Say Anything…and the Arizona Cardinals?

Underage PartyWhat do Say Anything and the Arizona Cardinals have in common?  They both have issues with underage drinking.  In Say Anything, the underage drinking involves a house party to celebrate graduating from high school (holy cow, I remember the parties from that night in my own life, so many years ago!).  For the Arizona Cardinals, the issue occurred at a recent preseason game.  A father was watching the game with his 15-year-old son and he asked his son to hold his beer while he took some pictures.  Yada, yada, yada…father and son end up booted and cited for trespassing.

But before we talk about the similar legal issues, let’s talk about John Cusack.

PenMy love affair with him began in the fall of 1989, when I saw Say Anything at my boyfriend’s house…on VHS (ufta, yet another reminder of how old I am!).  Gross Pointe Blank, Being John Malkovich, Hot Tub Time Machine...  They’re all great and he’s great in them (I just block out the fact that he was in Con Air).  And then there’s High Fidelity, which is the perfect sequel to Say Anything.

While many 80s teen movies are still a ton of fun, Say Anything has more than withstood the test of time.  Of course, I don’t know if I’d feel the same way if Robert Downey, Jr. or Christian Slater had played Lloyd.  They’re both great, but nobody could play Lloyd like John.  He was so responsible and sweet.  And the woman were great too.  So was the annual party that was the site of Lloyd and Diane’s first date.  Known as the responsible one, Lloyd didn’t get to relax and enjoy his date because he was the Keymaster:

KeyMasterAs a teenager I thought that was such a responsible move – enlisting someone as a keymaster to keep the keys out of the hands of drunken teenagers.  As a parent, of course, I now have a different perspective on underage drinking.  When I first moved to Texas I was a waitress.  My first day I was told that we could serve minors if they were with their parents.  I was surprised but I’ve now learned that Texas isn’t alone in taking that stance.  In fact, 45 states have exceptions to the general rule that you can’t drink if you’re under 21.

There are eight different ways that minors can drink.  I’ve lived in three of the states that allow children to be served at a restaurant if they’re with their parents – Connecticut, Texas, and Wisconsin.  Arizona, obviously, doesn’t have such an exception.  If it did, that dad wouldn’t have been in trouble (at least under state law).

In Washington, on the other hand, if the parents had been at the graduation party and given their consent, the kids could drink.  So, in theory, if the parents had all been partying upstairs, their kids could drink downstairs.  But I didn’t see any parents in the movie, so I don’t think that exception to the general prohibition would have worked.

So both Say Anything and the Arizona Cardinals’ dad came up against state laws generally prohibiting underage drinking.  While there are exceptions, they are few and far between (unless you hang out in the states I do!).


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Jessica has been litigating business and IP disputes for the past decade. During that time, she’s dealt with clients, lawyers, and judges who have varying degrees of appreciation for the challenges of managing discovery in an electronic age. Until the fall of 2011, she was an attorney at a large, Texas-based law firm, where she represented clients in state and federal court nationwide. That fall, she made a long-desired move back to the Midwest and is now a partner at Hansen Reynolds Dickinson Crueger LLC, a litigation boutique based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she continues to litigate while also consulting with business and law firms on e-discovery issues (before, during, and after litigation arises).