F.I.L.M. of the Week (August 20, 2010)

20 08 2010

It’s the one-year anniversary of the “F.I.L.M. of the Week” column!  I thought the best way to celebrate that milestone would be by featuring one of my-all time favorites, “Almost Famous.”  It’s not exactly little known given its pretty devoted following and its awards season haul, which included an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay and a Golden Globe for Best Picture.  Although it was criminally snubbed by the Academy for a shot at the top prize, it is still more than worth your time.

The movie, written by director Cameron Crowe, is semi-autobiographical.  As a teenager, he wrote for Rolling Stone and had the pleasure of touring with bands like Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Jealous, anyone?

Young William Miller (Patrick Fugit) discovers music after his rebellious sister (Zooey Deschanel) flees the tyrannical reign of their mother, the strict fundamentalist Elaine, played with brilliant propriety by Frances McDormand.  As a young boy, Elaine thought her son to be so smart that she moved him up two grades in school, thus socially crippling him.  His sister leaves behind a giant record collection, and William’s obsession with music begins.

Not unlike myself, he begins writing about his passion.  We differentiate, however, in the fact that William’s work gets picked up by Rolling Stone.  The industry-leading magazine asks him to follow Stillwater, an up-and-coming rock band, on their tour and write an article on them.  He meets an interesting crowd aside from the band, who are always skeptical of his intentions, particularly lead singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee).

The most intriguing figure by far and away is the so-called Penny Lane (Kate Hudson), whose name, age, and intentions are always clouded in mystery.  Penny is a different kind of groupie, offering herself to help the band more as a muse to inspire artistic inspiration than to satisfy lustful desires.  She and William, both in their teen years, form a very interesting relationship while on the road.  Hudson, only 21 at the time of the movie’s release, gives an absolutely masterful performance, and her virtuoso turn is only made more astonishing by her age.

But the movie’s real heart and soul comes from William’s friendship with guitarist Russell Hammond (Billy Crudup).  It is he who teaches the young journalist to enjoy the ride and love every minute of being able to do what you love.  Indeed, we watch “Almost Famous” with the same sense of wide-eyed wonder of William on the road, and the movie is an exciting experience that inspires our own fantasies of living out a childhood dream.  Even if that doesn’t involve music, Crowe’s true masterstroke will still be able to delight your latent aspirations.





Random Factoid #375

7 08 2010

As if a divinely sent sign after a melancholy morning, I discovered I was tagged in the “Happy 101” meme sweeping the blogosphere by fellow teen blogger Dan the Man.  Thanks, homes.

I have a bunch of time today to watch movies (although I will be finishing up summer reading and doing college application work too), and I was planning on watching some heavier stuff.  But after this morning, I needed a cheer-up movie or, at the very least, something that wasn’t going to be a huge downer.  So as I’m writing, I am watching “Almost Famous” for only the second time, a movie that I love and is raising my spirits some.

But in the spirit of the meme, here are ten movies that I’ve watched on TV recently fora good smile:

  1. Father of the Bride
  2. Mrs. Doubtfire
  3. The Little Rascals
  4. Amelie
  5. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
  6. Shrek 2
  7. Knocked Up
  8. Baby Mama
  9. Wanted
  10. Role Models

Sorry, but I’ll pass on tagging because everyone I read has pretty much been taken care of – and it’s really late.  My mind is tired after a third viewing of “Inception.”

Oh, and here’s the nifty little graphic thing that I should probably include.