Coming to us from acclaimed director, Cameron Crowe ('Jerry Maguire', 'Almost Famous' and more recently 'We Bought a Zoo') brings us his directorial debut. It has since gone down in cinematic history as one of the best modern romances, complete with the famous scene everyone knows about, involving a bedroom window and a boombox. But being from the 80s, how well does this still hold up?
Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack), and army brat, has some strong feelings for fellow high school graduate, and class valedictorian, Diane Court (Ione Skye). Diane lives a life of achievement and excellence with the guidance of her loving, divorced father, Jim (John Mahoney), who owns a nursing home. Diane's most recent achievement is receiving a prestigious fellowship to study in England, which Jim uses to try to pump her up as she's not quite as self-confident as she should be.
Lloyd has recently returned to the US to finish high school, while he lives with his (real-life) sister, Constance (Joan Cusack). He has no real aspirations, kick-boxes as a hobby, and dreams of doing something big. He does still, however, want to date Diane, who is widely believed to be out of his league, considering all of her achievements. In accepting a date with Lloyd, she soon finds herself falling for someone who wants to spend as much time as he can with her before she leaves. This causes her to second guess her fellowship, and wonder if the unlikely Lloyd might fit in her life better. And, while one path certainly seems to make for a more promising future, certain events involving her father may taint that particular viewpoint.
In this day and age, there aren't a whole lot of romantic gestures in earlier film that have aged well. Many of them come off as obsessive, or even stalker-like, when back in the day, they were considered dreamily romantic. In this one, there is a little bit of that, but by the end of the film we definitely do see him as a good guy and not a weirdo. Perhaps a bit obsessive, but the famous boombox scene is about as far as things go. It's easy enough to overlook, and the supporting characters really help us see him as the nice guy, or potential friend zone material, making him a little more human.
So yeah, it holds up pretty well. It's a solid coming of age romantic comedy from the 80's that I've overlooked for far too long. This almost fits in the same vein as some of John Hughes best work, but with that said, this may be a bit darker as well. There is a side plot involving Jim being accused of some criminal activity within his nursing home. I won't say what, but I will say that you don't have to worry about him physically abusing anyone.
It's another one that I have only just seen for the first time, but others know it pretty well. I'm happy to say that I still got plenty out of it, and though the main plot has been done to death (one about to leave, the other wanting to spend time and/or wanting them to stay, some unanimous decision for a happy ending), it's executed well here, and the side story helps to ground things a bit. I'd recommend this one for a good stay-at-home date, if you feel like a bit of a classic.