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HTF REVIEW: "Say Anything" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)



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#1 of 47 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 12 2002 - 06:08 AM

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Say Anything



"I gave her my heart. She gave me a pen."


There are only three actors I know who
can accurately portray the "everyman joe"
that is easy for audiences to identify with.
The first is Jimmy Stewart. The second is Tom
Hanks. The third is John Cusak. These are men
who I have no doubt are as sincere and vulnerable
as the characters they portray on the screen. They
are actors that let their own self inhibitations
show through their roles and thus, enable the
audience to readily connect with them.

If ever there was a movie that truly portrayed
the reality of meeting the seemingly unreachable
girl of your dreams, dating her and getting
hurt, it is Say Anything. No movie has ever
quite been this honest or down-to-earth about
relationship.

I made a decision a month ago about reviewing
Fox product. I wanted to do this review for two
reasons. First, I must admit that this is absolutely
one of my favorite films of all time. It's very
hard to sit on the sidelines and not discuss a movie
you feel very close to. Second, the membership of
this forum should be very proud of this title. If
not for all of you campaigning for its release through
Peter Staddon, this film may have never seen the
light of day. I am proud that a studio like Fox
cared enough not only to release this title at
your request, but to do something special with it.

The story is about an ordinary teenager named
Lloyd Dobler (John Cusak). After High School
graduation, Lloyd has no goals set for him in life,
that is, except to be with the girl of his dreams,
Diane Court (Ione Skye). Everyone around Lloyd
tells him that she's out of reach. "She's a brain
trapped in the body of a game show hostess" exclaims
his friend. But Lloyd doesn't care about the odds.
He's willing to take the chance even if it means
get hurt in the process.

Lloyd nervously sets up a date with Diane. The
two remarkably start falling for each other. But
Diane's life has suddenly become more complicated
as she has won a fellowship with a school in England.
Lloyd attempts to win her heart over despite the
objections of her over protective father (John Mahoney).


How is the transfer?


Fox has done a superb job with this anamorphic
(1.85:1) widescreen release. I have been very
dissatisfied with a lot of 80's catalog product
being released from the different studios as of late.
Many of them are not accurately color balanced and
show excessive graininess in the picture.

You would seem to think from the opening credits
where white titling is laid against a vivid solid
blue background that some sort of video noise
would be present. There is absolutely none.

In fact, the video quality remains consistently
even throughout the film. This is such a relief
for someone like me that has seen some less than
desirable catalog transfers over the past few weeks.
Colors are well balanced and look extremely natural --
especially flesh tones which seem to be my pet
peeve as of late.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track is fairly
robust through the front three speakers which
is very important for a film like this that sports
a memorable pop and rock soundtrack. Don't forget
that this was the movie that made Peter Gabriel's
song a hit. The surrounds are almost nonexistent,
used mostly for music reverb as well as crowd effects.
Overall, this is a nicely tuned mix for a comedy film.


Bonus Features


As I stated earlier, it is not only significant
that Fox listened to the cries of our membership
to release this film, but to give the film a very
special treatment, which they have.

Popping in the disc, you are greeted with a
dream-like menu that first shows the words
"Say Anything" being scrolled out. Next you
see quick-changing clips that dissolve into each
other set against the film's soundtrack music.

In addition to the Commentary by Director
Cameron Crowe, John Cusak and Ione Skye...

First up are a set of Alternate Scenes.
The first is an alternate take of Lloyd standing
in a phone booth. The scene plays out much slower
than the one put in the film, but at the same time,
gives a more lonely and sympathetic feel to the
scene with a speechless Lloyd trying to bury his
thoughts as he looks up at the rainfall.

Another alternate scene shows Diane talking to
Lloyd on the street after his nose gets accidently
punched. Diane tells Lloyd the truth about her
father, and confesses how she feels about him.
This is merely an alternate take of what already
had been spoken in the boxing scene near the end
of the film.

The final three alternate scenes show us how
many attempts it takes to get a scene perfect.
A restless Diane rolling around in her bed in
several takes. Lloyd standing out in front of
his car holding up his boom box. It's funny to
watch how many ways they tried to get that scene
just right.

Ten deleted scenes are included on this
DVD. Because I am in a great frame of mind after
watching this film, I'll actually give you a more
detailed breakdown on these scenes than perhaps
other reviews have...

Scene One takes place at the party. An
older teacher, Mr. Deegen, tries to make a move
on Diane as Lloyd looks on from the distance.
Scene Two involves Corey again strumming
on her guitar singing to an inflatable Godzilla,
as she belts out a tune about the man that ripped
apart her soul. Scene Three is an inquisition
as the Feds question Mr. Court about his business
practices. Scene Four is merely a 20-second
snippet right before Lloyd has his first formal
dinner with Diane's father and guests. Lloyd hands
Diane an audio tape of cool English road music.
Scene Five is simply a montage of short clips
showing Diane and Lloyd spending time together
at her job and holding hands in the rain. Scene Six
shows an agent questioning Mr. Court at the
nursing home, which ultimately startles one of the
elderly ladies. Scene Seven brings Lloyd's
sister, Constance (Joan Cusak) together with Diane.
The two never met in the final cut of the film. Diane
is looking for Lloyd in a scene that comes right before
the boxing sequence near the end of the film. Scene
Eight
gives us a different perspective on Lloyd and
Diane in bed together, as they are silently discovered
by Constance. Scene Nine shows about 20-seconds
of an agent telling the senior citizens about their
money being stolen. Scene Ten, taking place at the
keg party, has Lloyd giving some advice to a rambling
blonde.

