Say Anything (But Really, Say WHAT)? – Five Teen Movie Scenarios That Seem Romantic, But Are Actually Really Weird.

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 Anythinga 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.

Say Anything

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?

Sixteen Candles

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.)

Ten Things I Hate About You

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.

Never Been Kissed

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.

  • Virnalisa Ureña

    Lol… awesome article I love all of The movies mentioned above and have seen Them a million times!! but you forgot to mention another racial comment that’s made in Sixteen Candles that would have never worked now a days. The scene is Molly walking down The hall with her best friend commenting how her parents forgot her birthday and her best friend thinks that she said she would date a black guy and Molly says: ” No pink guy with a black car”. :-$

  • Dot Flanagan

    I have often thought about such moments. I would be super creeped out by how several of these guys on these movies get the girl. It has put things into perspective for me though. Just tell me you like me, dammit! Skip the dramatics! Go straight for simply asking me out for coffee (even though I don’t like coffee, that’s beside the point) and get me to talking to you. Great way to start things. It beats creeping me out at night when I wake up to you playing a big ass stereo on my front lawn (my dad would probably have his shot gun out for that one).

  • Dot Flanagan

    Romance me AFTER you get me to talking to you. 😉

  • Britt Peterson

    Thank you for bringing up a very important issue – What does “greasy bowhunk” mean?! I’ve been wondering this for years!

  • Lisa Weston
    • Britt Peterson

      Whoa! Had no idea that “bohunk” was so derogatory!

  • Gillian O’meagher

    What about the eighties movie where you’re a drummer and in love with your best friend who gets to date the head cheerleader so you help him practice-kiss and he cashes in his his college fund to buy the hot chick diamond earrings and he paints an oil portrait of her and you drive them around on their first date dressed up as a chauffeur (a date which includes them sneaking into the local art gallery to see the painting fake-hung on a wall) but it’s all cool in the end because the head cheerleader says he should date you and she goes off to be independent and you get the diamonds and suddenly your best friend is your boyfriend. Some Kind of Wonderful, right?

  • Melissa K. Nodurft

    10 Things I Hate About You is based on Taming of the Shrew, and Clueless is based on Emma. Shakespeare and Jane Austen taken out of context will lead to a few oddities. That said, it’s awesome how those movies managed to modify the originals and blend in with teen movies of the 90’s! They’re seriously two of my all time favs.

    • Annie Hatmaker

      The originals DO tend to make more sense…

  • Michelle Grove Shaffer

    Drew Barrymore is my age…and I was like 23 when NBK came out, so yeah…noooo to trying to pass as a high schooler. I suppose it could have been feasible if they’d cast the ‘actual’ high schoolers in their 20’s, all 90210-style, but instead decided to cast actual teenagers (how odd!)…regardless, I still admit my love for the movie despite its unfeasible weirdness.

  • Ashton Josephine Towne

    as much as I love this article I have to chime in. Say Anything was not Ione Skye’s only film…only film of the 80s but she was in Fever Pitch with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon and was also in a few unknown 90s movies Wayne’s World and But I’m a Cheerleader.

    • Danielle Mercedes Adams

      I forgot about Fever Pitch love that one.

  • Danielle Mercedes Adams

    Ione Skye has been in other movies.A Night in the Life Of Jimmy Reardon a GREAT River Phoenix movie that was before Say Anything. She was also in a Wayne’s World(small part) but also in a small indie one of my favorite movies of all time Dream for an Insomniac where she was the lead. Ok enough about that. That is the point of NBK though that it is UNREAL that anyone thought Josie could actually be a teenager…and Michael Vartan..HELLO!! If my teachers looked like that. DAMN!!! Love him!!!

  • Christopher Allen

    Kind of lost me when you called Say Anything (which was written and directed by Cameron Crowe) a John Hughes movie. It also wasn’t Ione Skye’s only film. No access to IMDB?

  • Ashton Josephine Towne

    oh and it’s beau-hunk meaning a greasy cute guy…although who says that?!

  • Carla Prine

    In Sixteen Candles, it’s “beauhunk” or “beau hunk”, and not “bow hunk”…not that I read these articles for the intelligence …

  • Stephanie Amadeus

    I love the idea behind this article, but it’s disjointed, the author didn’t really do any fact checking (beau-hunk, john hughes film??? etc) and it’s not very well written. There is so much more that could have been done here!

  • Melissa Stern

    It’s Ione Skye, not Ione Skyeyeyeeye.. also she was in Waynes World and but Hey Im a Ceerleader.. and a bunch of other movies, shorts, and TV shows…

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  • Stephanie Archibald

    Dream For An Insomniac is one of my favourite movies ever! Ione Skye is so awesome. She should of been bigger!

  • Jane E. Quigley

    Very funny article! 80s movies (particularly those by John Hughes) gave me totally unrealistic ideas of love and school! As far as the passing for a high schooler thing, have you seen Teddy in 90210, maybe there going to come out with a similar storyline this season though!

  • M.C. Silver

    “You flash study halls to get a guy you’re pining over to roam free, without Cheetos.” I love that…without cheetos….cracked up at that one. “I’m confiscating this….this too.” Lol.

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