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Say Anything.
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Length:1h 40mins
Cast:Cameron Crowe, John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney

During the 1980s, John Hughes gave the teen-movie genre new relevance; and in 1989 first-time filmmaker Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) gave it depth and resonance with Say Anything, one of the decade's most charming films. John Cusack -- the most cerebral, iconoclastic, and overtly ironic of the Reagan-era Brat Packers -- was tailor-made for the role of Lloyd Dobler, a quirky, intelligent underachiever with designs on the smartest girl in class. Diane (Ione Skye) is bright, ambitious, and more than a trifle reserved; she also plans to attend college in England, which could put a damper on Lloyd's long-range plans. Character actor John Mahoney (Frasier) registers solidly as Diane's dad, a loving parent whose business irregularities could land him in jail. Writer-director Crowe, even at this early stage, demonstrates a real knack for character development. The banter he writes for Lloyd and Diane is playful and witty, and he burrows beneath the skin to find and expose their secret insecurities. The result is characters that seem more human and endearing than most teen-movie protagonists. Although rooted very much in the late '80s, Say Anything has a timeless quality. More than a decade later, it's still fresh and appealing. The DVD offers plenty of complementary bonus footage: 10 deleted scenes, 13 extended scenes, and 5 alternate scenes, all of them introduced by Crowe, who is joined by Cusack and Skye in a feature-length commentary. Ed Hulse

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