Remember when you spent all your years of high school yearning after that one person, despairing of ever having him or her realize you exist? That’s just what happens to Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack). Fortunately, after graduation, she does notice him, and they spend the summer dancing around the possibility of falling deeply in love. Cameron Crowe‘s Say Anything goes a long way just on charm, from Cusack’s diffident-yet-deeply-ethical everyman quality to Lili Taylor’s awful guitar-strummed songs about lost love, to the pack of nowhere boys (including Jeremy Piven) hanging out at the local Gas ’n Sip and philosophizing about women they know nothing about. Ignore the secondary plot, about Diane’s possibly shady father, and savor the whiff of teenage desires anxiously fulfilled.
Amy Heckerling’s overrated and rosily remembered high school farce, based on the book Cameron Crowe wrote after he went undercover in an American high school for Rolling Stone, Fast Times at Ridgemont High does etch out various familiar social species (geeks, freaks, hotties, jocks, and the semiforgotten loser among them), and the performances (particularly those of Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Phoebe Cates) are genuinely felt.
Has the 1970s fostered more after-the-fact memoir movies than any other decade? Here Cameron Crowe semi-fictionalizes the time he got to go on the road with major rock bands, as a teen journalist for Rolling Stone. As usual, the story meanders like a haphazard life, but everything—particularly the hot band in question, led by Jason Lee’s lanky front man and Billy Crudup’s guitar idol—takes you back.