I watched the movie Say Anything the other day. Yes, I realize it’s 2015 and John Cusak’s movie was made more than two decades ago. It was a vintage movie moment for me.
Two weeks before I watched the movie was the first time I knew it was a movie at all. Somewhere amidst the big hair and M.C. Hammer pants, I missed the minute detail of Say Anything.
Having been ignorant to its existence didn’t impact my life in any way. I graduated high school in spite of a few little (and a few not so little) bumps along the way. Grew up, had children, got married, went to college. I even landed a pretty sweet career deal the year I bought my first house. All while not knowing Say Anything with the trench coat wearing Lloyd and the super smart Diane even existed.
Until 2014. In 2014, my life changed and the ignorance I had been blissfully living in experienced a minor hiccup. Last year I watched an episode of Modern Family where Haley and Dylan break up. No, not that episode. The other one. Where she’s up in her bedroom and throwing all his stuff out the window. And then later, just before they roll the closing credits, Dylan is outside on the lawn with his cell phone playing a song he’d written to express his love for her.
Phil Dunphy comes out of the house, goes up to Dylan and starts talking. He says to the boy “say anything” and Dylan responds. “Anything.”
I had no idea what they were talking about. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada. I knew it was supposed to be funny or ironic or something. Phil is wise in his own goofy way. But I didn’t get it. I was having a Dylan moment. Not too bright, but at least I’m cute, you know.
Then, during a weekend date on a trip to spend $75 in Walmart gift cards (courtesy of the in laws) there it was. The movie everyone (probably) knew about except me. As I walked by the electronics area and saw John Cusak’s sweet adolescent boy face looking at me from the $5 movie bin, everything clicked into place.
In my head there was a collision of John and his boom box, Phil Dunphy, and Dylan. Stars glittered in my brain as fireworks exploded somewhere in the cosmos and an A Capella chorus sang “Hallelujah.” I was enlightened.
I did not describe this myriad of events to my husband. He’ll read about it here with all of the rest of you. Instead, I came to a halt beside our shopping cart, grabbed the DVD, and in as calm a voice I could muster said to him: “I need this movie.” Thankfully he replied “Throw it in the cart” with a smile or I might have had to have a tantrum.
The movie itself was rather slow. Sorry John. The party scene drug out too long. Diane is a tad bit naïve. And who tells her dad she attacked the guy anyway? Awkward. The little boy: too cute for words. The scene with the mom: ugh. It only took two seconds to dislike her. Good acting. Applause for making her character annoying. I’m guessing that was the goal.
But oh, the one liners of Lloyd Doblin (or whatever his last name is. The sound quality wasn’t that great.) Like when he boasted “I want to get hurt.” Swoon. A guy who was willing to risk it all for a chance at nerd love.
How about “I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen.” Wow. Bittersweet. Funny. Witty. Reminded me of the first time I told my husband I loved him. Minus the pen part. Truth be told, if hubby had given me a pen that day, I’d probably have attacked him. In a good way. In a Diane fell for Lloyd with everything in her kind of way. I love a good pen.
A complimentary hotel pen, even. My favorite: the illicit feel of the waitress’ pen. You know, right after you (or my hubby) signs the check with it and you (I) inadvertently slip it into your (my) bag. Knowing the poor waitress is going to be frantically searching for it or some cheapo replacement before her next patron sits down…
If I had a restaurant I’d make people sign with their own pens. It would be complete BYOP (bring your own pen). Or the waitress’ would have to carry their pens with a concrete block attached to them. Just like the bathroom passes were when I was in junior high school. Try and steal my pens. I dare you.
Back to Say Anything though. Slow movie with a few great lines. I’m glad I didn’t turn it off because of slowness. I’m also glad my writing instructor had instructed the class to focus on dialogue and conversation this week. My notebook and pencil came in handy for writing down great movie lines. And the best one came in the last scene.
“Nobody really thinks this is going to work, do they?” Diane says to Lloyd.
It took her a while but she finally started to get it. And Lloyd says…wait for it…
“No.” (Miniscule pause here.) “You just described every success story.”
Silence. Pin dropping. Bomb of revelation exploding. Lightbulb moment. Motivation, determination, and I-got-this attitude being born.
Nobody thinks this is going to work, do they?
Insert whatever you are working on right at this moment in place of “this.”
The book you’re writing. The new recipe you’re trying. The application for a coveted job, medical school, grad school. The test you’re about to take. The song you’re writing. The choreography you’re creating. The business you’re starting. The movie you’re making. The marriage you’re committing to.
Nobody thinks this is going to work, do they?
Now remind yourself of Lloyd’s comeback. That famous response shrouded by a movie of teenage romance, a father’s fraud, and a heart traded in for a pen.
“No. You’ve just described every success story.”
Confirmation. Success. The start of something big.
People will say anything. Some have no filter, no compassion, and no belief in you or your “this.” None of that matters. Because when nobody believes “this” is going to work; they’ve just handed you and your “this” a success story.
Dare them…to say…anything.