In reality, teenaged romances are very silly and stupid and overwrought, because teenagers are silly and stupid and overwrought by and large. Movies tend to ratchet everything up a notch or two over reality, to really hit things home for the audience. As such, a romantic comedy about teenagers would seem like a sketchy proposition. This is how you find yourself waiting until 2014 to watch a well-known movie from 1989. Then you watch Say Anything... and you wonder why you bothered waiting so long.
The movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe, a generally overpraised filmmaker, but at least you know with his films you are going to get some good ass music. Any movie to feature a song from The Replacements is going to get bonus points. The plot is fairly simple in the abstract. John Cusack is Lloyd Dobler. Ione Skye is Diane Court. He's a regular dude. She's the valedictorian. They graduate high school; he asks her out; they fall in love; complications, including Court's overprotective father, ensue. Do they get together in the end? You can probably guess, but you should hang around for the ending of the movie anyway, because it is basically perfect. Oh man, is it a great ending.
Here's the thing about the movie. Lloyd Dobler is awesome. Diane Court is awesome. These are two such enjoyable characters. They are fun to watch and to root for and they are both charming, with Cusack and Skye both being charming in their roles. Is this the quintessential Cusack performance? Or is it Hot Tub Time Machine? The plot is not great at times, and the movie certainly has its issues and unpleasantries, but the movie is almost always featuring Lloyd and/or Diane, and that more than suffices.
Additionally, the movie doesn't delve into teenage overwroughtness, which is a plus, although it is unavoidable, and not unfair. Sure, we know they as characters are acting perhaps a bit melodramatically, but they are still teenaged characters, so it kind of makes sense that they do. We don't want them to end up like the characters from Juno, do we? Unless you want to feel suicidal by way of atrocious dialogue, why would you?
Say Anything... is one of the better romantic movies made. It operates almost entirely on the strength of its two main characters and the acting of the stars. The script is fine, and Crowe does deserve credit for all the eminently quotable dialogue you will hear. It's not a great movie, but it is a good movie, and it is certainly much more than simply that scene where Cusack holds the boom box playing "In Your Eyes" over his head. Also, that's another top-notch song. Do you like good music and incredibly enjoyable main characters? Then why haven't you checked out Say Anything...?