Random Rants: Cameron Crowe Mentions the Possibility of a “Say Anything” Sequel

This post began as a small “News Worth Sharing” post, but quickly got out of hand. Once I was done, I had to create a new category – Random Rants. I hope I don’t have to add to it often.

Surfing the net today I discovered an article on slashfilm.com that quotes Cameron Crowe as saying that there may possibly be a sequel to “Say Anything”. His comments, made during the annual Television Critics Association press tour, are quoted as follows:

“I do kind of think there might be another chapter to that. I’ve thought about it from time to time and talked to John Cuasack about it. Lloyd Dobler might be back. It’s the only thing I’ve ever written that I might consider doing that with.”

To which I say, “Oh my dear God, please %#$&ing no.”

“Say Anything” was one of the seminal movies of the 1980s to me. I honestly think that it helped define me as a person. The Character of Lloyd Dobler helped me understand what people meant when they refered to someone as a “romantic”, and I did eventually wind up teaching Karate for a few years (Don’t think I didn’t think of this flick more than once when I asked kids to give me their strongest kiais). His speech about not wanting to sell anything or buy anything or process anything was one that I had verbatim in my repertoire at one point in time, and I actually DID once say to a girlfriend’s father, “I just want to hang out with your daughter.” when he asked me what my plans were in life.

So, to say I’d be protective of this movie would be a massive understatement.

Now, certainly at this point, the quote could be considered idle speculation. But that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. In fact, these are exactly the kinds of little seedlings you get in advance of these types of movies. The director or some actor at some completely unrelated event seemingly indulges some meaningless conjecture, and then next thing you know you’re seeing a trailer. I’m not kidding, it happens just like this.

Now, not all of these 20+ years later sequels are horrible nightmares. I enjoyed the return of Gordon Gecko, and the world is a better place for Scorcese’s decision to revisit Fast Eddie Felson, that’s for certain.

However, the potential exists to do serious damage to your characters. Michael Corleone should have stayed on that park bench forever. And please, don’t even get me started about Darth Vader.

So why take that risk?

And the most important thing of all is that you close the imagination on the time beyond the movie for us forever. “Say Anything” is a movie about teenaged romanticism. Not just with a girl or a guy, but with life in general. At 18, Lloyd Dobler COULD say he didn’t want to Sell or Buy or Process anything. He COULD dream of being a professional kickboxer. We’re left with him and his girlfriend taking off into the sky and the future for them is wide open… just like life IS to people at that age.

As such, the movie speaks to THAT period of life. The teenaged years, when you can still afford to be idealistic.

Now this element of what I’m saying is independent of the quality of the sequel. No matter how good a movie you make, no matter how excellent or not the sequel is, once you show me “Middle Age Lloyd Dobler” I will forever stop thinking of “Say Anthing 1 Lloyd Dobler” as Lloyd Dobler and start thinking of him as “Young Lloyd Dobler”, the yet to be man who is destined to become whatever you put forth in the sequel. I know that sentence isn’t the easiest to follow.

Let me simply restate that if you leave the characters as they are, I’m free to imagine who they will be. Or more importantly NOT imagine who they will be… to be free of images of them later in life. However, if you paint the picture for me, you not only rob me of the fun of possibly imagining it for myself, I’m locked in to attaching the new story to the original like an addition on the side of a house. Thus “Say Anything” would stop being a teen movie for me… teen romance, teen idealism, teen problems… and start being a movie that’s more like, the life of Lloyd Dobler pt 1.

This is why I refuse to watch “Clerks II” I don’t give a shit how funny it is. I honestly don’t care if it imparts a load of sage wisdom about the meaning of life. If I watch it, I can never see Randall and Dante man that counter again and not think of who they would eventually become. And I don’t want to think of them eventually becoming anything. As a snapshot of life, Clerks is pretty much perfect (note, I’m CERTAINLY not saying the movie is perfect, LOL). They’re snarky and cool and underachieving, but right there, right then, that’s great. I don’t want them in my head as middle-aged or approaching middle-aged men. Randall and Dante are early 20 somethings who work at the quick stop. And that’s it.

I’m already bitter. Just thinking about this has me pissed off. I am totally willing to forgo the slight chance that “Say Anything 2″ will be an awesome, worthy successor, in order to completely avoid the far more likely possibility that it will taint a beloved classic. And god %$#&ing forbid “Say Anything Again” or “Say Everything” or “Do Anything” gets made and Lloyd is a Salesman somewhere. I will go on a horrifying, ranting rampage across the blogosphere that people will NOT want to see.

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9 thoughts on “Random Rants: Cameron Crowe Mentions the Possibility of a “Say Anything” Sequel

  1. Well said. No matter how good or bad it could be, it’ll be the death of everything the original is/was…

  2. I haven’t seen “Say Anything” yet; it’s on that list of movies-I-need-to-see that would likely send you into conniptions were I ever to show it to you. But I’m right with you on this rant. The fact of the matter is, only a very small number of movies NEED a sequel (and if we discount middle entries in series that are specifically meant to bridge a first and third part, even fewer.) The original Star Wars, perhaps, could be viewed as a movie that needed a sequel; it was pretty obviously a chapter in a larger narrative; even if you knew nothing of the sequels, you’d know they had to be intended, because the baddest of the bad guys was only knocked for a loop, not killed, and Luke has only barely begun his training in the Force. But most movies were designed without sequels in mind, and thus function fine without them.

