Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pass the (Microwave) Popcorn: Say Anything

A few years ago, my now seventeen-year old daughter and her friends discovered Ferris Bueller's Day Off. They thought it was hi-lar-i-ous. I found a copy on the $5 DVD rack at Target, so we all enjoyed Matthew Broderick and his pals (Mia Sara and Alan Ruck) playing the world's ultimate hooky. Baseball, fancy restaurants, parades, and that "borrowed" red Ferrari. In fact, like so many movies before and after it, we enjoyed it over and over and over.

Great! I thought, and immediately planned a John Hughes film festival. (My daughter will be the first to bemoan my ability to suck the fun out of anything by making it part of a theme or event. What can I say? I was a drama major and work in advertising.) We started with Sixteen Candles, one of my favorites. In it, Samantha (a freckly young Molly Ringwald) negotiates high school, first love, an exchange student (with the unfortunate name Long Duk Dong) and the unwanted attention of a nerd while trying to prepare for her sister's wedding to an "oily variety bohunk" on her birthday (which multiple family generations have forgotten). I love that movie.

My daughter? Not so much.

Okay, not yet discouraged, I found Pretty in Pink. Molly Ringwald again, this time as a creative girl from the wrong side of the tracks, swooning over rich boy Andrew McCarthy.

Verdict? B-o-r-i-n-g.

I had one last shot: The Breakfast Club. This time, my daughter politely declined. She had heard it was pretty sad, and — let's face it — my track record wasn't so hot. So, I put aside the 80s brat pack, and watched (a bit disheartened) as my daughter relished current teen films, like Hunger Games and Divergent.

But, there was still one last hope.

Every once in a while, my husband and I would see John Cusack in something, or we'd drive by a "Gas n Sip," or we'd reach for a pen. We would immediately think of one of our all-time favorite movies. Our daughter was old enough to see it, but did I dare? If she didn't appreciate it, I thought it might break my heart. The movie was (is, and always will be) ...

Say Anything.

That iconic image of Lloyd Dobler defiantly holding up his boom box outside Diane Court's bedroom window. Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." Graduation. The key master. The pen. So many quotable quotes ...

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.

Don't be a guy. The world is full of guys. Be a man.

I got a question. If you guys know so much about women, how come you're here at like the Gas 'n' Sip on a Saturday night completely alone drinking beers with no women anywhere? (Answer: Pause ... By choice, man. By choice.)

And, our favorite ...

I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen.

Over the years, we've had multiple (maybe five?) copies of Say Anything first on VHS and then on DVD. Each time, we'd lend it to some poor slob who had never had the opportunity to bask in the glow of Lloyd and Diane's odd couple romance. Typical of us, each time we'd forget who borrowed it and move on, eventually picking up another copy on a half-price table somewhere.

(BTW, if you have one of our copies of Say Anything and you're reading this, you can go ahead and keep it. We've moved on to Netflix on demand; we're all set.)

I thought my daughter would love it. But, I had a tiny nagging suspicion that she might roll her eyes — and dash my hopes. 

I waited.

Just recently, I finally found the nerve to see what my daughter would think of Say Anything. We decided to make it a family movie night (see, there I go with the themes again). We made a big basket of popcorn and settled in on our sectional. I had a couple of moments of panic as I realized just how dated the hair and outfits were. But, a quick glance over and I could tell that my daughter was completely engaged. In a house where the three of us are often found watching three different shows on three different TVs, it was great to be together.

If you haven't watched Say Anything in a while, watch it. If you've never watched Say Anything, watch it. If your teenager hasn't watched Say Anything, tell him or her "Watch it."

That's all I have to say. 

Except for this ... "You're still here? It's over. Go home."

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at  

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