Monday, July 21, 2008

Almost Famous: a review

I finally got around to seeing Almost Famous, the movie, tonight. I can't believe it's taken me this long to see it. As far as coming of age movies go, it's definitely up there with some of the better ones I've seen. And the subject matter is right up my alley. The soundtrack is phenomenal. It's a real shame that they just don't make this kind of music anymore. It's hard to say what it is. Is it that the audience tastes have changed? Or is it the move from analog to digital that killed the sounds of yesteryear? Probably some combination of the two.

Kate Hudson was incredible as Penny Lane. Without a doubt, the highlight of the movie. They never make a gimick of her age or her background. She is who she is and she's happy about it, though not always. She ends up being used and thrown out and it's the 15 year old William who's the only one who can see the damage the whole circus has brought on everyone else. Just awesome.

Oh, the two best lines of the movie:

Topeka Party Go-er: "You wanna see me feed a mouse to my snake?"
Russell (on acid): "YES!"

Lester Bangs:"The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool"

That last one really kills me.

Also, the passion the movie has about music is extraordinarily visceral. At least it was to me. How I feel watching that movie is how I felt on the carpet of my brother's room going through his LP collection while he was out of the house. That was a big no-no, by the way, since he had a state of the art record player with a top of the line needle. But I did it anyway. I first heard all of the music from the movie on the floor of his room. It was always musty in there, and it smelled like stale cigarette smoke. I heard the albums Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Let It Be, Tommy, Led Zeppelin II, Goats Head Soup, along with countless others in that room. I remember the dirty orange shag carpet feel on my knees as I flipped endlessly through crates of records and stacks of old .45's. I remember the fear I felt when I didn't know how to thread the tape through the Reel to Reel machine and ended up chewing up the first minute of Led Zeppelin I. I remember the red covered WHO music book where I first learned the lyrics to Baba O' Riley, the first song I ever learned the lyrics to.

This movie took me back to all of that and made me remember why I loved music in the first place. And if that's not an endorsement of a movie, then I don't know what is.


Karol said...

One of my favorite movies of all time.

Falstaff said...

the moment when they're on the bus, pissed off and hung over, and then slowly morph into a singalong of Tiny Dancer is pure Cameron Crowe gold.

It's right up there with John Cusack holding a boom box over his head as Peter Gabriel blairs out to Ione Skye.

Great movie.