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The Lloyd Dobler Effect: John Cusack onstage with Peter Gabriel
03:14 pm

Saturday night at the Hollywood Bowl, Peter Gabriel played his classic 1986 album So from start to finish. For the album’s big finale, “In Your Eyes,” Gabriel brought out John Cusack, who of course played romantic dreamer Lloyd Dobler in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 movie, Say Anything….

During that film’s climax, Lloyd holds up a boombox playing the song outside the home of Ione Skye’s character, Diane Court. It’s one of the ultimate, most immortal gestures of romantic love in all of cinema history so why am I even bothering to describe it?

In any case, it’s a great and iconic scene, and it’s cannily played out to exactly the perfect soundtrack. I’m sure that “In Your Eyes” was already a staple of romantic mixed tapes that lovelorn Gen X guys would have made back then even prior to Say Anything… but post-Say Anything…, well, that song became quite a statement indeed for a guy to put on a mixed tape. That meant he really, really liked you.

When I was in my 20s, I distinctly recall someone I know telling me how he kept VHS tapes of romantic comedies “casually lying around” his apartment for seduction purposes. I certainly don’t think he was the only guy to figure this out, and I would always take note if I saw that a male friend of mine owned a lot of rom com videos, you know, “chick flicks.” (A girlfriend of mine once told me how she’d been gushing about me to her mother because I had a VHS of Breakfast at Tiffany’s on my bookshelf and she felt this indicated great things about me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it wasn’t mine and that I had no idea how it had gotten into my apartment and onto my bookshelves. When I met her mother she mentioned knowing that I was a big fan of Breakfast at Tiffany’s!)

The videotapes I always seemed to notice in the homes of these 80s Don Juans were things like Say Anything, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally and The Sure Thing (dig the Rob Reiner / John Cusack axis / overlap there). If these four films were as effective as Jägermeister, another no-fail seduction cliche of the 1980s, then imagine that you are the guy who actually played Lloyd Dobler and “Gib”?

Christ, that must be like having a superpower or something!

Below, Gabriel, in fine voice, performs a stellar “In You Eyes” at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, October 6, 2012:

Posted by Richard Metzger
03:14 pm



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