Continuing my sporadic exploration of Love as expressed through dialogue, be it in movies, on TV, or in books, I turn my attention to what I have often insisted is the single greatest teen romance film ever made, Say Anything.
For those of you who haven't seen the film -- and why you wouldn't is totally beyond me -- our hero is Lloyd Dobbler, a graduating high-school senior whose career plans involve kickboxing and spending as much time with Diane Court as possible. Diane is the beautiful valedictorian who has spent so much of her time in her studies and activities that nobody in the school knows her. Lloyd asks Diane out, she says yes almost on a whim, and one of the most touching romances I've ever seen in a movie ensues.
As you might expect from a screenplay written by Cameron Crowe, Say Anything is teeming with wonderful dialogue. Its single most familiar line is probably Lloyd's post-breakup expression of heartsickness, "I gave her my heart, and she gave me a pen", but there are any number of lines or exchanges that I like better. First, there's this definition of a "date", as provided by one of Lloyd's female friends:
A date is pre-arrangement, with the possibility for love.
A little while later, Lloyd is escorting Diane home from their first date, and this exchange lays the groundwork for their ongoing relationship:
DIANE: So what's your job this summer?
LLOYD: Job? Being a great date.
DIANE: No, I'm serious.
LLOYD: So am I. I want to see you again. I want to see you as much as I
can before you leave. (congratulatory, to himself)I said it!
DIANE: I only have something like sixteen weeks.
LLOYD: Sixteen weeks is a long time.
DIANE: Then call me tomorrow.
LLOYD: Today is tomorrow.
DIANE: Then call me later.
Later in the film, Diane and Lloyd break up as a subplot involving Diane's father and some illegal financial deeds plays out. But Diane goes back to Lloyd, returning to him as he is practicing his kickboxing. She tells Lloyd that she loves him, and that she needs him. Before returning her kiss, he says this:
One more question, you're here because you need someone or 'cause
you need me?
But he only holds this thought for a second or two before saying:
Forget it. I don't care.
And he takes her into his embrace anyway. I love that: the idea that love renders some questions completely inoperative, not in a way that you don't ask them because you're afraid of the answers, but in a way that you no longer need to even ask the question.
It will forever mystify me just how the American Film Institute managed to omit Say Anything in its list of 100 Years, 100 Passions. They do include a Cameron Crowe film at #100, Jerry McGuire, but as much as I love that movie as well, it's nowhere near the romance that Say Anything is.