Podcast time (or why I'd rather die than see a 40-year-old Lloyd Dobler)
The Hollywood publicity machine is a tricky business, I imagine, for someone like Cameron Crowe. Here he is, in L.A. breaking bread with media critics and promoting his new Pearl Jam documentary (due for a PBS debut soon), and he finds himself talking about 1989's Say Anything.
Now, in my opinion, having a Pearl Jam documentary is plenty enough to talk about. Even I, who can't really name a PJ song if you held a gun to my head (hello? stuck in the '80s...), could manage a few intelligent questions to ask him (before turning the talk to Elizabethtown and Almost Famous). But somehow, the talk comes back around to his brilliant story behind the connection between Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) and Diane Court (Ione Skye).
A sequel, he's asked? Sure, why not, Crowe replies. Why, he still has plenty of writing muscle left for that character. And who out there possibly couldn't be curious about how Lloyd and Diane are doing this day.
Yeah, that's me. Raising my hand.
I don't want to know. The whole point of Say Anything is that we each build our own ending to that story. And that our endings evolve as we grow older. At age 21, when I saw the movie the first time, I probably imagined that they stayed together a few years, until Diane's dad got out of prison at least, at which point she didn't need Lloyd anymore. By 30, I maybe imagined them celebrating a 10th wedding anniversary. By 40, I foresaw a prison of a relationship. Lloyd working at Jiffy Lube. Diane is a high school librarian. And the only thing holding them together is a giant mortgage and two great kids, both of whom deserve to have happier parents.
I am curious as to what Cameron sees, because that would tell me a lot about the man himself. After recently ending his own marriage, does Crowe still believe in love? Would he send a letter confirming his commitment to someone after a night in the backseat of a car, listening to Peter Gabriel? Like Lloyd, is he still willing to take leap of faiths? Or does he worry that he gives her his heart, she'll give him a pen?
I like that Cameron Crowe's idea of a Say Anything sequel has us pondering the fate of a fictional couple that helped some of us build our own character in the early years of our adulthood. Perhaps the answers to all those questions I'd ask of him can be found in the lines of that screenplay. But for the sake of the rest of us, who haven't yet completed our own journeys, put the pen away for now, Cameron. We have yet to find the perfect ends to our own world's greatest success stories.
[Ponder that theory and more in this week's Stuck in the '80s podcast, which touches on Say Anything, Duran Duran and Stand By Me. Click here to download. Or click here to get all our shows for free via iTunes.]