musical soundtrack has good life in the surrounds, so there is some presence. The main element is dialogue of course, with clear vocals that never waver in the slightest. As I said, not much in terms of power or presence, but this soundtrack covers the basics and the material is well handled. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option, Spanish and French language tracks, and subtitles in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin.
Supplements: What are the extras?
New to this version is a retrospective featurette that has some fun interviews, a trivia track, and an interview with director Cameron Crowe. The rest of the goodies are back from the previous editions. An audio commentary with Crowe and stars John Cusack & Ione Skye starts us off, but there’s a slideshow before the session begins. Just before the commentary is to start, a twenty minute reel of still photos rolls and as we watch, we listen to the three speakers introduce themselves, the film, and how they became involved. A very welcome inclusion that sets the table for the main course, this introduction is priceless and I hope to see the feature implemented on future commentary tracks. As for the session itself, it is just as good as I had hoped and then some, as all three participants are candid and talkative. It seems like even the smallest of behind the scenes details is covered in the track, but always in an enjoyable, personable fashion, so it never seems too technical or dull. Next up is just under an hour’s worth of unused footage, in the form of deleted, alternate, and extended sequences. The material here is quite cool and while not all of it is monumental, I am glad to be able to check it all out here. This disc also includes a brief behind the scenes featurette, a collection of still photos from Crowe’s personal collection, eight television spots, and the film’s theatrical trailer.