    What’s more, most movies not only don’t need a sequel… in many — arguably most — cases, they actively need for there to NOT be a sequel. It’s difficult to create a sequel to a self-contained story without invalidating part of it, or just altering the perceptions of it, like you say. “Clerks II” was actually a decent movie, and didn’t butcher the characters of Dante and Randall… but at the same time, it couldn’t help but have a disjoint from the original, in that it had a genuine narrative rather than the slice-of-life feel of the original. It feels different to watch two aimless guys when one of them actually has an aim. And in a lot of cases, that disjoint would be character breaking because it’s difficult to write the same character twenty years later and have them still be the same character — at least, without a forced snap-back to how they were at the start of the original, which isn’t really any better. And then, of course, there’s cases where it’s the plot that’s the problem. I recently watched “Highlander” and crossed it off of my list; at the same time, I crossed all of its sequels off the list. I haven’t seen them, I don’t need to, and I’m not going to, because the plot of “Highlander” demands there be no sequels. Even the best-possibly written sequel — which is hardly the description one typically gets of “Highlander 2″ anyway — would ruin the core premise of the original film’s ending. And, of course, sometimes the series needs to end at one because even though there’s more story, it’s story that needs to be left untold because it could never live up to the speculation of the viewers. “The Matrix” needed to be a single film for that reason; the sequels were doomed to a negative reaction from the moment of their conception.

    And even if they somehow manage to avoid those pitfalls, there’s also simply the issue of having to do a good job on the sequel. It can’t be so different that it’s hardly recognizable as the same series; and I don’t just mean sequels which are “in name only”, like “Halloween 3″ and “Troll 2″ (and 50 thousand other horror “sequels” from what I’ve heard), but also cases like “Return to Oz” (same characters, same world, radically different tone) or “Speed 2″ (same tone, same basic premise, where’s the original protagonist?). On the other hand, it can’t just retread the same ground either; “Ghostbusters 2″ could have been a great movie (instead of just an OK one) had they not been bound and determined to retread most of the same ground as the first one (broke Ghostbusters with no public belief or approval, Dana, Louis.) And then, of course, there are those rare cases such as the direct-to-video “WarGames: The Dead Code” that somehow manage to pull off both extremes at once.

    Ultimately, there are just so many ways to do a sequel poorly, and so few ways to do it right. As a rule, I’d prefer not to see them make the attempt, especially when it’s years after the original.

    • He has my back ladies and gentleman! Whoo!

      LOL.

      Ok. Nice support, right there for sure. You even worked in two of my favorite bad movies, “Halloween 3″ and “Troll 2″. Three more months til halloween, halloween, halloween.

      Ha! Thanks for your support, I was wondering if I were coming off too crazy. Yes, sequels should be separated from trilogies, intentional franchises etc. But I guess as you bring that up, I think my main issue would be these sequels that happen so far from the original. You know? If he (Crowe) had done a sequel within two, three years, I might have been first in line. Now… so much time has passed, the characters would be radically older, and I’ve already put the original on my nostalgia shelf.

      You made the right choice on the Highlander sequels, my friend. LOL. Good on you.

      And as for not seeing this flick, well, that’s what I love to do here is talk about movies I love and then maybe people who have never seen them will check them out. Say Anything will definitely be a “Movie Everyone Should See” one day, I just think I’ll be sticking with bigger flicks as I build the blog up a bit. Its highly recommended for two reasons – 1 its high quality, 2 It really registered with Gen X. The image of Cusack with the boom box held aloft is iconic. You know?

      So, dont sweat it, just be sure to let us know what you think if you do get around to checking it out!

      • Yeah, I’ll definitely let you know what I think of it when I do finally see it. No prediction on when that will be, of course. And I agree, a large part of what makes some of these sequels seem like such sacrilege is that they are so far removed in time from the original movie. It’s pretty much impossible for them to have the same tone, because the character has to have moved on in 20 years… which means that whatever issues the character represented (so to speak) are no longer germane to the character, which raises the question of why we’re watching them again.

  3. That’s the problem with these sequels so many years later – they have an adverse effect on the original movies. I can’t see how a film about teenage life can work as a sequel about a forty-something and his wife…they are completely different stories. I agree, Cameron Crowe should stay away from a sequel and concentrate on new material.

    • I hope he does. He’s got that new Zoo movie coming out. Maybe it’ll be a big hit and he can keep himself busy making sequels to that. LOL. “We Bought a Zoo” “We Ran a Zoo” “We Expanded our Zoo”, “We Closed Our Zoo”… it was made for sequels. :D

  4. I agree with everything you said, but I do find Clerks II a great sequel. It brings the characters to interesting new places and has some interesting things to say about slacker life style and also has a nice metaphor in there that mirrors Smith’s own career. Plus, while I do prefer Clerks, Clerks II is a lot funnier.

    I understand what you’re saying in regards to Clerks II, but the sequel is a worthy film that’s definitely worth checking out.

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