Phew!

Now if THAT wasn't enough, there are 13 Extended
Scenes
to tell you about. First off, I love the
way Fox put this all together. They divided the
scenes in COLOR and B&W. The B&W shows what was
originally in the film, while cuts to color sequences
show what was added.


Scene One is an extension of the graduation
speech that Diane gives, with a little added disruption
from the classmates. Scene Two extends upon
Joe meeting Corey in a back room at the party. The
added footage gives more meaning to why Joe was
rejected after asking for sex. Scene Three
takes place as Rooster, Lloyd and Diane find John
in the toilet. They argue who will take care of
the drunk boy who looks as if he dipped his hair in
the bowl. Scene Four has John being driven
home from the party as he explains all the events
that lead up to him being found that night. Scene
Five
takes place after dropping John off as
they playfully discuss England. Scene Six
is an extension of Diane showing Lloyd the senior
home she works at. Scene Seven is an extension
of the formal family dinner where Lloyd steps outside
to enjoy a smoke with one of the guests. It's a very
interesting conversation that I can understand why
it was ultimately deleted. Check it out and see what
I mean. Scene Eight is an extension of Diane
meeting her Mother at a seafood restaurant. Diane
gives a full explanation of the agent activities
against her father. Scene Nine has Diane
giving a little better explanation to Lloyd as she
breaks up the relationship while sitting in the car.
Scene Ten has more of Lloyd talking in his
personal data recorder shortly after the breakup.
Scene Eleven is an extension of Diane visiting
the IRS, and has the agent giving Diane the ground rules
about what he can and cannot say. Scene Twelve
is extended dialogue with the boys at the Gas 'n Sip.
The boys humorously try to pick up an unsuspecting
girl. Scene Thirteen is an extension of the
plea bargain made between Court's Lawyer and the IRS.

Again, I have to commend Fox for using B&W to
show us EXACTLY where the added footage should have
been placed. It's amazing to see how different a
movie this could have been with this material that
has never before been seen. Great stuff!!

A 1989 original film Featurette is also
included on this DVD. It's great to see this
piece that was made at the time of the film. There
are candid interviews with Cusak, Skye, Mahoney
and Director Cameron Crowe. There are only short
snippets of anything going on behind the camera,
and unfortunately, this featurette only lasts about
seven minutes. Too brief for such a landmark film.

Also way too brief is Cameron Crowe's Personal
Photo Gallery
that has less than a dozen black
and white stills taken from the production.

There are eight Television Spots included.
Each of these spots promotes the film using a
different scene from the film. One spot has Cusak
admitting his love for Diane. Another spot has
Cusak making the first phone call to Diane. Another
is of Cusak rambling about his future, set to the
music of the Chili Peppers. All of them are short
20-30 second spots that gives you insight on how the
film was marketed.

Two of the film's original Trailers are
also included.


Final Thoughts


It still amazes me that so much pressure had
to be put on Fox to release this film. For those
of us that grew up through the eighties and saw
this film, there is this forever burnt-in image
within our minds of John Cusak holding up a boom box
with "In Your Eyes" belting from the speakers. It
is perhaps the most memorable film of that period
and it certainly is the finest film of Cusak's
career.

There is simply no argument that this film
belongs in your collection. I need not push this
film on anyone that has seen it, wanted it, and
now finally has the chance to own it!

Bravo Fox!

Release Date: March 5, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 47 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted February 12 2002 - 06:13 AM

i will be in line to buy this as soon as the store opens.
facebook.com/whotony

#3 of 47 OFFLINE   Dan Brecher

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Posted February 12 2002 - 06:21 AM

Tie me up, put this DVD on and hit the repeat play button. The pleasure will never end. Posted Image Gimmie, gimmie, gimmie! I must say I like the box artwork a lot!

Dan (UK)

#4 of 47 OFFLINE   JasonKrol

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Posted February 12 2002 - 06:33 AM

Ron, Thanks for another great review!! Im sure I will be picking this one up..and Im sure my wife will have no complaints!

-Jason

-Jason

#5 of 47 OFFLINE   paul o'donnell

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Posted February 12 2002 - 06:45 AM

I came in here hoping you'd talk me out of spending more money Ron, but alas...you did not. Thanks a lot for the great review.

Paul "soon-to-be-broke" O'Donnell
My uncle was reading the paper one morning and saw an ad that said "Drink Canada Dry"...and he was gone the next morning.

#6 of 47 OFFLINE   Brian Ralph

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Posted February 12 2002 - 06:49 AM

Isn't there also a commentary with Crowe, Cusack, and Skye?

