It has come to my attention that John Cusack held a boombox over his head at the Peter Gabriel concert, shattering a million teeny 30-something hearts in one fell swoop (and mine). He wasn’t wearing a trench coat.
Unless you missed the 1980s or are Justin Bieber and were born in the ’90s or another Disney star BORN AFTER 2000, let me give you a little refresher.
Cusack was reenacting his legendary scene in Say Anything, a Cameron Crowe movie in which he plays Lloyd Dobbler, an adorable alt geek who falls for Diane Court, played by Ione Skyeyeyeeye, (this is her only movie, probably should’ve let her manager change her name), the queen bee A+++ student with a felon for a father.
Cusack simultaneously made and crushed my dreams. Twice now. It’s not unusual for movie scenes to give us wickedly unrealistic conceptions of love, lust and what it means to be a teenager. Maybe I should’ve grown up in the ’80s.
But there are five movies in particular that do this, that when paired with the reality of the scenario, are quite odd. Didn’t stop me from wishing someone threw bologna on abstract art. And didn’t stop them from informing my perceptions about love. But let’s get real for a minute.
Fantasy: To explain more of the iconic scene that I alluded to above – Cusack is the lovesick Dobbler who will do anything, ANYTHING for this girl. So much so that in the middle of the night, Lloyd holds up a boombox (now it would be an iPad, an iPod or an iPerson), playing “their” song. (I love it when people think songs are theirs. For the record, ‘Anything Could Happen’ by Ellie Goulding is MINE, Beats Headphones). This is utterly romantic, and Lloyd follows Ione to her prestigious scholarship in some foreign country where they wear floppy hats and he holds her hand on the plane. (This is my favorite part, as someone who white-knuckles the person sitting next to her on any/all flights. Turbulence. Misery.)
Reality: There is a guy in a trench coat you dated for two months standing outside of your bedroom window blasting music. Sure, it’s your song. But, is he going to pull a Clarissa Sam and crawl up? Are you going to let the whole song play? Is he wearing anything under that trenchcoat?
Fantasy: Arguably the most popular (biased) of the Hughes teen movies, lovelorn Molly Ringwald is obsessed with Jake Ryan, a senior in a sweater vest who has never laid eyes on her until she accidentally tells him she wants to sleep with him. It was a note intended for her friend. Jake is dating the most popular girl in school, and instead decides to ditch his hot blonde Stepford Wife-to-be for a quirky ginger with a fabulous early street-style sense. He comes to pick Ringwald up at her intoxicated/high sister’s wedding to a greasy beau hunk (WHAT DOES THIS MEAN) and they jet off to his mansion where they kiss over a cake, because her family forgot her birthday.
Reality: Gurl, you are going to burn your hair and your dress and that entire house is already in disarray from the night before. Fire hazard. This also transpired in twenty four hours. Total. Found out you wanted him to see your ladybits, asked his friend about you, you discovered you had a foreign exchange student in your house by the name of Long Duck Dong (this would never fly in the 21st century, racism at its finest), and decided to dump his hot girlfriend and take you for a ride in his red convertible. Also, are you over the fact your grandma felt you up?
Fantasy: Quintessentially the best teen movie of all time (again, biased), and nominated for thirteen Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay, Cher is a valley girl who has the electronic closet that drycleaners only dream of. Seriously, when is this going to happen for me? When am I going to push a button and get equipment top three of thirteen thousand? You have this annoying hippie step brother who won’t stop eating out of your fridge. You are seriously in love with a gay guy named Christian. You realize you’re in love with Josh, your hippie step brother, after your best friend wants to be set up with him. You go shopping. You think. You go shopping. You are in love.
Reality: You are kissing your step-brother. How is this going to play out at family functions? Whose Thanksgiving are you going to? Are your parents going to potentially start dating again? How are you going to introduce him to your friends or say how you met during a wedding speech? (“I knew it was true love when we shared a wall in seventh grade and you played the Star Wars theme song every night.”) As much as I love me some Paul Rudd, this is exceptionally odd. And now you chew and spit your food to your child. (And you just had a great reunion.)
Fantasy: You are the prettiest and meanest girl in school, Julia Stiles. You flash study halls to get a guy you’re pining over to roam free, without Cheetos. You have the best. hair. ever. So when you find out that the guy you’ve been dating was really paid to take you out (who ever called Joseph Gordon-Levitt being the most successful actor from this set of people?), you are furious and sad and probably eating ice cream. You write an angst-ridden poem that exposes your true, gushy feelings. But then he uses the money to buy you a sweet guitar.
Reality: This guy was PAID TO GO OUT WITH YOU. Yes, it’s Heath Ledger. But I can think of other uses for that guitar.
Fantasy: You get to relive high school, as an undercover reporter. You go from being a total dweeb to a total babe overnight due to a guy named Guy (who also looks like a gangly Rob Thomas) and shake around with Jessica Alba after school. You have a SMOKING HOT English teacher who thinks you are a total genius and can’t understand why you don’t want to go to college. You finally admit to the ruse after you are crowned prom queen but your mean friends pour dog food on hot tall genome LeeLee Sobieski (who looks like that in Spandex)? Your teacher finally comes around and admits to being in love with you and kisses you for the first time ever on a baseball field in front of a thousand people. No pressure.
Reality: There is NO WAY IN HELL you could pass for a high schooler.