After a minor internal discussion and duke session regarding a list of best graduation films, Say Anything (1989) kickboxed its way to top slot and secured this position by not only celebrating the perspective and freedom that exists in youth, but also maintaining that a certain astuteness and insight exists in our youthful impulses. Plus, rather simply, I’m keen on the actors, characters, relationships, dialogue, and music in this film.
To remind myself what high school graduation was like and to better prepare myself for this piece and for my sister’s graduation, I revisited Say Anything. And what I discovered was:
- It’s still a damn fine film and relevant despite its oversized camcorders and cassette decks (retro rocks though).
- There’s wisdom in this film that I should collect and pass along to my sister.
- All of the above.
Graduation day—it’s a frightening step, and no one prepares you for it. No guidance counselor, no older siblings, no parents, no random roaming adult, NO-damn-BODY has shared pertinent, useful information regarding this step or a valid description of what it would or should be like, or warned you about the responsibilities that roll sly and unapologetic on the roads ahead (someone should pick those up). And even if they had told you, well, what the hell do they know?
I graduated from high school in ’97, which was the same year that my youngest sister, A, was born, and now it’s her turn. Eighteen years ago, abandoned and terrified, I took that uncertain step toward my future, while she was seeing the world for the first time. And we meet here, full circle, on her graduation day, which brings me to…
Words, lines, wisdom, and whatnots assembled from Say Anything:
- Use your words—don’t be afraid to be honest and say what you feel.
- Take worthwhile risks and trust yourself to know what those are.
- Work your hook.
- Allow at least one other person to see you.
- Goodbyes are necessary and incredibly hard.
- When someone gives you a pen, use it!
- Never be monumentally busy. You’ll miss life.
- Steer clear of Joes. No Joes!
- Adults make mistakes too.
- Find “the doorway to a thousand churches”, and walk through it.
- Crank to high your boombox (Wiki query if unfamiliar with term)—
- Demand to be heard!
- Love—even when your heart feels broken.
- Just love.
Finally, from me—there’s no one way to live a life, A. So, do it your way.