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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Almost Famous

I really like Almost Famous. Don't get me wrong, I think I've always liked Cameron Crowe's films, I just hadn't seen this one yet. I was wary, I'd wanted to watch this for years, and just was so afraid it would be bad.
It wasn't. Our Lead, the Enemy, William played by Patrick Fugit was better than I imagined. Naive, but not that naive. Thoughtful, honest, young, and yet growing up before your eyes. The thoughtful and young part is why I can allow his character to do what he does in the film and still like him. There are things a character can do that will make them forever skeezy in my book and making moves on passed out people is one of them, but his youth in this and the non skeeziness of the scene makes the scene fly. There are a lot of characters in this movie, that if the movie had been directed by anyone else, would seem seedy and generally really negative. But the levity Crowe's directing takes elevates the entire movie above it. It's a rock and roll movie that dabbles in darkness, never fully taking you anywhere near it. You spend a lot of the movie waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Everyone put a fine performance in here. I finally got to see Patrick Fugit really act, and I spent a lot of the movie trying to see the Goldie Hawn in Kate Hudson, and finding none. The hyper 60s girl I was expecting to see didn't manifest. Hudson's Penny Lane is something else all together. She's beautiful and tired of the game and all in all she eats up the screen.
I'm not a Jason Lee fan, he's always seemed like a dick to me, which he kinda is in this film. It's appropriate.
There is a plane scene that's particularly memorable.
There are some amazing shots of buses and planes and a lot of eyes. It's well shot and a lighter film than I would have guessed.
It's tender and fun.
Also - not to be underestimated The Wonderful Frances McDormand played William's mother. She did a fine and quite memorable job, for me she was a wonderful bonus. There wasn't a moment with her in the film where she didn't chew up the scenery.
Philip Seymour Hoffman also had a small role, but of course did an exemplary job.
The music of course takes a large role in this film all about musicians and reviewers in the 60s. Semi-autobiographical, the film tackles Crowe's own early life as a music review for Rolling Stone.
It's a great film, a must have for anyone who's owned records and loves music from that time. If you've ever been a rock and roll fan this is surely something you'd enjoy, also - it would make a good pairing I think with Across the Universe.

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