#7 of 47 OFFLINE   MichaelG

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Posted February 12 2002 - 07:58 AM

Brian, you can find this in Ron's review...
Quote:
In addition to the Commentary by Director Cameron Crowe, John Cusak and Ione Skye...

Ron, the information about the extended scenes sounds great. My question is this, are the extended scenes in the the movies itself? Maybe I missed something in the review. It sounds like the extended scenes are in the movie, and the special feature just shows how to tell what was added? I guess that I was unaware that there was any extra scene footage added to this release.
Signed,

Epstein's mother's Doctor!

#8 of 47 OFFLINE   Ron Reda

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Posted February 12 2002 - 08:02 AM

Ron,

Thanks for the review...I've read great things about this DVD and will be sure to pick it up as it is one of my faves.

Regards,

A Different Ron
"Music is a magic carpet loaded with oils and other soothing potions, it's just what you need when you don't know what you need, when you've got more questions than answers." - Bob Lefsetz

#9 of 47 OFFLINE   Ron-P

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Posted February 12 2002 - 08:07 AM

We need a drooling smiley face.


Peace Out~Posted Image
You have all the weapons you need...Now fight!


#10 of 47 OFFLINE   Grady Hollums

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Posted February 12 2002 - 08:15 AM

My wife's favorite movie, and it sounds like it will be mine now too! Well, maybe not my fav., nothing has beat The Lord Of The Rings in my book yet. Thanks Ron!
In Him,
GH

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#11 of 47 OFFLINE   Scott Shanks

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Posted February 12 2002 - 08:21 AM

Sounds like a great disc. GOD! I wish I made alot more money than I do.

P.S. I have to take issue with your characterization as John Cusack as an everyman type of actor. I think he's a little too quirky to be lumped in with Stewart and Hanks, IMHO.
Scott Shanks
Louisville, KY
My DVD Collection

#12 of 47 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 12 2002 - 09:00 AM

Quote:
Ron, the information about the extended scenes sounds great. My question is this, are the extended scenes in the the movies itself?

Sorry if I wasn't clear on this. Actually,
I think I was because I listed this as a
BONUS FEATURE. So, no, the extended
scenes are not included in the movie.

Sorry I did not listen to the commentary.
This is only a part-time job for me, and
so far this week I am working on my 4th
review.

Quote:
I have to take issue with your characterization as John Cusack as an everyman type of actor. I think he's a little too quirky to be lumped in with Stewart and Hanks


I can understand that. I feel that Cusak is
just as easy to identify as the other two great
actors because he's not afraid to show vulenerability.
The quirkiness is as natural as I see myself sometimes.

Thanks for the kudos, guys!

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#13 of 47 OFFLINE   Mark Bendiksen

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Posted February 12 2002 - 11:23 AM


Ron, thank you so much for going against your new policy just this once and offering your review of this DVD. I can tell you share my exact sentiments about this movie.

I was less than two years out of high school when this movie was first released, and I always felt a certain kinship with Lloyd Dobler. No, I was never a kickboxer. No, I was never appointed "keymaster". Nevertheless, how many teenage guys wouldn't relate to Lloyd's relationship with Diane?
The first nervous phone conversation. The prickly relationship with the girl's father. The backseat lovemaking. The dreadful post-breakup drives around the city.
The key to this movie's success is that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is real. The teenagers aren't wise beyond their years and the adults aren't idiotic buffoons. The brainy kids aren't necessarily geeky and the outcasts aren't suicidal freaks. In this day and age, when American Pie 2 is considered the epitome of teen comedy, it's comforting to know that Say Anything... is finally being released on DVD.

I agree with Ron. We all owe Peter a debt of gratitude for helping make the disc happen. Even if you've never seen it, please pick up a copy and show your thankful support to Peter and Fox. Posted Image

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#14 of 47 OFFLINE   Michael Dehaven

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Posted February 12 2002 - 11:23 AM

inhabitations?

were you wanting to say inhibitions?

#15 of 47 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 12 2002 - 11:33 AM

Sorry, Michael. That slipped through the
spellchecker. I just corrected it.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#16 of 47 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted February 12 2002 - 12:34 PM

Quote:
Release Date: March 3, 2002


That's a Sunday. I think the release is Tuesday, March 5.

Thanks for the review Ron.

#17 of 47 OFFLINE   Calvin Watts III

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Posted February 12 2002 - 03:53 PM

This is certainly a must-buy,and I can't wait to listen to the commentary!

Thanks,Ron, for the review!

Now if we could only get Better Off Dead soon Posted Image


Calvin

#18 of 47 OFFLINE   Jeff Bamberger

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Posted February 13 2002 - 12:53 AM

Quote:
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.


#19 of 47 OFFLINE   Aurel Savin

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Posted February 13 2002 - 02:12 AM

Jeff:

That is classic .. man I have not seen this movie in a long time ...

Can't wait!

#20 of 47 OFFLINE   Derrick_Ellis

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Posted February 13 2002 - 03:41 AM

Just put my copy on pre-order, and even ordered a Say Anything poster from allposters.com. I can't wait for this movie!
Derrick Ellis
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