I know it’s like, totally not cool or hip to like Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000). The movie is sentimental and goofy and everyone hates the “Tiny Dancer” scene.
Screw it — I don’t like Almost Famous. I freaking love Almost Famous. I love it because it’s sentimental and goofy, particularly because it’s sentimental and goofy about rock n’ roll and about writing, two things I also love (and can be quite sentimental and goofy about). I love it because Philip Seymour Hoffman kicks effin’ ass as Lester Bangs and if there were any goddamn justice in the world, someone would have adapted Jim Derogatis’ terrific bio of Lester, Let It Blurt, into a movie.
I love Almost Famous because when Stillwater, the band Crowe invented for the flick (based on his experiences with Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers, among others), starts playing, they sound like an authentic 70s-era rock band.
And let’s face it: if I were worried about doing what the cool kids are doing, I would’ve been out behind the barracks smokin’ weed instead of sitting in my bedroom making myself up as Dr. Zaius and watching Star Trek reruns. Doing what the cool kids are doing is not something that has ever interested me. Well, except for the “getting laid” part — that always sounded like it might be fun.
I love Jay Baruchel as the obsessed, rhapsodic, insane Zep fan. I love Jason Lee as Jeff Bebe, lead singer of Stillwater. And Billy Crudup is dead-on note-perfect as Russell Hammond, on-the-verge-of-superstar guitarist for Stillwater. And Patrick Fugit — well, there wouldn’t be a movie without him. He’s the kid we all were and the kid we all wanted to be, somehow rolled into one nervous, shy, embarrassed little package.
And goddammit, I even love the “Tiny Dancer” scene.
So the hip badasses who think Almost Famous ain’t cool can cram it — let ’em watch whatever this week’s fashionable indie turdfest is and wallow in their self-importance and awesomely bitter sense of superiority. Give me Almost Famous, a movie that has the courage to know it’s uncool, which makes it poetic.