(1989)4.5Lucia BozzolaReturning to the milieu that served his first screenplay, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), so well, Cameron Crowe's writer/director debut Say Anything is more than just another 1980s teen flick. Free of John Hughes-esque slickness and clichéd generational warfare, Crowe's trio of main characters, including (gasp) Diane's father, are complex people with problems and emotions that are not easily resolved. As in Fast Times, all of the teen characters are quirky and natural, especially Lloyd's female best friends D.C. and Corey (played by an acerbically lovelorn Lili Taylor). John Cusack makes eccentric kickboxer Lloyd utterly charming in his earnest verbosity and unabashed adoration of Ione Skye's smart, ambitious Diane; no teen-film romantic gesture can match Lloyd's boom-box blasting of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes." In addition to hilariously and sensitively illuminating the mixed feelings of outsider-dom and first love, Say Anything is also that rare film (teen or otherwise) that honestly celebrates female strength and male sensitivity without resorting to offensive pap, confirming Crowe's arrival as one of the potentially more astute filmmakers in Hollywood.