July 16, 2009

Sort of a Movie Review: Almost Famous

I have seen 'Almost Famous' probably 15 times, so it’s probably not fair to call this a review. Last night, we hooked up a projector and our iPod speaker deck and watched the movie upstairs on our roof deck, projecting it onto a building across the way. We had talked about this hypothetically for years, and in the spirit of Getting Things Done before we leave Boston, we just decided to make it happen. We chose ‘Almost Famous’ because it’s such a crowd pleaser, and it seemed like the type of movie that should be projected on a brick wall.

Maybe it was the setting, maybe it was the company, maybe it’s the ever-increasing sentimentality as we prepare to move, but every second of the movie was even better than the first 14 times I saw it. Some thoughts:
  • After the credits, the movie shows San Diego during Christmas time in 1969. The Chipmunk Song is playing. This cracked me up last night, because of how Jason Lee was just in the movie version of ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks.’
  • Why did Patrick Fugit disappear after this? The only other thing I’ve ever seen him in was the movie version of ‘White Oleanders’. Did he not age well? Was he *too* William Miller to make it seem like he could play other characters?
  • When I had this thought last night, I thought it was totally insightful…now I’m realizing I brought the same thing up with ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’: Do you think that movies set in the past (at the time of release) age better?
  • Jessica shared with us some trivia about the movie, and Jack Black was up for the role of Lester Bangs, which eventually went to Philip Seymour Hoffman. I find it mindblowing how much this could have changed his career. This was after Tenacious D, and right around the time of ‘High Fidelity’ – it could have really reshaped him. Instead, he did ‘Shallow Hal.’
  • Frances McDormand is so good: She says more with one eyebrow raise than I could get out in a week. Her character is so strongly developed – she is this powerful, hard headed woman, with this amazing soft heart. I think this is one of my favorite movie characters of all time.
  • Two Elton John songs feature prominently in the movie: 'Tiny Dancer' and 'Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters.' Beautiful stuff. He’s so not lame, I don’t understand how he became a mainstay of soft rock stations (and I wonder if he does).
If you haven’t seen 'Almost Famous' before, step away from my blog right now and go to your nearest Netflix queue. This is one of the movies I compare other films to when evaluating their Twix bar worthiness, it's that movingly good. 9 Twix bars!


Kato said...

what's weird is that I was listening to Simon and Garfunkel's America, wikipedia-ed it, saw it was in the movie Almost Famous, realized I had never seen it and that you had mentioned you were watching it recently, so I apple+t'd a new tab, and added Almost Famous to my Netflix queue. This was all prior to reading your post. I'm sorry I have not yet seen Almost Famous. But remember, I watched Grease for the first time at your house. So I got that going for me.

Trevor said...

finally something gets 9 twix bars!

Fugat was in "Saved" also.

I think that "historical" movies (or books/tv shows) like this that are based on writer/director's real life have the value of being confident with the details they include. This is this is the reason why Dazed and Confused and Freaks and Geeks were so good also. They spoke the truth about someone's real experiences, even if they didn't always typify the era.