Canon of Film

January 17, 2018
 

CANON OF FILM: ‘Almost Famous’

almost famous

In this edition of CANON OF FILM, we look back on Cameron Crowe‘s ‘Almost Famous‘. For the story behind the genesis of the Canon, you can click here.

ALMOST FAMOUS (2000)

Director/Screenplay: Cameron Crowe

I remember saying  that Cameron Crowe, who based “Almost Famous” on his own experience as a Rolling Stone journalist touring with bands like ‘Led Zeppelin‘, and ‘The Allman Brothers Band’, that he was luckiest son-of-a-b*tch kid of all-time. I realize now just how talented he had to have been to accomplish all that he did before he was even allowed to drink, back when the drinking age was 18. There’s no doubt that ‘Almost Famous,’ is not only his best film, but his most personal, and this coming from an already well-established filmmaking career, with ‘Jerry Maguire,’ ‘Say Anything,’ and the script for ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High,’ already on his resume before making this film.

He understands more than any other filmmaker how powerful music is, how just the hearing of a song can make someone reflect back to a past memory or moment from their lives, makes it far more powerful than any other art form. That his movies are capable of these emotions more than most other writer/directors is nothing short of masterful. I once said that this is the perfect 15-year boy dream movie, and I notice now that when the movie came out, I was 15, and I still remember the magic I saw in ‘Almost Famous,’ from the first time I watched it, and I still constantly feel that emotion brought back every time I see it again. Winning him the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, Crowe’s film structurally isn’t much different than most films where a summer would change a boy’s life forever, but the movie doesn’t just replicate the era of a 70s Rock n Roll band touring the country, it shows the never-ending episodic voyage of going thru a rabbit hole and ending up in another world.

For William Miller, (Patrick Fugit) he has to balance the line where he befriends his idols, and yet humanizes them thru their weaknesses and excesses, such as Penny Lane (Oscar-nominated Kate Hudson, who should’ve won) a band-aid groupie who’s as much apart of the band, in terms of the backstage dynamics as the guitarist Russell (Billy Crudup) who she’s in love with as he’s constantly ducking Billy’s interview. Reality lies grounded in Billy’s mom, Elaine (Oscar-nominated Frances McDormand) a College Professor who is just as scary a presence over the phone as she is in person, making even Russell buckle from the tone of her voice informing them to not do drugs, also reminding us just how young our “heroes,” actually were. I don’t know what it’s actually like touring with a band, but I imagine it probably isn’t nearly as fun or interesting in the moment, especially after the newness of it fades, but I don’t think the destinations or even the journey is important, but instead, the memories of it that forever enthrall us. Notice the film begins with ticket studs, posters, and pamphlets, and ends with picture. I believe Crowe realizes this too.

almost famous

Image via Dreamworks



About the Author

David Baruffi
David Baruffi
David Baruffi has been a successful unemployed screenwriter for, let's be vague and call it "years". He's got a B.A. in Film Studies from UNLV, is a certified script supervisor and has done a little bit of everything in film, but mostly is a writer. Personally on his own blog "David Baruffi's Entertainment Views and Reviews" which is at www.davidbaruffi.blogspot.com,and professionally has written several scripts and stories, for himself, and for others and as a ghostwriter. When he's not doing that he watches his autistic brother most days and he looks like two old puppets.



 
 

 
back to the future

CANON OF FILM: ‘Back to the Future’

What is it about 'Back to the Future', really? I mean, I'm with everybody on it, it's one of my all-time favorites, like everybody, and this seems to be the one iconic '80s movie that even Hollywood sees absolutely no point in ...
by David Baruffi
 

 
 
jurassic park

CANON OF FILM: ‘Jurassic Park’

I don't think I'd even rank 'Jurassic Park' among Spielberg's Top 20 features. Admittedly, that's as much a tribute to Spielberg's body of work than anything else, but this is basically just a well-made horror movie.
by David Baruffi
 

 
 
days of heaven

CANON OF FILM: ‘Days of Heaven’

Like the nature that foregrounds his work, and the character that are in conflict with it, Days of Heaven, and all of Malick’s film are constantly growing and evolving.
by David Baruffi
 

 

 
pulp fiction

CANON OF FILM: ‘Pulp Fiction’

'Pulp Fiction,' is possibly the most influential movie made in my lifetime. It’s certainly the most important film made in the ‘90s. You might be able to argue better movies, but none are as influential and important at 'P...
by David Baruffi
 

 
Advertisement
 
almost famous

CANON OF FILM: ‘Almost Famous’

I remember saying of 'Almost Famous,' a few years ago that Cameron Crowe, who based the film on his own experience as a Rolling Stone journalist touring with bands like 'Led Zeppelin', and 'The Allman Brothers Band', that he wa...
by David Baruffi
 

 




%d bloggers like this: