Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lloyd Dobler-ruining girls for 20 years


As I sit here watching "Say Anything", I've reached a significant realization. Here's the conclusion I've reached about my life. I should never have watched Say Anything before the age of 25; but because I didn't know this rule existed, I now can blame Lloyd Dobler for single-handedly ruining the entire male species for me. I know Lloyd Dobler is a fictional character, I mean I'm not so far removed from reality (yet) that I don't recognize the ridiculousness of this statement. But what I'm saying is that Lloyd Dobler may very well be the single, most perfect male teen adolescent character ever created, and to give girls the hope that someone like that exists before they're too young to know better is false advertising. Shame on you Cameron Crowe.

Lloyd Dobler is unique in every sense of the word. Even before you see the movie, you're forewarned. "To know Lloyd Dobler is to love him. Diane Court is about to know Lloyd Dobler" the tagline promises. The problem is as soon as John Cusack shows up with his puppy dog eyes and his unfailingly optimistic attitude, everyone with enough estrogen pumping through their system literally feels an inner melting; within five minutes, the tagline's promise is fulfilled. Forget about the way he acts around his nephew. I'm pretty sure those scenes are what coined the word "adorable". On the phone, as he nervously dials Diane Court for the first tme, completely unfazed that her father answers, he blurts out "she's really pretty great isn't she." It's not a question, it's definitive statement. What's even better is that this statement doesn't say nearly as much about Diane as it does Lloyd. He's so honest that there's apparently no need for a filter between his brain and his mouth, and whatever manages to escape from his frenetic thought process still sounds like a compliment. A feat never managed by another single person, I'm pretty sure.

Quick pause to mention one thing: Eric Stoltz is awesome....awesome.

Who says, out loud, to someone else "I'm looking for a dare to be great situation"? Of course, that's the whole point of the movie, and we all know he finds it, well those of us foolish enough to watch this movie to the end (or over and over again), but it's the fact that as soon as he says it, you believe it. Here's another sign that he's a complete figment of the imagination. He manages to maintain a completely platonic relationship with his female friends, and looks out for them and their potentially broken hearts.

I have a question for the boys reading this: Do boys see Diane Court the way girls see Lloyd Dobler? Is "Say Anything" about two impossibly almost-perfect people, or is it really all about Lloyd? Because honestly, I sometimes forget why Ione Skye shows up in scenes. But maybe that's just my girl-on-girl hate showing through. I don't really hate Diane though, that's the problem. If you can remotely start to relate to Diane, then you're in trouble. Because if you're the Diane in the equation, that means your Lloyd has to be out there somewhere, hence the danger of "Say Anything": telling lies to teenage girls for 20 years.

Lloyd Dobler in a nutshell: "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; buy anything sold or processed; or process anything sold or bought." His sincerity is undeniable. He doesn't try to act cool and play to the crowd. He's sure of what he wants, and even more positive of what he doesn't want.

I'll admit that there are moments, brief moments, where I think Lloyd Dobler may be a bit "smothering" and then I quickly snap out of it, just as soon as he shows the elderly "Cocoon". I can't even bring myself to consider the quintessential "Say Anything" scene. It's so ridiculous in reality. It's something that makes no sense whatsoever. There are quintessential scenes in other movies that COULD happen. A man could walk out on a woman and say "frankly my dear I don't give a damn." I suppose some old fool could make you sit through a 3 hour long story about a stupid sled named Rosebud. But the notion that a man stands outside your window with a stereo playing your song, well that's just ludicrous. But perhaps it's the complete outlandishness of the situation that makes it iconic. Maybe all of those things that we think of as "romantic" are actually those things that can never actually happen in reality.

I think Lloyd's friend sums it up best. After Corey (Lili Taylor) reads Lloyd's note "Dear Diane, I'll always be there for you. All the love in my heart, Lloyd", in response to the question "have you ever gotten a letter like this?" she says "I dream about it."

Writing this has actually made me come to another realization: Say Anything is a fairy tale. It's just confusing when you see Lloyd Dobler, and he appears to be normal and awkward, and poorly dressed and vulnerable, and you think he's real. But he's just the prince that found your slipper. All the same, I think that after this movie, John Cusack should have been put into protective hiding, that way innocent teenage girls wouldn't get used to the idea that Lloyd Dobler was played by a real person, when he's clearly just make believe. And then I wouldn't be forced to spend money on 2012 just because Lloyd Dobler's doppelganger is in it.







No comments: